Monday, June 29, 2009

You Have What It Takes! (Father's Day Message)

This past Father's day I shared a message entitled, "You Have What It Takes!" The message is available via iTunes & the notes are posted below. The most important person in the home in regards to generational influence, is the father. Dad's are vital to passing on a legacy that will be focused on God's Kingdom instead of our own Mingdom. Father's, you have what is takes!

“The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.” Proverbs. 20:7
I talk and talk and talk, and I haven’t taught people in 50 years what my father taught by example in one week. -Mario Cuomo

The Secret To Boys- Every boy wants to know from his Dad, Do I have what it takes?
The Secret To Girls- Every girl wants to know from her Dad, Am I lovely?
Father’s, You Are The Most Powerful Man In The World!

One of the Greatest Dad’s In All Of The Bible
(lessons from the life of Jehonadab)
Key Thought- He was zealous about God & His Word! (2 Kings 10:15-31)
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7
Key Thought- He Built His Family Around God’s Standards! ((Jeremiah 35:1-19)
“But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.” Psalm 103:17-18

How To Be A Great Dad (like Jehonadab) This Week!
1. You must accept their uniqueness.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
2. You must affirm their value.
-By paying attention to them. “He [God] pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail – even numbering the hairs on your head!” Matthew 10:30 (MSG)
-By showing affection to them. “I drew them to me with affection and love. I picked them up and held them to my cheek” Hosea 11:4 (TEV).
-By expressing appreciation to them. “God says, ‘You are precious to me. You are honored and I love you’” Isaiah 43:4 (NLT).
3. You must trust them with responsibility.
“Whoever can be trusted with a little can also be trusted with a lot…” (Luke 16:10 NCV).
4. You must correct them without condemning them.
-Never correct in anger. “Don’t keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful. Rather bring them up with the loving discipline…with suggestions and godly advice.” Ephesians 6:4 (TEV)
-Watch your words. “Don’t use harmful words. Use only helpful words. The kind that should build up.” Harmful words create hurtful memories. Put-downs and harmful words might motivate somebody in the short term, but they’re going to plant seeds of rebellion in your child’s life. Ephesians 4:29
5. You must love them unconditionally.
“Be kind and loving to each other, forgiving each other just as God forgave you in Christ” Ephesians 4:32 (NCV)
“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:7 (NLT)

YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Rugged Road Of Reality

It was almost 2 years ago that I first met Jon & Kate and their beautiful children. My wife was a fan of their show & I decided to invite them to be our special guests during the opening of our new children's area. They graciously agreed to come for free. I interviewed them during the message portion of our weekend service.(the message & interview is available via iTunes & is called "Stuck In A Room With You?") They did such a fantastic job that we asked them if they would return a few months later to speak to our MOPS group at the church. After each speaking engagement I hosted them for lunch & thoroughly enjoyed their company. They were a warm couple with a deep love for one another & their family. Also, they were awesome with their children & that permeated much of our conversations. I have not spoken with them since that time, I have no special knowledge of their situation & I don't judge them based on what the tabloids report. I do know that their relationship got wrecked on the rugged road of reality & in light of their situation, here are a few things that would serve as helpful reminders to us.

1. It's not all about the children. Couples that go through difficulties have a tendency to focus on the children & avoid dealing with conflict. Conflict is necessary for intimacy and the oneness that God desires in marriage. The focus needs to be on being a great husband or wife to your spouse. Your children need the security of a strong marriage more than anything else.
2. We should always ask ourselves the best question ever. That question is, "What is the wisest thing to do? In light of my past experience, my current circumstance & my future hopes & dreams." Asking ourselves this question on a consistent basis will help us avoid tragic mistakes.
3. You always end up where the road you are on takes you." I've heard Andy Stanley say this in regard to the future, "Direction, not intention, determines destination. You win or lose by the path you choose. It is not where you are that is the issue; it is where you are headed.
4. The path to a successful marriage takes hard work. You're not going to like 20% of whomever you marry because we are so much different then the opposite sex. Our personalities are different. Our backgrounds are different. Focus on the good, stay in agreement & learn how to deal with the bad. The grass may be greener on the other side, but it still needs to be mowed.
5. We are in a spiritual battle. If you are a believer, God desires for you to succeed & the enemy does not. We need to guard our hearts & stay in His Word.

KEY QUESTION: If you continue on your current course, where will you end up?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Turn Away From Discouraging Voices

I just read a great devotional today that I think will encourage you. We need to stay away from voices that are only speaking discouragement & fear. As we turn away from discouraging voices, we can turn to voices of faith, hope & love.

