Wedding - Ashlynn and Joe Johnston

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PRESENTATION OF THE BRIDE - ***Audience stands

**Who gives this woman to be married?


After prayer, have everyone be seated

Introduction and welcome - DON’T TALK TOO FAST

We are here this morning to witness the union of Joe Johnston and Ashlynn Kolmansberger in marriage.
In one of the most mysterious and beautiful moments in the world the Lord will unite these two together in marriage and He will begin the process of making them become ONE…
Two people, two unique and distinct lives, now joined together by the God of all creation into a single, cohesive unit.
Today is a special day and it is only appropriate that we all gather to celebrate.
On behalf of Joe and Ashlynn, I would like to welcome you and express their gratitude for your attendance.


Standing at the front with a couple who is getting married is my favorite spot in a wedding.
Especially when I have gotten to do life with one or both of them.
There are very few people in this world who are able to light up a room like Ashlynn Kolmansberger.
Joe, it is very possible that you, my friend, are marrying a real life Disney Princess - So here’s to your happily ever after!
The Lord is entrusting you both with a gift… it is the gift of one another.
Together you are going to get to experience new depths of relationship with the Lord.

Today is Special - but should not ever stay the most important day of your marriage

Today is a special day, but you must remember that it is still just a single day - not too unlike yesterday or tomorrow.
Sure it marks the beginning of your marriage, but today should not remain the most important day of your marriage...
You must understand that each new day that you wake up, THAT will be the most important day of your marriage.
The Lord doesn’t want the pinnacle of your marriage to be a day in the past that you look back to.
Marriage is meant to move forward and not be memorialized in the past, reminiscing about days that once were.
So rejoice in each new day that the Lord gives you, and let that day bring fresh wind into your marriage sails.


Your marriage is not primarily about you - It’s about the Gospel

What I want all of us to understand today is this… Joe and Ashlynn’s marriage is not primarily about them - It’s about the Gospel of Jesus!
You see, He is the designer and author of marriage - and the reason we are here today.
He has established a framework for what marriage is supposed to look like for us.
Marriage is supposed to be a proclamation of the gospel.
Joe and Ashlynn’s marriage will be about proclaiming the good news of a God who wants to be intimately involved in our lives.
While this day is significant for both Joe and Ashlynn, their chief desire is that God be the centerpiece of the day, and that He be known.
To this end, they want everyone here and whose watching to have the opportunity to hear this Gospel that has transformed their own hearts and lives.
This gospel is not a gospel that simply compels them to attend church, or serve others, or pray.
This gospel is the very foundation and framework of who Joe and Ashlynn are as individuals- it’s their identity first and foremost - before anything else.
What do I mean when I say gospel?
The word gospel means “good news”.
In the book of Luke, when the angel appeared to the shepherds, he said “I bring you good news of great joy, that will be for all people.”
This good news is the truth that God had come to rescue people.
It’s the news that you and I can be counted as righteous before an almighty God and experience the love of a more perfect father than we could even imagine.
It’s the truth that Jesus Christ came and died to save the broken and sick - and that everyone who accepts Him is gifted with His righteousness - and accepted by HIM!
The Apostle Paul in the first chapter of Romans said this about the gospel “it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith.”
He then says in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
Today, while it is important that you witness this special day for Joe and Ashlynn, their desire is that you walk away knowing the source of their own hope and peace - Jesus Christ.
Following Jesus is not a call to religion and rote rituals.
Nor is this a call to simply commandeer the name of Christ and never be changed in your heart.
It is not a call to be perfect, and He never expects you to be.
It is a call to relationship with Him - a relationship that transforms your heart and changes you in every conceivable way.


The first thing that must be understand is our brokenness.
Each of us carries with us this weight of sin that alienates and separates us from God.
We all feel this - whether we want to admit it or not.
It is that desire to keep hidden those things that we know would bring shame upon our lives
Its the dark corners of our life that we want to keep hidden because of how people would view us if they knew.
Its the brokenness that leaves us under condemnation.
Romans 3:11 makes it clear that none of us choose the Lord, but rather we choose destruction.
Because of this, we stand under divine punishment - the wrath of God - that when realized at the end of our lives results in eternity separated from Him in hell.


