Marriage Bootcamp – The Problem is Not the Problem

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Feb 3, 2019

The Problem is Not the Problem

Bootcamp is all about training not simply trying.

1 Timothy 4:8, NKJV, NCV, MSG

  • You can’t change the fruit in your life if you don’t change the
  • The fruit of the spirit is yours when you get saved, you just need to fertilize the roots and pull the weeds. (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT2)
  • The seed is the Word of God. (Matthew 13:20-21, NLT2)
  • We must receive and act on the Word of God.
  • Your marriage will have problems and persecutions.
    • Salvation is free; fruit of the spirit is work.
    • Marriages will lose the romantic emotional experience.
    • True love is choosing love and commitment over convenience and chemistry.

Train to be Soul Mates not simply Roommates.

  • Without knowing the real problem, we try to fix the wrong problem and the wrong person.
  • Instead of trying to fix the other person, we need to focus on becoming the right person.
  • Fix your hopes on God and seek to please Him through this relationship.
  • Wanting the fruit without changing the root change will never happen.

The root of the problem is a love problem.

  • Biblical love never fails…but can have lots of trials and troubles. (1 Corinthians 13:8, NKJV)
  • If you don’t love yourself and the way God made you, you will have problems loving others and them loving you. (Matthew 22:37-39, NKJV)
  • Great marriages take lots of hard work; without work marriages get bitter instead of better.

The real problem is a love Problem. (1 Peter 4:8, MSG)

  • If we loved each other like our life depended on it, most other problems would look small.
  • Let God take your marriage mess and turn into a miracle and a message.
  • Connect in love before you address problems, pains, or complaints.
  • Pour equity into your relationship before you try to make withdraws.

Ways to connect this week.

  • Put your marriage first, top priority. (Matthew 6:33, NKJV; Psalm 27:1-2, NKJV)
  • Have a date night.
  • Make sure you are touching your mate at least twice a day without sex.
  • Make a commitment to get healthier.
  • Agree to not miss church apart from emergency.
  • Agree not to get outside council unless we both agree who it is.
  • Pray for your spouse.

Sermon Video Transcription

James Greer: 00:00 Good Morning Journey Church. It shouldn’t be about keeping score, but sometimes it sure seems like it is. Amen? Man, I’m excited about our new series, Marriage Boot Camp. The reason we call it boot camp, is because I’m going to tell you, if you want a great marriage, you’re going to have some battles to fight through. Amen. I pray that 2019, it’s going to be your best married year ever. I know with me and Debbie in February, it just worked out that way, February 22nd we’ll have been married 45 years. Amen? But you know what I’m learning is you never stop learning, and you never stop training.

James Greer: 00:38 In fact, next week it’s going to be unbelievable, it’s going to teach you about if you don’t know who you are, you’ll spend a big part of your marriage life trying to be somebody you’re not. We’re going to be talking about next week, don’t live your marriage in regret management, instead of chase after the remarkable future that you have. You’re going to come to the point that you’re going to have an agreement and a commitment, that an unspoken expectation is an unfair expectation. Next week we’re going to ask you to say stop allowing problems to hijack your progress, so we want you to be here for that. And, and then in the third week of marriage boot camp, I’m going to do 45 years in counting, and I’m going to share a few of the things that in the last 45 years that me and Debbie have learned together.

James Greer: 01:24 But what I want you to know about marriage boot camp, really with marriages period, most of the time, the problem is not really the problem. And so when I said, you know, we have kind of a theme word this year, that we’re going to train not simply try. And we’re trying to give you more and more things to help you train. In fact, I’ve never been to a church, I’ve never seen the church try to give you as much material to help you train, instead of simply try. In fact, you’re going to see later on, you have the little card in your bulletin. And what you’ll do is the wives would go praying for your husband, and on the back you go to that website, and pray for your mate. In every single day you’ll get an email to remind you to pray for your mate. I’m going to tell you, when you start praying for your mate, it begins to change your life almost more than it changes their life. So I want to encourage every single one of you to take the time to go into that website and signup, where you’ll get a reminder for an email every single morning.

