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Fear And Faith: Crazy Transitions Of Marriage, Multiplying, & Ministry

By Joshua & Nicole Marburger

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Skaters love transitions. Watching the Vans Park Series recently with our oldest son, Caleb, we were stoked seeing young men and women boost huge airs and throw creative combinations of grinds and inverts on the fresh “concrete waves” that made up the unique transitions of a new skatepark in Shanghai, China.

 

If you have ever stood on top of a huge ramp or paddled in to a huge wave and chose to “drop in,” you know that transitions can sometimes be fun and sometimes be painful. Dropping in requires focus, but any wise skater—yes that’s a thing— will tell you that overthinking something will throw you off your flow and probably throw you off your board as well.

 

A huge part of the art of skating or surfing is not letting fear trip you up. In the 1991 cult-classic movie, Point Break, the character played by Patrick Swayze famously quips: “Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.” Though the movie is full of characters that make selfish choices that lead to death, Patrick Swayze’s character is definitely on to something. Hesitation can hurt all of us.

 

Josh Knipple, a good friend who is a pastor and author, asked me (Joshua) to write about God turning my fear into faith. Both me and Nicole are a work in progress, and fear has paralyzed us many times. Nevertheless, nothing has strengthened our faith more than the scary transitions of marriage, multiplying, and ministry.

May 3, 2008, my beautiful bride, Nicole Haunani Bisera, became Nicole Haunani Marburger after walking down the aisle to meet me at Putnam Baptist Church in Shelby, NC. We had no idea that day when we said, “I do” that for two to live as one meant both of us would die (hopefully not from murder).

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The best marriages result from daily dying to self and living as one in Christ. Marriage means we “leave, cleave, and weave.” For Nic and I, marriage has meant leaving both our moms and dads (we moved 4500 miles 3 weeks after tying the knot), clinging to each other (which often means letting go of security blankets likes cell phone screens and our individual schedules), and becoming one--- choosing to share all the intimacy of the same bedroom, bank account, and even the same (sometimes stinky) bathroom!

Nicole still calls marriage “the greatest sanctifying agent in her life,” because of the struggle for two to be one. Yet, even on the days when we are holding on for dear life; we are reminded of God’s “never-stopping, never-giving-up, unbreaking, always-and-forever love” (Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible). The Most High’s love for each of us is the grace that causes us to be gracious and the love that makes us loving toward each other. This is our 10th year, and though at times this crazy transition of marriage is still rough---as we daily choose faith over fear, we are able to enjoy the ride as one.

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The second huge way we have had to learn faith over fear is having babies together (multiplying).  Learning to see the world through the eyes of our three boys has grown us to see how dependent we truly are on God and others. Author Tim Keller, in his book Counterfeit God’s, wrote: “We are the product of three things—genetics, environment, and our personal choices—but two of these three factors we have no power over.” Our oldest two boys love creating with LEGOS, but their buildings and cities are limited by what pieces they have. Knowing that Jesus is the “Master Builder” of our lives, we are comforted that the world is almost like a huge LEGO city made by the Most High God, who is unlimited in what He can make and create as He lovingly writes and builds the story of each of our lives (Hebrews 3:4; 12:1-2). Our kids did nothing to bring themselves into the situations in which they live every day; and yet, like us, they daily choose whether to respond with faith to their parents who love them and have their best interests in mind; or with fear and disobedience thinking their own ways are better (even at their ages of 5, 3, and 1 year old).

                This transition of having babies has shown us that we need to be like babies in the loving arms of our heavenly father. We try to focus on the truth that Jesus highly valued children saying “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14). Also, we work to remember that Jesus said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven(Matthew 18:3). Nicole and I are still learning how to obey God as His son and daughter while helping our boys see God’s loving hand on their lives. We know that thousands of years ago the fear of God’s people, followed by pessimism and inaction, led almost a whole generation to miss out on the Promised Land. Though the transition of having babies has given us new schedules (what’s sleep?), new financial responsibilities (how many times can you reuse a diaper?), and different entertainment (who knew cardboard boxes could be so fun?), knowing our perfect heavenly Father is pleased with us and loves us more than we love our own kids has made our love deeper and made life way more fun in this crazy transition.

