Tag Archives: weddings

Weddings, Weddings, Weddings!

Ringgold, Georgia

Did you know that Ringgold, GA is the “Wedding Capital of the South”? Well, it is, and that’s because hundreds and hundreds of couples get married there every year.

And where do many, if not most of them choose to tie the knot? The Ringgold Wedding Chapel. Go check out their website and read about its history, including some of the more famous names who’ve gotten married there (Dolly Parton and Carl Dean, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Bob Harvey from Jefferson Airplane, etc.).

Anyway, I’ve been conducting weddings at the Ringgold Wedding Chapel for a few weeks, now. It’s been interesting, to say the least. 🙂

A Ministry

Some of you may think me crazy, or even a heretic, for agreeing to marry people in a wedding chapel. Believe me, I get it. There used to be a day when I wouldn’t do a wedding for anyone unless they first agreed to extended pre-marital counseling. Now, I marry people the same hour I meet them.

But why do I do it? You see, the people that come into the chapel to get married don’t just walk in and say, “Marry me!” No, they have to book the chapel and pay a fee, plus have all their paperwork in order. However, those that want to get married could just as easily go to a courthouse, but they don’t; they choose to be married by a minister.

If these couples are going to get married somewhere, no matter what, I figured why not seize the opportunity to present the Gospel to them through a ceremony that highlighted a biblical model of marriage? It’s not a perfect situation, but it’s a chance to plant a seed, if nothing else.

So, I wanted to share with you guys my wedding script. It’s what I read for each and every wedding, making adjustments as needed, sometimes adding more when appropriate. When the service is over, I give the couple the script I used (with their names written in the blanks) for a keepsake, Scripture references and all.

Wedding Ceremony

The Greeting

   Greetings, everyone! My name is Rev. Anthony Baker, and on behalf of __________________ and ________________, I would like to welcome you to this wonderful occasion.

   We are gathered together here, today, in the sight of God and all you witnesses, to join this man and this woman together in holy matrimony. It is holy because marriage was not invented in a court room or a judge’s chamber, but in ages past by God Himself. Therefore, it should not be taken lightly, but should be entered into reverently, advisedly, and in the fear of God.

   He is watching, and He will never forget the vows you two will be exchanging. And, not to leave anyone out, God also knows every one of you here as witnesses, and He will know whether or not you encourage and support this couple in the days and years to come.

   To Bride: ______________, are you willing to proceed with this ceremony? Answer: “I am.”

   To Groom: _______________, are you willing to proceed with this ceremony? Ans.: “I am.”

The Giving of the Bride (optional)

   Who gives this woman to be married to this man? Response: “I do,” “We do,” “Her mother and I do.”

Prayer

   Father in Heaven, Creator of all things, we thank you this day for your mercy and grace and for giving us the wonderful gift of marriage. Lord, please bless us with Your presence, bless the union of this bride and groom, and be glorified by all that is said and done today. In the matchless name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen!

Statement of Marriage

   As I mentioned before, marriage was not created by men, nor was it ordained in a courtroom; marriage was created by God Himself. We know this from reading the second chapter of Genesis. There, God created Adam, then Eve, and brought her to the man. Adam then said of Eve, “This is now bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.” Genesis 2:24 reads: “This is why a man shall leave his father and mother and bond with his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

   Marriage is the institution in which God ordains a man and a woman to come together in love, with undying commitment, as a testimony to others of God’s love for us.

   When times get hard, you don’t run away, throw in the towel, and say, “I quit!” Why? Because Jesus, as our example, said to His disciples, “I will never leave you” (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5). As a further example to us, even after all we did to Him, after all He went through, He still carried the cross – He gave His all.

   Marriage is more than a 50/50 relationship; it’s 100% both ways. But even when one of you doesn’t live up to the other’s expectations – it will happen  – true love carries the extra burden, forgives, shows mercy and grace. That is one reason why the apostle Paul tells us in the 5th chapter of his letter to the Ephesians, “Husbands, love your wives, just as also Christ loved the church and gave himself for her” (Eph. 5:25). The sacrificial love of Jesus was to be mirrored in the marriage relationship. To sum it up, Paul went on to say in verse 33: “…each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.”

   _______________ and _______________, the greatest love of all, the truest love of all, is not a love that demands of each other, or expects of each other, but gives all that one has without any expectations. 1 John 4:10 (NLT) says, “This is real love–not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” Therefore, the greatest advice I can give is if you want a long-lasting, wonderful marriage, love each other more than yourself, for loving each other IS loving yourself.

The Vows

   _______________  and ______________, now that you understand something of the reason for marriage, are you ready now to confirm your commitment to each other, before God and these witnesses, by the saying of your vows?  Response: “We are.”

   Then please turn to each other and join hands.

   _______________ (groom), in taking ______________ to be your wife, do you so promise to honor, to love, and to cherish her in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth, in hardship as in blessing, until death alone shall part you?  Groom responds: “I do.”

   _______________ (bride), in taking ______________ to be your husband, do you so promise to honor, to love, and cherish him in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth, in hardship as in blessing, until death alone shall part you?  Bride responds: “I do.”

Do you have rings?

The Exchange of Rings

   You will now seal your vows “to honor, to love, and to cherish” by the giving and receiving of rings. I would like for you to look at your rings for just a moment. What you see is symbolic of two things. First, of course your rings are round. That symbolizes something that is never ending, a union that cannot be broken, and that is what your marriage should be.

   But secondly, I would like for you to think about the precious metal that these rings are made of. The metal is precious because it was hard to find and what it endured to become what you will wear. The metal in these rings went through a furnace, through testing, through times of purifying. Your marriage will also have times of trials and tribulation, times when you’ll be put through the fire. And when those times come, look at those rings you will be wearing and remember this: The longer you stay together, the more fires you endure, the more precious your marriage to each other will be.