James Greer: 02:25 Did you know in First Timothy chapter four, verse eight, it says this, “For bodily exercise profiteth little.” I can believe that, I’m trying, not making much difference. But a little bit’s better than nothing. Amen. “But godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” In other words the Bible says, I want you to train, and I want you to learn to train for what is profitable. It’s profitable to have a great marriage. Amen. Did you know the world, the TV, the media, everything, the devil is trying to destroy the marriage? And we as a church need to come together, and apply God’s word to try to bring marriage’s better together than they’ve ever been. Another translation of First Timothy, it says, “Training your body helps some ways, but serving God helps in every way, by bringing you blessings in this life and the life to come.” God says, listen, I want you to not only to learn to serve, I want you to learn to serve at home, I want you to learn serve God here, because it says it brings blessings in your life. One last translation, and we’ll get to the message, “Working out in the gymnasium it’s useful, but the disciplined life in God is far more, making it fit both today and forever.”

James Greer: 03:42 In other words, marriage bootcamp is focusing on the discipline of marriage life, that you can go farther and faster than you’ve ever had. Number one thing I want you to remember, the problem is not the problem. Whatever you really think the problem is in your marriage, I can guarantee you most of the time, that’s not the problem. It’s the same way with most problems. When people say we have financial problems, they usually look at the wrong thing, then they’ll never get to what the real problem is. It’s the same thing on your job. It’s the same thing in church. It’s the same thing with our government. I want you to know most of the time, the problem isn’t the problem. This principle applies to everything. See, way too many people, you will want the fruit, without changing the route. And you can’t change the fruit, unless you change the route. In other words, you’ve got to learn to take care of the route, if you want to have the right fruit in your life. What are the fruits I’m talking about? It’s the fruit of the spirit. It’s in Galatians 5: 22, it says, “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such there is no law.” See, we want this kind of fruit in our marriage, but we don’t want to do the training that it takes.

James Greer: 04:47 See, if you have that fruit, it’s because you’ve already taken care of the route. If you have love and joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness in your marriage, it’s because you have worked for that. The truth is, you all ready? You already have that. See, when you got married,married that’s not true. But when you got saved, the Holy Spirit came and lived in you, and brought those fruits of the spirit to you. Now what’s happened is, you maybe not fertilized it, maybe you hadn’t pulled the weeds to get to that, but they’re there. Matthew 13:20 says this, The seed on the rocky soil, represents those who hear the message, or they hear the word, and immediately receive it with joy. The seed is the word of God. The seed is God’s word. It does matter how you received the word every Sunday, and it matters what you do with the word. Because the next verse says, but since they didn’t have deep roots, (and they don’t go back there) they don’t last long. The words aren’t on the screen in the back, that’s okay. In other words, because you didn’t have deep roots, they didn’t last long. See, you had shallow roots, a shallow love. Sometimes we instead of love, we’d call it lust. You’re looking for what you can get out of the marriage, and out of a relationship, instead of what you can bring in it. So they don’t last long, because why? They fell away as soon as they have problems, and persecution, for their belief. In other words, soon as you start having a problems, soon as you started having pressure. Let me tell you, you all want to know the true answer to pressure, is humility. The true answer to problems, and persecution, is a person. And that person’s name is Jesus Christ.

