Participants: Willie Oliver, Elaine Oliver
Series Code: MGH
Program Code: MGH000065
00:29 Welcome to Marriage In God's Hands.
00:32 I'm Willie Oliver, Director of Family Ministries
00:35 for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America.
00:37 I'm Elaine Oliver, Willie's partner in ministry
00:40 and a Marriage and Family Consultant
00:42 for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America.
00:44 We're delighted you can join us today.
00:47 God intends for marriage to have purpose.
00:52 In order for that to happen, couples need to live
00:55 their lives intentionally based on the values of God's word.
01:00 When we deviate from those directives, we suffer the pain,
01:05 the brokenness that it brings.
01:08 Today we're going to be talking on a topic we've titled,
01:12 "Marriage with a Mission. "
01:14 How we can stick to the mission that God wants for each
01:19 of us to have in our respective marriages.
01:22 Well, you know Willie, mission statements are big
01:24 in organizations today.
01:26 Organizations are living, supposedly, by
01:29 their mission statements.
01:30 And our mission statements are usually based on our values,
01:34 on our goals.
01:35 You know, what we want our company, if you will,
01:38 to look like and what it should stand for.
01:41 So in the same way, God has given us pretty clear directives
01:45 on how we can live our lives on purpose.
01:48 How we can have our marriages have a mission.
01:52 So, I'd like to turn to the book of Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
02:41 What an awesome text.
02:43 This particular text is called the Shema in Hebrew
02:47 literature and history.
02:48 And the Shema literally means "to hear, to listen. "
02:54 And the person we're hearing, the person we're listening to
02:59 is Jehovah God,
03:01 is Yahweh, the God of heaven and earth,
03:04 the God of Israelites, the God of Israel.
03:08 The God of those of us who love Him.
03:10 The Shema was, in fact, Israel's mission statement.
03:17 It was Israel embracing their values, their mission,
03:22 in life every day.
03:24 Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is one.
03:29 In the context of their lives, living around nations
03:34 that were polytheistic, had many gods,
03:37 Israel wanted to remind itself day end and day out
03:43 that they were monotheistic, that they believed in one God.
03:48 In the polytheistic arena in life, they didn't know how
03:53 to please their gods.
03:54 You know, you'd please one god and then the other god wouldn't
03:56 be too happy, and you weren't sure what was happening.
03:59 It was pretty schizophrenic.
04:00 Israel wanted to be distinct.
04:03 They wanted to remind themselves that they were children
04:07 of the God of the universe.
04:09 Behold, your God is one God.
04:13 That was a wonderful thing.
04:15 I like the fact that God also says very clearly
04:18 what we should be doing.
04:20 That we should love Him with all our hearts, all our souls.
04:25 That everything that we live for, everything that we do
04:29 every day is driven by this love that we have for God.
04:33 And He's very clear, He makes it very clear in this mission,
04:36 He's telling us to listen.
04:38 And then what are we listening to?
04:39 The fact that He needs us to love Him every day.
04:42 So every day when we wake up, our primary goal,
04:47 our primary mission is to love God.
04:50 Our sole purpose in life is to love God.
04:53 Indeed, and there's more in the Shema.
04:57 The Shema is talking about leading your children to God.
05:02 Socializing them, if you will.
05:05 Teaching them about God's ways.
05:08 Because children are sponges.
05:09 They will learn as they hear.
05:11 And they'll learn through their senses.
05:14 What they smell, what they hear, what they eat.
05:18 And so they want it to be very clear that as they were living
05:22 their lives on earth, as they were negotiating life each day,
05:26 they were doing so instructing their children
05:29 in the ways of the Lord.
05:31 I find it interesting that they were not leaving
05:34 anything to chance.
05:35 When you get up, when you sit down, when you walk with them.
05:38 Put it on your post, put it here, put it there.
05:42 Everywhere your children were to go and were to listen,
05:46 they were to be instructed with the ways of God.
05:49 That's our mission in life.
05:51 For the Israelite, that was his mission, that was her mission.
05:55 And if we make the correlation to the mission statements,
05:58 you know, if we read books, contemporary books
06:01 on mission statements, they are very clear to say
06:05 that in order for us to be successful
06:07 with whatever it is we're doing, that we need to put our
06:11 mission statement before us every day.
06:13 We need to read it several times a day, we need to be very clear.
06:17 I've even read some books where they say that if you were
06:20 to be held up, you know, accosted, you should be able to
06:24 say your mission statement with just on the spot like that.
06:29 So do we as people of God, do we as Christians
06:33 know our mission statement?
06:35 Do we know what it is that God wants us to do?
