Tuesday, May 27, 2008

20 Stupid Thngs People Do - Part 2

Recap: #10 – Try to make it without help.
This can be due to ignorance – we don’t realize how much we need help.
Or, pride, or a combination of the two. Men are especially prone to this.

#11. Seek and Accept the Wrong Kind of Help.
Meaning: the help of someone who will affirm or agree with YOU! Instead get help from a neutral party who will challenge and correct and instruct.
Prov. 13:20 – He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”

#12. Bottle Up Hurts and Disappointments
Some of these should be bottled up and discarded (grow up and bear up)
But, intimacy requires the opportunity to complain AND be heard.
Examples are the prophets and laments.
Both parties need permission and opportunity to complain, AND it needs to be done in good and calm times. During a big fight is NOT the time to complain and be heard.

#13. Fail to Apologize. Matt. 5:23 & 24 “….if you are offering your gift at the altar, and remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift…….. be reconciled to your brother,….” Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers”
If this is true of brothers and sisters in Christ, it is more so of your spouse, parent, son, daughter. There is great healing power in apology, and those who fail to do it, are hurting themselves as well as their family members.

#14. Fail to Forgive. Matt. 6:12-15 “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…….if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
NOTE: A. “I forgive you, but you owe me” does not equal canceling the debt.
B. Holding a grudge is like taking poison hoping to hurt another person. Forgiveness means to relinquish the hurt or wrong and let it go.

#15. Retaliate. Eph. 5: 28 & 29 “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. …….. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church….”
When you hurt your spouse, you hurt yourself. It becomes a two-way retaliation and that equals a downward spiral of hurt and unforgiveness.
Prov. 14:1 “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears hers down.”

#16. Fail to Initiate. If you know your partner’s needs and refuse to step up and reach out and volunteer to meet them???? James 4:17 “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
If you meet legitimate needs, it leads to developing the person, and both benefit.

#17. Seek to Satisfy Legitimate Needs in an Improper Manner.
Everyone has a God-shaped hole that is meant to be filled by a spouse. So, improper relationships and improper methods (alcohol, drugs, food, popularity, achievement) CANNOT fill a relational hole! It is meant to be filled by a spouse.

#18. Follow Feelings. Emotions and feelings are from God for good purpose.
But that purpose should not determine truth or dictate actions. (The struggle between know what’s right and feel like doing it.)
John 8:31 & 32 "....if you continue in my Word, .... you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."

#19. Repeat Mistakes. Prov. 26:11 “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”

#20. Separate Spiritual Truths from Practical Issues. Deut. 30”19 “…..I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life…..”
John 10:10 “I have come that they might have life, and ….more abundantly”
Spiritual truths when properly applied, will help develop mature, God-intended relationships.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

20 Stupid Thngs People Do - Part 1

Prov. 14:1 – “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”

This passage talking about home, family, relationships, not the building structure.

Note: #1. This list is not things stupid people do. (It is stupid things that smart people do!)

#2. the focus is primarily marriage, BUT it can apply elsewhere.

#3. This is not a comprehensive list! Many more things could be added.

10 Stupid Things People Do (in marriage)

#1. Climb into an unhealthy or improper relationship in the first place.

Example: 2 Cor. 6:14 – “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wikedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darknses?”

This is applies to more than just an unbeliever, but someone with a lot of past baggage, or someone who is an emotional wreck.

A Christian should choose a mate according to God’s Word and God’s wisdom.

#2. Assume romantic love will be enough.

Affection may be there but when problems and issues arise, there is:

A. an ignorance of how to deal with them, or

B. an unwillingness to do so.

There may be plenty of eros (passionate, romantic love)

But a lack of agape (committed, selfless, putting the other first love)

#3. Assume the Relationship will continue to blossom without attention.

Rev. 2:1-5 The church at Ephesus was doing a lot of good things, but they’d forgotten about their first love. It takes effort.

“leave, cleave, love, submit, respect” – these are all ACTION verbs!!! Which require – attention, effort, commitment, continuity,

Rev. 2:5 - ….remember…….& do!....”

#4. expect your marriage mate to make you happy. (or kids or family, etc.)

I Kings 11:3 - Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. If a spouse is supposed to make you happy, he should have REALLY been happy. So, read Ecclesiastes where he said all was vanity.

A. Making you happy is NOT your spouse’s job.

B. It is beyond your spouse's ability.

“Happiness is a choice!”

#5. Expect marriage to cure/solve non-marital issues.

For example: if you are bi-polar before you get married, you will still be bi-polar after marriage. Or, depression, anxiety, bitterness, anger/envy, etc.

75% of divorced couples have at least 1 emotionally unhealthy person.