James Greer: 06:36 Let me read something that’s not in your bulletin. Philippians 2:3 says, “Don’t do anything from selfish ambition or vain conceit. Instead, be humble to give honor to the other person other than yourself.” You want to do a whole lot for your marriage, just simply when pressures come, humble yourself. And I might say, am I wanting the very best for the other person, or am I simply wanting my way? And so it drastically makes a difference. See, it takes a lot of work to have the kind of marriage that God wants. Let me tell you what, salvation is free. Salvation is free, God paid the price, the fruits of the spirit takes work. This is so true about marriage and relationship. You see something, you hear something, at first everybody’s excited, and everything’s going to be great. And then because you don’t have deep roots, they’re not based on Christ and his word, the joy doesn’t last. You’ve got to lose, forget it. Matter of fact, the very person that you would have died for, you feel like now is killing you. That your spouse, that was the answer to all your problems, is now your biggest problem. They made you happier than you’ve ever been, now they’re the very source of your misery. You know why? Because that romantic biochemical, emotional experience can only last for so long. The endorphins that are first released, it kind of gives you that tingly feeling, you know. After a certain time, you know, they say 12 months, 24 months, whatever, that begins to leave. Afterwards you began to see the flaws in your spouse’s life, and you think you never saw them before. The truth is they were already there, you just now starting to notice them. That’s because the problem was not the problem.

James Greer: 08:23 See, at this point, you choose love and commitment, over convenience. You learn to choose love and commitment, over convenience and chemistry or lust. We have way, way too many people that are trying to choose convenience over commitment, so therefore they keep repeating the same problems. They keep repeating the same marriage problems, they keep repeating the same financial problems because the problem’s not the problem. You’ve got to decide, do I just simply want a roommate or do I want a soul mate? Because see, if you want a soulmate and not simply a roommate, you got to turn to, hey, how are we going to fix the real problem? Instead of trying, you ready? Number one, instead of trying to fix the other person’s problem. Step number one is you focus on becoming the right person, not changing the other person. Step number two, instead of fixing your hopes and dreams upon that person, fix your hopes and dreams upon God.

James Greer: 09:22 See, and then that fruit will begin to change. When say you got a root problem, we’ll talk about this next Sunday, many times it’s the baggage you brought into that marriage. When you got married, you brought your genes, your parents’ genes in there, you brought some hurts, you brought some guilt, you brought sometimes there’s an abandonment issue, sometimes it’s a bad self esteem. And see, so instead of addressing the root and get to the problem, you just want the fruit, and it doesn’t happen. So what do we have to do? If you want to get to the root of the problem, you ready? The real root of the problem is a love problem. Love wants the best the other person, lust wants the best for themselves. When I say love problem, I’m talking about a biblical love, not an emotional infatuation that comes and goes. See the biblical love, it never fails. Now you’ve got a lot of trials, you’ve got a lot of troubles, but it never fails. First Corinthians 13:8 says, “Love never fails.” In fact do you want the true definition of love? You can go to First Corinthians 13:4-8 and it’s not what the world is teaching you.

James Greer: 10:25 Now, what I’m going to do is if you’re married, I want you to raise your hand, because we’re going to give you a little assessment test. So if you are married, raise your hand, raise your hand. And ushers if you all would get after it, and give them those soon as you can get them into their hands. And if you’re online and you want it, there should be, if you’re watching on facebook, there should be a link that you can go to. Or go to the sermon, hit sermon outlines, and you can get that. And this assessment, all except for one or two questions, are for married people. You can use it with a friend, you can use it with a parent, you can use it for a boyfriend, use it for a girlfriend, except there’s a couple of questions that only applied to married people. Now, the point of this assessment is not the fight over, the point of the assessment, it’s just to see really how aware you are of your partner. The Bible says in Matthew 22, “Jesus said, you shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. It’s the first, and greatest, commandment. The second one is to love your neighbor.” That could be your mate. Amen? “As yourself.” You ready? When you don’t love yourself and the way God made you, you’re going to have problems loving other people and allowing them to love you. Next week we’re going to talk about that.

