Marriage Matters: Self-Worth vs. God-Worth

People wrestle with knowing, feeling, and accepting who they are. This goes back to the “fall of man” in Genesis.

The world’s definition of self-worth is based on performance and what you think about it. This basic concept leads to four FALSE BELIEFS:

  1. I must meet certain standards in order to feel OK about myself. (Fear of Failure)
  2. I must have the approval of others in order to feel OK about myself. (Fear of Rejection)
  3. Those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve punishment. (Fear of Condemnation)
  4. I am what I am; I cannot change; I am hopeless. (Fear of Hopelessness)

God’s definition of self-worth is based on what God’s truth says, not performance or what others say. It is who we are in the context of our relationship with Christ.

“…the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

God’s solution to the fear of failure is the doctrine of justification. Because of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, we are complete in Him and fully pleasing.

God’s solution to the fear of rejection is the doctrine of reconciliation. Because of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, He has reconciled us back to the Father. He has bridged the gap and we are, therefore, approved by God.

God’s solution to the fear of condemnation is the doctrine of propitiation. At the cross, Jesus took all Satan’s accusations and decrees against us and nailed them to the cross. Because of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, we are deeply loved and completely forgiven.

God’s solution to the fear of hopelessness is the doctrine of regeneration. Because of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, we have been made brand new and complete in Him. With Christ, we are able to make the changes necessary to live a life of faith and joy.

This Easter season ask God to help you write a new life story, while allowing Him to be the Author and Perfecter of your faith.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

Marriage Matters: Welcome to Baseball Season

The last few days of 70-degree weather have been a blessing and also a reminder ]that not only is spring on the way but baseball season is upon us.

I have been following the game since 1950 when my Yankees beat the Phillies in the World Series. To me baseball is more than a game. It’s a life time of memories; my grandfather introduced me to the game he loved. He was a Brooklyn Dodger fan and taught me all about the game. He died in February 1955 before he saw his Dodgers win the 55-world series. Today, I have the opportunity to build memories with my grandchildren as we attend the Trenton Thunder games. It’s so much more than baseball. It’s about spending time with them and letting them know how special they are.

Too many children today do not have these special moments of building life time memories.

During the month of March Grace Point will be offering three classes on exploring the world of the developing adolescent. These classes will take place on March 12, 19, and 26 at 9AM in Rooms A1-2.

Some of the topics that we will explore are:

  • An Inside Look at the American Teenager
  • Adolescent Developmental Influences
  • The Impact of Trauma on Adolescent Development
  • Factors that Contribute to Good Psychological Health
  • Parenting Adolescents

These classes are recommended for the parents of children aged nine and above, teachers, counselors, and anyone else who lives with or works with the adolescent.

You can contact Chuck Arnold (carnold@gracepointpa.org) for additional information.

Happy Valentine’s Day

I am sitting in my home office and writing up notes for the Marriage, Family and Relationships Classes. I ponder what it would be like if every person had at least one healthy relationship where they felt connected, loved, and supported.

What do you and I need from others to have a healthy and connected relationship?

May I suggest three key essential building blocks:

  1. Trust
  2. Emotional Availability
  3. Sensitive Responsiveness.

We are currently looking at the topic of “Safe Haven Marriages/Relationships.”

Come join us on Sunday mornings at 9am in Room A-1&2 as, together, we explore the foundational concepts of having a safe haven relationship. These classes will take place at 9am in Room A-1&2, February 12th and 26th.

On March 12th, 19th, and 26th we will explore the topic, “Entering the World of Adolescence.” These classes are designed to help parents, teachers, and family members understand the complex and ever-changing world of the adolescent.

In April and May, we will explore the topic of “Personalities and Relationships.”

*The Myers Briggs Personality profile will be available for individuals to complete prior to the first class in April. If you are interested in completing the Myers Briggs profile, contact or see Chuck Arnold (carnold@gracepointpa.org)

Marriage Matters – Seven Habits

I love the Christmas season. It gives me a time to slow down and reflect on the many blessings that God has provided for me during the past year. It also gives me a time to take a look forward and see how God will use me in the coming year.

As I reflect on 2016 at Grace Point, we have seen many changes, new staff members, new direction for our programs. In October we began a new ministry entitled Marriage and Family Ministry.

In October we took a look at the topic of relationships and all the variables that come into play. In November we explored the topic “Building a Marriage that Lasts.” In December we will explore the topic; “The Seven Habits of a Healthy Marriage.”

Come join us on December 18th at 9:00am in Room A1 as, together, we explore this important topic.

December’s response question: What is your favorite Christmas memory or tradition?

Marriage Matters – Building Healthy Marriages

As we enter the month of November each year it serves as a time of personal reflection. I look forward to Thanksgiving; spending time with the family and thanking God for the blessings of life. I also use this time of reflection to both look back and look forward. I look at where I have been and what I would like to accomplish in the future.

Reflecting on our Grace Point Care Ministry, we now have a Marriage, Family and Relationships ministry. We had 37 couples attend the Great Date Night. Looking forward we will continue to build the care ministry. Please consider joining us for one of the three dates in November for our next class.

On each of the following dates, November 13, 20, and 27, we will be looking at the subject: Building Healthy Marriages

In considering this topic, I see three foundational principles to explore.

