Thursday, November 3, 2011
John Lennon was flat-out wrong. Their statement, which has been more than embraced by our culture is in complete contradiction to the word of God. You can thank The Beatles for the sixties “love and peace” garbage. We saw how that one worked out. The truth is, though they meant to say it or not, The Beatles were declaring that you don’t need God to have peace. You just need love. Well, I would submit to you that you can have neither one without first having Christ!
Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” I wish it would become a requirement for this verse to be expounded upon at every wedding. You see, we have bought into Hollywood’s version of love. You know, the one where Cupid shoots you with an arrow and all of the sudden you “fall in love.” Well, I’ve got news for you. If you can “fall in love”, you can “fall right out of love.” Love alone won’t cut it when the going gets tough. That’s why we need Christ as the centerpiece. Period.
Why have I started in this way? Because you need to understand that, though Paige and I are madly in love with each other, it was not our love that brought us together. Nor, is it our love that is keeping us together. It’s the Third Cord. When you read Paige’s story of how she was led to me, it is easy to think, “Awww…how sweet…the two little love birds.” But if that’s how you read it, you missed something. You see, though Paige and I have travelled completely different paths, there is one thing we have perfectly in common. Both of us fully surrendered our lives to God…especially our love lives.
Many girls reach an age when they decide they are ready to pursue the opposite sex, so they do so. Despite the cultural norm, Paige did something completely different. She committed herself to God and to praying for her future husband. She was putting her trust in God; that He would do what was right. Praise God that He did.
As Paige said in her article, I had never met her when she committed to praying for me. So, it was January 3, 2004 that she made this commitment. I can honestly say, that the year of 2004 was life changing for me.
On February 24th of that year, “The Passion Of The Christ” was released. In January of that year, my roommate at the time convinced me to go watch this movie with him. I was a big “Braveheart” fan, so I figured it would be good. He also talked me into reading the passion account from each of the four gospels.
I not only read that, but after watching the movie, I continued to read God’s Word. It wasn’t every night, but I read it pretty often. I knew there was something to this book. The movie had really opened my eyes and I no longer viewed Christians in the negative light that I had in the past. Oh, I knew that because they were emotional, didn’t dictate truth. But, I knew I had better check into it for myself.
Then comes August 19, 2005. That night, as I was in a prayer meeting, I realized that I could not win my fight against my addictions. So I threw my hands up and gave it to God. That might sound trite to you, but that’s what I did. You see, I didn’t understand that God was the kind of God that overcomes sin. That night, I realized that my sin was not only hurting me and others. My sin was hurting God.
I truly surrendered all of my life to Him that night, and He truly set me free. The next day, I had to drive down to South Carolina for my step-brother’s wedding. I was so full of the Holy Spirit, I could hardly contain myself. It was on that trip, that God showed me that Paige would be my wife. He also, clearly showed me that I was not ready yet. As I was praying in my car, I realized that the only way a relationship with Paige would ever work is if I had the right relationship with Christ.
On the way back, I still remember buying Paige a little package of fireworks. That was the first thing I ever bought her. I was so excited to give them to her. I know…that’s cheezy, but I really enjoy giving things to her and I knew that she loved fireworks.
So, that was August of 2005. Over the next four months, God took me on quite a journey. I’ll make this brief. In October, I lost my job. I was designing shirts with alcohol on them and I knew I could no longer do that. When I told that to my boss, he fired me. Well, I had a new job (my current job) the next day. Let’s just say that God definitely blessed me on that one.
Before starting this new job, I went on my first pro-life mission trip to Wichita, KS with Operation Save America. I followed men of God like Flip Benham and Scott Heldreth down there and met up with saints like Mark Hollick, Rusty Thomas and John Reyes. Those are some special people.
I remember calling Paige from Wichita, telling her that revival had broken out. One of the high schools that we had shared the gospel to, came to our church that Sunday to protest us. Many of them got saved that morning.
On the way back, I spent a week helping Hurricane Katrina an Rita victims in Texas and Louisiana. That was pretty fun too.
Finally, in December of 2005, I got clearance from God that I was ready to pursue Paige. Now, this was no audible voice or anything. I just felt the peace that I had His blessing.