James Greer: 11:40 One of the greatest problems in marriages. is that one of the mates doesn’t know who they are, so they’re trying to be somebody they’re not. See, and when you don’t love yourself the way God made you, I can tell you’ll continue having a problem being in love and loved. So what I want you to do, is next week I want you to answer the question preferably separate, and then come together and do them together. I mean, me and Debbie were doing it yesterday, some of them I couldn’t even answer. You know, what is your favorite movie star? I don’t have one. What is your favorite place to eat? It depends on the time a week, it depends on if I’m on a diet or not. I mean, well like this week, I mean I’m eating fish and chicken. When I get off this, I’m going to go to Outback. I mean, bit what’s your favorite color? Hey guys, let me give you a hint, most marriage boot camps beat the husband up all the time. That’s not true, it takes two people to make it. Amen? Free insight guys, when you finally get the answers, put them in your phone, because you’re going to forget. And then when they change their mind, you’ll have it in writing. Do you know your wife’s favorite color? Does she know yours? Do you know their shoe size? Do you know their dress size? I added one, I said, what is your ring size? I was trying to get a ring, and I didn’t want her to know it, so I act like that was one of the questions and then I wrote it down. What the point of the whole thing is not to see who gets the highest score. It’s not to say, hey I answered more than you did. The point is getting you to talk about something that you can enjoy together, instead of your problems. Amen? And then you really see how much time you spend together talking about each other, how self aware you really are. It’s just a starting point to where you get…if one has better answers than the other one, it’s sometimes because the one that has the lowest answers is just trying to be honest. It’s not a thing about who’s winning, it’s to talk about, not fight about. It’s the two becoming one.

James Greer: 13:48 The greatest marriages in the world, take lots and lots of very hard work. Without hard work, your marriage will not keep getting better, it will begin to get bitter. You all know people that the longer they’re married, the more bitter they get, and the harder they get, instead of the happier they get. I can honestly say I’ve been married almost 45 years, my wife is my lover and my best friend. Amen? That’s why I got married, I wanted a best friend, and so that’s the relationship. That’s what I want for you, that’s what God wants for you. He wants the two to become one like never before. So the real problem, you ready? The real problem in marriage is a love problem. Let me tell you what I’m talking about. Couples in First Peter chapter four, verse eight, in the message it says, “Most of all, love each other as your life depended on it.” Love makes up for almost everything else. If we loved each other like our life really depended on it, it will take care of most of the other problems. See, the truth is, our life does depend on it. Have you ever noticed when your relationships are right at home, when your relationships are right with your wife, when your relationships are right with your kids, when your relationships are right on your job, it seems like everything else in life is small. But when your relationships are not right, everything else seems to be wrong, so he wants us to focus on that.

James Greer: 15:07 You know, it doesn’t depend upon when you get married, it depends on what you do after you’re married. You know, everybody says, did you marry the right person? My question is, what’d you do after you got married? See, your marriage might be in a mess, but God says, hey, I can turn it into an unbelievable miracle, and that’s what God wants to do. Why don’t you commit to connecting in love, before you address the problems, the pains, and the complaints. Now we want you, listen if you’re married, what we want you to do the rest of this week, we want you to focus on connecting with each other in love. The devil wants you to focus on your problems, your pains, and your complaints. God wants you to focus on your purpose, purity, praise, his presence, which produces love. In the New King James, First Peter 4:8 says, “Above all things have fervent love, one for another.” Do you know why? Love covers a multitude of sin. You understand why it’s so important to connect in love before you address the problems? Marriage is tough. I’m going to sin, you’re going to sin, but when the connect is right, most of the sins and shortcomings don’t seem that big.

James Greer: 16:21 So I’m going to give you some homework, you ready? Homework, or this is how you began to pour equity into each other’s life. Number one, do the assessment test this week, and talk about it, don’t fight about it. Number two, make a commitment to put your marriage as a top priority. Whatever we prioritize gets our time, energy, and money. Priority, listen, it brings progress every single time. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, everything else will be added. The psalmist says, 127:1, “Unless the Lord builds the house, you labor in vain.” Is it your relationship, or is it your riches that is most important? Pick your relationship. If your mate is a priority, you will pick her over your money, your hobbies, your friends, and even your kids. I cannot tell you the relationships I see today that people are waiting. I just can’t wait to get the kids out of the house, where they’re going to all go their own way. No, no, no, you put your mate before your kids. Amen? They’re going to be there when everybody else has gone.

