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July 26, 2021 6:00 am
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I was convinced that nothing can change what was going on in our marriage and I want to try anymore but my commitment to God, help me try one more time.
We went to a hope restored marriage intensive and it was life-changing.
The counselors created the safest environment we could imagine so that let us really talk one a much different course now I believe we received a miracle that week received your free consultation and hope restored.com. I challenge you do it next restaurant you go to just stop at the bus station and grab that picture a water just walking around the restaurant filling up empty water glasses at first, the waitstaff will be like what is going on. But after about two minutes are like smoke break and there out the back manager is it gives you – are you as you are somebody a little surprise in great idea for a fun in a restaurant. Now that's Pastor Ted Cunningham in it might sound a little extreme, but we really try to teach us and what you hear, especially for husbands and wives is how we can better serve one another. This is Focus on the Family your hostess focus Pres. and Dr. Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller, Jon. I tried that. Actually, not long ago I was topping off coffee really. The waitstaff didn't like it so much when you're well yeah I think I they thought maybe I was saying you guys are doing a good start. Their customers love actually I got hot coffee to him right away so I think I'm a little bit until you know it it's always great having Ted on the broadcast. He pastor's Woodland Hills family church in Branson Missouri and is one of our favorite pastors because he such a huge advocate for the family and for marriage in particular. It's what he talks about a lot, so we invited Ted to speak at our staff chapel just a few months ago and his message was so encouraging and insightful that we want to share with you today. Here now pastor Ted Cunningham on today's Focus on the Family.
Every marriage is in need great backup singers and we take this in the song of Solomon chapter 1 verse four, you know that great book of the Bible were Solomon, the Shepherd King and Sheila might woman their duet is forming in chapters 1 and two in chapter 3. They get married they have a wedding in chapter 4. There on the honeymoon in chapters 5, six, seven, eight talk about commitment and faithfulness in marriage. I love the daughters of Jerusalem in the song of Solomon. There, the backup singers to the duet of Solomon in the Sheila might woman the first time we hear them.
This is what they say about this young budding love. We rejoice and delight in you.
We will praise your love more than wine. They come in and begin to celebrate what God is doing in this couple and that is the desire in our church for all of our congregation. Every member of our church to be a backup singer to the duets all around in their family, their friends there other church members or coworkers. Can you imagine every family member, friend in church member as a backup singer according to Hebrews 13 for marriage should be honored by all should be esteemed as highly valuable.
Whether you're young or old, married or single, were all called to esteem. Marriage is highly valuable. I II love thinking about a church that is passionate about marriage and equipping every member to be a backup singer getting involved in the lives of other couples. Now I have I have a face that screams retail I can explain it any other way. But when I going to stores and restaurants. I get asked the question all the time you work here you left him, but I think you got a similar face.
I got a real timely times, even as I am so tired of being asked that question. I don't find it anymore. I just go with it.
How may I help you is my standard response. How may I help you want to get involved here. I go back I guy been in the back room.
Get shoe sizes and shirts. I'll do whatever I can. And so we are at one of our favorite little restaurants. One day in Branson culture relief and as I'm walking to the restroom, I noticed a senior couple sitting at the table in the frustrated mad I just went I got a second. So I walk over to their table. I simply asked how was everything. This is so much fun is become a new hobby for me. I said I was everything he could I be honest with you were pretty ticked.
I hate to hear that what seems to be the problem well your sign outside said bratwurst.
We stood in line for 20 minutes waiting for bratwurst we get to the front and your bratwurst not only 43 but I can't wait for the day in my life. When the biggest issue of my day is a story being out of robbers. I know Ken's going he should take this a little more seriously. I said so I hate to hear that. What can we do to make this right. I want to make this right. I don't want you leaving here mad. His whole attitude started to change. I said what if I get your piece of pie. Listen pie with senior adults, especially changes everything we have another little thing in our church goes like this don't get a divorce, get it done that you cannot fight while eating a donut. I promise you that it's impossible. So I said so what if I get your piece of pie completely different mood attitude totally changed.
I go I stand in line I find a piece of pie I bring it back over a set it down on the table and he's thank you starts asked me questions about the restaurant in my head will I don't work here that's my family over there my whole family ways from across the restaurant and then I get back to the table and just fired up.
I can explain it but I charged up like the kids did you see I just I just impersonated the store manager and I serve them and I said kids. This is exactly what every day of our life should be like because we should be serving people with zero expectations of anything in return.
So I imagine a church where every member, every follower of Jesus is a backup singer and when someone needs help with their marriage and they approach someone in that church.
They don't get go talk to that guy over there. They get a how can I help you.
