Whatever God Breathes Into, Counts the Most

We need to train ourselves to recognize the things God breathes into. These are the things that count most in life!

When God breathes into things that matter, what is right, what His values are, He makes them larger in our lives.

But the world can take away from the things that God breathed into, like motherhood. Being a mother, is a sacred role, but our world has a way of lessening that.

We’re Here to Train You to Bless Others

PK uses an illustration of visiting a restaurant contrasted to visiting a church.

When we go to a restaurant, our expectation is to be served. The restaurant’s purpose is to serve the customer, not to turn the customer into a waiter.

In contrast, the church’s purpose is to make us “waiters” and not keep us as “customers.” The church is first here to help people come to Christ, then to help us have a spirit of blessing others.

We weren’t meant to a reservoir of God’s blessing, but a river of God’s blessing to others. God blesses us so we can bless others.

LiveSent: How to Get Unstuck

Transformed people bless others, train others, and live sent.

We can all get stuck on the “other side” of the table, living just for ourselves. Our faith becomes all about ourselves. We talk about churches like we talk about restaurants: “This is how well they served me.”

So how do we get unstuck from living for self? We live a sent life. We make our lives about serving others.

Live Better Than Living for Self; Live Sent

We can live for ourselves or live sent by God. Living for one’s self leads to a broken and empty life, while living sent by God leads to a blessed and fulfilled life.

Paul’s life is a prime example of how God transforms lives from living for self and living sent. God first rescued Paul from his selfish life, transformed it, then sent Paul into the world as an apostle. This is the pattern God uses in all of our lives.

Adversity Tests Perspective

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

James 1:2-3

The original Greek translation of the word “consider” means to evaluate or gain perspective. James is telling us that overcoming adversity requires having the right perspective. In other words, our outlook on life determines our outcome.

Interview with Hasani Pettiford

Kevin interviews Hasani Pettiford, founder of Couples Academy, on how to navigate conflict within marriage. Hasani gives us key techniques that we can focus on in marriage to solve conflict:

  • Communicate effectively in what you say, how you say it, and your body language
  • Make the Bible the final authority
  • Give up the need to have to be right

 

Guiding a Family to Solve Conflict

We can resolve conflict in family by following the guidelines God models for us:

  • There is righteousness: Discuss and determine what is right, not who is right.
  • There is unrighteousness: Acknowledge what is wrong.
  • Someone has to repent: Apologize and return to what is righteous.
  • Someone has to forgive: Absorb the loss and restore the relationship.

When we let the peace of God reign, there will still be conflict, but now we have way to solve it.

Solve Conflict

4 things that keep a family together: 

  • Build Solid
  • Build Sacred
  • Solve Calendar
  • Solve Conflict

Solve Conflict:

  1. Conflict Within
  2. Conflict In Marriage
  3. Conflict in Family
    • There is righteousness (right).
    • There is unrighteousness (wrong).
    • Someone has to repent (sorry & return to righteous).
    • Someone has to forgive (absorb loss & restore relationship).

Homework: As a couple or family, agree to solve conflict by God’s ABCD’s. Solve conflict when it comes, solve it direct, and honest. Repent and forgive and return to building solid.

Create a “Closed For Business” Sign For Your Family

Work is important, but it’s only one of the important things in life. We need to find a way to be “closed for business” for our families.

This means putting limits to work so you can do family and limits to family so you can do work.

Kevin and Marcia navigated this conflict in time between work and family by setting some rules:

  • Quitting: “closed for business” at certain times of the day.
  • Interruptions: no interruptions at work.
  • Phone: no business calls when at home.

These rules help keep both family and work important. When someone is “on”, they’re fully on. When someone is “off”, they’re fully off.

Busyness Can Crowd Out the Important

In this illustration, each of the containers represents the time in our life.

  • The sand represents the busy lesser things in life – emails, social media, Netflix, etc…
  • The little stones represent the stuff that needs to get done, but if they don’t, it’s okay.
  • The big rocks that are most important in our life; prayer, family, careers, marriages, etc..

