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6721 Jonestown Rd
Harrisburg, PA, 17112
United States


We are a Southern Baptist Church, by affiliation.  We cooperate with, and are part of a larger denomination. East Shore Baptist Church (ESBC) is an independent church, which truly believes in God’s Word, the Bible, as the sole source of faith and practice.

Weekday Musings with Pastor Brian

Whoa... Two posts in one week.  What's going on?  Actually, I want to share an excellent article I received from Thom Rainer, President of Lifeway, prior pastor, and seminary professor, on: Nine Concerns about Church Members Who Withhold Their Financial Gifts.  If you're a pastor, you've experienced it.

My Recommendation is - Elope!

Jean Harrison

I do not know how many weddings I have done since even before I became a pastor.  My first was to officiate my sister’s wedding back when I was a seminary student.  A great memory.  Since then I have done simple weddings, fancy weddings, outdoor weddings, even a wedding out on a Florida lake on a boat.  But I have observed something troubling… Weddings are becoming increasingly expensive and elaborate.  From outfits, to locations, to receptions, to decorations, to whatever… I am seeing huge dollars being spent; and I believe being spent with the wrong priority in mind.  

You might just wonder why this troubles me; after all, it isn’t my money.  What troubles me is that I care for the couple getting married.  Unlike weddings until the mid-20th Century, there are pressures to divide couples in our culture today that are frightening.  From the ease and acceptance of divorce, to the normalization of sex outside of marriage, to the accessibility of pornography, to peer pressure to conform to the behaviors of your friends and even your families, and a literal breaking down of what constitutes family, and more, most couples entering into marriage today have the metaphorical deck stacked against them.  And they will, in all probability, have to choose whether to fight for their marriage, or flee it.  Sadly all too many choose to flee… it is perceived as so much easier.  It isn’t, but that is the lie people are fed… and they believe it.  

Oh… the living together thing, well… that doesn’t work either… not really.  That is another lie.  That you can “try out” marriage… see if you are compatible, or whatever nonsense couples are buying into; is at the end of the day a sure fire road to mocking God and heartache.  What living together really offers is sex and convenience with no real commitment.  But break it up… and then see how the one left behind feels.  Oh yeah… Another socially camouflaged lie.

I am a big believer in marriage.  I’ve been blessed to be married to the most awesome woman on this planet for over 33 years now.  I realize you might think I am a bit biased, but you would be wrong… just saying… LOL!  But seriously, marriage done God’s way, with full faith and trust and relationship in Jesus Christ, is the only true hope marriages have today.  From dating God’s way, to marrying God’s way, to staying married God’s way; there is nothing like it when it is done right; and nothing more miserable and fraught with danger when you think you know better.  A guy that happened to have a whole bunch of wives once wrote, There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. (Proverbs 14:12)  And we’re talking death of dreams, aspirations, security, love, and even hope… not to mention marriages.  Sad.  You might have an exception to share with me, but I have a whole lot more stories of those who didn’t make it.

I just read a very good article from a guy named Benjamin Vrbicek - The Problem with the Pinterest Dream Wedding.  It is worth the read.  Here is the link:

He writes about what I have been observing over the past few years.  Couples seem more concerned about having an awesomely grand wedding… but are missing what I believe would be even greater and more important blessings.  Like where does God truly fit in?  

So why do I recommend eloping?  Like Mr. Vrbicek writes, most weddings are blurs for the couple being married.  Most have to look at pictures to see what really was going on.  The ceremony itself might last from a half-hour to an hour.  One or both of the couple are either trying to keep from losing breakfast or to keep from fainting during the ceremony.  At almost every wedding I have ever witnessed or lead, something goes awry.  The perfect wedding, really isn’t.  Something gets left out, goes wrong, or someone is late… or was not communicated with properly… or whatever.  You should read some of the funny wedding stories that are out there… I could add a few posts of my own.  I can also share some less than humorous stories.

And here the typical wedding these days could go from a very conservative $7,000 to $10,000… and likely much, much (even a whole lot much) more.  Factor in dresses and tux’s, dinners, and snacks, and locations, and the etc, etc… And all for “a blur” and trying not to pass out.  A Wedding should be a special day, and it is a very, very special day.  But let me suggest another viewpoint… what I believe is a better priority.

For the cost of a typical wedding these days, you could probably book a one - to - two week vacation for the couple at an awesome resort or destination in the Caribbean, someplace cool like Costa Rica, possibly even Europe, or even up in a place like Alaska or frankly wherever you fancy. Rather than the high-anxiety, insane business of a fancy wedding, keep it simple… or even simpler, elope.  Then invest in a week or two to lay a foundation for your future, getting to know your new spouse, and building memories you actually won’t have to look at pictures to remember.

I know this will take some re-thinking.  Not just with couples, but also with parents and families.  But investing in a couple who are about to be married… Ahh… that’s an investment worth making.  Especially if we have the right priorities.   So, your friend had a Cinderella wedding?  What kind of honeymoon did they have?  If they’re not wealthy, I’m not thinking a “great” one.  How about a very simple, Christ honoring, memorable wedding, and honeymoon of a lifetime?  You don’t have to be wealthy to have an awesome honeymoon; just be smart and invest wisely in your future… or the future of the couple you care about. 

I am not saying couples have to “elope”, but I am saying, simpler is probably much better.  Prioritize the time that will have the greatest return on memories and future, the honeymoon.  Well, that’s my recommendation… and I share it every time I can.   Love you all...