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Blog  //  Devotionals, Stories, News and more...

Marriage Catalyst

A Growing Relationship with God is the Catalyst for Building a Great Marriage.       
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Sunday, June 10, 2012 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

How do You Define a Catalyst?


A catalyst is best defined as an agent for change.  There are certain things in life that won’t work without the presence of a catalyst.  In the world of biochemistry, a catalyst starts, manages, and accelerates change.  The catalyst itself is not changed in the process. 

It remains constant.  A catalyst can make things function more effectively by changing structure or bonding things together.  A catalyst will do this to produce the best possible product or realize maximum energy.

A Growing Relationship with God is the Catalyst for Building a Great Marriage.

This is the main idea of what we are saying as it relates to building a great marriage.  Here are a few things for you to seriously consider throughout this great adventure.
 

1.   SOURCE - God must be the source for building your marriage: You are not the source.  Your spouse is not the source.  God is the source of life and the catalyst for change within your marriage.  You can’t build a thriving marriage without the presence of God flowing through your life and the life of your spouse.  God must be the source.  He is the foundation for a marriage filled with hope, purpose, and laughter.

 

2.   CHANGE - Let God change you from the inside out: Change is seldom easy for most of us.  As a general rule, we resist change, at least initially.  When it comes to changing our attitude, our behavior, and even our priorities, the difficulty level increases.  If your marriage will experience change, it will be in part to your willingness to allow the Master Designer to make significant changes within your heart.  Be encouraged, He’s not finished with you or your spouse.  Let His work advance and produce good fruit. 

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you
will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.  (Philippians 1:6, ESV)

3.   ENGAGE - Engage in the good work your marriage was designed to fulfill: The product of God’s work in our lives will produce good works.  God wants to reveal the uniqueness of your relationship to encourage the downcast, strengthen the weak, and give hope to the hopeless.  How he does this will vary from couple to couple.  Take the initiative to understand how God can leverage your marriage to help others. 

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.  (Ephesians 2:10, NIV, 1984)

For your marriage to thrive, you and your spouse must place God as your source of life and the very foundation for building your marriage.  Once God is the source, transformation can begin.  God wants to change you from the inside out.  This change will compel you and your spouse to get involved in God’s work as you learn to live your life through your identity in Christ Jesus, the life (John 14:6).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

When You Choose to Leave You Choose to Cleave


Ephesians 5:22-33, ESV

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Marriage takes work.  It is not for the weak nor is it for the faint of heart.  There has to be mutual submission within your relationship to make your marriage function smoothly.  Husbands have to lead their homes by example.  We can't demand one thing and do another.  We have to model love, forgiveness, and great care for our wives in every area of our relationship.  The more we love our wives the more we sacrifice for their personal benefit.  A mark of maturity is when we consider the needs of our spouse ahead of our own needs and make sure their needs are met first.  We are to strive to present our wives holy and without blemish before the Lord.  This won't happen automatically.  We have to be proactive and take the initiative to love and serve our wives to help them continue growing into the person God designed them to be. 

This great love and service towards our spouse is exactly what God expects from us as His sons.  When Jesus came His ministry was marked by love and service to his disciples and also to those whom He met during His travels.  He healed, taught, fed, encouraged, trained, and even rebuked others when necessary as a visible expression of God's great love toward mankind.  No one will argue whether or not Jesus loved people.  It was obvious by everything that He said and did.  He made significant personal investments into the lives of His disciples and modeled for them what being a disciple of Jesus Christ was all about. 

To fully cling to our wives we must completely leave our father and our mother.  No, we're not talking about abandoning our parents or rejecting all of their advice.  That would be foolish.  We're not talking about ignoring them or turning our backs on them either.  We are talking about starting new traditions as you embrace your spouse and begin working through life on your own.  Taking personal responsibility for your marriage and depending on God to provide for your needs is part of what we are talking about here.  

You have to become one with your spouse spiritually, physically and emotionally.  You can't do that when living with mom and dad.  You have to find your own place and grow as a couple without depending on your parents.  Only then can you really begin to cleave to your spouse.  If you don't leave and cleave, the tension will build within your relationship and ultimately tear your relationship apart.  To cling well you have to leave well.  When you choose to leave your family you choose to cleave to your spouse.

This and other topics are regularly discussed at our marriage seminars and conferences.  You will always build your marriage when you and your spouse take the initiative to invest in your relationship.  This last weekend was our first Matrimonio Por Diseño Seminar in Nicaragua.  We partnered with Iglesia Encuentro con Cristo to make this event a success.  The team at Iglesia Encuentro con Cristo love the people of Nicaragua.  They wanted to do something different to strengthen marriages and build families within their community. 