How can I speak. I don't know how we know what to refer on. But in this moment right here.
I can serve this marriage with what I know is why I tell singles to get frustrated hearing. Too many marriage messages in the church. You need these marriage messages because even when you're single, you can abdicate you can back up the marriages of your friends and of your family imagining a church where every backup singer is an ally for the marriage and not just the spouse not speaking here of abuse or addiction where you really need to gather your friends and family around a spouse, but I'm speaking of that couple whose headed toward the lawyers office that couple who it's at the end were done that instead of just being an ally for your son or being ally for your daughter. You're an ally for your sons marriage and you're an ally for your daughter's marriage.
Years ago I was at an event, I did a session called from anger to intimacy and this lady came up to me afterward.
She was shaking. She was so mad at me and what I just shared and she walked right up to the book table and she said yes you say something you I said, what's that you, my husband left me. You know why get a little picture of purchase a real small little and this is what she said you hear this all the time.
Among family and friends. I don't know what the issue may be brought to you is, but in this case. This is what she said my husband left me because he couldn't handle being married to a successful and I said ma'am. Can I pastor you for five minutes. I took her silence is consent. I said your success did not cause your divorce.
You think it was possible. Had a little bit to do with your nice tobacco security.
This is Eagle wanting one is in the lobby.
She she started to leave us in a way to second, I need to share with you to the greatest things I've never learned that my mentor taught me, Dr. Gary Smalley about anger and I will share with you right now number one. Unresolved anger is like drinking poison.
Expecting the other person to get sick.
I said ma'am, some people sipped this each day. But you're drinking a pint gallons as of the second thing is you never bury anger dead you always burying alive.
I said you. This anger and it's gonna come out of relationships with your children relationships at work or relationships with your second or third husband. You can do something about this. I noticed it from across the room. She said once that I said to Jay Norma's chip on your shoulder.
I go you got to do something with it.
I don't know who said what to put it there. I don't know how long it's been there but I got great news for you. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that can raise your lifeless soul. Keeping in mind I had a book table between us the whole time very important. You got have a little bit of a barrier for safety and she started to calm down just a little bit. My I said and that to me even when you're directing one spouse to speak of the entire marriage and those who were absent or protected here in this conversation I'm only going to be able to talk to you because your husband is in here but I can't.
I can't stay focused on the issue because it is about your success is about money. It is about job or career. The something else going on, let's get to the root of that. You never know the whole story have to avoid rewriting history or being a part of changing the narrative. When one spouse wants to change that narrative every backup singer needs to be an ally for the marriage, not just the spouse.
Every spouse now. This is on me. This is on you needs to turn down that backup singers and turn up good backup singers you can work with the coupling counseling you give him all the skills that you have in your arsenal.
You can throw it out him and they can begin to see some good positive change. But if you send them back to the same environment or the same voices the same people speaking into their marriage and here's some examples of bad backup singing. I just want you to be happy. You deserve better. There someone out there better for you.
No one should have to put up with that you've tried everything to make it work. He or she has changed and I was on the flipside of that is, he or she won't change who is it that you're letting into your marriage and into your life so I'm grateful for Focus on the Family being a good backup singer to marriages who lead your duet off key. Don't just turn down if you need to mute them all together who brings harmony to your marriage. Turn them up and this may be on Facebook. You just need to start unfriending some folks just come onto your comments and they have to just spew all of their venom.
You have to be very intentional with who you invite onto your team and who the backup singers are so in the few moments we have left that you want to share with you some ways you can identify a great backup singer for your marriage and how all of us who claim the name of Jesus can be a great backup singer to all of the duets around us are married or marriages of our family members and friends and coworkers number one promote and celebrate dating and engagement getting back to that.
We do this in our church.
I love it.
I got a couple of times. My favorite time was a lady sent me a letter and she said you know I love how your encouraging the young guys today get married. I love that. But don't forget about us old women like wow okay I love you want to start finding some dates for the widows in your church. So I stood up one Sunday morning in our congregation before conversation, I read this letter from a lady named Deb and at the end of reading the letter she listed all of her assets I live on the lake.
I got a good pension and I got to two jet skis. She had it all out there and at the end. I simply in a pastoral tone asked where are the men for dad in five guys in our first service stood up.
