This afternoon, Marianne and I are hosting an outdoor wedding by our pool for a couple in one of our fellowships.
One of my greatest delights is seeing God redeem lives, and being part of that process – especially when it comes to performing weddings for men I’ve mentored in the Lord.
The groom is someone I got to know while he was in jail, where I helped introduce him to Jesus. Since his release several years ago, I’ve had the privilege of continuing to walk with him as he’s learned to let the Lord put his life back together.
There were some hard stretches, like when he ended up living in the woods, homeless, for several months while God burned some unhealthy attitudes out of him. Some would have rushed out in “mercy” to save him from that fate, but I knew that it was what the Lord wanted. So rather than “save” him from being homeless, I drove him to the store to pick out a tarp for his tent, then dropped him off at the homeless “community” behind the local K-Mart.
Rather than run from what the Lord was doing in his life, he manned up to his issues and let God do His sovereign work of transformation. I was privileged to be there for him as an older brother in the faith, and to help him during that difficult time go to those places in his life where he finally got real and allowed the Lord to bring healing.
Since then, he’s been on a fascinating journey as he’s been developing his own successful business. I’ve had the privilege of helping as a trusted counselor, based on my own entrepreneurial background. In fact, he was the subject of a TV program that was broadcast last year on several local stations about some of what we do in our fellowships to mentor folks – including business.
Since then, he has grown greatly in the Lord and is one of those brothers who is always there when someone needs help.
God delights in bringing beauty from ashes. Today, we celebrate yet another step in yet another man’s journey as he continues to grow in the authentic life in Christ – along with is wonderful bride.
As I perform the wedding, I will share about what marriage is about – as God created and ordained it. As we see the institution of marriage assaulted on all sides, maybe we need to re-affirm these principles.
So here’s part of my “pastoral” charge for the new couple:
“In Genesis 1, Scripture tells us that God created humanity in His likeness and image. I believe He did this by putting His essentially masculine qualities into men, and putting those aspects of His nature that are more feminine, into women. That’s why, I believe, the Bible says He created us as male and female.
“He then ordained the institution of marriage, which represents the coming together of those masculine and feminine qualities so that we, in marriage, can reflect the completeness of His own nature – in unity of purpose, in the security of lifelong fidelity, and in the bonds of joyful, sacrificial love.
“The challenge, and the delight, of marriage is learning to honor and esteem those essential differences that we possess as husband and wife …”
To Oscar and Nicole, may the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
May the Lord turn His countenance upon you and give you peace.
Yesterday’s wedding of Oscar and Nicole was one of the most amazingly joyous celebrations we’ve ever had the pleasure of hosting at our house. Life was breaking out all over. And the dancing as awesome.
Marianne and I want to thank everyone who came for your help. It was the Body of Christ – and community – in all it’s glory.
The way everyone pitched in, especially when we had to figure out at the last hour how to move everything indoors due to the rain, was a blessing beyond measure. We totally enjoyed ourselves – which is something hosts can’t often say.
Here’s a couple of pictures. We Christian’s sure know how to have some fun! :-)
The bride, groom and friends joyously celebrating. And that woman in the red dress? She and her husband spent time doing pre-marriage counseling and are leaders in our churches. Yup. She’s dancing! (Oh, the scandal!)
Oscar and Nicole, on the left. The second couple married two years ago and now have a family, and he too has been a spiritual son. Their lives also are a testament to how God brings beauty from ashes.