Our family enjoyed a two-week family ministry tour through Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas this past month. We experienced God’s grace for each day as we started off taking our young family from Springfield, IL to Oklahoma for a meeting with Character First representatives. We are discussing the opportunities of using Courageous Conversations as a tool to help people resolve their most pressing issues so they can build relationships of trust. As I have begun coaching people who are not Christians in the skills of courageous conversations I have seen many acknowledge their need for Christ. A truly courageous conversation is only possible as we yield our wills and incline our ears unto God’s wisdom and bow down our hearts unto His understanding.
The children continued their home-education with a field trip to the local museum. Anne’s motto for the last few years has been schooling on the move or “moving and schooling.” We have learned to make learning a part of our life experiences. God has been faithful to provide wonderful new learning opportunities in each place we visit.
Our next stop was at the Dallas Training Center where we filmed the Noble Partner’s Marriage Conference. We had thirty four couples who came from as far as Portland, Oregon in the West, Virginia in the East, Minnesota in the North, and Mexico in the South.
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The highlight of the conference was when a short testimony time during brunch turned into a three and a half hour revival. Couples began to share how God had broken through years of misunderstanding and resentment. As couples began to share others were reminded of unresolved issues and God pointed out roots which they confessed and men and women were able to gather around them and pray. One man who had been married over twenty years realized something he had never admitted to himself or to his wife. He had despised the fact that his wife could not bear his own children, they had adopted five children that he loved very much but wanted very much to have his own. When he realized that the root of his angry responses had to do with the despising of his wife’s inability to bear children, he was able to confess his bitterness, and receive the love of God for her and a new love for His children. A new boldness came over him and he affirmed his love for her and blessed her. His wife was surprised by his new boldness and she looked admiringly at him and spoke a blessing over her husband and reaffirmed her love and respect for her husband.
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One wife gave a tearful testimony of needing a breakthrough this weekend. She said she did not want to attend another conference and go home to simply add another book to her already wonderful library but miss out on the desperate need to connect with her God and her husband. She shared how her husband became broken during a courageous conversation when he realized how his actions had been affecting her. When he was able to express for the first time an understanding of his wife’s heart, she experienced the love of God through her husband and was free to move towards him in a loving respectful way which gave them a new hope for their marriage that she had considered dead.
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A woman sitting behind this couple began to weep uncontrollably as she heard this testimony that was true for her as well, she did not want to attend another conference only to add to her library. She stated that she was jealous of all the other couples who had such miraculous break-throughs. I asked them if they could stay after for some coaching in a courageous conversation, which they said they could. We spent two hours in which her husband was able to finally realize the false belief he had been acting on and a long awaited break through came for them and her eyes lit up with a renewed hope. They were both scientists and they decided to submit their minds to the Word of God and lean on His understanding rather than following their own. They left with a new understanding of what it means to incline thy ear and bow down thy heart unto understanding.
Psalm 116:1 states, “I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.”
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We discovered that when a husband allows problems to continue and even get worse it is typically because he denies there is a problem. What he doesn’t realize is just because he doesn’t name a problem doesn’t mean there is not a problem. When husbands refuse to acknowledge a problem a wife begins to wonder if she is the problem and begins to try to change and when she begins to suppress her feelings and thoughts because of her defensive husband’s reactions she eventually begins to feel less, give less and love less. It turns from retaliation to resignation and resentment. Helping men become willing to be made willing by God’s grace and come back into the relationship, to call upon his wife so he can incline his ear and bow down his heart to understand, then he can clothe her with mercy and truth so she can experience the love of her Heavenly Father.
Be a noble leader means you are willing to be made willing. God’s grace is already present, even when sin is abounding, grace is much more, it is our responsibility to stop resisting grace and once again receive the forgiveness for our own wrong responses and allow God’s love to flow in and through us to our spouse.
This conference was truly a blessing. I had no idea when we decided at the last minute to come what this conference was really about. It has truly been eye opening. The most significant thing I was reminded of was my identity in Christ. When we look to Christ in each other (Christ in us the hope of glory) there is always hope. Always looking ahead to what God is saying and not behind to what we think.
We also realize that through the busyness of life and other things, we had lost our desire for complete oneness. To desire it is to aim for it. Now we have new goals for our marriage and family. I also experienced the love and power of Almighty God for me at this conference. My focus had gotten off and self pity plus a critical spirit had cut off the power of the Holy Spirit in my life. I feel like I have come out of a fog and can see things more clearly and I feel free again.
Wife from Louisiana
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After the Noble Partner’s Marriage Conference I spent a day developing a curriculum for Courageous Conversations with some help from a few friends who have experienced the wisdom and understanding of God as they have begun to come, call and clothe one another in the mercy and truth of God.
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I took a day to be refreshed and enjoy my family as we experienced a few more field trips to museums and the old city park in Dallas.
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The next three days I spent as a consultant working with a local business to do strategic planning. My normal process is to go into a business and have courageous conversations with key employees so I can gain wisdom, understanding and knowledge to see what is the present state and reality of the business. We then had a two day strategic planning session which ended in a united vision, mission and renewed trust in the people present. The owners asked if my normal business planning sessions are so filled with emotion, repentance, forgiveness and eye opening experiences. The reality is that God is always doing the impossible if we only believe. Jesus said, “Let it be unto you according to your faith.” We are receiving what we are believing for, if you don’t like what you are getting then first check what you are believing about one another and your circumstances. These owners were willing to believe for God’s best and they found the it when they inclined their ears unto their staff and bowed down their hearts to understanding.
When we left Dallas, Texas, we traveled to the Little Rock Training Center in Arkansas for a night of fellowship with the families from this region. We shared the noble plans for the Advanced Training Institute and invited the families to join us at a Strategic Leadership Summit in one of four cities around the country. We enjoyed a picnic with the families and departed for home. We drove through the night and made it safely home where we have enjoyed the grace of God in re-establishing a daily routine of devotions, schooling, chores, service and fellowship.
We appreciated all the prayer support many of your offered as we called upon you to lift up all those we would be ministering to and with, God did the impossible as we willingly offered our loaves and fish unto Him.
Posted by Chris Hogan on Mar 03, 2006