Tag Archives: Pre-Marital Counseling

Book Review: Choosing Marriage

Book Review:  Choosing Marriage by Debra Fileta

The Good: 

Great Combo.   The author is a licensed counselor and a passionate believer, which provides a great combination of practical and spiritual help to the marriage relationship.  While providing real life examples from her personal life and counseling situations, it gives a well-rounded approach to building healthy marriages.

See Things From the Other Side.  Truth be told, most of the marriage books on my shelves are from the male perspective.  Sure, they are full of Biblical truth, but they lack one thing…the view from the other side of the aisle.  A book about marriage from the wife’s point of view was sorely needed, and Debra Fileta is a great place to start.

For real, for real.  One thing you can say for sure about this book, it is honest and real.  For example, the author gives a hilarious story of her honeymoon that provides a reality of what marriage can be.  The rose-colored glasses are knocked off your face, and the realistic approach to a godly marriage is refreshing and appreciated.

The Bad:

Can you hand me my glasses?  One complaint I have actually has nothing to do with the content of the book.  For some reason, the text seemed faint in some places.  Maybe it was just my copy, but the font could have been a little bolder for the reader.  Small annoyance in a very enjoyable read.

Careful of the hyperbole.  It was rare, but I did catch some hyperbole.  For example, in the final chapter the author mentions marriage as the “hardest and greatest thing you’ll ever do”.  Taking out the spiritual side of things, perhaps this is true.  But the greatest thing we will do as believers goes beyond our marriage, and into eternity.

The Grade:  A.   If I had to describe the book in one word:  enjoyable.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t just a book of whimsical saying and enjoyable stories…this book had some dynamite advice and counsel for the marriage relationship.  My point is it was written in a way where you could enjoy improving your marriage, while being challenged in an appropriate and endearing manner.  Kudos to Debra Fileta in providing a valuable resource to both singles and married folks in their pursuit of reflecting the relationship of Christ and His bride.

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2018 Year In Review

Next week, on this here blog, I will reveal the goals I have for the upcoming year of 2019.  Wow, is it really going to be 2019?  Where are all the flying cars? Disappointing.  Anyways, it’s a great thing to have goals for the future, but it is also an important aspect of ministry to look back and evaluate.  Without evaluation, there is no improvement.  Looking at last years goals, it was a blessing to see many of them were able to come to fruition.

(Disclaimer:  This list is not to brag about what I have done.  The goal of this list is to hopefully spark some ideas for your own ministry that may give God glory and allow your ministry to grow.)

Continue Parent/Pastor Conferences—These meeting have been extra special and valuable in my pursuit of an effective partnership with parents.

Pre-Marital Counseling—After years of reading marriage books and compiling marriage articles, I was able to re-write my pre-marital counseling curriculum.

International Trip—The process was set in motion this year with plans to serve in Germany this coming summer.

World Religions Series—High School students went through a series that focused on reaching and understanding other religions.

Winter Retreat—What a special trip this was to speak to several youth groups including our own and a fun time spending a weekend with our teens.

Expansion of Elderly Ministry—A new addition of shut-in visits was added this year, and it was a tremendous blessing. We gave a special gift and each teen prayed with a senior saint.

Local Mission Trip—A unique experience of puppets in the park. The teens weren’t done there, but also were able to remodel & paint two of the main children’s ministry classrooms.

Children’s Safety Policy Improvement—Revisions to the children’s safety policy, pick up procedures established, and other security measures were put in place this year.

 

 

 

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2018 Youth Ministry Goals

  • Continue Parent/Pastor Conferences—Saw great value in the initial meetings, and need to find more opportunities and follow-up to the meetings.
  • Pre-Marital Counseling—With another wedding under my belt, I’d like to gain better traction and organize my pre-marital counseling material from past & present.
  • International Trip—Goal in taking an inter-generational foreign mission trip in the summer of 2019 to teach cross-cultural missions & importance of evangelism across the world.
  • World Religions Series—With the rise of different religions in our country, I see a need to teach on the various religions and how Christians can bring them truth.
  • Winter Retreat—Special trip to Lake Ann to hear their youth pastor speak! What a great unity opportunity and growing experience for us all.
  • Expansion of Elderly Ministry—Continue Young at Heart lunch, but expand it to ministry to shut-ins as well.
  • Local Mission Trip—It has been a few years since we done a localized mission trip. To prepare for next year, this could be the year to minister to our local parks.
  • Children’s Safety Policy Improvement—Unfortunate we have to, but a necessity nonetheless. Continued improvement in keeping our kids safe, and working with the children’s ministry department to find a policy that is effective and able to be accomplished.
  • Audio-Books.  Why didn’t I think of this sooner?  I am such a slow reader.  My biggest regret of college is not taking that speed-reading course they offered.  It’s time to learn on the move.

 

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How will your marriage be OR How is your marriage now?

Book Review:  Ready to Wed by Dr. Greg & Erin Smalley

The Good:

Marriage Counseling 101.  In the next year, I’m planning to add and revise some of my pre-marital material.  And guess what book will have a big part of that revision.  Yep, this one right here…excellent pre-marital counseling advice, material, and exercises.

I Got Homework.  Although this book is written for those preparing for marriage, I found myself completing many of the homework assignments on my own and with my wife.  So marriage veterans, don’t think for a minute this book will not benefit your marriage.

Who Wrote This Chapter?  Within the “12 Ways to Start a Marriage You’ll Love”, there is a new author for each chapter.  Why is this a good thing?  Well, it allows the book to have varied personalities and styles to make the book more enjoyable.

