There is an overwhelming sense of inadequacy that I feel as I prepare to lead a marriage retreat. The people who attend are traveling from various parts of the United States and they are coming for help in some way. Some folks may just need a couple of hours away from their normal surroundings. Others are looking for some encouragement. Still others may be in deep trouble in their marriage and hoping to find help at the retreat.
My theology informs me that I am just a messenger. I have no power to open a heart or change a life. I am totally dependent on God and if my teaching has any godly impact it is due to the power and grace of God. So I am prayerful this morning as I plan to lead a marriage retreat this weekend.
Before I actually begin the teaching part of the retreat I am going to remind everyone of five truths.
1. Without the Gospel We Are Lost.
The Gospel is the power of God for unbelievers to be transferred from darkness to light. It is also the power of God for believers. Wherever we have been and whatever we have done--there is hope for us in Christ.
2. God has Created Us for His Glory.
We were created by God and for God. Our existence and marriage is by God and for God. Our life and marriage will only have meaning as we live for his glory.
3. God has Created Us for Community.
Marriage retreats are no substitute for the regular and ongoing ministry of a local God-centered church. Marriage cannot thrive outside of the confines of congregational life. Marriage retreats will be a mere band aid over a gaping wound without commitment to a local church.
4. Marriage is a Big Deal.
This is our mantra at Nourished in the Word Ministries. Marriage is about God, His glory and His gospel! Our marriages need our full attention. We cannot afford, our children cannot afford, the lost world cannot afford, our church cannot afford for us to give up on our marriages. When a person gives up on their marriage they do incalculable damage to their spouse, friends, church, the culture and themselves.
5. There is help.
I am no marriage magician that can fix marriage problems. I am a mere pilgrim on a journey. There is help in God's Word. So we end where we started. If a person will turn from their sins and turn to God and his Word then they have every reason to be hopeful and confident that God will help them.