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Beyond Sex & Salvation – Part 2 presents the three key life disciplines you want to begin mastering before you fall in love. Even before you date.

These are habits you’ve likely been encouraged to develop in the past, but lacked the motivation. However, when you discover the essential role these three disciplines play in preparing for a life-giving, lifelong marriage, you may find the inspiration you’ve been looking for.

Among other benefits, these disciplines will empower you to:

  • Draft a sound blueprint for healthy relationships (dating, marriage and otherwise)
  • Establish the mindset necessary to thrive in long-term, sacrificial relationships
  • Grow in the invaluable skill of communication.

Determine to commit to these disciplines now and set yourself up for relational success with family and friends, at school and work, and in dating and marriage.


What are the 3 Life Disciplines?

We share all three life disciplines in an extremely abbreviated form in our LoveEd YouTube series beginning with this episode.


Book Excerpts:

Still need more convincing that Beyond Sex & Salvation offers juicy, wholesome goodness that can empower you to succeed in relationships?

Want to read a little bit first?

Check out these blog posts from our Date Night Advice (DNA) which are taken right out of the book itself. And more to come over the next few weeks.

Know What You’re Building BEFORE You Date!

Did you know you already have a rough blueprint of what your future marriage will be like? You do!

Know where you got it?

Your parents.

Don’t remember getting it? Well, before you call and ask about it, understand this blueprint was never printed on large, thin, blue pages. That’s not how parents give their children their marital blueprint.

Parents pass down their own special marital blueprint by simply living out their marriage in front of their kids. In other words, the marital blueprint your parents gave you is the blueprint they followed themselves, which is likely a version of the marital blueprint they received from your grandparents.

Perhaps that marital blueprint makes room for an emotions closet where you can stuff all your hurt, confusion and anger. (Make it roomy, or its contents might spill out into the accompanying bedroom.) Maybe it includes… [READ MORE]

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Don’t Fall in Love. Grow!

One of the most precious dialogues you’ll ever witness in any movie takes place in Mr. Holland’s Opus. In the scene, the wife of the main character, Jack Holland, reveals to him that she’s pregnant (when they weren’t trying).

He’s clearly in shock upon hearing the news, which of course, is never the sort of reaction an unexpectedly expectant mother is looking for from her husband.

But then he makes the “save.”

He starts off by telling her about the first time he heard a record from jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. (Coltrane wasn’t just a jazz musician; he pioneered modal jazz, a newer, more avant-garde form of jazz.) Jack confessed that he didn’t like Coltrane at first, but he listened to it again and again and again and eventually he grew to love it – a lot.

Then he says these words: “You tell me we’re going to have a baby; and that’s like hearing John Coltrane for the very first time all over again.” To which she replies, “If that’s a lie, it’s the sweetest lie I’ve ever heard.” (And he’s out of the doghouse.)

Oh that I could convince you in this short lesson: if you will read God’s word again and again and again, you’ll grow to love it more than John Coltrane. You’ll grow to love it more than your favorite artist, song, movie, person, place or thing. Give it time! [Read More]

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Is Marriage Worth It?

Future Marriage University actually started out in our living room as a 14-week marriage class led by my wife and I for singles. In these intimate same-gender groups, students felt comfortable to say what they really thought. And many times we heard comments like this: “If marriage is really going to be that hard, I’m not sure I want to be married.”

My early response at the time was, “If you really feel that way, then don’t get married. Don’t even date. Until you change your mind.”

Perhaps those words were a little tough, but I don’t think it was bad advice. Marriage is hard and if you don’t want to work hard at it, you are better off not starting what you’re not committed to completing.

Your would-be spouse will be better off, too. Ditto for any kids you might have had. (And do I need to throw the whole world in, while I’m at it?)

Over time, I began to develop a different answer. [READ MORE]

Why Sin is Fun

Some think being a Christian is all well and good, but you still have to live a little, right?

What does this sentiment say about the perception of where life is found?

The world says that life comes from sin. The partying lifestyle of binge drinking, uninhibited sexuality and recreational drugs – this is life. Buying things you don’t need with money you don’t have to impress people you don’t like – this is life. No restrictions, no consequences and no guilt – this is life. Breaking all the rules, taking all you can, faking all you have to – this is life.