The Bad:

Didn’t I Hear This Before?  Although the different authors can be a good thing, the downside is there is opportunity for repetition and slight contradictions.  Some of the opinions of the authors may differ somewhat and can hurt the continuity of the book a little.  None of the contradictions are drastic, but there are small ones here and there.

Shameless Plugs.  One author seems to use their chapter as a platform to promote their book over and over.  It would be like if I mentioned my book “Bottom Line”, which is a devotional for teens & young adults, on this blog.  Or if I would put the reader to www.bottomlinedevotional.com for book information and purchase options in a book review blog.  But I would never do that.

Weak Sauce.  The majority of the book was Biblically sound.  However, there was at least one author who seemed to not like the word “sin”.  It’s OK to call it that!  Instead of calling the problem “pride”, words were used like “buttons pushed”.  Come on, don’t come at me with that weak sauce!

The Grade:  B+.  I really enjoyed this book for its variety, meaty advice & counsel material, along with solid Biblical principles.  Occasionally there would be some repetition or weak fluff marital direction, but that was rare.  It was a great read and encouragement for those preparing for marriage, and those that tied the knot years ago.

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Book Review: “The Complete Husband” by Lou Priolo

Book Review: The Complete Husband by Lou Priolo51DD8823XJL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Warning: As you read The Complete Husband, you will discover how incomplete you are as a husband. This book is not hazardous to your health, in fact may be quite essential to your spiritual growth as a husband.

The Good:

Counseling Gold. As a young pastor, this book is worth its weight in gold, so to speak. In terms of counseling, it is priceless. There are many “gold nuggets” of truth throughout the book. But the real counseling value is in the practical exercises given extensively.  You may even want to require this for pre-marital counseling.

Easy to Use. This book is not full of lofty, spiritual ideals that cannot never be grasped this side of heaven. On the contrary, Priolo provides practical steps to improve multiple facets of the role of the husband. These steps are clear, although I cannot say they are easy to follow since we, as husbands fail at times.

Brace for Impact. Priolo uses simple points with incredible insight that cause a great impact. The reader will find themselves having many “aha moments”. Insight into the role of the husband is found all throughout the book, providing life-changing behavioral, spiritual, and practical changes.

Homework? Yes Please. The worksheets or homework provided at the end of the chapters and the back of the book are worth the purchase of the book alone. It allows the reader to truly work through the issues on a more personal level.

The Bad:

Nit-Picky. The book is not nit-picky, but I will have to be if I were to find the bad in this book. If I had to pick sometime, it may be there may be some small doctrinal disagreements throughout the book, such as how God’s omniscience relating to “forgetting” the sin of a believer. But again, I’m nit-picking here.

The Grade: A

For lack of better terms, this book will kick your husband butt. The reader, in this case, the husband, will find themselves falling short often to the standard that is set in each chapter. Would you rather read a book about being a husband, and be able to say you have it all figured out? I’d rather read a challenging book to push me to be a better husband to my wife. So if you are ready for a challenge, pick this book up and follow the advice towards being a more complete husband.

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10 Quick Tips: How to Officiate a Wedding

This past weekend, I had the privilege of officiating/performing/conducting (what is the right word here?) my sister-in-law’s wedding.  The wedding was absolutely beautiful (and not just because it was on a golf course), but had a unique, rustic look.  But you’re not reading this for decoration tips, so I’ll get right to your wedding ceremony advice…wedding

  1. Pre-Marital Pre-vention.  Pre-marital counseling is a must for many reasons, but concerning the ceremony it does these 3 things: builds trust, allows you and the couple to become more familiar, & gives time to discuss the ceremony at your own pace.
  2. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel. When preparing your wedding template, save yourself some time and email every pastor you know that has done a wedding. Get their templates as a wedding ceremony smorgasbord, without the soft serve ice cream. Mmmmmm, soft serve…sprinkles…what was I talking about again?
  3. Research & Read. Start reading marriage books. Seriously, whether it is “Sacred Marriage”, “Real Marriage”, or “The Meaning of Marriage”…start reading and getting concepts and ideas you would like to have in the ceremony.
  4. In the multitude of counselors, there is safety. GET ADVICE! Make it simple.  What is one thing you wished you knew about doing weddings? What do I make sure to do, and what do I make sure I don’t do?
  5. Prayer. Make prayer an important part of the wedding day. Pray with the groomsmen, pray during the ceremony, and pray throughout that God would be glorified!
  6. Practice Makes Perfect. More on this next week, but the rehearsal is more than just a formality, it will eliminate a great deal of problems. Rehearsal practice is more important than you think.
  7. Don’t be Funny. OK, there may be some weddings that are less rigid and a laugh or two can happen. But whenever you’re tempted to say something funny, don’t! Stick to the script. When writing the script, if you think a joke would be good there, YOU ARE WRONG!
  8. Remember, no one will remember you (and that’s OK!). In talking to other pastors, this was a very common sentiment. What you say is important, but no one is there to listen to you and they won’t remember what you said. But that’s OK, it’s all about the celebration of two lives God has brought together, and the representation it is of Christ and His Bride! Let them remember Jesus.
  9. 3 Ring Binders are Your Friend (Especially Outdoors). I’ll make this quick. 3-ring, 5×8 binder, clear binder pockets, cut script paper into sleeves, place card stock paper in sleeves for easy turning of pages. This set up eliminates problems such as: rain, wind, and flipping of pages.
  10. Short & Sweet. The nice thing about doing weddings is everyone expects the pastor to read from a script. So do that, but time it and make sure it is not too long. Better to be a little short than a little long. Make sure to include the meaning of marriage, the Gospel, challenge to the couple…and then head straight to vows-town.

 

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