When we fill our calendars with lesser things first, we don’t have enough time left for all the sacred things. But when we put sacred things on the calendar first, everything can fit!

 

Your Calendar Always Reflects Your World View

Our worldview defines how we view time and use time. What this means is we manage our time based on our priorities.

We learn from Jesus’ life that he managed his time on Earth based on an eternal agenda and purpose, not just his life on Earth.

When we don’t focus on the eternal, we don’t understand time or how to properly manage it. Jesus would say we are actually wasting our lives! The world tells us that we waste our lives by prioritizing God, but God tells us the exact opposite.

Prioritizing God leads us to being renewed in His image and allowing us to adopt a new view on life.

Solve Calendar

4 things that keep a family together: 

  • Build Solid
  • Build Sacred
  • Solve Calendar
  • Solve Conflict

Solve Calendar: Since Jesus is at the center; new things become sacred (holy set apart). Therefore, we should put the sacred things in our calendar. Otherwise, the ‘busy’ will crowd out the ‘important’.

4 Well Timed Lessons:

  1. Your worldview defines how you view time &use time.
  2. If it’s not in your calendar, it’s not sacred.
  3. Put sacred things in your calendar first.
  4. Create a “closed for business” sign for your family.

Homework:

Plan Together: Nobody can solve every calendar problem all at once. But you can progressively build a solid future for your family by putting the Sacred (big rocks) in first. Sit down together as a couple and practice putting the Sacred (Big Rocks) in your calendar for next month. Then, live it. Along the way, figure out what pebble size commitments need to be planned. Even plan time to relax & recover. And if you have to shift a Sacred Rock, work it out until it’s back in.

Pray Together: “God our Father. Give us wisdom into our calendar to do what we can do. And do for us what we cannot do as you hold us together. In Jesus Name, Amen”.

Gumption is a Sacred Family Value

Gumption is the character to commit and complete. It’s the essence of self-leadership in requiring something of yourself without excuse.

Everything worthwhile is an uphill battle. Luckily, God has given us the necessary gifts, talents, and abilities to win. We only need to exercise gumption to get the better life God has invited us to.

And when we succeed, we celebrate!

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.

Build Sacred

4 things that keep a family together: 

  • Build Solid
  • Build Sacred
  • Solve Calendar
  • Solve Conflict

Build Sacred: Since Jesus is at the center; we set our hearts and minds on things above. New things become Sacred (holy set apart). We “die” to old things we once valued and value new things we once dismissed.

What is sacred in your family?

  • Togetherness
  • God First
  • Authenticity
  • Gumption
  • Bless Others

Homework: Define what is sacred in your family (5 to 7 things).

  • Ideas: Use today’s teaching; use the 10 commandments (Exodus 20); or use the “Value Exercise Cards” to start the conversation
  • Note: Perhaps what becomes “sacred” is distinct at different stages of life; dating, married, with young kids, with teenagers; empty nesters.

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.

Get Past Your Pride

Learn to live good in secret.

We need the power of the Holy Spirit down deep in our secret places because The Holy Spirit by the power of Christ will make us good form the bottom up.

When we become good in the secret hidden places, instead of trying to act good on the outside, we become good on the inside at the core, and good blossoms up!

This is how pride is beaten at the innermost core of ourselves.

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

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.

The Difference Between Happiness and Joy

We get the feeling of happiness confused as the presence of joy.

The Bible uses the word “joy”, but culture uses happiness. Happiness is emotional and fleeting, while joy is steady and sure.

But, Joy is NOT in the emotions first, it is first in the spirit. Happiness is circumstantial. Joy is in identity. Joy is higher than happiness. It can exist whether you are happy or not.

And when we get the two of these confused, we will find ourselves trying to force the feeling of happiness into the place meant for joy, but happy can not replace joy.

The strength of your walk with God is that you can sustain a life of joy, and it is connected to your ability to be thankful.

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.