The wedding message by the father of the bride ~
Valerie Joy Howard and John Caleb Sizemore you are here to get married. Who saw that glacier coming?
Late 2007: Step Brothers was a new movie. The IPhone didn’t exist yet Hunter Hayes had just gotten his drivers license, Nashville was a small village in Indian territory …and Valerie Howard met John Sizemore.
It took less than a week for Valerie to know enough about John to tell her Memaw that John was the man she was going to marry. It took God a little less than a week to create the entire universe. But it took God, Valerie, and John seven years plus one to get ready for this moment.
God can move at the speed of light but He most often moves at the speed of life. As the father of the bride I had the opportunity to watch this amazing slow work. It is such a privilege to share with you what I saw.
John, I watched you grow in faith to launch out. Valerie, I watched you grow into security to be still. Some might say John is becoming your anchor and you are becoming his sail. That would be sweet but only if there is also a boat.
John and Valerie you have chosen to do life together in Jesus. He isn’t a church. He isn’t a religion. He isn’t merely a collection of inspiring ideals. You know Him as the very real person who invited you into partnership with Himself.
He offered you the chance to get into His life. He promised to train and direct you through a crazy adventure of His choosing for His purpose. You said, “Yes” and you keep saying, “Yes.” Not everybody does that.
Anchors and sails are great…when you’re in a great boat. You keep choosing Jesus as your boat. Good choice.
John, you could have stayed in Virginia in a stable job working for the executives of one of the world’s
largest ship builders or you could launch out and come to Nashville without a settled job. It took faith to launch out. Then in Nashville you had a decent job with a good company. You could have settled there but again you
launched out into work that was as stable as your next commission. You will always love stability and settledness but you have grown a faith that finds stability in what Jesus says about tomorrow, instead of what you found in yesterday.
Valerie, you have never had a problem with launching out and taking risks. I remember when you were a little girl and I was going to give you a ride on a jet ski. Someone carefully set you in front of me on the ski so I could hold on to you. You grabbed the throttle and took off at full speed. I don’t think I ever rode a jet ski with you again.
Launching out was never a problem. You launch fearlessly into relationships, challenges, and opportunities. But the security to just be still; that’s another matter. There’s always the next thing you don’t want to miss, the next people you want to meet, and the fear that you might miss out.
Over the past seven years plus one, you’ve been growing the security to be still. Even if there are three more people you need to have coffee with, and Jamie & Brandon just got back in town, and you could call the people you met in L.A. because it’s only 10:00 pm there; you are learning to be still. Someday you might even stop texting in your sleep. You are becoming secure that you won’t miss out. You have been growing in the security that Jesus has personally arranged for you to do everything that will matter and He has assigned you time to be still.
The best evidence that you’ve grown secure enough to be planted without fear of being trapped? You came to the wedding.
Since some of your friends here might be stuck at anchor and others might be sailing in the dark toward the rocks, could I share with them how you grew faith enough to launch out and security enough to be still?
John and Valerie have learned to treasure a Word from God.
And they have learned to face the worst that can happen.
God speaks and nothing is worth more than a Word from Him. Jesus made it clear that when you embrace the Word God speaks, nothing can stop it. Mountains, storms, diseases, disasters, powerful people, even powerful crazy people cannot stand in the way. When He said, you can throw mountains into the sea with a word…he meant a word of agreement with God.
Some of you really need a Word from God about something right now. It might be about something that is threatening you. It might be about something you want more than anything. It might be about how your story ends up. It might even be about who you should marry or whether that person has been born yet.
If you want a Word from God, you have to want to hear whatever He wants to say. Then you have to want to act on what He says. The Bible says a double-minded person shouldn’t expect anything from God.
I learned a long time ago when Valerie was a little girl that I could speak whenever I wanted but she would hear when she was ready to hear. My job was to help her get ready to hear. God is really good at that.
When you are ready to hear a word from Jesus, He will make the Bible come alive. He will put people in your path. He will whisper in your ear. He can even write stuff across the sky. He might even ambush you at a wedding.
Over the past eight years John has learned that when he gets a Word from God…don’t wait. Act right away. It takes faith to launch out just because Jesus spoke. If you wait to act, the Word might just fade away.
Over the past eight years Valerie has learned to wait until she gets a Word from God…before she acts. It takes security be still until Jesus speaks.
John & Valerie have learned to treasure a Word from God and they have learned to face the worst that could happen.
So what is the worst that could happen? For some, the worst that could happen might be no food in the frig or no place to go. For others, the worst that could happen would be that they never make it big or they lose their place on the charts.
But even if the worst that could happen were to be dying young or being left alone, it’s still not even close to the worst that could happen.
What’s really the worst? You were created to fulfill a purpose. It took hundreds of generations to set you up for your purpose. If you get it right, thousands of generations will be blessed forever.
Some of you heard a Word from God just now. You know that what I said was for you. Do you want to imitate John and act on it right now? Breathe this prayer, “Jesus I need you. I need to hear from you. And I want to do whatever you say to do next.”
Now what? Keep listening. He will say more. And you keep saying, ‘Yes.’ You will live the most amazing adventure knowing that you will never have to experience the worst that could happen.
John & Valerie, you have come to know that the worst, the very worst, would be to miss that purpose and to miss the partnership with Jesus that makes it possible. He never made a human with a purpose so small that they could fulfill it alone. That’s why he gave you to each other. He never gave you a purpose that you could fulfill with just each other. That’s why he said, “I will be with you.”
John, you may be the anchor. Valerie, you may be the sail. Jesus said, “follow me” and you said, “Yes.” He became your boat. A long time ago Jesus proved that he could walk on water, stop the headwinds, and flatten the waves. And he always got to the other side.
John and Valerie, I have a Word from God for you. “Connection” Together, you will connect the most unlikely people in the most unlikely places in the most unlikely ways. More than a few people in this room have already gotten a hint of that.
They, along with you will find out that what Jesus said is true, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human mind has ever conceived the things God has prepared for those who love Him.” And because of you they will get in the boat.