Thrive

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.

 

 

 

 

 

More than Just Survival

By Kristi Sullins

Survive- To remain; to continue to exist.

Does this sound like where you are? Our world is made up of people who are continuing to exist. If we compare the goals and dreams of young children to those of adults who have had to face hardships, we see possibilities changed to practicalities. Our goals have changed to reflect our desire for survival.

We all have seasons of survival. The problem is when we take on survival mode as our way of life. It becomes so encompassing that we can no longer recognize that we are living just to survive. Do you find yourself in a time when you are just trying to make it through the day?

Do you find yourself saying?
If I can only get this bill paid…..
If I could only get this project done……
If I could only get through this week……..
If I could only get married…………
If I could only get this child to obey……..
If I could only get this promotion……….
If only this diagnosis is good………….
If I could only make this person happy………..

If only I could……then things will be good, but is that truth? Do you remember what it is like to do more than to survive, but thrive? The world we live in tells us that survival is normal, and exhaustion is what is best. The worst thing to do is to expect more.

The problem with that thought is that God promised us the “more”. Life more abundantly (John 10:10), joy more abundantly (Psalm 16:11), peace more abundantly (Romans 15:13) and strength more abundantly (Psalm 138:3) are the promises God gives us.

What you will not find in the Bible is the call to simply survive this life. One of the best examples of desiring more from this life is found in 1 Chronicles 4. You have to read verse after verse of genealogy in Chronicles, but tucked away in chapter 4 verse 10 you meet a man named Jabez who was bold enough to want more. He wanted what God would give him, and he asked for it. He asked God to bless him, but he didn’t leave it there. He asked specifically for an enlarging of his territories, and the presence of the mighty hand of God. He sought the strength God could give to keep him from evil, and from causing pain to others. He wanted more of God’s thriving. The best part is that God granted what he requested! He was granted the “more”.

If we are to take God’s word as truth then we must be ready to claim James 4 when he tells us that we have not because we do not ask, or we ask with the wrong motive. As children of God we get the choice to do more than exist in this world. We are called to display the life that is more abundant.

We are called to expect His “more”.

Surviving vs thriving has been at the forefront of my mind as we pray over God’s desire to use our church to minister to people. The past couple of years have felt more like a survival season than a thriving season. Now God seems to be filling our church with the boldness to ask for His “more”, and the anticipation of seeing His faithfulness displayed. He has also been preparing leaders for the changes that come with thriving.

Thriving takes more. Thriving takes preparation and sacrifice. Thriving takes faith and discipline. Thriving takes prayer and boldness. Thriving takes risks and vision. Thriving takes hope. Ask Jabez. Anyone can survive. It doesn’t take faith or dependence. It doesn’t take boldness or sacrifice. Just ask your unsaved friend or coworkers. No one needs God to survive this world, but only those with God can truly know the meaning of thriving despite this world.

We can choose to be comfortable surviving this world, or we can step out in boldness to ask God for His “more”. What will it be?

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. – God
Jeremiah 29:11- The Message