Christians can often feel as if the messages they receive from the prevalent culture are in opposition to the messages at the core of Christianity. In many ways, Jesus helps us understand who we are as Christians in the midst of these conflicting messages; He becomes our interpreter.
No pastor likes to see a divorce, though we certainly understand they are a reality of life. We are in good company as Jesus did as well. Still, we do all we can to care for those going through the difficulties associated with a disintegrating marriage - or any relationship, for that matter.
The Rev. P.H. Crumpler, a Methodist, is more or less given credit for forming the Effingham County Sunday School Association. It is said that at the close of Methodist Camp Meeting, he expressed a desire to invite other churches and Sunday Schools to join together for a meeting.
God does this incredible thing in churches. He always seems to make sure His places of worship have what they need to accomplish their mission - inside and outside their doors. And he does that through His people.
Last Tuesday, perhaps as many as eight individuals associated with the Islamic State brought about the deaths of 35 people by setting off two explosions in Brussels, Belgium. The blasts, which occurred in populated transportation locations, also injured more than 300 others.
In earlier columns, I have described the communication necessary before and during a marriage, and some of the important issues that should be on the table for discussion. But there is one associated factor that ought to be mentioned - one we pastors assume is taking place - when these discussions do occur.
In previous columns, I discussed what it means to find Mr. or Ms. "Right" and the importance of communication prior to and during a marriage. Below are 10 issues I see as vital in such communication for a soon-to-be-married couple. However, if you are married, keep in mind that these issues do not cease to be important for marital happiness (and success) once your marriage license is signed.
When people decide to marry, sometimes the excitement of it all causes the couple to put off asking obvious questions about their future life together. In cases where the couple knows there are differences or issues to discuss, they often simply assume they will "figure it out when the time comes." No sense in delving into differences while planning such a joyous occasion, right? Unfortunately, typically "the figuring out" part turns out to be more elusive than it originally appeared, and "the time" ends up coming when the couple is ill-prepared to deal with it.
As I think of the experiences I've had running a DivorceCare program and speaking with engaged couples in pre-marital counseling, the term "soul mate" comes to mind. I do not recall that phrase because it is something I ask about up, such as, "Do you think your spouse or fiancé is your soul mate?" Rather, I remember the many times those in counseling used this term to describe their feelings toward another person.