The marriage failure rate is: 40% for 1st. time marriage; 60% for 2nd. marriage, 75% for 3rd. marriage. Why? Because we tend to bring all our emotional baggage with us from relationship to relationship, and then add more each time.

#6. Assume you don’t have non-marital issues.

In other words, assume the problem with the relationship is your spouse!

Most problems are not caused by the relationship but surface in the relationship.

Example: If you have a cellar, and go down there some night, when you turn on the light switch you may see rats or roaches running for cover.

Did the light cause the rats or roaches? No, they were already there, the light just revealed them.

James 1:22-25 – God’s Word is like a mirror to show us what we are really like. James says not to look into it and then immediately turn away and forget what it said.

When you SEE the problem, then DEAL with the problem!!

#7. Assume you rspouse knows your needs, desires, expectations without being told.

We are self-centered, have gender differences, are forgetful, and Not clairvoyant!

A. We have to be told

B. We have to be told repeatedly.

#8. Assume your spouse is knowingly, intentionally, ignoring, depriving, denying you of those needs.

Sometimes that may be true, but most people are in the relationship because they want it to work.

A. Establish “good will” and “good intent”

B. Communicate….. regularly, intentionally…..

I Cor. 13:7 – “”Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

It “believes the best.”

#9. Communicate!! Ask, talk, listen, clarify, take seriously!! Do this in the good times! (Don’t wait until a fight)

#10. Try to make it without help. Prov. 12:1 - “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.”

You will call a mechanic if you have car trouble, a CPA if you have tax trouble, a cardiologist for heart trouble. But, we seem to think we can fix relationship problems on our own..

Get help from: spouse, friends, parents, counselors, “experts”

And especially from God – His Word, His Son, His Spirit.

Prov. 24:3 & 4 - “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” This is not talking about a physical house but a home and relationship.

Next Week – Part 2 – 10 More Stupid Things People Do

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Developing A Family Mission Statement

Contrast what we value and what we plan for.

What we value, desire, hope for……. A study conducted by Columbia University and the National Institutes of Heath revealed that the thing Americans want more than anything else is to enjoy loving family relationships. This was chosen by 99% of survey respondents.

What we plan for, prepare for……. According to the George Barna Research organization, only one family in 25 has a plan for its family future – the rest just make it up as they go along.

Developing a Family Mission Statement

The definition of a Family Mission Statement is: a thought out, written down statement of intent and purpose for your family.

It’s purpose is to help you:

#1. identify the direction you are taking

#2plan your journey

#3 correct your course

Writing it down is not necessary, but is helpful

A. in the making process

B. in the application

C. in the revisitation

A family mission statement should be:

#1. Realistic – on the one hand, reach for high ideals and lofty goals, but BE realistic. This should be a practical dream – one that can be achieved.

#2. Personal – reflecting your family values, intent, character, goals. This should NOT be a copy of someone else’s statement.

#3. Measurable – so you can evaluate your progress and effectiveness.

#4. Christian – not necessarily in words but in concept. We are Christian – therefore our goals and plans should be Christian-oriented.

#5. Organic and flexible. It should have room for additions, subtractions, corrections. When the content is static (unchanging) it becomes stagnant. The point being, in order for future generations to embrace our family mission statement, it must be open to them to change it. This is NOT God’s Word. It CAN be changed if needed.

#6. Bigger than your family. Matt. 5:13-16 – “You are the salt of the earth. …… You are the light of the world…….let your light shine before men that they may ….praise your Father in heaven.”

Matt. 28:19 & 20 – “…go and make disciples of all nations,….and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Mission should be TO the family and it should be a mission OF the family. If a mission statement is ONLY about own family, it is way short of what a mission statement should be.

#7. Developed in light of Legacy. The idea is to:

A. affect future generations – so they are blessed

B. involve future generations – so they pass the blessing on

Suggestions for Developing a Family Mission Statement

#1. Think about it and pray about it.

#2. Discuss it. With spouse, kids, family circle. Guys tend to avoid this kind of thing. However, they should be leading and instating it.

#3. Start where you are. Still unmarried? Newlywed? Mid life? Late life? Widowed?

#4. Focus on content. Don’t worry about the words or the wording. First get down the concepts. Decide what you might want to include. As you continue to discuss and go over it, it will begin to come together.

#5. Take your time. This is a process. It will not come together in a few hours or days.

#6. Take it seriously.

#7. Keep revisiting it until it develops. Because it is a Process. It is a fabrication, meaning you build it, but it is like a discovery. It comes together slowly as you come to realize who you are as a family and what you’d like to accomplish and perpetuate.

#8. Keep revisiting it to measure the progress. How are you doing? Is it happening?