  1. Marriage is not about your happiness or getting your needs met through another person. Practicing self-denial and self-sacrifice, patience, understanding, and forgiveness are the fundamentals of a great marriage.
  2. During courtship, opposites attract. After marriage, opposites can repel each other. Differences are God’s gift to you to create new capacities in your life. Different isn’t wrong. It’s just different.
  3. Love isn’t a feeling. Love is a commitment. You can’t begin a marriage without a commitment. You can’t sustain one without it either. A marriage that goes the distance is hard work. If you want something easy and has immediate gratification, then go shopping or play a video game.

Come join us at 9:00AM on November 13th, 20th, or 27th in rooms A1-2.

Please share your thoughts on the following question: What does Thanksgiving mean to you?

Marriage Matters – New Marriage & Family Ministry

October is here. This means the World Series is coming. As I look back on my childhood I remember the connection with my grandfather and how he brought the game of baseball to life for me. Now I can pass this heritage along to my grandchildren. They love to attend the Trenton Thunder games with me.

October also means the start of a marriage and family Ministry at Grace Point. We want Grace Point’s marriage and family ministry to allow you to grow in your family relationships while allowing you to build life-time memories.

To get us off to a great start, Grace Point will have a fun night on October 22 called the Great Date Night with Mark Cable. Check out the information on our website.

On Sunday October 23 we will begin our Marriage and Family classes at 9:00AM. These classes will be offered on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Sundays of each month through May 2017. Each month we’ll present a topic on a marriage or family issue.

Come out on October 23 to learn about the specifics of the Marriage and Family ministry.

Also, each month I will write-up an article that will present thoughts about a Marriage or Family issue. At the end of each article I will ask a question for you to respond to. For example; this month’s question is: What is your favorite family childhood memory?

Marriage Matters – Three Key Elements in a Marriage Relationship

I love the warm weather. It gives me the opportunity to run outdoors while doing a lot of reflecting.

While running I often think about what message I want to present to a couple I am meeting with for Pre-Marriage Counseling. Currently, they are enjoying an exciting relationship. What will keep their marriage on solid ground and help them enjoy a full life together?ThinkstockPhotos-471322138

Leslie Vernick, in her book, “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage” presents three key elements as a starting point for all couples. It will also help the young couple I am currently meeting with and is a great place to move couples to who are struggling with their marriage.

The first key element presented by Leslie is the concept of mutuality. Mutuality means that both partners contribute specific qualities essential for the care, maintenance, and repair of the relationship. The basic qualities are honesty, caring, respect, responsibility, and repentance.

The second key element is reciprocity. Reciprocity means that both partners in the relationship give and both receive. Power and responsibility are shared.

The third key element is freedom. Freedom means that in a marriage each partner is allowed to make choices, give input and express feelings without being badgered, manipulated or punished.

I would ask for you to review the three key elements and then share positive experiences with any one of these elements.

Marriage Matters

Starting this month, I will be dedicating a monthly blog post to a topic related to marriage. A series, I’m calling “Marriage Matters.” During the first week of each month, you can expect a new topic and/or practical tip to help you and your spouse
strengthen your relationship. At Grace Point we are committed to helping marriages and families grow strong!

The first institution created by God was marriage. As one reflects on Genesis 1:27 we see that the relationship between a man and woman reflects the image of God.

There is no question that we see a great number of problems and conflicts in our culture and around the world. While there are many factors, we must first start with the struggles we find within marriages and families.

Healthy families mean healthy communities. One of the greatest gifts we can give to our children is a happy and stable marriage relationship.

This month I offer two practical suggestions for your marriage:

  1. First, make your marriage a matter of daily prayer. Pray for your spouse. Ask God to give you a deeper love for your spouse. Pray together for your family.
  2. Second, spend time together. Do you have a regular date night once a week or at least once a month? (This date should be without children.) Do you have a time each week to talk to each other, not about what’s going on in the world but what’s going on in your heart? Are you sharing your life’s vision?

Watch for more details concerning our upcoming marriage events!

Free Indeed

AP_Documents_DeclarationofIndependenceOn Monday our nation will celebrate our 240th Independence Day also know as July 4th and by some Freedom Day.

On July 2nd, 1776 our founding fathers voted to break away from British rule and establish an independent nation known as the United States of America.

The actual signing of the declaration took place on July 4th, 1776 thus we celebrate our independence (freedom) on July 4th.

It is interesting to note that on July 4th 1826 two of the original signers of the declaration, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson who served as presidents, both died 50 years to the date of the signing.

In thinking about what independence means to me I go back 50 years and reflect on my service in Cuba and then my service in Vietnam. In Cuba no one has freedom, all people did as the government said, no questions asked. In Vietnam, I was fighting to keep Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand free from communism.

You and I live in a land where we are free to choose where we live, what we will do for a living, and who we will marry. We are free to travel to any part of this great land – with no restrictions.

In John’s Gospel chapter 8 verses 31 -36, John deals with the issue of freedom. He presents three concepts concerning freedom:

  1. Truth gives you freedom
  2. Sin keeps you in slavery
  3. True freedom is found in Christ

Have a wonderful July 4th holiday!