Striving to be Authentic

In our families, we’re never going to be perfect, but we can strive to be authentic.

Being authentic means to have consistency between what we say we value and what we practice.

For example, when we say, “God is our sovereign source of life, and the one on whom we depend,” we need to live it. We can do this by finding our significance and security from God and not in others. When we trust others to fill the void, they will eventually fail. We need to look to God and lean on Him for emotional wholeness.

Valuing Family Togetherness

God designed families to stick together.

In marriage, we die to our single life in order to look forward to being together. This means that time together becomes the default, rather than time apart.

When Kevin and Marcia got married, their single lives had to die. They made “together” a sacred value in their family. Every effort has been made to form their family to be together as a default habit.

How Families Can Withstand Pressure

Two different families may come from the same mold, but we won’t know the difference between the two until pressure is applied; job, finance, emotional, psychological. Once the pressure comes there is no amount of skill or training that can compensate for being hollow – it all falls apart.

If families are built from the inside out, they can sustain pressure from the outside in.

The Truth About Peace with God

Using the parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus separates the tradition about God from the truth about God.

In the middle eastern culture of Jesus’ day, if a son returned home after messing up life, he would be kept at arms length peace. He’s kept at a distance. This was tradition.

But here’s what true about our Heavenly Father, when we return to Him, he gives us arms around peace. God offers us complete forgiveness of sin through Jesus. When we get this idea that we are a second class citizen held at arms length from God, that’s a tradition that is not true. In fact – it’s an outright lie.

What is Actually True About the Nativity Scene

What are some of the traditions of the Nativity scene versus what actually happened at the Nativity?

What we know to be true is Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. He was God in human flesh. God left Heaven, took on human flesh, and lived with us. He lived a sinless life and then volunteered to be crucified for all of our sins.

This is the point of Christmas, so that we may have peace here on Earth.

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth PEACE to those on whom his favor rests.

Luke 2:14 (NIV)

 

 

How Many Souls are “Good Enough” for God?

Sometimes we get distracted in the activity of life and get wrapped up in a material world. This causes us to lose sight of the greatest good.

As Christians we should always re-engage our passion. Our true purpose is to continually reach out into the community of spiritually lost people.

God Changes Our Minds About The World

If we’re going to really reach out for good, God has to change our minds about how we see the world.

We are raised to believe that we live in a material world – that Earth is the beginning and the end. God teaches us that we are also in a spiritual world, a supernatural world. It’s a bigger world with a bigger purpose. We’re a part of something much bigger!

Reach Out For Good

Discovered: When you chase Feel Good; it progressively destroys good. When you chase do good; it grows feel good!

Question: What is The Greatest Good?

Answer: Bring Someone to Jesus

…that the might Believe, Receive, Follow, and Love Him! (forgiven, restored relationship with God our Heavenly Father, the gift of eternal life; transformed life here and now. Merry Christmas!)

Reach Out For Good:

  • Change my mind
  • Engage my heart
  • Train my actions

Keep Battling What Beats You

Humble yourself, get past your pride.

There are places we are vulnerable to peer pressure and signature sins. It’s only when we let God transform those innermost places that we can be defeat what beats us.

A temporary “feel good” fix (like alcoholism, addiction, drugs, pornography, etc…) only starts to make us loathe who we are. Beyond getting over our pride, we have to keep battling what breaks and beats us. This is only done by letting God battle with us.

God Will Pull With You

Jesus says to “Take my Yoke upon you and learn from me…” – Matthew 11:29-30

What does “Yoke” even mean?

A yoke pulls together two oxen so that they can share the load plowing a field. Jesus is saying for us to “yoke up” with Him, so that we can partner with Him and be transformed, and made good (Holy) at the core of our being.

When we join up with Jesus, he’ll plow our lives for us. He’ll pull with us and for us.

Letting God Into Your Secret Life

Public and private good can be achieved out of religion. What God offers into our hearts is a relationship with Him.

True good needs to break into our private, secret, and hidden places where it’s just Him and us.

If you stiff arm God & He never gets into the real mess of your life, then you never become good deep down. Then you’ll never get the truly good life God has for you!

 

God Applauds Doing Good for One Another

It matters that we do good to one another.

When someone blesses a child, it blesses their parents! That’s how God feels with us. When we do good to one another, He (God) feels good.

  • Love one another (John 13:35)
  • Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10)
  • Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
  • Build each other up (I Thessalonians 5:11)
  • Pray for each other (James 5:16)
  • Spur one another on toward love & good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)

Drill Down for Good

Discovered: When you chase Feel Good; it progressively destroys good. When you chase do good; it grows feel good!

The Challenge: Drill Down for Good (Because God’s good goes deeper and lasts longer.)

  • Public
  • Private
  • Secret

The Secret to a Merry Christmas “good life”? (Join Jesus)

  1. Yoke up for His pardon.
  2. Learn to live good in secret

Gear Up for Good

Challenge: Gear Up for Good

3 things to shift this season:

  • Shift gears from “Feel Good” to “Do Good”
    • When you chase feel good; it progressively destroys good!
    • When you chase do good; it grows feel good!
  • Shift gears from Good Intentions to Doing Good
  • Shift from Lower Gears to Higher Gears of Good

An Overview of The Beatitudes

The Beatitudes are like a ladder, designed to help us climb closer and closer to Christ likeness.

7 Beatitudes – Perfect Character:

  • Poor in Spirit
  • Mourn
  • Meek
  • Hunger & Thirst For Righteousness
  • Merciful
  • Pure in Heart
  • Peacemakers

1 Perfect Benediction:

  • Persecuted Because of Righteousness

Insights:

  • Each one rises above those that precede it.
  • They spring out of each other.
  • They depend on each other.
  • Each one is a paradox.
  • The blessing is in the present tense.
  • They are parallel to the Ten Commandments.

The Importance of Perspective

David knew that before He could really access joy, He had to return to a right view of God and himself.

Discontentment is not an issue of the value of the things in your life, but the perspective you have of your life. If you don’t get “discontent” settled in your soul, you’ll never be content.

The next, and the new, turns into the old and the mundane really fast if the issue is discontentment on the inside.

Thanksgiving renews the perspective of our lives and helps us see blessings again.

Thanksgiving Is the Gatekeeper to Joy

There is something about giving thanks that helps us unlock joy in our lives. Joy cannot be gained by external additions, but happens as an internal transformation. The more we understand discontentment, the more we begin to see the freedom of thanksgiving.

Discontentment leads to joyless (robs joy).

Thanksgiving leads to joy (fuels joy).

 

Discontentment Robs Joy From Our Lives

Discontentment on any level undoes relationships, friendships, careers, marriages, and families.

As we feel joy slip away, we start clamoring through life, frantically searching for the next thing, or some change in relationship or circumstance, that will satisfy this discontentment.

But no amount of MORE (no money, promotion, stuff, change in circumstances), can give breath in life like thanksgiving can.

Growing thankfulness and thanksgiving in your life would be central to a breakthrough in discontentment.

Overcoming Discontentment

One Conviction: Grow thankfulness to break through discontentment.

Thanksgiving is the gatekeeper to joy.

Grow joy through thanksgiving by:

  1. Remembering
    • “I will practice gratitude to access joy.” – Brene Brown
    • “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you are usually aware of three or four of them.” – John Piper
  2. Returning
  3. Right-sizing