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE
"And David turned away from Eliab..." (I Samuel 17:30, AMP)

TODAY'S WORD from Joel and Victoria
When David was a shepherd boy, his father asked him to take lunch to his brothers out on the battlefield. When he arrived, he heard Goliath taunting and challenging the people of God. David asked the men standing around, “What is the prize for defeating this giant?” They said, “The reward is one of the king’s daughters in marriage and no more taxes.” That got David’s attention. He knew this was a battle worth fighting.

When David’s older brother, Eliab, heard him talking about fighting the giant, he tried to embarrass him. In front of all those men Eliab said, “David, what are you doing out here? And what have you done with those few sheep our father left you with?” He tried to make him feel small. He was saying, “David, you’re not important. You’ll never do anything great.” But I love the way David responded. The Scripture says that David turned and walked away from Eliab. I believe one of the main reasons that David was a champion is because he knew which battles to fight. He knew to turn away from discouraging voices so he could focus his energy on the real battle.

Today, what are the discouraging voices coming against you? Choose to turn away from those distractions so you can turn toward the victory God has in store for you!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father God, I humbly come to You today releasing all my cares and concerns and focusing on the plan You have for me. Help me to turn away from the discouraging voices so that I can walk in the victory You have for me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Prayer, Part 1 (cont.)

Yesterday I opened my message by talking about Nebuchadnezzar II, also called King Nebuchadnezzar the Second. According to an online source, "he lived (630-562 BC), was a ruler of Babylon in the Chaldean Dynasty, who reigned c. 605 BC-562 BC. He conquered Judah and Jerusalem, and sent the Jews into exile. He was traditionally called "Nebuchadnezzar the Great" (Daniel 1:1; Jeremiah 25:11). In contemporary Iraq and some other parts of the Middle East, he is glorified as a historic leader." He is mentioned in the Book of Daniel & we specifically spoke of His pride in claiming to be like God in Daniel 4. I shared that King Nebby was a high chair person that thought the world revolved around him. Much like children do early on in their lives during those high chair days. He was sitting in the "I" chair & claiming to be his own ruler & provider. God stripped him of everything & ultimately brought him to the realization that he was utterly dependent upon Him. Prayer is what you do when you depend on God. We can approach God in prayer & depend on Him as our Father.

“This is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Matt. 6:9 (NIV)

1. HE IS A COMPASSIONATE & CARING FATHER
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who honor Him…” Ps. 103:13 (NIV) (see also 1 Peter 5:7 & Matthew 6:31-32)

2. HE IS A CONSISTENT FATHER
“Every good and perfect gift … is from the Father … who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 (NIV) (see also 2 Tim. 2:13 & Psalm 59:10)

3. HE IS A FATHER THAT IS NEAR.
“God did this so people would … reach out for Him and find Him, since He is not far from each of us.” Acts 17:27 (NIV)

• He is never too busy for me.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him…” Ps. 145:18 (NIV)
• He loves to meet my needs.
“If you…know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matt. 7:11 (NIV)
• He is sympathetic to my hurts.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Ps. 34:18 (NIV)

4. HE IS A FATHER THAT IS ABLE.
“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 (NIV)
“(God) is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes!” Eph. 3:20 (LB)


When we realize our need for God & decide to get out of the "I" chair, we can learn to depend on God as OUR FATHER!

PRAYER REMINDS US TO DEPEND ON GOD AS OUR FATHER!
“We are children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.” Gal. 3:26 (LB)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Prayer, Part 1

Today was a great day as a church family! I had the privilege to dedicate children for 5 families & we welcomed 10 people into the Kingdom of God. I talked about the importance of prayer in our lives. How do you get to know God through prayer? Often times we don't pray because we aren't sure how to, we think our requests aren't important or because we become easily distracted. Here are some of the notes from the message... the full message is available via iTunes.

PRAYER IS COMMUNICATING WITH GOD.
Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:1-3

WHEN TALKING TO GOD...

PRAY WITH COMPLETE HONESTY.
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men… And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Matthew 6:5, 7 (Psalm 31:14-18)

PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS TO YOU.
You are depending on God for whatever you are praying for!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

PRAY ALL THE TIME.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

STOP & LISTEN FOR GOD'S RESPONSE.
“… Listen, all you people… The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with him! If you
seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you… For a long time, Israel had been without the true God… and without God's law. But in their distress they
turned to the Lord and sought him and he was found by them.” 2 Chron. 15:2-5