#family

Hope for the Family

By Chad Spriggs

Fill in the blanks. I hope I… I hope we… I hope it… we all have things we hope will work out, get better, or even go away. Our hopes reveal the things we want the most. Hope can be a fickle thing when it’s is found in anything less than Jesus.

One of my hopes is rooted in a deep desire to see families thrive. The single most important relationships we will ever have are formed in the fires of family. We find meaning, purpose, safety, and discipline in the confides of family. We grow up, old, and out with our family. Family shapes our thoughts, propels our efforts, and calls us back to reality. We need family. God’s design from the beginning was family, and it hasn’t changed. The problem for us comes from defining family. The best way to define family is to simply ask…

Who is your family?

How does God want you to love your family?

There are many ways and specific things we can do to love our family, but the only life changing things come from putting our hope, our trust, in Jesus. Here are four important ways we can do that.

Put God First “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5

What does your family see?

Does your family see you argue, debate for the sake of winning, criticize, belittle, or mindlessly disconnected. If so, where is God? If we put God first they will see you praying, reading the Bible, talking about God’s goodness, disciplining in accordance to God’s word, being compassionate, and humbly putting others needs before your own. It’s time our families live according to the Spirit and set our minds on the things of the Spirit.

Live on Mission “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10

What does your family do?

Is it hard for your family slow down, reflect on what God is doing, see God at work in and around, or dream about how together you can grow in Christ and share his hope? For the Christian family there is no secular. Our lives should be chapter after chapter of God’s redemption story. Our lives should reflect that we are chosen, priestly, holy, and filled with the mind of Christ.

Fight for Their Lives “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

What does your family fight for?

We can fight to win or we can fight to help. We can tear down or build up. Every act, thought, and word has the power to heal or the power to destroy. The law of Christ commands that we care for others. Caring for others starts with the family, those that are sometimes hardest to care for. Do the burdens of your family annoy you are drive you to prayer?

Trust God Not Your Instincts “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Where does your family turn?

God’s ways are good, they are perfect. Our ways can be good, but they are flawed. When life gets difficult, when family life is hard, the last thing we need to do is trust in our natural instincts. Put your hope in God’s words, because they are true. Put your hope in the Spirit of God, because He will teach you. Put your hope in the creator God, because despite how we have broken this world through sin, He holds it together. Put your hope in God. He alone brings joy and peace to the family.

There is Hope for your family. That hope is found in loving Jesus and loving others with God’s love. If you want to love your family the way God loves; you will put God first, live on mission, fight for their lives, and trust God not your instinct. I pray that God give you the strength and the will to put your Hope in God. He wants to help you love your family.

 

 

 

 

 

Bringing it Home as a Family

By Bethany Bentley

We went to camp with a lot of expectations. We were ready to have that “night where the whole youth group cries together”, ready to worship with thousands of students, ready to make new friends, ready to play loud rounds of Uno, just like we did last year. We had a lot of those things.

But this year was not like last year. We had our old moments, our new moments, our angry moments, our joyful-beyond-words moments, and the moments when we were all really done with the humidity and the giant hill.

I don’t think any of us would trade any of these moments for a repeat of last year. Here is a list of my moments.

So much brokenness got brought into the light in our small groups. We poured ourselves out and allowed Christ to bring restoration. We got to watch God grow and heal our friends. Many of us took steps and leaps in our faith, and it had less to do with being in Oklahoma and more to do with all of us just seeking God. He met us where we were.

We saw Delia Pierce respond during the altar call on the last night, after so many of us had been praying for her all week. Sarah and Becca Woffard were jumping. Jay Magnant threw both his hands in the air in praise. Everyone was crying; it was amazing.

The small groups prayed for each other one night. The middle schoolers came together in friendship and openness. The high school boys listened to and prayed for the middle school girls, and they did it in gentleness and love. The girls bonded over similar struggles. It was incredible to see.

During the ‘open-mic night’ many of us shared what God is doing in our lives. Connor Powell made us all cry, laugh, and took us on an emotional roller-coaster that none of us were ready for. Tyler Geldmacher, though terrified of public speaking, got up and shared how much God has stretched him the last few days, weeks, and months.

