Ministry Update

In place of the blog this week, I wanted to take the opportunity to give you an update on some things we’re working on behind the scenes. I’m excited about what God is doing and where He’s taking our ministry.

First, one of the things I am most excited about is our conference schedule. We are in the process of planning several upcoming conferences. Here’s a preview—put one of them on your calendar and plan now to join us!

  • October 30, 2015 in Wichita, KS: This is a Friday night only shortened version of the Madly In Love marriage conference, that is specifically designed for all Pastors or ministry leaders. This is a great opportunity to be introduced to our ministry to churches, hear our core message, and learn the PLEDGE process for working through conflict with your spouse, your staff, and others!
  • February 19-20, 2016; Lighthouse Community Church; Wichita, KS: A full version of the conference open to all. Ticket and registration info coming soon.

Secondly, Zerrin, Danielle, and I have been praying, researching, and talking about ways in which to attract and reach more people with the PLEDGE message. We have a few ideas in mind for 2016 that we’re really excited about! Would you pray with us that God continues to lead us in new ideas, strategic partnerships, and fresh creativity?

Thirdly, several churches have asked if we would develop some material to teach PLEDGE in a small group format. We have a very brief guide available here, but we are also working on an expanded version that would be perfect for a church small group. We’re hoping to have this available early 2016.

Phew! With all that said, I’m spending more and more time connecting with pastors and developing new formats of content and have less time for the weekly blog so will start blogging twice a month rather than weekly. Now I’ll have more time to respond to your comments – so keep reading!

As always, thank you so much for praying with us and praying for us, we appreciate you so much!

Exciting things ahead!

Mark & Zerrin

What Have You Learned In Your Marriage Today?

Have you ever wondered why marriage goes the way it does with all it’s ups and downs? Some days you think you couldn’t live without your mate, and other days, well… it’s nice to have a bit of space. What if there was a purpose in all the challenges you face not only in your marriage but in life itself?

Madly In Love

Early this year a friend of mine wrote the following article that answers that question in a very revealing manner. I thought it was so good I wanted to share it with you with his permission. Read more to learn THE perspective you need to get the most out of your marriage, your family, and your life as a whole!

Continue Reading »

6 Crucial Lessons For Your Marriage

Inspired By The Movie "War Room"

My wife and I went to see the Christian movie, War Room, recently produced by the Kendrick Brothers. It is about the battle that ensues over a troubled marriage. Whether you consider yourself a Christian or not, there are a number of key lessons to learn for your marriage to succeed. Here are six:


1. Be prepared for conflict: when you get married you are entering into a war zone.

Before long, one or the other of you will hurt or disappoint the other, and conflict will occur. In time you may also experience conflict between you and your in-laws; between you and your children; and potentially between you and those outside your marriage who don’t care if your marriage survives or not. If the Ashley Madison scandal proves anything, it reveals that there are many people who are looking to have an extra-marital affair with someone else who is married. Learn to work through conflict. 

Continue Reading »

Do These 3 Things With The Story In Your Head

“Zerrin knows how to listen well, so why did she interrupt me? She must be getting tired of me having negative thoughts about life, so she just interrupted to stop me from whining. Living with me has to be hard–she may be just getting tired of me, period. I’m a mess.”

Madly In Love (2)

In my last blog I wrote about how we develop stories in our head when a conflict happens. It is an attempt to bring clarity to the situation and therefore a greater measure of control and security.

Usually the stories develop along the lines of us berating ourselves for what happened or blaming the other person. Rarely does either lead to healthy resolve.

What does? And what do we do with the stories in our head?

Continue Reading »

Do You Know The Story In Your Head?

Recently I was disappointed in a certain situation and decided to talk about it with my wife. Before I got even two paragraphs out of my mouth, she began telling me how she saw things from a different angle. Rather quickly I found myself frustrated and shutting down. It is often what I do at first when angry.

Madly In Love

In my head I found myself thinking things like:

“She knows how to listen well, so why did she interrupt me? She must be getting tired of me having negative thoughts about life, so she just interrupted to stop me from whining. Living with me has to be hard – she may be just getting tired of me, period. I’m a mess.”

That was the story in my head that day.

On another day it might have been something like:

“I can’t believe she interrupted me. Sometimes she can be so inconsiderate – like what I think and feel doesn’t matter to her at all! What matters to her is just getting out what she wants to say so she can get on with her day.”

Continue Reading »

Mark’s Marriage Minute

Jake spoke up again, “ I’d say it’s pretty important that we think before we speak… it seems like whenever Lisa and I get into it, we just say the first thing that comes to mind. We don’t think about what we’re going to say or what the other person just said to us. We just—react.”

Lisa grimaced and reluctantly added, “That’s true. To continue with the sports theme, it’s like we volley back and forth looking for those opportunities when we can spike it on the other person’s side and score some points.”  (page 13, The PLEDGE of a Lifetime)

How often does the conversation with your spouse or a friend reflect what Jake and Lisa are speaking above? You volley back and forth all the while looking for an opportunity to score some extra points by spiking in a comment to hurt the other or make them back down from their attack?

There is an old proverb that says:  “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21 NASB)

Every word that comes out of your mouth, will score a point for or against your marriage. (Tweet this) And you will eat the result.

This week’s challenge:

When you see each other in the morning and again at night, practice pausing to think before you speak to your spouse and kids. Make every effort to give words of life and win together in your marriage and family!