06:38 Do we know what God's purpose is?
06:40 And are we living that purpose?
06:42 Especially as we talk within the context of marriage.
06:46 Does our marriage reflect God's mission statement?
06:50 When we interact with one another, are we loving
06:53 each other the way God loves us?
06:56 That's what I think is so powerful about this text.
06:59 I think there's also some more that we can glean from this text
07:03 as we think about what it's saying about when we rise up
07:06 in the morning, we are to think about what it is,
07:09 our purpose is.
07:11 So, to me that sort of says something about
07:13 family worship perhaps.
07:15 That the first thing we should do when we wake up
07:18 in the morning is have a devotion.
07:21 Is to, however it is we do it, we should
07:25 first commit ourselves to God.
07:27 One of the things that we did very early on in our marriage
07:33 is to start our day with God.
07:37 And to make that time to start our day with God.
07:39 And when we had children, it became a little
07:42 more challenging.
07:43 Right? Because children have their own schedules.
07:45 And I remember at some point in our lives,
07:48 if I were to be honest, where family worship sort of got,
07:51 sort of put in somewhere else.
07:54 It was ad hoc.
07:56 Sometimes we had it, sometimes we didn't have it.
07:58 We were too busy, we were running.
07:59 Ok we're having worship, ok we weren't having it.
08:02 Until we decided, hey this has to stop.
08:04 And we made a commitment because we knew that
08:08 our day was not going as well.
08:10 Because we were not integrating God first,
08:14 we were not putting Him first in our lives.
08:16 And so, up until our kids left, we made a decision;
08:20 and we're sharing this with everyone so that people know
08:22 that in spite of the fact that we have busy lives,
08:25 that maybe both husband and wife work outside of the house,
08:30 that the children have different schedules,
08:32 some kids are going to school at seven,
08:34 some kids are going to school at eight, some at nine,
08:37 that we decided that we were going to have family worship
08:40 at 5:45 in the morning.
08:43 There's also something that I'd like to mention here
08:45 and underscore it because we live our lives under these
08:48 false notions that because we are leaders in God's church,
08:51 that because we are people in ministry,
08:53 that we're actually doing that.
08:55 We weren't people in ministry all of this time.
08:56 And it went by the wayside.
08:59 It was ad hoc until we were intentional about living out
09:03 the mission that God had given to us.
09:05 So we want to encourage you, if you're having difficulty
09:07 with this in your families, not to despair.
09:10 God is a loving God, a forgiving God, a long suffering God.
09:13 And it's not too late to determine what your mission is
09:17 and pull it together and live your lives each day
09:21 based on that mission.
09:23 You know what's wonderful about it is that the Israelites
09:25 repeated it every single day so that they were reminded
09:30 of what their purpose in life was.
09:33 Absolutely, and I think that God is also giving us an opportunity
09:37 to connect with each other.
09:39 That when He says tell it to your children, we have an
09:43 opportunity to connect as a family
09:46 first thing in the morning, sometime during the day,
09:49 and also in the evening.
09:50 There are also other important values that we can
09:53 get from the word of God.
09:55 Proverbs 3:3-4 has this to say.
10:14 What jumps out to me is, "write them. "
10:16 "Write them on the tablet of your heart. "
10:18 You know when you hear something, you can remember.
10:20 When you write it down, ahh, if you forget
10:23 you can go back to it and read it.
10:24 And God is saying write it on the tablet of your heart.
10:27 Why? So that you won't forget it.
10:29 If you're going to do things, if you're going to be kind
10:31 and truthful, it needs to be something that's of value
10:34 you live out every day in your life.
10:38 There's another text and it's found in the book of
10:40 Colossians 3:12-14, and it says:
11:14 So what is God saying here?
11:15 There's a litany of values that are
11:19 in this passage of scripture.
11:21 Love, compassion, joy.
11:25 The values that you have that are a part of
11:28 your mission statement.
11:29 God has given in scripture lots of information
11:33 that as a people of God, we can take, we can integrate
11:36 into our lives so that our lives in relationship,
11:40 in marriage, in our families can give honor and glory to God.
11:46 And just in case we're struggling with our values,
11:51 you know, where do these values come from,
11:52 there's more in 1 Corinthians 16:14.
12:00 Well, how about that.
12:02 "Let all that you do be done in love. "
12:06 We're talking about love, the principle.
12:08 We're talking about love that's not just a feeling or fleeting.
12:11 Love that's permanent, that never ends.
12:14 "Everything that you do," God is saying,
12:17 "let it be done in love. "
12:19 We've spoken about submission in the past.
12:20 We've spoken about how to negotiate
12:22 leadership in the family.
