Feb 13, 2007

Love4Life seminar helps reach out

by Kari Mitchell and Amy Field
In celebration of National Marriage Day, Thomas Road Baptist Church held its first annual Love4Life seminar on Feb. 10. The conference, though geared toward married couples, was also designed to equip singles and enrich the relationships of dating couples.

Various speakers were invited to share their knowledge about the matter of marriage.
The day before the conference was a day of marriage mentor training. Les and Leslie Parrott, a clinical psychologist and a marriage and family therapist, respectively, along with Tim Clinton, president of the American Association of Christian Counselors, led the training program.
The resource was designed to equip married couples to help other couples grow stronger and build successful marriages. 

Pre-conference sessions were offered Saturday morning on various topics. Attendees could choose two from the list, including a session led by Josh Straub and Johnnie Moore on common mistakes that cripple healthy dating. 

The first speakers of the afternoon were the Parrotts, who spoke on time-starved marriages and the importance of spending time with one’s spouse. The husband and wife team also stressed loving that spouse for who he or she is. 

“You also need to take on the hard task of emptying yourself of the need to change your spouse,” said Les. “(But) you have to ask the Holy Spirit to help you do that.” 

The Parrotts are also the founders of the Center for Relationship Development on the campus of Seattle Pacific University.

Bishop Wellington Boone’s session, “Love, Sex and the Sexes,” emphasized the roles of the husband and the wife and how that relationship should reflect the relationship Christ has with the church. “I refuse to let (my wife) serve me more that I serve her,” he said. Boone has authored many books and is a regular platform speaker at Promise Keeper stadium events.

Tim and Beverly LaHaye, founders of Family Life Seminars, Inc., were the next speakers. Tim shared their secrets to keeping love alive for life. Three tips he provided were to walk in the Spirit, allow God to fill you with the Spirit and to not grieve the Spirit.

“If you walk in the Spirit, you’ll have a song in your heart and a thankful heart,” he said.
 The LaHayes have been influencing couples since their book, “The Act of Marriage,” was printed in 1976.

Tony Perkins answered perhaps the most important question of the afternoon in his session, “Why Your Marriage Matters.” Perkins believes that Christians fail to live up to the standard of marriage.
“Nothing contributes more to a child making poor decisions than the home they grow up in,” he said. “(Therefore) what is important for parents to keep in mind is the marriage their children see.”
A graduate of Liberty University, Perkins is now the president of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.     

H.B. London was scheduled to speak but was unable to attend the conference. Clinton spoke in his place.

“When people are angry, they’re hurting inside,” he said. Clinton pointed out that people turn to many kinds of addictions when they are broken inside – even using work or their kids as a way to keep their minds off of their pain. He exposed lies that broken people may believe and said that when accusing thoughts attack a person’s mind, God is present especially in those moments.
“During that time, God reaches His hand to you, because He does care and (He) loves you,” said Clinton. “He is waiting for you to look above the lies and see His truth.”

Gary Smalley, who has sold over four million videos in his “Loving, Lasting Relationships” series, described the struggles he has faced in his marriage. He learned a valuable lesson – don’t try to change your spouse.

“I get the privilege of working on my own logs,” he said, in reference to Matthew 7:3. Smalley believes that one’s happiness is not dependent on what one’s spouse does or doesn’t do – the individual is 100 percent responsible for his or her own emotions.  

Also in attendance was Christian singer and songwriter Matthew West. His song “More” from his first album, Happy, held the top spot on the Christian AC chart for nine weeks. He performed this song and others, including a song entitled “The Day Before You.” Country music fans may recognize the song from the Rascal Flatts album, Feels Like Today. However, the song was written by West for his wife for their wedding day.

In between the sessions and the concert, Michael O’Brien entertained the crowd with his vocal and piano talents, performing original music as well as praise and worship.  
Both artists’ music can be found on their official Web sites.

Contact Kari Mitchell at kdmitchell2@liberty.edu.

Contact Amy Field at afield@liberty.edu.
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