But God, being loving and desirous of a relationship with us, loved us enough to rescue us from this sin.
John 3:16 tells us that God sent His only Son Jesus Christ who is fully God and fully man to come and live the life that is demanded to be accepted by God - and He was the only one who was able to do that.
It also tells us that if we believe in Him, we WILL be saved.
Jesus was subjected to a punishment that was more suited for the most heinous of sinners - for people like me.
He was beaten and crucified, and the Lord placed the full weight of His Wrath on Christ for the sin of mankind.
And in the most tragic event in human history, Jesus Christ, the only perfect person who has ever walked the earth was killed mercilessly.
He was buried and raised on the third day - effectively conquering Satan, sin, and death - allowing us to be presented as holy if only we call to Him in Faith.
When we respond to God in this way, he takes every ounce of our sin and brokenness and places it on His Son and takes every ounce of Christ’s righteousness and places it on us.
You can stand before God, confident and bold, not as a slave or hired hand, but as a child of God.

Responding Now

The beautiful part about this truth is that you can respond to it right now - and you do not need me, you do not need a priest, you just need Jesus!
Confess your sin to Him, confess that you believe that He lived and died according to the Scriptures and that He was raised on the third day.
Call out for His salvation to be applied to your heart, and thank Him for saving you.
If you call to Him in faith, He WILL save you, and He WILL transform your life.
If you made that decision, you need people who will encourage you in your walk with HIM.
Please join a church, and commit your way to Him.
Talk to Joe and Ashlynn about the decision you made and allow them to walk with you.
I can assure that if you came to know Christ at their wedding, it will be one of the major highlights of their day - so please share that with them!

How marriage is connected to the Gospel

So how does the Gospel-story relate to marriage?
In more ways than we have time to talk about right now, but I want to address two things:
First: Marriage was created by God, FOR God.
Unless you get this into your head and heart, you will likely not experience the depth of blessing that can be found in marriage.
Without this understanding, marriage will be reduced to simply existing for whatever benefit each person can gain.
This is a significant reduction of what God would desire for marriage.
Joe and Ashlynn, you are getting married today not solely for your own satisfaction, but rather for God’s glory to be seen.
Your satisfaction takes a backseat to God’s Glory - and your marriage is not about you - it’s about Him.
When you grab ahold of this idea, and seek to live it out, your satisfaction in your marriage will be deep and lasting - and more impactful than if you sought your own benefit above all else.
It may be counterintuitive, but it is absolutely true.
Second: Christ calls the church His bride.
The church is anyone who has called on Jesus Christ for salvation by placing their faith and hope in HIM.
Scripture refers to those people collectively as the Bride of Christ.
Christ is our bridegroom, and He comes to gather us up for HIMSELF.
This is also further evidence of what we spoke about earlier when I said that God is not calling you into meaningless religion and rote ritual.
His pursuit is for your heart, much like Joe has pursued Ashlynn’s heart.
For the one wanting to follow Christ, it culminates here, where you are given a new name and welcomed into His family as His own.
Ashlynn, when you take Joe’s last name, it is simply an earthly copy of us taking Christ’s name when we were saved.
Joe and Ashlynn, as you step into this covenant of marriage, you should seek to model your marriage on the example that Christ has set for us with the church.
This is a HIGH calling and can only be fully realized with the power of God being present in your marriage.


So how do two people step into that type of covenant between themselves and the Lord?