12:23 If we do it in love, it's going to be fine.
12:27 Because love is like God.
12:32 And then what?
12:33 Another text is found in the book of Galatians 5:22-23.
12:36 And it's a wonderful text.
12:51 They're fruit of the spirit. Love, joy, peace.
12:53 All of these are to be a part of our mission each day.
12:57 God wants us to reflect His glory.
13:00 And for us to reflect His glory, we need to be reminded of
13:03 the values of the Christian walk.
13:06 We hope and pray that as we go through this
13:09 and the rest of this program, you will be keen on the issues
13:13 of what your mission is in life.
13:16 What is your mission in your marriage?
13:18 What is your mission, what are the values
13:20 that you're living by?
13:21 As you zero in on them each day, God will be able to bless you
13:26 and help your family.
13:27 Stick around, we'll be right back.
13:39 There are many "How To" books available,
13:41 but there's one that's free and perfect for every couple.
13:44 "How You Can Build A Better Marriage"
13:46 Bible-based, matrimonial advice is given in a light-hearted,
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13:53 newlyweds, couples in their golden years,
13:56 and everyone in between. Call or write for your copy.
14:14 Welcome back to our program on "Marriage with a Mission. "
14:17 We've been talking about God's plan
14:21 for our marriage, His purpose.
14:24 And we've spoken a lot about how we are to be
14:27 in marriage, in our family.
14:29 Specifically the concept of being loving.
14:33 And we looked at the Shema and the fact that it was
14:37 Israel's mission statement.
14:39 Which is really fascinating to me because we like to think
14:43 in our world today that we have invented everything
14:46 and we think we're so creative.
14:47 But from the very beginning of time, God gave
14:50 a mission statement to Israel that they were to live by.
14:54 And we spoke about the fact that it is about
14:58 loving God first and foremost.
15:00 And then passing on that love to our families
15:04 and also teaching our children about God and His plan
15:08 for our lives, and His purpose for our lives.
15:10 So basically, what we're saying here is that the whole notion
15:14 of mission statements is about living our lives based on the
15:19 values that we have espoused.
15:21 We're Christians.
15:22 So if we're Christians, we ought to live by Christian values.
15:24 If we're going to live those Christian values, we need to go
15:27 to the world of God each day where we find those values.
15:31 And what's powerful about the Shema,
15:34 it's indicative of what we ought to do as well,
15:38 and that is to do it every day.
15:39 You know, to bring it before our children every day
15:42 and every time we get an opportunity.
15:43 Bring it up in conversation.
15:44 It really is saying we need to talk about Christ to our kids.
15:49 So, do we wait until we go to church for a pastor
15:51 to make an appeal, to lead our children to Christ?
15:53 Well, certainly not. We don't have to do that.
15:55 Mind you, it's a good think if they respond to an appeal
15:58 when they go to church.
15:59 But we need to do that in our own homes.
16:01 Family worship, bringing Christ into the home every morning.
16:05 Why? Because He is the source of our life.
16:08 He's the source of our strength.
16:09 He's the source of our joy.
16:11 He's the source of the stability in our marriage, in our family.
16:15 And if we can start the day, each day, with those values
16:20 in mind and live them out, then we are more likely
16:25 to be strong, to be healthy.
16:28 And when we have strong families,
16:30 we have more likelihood that children will be discipled.
16:34 We have strong stewardship, we have a strong witness,
16:37 we have a strong church.
16:39 And then we can share the gospel with joy.
16:41 Why? Because it's in our hearts.
16:43 Because it's something we talk about and live out
16:45 every day of our lives.
16:48 You know what's also so powerful about that is the fact that
16:53 if we are looking at it several times a day,
16:56 if we are writing it on our door post, if we're putting it in
17:00 places where we can see it very clearly, then we will
17:05 be Christ like, and we will be great witnesses of God's love.
17:09 So we think that it's really important that couples
17:13 have their own mission statements.
17:16 Based, of course, on the values of the Bible,
17:19 based on God's word.
17:21 And it's pretty easy for couples or families,
17:24 but specifically in marriage because sometimes
17:27 we don't do these things for ourselves as a marriage couple.
17:32 So what do we want, what do we want our marriage to look like?
17:36 So it's really helpful if couples design their own
17:41 marriage mission statement.
17:42 What do we want our marriage to say when people see us?
17:47 What do they think about us, what do they think about God,
17:50 in essence, if we call ourselves a Christian couple?
17:53 So as we start to think about designing
17:55 a marriage mission statement, we need first to look at
17:59 the four basic needs that we have.
18:02 And we can start with looking at the physical.
