SWO Marriage Retreat — All about the Gospel

Main teaching sessions

We had a great weekend hosting the 2012 SWO Marriage Retreat. We have been so excited to host this year’s event, knowing the great opportunity we have in challenging couples to biblical marriage. The event sold out, and we actually had to turn away dozens of couples who had been on a waiting list.

The thrust of the weekend was bringing our marriages into the lens of the Gospel. There seems to be such a trend in ministry right now to talk a lot about the Gospel, and I am excited about that. There is nothing in all of creation that is not impacted by the Gospel. There are books being written by prominent pastors, and there are conferences and ministries being named around that one word — “Gospel.” Even for our SWO13 summer camp, we are emphasizing and working around the theme of the Gospel and its centrality in all things. We’re excited!

But there is NO greater platform to display the love, grace and glory of Christ in the Gospel than the platform of biblical marriage. If we are to experience God-honoring marriages that reflect His covenantal love to us, then we must build marriages on the foundation of the Gospel.

We had a great time this weekend breaking down the Gospel-marriage relationship. Thanks to everyone who attended. Podcasts will be up soon at swoutfitters.com.

Candlelight dinners

SWO worship band

On-campus recreation

Illusionist Jared Hall provides humorous entertainment

 

To work it and to keep it

I was honored to speak at Kennesaw FBC’s Men’s Conference in Georgia this past weekend. From there, I had the privilege of speaking at the Eagle Pointe/Lifebridge churches’ Men’s Conference. Something that seems to keep coming up in these conferences — including the BE STRONG conference at SWO — is the fact that when we look in scripture, God demands MUCH from men. We also see that God always works first to lead us in that which he demands from us.

For instance, in the garden of Eden before Adam is ever created, God had already prepared the garden and given creation everything it needed to be sustained. God did not NEED Adam. Rather, Adam was given the opportunity to “work and keep” the garden. This was an opportunity to take an active role in the work of the Lord by tending the garden and providing for the wife God had given him. In doing this, Adam had the ultimate platform to reflect God’s glory through his obedience. But rather than fulfill God’s call for his marriage, Adam perverted it by NOT obeying all God had called him to do.

In marriage, and in singleness, God is always working to reveal and reflect His glory. He brings us into the work that He intends to do. In submitting to God, I have the opportunity to reflect the glory of God and to live out the Gospel in my marriage. The marriage relationship God has given to me is my “Eden.” I am called to “work and keep” it. God has already prepared and done the work. Do I strive to reflect that or do I pervert it with my own selfishness?

That’s a good question.

Being made new — a word from Kilby

Okay, you know that feeling when you go outside and work for a really long time. Or when you play basketball or football. The feeling when you come back sweaty, gross and greasy. If you are in a hurry, what do you do? You just put some deodorant or perfume/cologne and wait ’til later. We all know how long that lasts — not long at all!
But say you come inside, shower, wash your hair (if you have any to wash) and put on some fresh clothes. We all know this method works a million times better and lasts WAY longer. So why am I telling you this?
Well, this is how it is with our lives. Before Christ, we are a mess! We are bruised, cut up and weary. We always have a hole in ours lives. We try to fill it with worldly possessions — money, sports, school, etc. But do these things last? No, never. They are only temporary; and sometimes, they leave even bigger gaps than the before! Just like the deodorant or perfume you put on.
But once we truly, fully accept Christ, He permanently fills our gap — for good. He brings you such peace and happiness! He will cleanse you and make you new! He will remove your bruises, heal your wounds and strengthen your soul and mind. We need to grasp this and understand it. This is one of my favorite Bible teachings yet!
  – Kilby Holloway

Be Strong — Part 2: Love God, Love His Word

One of the most important and eternal investments a man can make into his family is his personal love of God’s Word. It is one thing to force his kids to conform to the standard of God’s Word. But it is another thing entirely to teach them to love it. Forced submission will often end in rebellion, or it may go the other direction and end in legalism. We need to first LOVE Christ, then love His Word. We need to teach it AND example it.

Here is a sermon clip from Session Two of the BE STRONG conference.