What might this look like for you two? In Ephesians 5:1-2 Paul Writes these words:
Ephesians 5:1–2 ESV
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
in just two short verses, Paul provides some deep spiritual wisdom that can give us incredible keys to marital success and satisfaction.
Imitate the Lord!
Paul's command here tells us to do what the Lord does.
How do you do such a thing? How can you imitate the Lord?
First, you must know who He is and what He does to be able to imitate Him.
This comes through daily interaction with His word, where you submit your hearts to be examined and molded into His image.
This comes through being in open and honest community with a group of believers who are able to hold you accountable in those areas where you are not surrendered.
Second, you are going to need to fight against the sin that so easily entangles you.
Even the apostle Paul said that he often finds himself doing the very things that he hates and not doing the things he wants to do.
You will need to daily do battle against your sin and the desire to fulfill your own needs above all else.
Walk in Love
The apostle tells us that we are to walk in love as Christ loved us.
What does this mean?
It’s interesting - in the Greek - the root word used here can actually be translated as “trample”
When someone is trampling, it means that they are treading heavily.
Paul is telling us to love heavily with each step that we take.
Joe, you don’t know our four year old, Jackson, but you will meet him soon.
When I think about this idea of trampling, the picture I get is of Jackson trampling through puddles on our property
With all of the joy and vigor that he could possibly muster up, he tramples right through a big mud puddle.
Water and mud flying everywhere, and a smile the size of Texas on his face.
Then the next puddle, what does he do? He tries to do it up bigger than the last time.
When I tell you to walk in love in your marriage, I want you to have a picture of a little kid stomping through mud puddles with all of the joy that he can embrace.
Do it bigger with each step and don’t let that smile over the joy of relationship with your spouse leave your face.
Yes, it is going to be messy sometimes, but the Lord put you together for all of it - mess or not.
This is not something that we do by accident.
Treading heavily in love in your marriage.
Give yourselves up for one another
We are told that in loving one another well - we are to give ourselves up for one another - like Christ gave himself up for us.
It would be easy to just rush past this phrase and miss what Paul is saying.
HOW did Jesus give Himself up for us?
He died on a cross.
He carried our sin.
He presented us as holy and blameless before the Lord.
This is what it looks like to give yourself up for one another.
Be ready and willing to endure a cross for one another.
Set aside your own needs and desires and devote yourself to meeting your spouse’s needs and desires.
And this is not conditional… You do not do these based on how well the other one is doing that for you.
You do it because that was the heart of Christ for us - and we were unable to do anything to repay Him for how He gave Himself up.
Joe, your mantra needs to be “she before me.”
Ashlynn, yours is “he before me.”
Remember it’s about sacrifice to the Lord
In your marriage, as you imitate the Lord, walk in love, and give yourselves up for one another, it is for a bigger purpose than just fulfilling something in each of your hearts.
You do all of this to lift up a fragrant offering - a sacrifice to the Lord.
You must never allow yourself to make the other person the point of your love.
It is very easy to elevate the other person to a place where you serve, love, and give yourself to them because you value them above all else.
This distorts God’s desires for you and your marriage and is called idolatry.
It is not pleasing to God and it is unfair to your spouse
It is not pleasing to God because nothing should eclipse your love for Him It’s not fair to your spouse because you are putting a value on them that only the Lord is worthy of - and they cannot bear that weight.
When you seek to first bring a beautiful sacrifice to the Lord, and THEN experience the fullness of marriage, two things will happen:
You will be better reflect God to a watching world
You will love one other more and get more satisfaction than you possibly could if you were just concerned about self-fulfillment.