Are You Serious?!?!

My Take On Ashley Madison

Hackers did it again. Last week the hacker group “Impact Team” broke into Ashley Madison, a website which connects married men and women with another partner to have an affair, and leaked the personal information of the site’s 37 million subscribers. Ashley Madison’s byline is: “Life is short; have an affair.”

Are you serious?

Wait – that isn’t strong enough.

Madly In Love (1)

Sadly, millions have fallen prey to this deception, and now their names, addresses, financial info, and personal preferences have been exposed. At least 2 suicides have resulted from the leak and Ashley Madison is being sued in a class action lawsuit.

Continue Reading »

Mark’s Marriage Minute

For Men Only!

This one if for all you men who like me, truly want to make a difference in your marriage and family! (from page 12 of my book.)

Mike the counselor is saying: “Jake, you mentioned when we first talked today, that when you two were dating, you and Lisa both enjoyed a sense of adventure and mission. As men, we’re stirred deeply by the sense of mission. We were made to rise up and meet the task at hand. When we do, there is a powerful sense of satisfaction.”

Mike leaned forward and continued more fervently, “I know you love Lisa or you wouldn’t be here, Jake, so stay with me on this. Learn everything you can. Do whatever it takes. Become the greatest lover you can be— that is one thing you will never regret.”

After those last words, both Mike and Jake were quiet. Mike wasn’t sure, but he thought he saw some red in Jake’s eyes. He knew he felt the red in his own.

“To say it another way,” Mike cleared his throat and went on, “as men we were made to pursue a destiny, to impact the world around us. We must begin with our own families. I believe when we are called to this task in the right way, we will respond.”

I believe in you!

Men – I want to say I believe in you! I really do. I know that deep down inside you want to do what is right. You want to love your wife and kids. Often we just don’t know how or what to do. I know that! Right now – as I write this blog post I am facing a big challenge in my life that I don’t know how to deal with!

Remember this:  As leaders, we will always be placed in situations that are bigger than ourselves. What we do next will make us fall, stall or stand up tall!

Here are two things I am doing right now in the midst of my challenge:

First I am praying hard. Real hard! I am not afraid to admit that I don’t have it altogether. I need insight and wisdom – so I am asking the One who has both to enlighten me!

Second, upon praying, the idea came to mind (I am believing God put the idea there) to get with other men I know who have done well when faced with this challenge. I have counted five men. My plan is to get with each one in the next two weeks to learn from them and find out what I am missing.

Here’s my CHALLENGE for you men:  

What are you facing in your marriage and family right now that is overwhelming or keeping you from having the impact that you want to have?

  • Pray and PRAY HARD for God to give you insights!
  • Listen to any ideas that come to mind and follow up on them
  • Don’t be afraid or too proud to do whatever it takes to learn from others whether it is other men, books, podcasts, websites, or conferences.

Let us be men who move forward in our most important relationships so that we love our wives and children well!

Men I believe in you!!

Why We Are SHOCKED When A Leader Falls

And How to Protect Yourself

Recently, Tullian Tchividjian, grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, announced his resignation as senior Pastor from Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida because of “ongoing marital issues” including he and his wife both having an affair. This isn’t the first time we have heard a story such as this, and it certainly won’t be the last.

Madly In Love

My question is: why are we SHOCKED?

Most of us have in the back of our minds that leaders shouldn’t fall – especially not Christian leaders. They should have it all together.

OR, maybe we have deceived ourselves into thinking that there is this point in life when we (or at least those who lead us) become immune to failure, moral or otherwise. There should be a time when we have all of life figured out and somehow we “arrive.”

I wish that were true.

Continue Reading »

Mark’s Marriage Minute

Winning Together In Conflict

The following is a mini-blog in a series taken from my book, The PLEDGE of a Lifetime.

In counseling with Lisa and Jake, their counselor Mike says:

“Learning to communicate well with your wife won’t come overnight. You will have to work at it—a great deal. It’ll take a lot of time and sacrifice, especially at first. But if you do the work, you and Lisa will experience what it means to win together. Your kids will notice, too. And so will others. I want to challenge you to keep this in mind as we work together. I’m going to be your coach, and I’ll do my best to teach you how to love well.” (pp. 11,12)

Picture the following scenario:

Think of the last time you were in conflict with your spouse. You both had your side of the story. You both sought to win. You tried again and again to get your point across, likely at the cost of interrupting the other and even hurting them in the process. At the end, neither felt heard. Both were disappointed and angry.

Now picture this:

The next time you and your spouse are in a conflict, the experience is radically different. Both are heard and understood. Appreciation is expressed by both parties for the other and their viewpoint. Misunderstanding is cleared up. In the end, you found a way to win together. And this becomes the norm. Furthemore, your kids begin to notice. Others do as well. You begin to share with them how you do it. Over time, your family experiences greater peace, your children fight less with each other, and win together when they do. Soon, your friends, speak of how their communication and marriage has also improved. In fact, one friend says it even saved their marriage.

Question: which of the above two scenario’s would you like to see as your own?

No doubt the second one!

It can be yours – but it will take work. I won’t happen overnight. It will a lot of time and sacrifice. Just keep the second scenario in mind and don’t give up!

To learn more on how to make the second scenario your experience, purchase Mark’s book here.