We are already looking ahead on the calendar to see how we can return for our next marriage seminar and reach out to an even broader audience.  Thank you Andy, Diane, Mercedes and Dr. William for your heart of service and dedication to serving the people of Managua, Nicaragua. 

It was an honor to serve you and your ministry.

Marcel Sanchez, Founder
Marriage Catalyst
Matrimonio Por Diseño

 

Saturday, December 31, 2011 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

Simple Thanks


 Luke 17:11-19, ESV

11 On the way to Jerusalem he {Jesus} was passing along between Samaria and Galilee.  12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us."  14 When he saw them he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests."  And as they went they were cleansed.  15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks.  Now he was a Samaritan. 
17 Then Jesus answered, "Were not ten cleansed?  Where are the nine?  18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"  19And he said to him, "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well."

 

There are a variety of gloves that we use for different reasons.  Some of us, when we wash the dishes we put on dishwashing gloves to protect our hands in the event that a glass breaks unexpectedly or to protect our arms from getting dirty.  We don’t want any new cuts and we certainly don’t like it when our hands get greasy and dirty.  We want to keep glass and grease at a safe distance.  We want to be protected, we want to remain clean. 

When we start working in the yard we find gardening gloves to keep our hands free from dirt.  It’s a pain when dirt gets into your nails.  It takes considerable time to remove all of the dirt and we rather not spend our evening in front on the TV removing dirt from our nails.  We also want to be protected from thorns and or stickers that we may find in the dirt. 

After living in Miami and Miramar for several years one never knows what they might discover when digging ditches or fixing their sprinkler system.  Florida is filled with all kinds of sharp surprises such as construction debris and “fill” used to elevate the land.  These things hurt, but a good pair of gloves will protect us from unnecessary pain.  We want to keep dirt and sharp objects such as stickers and thorns at a safe distance.  We want to be protected, we want to remain clean. 

Before the paramedics begin to work on people who are injured in an accident they take out their medical gloves.  They do this to protect themselves and others from infections, contamination and disease.  They want to protect the patient and they also want to protect themselves.  They want to keep all infections, diseases and potential contaminations at a safe distance.  They want to be protected, they want to remain clean.

In the same way, some of us live our lives with these two ideas:  I want to be protected…I want to be clean.  We keep a safe distance from God.  We don’t want Him to get too close.  We keep him away from our marriage and other important relationships.  We are strong enough to handle our own spirituality.  We are spiritual in our own way and we believe we don’t have to go to church every weekend to prove it. 

After all, we don’t want to get “weird” or start doing things that make others ask more questions.  We want to protect our heart and remain in “complete control.”  We don’t want to get dirty with any form of religion.  We have lived through several bad experiences and examples of what happens when people start down this road.  We want to protect our heart and we want to remain clean.

We find ourselves alone.  It’s not because people haven’t tried to help or get to know us.  It’s that we have created walls, high walls, impossible for others to climb over.  We don’t want to hear about the problems faced by others.  We have more than enough problems to deal with. 

We’re not sure if people would love us unconditionally if they knew what was in our heart.  We’re not sure if they would remain friends with us if they knew the things we’ve done.  So we limit our transparency.  We disclose only the superficial.   We don’t want to be criticized or judged.  We want to protect our heart and we want to remain clean.

What is the connection between protecting our heart, remaining clean and giving thanks?  Carefully read through Luke 17:11-19 several times and connect with us over the next few weeks to find out.  You can subscribe to the Marriage Catalyst Blog through our RSS feed on the top of this page to receive our next update. 

Marcel
www.MarriageCatalyst.com

 

 

Friday, November 25, 2011 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

You are now FREE to serve in love


For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery… For you were called to freedom, brothers.  Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."  (Galatians 5:1, 13-14, ESV)

You are free to live as God designed you to live.  We are no longer a slave or a prisoner of our past.  The Word of God reminds us that we are servants of Jesus Christ.  This one word should be characteristic of every believer.  It speaks to the attitude we are supposed to have.  It means that we are to completely submit to His will.  We are here to serve His people, the church.  We are here to serve others so that they might come to know our Savior by the things that we do.  And we are certainly here to love and serve our spouse as God intended.