18:05 What are our physical needs?
18:06 What are our social, our emotional needs?
18:10 What are our spiritual needs?
18:13 And what are our mental needs?
18:14 That's how we can begin, we can begin by writing down
18:18 the basic needs that we have, perhaps as individuals,
18:23 and then put those together as a couple.
18:26 And we can look at it together and see what is it that we need
18:30 in this relationship for it to be a successful relationship.
18:35 I think that as your were speaking, Elaine,
18:36 you're not necessarily giving these items in a priority list.
18:41 Because I would say that the priority here would be
18:44 to look at our spiritual needs first
18:46 since that's how we want to begin our day.
18:48 Look at our spiritual needs first.
18:50 So we're talking about four different areas;
18:52 spiritual, physical, social/emotional.
18:57 And what's the last one?
18:58 Mental. Absolutely, ok.
19:01 There's something else that we want to do when are
19:03 in this process of working on our mission statement.
19:06 And that is, well, we want to think about our parents.
19:09 What happened in our families of origin?
19:12 We can think about our dad, if we were raised by two parents.
19:15 And certainly, that's God's ideal.
19:17 If you're raised by two parents, think about your dad.
19:20 What did he stand for?
19:22 What was he like? What was he about?
19:24 What is the essence of your dad dad that you want to
19:26 take into your marriage?
19:27 Think about your mom.
19:28 What was she like?
19:30 What did she stand for?
19:31 What do you most remember her for?
19:34 And it doesn't mean that she's now dead.
19:36 It simply means that you're thinking about your childhood
19:38 when you were at home with your parents
19:40 and what part of their lives impacted your life.
19:43 So, these are some of the things that we want to do as we are
19:46 beginning to form our own marriage mission statements.
19:50 Start thinking about what we want to bring in from our
19:52 families of origin that was good, that was noble,
19:56 that was foundational, that could really help us in our own
20:00 marital experience.
20:02 To have something good that can represent Jesus Christ.
20:05 And as we look at our past, we also want to look
20:09 at the things that we don't want to bring in to our present
20:13 or to our future.
20:14 And that's a very powerful notion because we do believe
20:18 in the power of God to change our past.
20:21 Right? I mean, we can't change the past.
20:23 But we don't have to bring it into the present.
20:24 So as we're thinking about, what are the good things
20:28 that we want to bring into our marriage, maybe there were some
20:32 things that weren't so good from our family of origin
20:35 that we don't want to bring.
20:37 And by doing that, we become very intentional.
20:40 Because we know from research that there are certain factors
20:44 that will help a marriage experience,
20:48 that will contribute, let's say, a marriage experience distress.
20:52 And if we are aware of certain patterns, certain habits that
20:57 we had in our families of origin then we can look at it and
21:02 say, you know, we love our family.
21:04 Look at it objectively, holistically and say,
21:08 you know, there were some great things
21:10 about our family of origin.
21:12 But you know what, there were also some things
21:14 that we didn't really like and we don't want to have that
21:18 in our mission statement, in our family mission statement.
21:21 I like the fact that you brought that up.
21:23 You know, what do we include in and what do we include out?
21:26 Well, I like to encourage people.
21:28 Take any shape that you like, like, if you like a
21:31 circle, well draw a circle.
21:32 If you like squares, draw a square.
21:33 If you like a triangle, just draw a triangle.
21:38 And write inside of whatever shape you have drawn
21:42 the values that you want to be a part of your mission statement.
21:45 And draw outside of that shape, the values you don't want to
21:50 bring in to your own marriage.
21:52 The things that, perhaps, happened in your
21:53 family of origin that are not so good,
21:56 were not foundational, did not bring joy,
21:59 were not instructive, did not give honor and glory to God,
22:02 were not a good witness.
22:04 Leave those outside and write them down.
22:06 Because you want to be intentional about what
22:08 you're going to leave outside and what
22:10 you're going to bring inside.
22:11 You want to know, when those habits begin to crop up
22:15 in your marriage, no, that's something that we decided
22:17 we're not going to do.
22:19 And that will be a visual to help us to not do things
22:22 that will be harmful to our respective marriages.
22:25 That is so powerful.
22:27 And even as I'm listening to you speak, I'm thinking about the
22:30 fact, how we can reshape our future through the power of God.
22:36 That God does give us the power to move on.
22:40 So now as we're moving forward with our developing our
22:44 mission statement, we also want to think about our present.
22:48 What are the attributes that we bring?
22:50 What are the strengths that we bring to this relationship?
22:54 So that's something that the husband, the wife, can sit down
22:57 and they can write down;
22:58 what are the strengths that I bring to this relationship.
