Ephesians 5:25 Marriage Conference
CCLB MEN’S MARRIAGE CONFERENCE – A FIRST FOR CORNERSTONE
BY TERRY MILLER – CCLB ASSOCIATE PASTOR
Pastor Jerry called it a “historic event” for marriages. Some men called it “life-changing” for their relationships with their wives. Regardless of the descriptions, clearly, the Ephesians 5:25 Men’s Conference was a meaningful influence on the 250 men who attended. On Friday night and Saturday morning, March 1 and 2, the Cornerstone worship center was host to a packed house of men who came expecting to hear clear biblical teaching and encouragement that could help the best marriages become better and the most challenged marriages have hope. The men were not disappointed.
Pastor Pete McKenzie, Director of Influencers West Men’s Ministries Irvine, had many of us in tears as he navigated the richness and depth of the triangle relationship he and his wife, Susan, had experienced for nearly 50 years before Susan succumbed to a brain tumor two year ago. Pete reminded us that loving our wives as Christ loved the church takes making a stand for doing what is right simply because it’s the right thing before God—not for personal gain or manipulation. If our wives had the perfect husbands, Pete shared, they would be married to Jesus. Our role, as husbands, is to surrender to the love of Christ and ask Him to love our wives through us.
Pastor Jerry taught how to recognize the spiritual battle we are engaged in as Christian married men. He took us deep into the cause and effect of six marriage saboteurs that Satan has designed to derail the husband and wife relationship from the beginning. Brian Sumner, international skateboard superstar turned evangelist, captivated the men with his true story of how his own divorce, intended by Satan to destroy his family, was used by God to bring he and his wife to surrender their lives to Christ, remarry, and dedicate their lives to sharing the hope of the Gospel message of redemption and reconciliation for relationships and for eternal life.
250 men came together for various reasons with various circumstances and questions: some curious, some desperate for answers and healing and hope. After each of three messages, men stayed at their tables to go deeper with table-talk questions prepared by the presenters. We laughed, we cried, we worshiped and raised our voices to the leading of the Cornerstone 318 Worship Band. We made new commitments to “prayer hug” our wives often, to pray with our wives more—or to begin praying together for the first time. And perhaps most of all, we realized that none of us are alone in fighting for our marriages and our desperate need for the Holy Spirit to mold us into men of prayer; men who sacrifice our pride, our rights, and our selfish attitudes and men who take a biblical stand for the sanctity of life and the sanctity of a biblical, Christ-centered marriage, regardless of the cultural pressure to abandon these Christian essentials.
Are we going to do it again? Most men I am still hearing from are ready to register for the next conference—and bring another guy! Cornerstone Men 318 is out to help men find traction in their intimate relationship with God. Our mission is to develop and sustain a men-ministering-to-men culture of biblically rooted discipleship. With 340 men at our Men’s Breakfast in February and 250 men at our first marriage conference, we can see God walking before us and the power of the Holy Spirit moving us towards becoming the husbands and spiritual leaders that can bring healing and restoration to a marriage, a family, a city and even a nation.
What a great time to take up the challenge of becoming a man of God. With the support of our pastor and elder-board, and the power of the Word of God, we will continue to see men rising up for Christ, not only in Cornerstone, but in the lives of men and families in greater Long Beach. To God be the glory.