According to Bible scholars, the two most common words in the New Testament for “serve,” “servant,” or “serving” are douleo and diakoneoDouleo literally means to be a slave, to serve, to obey, to submit.  Diakoneo was used to describe someone who served tables.  I loved working as a waiter/bus boy here in Miami during my younger years.  It really taught me what it meant to serve people.  Serving customers from many different countries gave me a great understanding of what serving was all about.  

Diakoneo meant to minister to someone, to serve them.  The idea is that you provide for the physical and material needs of others.  If we are going to serve others effectively, including our spouse, we must first completely submit to God’s will for our lives.  The way you serve your spouse is a measurement of your love for them.  If you want to build a great marriage and fall more in love with your spouse, start serving them without reservations.    

In Christ, you have a comprehensive freedom.  You have been freed from the power of sin—the past.  You are now free from the penalty of sin—the present.  One day you will be free from the presence of sin—the future.  So you can begin to serve your spouse and others without carrying unnecessary weights to slow you down.  Experiencing freedom the way God intended comes from walking in the Spirit.  You learn to love and serve your spouse through the overflow of your love and service to God.  

God’s Spirit teaches us how to live by divine design.  As you meditate on God’s Word and remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit, He will teach you how to serve and minister to your spouse.  Moreover, He is the one who helps you do the same with others.  Concentrate on knowing God and loving God more and He will take care of teaching you how to love and serve in the most fruitful way possible.  Loving God and loving your spouse freely is very powerful.  Remember, we live in freedom by faith through our Lord Jesus—the source of our freedom.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Romans 5:1-2, ESV)

What we have to keep in mind is that freedom must be practiced before it can be realized.  Creating good habits to grow your marriage through serving your spouse is smart, very smart.  More than just staying married, you and I want our marriage to last forever, until God separates us.  This holy desire is realized as we practice love in action.  The last three chapters of our book, Marriage Catalyst and Matrimonio por Diseno (http://www.marriagecatalyst.com/Grow-Your-Marriage/Explore-Resources.html) focus on creating habits to build a happy marriage, a great marriage.  Creating habits to protect, direct and grow your marriage begins with a heart of service.  This is not automatic.  We have to practice at serving our spouse.  It’s not only about the quality of our service that counts it’s the quantity of our service too.    

Don’t miss this next point.  You are free to love, minister, and serve your spouse and others without reservations (John 13:1-20).  In Christ, we are free to love others as we love ourselves (Galatians 5:14).  The quality of the way you serve others, including your spouse, reflects the quantity of your love for them.  Gene Getz once wrote, “If we loved one another more, we would serve one another better.”  He was right on the money.  The more I love God the better I will serve Him.  The more I love my wife the better I will serve her.  The more I love my children the better I will serve them.  And the more I love those who are struggling in their marriage and contemplating separation and or divorce, the better I will serve them.  My love for others is measured in part through my service.  When I commit my life to serving others I will realize my true purpose for living.  Jesus reminds us of this important truth.  

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
(Matthew 16:25, ESV)

Find someone who can benefit from your life’s experiences and start serving them in love.  You may ask, “But how can I do this?”  First of all, get to know their challenges.  What are people having a hard time figuring out on their own?  What seems to be a constant challenge for them to face on their own?  Use your education, skills, abilities, resources and contacts as tools to help them succeed.  By the way, this also applies to your marriage.  Leverage all that you have to help your spouse be all that God designed them to be.  You were designed to be a source of help for your spouse.  Yes, you are the one!  Become a problem solver, a solutions provider for your relationship.  This is why serving your wife or serving your husband is so important.  Many answers for marriage problems can be found when serving one another is already integrated into the environment of your marriage.  

At the heart of serving others, including your spouse, is faith working through love.  Gene Getz reminds us, “As believers we are to give ourselves totally to one another in the most devoted sense.”  Are you giving yourself completely over to your spouse?  If you are, this surrender will marked by unselfish service.  It will be marked by enthusiastically serving his or her needs on a regular basis.  Spontaneity, creativity and consistency will all be part of the equation.  

As we bring this devotional to a close let’s focus on one final point to consider as it related to our freedom to love and freedom to serve.  Your obedience to God’s Word energizes your freedom.  This simple, yet powerful statement is worth writing down.  True freedom is found when you completely submit yourself to God’s Word in every area of your life.  For you to effectively love God and serve Him, you must obey Him.  For you to effectively love your spouse and serve them, you must submit to and follow God’s Word in every area of your life.  Gene Getz once again reminds us, “It is truth applied that really sets me free.”  You are now FREE to serve others, including your spouse in love.

