#fragilegrowth

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.

Unfolding a Mystery of God

By Karen Polich

How much potential and possibility do we have in our Christian life? It is difficult to fathom how God can live in us and we in Him. The mystery is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27b) Pastor Michael M. Cook’s sermon series, Fragile Growth, explored this mystery related to living out our full potential. Listen to the podcast here.

Colossians 1:24-29 24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

This speaks to the possibilities in every disciple’s life and helps clarify the potential in a “God transformed” life.

Christ is not diminished in us. It is a challenge to understand. His presence, received through salvation will be something that changes us. His presence released, strengthens us. It is not us, but Christ living in us and loving through us.

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. John 14:20

In the Christian life, we have tremendous help through the Holy Spirit. Will we use it? No matter the pressure faced in life, help is at hand. He resides in us. We need to move out of the way and let Him lead.

The power of Christ in our lives communicates something about our potential. We can exchange our strength for His. We often try to get to the point where we can do things on our own, which is impossible. We can’t, but He can. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

The prospect of Christ in us reveals the hope of glory. Often we swim in failure. Without hope where would we be? We have hope now and hope in the future. There is more waiting for us beyond today and this life. (Romans 8:11, Psalm 17:15)

How great in the Kingdom, can we be in terms of Kingdom building for the cause of Christ? What is our full potential in Christ? As we grow spiritually in fragile space, know that the Holy Spirit is there to strengthen us as we live a life transformed by God.

 

 

 

 

 

Center Point

By Karen Polich

He created you and everything around you.

We all have a center point, the authority we give our allegiance to. Who (or what) is at the center point of your life? Take a look at life and evaluate what is the center piece. Where is your worship? Is God the center? Is it money, time, work, an upcoming wedding, fitness, the next vacation, or children?

What happens when Jesus is the center? Get ready. When Jesus is at the center you know, He won’t leave things the same. He’s going to ask you to love those who hate you. He’ll drive you to give more away. Your time, resources and priorities will become His. He’s not going to leave you alone.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—  if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. Colossians 1:15-23

Why should Jesus be at the center?

  1. He made you and everything around you. The Son is the image of the invisible God. He is God, full and complete. Jesus lived among us in flesh, fully God. (Hebrews 1:3, John 14:9) Jesus is the first-born over all creation. Everything was created through Him and for Him.
  2. He bought us. (Colossians 1:19) We have been reconciled to God through Christ.

When Jesus is the center point, we see fruit and results in our lives.

Fragile growth is just that, it’s fragile. God never intended for us to stay as we are. He has plans and a purpose for every life. When we put Jesus at the center point of our lives, we can live life as it should be. What is your center point?

Listen to Pastor Michael M. Cook’s sermon series, Fragile Growth, here.

 

 

 

 

Shaping a Path

By Karen Polich

How would you describe your life right now?

God has called us to bear abundant fruit. As believers, it is not finished simply when we choose to follow Christ. Salvation through God’s grace is only the beginning. Growth through God’s path should follow.

Pastor Michael M. Cook began a new sermon series, Fragile Growth, from Colossians 1:3-14. What path are we on and is it God’s path for us? Listen to the podcast here.

Let’s look at our lives, praying for God to awaken us from any drifting. What areas are bearing fruit? Where can we grow? New growth is fragile and brings us to a vulnerable place, but as Paul reminds us, we can start with faith, love and hope. When we have faith in Jesus Christ, love for God’s people and hope, we can begin to bear fruit.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people – the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world – just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. Colossians 1:3-6

Paul reminds us we should be ever growing in our walk with the Lord. Many understand the grace of God. It is seen in the image of the crucifixion. God sent Jesus Christ to save us by His grace. What is sometimes missed is the way of God. God’s path for our lives is what sets us up for real growth.

Why do we see believers whose actions contradict their salvation? It is simple. Understanding God’s grace is not the same as understanding God’s path. The space between is where fragile growth occurs. It is where we develop into the difference makers we are called to be.

Examine where you are today. What steps can be taken to bring about the abundant fruit that comes when we go the way of God?

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:8