James Greer: 17:27 Alright, number two, do our assessment, give them priority, have a date night every week. Have a date night, make it an intentional date night, and agree that on that date night we’re going to work that we have a better marriage. I don’t care how long you’ve been married. I got 45, and 45 more go, and I want it to even keep getting better and better ti one day, God calls us home. And one of the ways, you ready? One of the ways to do that, is come together and during your date night, don’t fight about your problems. Say we’re going to have a business meeting once a week, this is so important, and what we’re going to do is we’re going to put so many of our problems off. Instead of fighting about them every single day about them, we’re going to do it Monday, Tuesday, whatever day you pick. And say, hey, we’re going to take an hour or two and all we’re going to do that day, is we’re going to address the problem with the purpose of trying to come together and unite and fix the problem, not just simply win in my problems. So we’re going to have a business meeting. During our date, we’re going to share our dreams, where we might want to go on vacation, what are we going to do at the holiday, what our hopes are, what our desires are. See, men, you ready? I don’t do a good job with this, but on our date night, let’s make sure we open the doors, open the door to the cars, open the door when we go out to eat, when we go the show. Listen, at least this one night, you all ready men? Let’s make our manners matter again. Because if you’re not careful, we just go out and get in the car. I’m in there sitting down waiting for her to come in and get the order, I’m drinking ice tea while she’s walking in the door. That’s not much of a date.

James Greer: 19:12 We got a questionnaire this week, and it talked about how much you’re on your phone during the date. She said, I got you. I got to do something about that, man. So what I mean is let’s begin, are you all ready men? This week we’re going to have a date, and whether it’s a date, or whether you’re in a relationship, whether you’re going out, let’s make our manners what? Matter. Amen. So today, let’s practice this. you all ready men? Amen? Come on, stand up. You know what I mean? Let’s stand up men, come on, come on, come on. Hey, when you all get ready to go out today, when you leave today, walk your wife to the car, open the door. And all the men said, Amen! Come on, grow up. That’s better than what I used to say.

James Greer: 19:58 Number what? Are you ready, you all stay with me. I think it’s three or four. Both husband and wife, make sure you have touches to your mate a couple times every day without having sex. In other words, this is just a touch. This is just saying, hey, I want you to know that I love you, and I care for you. And see what I always hear is in so many of these books you read say, men, get that your wife wants to be touched. Guess what ladies, open your eyes, so does your husband. He loves when you walk by and say, man, I’m so proud of you. Honey, I just want you to know, I love you. Man, I want you to know, you’re the king of this house. I mean, they will go crazy. Amen? Alright, hey, this is homework. Amen? Man, we’re going to raise our marriages, it’s going to be a whole new level.

James Greer: 20:49 Okay, commit to getting healthier. I don’t really like this part. I don’t know if that means eating better, I don’t know if that means get a little exercise. I know what that means to me, I mean, I kept trying and trying and trying and trying and trying to get a little healthier. And I never did go to the gym, and I never did change the way I was eating, and I wasn’t getting any healthier. This whole year we’re talking about training, not just trying. I’m going a couple of days a week, I’m not doing that much, but it’s better than doing nothing. Amen. I’m trying to eat better, and it’s better than what I was doing. So, I want you to commit to being healthier, I want you to commit to touching your made a couple times a day. Men, I want you to commit to having your manners matter. I want you to commit to putting your marriage as a priority. I want you to commit to coming to church every single Sunday, because it does matter what you take in, and what you do will radically change your life. The Bible made it very clear, unless the Lord builds the house, you labor in vain. If you want to get a better marriage, you put God first, and you get in here. Amen, Brother James, that’s true.