  _______________ (groom), place the ring on ___________’s finger and repeat after me:

   Groom: “I, ________________, take you, ________________, to be my wedded wife to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. Joyfully and willingly, I commit myself to you and to you alone.”

   ________________(bride), place the ring on _____________’s finger and repeat after me:

   Bride: “I, ________________, take you, ________________, to be my wedded husband to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. Joyfully and willingly, I commit myself to you and to you alone.”

Prayer

   Gracious Father, we thank you for creating us in your image so that we might know You and what true love is. Through your power and blessing we ask You to enable these two to keep their vows and be renewed daily in their love and commitment to each other. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Unity Candle, Sand Ceremony (Optional)

The Pronouncement

   _______________ and ______________, we have witnessed the pledging of your love and commitment to each other, and the sealing of your vows by the exchanging of rings. Thereby, under the authority of God’s Word, and in accordance with the laws of the State of Georgia, it is my privilege to pronounce you husband and wife!

_____________ (groom), you may kiss your bride.

Introduction of Newlyweds:  I now present to you Mr. & Mrs. ______________________.

 

Officiated by: Rev. Anthony C. Baker, M.Min.

So, what do you think of my wedding script? Feel free to use it if you want.

What do you think of sharing the Gospel in this way?

Would you word anything differently?

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Filed under Defending Traditional Marriage, Defining Marriage, ministry, places, Struggles and Trials

I Didn’t Bake a Cake

“I Didn’t Bake a Cake”

I didn’t bake a cake.

Of course, it’s not like they didn’t take

All the other pastries I created,

Like the ones they bought when the couple dated.

I just didn’t bake a cake.

 

I didn’t bake a cake.

But if I was a thug and tried to make

A getaway, and then got shot,

I’d be a hero, alive or not.

But I just declined to bake a cake.

 

Because I didn’t bake a cake,

The death threats are more than we can take.

We’re losing everything; we hide in fear.

The reason for the terror made perfectly clear:

I didn’t bake a cake.

 

You’d thought I was an abuser!

You’d thought I was a buyer and user

Of drugs…or women and children.

But I wasn’t. Now I’m facing prison,

All because I didn’t bake a cake.

 

– Anthony Baker

 

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Filed under America, Culture Wars, Defending Traditional Marriage, Defining Marriage, Faith, Struggles and Trials

I “_____” Weddings

“_____”?

I know what you must be thinking (I am a mind reader, you know; you have to be to survive around women), “what does ‘_____’ stand for?”

Do I really have to say? I mean, come on, I am a preacher, a pastor, a man of the cloth…I am supposed to be all about weddings, right? Right? If nothing else, it’s a good way to make a quick buck, right? Right?

Oh, you have no idea…no idea…

A Symbol

Don’t misunderstand, I love what weddings are all about. I believe in weddings. As a matter of fact, God loves weddings so much He uses them to describe the ultimate coming together of the Body of believers (the Bride) and His Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:29).

God loves and promotes marriage, even to the point where He says that He “hates divorce.”

“For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.” – Malachi 2:16 NKJV

God hates divorce because, just as marriage symbolizes His love for us, divorce symbolizes unfaithfulness. He said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). So, don’t get me wrong – I totally LOVE marriage.

A Serious Pain

What I DON’T LOVE are all the practical realities of wedding ceremonies. The logistics. The non-logistics. You name it.

Have you ever noticed mothers and fathers crying when their children get married? It is not because they are losing/gaining children; it’s because they are relieved the nightmare is over! (My wife just said, “OH, Anthony!“)

Here, let me just provide you with a simple, ten-point list of things that irritate me, then you might better understand why I “_____” weddings.

  1. 4,937 peasants could be fed for two months and 4 days for what one wedding cake can cost.
  2. No matter how much pre-marital counseling I do, I know everything I say is going in one ear and out the other.
  3. There are always people who “have reason why these two should not be married,” but they are too cowardly to stand up and say something.
  4. Family members are just as likely to kill each other over the color of mints as the number of ruffles on a wedding gown.
  5. Wedding cake tastes like lard.
  6. Everybody always gets new clothes – except the preacher.
  7. Brides-to-be and their mothers are pickier than Eric Clapton on speed (Old Age Alert: Eric Clapton is an actual musician who plays a real guitar, not one attached to a game console).
  8. Shotguns are not allowed anymore.
  9. Daughters force their parents to watch episode after episode of Say Yes to the Dress, Four Weddings, and My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding. (Did I mention I have a daughter getting married?)
  10. If I mess up the vows, then I am responsible for ruining the lives of females who never forgive.

I “Like” Weddings

Is “like” the best word? It’s not what best describes my feelings, but I guess it will have to do. But may I suggest a few things that would help me “love” weddings more?

  1. Elvis actually showing up to say, “I did not look like that, thangya very much.”
  2. Grilled steak instead of cake (Dr. Atkins would be proud).
  3. No dancing. Period. None. People that don’t know how to dance should just sit in a chair and eat steak.
  4. Bags of money, instead of rice or bubble makers (Cleaning up would be much easier).
  5. A simple promise that the bride and groom will take their vows as seriously as their choice of cake toppers.

Seriously

Seriously, if you are getting married, God bless you! May your union be filled not only with love, but also the commitment it takes to show that love to each other throughout the years to come.

And if at all possible, I prefer my steak a nice, pink medium. I do.

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Filed under Defending Traditional Marriage, Food, Humor, ministry, Relationships and Family