Saturday, June 21, 2008


Weddings are a beautiful thing if done right. So many people rush into marriage or reluctantly give in to marriage after years of being together. Neither of those is the way you want it to be. But sometimes the story is straight from a storybook.

I had the pleasure of officiating the wedding ceremony for Kim Hawk and Jason Stern. But it was so much more than just "doing a wedding." I met Kim over 4 years ago when she first started coming to Horizon. She came with friends to a Link Group I was leading with Rebecca Miller. She was a freshmen in college then and had been dating Jason for a few years already.

But when I met her she was just beginning to really care about her relationship with Christ. And when I finally met Jason, a few months later, he was a super-skeptical critic of all things "Christian." Week by week, month by month I saw Kim begin to really plug into Horizon. Her best friend Jess Neal was the biggest factor in her spiritual growth, but I felt like I got front row seats to see the change in her life.

A few years later, we had multiplied the Link Group and decided to move it down to Glen Burnie. We met every week at Kim's parents' house. And for the first time, both Jess and Kim's boyfriends came consistently to Link Group. We were reading through scripture together and they had lots of questions. Jason came ready to doubt and ready to act as the cynic. But God can move even the most ardent "doubting Thomas" to a place of faith. And right before our eyes, Jason began to change.

His questions persisted but his heart began to open up. I will never forget one fateful conversation about Walmart. Jason and I had gotten into a political discussion about Walmart after Link Group was over. The others got up and went to the kitchen. When they got back we were still talking but the conversation had taken a turn. Things got "spiritual." Jason wanted to see a change in the world. I told him that the change in the world can only be done by people who had themselves been changed. Transformation in the world could only come from those who had truly been transformed. By this time Kim's dad had come in to join the conversation.

Finally Jason asked the most important of all the questions that he had. He asked how it is that he become transformed. It was the modern day equivalent of "What must I do to be saved?" The air in the room seemed to explode with the Holy Spirit. The question he asked dropped like a bomb. Everyone was silent. Everyone there knew that it was a special moment. I told Jason that he needed to get on his knees, call out to God, repent and give over his life to Christ. It was the modern day equivalent of "Repent and be baptized."

So many things culminated into that moment. Kim's parents had been talking to Jason for years about being a Christian. Kim had a number of talks with Jason about his spiritual life. Jess had always been there to answer his questions. Others had planted the seed. Others had watered it. God had made it grow. And God honored me with the chance to bring in the harvest.

Jason eventually decided to give his life over to Christ. And I had the honor of baptizing him. It was an emotional moment for me because I had seen where he had come from. Kim and Jason grew together as a newly Christian couple. They began to learn how to be Christians together. And when the time came for them to get married, they honored me with the privilege of officiating the wedding.

For months Missy and I had the special honor of walking them through our novice version of "pre-marital counseling." We talked with them through the tough issues that come to married people. We helped them through conflict. We examined their families and their communication styles. We looked at their budget and their plans for the future. And we had a blast doing it.

So after all of that, I got to stand up there and bring them into unity as a married couple. I got to hold their hand as they crossed the threshold from two into "one." I got to stand there on behalf of God as they said their vows. I got to invoke His name and His blessing on their relationship and their life together.

It was quite a moment. It was such a blessing to me. This is the way a wedding is supposed to go. This is how every marriage should begin. I will always treasure the honor of walking with people through these life-changing events in their lives. These are the moments where heaven bends down to touch the earth and we all taste just a bit of the Kingdom that is yet to come.


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