July’s Online Messianic Marriage Conference Takeaways
We never tire of praising God for His blessings in the lives of those who
have attended our conferences! So…Baruch HaShem Adonai! Blessed be the Name of
the Lord! For He has done, and keeps doing, marvelous things!
A Sobering and Edifying Truth
Eighteen people Zoomed-in with us from Florida, Massachusetts, Ohio, Virginia, California, North Carolina, and Ghana. Eight couples and two singles joined us online for our July conference as Sam shared the sobering and edifying truth of God’s Original Design for marriages with them.
One young couple came from very different backgrounds—and neither with a role model of a biblically-grounded marriage. Annie’s* faith community was extremely patriarchal and had an unbiblical view of the predominance of men. “As I became an adult and wanted to make my faith my own, I didn’t have a lot of direction. So, I’ve been going through a process of deconstructing what I was taught growing up, and reconstructing with what the Bible actually teaches. Thank you, Sam, for putting the time into studying and teaching on this. It makes a huge difference.”
Her husband, Jack*, said, “I just jumped into marriage with not much of a roadmap. I didn’t get taught a lot of these things. This conference has been an invaluable resource for me, and I will continue to learn more about what it means to be a husband and father.”
“I Should Drop Dead”
Sam makes it a habit to phone the participants before the conference. This allows him to learn what they hope to get out of the teaching. Tom* “told on himself” by saying, “When we had our phone call before the conference, it was jarring to hear Sam say, ‘Repent!’ My response was, ‘Oh! I need to repent? There are actually things I need to repent to God for in my marriage.’ It’s not just about what my wife is doing wrong. Repentance is powerful stuff.” He came to realize, “My wife should never need to earn my love, my respect, my forgiveness—because that’s how God loved us through Messiah. He freely gave it, and I should be like Him. I should drop dead. Actively climb up on the cross every morning and be a dead man.”
“It Opened My Eyes to a Lot of Things”
Renee* received her Messianic Marriage Matters textbook in the mail several weeks beforehand. “I’m at a tough spot in my marriage. I started reading it and saw, ‘I’m doing this wrong. I’m doing that wrong. Maybe I’ll just close this book and read it later.’ Sam’s biblical teaching brought to mind that instead of me pointing my finger at my husband so much, I need to look in the mirror. I’m thankful for that. It’s opened my eyes to a lot of things.” She left the conference feeling empowered to let the Lord change HER, and to let God work on her husband. Renee also expressed her gratitude to Miriam Nadler for being her mentor during the breakout sessions while couples talked through the discussion questions.
God’s Word Guides and Equips
Our “token single guy,” as we came to call Rob*, also gave a shout-out to Eric Rinehart, who served as the men’s mentor. He learned that “No matter how fun-strating (that’s fun and also frustrating) a moment may be, we have to go back to God’s calling on our lives. We must view people as GOD sees them.”
You may recognize the faces of Isaac and Audrey, congregation planters in Ghana in our group shot. Audrey was in the US during the conference, so she and Isaac attended “together apart”! She told us that this conference was helpful on several levels—personally (as a couple), in ministry (as congregation leaders, they are called on to give marriage counsel, among other things), and professionally (Audrey is working on a PhD in marriage and family therapy.) This is the beauty of learning to apply God’s Word to every aspect of life. It guides us, and it also equips us to serve others.
“It’s Incredible to Lean into Jesus…”
One couple sat quietly through the conference but were obviously soaking in the message. Kate* sent an email to us afterward and said, “Sam’s keeping to what God says in His Word instead of telling us his opinion of a healthy, Christ-centered marriage was refreshing. It was exactly what we needed to strengthen and refresh our marriage. As we look forward to next year, we have already told other couples about the conference. We are also incorporating the questions from the book into our date night which is not as daunting as I thought because both of us have removed the fig leaves. It’s incredible to lean into Jesus with a repentant heart and dive into expressing His love fully to the one He created for me!”
The newest believer in the group, Rose*, kept asking Sam to repeat the Scripture references that he quoted as he gave answers. Rose is learning to value the wisdom of the Word of God! This makes our hearts rejoice!
“Knowing that God is Enough!…”
Sam commended the group for thinking and asking questions. One young and energetic professional couple was full of questions throughout the weekend. As we asked for “takeaways,” Carla* said, “I thank you, Sam! And I thank my husband for saying ‘We’re doing this.’ I feel like you’ve given us some really good tools to start with. We made some action steps yesterday. The first one we started with was repentance, because it seemed to be the most important starting place. (It was very emotional!) Knowing that God is enough! Today, I feel like coming out of this, we will be more victorious in the Lord with our communication.”
Her husband, Derek* added, “I appreciate the redemptive power of the blueprint that’s been laid out by Yeshua. The only thing I’ll add to that which will make it better is when it’s in person. And we’ll commit to being there! It had a tremendous value and many resources…I’m looking forward to the next time as well.”
We’ve let them know that “next time” is going to be another in-person conference in Charlotte on January 20-21, 2024. (Registration will open in October, but for now, information is available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1IXscK3K2TNU-norff0xuABfuJsf4GKjR/view ) Click on the orange registration button.)
Please continue to pray for these couples and individuals. The real benefit to this conference is in the application of the truths they have learned.
*Names have been changed to protect individuals’ privacy