Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Marriage: Early in the Game

I’ve been engaged for all of 6 days and one thing I’m realizing is that I am going to learn a ton about marriage as we journey together over the next year. I’m excited about this and look forward to sharing my insights with you.

This morning I began to read through today’s portion of the One Year Bible, hanging out in Malachi and God showed me something about marriage. Malachi 2:14-16 God speaks to the Israelite men and calls them to repentance in the area of marriage.

Several aspects of marriage were reaffirmed this morning.
• Marriage is a life-long covenant between two people with God as the witness.
• Marriage provides a man & woman with a companion for life, work and ministry.
• Marriage is the uniting of two people that become one.
• Marriage to Sarah is going to rock.

I also learned two new aspects of marriage that I have never thought about:
• God gives His Spirit
• God’s purpose for marriage is Godly offspring

God ordains and makes marriages, but verse 15 tells us that He also gives a portion of the Spirit in the union. As a young single man I have been desperate for the Spirit. As a married man nothing will change, I will always have to be desperate for God’s Spirit to lead me. The overall purpose of marriage is stated in verse 16, to reproduce Godly offspring that will follow in their parents’ ways of following God by the leading of His Spirit.

There is a spiritual purpose for every marriage and God’s leading is necessary in order to fulfill this purpose. Whether you are married, soon to be or far from it, I think there are several prayer points that come from this text. I would challenge you to begin today praying through the truth of this text. It will help your marriage and keep it headed down God’s right track.

5 Prayer Points
1. Make us one
2. Help us realize & rely on the leading of your Spirit
3. Continually guard our spirit
4. Empower us to remain faithful to each other
5. Ultimate result = Godly Offspring

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Professed My Love to My Beautiful Bride...

Over our seven great years of dating there is not any other night that has been more special to Sarah and I than Christmas Eve. So deciding when to propose was a no brainer for me.

The night started with a present at Maymee's house for "The Princess of the Night," inside: rose pedals, a digital recorder, old photos and a CD. Sarah left and went to several spots that were important to us in our first year of dating (2001-2002). At the high school there was a rose which symbolized our past. The final stop was her church, which is where I was at. We looked through our yearbooks from 2001 & 2002. This was our "past": young, no idea but crazy about each other.

Our "present" was short as we watched a short video when I was recently joking with her. I gave her a rose to symbolize our present.

Then I walked her into the sanctuary and to the altar. We stood and talked for awhile. I fulfilled Sarah's request by professing my love for her as my girlfriend and my desire to have her be my wife for the rest of our lives. Then I pulled out the last rose which symbolized the future, tied to the rose was the ring. Thankfully she said yes with tears coming down her eyes. We hugged, kissed and she had a grin from ear to ear.

Then I explained that I was glad that we would become a family, but both of us would build off our own individual family's foundation. For this reason I was happy to tell her that the diamond that she would wear was Maymee's diamond that she had worn. This is her 90 year old Grandmother that has been a great role model and example in Sarah's life, both practically and spiritually. She was speechless and really really cried tears of great joy. Personally this was the highlight of the night that I had been waiting to get to. This diamond is the most gorgeous diamond in the whole wide world.

She then opened her Christmas present from me, a ESV Journaling Bible with "Sarah E. Brichetto" engraved on the cover. I have also selected Psalm 67 to be our family's prayer for life. (This concept is seen in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 with the Israelite families.) We read it together for the first time, with millions more times to come, then we bowed and prayed over each other. This time of prayer on my knees was my second most favorite part.

From there we went to the fellowship hall and danced to Jazz music as a newly engaged couple, this was practice for the Spring. Our two families joined us @ 10pm to hear the story and see the ring. Then we all worshipped @ the 11pm Christmas Eve Service at Asbury.

Maymee loved the way that the diamond looked.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snow & New Orleans?!?!?!?

That's right this morning as I woke up for my last final I looked out the window and saw a crazy site.... SNOW. It was also sticking.

This is my apartment and one of my roommates. We were going crazy.

This picture was taken by a friend that works in the Business District, which is where Sarah and I will be hanging out in the Spring when she gets down here. This is about a block from where she will work and live. Hopefully it will snow again! The St. Charles Streetcar looks awesome.

Everyone was so happy and acting like little kids. The unexpected happens everyday in this city and I love it!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My Thankful "State of the Union"

In August 2007 I packed up and set off for this place called New Orleans. Sarah and I had visited earlier that year in March, but overall I didn’t know hardly anything about this city. Actually I just had a feeling that God wanted me to move.

For my Thanksgiving break a week ago I drove over 32 hours in a total of seven days--New Orleans to Knoxville to Hilton Head to Knoxville back to New Orleans. That’s a lot of driving which gave me even more time to think. I did a lot of reflecting during these drives. I wanted to share some of my thoughts, which I hope encourage you and challenge you in your place in life.

If asked two years ago what I would want for life and ministry, I would not have even thought to ask for over half of what I am doing right now. My journey over the last two years is so crazy that it excites and energizes me about the rest of my life. My testimony is that surrendering to God’s call brings both the expected and unexpected.

Matthew Brichetto as of December 7, 2008:
• God has again shown me the great love that He has for His bride, the local church. This is Plan A for reaching the nations with the Gospel, there is no Plan B.

• God has challenged me to be aware and open to engaging with people daily. Lost people come into contact with Christians everyday, unfortunately for their souls we are too focus on ourselves to reach out to them.

• God has shown me that while class time is important, time outside the class- actually in the city- is more important. Spiritual knowledge must have effect on the 4.5 Billion lost people in the world. (There are thousands in every city in America.) The statistic means that the church must wake up!

• God has stretched me beyond belief with the various types of people in this city; this challenge has been a huge joy. The Gospel message is always the same, however sometimes our method for presenting this timeless message must change.

The pictures are from Saturday night, there were over 250 people @ Vintage Uptown for a four band show. There were tons of people going crazy for particular bands. I can’t wait until Sunday services @ Vintage Church look like this.

• God has punched me in the gut on my spiritual disciplines: prayer, submission, service, worship, confession, evangelism, discipleship and the list goes on…

• God has helped me, a C Spanish student in high school, learn Greek and Hebrew. Studying the original language has revealed the depth of God’s Word. WOW! His revelation to us is so rich, if we would just study it.

• God has told me to quit working for another title and serve with the one I have, “Servant of Christ.” Christians need to roll up their sleeves and do some dirty work.

• God has taught me that ministry in New Orleans is not a sprint, but a marathon. I must plant myself here and grow my roots deep in order to make the impact that I’d committed to when He called me.

These newly gained insights have humbled me and drawn me to my knees. During this season of Thanksgiving and Christmas I’m thankful more than I have ever been in my life. The great theologian T.I. (a rapper) says: “You need to be thankful for the life you got, stop looking at what you ain’t got and start being thankful for what you do got.” A great quote for life found in a rap song.

I’m a young man that is blessed beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Thank you to all who have been with me on this journey, the future is going to be crazy fun as we turn the world upside down for the Glory of God. There is only one God and He’s worthy of our life!

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
--Paul’s words in Acts 20:24