10 Core Questions of Life

Our personal world view shapes everything in our lives — and in our kids’ lives. Our actions and reactions are determined by what we believe to be the answers to what Pastor Kevin calls the “10 Core Questions of Life.”

Using the Bible as a reference, we can teach our kids God’s answers to these questions. We’ll have to adapt our answers according to their age so their understanding will grow as their minds and bodies do. Eventually, when they’re adults, they’ll have adult-sized answers and be deeply grounded in their faith.

Three Speeds of Life for a Healthy Family

It’s important for us to understand what Pastor Kevin calls the “Speed of Life,” the “Speed of Love,” and the “Speed of Learn.” Depending on what we’re trying to accomplish with our kids at the time, we’ll need to know when to run, when to walk, and when to sit. No family can operate at the same speed all the time.

Dad’s Day 2018

Scripture:

Challenge: Win the 3 speeds of life.

  • Speed of Life (Run)
  • Speed of Love (Walk)
  • Speed of Learn (Sit)

Your world view shapes everything – your actions and reactions – so teach your kids the 10 core questions of life:

  1. Is life an accident, or am I here on purpose?
  2. Why do bad things happen to good people?
  3. Can I really trust God?
  4. Why can’t I make my own rules?
  5. Why can’t God just accept me the way I am?
  6. Isn’t only one way to God narrow-minded?
  7. What does it mean to be forgiven?
  8. Why don’t Christians look different from everybody else?
  9. Who needs the church?
  10. Are Heaven and Hell real?

What you feed grows and what you starve dies.

Carry Your Own Load to Love Others

It’s an expression of love when we carry our own load. This means when we have a responsibility to do something, people can count on us to get it done.

When we carry our own load and live up to our responsibilities, it creates maturity, stability, and a healthy environment in which the people around us can thrive.

Bless Someone

No matter where we are, we can find someone to bless. When we start our day, we should ask God to show us who that might be. It could be a family member, a friend, a coworker – even a stranger. It doesn’t matter whether the blessing is big or small. The recipient will know they matter to God. And we might find that God even blesses us in the process!

Cascading Loss

Pastor Kevin shares a conversation he had with his oldest son soon after he finished high school. He uses the illustration of a parking lot to explain that we don’t drift away from God and our dreams all at once – we cross over one line at a time. Before we realize it, we’ve ended up someplace we never intended to be.

To avoid this, we should focus on pleasing God instead of pleasing ourselves.

Say No to Shirking

There are areas in our lives that we tend to avoid because they’re difficult or require extra effort. These areas we tend to neglect could be in our marriage, family, career, finances – even our faith.

It’s important to relax and enjoy time off when we can get it, but we shouldn’t allow that to move into shirking our responsibilities when the break or vacation is over.

Like John Maxwell says, “If you do the things you need to do when you need to do them, then someday you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.”

Faith Seeks God Earnestly

It’s not enough for us to live off someone else’s faith. We need to seek God earnestly ourselves so that we can have our own experiences with God and grow our faith.

When we seek God, we will see God – and that will compel us to seek God further. This practice helps us to solidify faith as the center of our lives.

Faith Sees God Early

Just like Joshua in the Bible, we can choose to see an opportunity for faith instead of falling victim to fear.

The faith of seeing God early in the midst of trouble is a mindset and practice we can develop. Then, when the rest of the world only sees problems, we can recall God’s promises.

God Asks Us to Join the Fight

Pastor Kevin shares the Bible story of Gideon’s against-the-odds battle with the Midianites, and what he loves most about the story – that God didn’t leave Gideon on his own, and God also didn’t remove the requirement for Gideon to fight.

We should all be confident that what God invites us to do with Him, He will do with us. Even when we’re afraid, feel defeated, and are exhausted, God will never abandon us.

What Is Denying God and Defeating You?

If we’re going to be lovers of pleasure, indulgence, and immediate gratification, we’re never going to accomplish all the things God has for our future.

But we’re not alone in this – God will empower us to become conquerors over the things in our lives that interfere with who He has called us to be. Simply ask God for His help, and in faith, begin making necessary changes.

God Grants Trampled Ground

Pastor Kevin interviews Worship Leader Chris Morgan as he shares the story of his wife’s journey through a painful, debilitating illness, and how God spoke uniquely to Chris while on a prayer trail about “praying trampled ground.” His wife, Mary Anne, was eventually healed, and his prayer life changed forever.

Heather’s Prayer for Her Daughter

Pastor Heather Semple, from Red Cedar Community Church in Wisconsin and a friend of Pastor Kevin, shares her story of a very personal affirmation from God through an unexpected prayer request for her daughter. In the midst of what she believed to be a big spiritual risk for her congregation, her obedience and this “surprise” prayer moment left Pastor Heather feeling closer to God than ever.

Today, she believes the more she lives like God’s daughter, the more she experiences His power in her parenting and in her pastoring.

How Do I Know an Answer I Get Is from God?

When we’re sure God answered a prayer, we want to shout it from the rooftops, and thank God over and over! But when we aren’t sure the answer was from God, we have a very different experience – we don’t thank God, we don’t get encouraged in prayer, and we don’t understand the value of the cycle of prayer.

Remember, the God of the universe has the supreme power to answer our prayers in unexpected, surprising ways. Trust His sovereignty.