Marital Charge

Finally, my charge for you, as a couple is this:
Keep Christ at the very core of who you are as a married couple.
It is for His glory that you are standing here today.
Your marriage is not about your happiness or your fulfillment - but it is for the Lord’s glory.
I promise you that if you both devote yourselves fully to the Lord’s plan for marriage, He will bring fulfillment and happiness.
But it will be a happiness that will be based on HIM and not based on your spouse.
Joe, my charge to you, as the husband, and the Biblical head of your household is this:
Discover how to be a servant leader to Ashlynn, and one day to your children.
Become the Christ-centered shepherd/pastor of the little flock that the Lord entrusts you with.
Be the one who is most concerned with providing your family with fertile soil in which to grow in the Lord - making biblical community, worship, and service a priority and not an afterthought.
Spend the rest of your life trying to find out how you can better love your bride and elevate her.
At the end of the day, the buck stops with you.
When the Lord wants answers about the spiritual condition of your family, He will come to you - not Ashlynn.
This is a heavy load to carry, and dare I say, and impossible load to carry on your own.
You will need to rely on the strength of the Lord, which will empower you to glorify Him in this role.
Ashlynn, my charge to you, as the wife
You are becoming Joe’s biblical helper as described in Ephesians 5.
You will be the most uniquely gifted person on the planet to help Joe as he seeks to live out the will of the Lord.
Joe’s leadership is designed to operate at its best when you are functioning as his biggest supporter, advisor, counselor, lover, and friend.
Resist the temptation to get out in front of his leadership and fight the urge to stay quiet when you know you need to speak up - but do so with respect and love.
While the Lord comes to Joe to get answers about the Spiritual condition of your family, He holds you accountable for being the best helper you can be - and thus bring glory and honor to God.


VOWS - Joe first - Ashlynn Second

Joe and Ashlynn, we have unpacked some big truths about marriage and the marriage covenant today. If this is the type of love that you are committing to, then I will ask that you commit yourself to the Lord and to one another and to the life-long covenant of this marriage through the sharing of vows.
I, Joe/Ashlynn, --  take you, Ashlynn/Joe, -- to be my lawfully wedded (husband/wife), -- my constant friend, -- my faithful partner -- and my love -- from this day on. -- In the presence of God, -- our family and friends, -- I offer you -- this solemn vow -- to be your faithful partner -- in sickness and in health, -- in good times and in bad, --  in triumphs and challenges — in joy and in sorrow. -- I promise -- to love you unconditionally, -- to honor and respect you, -- to laugh with you -- and cry with you, -- and to enjoy a slice of pizza with you -- as long as we both shall live.


Joe and Ashlynn are exchanging rings as a symbol of the covenant that they have made.
Although small, these rings are made of precious metals and are in a perfect circle to signify the preciousness and ongoing nature of your covenant.
The rings do not make you any more or less married, they are simply a reminder to you of the covenant promise that you have made to God and each other.


Joe place Ashlynn’s ring onto her ring finger of her left hand
Ashlynn place Joe’s ring onto his ring finger of his left hand.
“I offer you this ring -- as a symbol of my vow -- and my promise -- to love you unconditionally -- for the rest of our lives. -- May it remind you -- of the covenant -- that we have made today -- before the Lord -- and our friends and family.

Foot Washing Ceremony

One of the aspects that the couple wanted to incorporate into their wedding ceremony is a foot washing.
In the book of John, chapter 13, there is an incredible scene that plays out where Jesus kneels and washes the feet of His disciples.
this was a beautiful picture of the God of all creation humbling Himself to the position of a servant
He stepped outside of Himself to show His disciples why He had come.
He didn’t come to be lifted up as a royal monarch, making that we must meet immediately.
No, He came to be a servant - stepping into the dirtiest parts of our lives in order to bring divine cleansing.
And He did it as an example to His disciples of how they were to serve others.
in v. 14, He said “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also out to wash one another’s feet.”
In doing this, Ashlynn and Joe are displaying obedience to their Lord AND they are communicating to one another that they are not afraid of the broken parts of their lives.
In fact, not only are they not afraid of them, they are willing to walk through those parts - TOGETHER.


Before your friends and family, you have made vows and exchanged rings.
Now, it is my great pleasure to say: By the power entrusted to me by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I now pronounce you, husband and wife, Joe you may kiss your bride.


Would you please stand - May I present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Johnston
INVITATION TO RECEPTION - On behalf of Joe and Ashlynn, I would like to again, thank you for coming and ask that you commit to lift the couple up in prayer as their marriage grows.
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