As a family we laughed, cried, and praised God for what He was doing.

By the end of the week, we saw those who had been quiet and distant finally surrender to Christ. We watched several of our friends surrender to ministry. During our in-cabin worship we were able to just lay it all down and worship with complete abandon.

More than anything else, we left feeling like a truly united family. But this is only the beginning. Students, let’s take what we learned at camp out of Oklahoma. Let’s apply it all on our campuses and in our homes. The battle starts now, let’s start fighting as a family. This is only the beginning.

Family Part Two – Children

By Karen Polich

God’s plan for families begins with parents who seek Him first and follow His direction. This partnership has a profound impact on children. God’s Word teaches us how, when living with trust, we can lead our children in His ways.

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Colossians 3:18-21

Children obey your parents. For this to function, there must be structure in the home. Proper leadership establishes direction. Children crave structure and order. When they have it, it brings freedom. When they know the boundaries, they too can begin to grow into who God created them to be. Structure in the family means there is accountability. It is the same for each of us with the Father. It also means mercy and grace can flow into the lives of children. Parents can teach them about forgiveness and why boundaries matter. God has set boundaries in every life for our own protection.

Fathers, do not embitter your children. Children crave approval from their fathers. Fathers must be willing to say “I’m sorry”, when they are harsh beyond what is needed or speak with words that should not have been said. Leading children comes with great responsibility. Children are fragile and fathers are called to love them. Leading from a “God first” life builds trust.

To live with submission, love and obedience, we must start with trust. Trust is over all of it. Husbands and wives, you must put God first. Seeking Him before anything else builds the trust that leads to obedience. An obedient life bears the fruit of a life with God at the center. Obedience is a mixture of submission and love. When we yield to the Father, we can live the life He intends for us, a life beyond our imagination.

What would our lives look like if we were doing everything we are supposed to do from a biblical perspective? Do not settle for anything less. He offers us His best. We can choose to embrace it.

Listen to the Fragile Growth sermon series here.

 

 

Family Part 1 -Husbands and Wives

By Karen Polich

“A godly marriage and family is the masterpiece of a godly life.” – Trey Sullins

The family has a God-ordained structure. Society and culture would diminish it and make it seem unattainable. The erosion of the family isn’t new. As the family goes, so goes our culture. God has a specific plan of order and purpose. On our own, it is something we will fall short of achieving, but when we live a “God first” life, we put ourselves on a path set forth by His commands. Listen to Pastor Trey Sullins sermon, Family, from the Fragile Growth series here.

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Colossians 3:18-21

These verses hold a lot. It’s important to look at them with an open heart. There’s real beauty in families that put these verses into practice.

Wives submit to your husbands. What does it mean to submit? Our culture would tell us submission is an ugly word that diminishes who we are. Not so. Submission has nothing to do with weakness or a lack of value. It has everything to do with “God first”.

In Matthew 26:39, Jesus is in the garden weeping and praying. He asks God to “take this cup from me” if there is another way. Yet, He says, “not my will, but Yours.” Jesus has never been weak. His value has never been lessened, even when he chose to submit to the will of the Father. It is the picture of true submission. Thine before mine. Submission is an act of obedience and has nothing to do with weakness or value. When a wife lives in submission to her husband, she is setting him as the leader of the family. She is entrusting him as a God-follower to lead the way. It is the beginning of a beautiful partnership.

Husbands, love your wives. This is not a love that is defined by our experiences but the love God created. Love your wife as Christ loves the Church. It is sacrificial. You cannot love without your whole heart. When a husband loves his wife as God commands, she will blossom as the woman God made her to be. Everything the husband does will stem from love. It will guide and lead, expanding their partnership. Jesus submitted to the Father. He followed the course set before him to the cross. He loves like no other. Loving us so much that he gave his life that we might live. This is the love husbands are commanded to give their wives. Complete and total love.

Take time to dig into these verses and ask God to speak into your heart. On Friday, read Family Part 2 – Children.