The first two ties came forward after taking shows a picture point that out to be happy, to the third guy walks up. True story. Looks over his shoulder looks at me and says hey pastor, you have a picture of the cedars and I did not introduce him to but getting back to saying it's a good thing we rejoice and delight in this I have printed to me all the time when they tell me to get engaged. I go crazy celebrating with them and I have. I can't tell you how many couples it told me you're the only one we know who's excited for us really yeah friends and family are scared to death that we're not ready. Every marriage is a duet needed great backup singers. It's not just the program were talking about this morning. It's about a DNA change in the church about changing the way we think about everybody being equipped number two leverage weddings and funerals leverage weddings and funerals. More people are attending Wetmore unchurched are attending weddings and funerals in our church that are actually attending our church to be able to not just celebrate with couples. Hey, you made it, but to tell their story and to share their story.
I want the young couples in our church to talk to grandma and grandpa to go out on a double date with them. We need to number three. Focus on feelings, not issues, just like that lady who was angry. Let's get to what's really going on. Let's talk about your heart. Talk about unresolved anger, let's talk about how to above almost guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life and how to move on from no longer blaming your ex-husband or blaming the situation of that marriage, and moving into the issues of the heart. Number four to be a great backup singer know the resources have them ready to go.
What small groups to plug into your church. Send him a video of a sermon. Let them know of a book, send the marriage 911, which is what our church use. Let them know about the intensive program.
The Focus on the Family offers. I mean all of these resources to have them ready and ready to go. Number five don't hit the like button on Facebook.
When one spouse goes on a rant about the other shows pictures of a new boyfriend or new girlfriend. The culture that we live in this dating while divorcing, having filed the paperwork yet but I'm dating someone new. It crashes me as a pastor to go on Facebook and to see members of the church members who sat under marriage teaching for 10, 15 years to begin putting lines of bad backup singing on that post just want you to be happy. So glad you're finally happy and I would say don't ask me to celebrate a new relationship while I'm still mourning the death of your marriage don't hit that like button number six.
Don't let attacks on your past attempts keep you from reaching out now and in the future. Number seven, and finally don't let anger from a hurting family member or friend, or church member keep you from loving and caring for them now press in lean in, ask the question how may I help you. How can I help you, rather than yet, go talk to that person. Yeah, go do that you have been. They have come to you.
They have a relationship with you.
Leverage that to be a backup singer to that duet and I want to close her time share with you about one of the greatest backup singers. My wife and I ever had was in her grandparents. Lloyd and Lorraine Freitag. I got a call one day going into a meeting in Branson that Lloyd got up from the chair and he broke his hip and he broke his leg and he was at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester Minnesota were in Branson. Amy's parents Lloyd's son lives in Branson II told my wife to get the kids ready call your parents have them be ready in an hour.
I'll come home and get you all. I said Lloyd doesn't have much time left and so will drive to the night to say goodbye to grandpa Lloyd and we did. We drove to the night. I'll never forget walking in that day to Lloyd's bedside and is on oxygen and you could tell he was declining quickly and I'll never forget my father-in-law falling on his dad's blessing his dad could couldn't ask for a better dad. I love you dad just speaking words of high value on her over his dad and then my wife Lloyd's granddaughter falls on them and then my children. His great-grandchildren fall on them on the in lawn like the last walk up and Lloyd had a great sense of humor.
I walk up to Lloyd's table or to his bed in the very first thing Lloyd says to me is Teddy, is there anything you can do to speed this up. I said well I guess I could step on some of these hoses and full-size plug.
They frown on that and we had such a great day in and I didn't get this with three out of four of my grandparents. I know many of us in this room did not have that opportunity to be at the bedside to say goodbye and to have a prolonged departure from this earth, but it was such a great day. Lloyd enjoyed it so much, he decided he was in stick around for another day and decided that the next day would be the day I member the doctor come in and I'll stay in their landlord want to put you on dialysis and just kinda shook his head and said no were done were done, I'm ready to go be with the Lord.
That's where Lloyd was at.
I remember we went out to dinner that night. I drop my father-in-law back off because he wanted to watch one more Minnesota Twins game with his dad and Lloyd said come back tomorrow.
I want to go home.
It's time I'll never forget going into his hospital room and we prayed together we took the Lord supper together. We sang together. It sounded horrible. I can't even begin to tell you how bad it sounded. But when we were done with those three things. I'll never forget Lloyd saying goodbye everyone I got ago and they start shutting off his pacemaker taking his oxygen out and he leaned back, and I've been in the situation before to know is the family members looked on thinking this could be any moment I'm going. This could be hours, days could be weeks. I'll never forget it. It my daughter would sit there. Most of that afternoon and just rub Lloyd's arm twice during that time Lloyd came to.
