Wednesday, January 16, 2019

14 Thoughts on 14 Years of Marriage

Earlier this month Charity and I celebrated our 14 year anniversary.
That means: 
We’ve watched countless movies together
Our marriage is the same age as a high school freshman
We’ve stood on three continents together
We’ve traveled all over the States
She’s taken care of me when I’m puking
We kept a plant alive
We kept a few fish alive (they actually had babies before us)
We multiplied a few times
God has protected us in a crazy world
She stood by me as I buried my dads
We bought a home together

As I reflect on 14 years of marriage I want to share 14 thoughts to help you in your marriage. Here are some things that have helped us and shaped us:

1. Read God’s words together 
One of my favorite things we do is talk about God’s word. Charity is great at asking me what I’ve read in the Bible that day. It helps affirm what God is teaching us and keeps us connected spiritually.

2. Make vacation a priority 
We love to travel. For our anniversary this year we went to Death Valley. We make it a priority to spend time together in rad places.

3. Find a shared activity 
One area that is a constant struggle for us is finding a shared activity. I love snowboarding and Charity loves the beach. We know this is a weak point in our marriage and are constantly looking to find things to do together (right now it’s hiking).

4. Go get counseling 
Around the seven year mark we went to marriage counseling (like intense marriage counseling).

5. Turn your phone off and focus on each other 
I’ve spent too much time with my phone and not enough with my wife. This year I’m making a priority to spend more time with Charity.

6. Pray together
Every night before we go to bed we pray together. Sometimes I pray, sometimes she prays, sometimes we both pray. Sometimes we don’t want to pray, but we do.

7. Pray for each other 
Pray for your spouse. No one knows what they are going through more than you do.

8. Step out of your comfort zone
Marriage has put us out of our comfort zone. It’s ok to try a new adventure, food, or Bible study with your spouse.

9. Do something you don’t like 
I really don't like heights but when we were dating I took Charity on a sunset hot air ballon ride. It was epic and I was scared I was going to fall the entire time, but she loved it!

10. Make sexual intimacy a priority 
Yep! Don’t ignore your sex life.

11. Say “Yes” to what fills your spouse 
Charity knows I love to snowboard and she says “Yes!” I know she loves to hang out with her friends so I say, “Yes!” This helps us both stay encouraged.

12. Give your spouse a “night off” as needed 
Sometimes we need a night off from being a parent. Put the kids to bed for the other, give them a bath, or do the dishes.

13. Cuddle in bed 
Especially before the kids come!

14. Work together 
Last year we remodeled our home. I loved working along side Charity. We’ve done this before and it’s so fun.

Here are some ideas. What would you add to the conversation?

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

A Practical Bible Reading Plan

When our daughter was two years old we had a tough time with potty training. We tried and tried but no progress. One day we picked her up from kids ministry and the leader shared that for the last month she had been going to the bathroom with all the other kids. We were perplexed! She would go at church but not at home.

What we learned was that she was influenced by the other kids and did what they were doing. It was expected that she would go at church, so she went. She didn't come home and tell us because it wasn't the expectation at home.

This is like reading our Bibles in community.

When we all start reading our Bible in community we are going to see Spiritual progress happen. This is a challenge for each of us to be in God’s word more. Text people what you’re learning. Ask good questions about the Bible to others. Light up your social media with Scripture and application that you are learning from God’s word. I really hope you will accept the invitation to read God’s word this year.

This year, at Coastline, we’re inviting everyone to start reading their Bible.
We’re laying out three options for every stage of spiritual development. 

Option 1

The first option is a month long commitment to reading the Proverbs. If you read one chapter of Proverbs a day you will read the whole book this month. It will take about three to five minutes a day. 

Option 2

The second option is a little more of a commitment. It’s a 100 day reading plan of the Essential 100. It gives you an overview of the whole Bible in fifty Old Testament stories and fifty New Testament stories. It’s a great way to get a complete overview of the Bible in 100 days. 

Option 3

Read the entire Bible from cover to cover. This is the black diamond level speaking in snowboarding terms. It only takes about 15 minutes a day. It’s about three to five chapters a day.

If you are interested in any of these plans talk with your small group leader. Our hope is for our church to know of God’s word than for the TV shows we are watching. We’d love to see you start off your morning by reading God’s word. We’d love to see you take the time you have in life to grow spiritually on your own. A huge way to accomplish this is to do it in community. Find a person to encourage you to make it happen.

Almost nineteen years ago I was invited to attend a church service. I had just got out of DUI class and was looking for hope. The man who invited me asked me to start reading God’s word. He told me to write down questions and ask him. I did. There were times I was confused. There were times I was tired. There were days I didn’t read. But I gained a love for God’s word. Starting to read the Bible on my own changed my life. How will this book change your life this year?