How Can We Help Kids See Answers to Prayer?

As we pray with our kids and they’re getting older, we transition from mere thankfulness to the concept of being cooperative with God.

Think of it this way: the first half of things we ask of God can be answered by gifts He’s already given us – a body, a mind, the earth, the capacity to work, etc. The second half is God doing things for us that we cannot do for ourselves. We cooperate with God to answer prayers; we both do our part.

Should We Be Specific in Prayer?

There will always be tension between your faith in God and your faith in your expectations of God. The Bible tells us only to exercise our faith in God. He is sovereign and His will stands.

That said, it’s okay to ask God for specific outcomes. The important thing is to remember that it’s up to God to do His will, and we must yield to His will with a tender and thankful heart.

How Important Is It to Have Relationships for Prayer?

The Bible tells us “to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.” There’s a practical reason for this: we tend to distance ourselves from God at either end of these extremes. In good times, we can grow arrogant. In bad times, we can become desperate. God wants us to be in community with other believers so we can have accountability and support throughout all the stages of our lives.

How Do You Help People Understand God Has a Plan?

Tragedy has a way of making people doubt God and His goodness. Pastor Kevin explains there are two issues that must be dealt with: a head issue and a heart issue. Sometimes we want an answer as to why something happened, when what we really need is a changed disposition and a dependency. God’s only promise is that He will always be with us.

What if You Pray for Something that Isn’t Healthy?

If what we’re praying for is not consistent with the word of God, then whatever we’ve gained is not from God. When we violate the word and the wisdom of God, what we get on the other side is not the will of God. God will not answer our prayer in an unhealthy way that goes against what He teaches us in the Bible.

What Do You Say to Someone Who’s Losing Valuable Time in Prayer?

There are various ways to pray, but confession is always an important component. Pastor Kevin offers an acronym as a guide: P.R.A.Y. (Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield) Start with a posture of praise. Then approach God with a clean heart through repentance so that nothing stands in the way. Ask God to grant a request, and then yield to His will for whatever outcome He chooses.

How Do You Talk with a Non-Believer about Prayer and God’s Will?

Sometimes friends who don’t believe in God ask us, as Christians, to pray for them. When things don’t go as we hoped and prayed, our friends feel disappointment and we feel uncomfortable. Pastor Kevin explains practical, step-by-step ways to pray with non-believers and how to follow up later to initiate conversations about faith.

How Can Single Moms Develop an Atmosphere of Prayer?

The first thing a single mom should do to develop an atmosphere of prayer is to grow her own intimate relationship with her Heavenly Father. This opens the door to her children believing in the possibility for themselves. The next thing she should do is to let her children know she’s praying for them and offer to pray with them together. Engage the mystery of prayer and watch God work.

How Can Kids See Answers to Prayer if They Don’t Get Their Way?

As we pray with our kids and they’re getting older, we transition from mere thankfulness to the concept of being cooperative with God.

Think of it this way: the first half of things we ask of God can be answered by gifts He’s already given us – a body, a mind, the earth, the capacity to work, etc. The second half is God doing things for us that we cannot do for ourselves. We cooperate with God to answer prayers; we both do our part.

How Do I Make Prayer Practical for Young Children?

Children crave routine, and prayer can easily become part of your family’s daily rhythm. Begin with prayers of thanks for food, toys, friends, etc. Progress over time to prayers for God’s help in situations at school or with difficult relationships. Prayer should grow in complexity as children get older. Model for them, through all stages of life, how to pray to their Heavenly Father.

How Do I Lead My Wife Spiritually and in Prayer?

When we marry, it’s not just two people coming together. It’s two people coming together with God. It’s a relationship of three that takes time to grow and develop.

Keep prayer simple in the beginning. Ask her how you can pray for her day, and then pray together and be specific. When tough times strike, the intensity of your prayers will increase. Lead her well and depend on each other for prayer and accountability.

What’s Better Than Forgiveness From Sin?

In The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says, “Lead us not into temptation.” Temptation, in this instance, means trials that would lead us to fall prey to Satan’s schemes and cause us to sin.

We should pray daily so that God would help us not to become so undone by our challenges that we would believe the lies of the enemy.

How Pastor Kevin Forgave His Dad

Pastor Kevin shares how he managed to forgive his father, from whom he’s been estranged since age 17. He discusses the three words that helped him process the loss: bitterness, forgiveness, and sadness. The forgiveness removed the bitterness, but it did not remove the sadness of what could have been.

Lead Like a Man, Pray Like a Boy

There is so much in our lives and in our world that we can’t control. Political issues, economic changes, relational problems – many things plague us. At work and in our families, when we’re expected to lead, we should lead with strength and confidence. But when we pray to God, our protector, provider, and deliverer, we should humbly approach Him like a child.

Prayer Is Not for God, It’s for You

Why should we pray if God already knows what we need? Theologian John Calvin offers an insightful explanation. In short, prayer is not for God, it’s for us. God knows what we need, and He’s faithful to provide it. But when we pray, we exercise our faith, release anxiety, and are reminded of who God is.

When we don’t pray, we’re at risk of believing everything we need falls upon us to provide. Remember, it’s not our own efforts and abilities that afford us what we need. It’s always God who does the blessing.