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        The final and possibly craziest transition (because it’s the most outside of the box) is the call to ministry as One Love Missionaries. One Love Skate started in 2006 with a slab of cement at a local church and has grown to a dynamic discipleship and evangelistic ministry impacting skaters with the One Love of Jesus all around the world in ways we never could have imagined. In 2015 we became an independent 501c3 ministry, and since that time we have worked #ShoulderToShoulder with over 40 different people who have shared our 10 1L Values and Verses on video. We have helped lead camps, preached in churches, and taken many groups into their communities for prayer walking evangelism. Also, One Love has ordered hundreds of skateboards and skate related products to create openness for conversations, but most importantly we have helped many people have 1L Conversations with their family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers by asking others “What is One Love to You?” And “Who is Jesus to you?” Our prayer is to have 1L Reps being a positive presence in the skate community by leading Life Groups and 1L Discipleship at every skatepark in the world.

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       This crazy transition included breaking my foot in my mid-twenties. With a broken foot, God challenged me to love skaters more than I love skateboarding. Then he proceeded to use me to do better things for skateboarding with a broken foot than I could have with two perfectly working feet! My broken foot helped me to overcome fear and type up a gospel tract and several conversation cards. Around that time, I was given opportunities to preach in several large churches in Hawaii and North Carolina, and the platform led to many hearing the message and adding their unique abilities and resources to the ministry.

In 2015, after close to 8 years serving with a great church in Maui, God moved us for a growth season in NC to get One Love rolling--- but when he called us to move, He miraculously provided skateboard ramps the very day we had decided to move 4500 miles away (https://youtu.be/TTzjVC4_1zc). We have been so encouraged by the people, churches, and organizations who believe in One Love Skate enough to support it with their prayers and finances, and God has shown us amazing things through One Love Skate all around the world.

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Recently, God has called me to the full-time position of Life Groups / Discipleship Pastor at Waipuna Chapel which lets me continue the calling God put on my life to serve as a Pastor at a local church. Nicole has taken on a significant role for One Love Skate, and we are constantly reminded not to doubt in fear but have faith. Something my friend Josh Knipple has recently helped me see, is that as we follow God through all the transitions he brings into our lives, it’s almost as if Jesus is in heaven saying: “Trust that I have a higher purpose for you!  Enjoy the ride—I’ve got this. Be creative in the transitions! The galaxies are in my palm (Isaiah 40:12)! SHAKA!” 2000 years ago Jesus Christ spoke timeless words recorded for us in John 10:10  -“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Let’s not let fear steal, kill, and destroy the life that Jesus wants us to enjoy. This transition to ministry with One Love Skate has been all-consuming at times, but we have seen many experience the One Love of Jesus, which makes it all worthwhile.

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In conclusion, even though life can be full of difficult transitions (just this past week many close to us have been enduring the gamut of difficulty including physical sickness, financial pressure, and the loss of loved ones), I’d like to propose a “higher” axiom for these tough transitions than Hollywood’s perspective. This higher axiom will ring true in all of our lives if we choose to live the One Love of Jesus:

 

“Fear can lead us to faith, and faith in the 1L of Jesus will bring true freedom.”

As we live empowered by faith instead of floundering in fear, even when transitions and our daily circumstances are scary, may each of us have the encouragement we need today to drop in, enjoy the ride, and learn to love crazy transitions.

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About:

Joshua Marburger is a Pastor in Hawaii and Founder of the international discipleship ministry “One Love Skate” 501c3. He and his wife, Nicole, have been enjoying the ride together since meeting at North Greenville University in 2007 where they were first resourced and equipped to be “shoulder to shoulder with soldiers for the Kingdom.” They now have three boys and enjoy serving, speaking, and writing to help many experience the One Love of Jesus (1L). They work hard to provide resources to help as many people as possible #LiveOneLove as a positive presence in their communities through Life Groups and Discipleship.

Joshua & Nicole’s prayer and passion in life is to help resource and equip
disciples (1L Reps) to lead life groups at every skatepark in the world.

Learn more about partnering with Joshua & Nicole in their mission on www.oneloveskate.org

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“Arrow-Up, Arrow-Down, 1L Logo” is a Registered Trademark of “One Love Skate” 501(c)(3).