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.

Love Doesn’t Enable

There are times in life when we come alongside others to help them. We do this in love because we see they are sinking, and we want to help them carry the weight of their struggles.

There are also times in which we are tempted to carry people who are perfectly capable of carrying themselves. A prime example of this can be found in parenting.

Pastor Miles recounts a story of his daughter and her homework. Instead of helping her, he empowered her to help herself.

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.”

Walls & Gates

Beach Chair Theology: The good life walls out bad things and lets in good things. Master your walls and gates!

Walls (keeping bad things out):

  • Shirking
  • Ungrateful
  • Sexual Sin

Gates (letting good things in):

    • Meaningful Relationships
    • Blessing Someone
    • The Truth in Love

Daily Prayers:

  • God, give me the strength to wall out the bad things.
  • God, give me the wisdom to open the gate to good things.

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 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.

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.

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.

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 Fills a Gap that Needs Continual Filling

Just like the deposit and withdrawal nature of relationships, our spiritual life goes through similar cycles. The design of prayer is that when we pour out our prayers to God, He continually pours into us.

So is it normal to hit “empty” often? Absolutely. God didn’t design prayer to be a one-time thing; it’s meant to happen every day.