Being Sweethearts for Life

On Valentine’s Day sweethearts of all ages exchange cards and gifts to affirm and celebrate their affection for one another. Some will give roses, while others receive chocolates. This morning I awakened to find a home-made Valentine Card from my sweetheart of 22 years on my desk. Later in the morning I observed high school students meeting in the local bagel shop before school sharing a muffin and frappacino. And while sitting in traffic at a busy intersection I observed delivery vans from local florists en route to deliver Valentine bouquets.

As a pastor who performs a few dozen wedding ceremonies each year, I meet with the engaged couples to encourage them on the road to a positive long-term marriage relationship. Unfortunately a few of those relationships break down and end in dissolution. But the vast majority stick together, with a large percentage enjoying a life long partnership.

In our church family we are blessed to have dozens of couples who have been married for fifty years or more. One couple recently celebrated their seventy fifth wedding anniversary. As Valentine’s Day approached this week, we asked our veteran sweethearts, “What are the keys to a long-term, happy marriage?” Here are some of their responses:

· Love and respect for one another.
· Be devoted and committed to the marriage.
· Have faith in God and follow His teachings.
· Keep Christ at the center of your marriage/home.
· Stay connected with your church family.
· Establish and maintain trust.
· Be patient with each other.
· Be equally yoked.
· Keep your priorities in perspective.
· Look at issues from the other person’s point of view.
· Have tenacity.
· A good relationship always involves “give and take”; selfishness will not work.
· Consider the needs of your spouse before your own needs.
· Take one day at a time; life is not easy.
· Ride out the bumps in life together.
· Choose friends with similar values.
· Don’t go to bed angry or upset.
· Play together.
· Work through your finances together; things belong to both of you.
· Remember your vows; saying “I do” translates to “We will work together.”

The advice of these veteran sweethearts gives me a good word to share with young couples. And listening to the stories of these veteran sweethearts causes me to look forward to many adventuresome years with my Valentine.

Look On the Sunny South Side

For many months the south side of our campus has been undergoing renovation. The work could be completed as soon as this Sunday. The landscape will be more attractive. Parking on the south side will be more convenient. A new circle drive has been created which will serve as a much needed dropoff point. A covered walkway will lead to the entrance through the arcade on the ground level. These temporary renovations will serve us well until we move toward the next level of our master plan.

This Sunday you will see more plants and greenery in our services and around our campus, a timely reminder that spring is just around the corner. Also, you will notice that much needed additional aisle space has been created in both of our worship services. This will make our worship space more safe, welcoming and user-friendly for all who participate.

We will observe National Scout Sunday on February 11 as we recognize our Boy Scouts and leaders from Troop 10. In addition to the scouts from our fellowship, we look forward to welcoming the scouts and parents from Zion Hope Baptist Church who will be our guests in the midmorning service.

Next Wednesday is Valentine’s Day. Various choirs, mission groups, and student groups will be meeting all around campus. For those who can join us for Prayer Meeting, our topic will be “Love is More Than a Second-Hand Emotion.”

This Sunday morning we continue our series Great Invitations from Isaiah as we focus on Isaiah 48:16-19, “Come and Listen.”

Invite a neighbor to join you as we meet for worship and Bible study.

Proceed Slowly: Construction Zone Ahead

Get ready! Our construction zone is about to come alive with the sights and sounds of progress. In the next few days, the construction phase on the ROC will begin. Work on the Paul Royal Recreation and Outreach Center has been at a standstill as our contractors, architects, and committees have been getting new prices and estimates due the rising costs of building materials. In church conference on Wednesday evening our church gave overwhelming approval to a new ROC budget. Construction is just a few days away.

During the upcoming months of construction, each of us will be called on to remain flexible, to make sacrifices, and to exercise extraordinary patience. For example, many Bible study groups will continue to meet in temporary and sometimes crowded spaces. On many Wednesday evenings, our adults will transition to Pleitz Chapel so that our AWANA group can utilize Chipley Hall for activities. Our transition times on Sunday morning will be planned in a way to expedite the traffic flow. Your patience, flexibility, and cooperation are will allow us to maximize our experiences in worship, Bible study, and other activities.

Spring is on the way and you will soon see an upgrade in the plants and greenery in our services and around our campus. Also, you will notice that there will be some much needed additional aisle space created in both of our worship services. This expanded space will enhance mobility and accessibility for all who participate in worship.

For more than a year, we have been searching and praying for a new pastoral leader for our Vietnamese Fellowship. On Wednesday evening we affirmed a call to Dr. Lam from Austin, Texas to join our ministry staff. On Sunday evening March 4, we will join with our Vietnamese Fellowship in hosting a church wide reception to welcome Dr. and Mrs. Lam to our church and community.

This Sunday morning we begin a new series called “Great Invitations from Isaiah.” On Sunday evening in Pleitz Chapel, our Staff Quintet will sing and our message will focus on “Looking at Yourself from the Inside Out.”

Invite a friend to join you as we meet for worship and Bible study.