God Stories: Ian & Larissa Murphy [from John Piper’s Desiring God]

God Stories: Ian & Larissa Murphy [from John Piper’s Desiring God]

Apparently I am on a bit of a kick related to these “God Stories”. I recently finished organizing and leading a course called “Man School” at my awesome church. Week 4 of Man School was entitled “Leading in Sacrificial Love”. During that lecture, we discussed dating, marriage, sex, porn, friendship, etc, and how men are called to humbly and courageously serve, lead and protect God’s daughters.

For that lecture, we showed the brief video story of “Ian and Larissa Murphy”. This story shows such a compelling example of the CHOICE and POWER of intentional, Holy-Spirit-driven love. Ian and Larissa met each other in college and “hit it off”. Around when they had been dating for 10 months, Ian got in an accident that caused severe brain damage. The traumatic damage severely impacted his mind, speech, and body.

After he regained a higher level of mental ability… they decided to marry, despite the difficulties and challenges. It is pointless for me to describe the video and story any further… you should watch it.

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God Stories: “God of Second Chances”, Danny & Carlos Whitaker

God Stories: “God of Second Chances”, Danny & Carlos Whitaker

You may or may not have seen this viral video before.

Carlos Whitaker is a fantastic musician, worship leader, leader, dad, and Christian man. He has a high traffic blog, where he writes about life, worship, adoption, parenting, Jesus, and brokenness. He has been blessed with a platform that he uses well for the glory of God.

The video below is taken from a blog post,  “Save Us From These Comforts – Danny’s Story”, he did in May 2010 about an unbelievable experience. He was recording a video for a song called “God of Second Chances” from his [then] upcoming album release, Ragamuffin Soul. Carlos was our worship leader at Sandals Church back in the day.

While the camera was recording as he sang… Danny, a homeless guy, walked up to him. At first, he was quiet and pensive. He seemed touched by the message of the song. Then he started free-styling with him. It is incredible!

I have seen this video probably 20 times. Every… single… time… I cry like a baby. This video always reminds me of how interconnected we are, how uniquely God created us, the power of music & worship… and the power of our testimonies for proclaiming the beauty and glory of Christ.

This God Story also always challenges me with the reality that we are often presented with divine appointments. The question is… how will we respond.

God, please keep changing my heart to see, serve, and love your people as you do.

Bonus Video: “All The Single Ladies”

Incidentally, another interesting tidbit about Carlos Whitaker and his family is that one of their home videos went viral in in 2010. The original video has almost 6,000,000 views! In the video, the Whitaker family is in the car while Beyonce’s song “All the Single Ladies” plays in the background. Carlos’ [adopted] son, Losiah, starts happily singing along from his car seat. Carlos then jokingly tells Losiah that he can’t sing along because he isn’t a single lady… his son then has a melt down. It’s funny.

The video also won a  People’s Choice Award. Carlos ended up being interviewed on the CBS Early Show and the Today Show. One of my favorite things about this story is that Carlos used the platform to talk about the importance of adoption and beauty of Christ’s love.

Check out Carlos’ blog. Buy his music.

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A God Story: Mars Hill Church – “God’s Work, Our Witness”

A God Story: Mars Hill Church – “God’s Work, Our Witness”

Mars Hill Church, planted and led by Pastor Mark Driscoll is one of the most influential mega-churches churches in the United States. They are the 43rd largest AND the 43rd fastest growing church in the USA. In my opinion, numbers only matter because they are potentially an indication of Holy Spirit actively changing lives and of Jesus’ name being known / multiplied in the nations.

Mars Hill is much more than a “big church”; they are a church that preaches the Gospel soundly, passionately, unapologetically, loudly, and devoutly. They also provide many many many many many (many many!) teaching and training resources  to believers, non-believers, ministry leaders, and other churches.

Mars Hill recently launched a sermon series “God’s Story, Our Witness” (I really like that sermon series title!) by releasing a video that tells the story of Mars Hill from the beginning to today (the video located at the bottom of this post). The leaders and servants at Mars Hill Church were horribly and wonderful ill-equipped by all accounts. They would never have been capable of what’s been accomplished if not for the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s why I call it a God Story! Praise God for their obedience.

While it is no secret I am a fan of Driscoll’s direct, “intellectual”, and fervent teaching… The purpose of this “God Story” is NOT to extol Driscoll… but to praise God for the beautiful collision of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit with submitted, faithful, hard working disciples. As Christians, we should celebrate, learn from, be thankful for, be inspired by, and be driven to action by God’s work through and in other believers. (… continue reading…)

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God Stories: The Hypocritical Characters & the Beautiful Endless Loop of the Gospel

God Stories: The Hypocritical Characters & the Beautiful Endless Loop of the Gospel

Note: This short post introduces a new “column” at Christian Marriage Spice called “God Stories”. The first “God Story” will be posted next week.

God Stories = Crazy, Unbelievable Insanity

I love God stories. God stories are crazy, joyful, hilarious, non-traditional, painful, confusing, wild, unbelievable, exhausting, frustrating, emotional, overwhelming… and often lead us far beyond the perceivable end of sanity. The counter-intuitive beauty is that this “insanity point” is often where many of us experience God in a uniquely pure, more real, more whole, and supernatural way. This insanity point is where God makes Himself and His provision known profoundly.

These insanity points are where we are challenged with the Truths of the Gospel… and equally  importantly, where the Good News is NEEDED, EXPERIENCED, and PREACHED. Most of us are careful to try and never actually get to these insanity points. We do everything we can to ignore God and indulge complacent comfort.

Life stories are God Stories because they show us how great God is, how deficient we are, and excellently proficient we are only in Him. They occur far beyond our capacities, imaginations, personal provision, abilities, and capabilities. They depend on God. Afterwords (and hopefully sometimes during), we look at God and think… “How in the world can this be reality?” or “I can’t believe that happened or that we were able to endure that… Praise God”. [… continue reading]

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