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.

Slow Down to the Speed of Love

We were created to slow down and “walk” in our relationships, and being intentional takes time and focus. This quality time is an investment that will pay off for years to come.

We should slow down enough to emotionally engage our kids on their level and get interested in what’s going on in their lives. Focus on what matters to them: their friends, hobbies, favorite games, etc.

Remember, kids are smart and will know when you’re faking it. If you need to, carve out time in your calendar specifically for the slow, steady “Speed of Love.”

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.

Make Yourself Available to Love

To love people by helping them to carry their burdens, we have to make ourselves available. This can mean taking time from our busy schedules to share our hope and faith, to share financial resources, or to simply share a smile and a hug. We’ll never know the struggles someone is facing unless we slow down and take the time to be available.

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.

The Reward of Faith

The Reality of Faith

  • Faith sees God early.
  • Faith seeks God earnestly

The Reward of Faith: God’s presence, purpose, and power in our lives.

  • Faith enables us to trust where others cannot trust.
  • Faith enables us to see what others cannot see.
  • Faith enables us to do what others cannot do.

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.

Faith Conquers

Defeated –> Conquering

1) By Faith: Some things need to be torn down!

2) By Faith: Some things need to be fought for!

Next Steps:

1) Talk with God: (courage to ask)

  • What needs to be Torn Down?
  • What needs to be Fought For?

2) Tell some Friends: (encourage each other)

  • Here’s the Thing I need to Tear Down!
  • Here’s the Thing I need to Fight For!

3) Take specific steps. (Courage to act is faith.)

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.

Trampled Ground

I pray that you would be women of prayer..
..so that you would be a rebel for God in this godless world. That you would live for Christ in a world that lives for self. That you would Cause Trouble for Satan and advance the kingdom of God at home, in the church and wherever God places you on map.

Two Convictions:

  1. It Matters Who Prays.
  2. God Grants Trampled Ground.

Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayer?

Some days, it seems like prayers only reach the bedroom ceiling. It’s enough to cause anyone to wonder if God is really listening and why He doesn’t seem to be answering our prayers.

When God seems distant and our prayers seem useless, we can turn to the Bible for the perspective we need to press on.

Two truths we must keep in mind concerning prayer:

1. God hears us and loves to give good gifts.

No matter how you may feel, your prayers do not bounce off the ceiling. God loves to hear from His children just like a good dad loves to hear from his kids. In Luke 18, Jesus gives His disciples a parable “to show them that they should always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1).  Through this story, Jesus affirms that God is better than this indifferent judge who responded to the pleas of the widow. God hears our appeals to Him, and we can expect His loving response. He is a good father who eagerly desires to give good gifts to His children.

2. God knows what we need even before we ask.

God knows everything — past, present, future, and all possibilities. But because we’re human, we’re not always going to understand God’s ways (Isaiah 55:8-9Romans 11:33). If we could understand all the mysteries of God, we would be Him. In the Bible, we see Him work unexpectedly. Even Abraham and Sarah were surprised by the way that God gave them a child in their old age (Genesis 15:2Genesis 18:12-14). God may not work in the way we desire or anticipate but we can trust that His plan is best.

We also see in the Bible that we can hinder our own prayers. James 4:3 declares, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”

  • What are your motives for prayer?
  • Do your desires align with the Lord’s or are you seeking selfishly? We are too small a focus for the world to revolve around. At the end of the day, God’s plan is always going to be better than our own.

In a letter to the church, Peter makes it clear that there are ways of living that can affect our prayers (1 Peter 3:7 and 1 Peter 4:7).

  • Have you impaired your connection with God because of sin?
  • Has the Lord spoken to you on a sin issue that you need to repent of?

Jesus also affirmed faith as necessary for prayer, and James echoes this in his letter to the church (Matthew 21:21-22 and James 1:6-7). Do you have faith to believe God can fulfill your prayer? If not, ask Him to help you with your doubt.

James assures us that prayer is powerful and effective, supporting His belief with the example of Elijah, who was a man just like us, and earnestly prayed for rain to cease for three and a half years. If God hasn’t answered your prayer, trust His goodness, His timing, and that He hears you.


Article courtesy of NewSpring Church

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.

When I Feel Like God’s Not Hearing Me, Should I Keep Praying?

There are times we casually ask God for something, and we’re not even aware of what will be involved in how God answers that prayer. For example, if we ask God for wisdom, we should be actively working to gain it.

How? Our focus should change from a material-centered lifestyle to a spiritually-centered intensity. Combining the fervency and persistent nature of our prayers, maturing, and fasting will all develop our spiritual life and help us gain wisdom – and we can’t rush that process.

How Do You Balance Praying in Faith with Releasing It to God?

Our prayers should be based on the understanding that God, our Father, has complete and sovereign control. The question is not whether He has our situation in control – it’s whether we trust Him.

The things we can do (like pray), we have to do. The things we can’t do are up to God. And God grants us peace in the meantime. So take heart: We have no idea how many prayers God is answering that we can’t even see yet.

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.