I'll never forget his expression. He popped up and I remember his expression turned from this to him on and he went right back to this position for hours later he went to be with the Lord. We all were a mess we just lost the patriarch of our family, a loving honorable man. We all walked outside of the room into the hallway. I'll never forget my daughter was crying my son Carson seven at the time was not. Karen says Carson, Matthew Cunningham, why are you the only one in this family not crying and no kid my seven euros is sissy I have learned to control my emotions and I'll never forget Lorraine coming out of the room. Walking up to me and hugging me and said Ted would you do our family beyond her preaching his funeral next week and I said it would be my great honor and so a week later in Austin Minnesota. I stood up before about 300 family and friends and I start every funeral the same. Ecclesiastes 7 verses one into a good name is better than fine perfume in the day of death is better than the day of birth for it is better to go to a house of mourning than to a house of feasting for death is the destiny of every man in the living should take this to heart and I said today were here to take the heart the death of Lloyd Freitag and Scripture says it's better to go to a funeral than to go to a party and the reason for that is because a funeral is a recalibrating event, a funeral should change the way you think and it should change the way you live. I don't get that at a party I don't walk away from a party ever going but change my life's good fellowship is good medicine. As we laughed together. I said today were here to take to heart the death of Lloyd Freitag. Let's talk about Lloyd. I said there is a man that went when he was just a boy halfway around the world to literally save the world for us in World War II. In the Navy he came back he meets his fiery redhead named Lorraine and they go on a daily invites on a day on a Saturday night they went so well at the end of that date, invited her on a second date on the second date. The next Saturday night.
He asked her. We can get serious or what she said what you mean, do you want to get married second date came a proposal and she said yes and before Lloyd went to be with the Lord. They celebrated 65 years of marriage he worked at a Hormel meatpacking plant for 42 years, so he knew something about commitment, loyalty, duties, sacrifice and honor, and I'm looking around the room at many marriages of family and friends gathered around the room. I said today taking to heart the death of Lloyd Freitag means we do something with what were learning today about his like this man loved his Lord served his church faithfully served his wife faithfully served his family faithfully and today we get to take the heart that message for us were all a mess we go graveside. And I'll never forget my wife's uncle uncle Wayne comes up to me graveside. And he said Teddy would you promise me one thing I said, what's that he goes will you preach a funeral that good for me. One day I looked right at him and said you got some work to do.
Don't we all don't we all. We have great models all around us to to lead us and to guide us and to encourage us and to challenge us in our marriages. The second challenge today, though, is that we would be that person to inspire and encourage the couples all around us. Every marriage is a duet in need of great backup singers and my prayer for you is that you would be that great thank you very much focused Cunningham's on the family staff John, what a wonderful message from Ted. I love that story about Lloyd and Lorraine and their loving long-term marriage. What a great goal for each and every one of us and that what a terrific example for our children and grandchildren that you know Christian people should be the most consistent supporters of marriages around us.
Let's make an effort to really encourage the marriages of our family members or friends and in the wider community and the fact is folks, the world is watching Christian marriages today and the question is, are we any different in how we treat each other. Do we uphold the commitments we made in our wedding vows. Are we a good witness of God's forgiveness and grace in our families.
That's something we can all improve upon. I'm sure and let me just remind you Focus on the Family is here to help. We are a pro-marriage ministry and over the past year. Lucas has helped over 500,000 couples build a stronger, more satisfying marriage and over hundred thousand say the focus help them through a major marital crisis.
That's good work, and that is thanks to donors like you who are helping to support our counseling team and our hope restored four day intensive when we follow up with her intensive couples. Two years later, over 80% say their marriage is doing very well. So if you'd like to follow up on Ted's message.
By becoming a supporter of marriage. Please consider joining our team here Focus on the Family the best way to do that is making a monthly pledge. That's how Jean and I support focus as well to.
It doesn't have to be a large amount. It's the consistency that really helps us month-to-month. When you make a pledge of any amount will send you a copy. Ted's latest book published by Focus on the Family. It's called a love that laughs lighten up cut loose and enjoy life together. If you can't commit to a monthly pledge.
Right now we understand that we can also send the book to you for a one time gift of any amount. It's really encouraging read and Ted explains how to use fun and laughter to reduce stress and grow closer as a couple. So get your copy that great book when you call 880 family 800-232-6459 or donate online. The link is in the episode notes and request that book a love that laughs when you're on our website. Be sure to look for our marriage assessment, which is a really quick survey that takes just a few minutes to fill out its can help you pinpoint strengths in your relationship and maybe identify an area or two that could use some work on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for this Focus on the Family podcast take a moment if you would please leave a rating for us wherever you're at your podcast and ensure about this episode with your favorite married And for now, I'm John Fuller inviting you back next time.
As we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.
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