I had the privilege of preaching at my great friend Darren Blaney's Herne Bay Baptist Church yesterday - my first "away match". It went well. I think. Ask them.
ANYWAY, I preached a version of my sermon on the church being the Bride of Christ and the implications of such for us today - it is far more relevant than its seemingly abstract metaphor/pretty picture suggests. I've had some interesting post-sermon conversations as a result (which I love - it means people are engaging with Scripture!) but one caught me out a little unawares.
A gentleman approached me afterwards and asked for advice about prospective marital partners...! I see the connection, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting. The gentleman was a widower and has romantic inclinations for a couple of ladies and wanted my advice. Um, moi?
Appreciating his candour, I answered as best I could - and we can always think of better answers some hours later, eh? So I mentioned the usual "Does the thought of her make your heart skip?", "Can you not only see the two of you sharing the rest of your lives together, but actually desire it (as opposed to finding a simple compatability and convenience)?", "Is she thinking the same?"(*) etc, etc. But I had to share with him that always, always, always the bottom line must be this:
"Does she love Jesus more than she loves you?"
If not, she AIN'T the girl for you...
(*always helpful in a prospective spouse, I feel.)
PS - I'm assuming prayer as being THE key element to seeking guidance and clarity in life! I hadn't forgotten it, and I did include it in conversation with the gentleman concerned :)