I Tim. 5:8 – “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever”

The context of this verse is talking about immediate physical and monetary needs.

But, the principle applies to spiritual needs. Are we concerned with the eternal state of our family and those outside our family?

Take some time, think about this. Do it!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Spiritual Doldrums - 5-4-08

DOLDRUMSliterally, this is a place in the ocean of calm and no wind. When sailors got caught in the doldrums, they were just there at the mercy of the current until the wind resumed.

- figuratively – this is a time of listlessness and despondency.

- spiritually – this is a time without the sense of God’s presence, God’s activity, and a time of being spiritually stagnant.


#1. Divine doldrums – God removes the sense of His presence and the immediate evidence of His activity.

Example: - Job. Job was going through all kinds of trials and he wasn’t hearing from God.

Isa. 50:10 – “Who among you fears the LORD …..? Let him who walks in the dark, …. trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.”

Sometimes God chooses to withdraw His presence or the sense of His presence.

Psalm 13:1 & 2 ”How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?.........”

David was a man after God’s own heart, but he went through times when God seemed to be gone.

#2. Situational or Circumstantial doldrums – life happens and is sometimes overwhelming.

Can come from: intense stress.

Intense pain (loss)

Clinical depression

Sometimes these things are beyond our control, and we can’t feel God’s presence or activity. HOWEVER, God is faithful whether we are or not.

#3. Self-induced or self-inflicted doldrums. These can be because of:

A. Unconfessed sin Isa. 59:1 & 2 –“……but your iniquities have separated you from your God; you sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will no hear.” There is an unwillingness to relinquish those sins.

B. General busyness. Good example: Mary and Martha. Martha was too busy to hear Jesus. Mary chose to listen to Him.

C. Lack of focus

D. Spiritual neglect.

Matt. 13:22 – “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of the wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.”

NOTE: These doldrums are often the result of prosperity & good times.

Example: King Solomon – so blessed by God and then he turned away.

Israel after securing the Promised Land. They followed God closely as they went in and conquered it. After they were settled, and reaping the blessings God had promised, they turned away from Him. Book of Joshua, then book of Judges.

#4. Perceived or false doldrums – when you think or feel or assume that God is not present, active, or moving in your life

Examples: Elijah – I Kings 19:9 & 10, 18 – “…...I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” (18) Yet I reserved seven thousand in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal…..”

Disciples – during the 3 days between the crucifixion and the Resurrection

Solomon – during writing of Ecclesiastes – “This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

We are very feeling oriented. If we don’t feel like God is present or moving, then we ASSUME that He’s not!

NOTE: doldrums are usually a combination of the above 4 types.

QUESTION: Does it matter which kind or what’s the source?

ANSWER: Yes! Because:

A. like a ship, we are not designed to sit still in the water, but to move forward (go & do)

And B. unlike a ship – we may be able to DO something about the doldrums.

So: I. How to determine which kind or source.

#1. Examine yourself and the situation.

Take time, get still, open the Word, ask God, be honest!!!!

#2. Consult with others. Meaning other Christians who are objective, discerning, have some wisdom, knowledge, experience, etc. Don’t consult with others who feel the same way you do.

II. What to do? How should I respond and react to the doldrums I’m in???

If: A. Divine doldrums. Pray for wind, WAIT for the wind (the wind WILL come), keep the ship ready and the sail raised.

Example: the disciples between the Ascension and Pentecost – Luke 24: 48 & 49 – they were told to wait in Jeruselem until filled with power from on high. They didn’t know HOW long this would be – just told to wait!

Isa. 50:10 – “Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.”

If: B. Situational or circumstantial doldrums – do the same as above. BUT, don’t despair!

This IS part of life’s experiences. Things WILL change and get better. “This too shall pass.”

On the one hand tough situations can lead to the doldrums.

On the other hand tough situations can lead to a heightened sensitivity and awareness of God. Good example – Jeremiah

Rom. 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, ….”

Phil. 4:11 – “…..for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”

If: C. Self-induced or self-inflicted doldrums. Admit it and Deal with it!!!!

Unconfessed sin? Need to make time? Refocus? Give more attention to spiritual things? Just do it!

go and I will go with you” – means YOU take the 1st. steps.

If: D. perceived or false doldrums. Admit, confess, ignore, move on.


1. If you are a Christian – you are going to experience spiritual doldrums.

2. Sometimes these are beyond your control.. Which doesn’t mean you must succumb to them completely by being inactive or being despondent.

3. Sometimes they are your own fault and awaiting your own remedy!

4. Either way, it is never God’s intent that we despair, give up, lose hope, or abandon ship.

Psalm 42: 1-5/9-11- “….my soul thirsts for God, for the living God. …….. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God….