The Bible, on the other hand, says sin brings death.

Who’s right? Who are you going to believe? [READ MORE]

How to Keep from “Growing Apart”

How many times have you heard these words from a married or divorced friend, “We just grew apart,” as if it was completely out of their control?

Or how about, “Our love just died,” as if “love” was supposed to just naturally carry on without any effort, without any nourishment or care?

What happens to a potted plant if you don’t water it?

Relationships are just like that. Love doesn’t just die, it’s killed, either through abuse or neglect.

It’s likely you’ll fall deeply in love with your future spouse long before marriage is proposed. Part of that experience will involve spending considerable time with them and perhaps even more time just thinking about them.

If you stop investing that kind of time after the wedding day, don’t be shocked when you no longer feel as close to your spouse. It’s only natural.

The same is true in your relationship with God. [READ MORE]

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The Trouble with Chick Flicks

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory. – Col 3:2-4 (NASV)

I love that verse: “When Christ, who is our life…

So many cheese-eating chick flicks have the guy tell the girl, something along the lines of…

“You saved me!”
“I am lost without you!”
“You are my life!”
“You make life make sense!”

“You’re my everything!”

“You complete me!”
“You are the breath that I breathe!”
“You make me come alive!”

“You’re my reason for living!”

Or, in the words of Marty McFly to his future wife, in Back to the Future: “You are my density… I mean, my destiny!”

HOGWASH! [READ MORE]

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Why God’s Will can be so Hard to Find

Why do we have such a hard time discerning God’s will in the midst of our circumstances? Because when we’re trying to discern God’s will that way, we’re focused on the question or problem at hand. God is not.

I didn’t say God doesn’t care about your problems; but your problem isn’t God’s problem, because He has no problems. Your question isn’t God’s question because He is the Answer. He’s the great I Am and He doesn’t want you living your life with your eyes focused on your circumstances. He wants you living life with your eyes on Him and His kingdom!

If you had to chose, which focus do you really want to live with?

  1. God and His kingdom
  2. Your problems and questions
[READ MORE]

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The Importance of Spiritual Growth

As I’ve read more and more about the state of millenials, I’ve come across a phenomenon that strikes me as falling somewhere between incredibly naïve and considerably horrifying.

It seems many young people are choosing not only to intentionally delay marriage; not only to intentionally delay adulthood, but to intentionally delay spiritual growth. The ill-conceived assumption is that God can wait until after I’ve had my fun, and am ready to grow up and settle down.

Considering the state of matrimony today, the inclination to delay marriage, though perhaps misguided, has a rational appeal. As for delaying adulthood, who wouldn’t want to enjoy the privileges of a grownup without the commensurate responsibilities, if allowed to do so? And looky there! Our “modern” Western culture not only allows, but encourages just that.

However, delaying spiritual growth isn’t merely selfish (like postponing adulthood). And there’s nothing self-preserving about it (like the fear-driven avoidance of relational commitment). Delaying spiritual growth is simply self-destructive. [READ MORE]

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Biggest Dating Mistake Christians Make (Spoiler Alert: It isn’t Sex!)

What I’m about to say may not be very popular, but watch the popular decisions of the popular people you know and you’ll find things generally don’t turn out too well for them in the end. This may not be what you want to hear, but please receive the following words in the protective spirit in which they were intended. If you are spiritually healthy, you have no business whatsoever even dating, much less pursuing marriage with, a partner who is not spiritually mature.

If you can’t find potential mates with a wholehearted commitment to the Lord, ask God what He wants to give you instead. Many times God doesn’t provide what we want, but always what we need. Always.

Q: Can I just hang out with spiritually immature singles of the opposite gender? [READ MORE]

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Seek God while He may be Found

Determine to grow spiritually now, because you may not be able to later.

No, this isn’t the old-time religion appeal, “If you don’t come to Jesus today you might walk out of here and get hit by a Mack truck and then it will be too late.”

Odds are against a Mack truck just around the corner. There may be no life-threatening accident in your future at all. However, what should be more frightening than meeting an untimely death tonight is living an entire life of regret. [READ MORE]

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Still Wanting More?

That’s why I wrote the discipleship series, so why not buy the book?!

You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better?  And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!

 

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