You and Me Forever
- Product Review (submitted on September 28, 2014):
What if we all tossed our books, seminars, and top-ten lists on marriage and decided instead to expose our hearts, motivations, and worship to what scripture says about the topic?
What if marriage was designed to make you holy and remind you of our personal relationship with God and transform the way we see all of our relationships?
The Chans’ are right, we spend too much time being self-absorbed on our rights, entitlements and idolatry. The only way to have a successful marriage is not by focusing on our marriage but on God the Father, satisfied by Christ Jesus, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Connie and I agree (yes we both listened to this audio and have recommended it many times already) “that Jesus was right. We have it all backwards. The way to have a great marriage is by not focusing on marriage.”
It used to be that the only resource I would recommend for couples regarding gospel-centered material was “When Sinners Say I Do” and now it appears that Connie and I have an additional resource, “You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity” by Francis & Lisa Chan.
Anything you can get your hands on by Francis Chan, you know is going to be good and to challenge you in your Christian daily walk. Because I heard the buzz before mainstream about it, I quickly purchased a copy. Connie and I had already listened to the audios by the time the solicitation came for an option to review for ChristianAudio. I had planned on writing a review and was further inspired with my email notification. This is a fantastic resource and the accompanying website is filled with valuable resources and tools that I would highly recommend to include a free .pdf version of the book.
For the rest of the review I would like to list my top 10 quotes from the book that I think will reflect how interesting, challenging, inspiring, enlightening, did it cause me to think
Eternal-mindedness keeps us from silly arguments. There’s no time to fight. We have better things to pursue than our interests. Too much is at stake! God created us for a purpose. We can’t afford to waste our lives. We can’t afford to waste our marriage by merely pursuing our own happiness...Christians in America have become experts at conviction--and failures at action...So today, do something. We all make mistakes. Err on the side of action.
When two people are right with Him, they will be right with each other. As a pastor for over 20 years, I have come to the conclusion that most marriage problems are not really marriage problems. They are God problems. They can be traced back to one or both people having a poor relationship with God or a faulty understanding of Him. An accurate picture of God is vital to a healthy marriage. It’s vital to everything.
Someone can have a dynamic speaking gift, or generously give to anyone in need, or appear to know a lot of Scripture, but if they have a terrible marriage, it raises questions. How can he treat his wife that way? Why is she so disrespectful to her husband? They obviously do not believe what they claim to believe. It should burden us deeply that many of our marriages paint the gospel in a bad light....A quote I heard recently: “We are God’s plan to make it believable that He is good and loving and true.”
Part of our role as Christians is to tell people about God’s story. All of us should be regularly telling people about who Jesus is and what He has done. This is necessary, and we must never be ashamed of Jesus (Matt. 10:32–33). But it’s one thing to preach the gospel and another thing to display the gospel.
Something I learned in seminary is that with every issue, there are two sides. And there are scholars on both sides who are more intelligent than I am. So the best I could do was to study, pray, examine my heart, and make a decision. My goal is to stand before
God and be able to say, “I prayed and studied this passage. I tried to ignore my personal desires and interpreted it as best I could. I believed this is what it said, so I did my best to live by it.” I also try to hold my views with humility, allowing God to convince me of a better interpretation at any point in the future through more study, prayer, and heart-examination.
So many couples act like five-year-old soccer players when it comes to the spiritual war that we find ourselves in. God calls us to fight in an ongoing battle against darkness. In this battle, He has given us a clear mission—to make disciples. Yet Christian couples can most typically be found holding hands and skipping through life, ignoring the battle that rages around them. We have made happy families our mission. That is not the mission that Jesus gave us, but we try to justify this idolizing of marriage because it’s what we want.
Practically speaking, we have to start with the seed of prayer. When is the last time you prayed specifically and earnestly for your marriage? How about specifically and earnestly for your husband or wife? Do you realize that very few people are going to be praying faithfully for your marriage and your spouse? I don’t want to sound dramatic, but prayer changes everything! Prayer opens up that line of communication with the Holy Spirit. There is no other way to invite the sensitivity you need to even hear the voice of the Lord. Yes, we must read and know Scripture, but without talking to God in prayer, we are crippled. Jesus went away from the crowds many times to speak to His Father alone. Who are we to think we can function without it?
Your integrity in marriage will have a huge impact on your children. This does not mean that they will not see you work through conflict or have bad days here and there. But your kids need to know that you’re the real deal. It’s not enough to wake up early on Sundays, throw your kids in the car, fight all the way to
church, and then go about your own business the rest of the week. As important as a commitment to the church is, your kids need to see God’s truth shaping your lives throughout the week. If they can see you living out the gospel in the most intimate relationship
you have, they will have an authentic picture of what it means to live according to the Word rather than the world.
The ending prayer is FANTASTIC
God, help us love You deeply and fear You greatly.
Teach us how to love each other for Your sake.
May the humility of Christ be seen in the way we treat each other.
Show us how to enjoy each other without neglecting Your mission.
Remind us of the brevity of life so we share Your good news urgently.
Remind us of heaven so we will face rejection and trials joyfully.
When we settle down for too long, prod us to run.
When we are prone to fight, teach us to fight together, and to fight for You.
When we are tempted to run away, bring repentance and renewal.
May we spend our married days reminding each other of Your glory, Your gospel, Your love, Your power, Your mission, and Your promise of what is to come.
This audiobook was fantastic in that it was also ready by Francis & Lisa Chan, as I have mentioned before, nothing beats the author reading their own work. Further, although I did not quote all the scripture references, know that this work is SATURATED in scripture, in its entirety and without compromise. Connie and I zealously recommend this book to all, from all walks of life. It will change everything for those who have never heard, and revive those who have forgotten.
*For more resources from the book and the Official Website can be found: http://www.youandmeforever.org/
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from ChristianAudio, as part of its Reviewers Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”