So, the first thing I did was call my youth pastor. He and I were pretty close at the time and he knew that I wanted to do things right with Paige. I had listened to quite a few sermons on purity and I was fully convinced that God has a particular way in which he wants us to go about pursuing the opposite sex.
I asked Pastor Mark Miles if he thought I was ready and he said “yes.” After that, my plan was to talk with Paige’s father, Allen, one night at church. I didn’t have the chance to talk to him alone, so I decided to put it off until next week.
There is no telling how long I would have put it off. Though Allen is a really nice guy, I was still very nervous about talking to him. Finally, something happened that, as Paige said, lit a fire under my tail.
I saw another guy going after her, so I called Allen that night. Yes, I wish I had talked with him face to face, but like Paige said, we didn’t do everything perfectly.
So I called Allen and told him that I would like to pursue a future with his daughter. He gave me the green light, so I asked Paige the next day. Obviously, she said, “yes.”
Like Paige said in her article, we were learning as we went. I had listened to many sermons on purity. I first heard the idea of not kissing until marriage from a pastor in Seattle named Judah Smith. Instantly, I knew that that’s what God wants. So, we agreed that we would wait until we were married for that. And, yes, we talked about marriage early on. That’s a major difference between courtship and marriage. We weren’t just practicing for divorce. We knew, before starting anything, that this thing was serious.
Early on in our relationship, I had to come clean about something. I knew that I loved her and that I wanted to marry her, but I was scared to make any kind of commitment because, to me, love was something that could dissolve at the drop of a hat. I told her about this. I told her that I was scared to love her. I feared that her love for me might wear off one day. We committed ourselves to praying about it.
The next morning, I woke up humming a familiar tune. I wasn’t sure where it had come from. I was humming a verse from a Jason Upton song, which said, “What God has joined together, let no one separate it.” That verse continued in my head all morning. Then it hit me. That’s not just a song! That’s a Bible verse! It was incredible. God was showing me, through His Word, that He would not let anyone tear our love apart, as long as we made Him the center of our marriage.
From that point on, things were different. I not only knew that Paige was the one, but I trusted God that He would hold us together. Praise God.
Another revolutionary moment was when I first listened to Paul Washer. He laid out for me what courtship really was, and also what dating really was. I found out that, though we were doing many things the right way, we were also doing many things that could take us places we didn’t want to go.
So, we purposed in our hearts to do right and changed the way we were going about things. Our main goal was to not spend time together at my house. So, from then on, I would go to her house, when her parents were home. That way, we were keeping ourselves from dangerous situations, as well as abstaining from the very appearance of evil.
Let’s go ahead and fast forward to October 21, 2006. Around a week beforehand, I sat down with her parents and got their blessing to marry their daughter. But, just so you all know that I’m not some romantic, “knight in shining armor,” let tell you about the day I planned. This being the day I would propose to my wife. First, I took her to the Lexington Barbeque Festival to go witnessing. Then, I had to meet at the Mazda dealership to get rid of my sportscar, in exchange for a four door (I knew God wanted me to eliminate as much debt as possible before opening the next door in our relationship.) Then, it got a little more romantic.
I cooked dinner for Paige at my house. Yes, I know. We were alone at my house. Like I said, we didn’t do everything perfectly. But, in this case, even if I had the chance to do it all over again, I wouldn’t. The night, in my opinion, was perfect.
I had tried to conceal this night, by celebrating her birthday early. So, after dinner, I gave her a tiled mirror as a gift. At this point, I was more nervous than I had ever been in my life. I just went ahead and did it anyway. I knew I would trip over every word, so I prepared a poem for her. Toward the end of the poem, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry her. Of course, she said, “yes.”
Not long after that, we set the date to get married on April 14, 2007. What a wonderful day. I still remember that day sovividly. As I paced behind the altar, and the worship music was being played, I felt so close to God. I thought about the journey I had been on. And I knew that what He was about to join together, no one would ever be able to separate.
Just so you know, that “broken road” has a name. It is the wide road that leads to destruction. God will never bless that road. But here’s what He will do. He will take you, smash you to pieces, create a brand new you, and set you on the narrow road that leads to life.
So, I’m not going to sing about my past. I hate my past because it was full of sin. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have great family and friends from my past. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about my sin. I will never boast about it. I am ashamed of it and always will be.
Let me finish with two very important lessons.
photos by korihoffman.com
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