Family Series: Courtship
October 24, 2021
Pastor Gavin began the special Sunday Service by sharing Luke 8:15 and praying for the needs of brothers and sisters, followed by the greeting of brother Alex and sister Elaine leading us to a joyous praise and worship.
Brother Jack Cheng of Goodness group testified about how God guided him and sister Natalie in their wedding preparations starting from December 2020, from the decision on the date of the wedding to the venue for the wedding ceremony, the restaurant, and all that was needed. They were so glad that the venue allowed them to have pastor Gavin to witness the ceremony. He then shared two verses from John 1:16 and Psalm16:11.
The theme today is ‘Courtship’. Starting from two weeks ago, brothers and sisters from both the Youth and Cantonese congregations were invited to post their questions about the theme on Slido. Sister Elaine was the Chairperson, and she invited the guest speakers, including pastor Gavin, pastor Arlene, brother Jacky, sister Penny, brother Sing, and sister Winnie to the stage. After sister Elaine summarized the questions from Slido, she encouraged brothers and sisters to approach their shepherds, leaders or pastors for further discussions if some questions could not be addressed because of the limited time.
There was a lot of interaction among the guest speakers, discussing the questions posted. Pastor Gavin and pastor Arlene talked about the differences between the worldly attitude and the godly attitude towards courtship. Pastor Gavin explained the importance of understanding the destination of a romantic relationship and he said that marriage still works although the divorce rate is high nowadays. The most important truth we need to know is that from the Bible, we know that God created marriage and whatever God made will never fail. However, today many marriages fail because people are not following God’s way. In the world, people tend to have the mentality to divorce if they think their partner does not meet their needs or does not understand them. In the previous sessions of family series, they talked about the importance of communication. People always depend on their partners to meet their inner, deepest needs, which is never possible as we are humans. Only God knows and can meet our deepest needs. Human love is conditional, and sometimes, when there is too much pressure, it is not properly communicated.
Another question discussed was about “having the right person”. Pastor Gavin said that humans think the right person must be compatible with us. When God created Eve (Gen 2:18), God’s intention for spouses is to complement each other. Men and women are different and God prepares someone to complement us. Just like icebergs, we only see the top but cannot see what God has prepared. The right person does not have to be the same as us in all aspects but it is very crucial for the couple to be compatible in terms of values in life, beliefs, and purposes. Just like pastor Gavin and pastor Arlene, they are very different in terms of personalities but they hold the same value to follow Christ, have the same trust, and believe in the same purpose to fulfill the great commission. Internal compatibility is most important.
Pastor Gavin clearly explained that the idea of cohabitation reflects an understanding of relationships. There are two types of relationship, one is covenantal and the other is contractual. God’s way is a covenantal relationship, which involves ‘cut’. Jesus was wounded to establish a covenantal relationship, Adam was cut to get a rib to create Eve, likewise husband and wife should be bonded by a covenantal relationship. When we enter into a relationship, it should be sacrificial and permanent, surrendering our rights to each other. As what Jesus said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’, we should have the same attitude in a relationship. If we need to cohabit to see if someone is the right person, it is a contractual relationship, which is conditional, self-seeking and very fragile. Pastor Gavin concluded that we must always pray for a covenantal relationship.
There are many single brothers and sisters in church but how do they know each other? Through serving in ministry, they will be able to see the strengths, weaknesses, and the growth of each other, and they will also be able to see how each shines from within as they bear fruit. Elaine rounded up the special service by saying that it was not a shame to wait upon or look forward to a relationship and she also encouraged everyone to pray in unity.
Thank God for an interactive service that addressed many of brothers and sisters’ concerns regarding courtship, bringing out the most important message of seeking and putting God in the center of every relationship.