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Loving The Journey

Weekly Newsletter

Previous Loving The Journey Newsletter:

April 17, 2024

LOVING THE JOURNEY WITH... Pastor Dustin Aagaard
"Whose Building Your House?"

Dear Journey Friends and Family,

This past weekend, we continued our series Relationship Goals as we explored how to kick the devil out of our marriages. If you missed it, you can watch it here.

Have you ever felt like you have done everything for your marriage and yet not received the results you were hoping for? Why is that? I remember a season in our marriage when my wife and I were both working multiple jobs, and we were busy raising young kids. I felt like I was doing everything I was able to do to pour into our marriage, but we weren’t getting the results we wanted. I was going too fast in that season to notice what was happening. But then it hit me: our marriage was being built by us and not by God, and that’s exactly why we were getting the results we were getting. It wasn’t like we made a conscious decision to exclude God from our marriage, but I realized that in our busyness, I accidentally didn’t make space to include God in our marriage. Our communication and date nights were lacking. Thus, our time to pray together and encourage each other in the Lord was all of a sudden missing. Then, I read a verse that made it all make sense.

“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.”
Psalm127:1

We were in a season where we were accidentally trying to build our marriage instead of having God build it. This wasn’t an intentional decision, but we were reaping what we had sowed (Galatians 6:7). Thus, we were laboring in vain. Maybe that describes you. Maybe your marriage isn’t working as you hoped it would, and maybe it’s because God’s not building it; you are. Thus, you are getting natural results instead of supernatural results.  

I want to encourage you to stop laboring in vain and find ways to invite God to build your marriage. Here are 15 ways you can invite God to build your marriage.

1.    Go to church together.
2.    Pray together.
3.    Read the Bible together.
4.    Join a Life Group together.
5.    Serve together.
6.    Send each other Bible verses throughout the day.  
7.    Go to Christian Counseling together.
8.    Ask each other, “How can I pray for you today?”
9.    Put on your favorite worship songs and make dinner together.
10. Go for a walk or have coffee together and make a list of 5-10 things you are thankful to God for.
11. Memorize a Bible verse together.
12. Get mentors. Find a couple you both look up to that are ahead of you on their spiritual journey and seek relationship and wisdom from them.
13. It’s fun to be generous. Create a budget amount and go on a date to discuss how you can use that money to bless someone. When you bless someone, ensure God is glorified by it, not yourselves.
14. Tell your spouse 3-5 ways you see God has made them unique and special.
15. Write a Bible verse that’s personalized to them and give it to them. Here’s an example: “For God so loved TJ (my wife) that He gave His one and only Son for you, that when you believe in Him, you shall not perish, but you will have eternal life.” John 3:16

There are lots of other ways you can invite God to build your marriage. Find at least one and make it happen this week. Have fun with it.    

I’m excited for us to dive into week 3 of Relationship Goals this weekend. I hope you can join us. Either online or in person, we’re always on a mission.

I’m loving the journey,

Dustin Aagaard
Lead Pastor
Journey Christian Church

April 10, 2024

LOVING THE JOURNEY WITH... Pastor Dustin Aagaard
"Relationship Goals"

Dear Journey Friends and Family,

I asked my friend Juli Hobby to write today’s Loving the Journey. Juli serves on our staff as our Communications Director. She and her husband, Thomas, have a passion for marriages and host the Marriage Puzzle Podcast. You can follow them on Instagram or Facebook @MarriagePuzzle.
-Pastor Dustin Aagaard

Pastor Dustin kicked off a new Relationship Goals series this week with a message about Christ-Centered marriages. If you missed it, you can watch it here or listen to it on-the-go with the Journey Christian Church podcast. We were encouraged to do 3 things for a Christ-Center marriage:
  1. Serve Together
  2. Pray Together
  3. Read the Word Together

How simple yet challenging those three things are to do with our spouse. But why is that? I saw a meme on social media that said, “I talked to my spouse for 10 minutes this morning, so I don’t have to talk to them again until tomorrow morning.” It’s funny, and yet probably more honest than we should admit. We think that living together as a marriage couple is enough to spend time together, but why don’t we feel connected to our spouse anymore?

God’s design for marriage is a beautiful one! However, if our relationships are lacking connection, it’s hard to see how privileged we are. I heard a pastor once say, “Where there’s connection, there’s love. Where there’s disconnection, there’s fear and anxiety.”

During the month of April, to follow this message series at Journey called Relationship Goals, I challenge you to stop and ask: what is the goal of our marriage? I’m not talking about money goals, career ambitions, or your kids’ futures – simply ask yourself: how intimate and good do you want your marriage to be? Then, what are you going to do to achieve those goals?

Don’t overthink this. Connection with your spouse might be right around the corner. John Gottman says, “For many couples, just realizing that they shouldn’t take their everyday interactions for granted makes an enormous difference in their relationship. Remind yourself that being helpful to each other will do far more for the strength and passion of your marriage than a two-week Bahamas getaway.”

If you are having a hard time defining your marriage goals, maybe start with answering these questions:
  1. What is the foundation of your marriage? 
  2. What areas of your marriage do you hold in high value? 
  3. What rhythms and routines are always there, and why do they mean so much to you to keep them in place?

My husband and I will celebrate 18 years of marriage together this fall. For us, these routines of connection are simple, yet sacred to us. We recently started setting our alarms to get up early to do a Bible reading plan together at the breakfast table before our four kids wake up. Sometimes we meet on our lunch break for a conversation together (or FaceTime instead if you don’t have enough time to drive and meet). After dinner, we frequently take a family walk around the neighborhood while the kids ride their bikes which encourages more talk time for us parents. If you’re in the car together, don’t let the passenger disengage and scroll or work on their phone. Instead, use this time to catch up about your day, your week, or your future.

Hold hands. Kiss good morning and good night. Say “I love you.” Don’t be too rushed to miss these quick opportunities to connect intimately with your one and only spouse. The truth is, quality time is greater than quantity of time. You won’t remember the nights you sat on the couch and wasted the night on your device. You WILL remember the times you stayed up until midnight having a deep and meaningful conversation together.

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”
Romans 12:10-11

Marriage is a beautiful and challenging journey that requires commitment, faithfulness, and grace. Let’s cherish our spouse and strive to make our marriage a reflection of God's love! Join us again this Sunday in Apopka, Lake County, or online as we continue Relationship Goals because we should all want Christ-Centered, Devil-Kicking, Covenant-Keeping marriages.

Loving the marriage journey,

Juli Hobby
Communications Director
Journey Christian Church