Feb 172010

Stacie Hollingsworth, one of our own at Church at the Grove wrote this and it fits perfect with our marriage series “Staying in Love” 

This Old House
Hebrews 10:35-36
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
This past Saturday morning I was sitting in the den with my husband drinking my coffee and watching This Old House.  As I watched they discussed all the plans for restoring a home in Roxbury, Boston, they showed the house in its current state which was terrible, it looked as if it had caught on fire at some point and had clearly been abandoned for quite a while as the windows and doors were all boarded up.  The drawings looked awesome, I was anxious to see how in the world they were going to make this dilapidated old house new again.  Norm Abrams is like a magician where these things are concerned!!!   As the show went on they talked about how they had to pour new footings and how the foundation was going to have to be re poured, they were putting up supports so that the floor joists wouldn’t collapse when they removed the old foundation and poured the new one.  There was all sorts of stuff that I didn’t exactly understand going on and quite frankly the house still looked terrible!  I finally looked at my husband and said “at this point I think I would just say forget it and go buy a whole new house!”  You see, I am more of an HGTV girl.  I like to repaint, buy some new accessories and voila a pretty new room!
At my church we have been doing a series on “Staying in Love” and as the day wore on I thought about that statement and I started thinking about my own marriage, and about friends that we have that are struggling.  My heart ached for them and I felt the need to thank God for the fact that in my own marriage He was our “Norm”, He was willing to put in the effort to rebuild our foundation, He was willing to work a miracle in our marriage and restore it.  You see when I look at my husband today, I see an amazing, Godly man, he is strong, smart handsome, caring, loving.  We have a wonderful relationship and I can’t imagine my life without him.  Not all that long ago though I didn’t see any of that, my marriage was that sad broken down house that needed more work than I could do but God was ready and able to restore us.  When I look at our marriage today I see something close to that artists rendering that they showed at the beginning of the show.  It is new and beautiful but it still has the character that you only see in and old restored home.  I know that we still have to do the work that it takes s to keep up our marriage.  Just like an old  home, once that home has been restored, there will be cracks in the plaster that must be repaired, eventually they will have to put on a new roof or repaint, having a beautiful home takes work but it is worth it.  In my marriage I have to keep my selfishness in check, I have to put Lee’s needs/feelings before mine.  I have to choose to hear his side rather than shouting mine.  I have to over look his faults and remind myself of my own sometimes.  I have to forgive as I have been forgiven even when Lee is wrong and some Saturday mornings I have to watch This Old House instead of HGTV.  You see having a good marriage takes hard work and sacrifice too but the rewards amazing!
I thank God that He restores what everyone else has given up on, that He specialized in resurrecting that which was dead!  If you are struggling in your marriage you have the very creator of marriage on your side, God sees what is possible if you will just submit to Him and allow Him to work with and through you.  Trust Him, after all, He is the expert!

 Posted by at 1:14 pm
Feb 172010

Big Idea:
Staying in Love requires putting the interests of others first and dying to self.  Empty Yourself!

Scripture memory:
Philippians 2:3-5 (ESV)
3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

Action Step:
Go WAY BEYOND the norm in loving and serving your spouse this week.  Empty Yourself!

Random Thoughts:

  • This “Staying in Love” series is turning out to be a great one!  I have had more feedback through emails and phone calls than I have had in a long time from one of our sermon series.  God is working in marriages.
  • I love Craig and Lori Ellington!  They are such a model for couples in their marriage.  I am so thankful for them sharing this morning.
  • The prayer time was powerful!  I admire so many of the couples that were willing to stand and have people pray for them.  God will honor their dependence on Him!  Thanks to Gabe for his leadership in prayer.
  • One of the hardest but healthiest things we can do is ask for help when we are struggling in an area.  God wants us to come to Him for help and sometimes it means going to ask a person or a group of people for help.  I have some great counselors I can recommend to people struggling in an area or in their marriage.  Let me know if you would like their info.
  • Check out Jamesh and Kim Part 2 here!
  • Thankful Thursdays at Youth Middle have been awesome the past 2 Thursdays!  Thank you to Barbara Bledsoe and Lisa Malcolm for their leadership and to all those volunteers that have prepared food and been there to help.
  • I loved the snow this past Friday night!  It is beautiful when it snows like that.  Our family had a blast playing in the snow.  I hope your family enjoyed it as well.  I am so glad it did not impact our Sunday!
  • Pray for our students this coming weekend!  They will be participating in a fun and spiritually challenging weekend called a “Aquire the Fire” Disciple Now!  They will spend Friday night in homes with other students and participate in Bible study on Friday night and Saturday.  It is an awesome weekend.  I am praying that God will change lives.
  • Community Groups are cranking up!  Don’t miss out on what God is doing and your chance to build some lasting friendships.
  • I have the greatest wife in the world!  She is my valentine!  We had an awesome time yesterday going out to eat thanks to the DiPascal family watching out kids.  It was great to have a conversation without being interrupted.  She has been my valentine for 16 Valentine Day’s!  She wrote me the coolest poem and gave it to me today! (Sunday)  If she will let me I will post it on my blog.
  • As we continue to strengthen our marriages, do something this week that is a reflection of  “emptying yourself”.  Go WAY BEYOND the norm and show love and sacrifice for your spouse.
  • Check out the true story of St. Valentine’s Day and how it started here
  • Empty yourself this week.  Put Philippians 2:3-8 into practice.
  • Begin to think of who you can invite with you to Easter on April 4!  Remember 10 for 2010!

Keep Praying, Keep Investing, Keep inviting!

 Posted by at 1:09 pm
Feb 122010

The weather for this Sunday (Feb. 14) should be fine.  We will probably have snow today (Friday Feb. 12) but with the temp going above 40 tomorrow we should have a clear day for our Sunday gathering at 10am at Walnut Grove High School.

In case of inclement weather and the possibility of any cancellation, here is how you can be aware of our plans. 

  • First of all, we will not cancel our gathering unless we absolutely have to.  I learned the last time we canceled that we probably should not have! 
  • Look at the churchatthegrove.com website.  It will be on the front page of the site as soon as we make the decision.  We normally would wait until the morning of the Sunday gathering to make a final decision unless we have blizzard conditions on a Saturday.  Check out site at 6am on Sunday morning.
  • Check your inbox for a Church at the Grove email.
  • You can always check facebook.com/russbutcher for a status report regarding our gatherings.  Feel free to follow me on facebook.
  • Also you can follow me ontwitter.com/russbutcher anytime and for updates concerning pending weather issues. 

Don’t miss this Sunday for part 2 of “Staying in Love”.  Jamesh and Kim will be back!

 Posted by at 12:40 pm