James Greer: 21:51 You’ll hear this twice, don’t get outside counseling unless you both agree who it is. In other words, don’t get counseled under the influence, don’t try to settle problems under the influence. Don’t try to settle your problems under the influence of alcohol. Don’t settle your problems under the influence of drugs. And don’t settle your problems when you’re in the influence of the wrong person. So if you’re going to get counsel, you and your husband both agree who you’re going to go to. Amen? Don’t you go run to your momma, and you go run to your daddy. Don’t go run to your little girlfriend is going to agree with you, and don’t go out and have a drink with a bunch of guys and say how bad you’ve got it. Now that does not work, that is not fair, don’t be getting counsel from somebody else. So you all, as couples, if you’re married, if you’re dating, if you’re engaged to commit right now, if we get counsel who were going to go to. And those people need to be wiser than you, probably married longer than you, have a better marriage than you do, or have better financial condition then you have. Amen, brother.

James Greer: 22:56 Okay, you ready? Now, pray for your spouse every day. Now how are you going to do that? It’s hard. Let me tell you what, I’m so worked up over this thing, I’m going to tell you. Well, what I’m telling you is, we’ve worked very hard, I have, the church has. We want you to have better marriages. You all got this card, every single married couple, every person that’s engaged, should go on up, and sign up on this. You get 30 days is absolutely free. Now there’s another one you can pay for that’s 52 weeks, but we’re giving you this to start. And every single day, every one of us has got two or three minutes to stop and pray for your mate. Amen? So do it, it’ll change your life more than it’ll change theirs.

James Greer: 23:35 So, okay, you ready? Let me give you a summary, and we’ll kind of close, alright? So steps to take this week. Number one, focus on becoming the right person, not changing the other person. Step number one, you focus on you becoming the right person, and quit focusing on changing the other person. Step number two, learn to fix your hopes and dreams on God, and seek him, seek to please him, not just your mate. And do you understand the downfall in marriage when you put your dreams and your hopes and everything in a person, for what only God can give you, so you’re going to start trying to be the right person. You’re going to try to fix your hopes and dreams upon God. You’re going to agree to work out the real problems, and you’re going to try to connect with the love, before you address the problems and pains and complaints. So you’ve got a problem, I’ve got a problem, every married couple in here has a problem. Amen? Let’s set aside a certain time, and address the problem. Let’s spend the rest of the time, let’s try to connect and love together. Let’s focus on your God given purpose in life, which is to bring honor and glory of God. Let’s focus on the purity of your life, in your mind and your body. Let’s focus on praising God. Let’s focus on coming into God’s presence, and allow it to produce a love which wants the best for the other person. Number five, Agree to make your marriage a priority, whatever’s a priority, will have progress in your life. Commit to praying for your mate every single day. Commit to doing the assessment together. But when we do it, we’re going to do it because we want to share our dreams and our hopes and our desires. And then last, believe that God wants you to get your marriage better, and God will help you if you’ll do it yourselves. Amen?

James Greer: 25:13 Let’s stand. Man, It’s a great God. We have a great bunch. We’ve got great couples. We’re going to have great marriages. Father, you’re a great God. See, the devil is a liar and a cheater, and he did come to steal, kill and destroy, but you came that we can have life and we can have it more abundantly. God that applies to every single person, whether they’re single, whether they’re married, whether they’re engaged. God, I want to pray a special blessing upon every married couple here, I want to build a hedge of protection around the battle. I want to pray that as they apply your principles, that their lives will be radically changed. I want to pray for those that want to come to this altar, and commit their marriages to Jesus Christ. I want to pray for those that are hurting, that need somebody to pray for them. I want to pray for those that don’t know that Jesus Christ as their personal savior, that today that they would step out. I want to pray for those that want to come and join our church. God, pray for those that need to be publicly, biblically baptized. God, whatever you laid upon their hearts, I pray, God, that you would have your will and your way in their life. And it’s in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.

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