23:01 Perhaps I bring a strength of kindness.
23:06 A we should all be kind, but maybe that is my special gift.
23:10 And I can put that down.
23:11 You know, perhaps I bring the gift of being a good accountant.
23:17 And I can put that down.
23:18 A good administrator.
23:19 Anything, anything.
23:21 We can just bring and we can put it down on the paper and
23:24 we'll write down, what are the strengths that we
23:26 bring to this relationship.
23:27 Because every single relationship has strengths
23:30 and growth areas.
23:32 And we know that when we work with couples who are
23:34 experiencing distress, all of the strengths go out the window.
23:38 And all we think about are all the bad things.
23:41 But every single relationship has some good things about it.
23:45 So even if we have people out there who are struggling and
23:50 saying, "Well, there's nothing good about our marriage. "
23:52 I'm sure that if you were to sit down and just stop and think
23:57 about it, allow yourself to consider what the strengths are
24:01 that you bring or that your spouse brings to the table,
24:04 and write those down.
24:05 Well, I want to take some time just to talk about those
24:08 four areas that we spoke about before
24:10 in a little bit more detail.
24:12 Four basic areas that we're going to do our
24:15 marriage mission statement on.
24:16 And we want to start with spiritual.
24:18 What do we want to do in our family to be,
24:23 to endorse the spiritual side of our lives?
24:30 Well, one thing we can write down is,
24:33 have family worship every morning.
24:35 That's a value in our home, that's a
24:36 part of our mission statement.
24:37 We're going to have family worship
24:38 no matter what, every morning.
24:40 And you may decide you also want to have it every evening.
24:43 So you write it in there, the time, and it might be fluid.
24:47 As kids grow up and have different times to go to school,
24:50 and different chores after school, and jobs and stuff,
24:53 we can do it so that it fits our family.
24:56 And we can adjust it as we go along.
24:59 Write what we want to do spiritually.
25:01 We want to go to church together, we want to witness.
25:03 We want to be involved in mission trips.
25:06 That's spiritual.
25:07 And then social.
25:08 What would we say about social, Elaine?
25:10 Social and emotional.
25:12 You know, what are our emotional needs?
25:14 We all come to the relationship with different temperaments.
25:18 And we have different social, emotional needs.
25:20 And we're putting those together because often times,
25:23 our social lives are based on what we need emotionally.
25:28 So, if we think it's important for us to entertain
25:31 every Sabbath, that we want to bring guests home.
25:35 Whether they're friends or whether they're guests
25:38 to our church, that this is an important value to our home.
25:43 And it's really important what you were saying earlier
25:46 about the values, and I sort of lost my thought on that.
25:49 But we can come back to it later.
25:51 I like the fact what you're saying about social.
25:52 Because being hospitable is a value that leads to witnessing
25:56 and leading people to Jesus Christ.
25:58 So that is terrific.
25:59 I want to go to the third one and that is physical.
26:01 What are we going to do, what is our value as a marriage,
26:04 as a couple, when it comes to being in the physical realm?
26:07 Well, certainly, to eat good food.
26:09 Good nutritious food that is healthy and that is going to
26:13 help us to be strong and give honor and glory to God.
26:16 What else? We want our bodies to be strong.
26:18 Exercise, so we want to exercise every day, and put that down.
26:21 Because many of us as Christians,
26:23 we know about health, we know about what God wants us to eat.
26:26 But we don't rest enough, we don't exercise enough.
26:28 We're too busy and we don't even understand
26:31 the whole notion of Sabbath.
26:33 So physical, what we want to do, what are our values.
26:36 Write it down.
26:37 What we want inside, what we want outside.
26:40 And as we move forward with with that, we can put
26:43 together our mission statement.
26:45 And then the fourth area, the mental area.
26:47 We want to learn, we want to go to school.
26:49 We want our kids to read.
26:51 We want them to be on the word of God.
26:54 So, that's so important.
26:56 We want to read God's word.
26:57 We want to build each other up.
26:59 And what's important, when we write these things down,
27:02 then when we find that we're getting derailed
27:05 in our relationship, we go back to our mission statement
27:08 and it drives what we do and how we interact
27:11 with each other in our marriage.
27:13 So, what it means then is that as we deal with these issues,
27:17 and as we hone them every day, more and more
27:20 we get closer and closer to what we want to do,
27:23 and to what's important to us and what's important to God.
27:26 As we strive each day to do so, we know that
27:31 on our own we can't do it.
27:32 But here's the promise of success.
27:34 We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.
27:38 And if we trust Him, our families will be just fine.
27:43 God bless you.