Sunday, June 26, 2011

Building a Stable Christian Life

Matt. 7:24-27

In comparing two separate buildings, one being older, well kept, well built- solid, straight; and one being newer, BUT with substandard foundation and framework.
Observations: Good finish work, nice furnishings can cover for a while but the instability will eventually show through in the second structure.

Compare Christian life with church attendance, ministry involvement, Bible Study, Praise and worship, witnessing, etc. BUT, if the base and foundation is not solid????? You can't substitute finish for framework!!

So.... what is the foundation and framework of a solid Christian life? How do we build solid, stable, weather resistant lives???

5 Components of a stable Christian Life.

#1. Salvation
- (regeneration, a spiritual makeover, spiritually re-done. ) "New birth". John 3:1-7 (compare Peter and James as well)

What happens?? Ezek. 36:26-27 2 Cor. 5:17 - spiritual makeover, new birth - the work of God.
How it happens??? hear the message with more than our ears, experience the Holy Spirit calling/ trust Christ - acknowledge, respond to
John 1:11-13

This is the beginning, foundation, footing that we build on - Christ. 1 Cor. 3:11
Then we must build something solid and stable on this foundation. That is our choice.

#2. Submission 1. have accepted Christ and the free gift of salvation.
Now..... 2. will I submit to his leadership, Lordship??? ie: in a practical, functional, daily way???
We still have the choice/option to follow and submit to Him.

The concept is simple.
The practice is difficult. (because we are sinful and selfish) Will I do it????

BUT, you cannot build ON Him......... apart from Him!!! Luke 6:46-49

#3. Discipleship Matt. 4:19 - "if you follow me, I'll form you" - develop, grow, stabilize

A disciple is a student/learner
The point being to grow into the state (level) of the Master.

Disciples are to grow in: A. knowledge - facts/understanding, discernment, which lead to Wisdom!!!!
B. Character = Christ-likeness, what you were saved to become
Note: #1. growth requires effort - 2 Pet. 1:5-8 - laziness won't work
Note #2: the effort has rewards - 2. Pet. 1:10

#4. Constancy (consistency, stick-to-it-ness)
Some Bible words synonymous with Constancy.
perseverance, persistence, endurance steadfastness, patience,
being proven, unwavering, continuing, abiding, lasting

This doesn't mean you never stumble, fall, stop, fail.

But it does mean the you keep getting back up, adjusting your course, and plodding on.

To build is to move upward!!! Webster's Dictionary definition of build is: "to form by ordering and uniting materials by gradual means into a composite whole."

You can never build anything substantial with just piles of materials stacked all over the place.

#5. Time - because building, developing, stabilizing, maturing is a process!!
The point: therefore: get started As Soon As Possible!!!
2 Cor. 6:2 (b) - "I tell you, now...."

Even will build structures 'weather' with age, But if the are solid, stable, straight.... then they can be repaired, refinished, refurbished.....

The Challenge: What are you building???
In what manner are you building???
On what are you building?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Benifits of a Christian Home

My Definition:

A Christian Home is one where Christ is recognized as Lord and Savior, where Christ is honored as Lord and Savior, (There is a big difference in recognizing and honoring.)
where an attempt is being made to live by His Word(s).

A Few Benefits of a Christian Home:

I. A Divine Presence. Jesus' power and authority is not weakened by rejection. He is omnipresent - in all homes at all times.
However, He is most active where He is welcomed, received.
Mark 6:1-6
Rev. 3:20

II. Divine Directives (instruction/guidance)
Contrast that with the typical : how I was raised, taught, making it up as I go....."
Prov. 12:15/22:6 - "the way of..... ______" vs. the way of God.

III. God's Moral Code - makes for a great standard in a family
a. of divine origin, therefore
b. authoritative
c. practical, not arbitrary - 2 Tim. 3:16-17
d. unchanging
e. application to all (in the family)

IV. A Lifelong Moral Challenge
a. the challenges: forgiveness, edifying, encouraging, etc.
b. the duration - it doesn't end at adulthood
There is no promise, but a much greater opportunity to follow God's Moral Code if have been raised with it.

V. A Visible Model - we learn by what we see, more than what we hear!!

On one hand, a Christian does not guarantee success (sin nature, free will)
But, it does guarantee a better opportunity of success!!


To the parents: - the dedication of your child is:
1. a public declaration of faith - in God, Christ, in His concern, in His involvement

2. A public statement of intent ...
to raise him/her as best you can according to God's will and God's Word.

3. A public request for assistance... from God, from God's people.

To the congregation: note "public"

This is: 1. a clear bold statement
which 2. invites your participation

Parents - dedication of your child without dedication of yourself is meaningless!!! God intends to work with this child primarily through you!!!

Congregation - Jesus made clear his view and value of children. These children are partly our concern, our responsibility.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Preparing Kids for Marriage

(Disclaimer: 1. this is no guarantee and 2. this is not a Bible study)

Marriage effects every area of your life. When it's such a big deal t almost all Americans, why do we not focus more on specified preparing our children for marriage?

So - some suggestions and ideas to prepare your kids for marriage.

#1. Think about it. (You will never hit a target if you never shoot at the target.) Ask yourself, is this important? And who will it affect?

#2. Pray - - for the child, for the future spouse. James 5:16 (b)

#3. Start Early - with prayers and with preparation. Kids are quick learners, they pick things up fast.

#4. Introduce your child to Jesus. You can't force it, but you can introduce it. There is nothing more life forming than Jesus living in you!

#5. Disciple your child. It's about more than being saved. It means grounded in the faith.
According to a poll by Geo. Barna: "the born again Christian divorce rate is identical to the national average.... EXCEPT... Evangelicals" (which have the lowest rate of all religious groups)
Evangelicals are more likely to measure their life views by an outside measure (the Bible) rather than by their own ideas, feelings.

they have a high view of Scripture
B. they have more knowledge of Scripture Deut. 6:4-9 - the responsibility rests on the parents!!! Eph. 6:4

#6. Focus on building godly character. Godly offspring are not born, they are developed. Mal. 2:15
A. Godly character will rise to the challenge. (more than education/ability
B. Godly character is more apt to seek a Godly partner! As water seeks its own does emotional health!!

#7. Teach practical marriage skills.
Like, money management, housework, cooperation, teamwork, mutual assistance. Contrast that with a Prince/Princess attitude - where a child is brought up thinking they are owed everything!

#8. Teach respect for the opposite sex.
Because, that's who they're going to marry!!

#9. Be positive about marriage! Marriage is God's design, intent, and is potentially - "very good!" Teens of both sexes still desire a good marriage and family life, but, they are NOT optimistic about the possibility of having that!
If you are happy with marriage you need to say so!!

#10. Model marriage. Kids learn from watching more than listening. This includes conflict resolution, apology, forgiveness, compromise. It means eat together, work, play, pray, do ministry together!

#11. Resource your child. Many good books available on this subject for all ages. At that stage they are (A.) interested and (B.) concerned

#12. Educate yourself. So.....when they want advice and counsel, you have Helpful answers!
Parents are the primary influence for a young child.
That influence doesn't have to end at marriage!

Note: during the process, it may look like wasted effort, lost cause, BUT, generally leads to Prov. 22:6.