Saturday, October 22, 2011 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

How Can Marriage Catalyst Help My Church Grow? A Pastor's Perspective


Dear Pastor,

 

     I trust this finds you well.  As a fellow Pastor I share in the “good fight of faith” along with you and your ministry team.  I think you would agree with me that many marriages are in BIG trouble.  Some within our own ministry are heading in the wrong direction as a result of walking away from God’s original design for their life and for their marriage.  Their family suffers, but so do the lost that make up their circle of influence.  This reality affects us deeply as Pastors.  We wrestle with questions that challenge our approach and lead us to investigate what other tools are available to build marriages.  We don’t want to redesign our entire ministry, but we do want to find tools and resources to compliment God’s strategy for our church. 

 

·         What can we do both differently and creatively to inspire couples to focus their marriage on making an eternal difference? 

·         What can we do to help couples build thriving marriages that glorify God and serve others?

·         How can our church leverage a marriage conference to evangelize our community?

·         What can be done to help couples connect and stay connected to our ministry?

·         How can we create a variety of environments to protect, direct, and grow marriages?

 

The Answer:  Marriage Catalyst

 

     Marriage Catalyst was founded to help couples build thriving marriages that glorify God and transform lives.  We partner with churches in their strategy to reach the lost and build growing marriages.  How do we do this?  First we encourage churches to cast a vision for reaching the lost within their community and those within their congregation’s circle of influence.  Although many of your people may have experienced rejection as a result of inviting their lost friends to a weekend service, extending an invitation to a marriage conference is quite different.  The response is overwhelmingly positive.

 

     The conference provides your people with a unique tool to connect their friends and family to the Lord Jesus through your church.  Next we ask churches to host a Marriage Catalyst Conference to create an environment where couples can find inspiration and hope for their marriage.

 

     During the conference we challenge couples to continue investing in their marriage by committing to a Marriage Catalyst 12-Session DVD Study hosted by one of your small groups.  We highlight the four pillars to building a great marriage within the context of growing healthy relationships with others who are on the same journey:

1. Make loving God and loving others your highest priority
2. Be distinctly faithful in a good church
3. Be distinctly connected in a small group
4. Make key decisions together

     OUR GOAL is to reinforce these principles to keep couples connected to your church and on the path to spiritual maturity.  Each 20-45 minute session provides practical spiritual and relational applications from God’s Word to implement right away.  To increase learning, each session follows a simple fill-in-the-blank outline. 

     The 12-Week DVD Study can be completed in twelve, six or eight weeks, depending on the time provided for each gathering.  The message we deliver throughout the entire study can be summarized by one simple phrase: 

A Growing Relationship with God is the
Catalyst for Building a Great Marriage!

     The books, Marriage Catalyst and Matrimonio por Diseño serve as practical studies for groups, couples and individuals.  They provide an abundance of research and activities for couples to share together.  These resources will help your people laugh a little more, increase their knowledge of God’s Word and provide a strong foundation for their marriage to thrive.  The books are not required for the small group study.  They simply serve as resources to encourage your people to grow. 

     Life in the Vineyard is a 30-day devotional designed to help believers find their complete satisfaction in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Although originally written for new believers, it continues to encourage believers at various stages of their spiritual maturity by reminding them of the simplicity of the Christian life. 

     As a Pastor I understand the challenges you face each day in helping your people grow in their love for God and in their love for one another.  If you decide to host a Marriage Catalyst Conference or purchase our resources to encourage couples within your ministry, we would count it a high honor and a great privilege to serve you.

Marcel Sanchez

Founder, Marriage Catalyst
www.MarriageCatalyst.com
Info@MarriageCatalyst.com

To Host a Conference or Purchase Resources Please Call 786-554-0312

Saturday, October 22, 2011 Posted by Marcel Sanchez | 0 comments

The New Marriage Catalyst Website is Now Live!


We are humbled and excited to announce the release of our new Marriage Catalyst website.  The purpose of this website is to serve as a tool to help couples grow in their marriage and build thriving marriages.  The Marriage Catalyst website will help you plan more effectively for your next marriage conference or marriage seminar. 

The website will make available a variety of resources such as the Marriage Catalyst hard cover book, Marriage Catalyst 12-Session DVD Study and our Spanish hard cover book for couples, Matrimonio por Diseño.  It will allow you to download marriage videos, promotional videos for your conference and checklists to make planning your event a good experience. 

We look forward to serving you and your ministry!

Marcel Sanchez, Founder
Marriage Catalyst
www.MarriageCatalyst.com