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What are some signs that we are living in the last days?

I just received a newsletter from Compass (2016 Issue 2), and they list 10 signs that we are now in the last days. They mention that anyone with at least 2 brain cells will definitely know we are in the last days after looking at these signs. I’ll make my own comments as we walk through these signs together.
 
1. Israel is back in her land (Ezek. 37:21). 
 
Over 8 million Jews have returned from being dispersed throughout the world. They started coming back to their homeland in the 1800’s – after 2000 years of being everywhere around the globe. In 1995 I was in Israel with a Compass tour, and I had an Ethiopian Jew serving me dinner at one of the hotels. I saw first hand Jew who longs to return to their national homeland. In 1917, at the end of WWI, the Balfour Agreement gave the Jews a legal right of return. And on May 14, 1948, the United Nations declared Israel a sovereign nation. 
 
2. Israel is a World Problem (Zech. 12:3)
 
Israel is in the news almost daily. Israel’s neighbors do not like them, and their goal is to drive them into the sea. Israel  has a population of 8 million people, the Arabs 450 million, and yet look at what Isarel has accomplished  for its size. Why do the Arabs desire to drive Israel into the sea?  The seed of Ishmael do not like the people from the seed of Isaac. They have been at odds with one another for thousands of years.  Are you aware that every U.S. President since Israel became a nation in 1948 has tried and failed to establish a peace treaty between Israel and her Arab neighbors. We hear on the news not that the Arabs are the trouble makers, but the Jews. How many times do you have to have rocks thrown at you, or some suicide bomber kill your family members before you begin to protect yourself, and if necessary build walls. 
 
I have read the book of Revelation and I know that in the end that the Antichrist will bring a massive army against the Jewish people. They will be bent in destroying the Jews. But the Bible is clear that God will show up, and with the breath of his mouth destroy the entire army (Rev. 20:7-10). 
 
3. As in the days of Noah, or Sodom and Gomorrah (Matt. 24:37, Lk. 17:28-30, Gen. 19:5)
 
 Today we are witnessing an unparalleled assault on moral values in our land. Jesus said that in the last days we would witness things like what were occurring when He destroyed the world in a flood (Gen. 6). And that we would see events taking place like they did in Sodom ad Gomorrah. Not long ago the U.S. Supreme Count said that homosexual behavior is to be legitimized. 
 
Homosexuality IS a sin. Contrary to people being born that way, it is a choice. Now I agree that born sinner will often choose sinful behavior. This is what spiritually dead people do. However, this doesn’t mean that we should tolerate and accept sinful behavior. God will one day judge this sin. 
 
What makes me sick is that we have now an entire movement that is pressing for rights for their sinful behavior, and it doesn’t matter that states vote to protect their people. Unjust judges over-turn the vote and voice of the people. How long will this keep happening in America? When will we say enough? Sinful homosexual behavior is not a constitutional right.
 
And now we have to watch the movement of the transgender people claiming that they have a right to use the bathrooms of a “sex” that they were not born. They claiming that people are discriminating against them if they speak out against this. As we saw in North Carolina.  People wanted to oust the Governor because he signed a bill saying that people had to use the bathroom for the gender of their birth. 
 
4. We are moving to a cashless society (Rev. 13:16-17)
 
A recent survey said that only 10% of Americans always carry cash. A lot of people don’t even know what the dollar looks like anymore. They are so use to debit and credit cards. More and more people are going with electronic payments. We use watches and smart phones to swipe and make payments. 
 
Because banks are now global in scale it’s not impossible for one day the entire world to be controlled by one person. We are rapidly approaching a world-wide Babylonian system, both in the area of finances, and in religion. It’s coming – it’s a matter of time. 
 
5. Russian/Iran Coalition (Ezek. 38:2-8)
 
Are you aware that the Bible predicts that God/Rosh (Modern day Russia) will invade Israel from the north with Persia (Modern day Iran) as one of her principals allies. Today we are seeing that Russia and Iran are becoming close military friends. 
 
The prophecy above was written 2700 years ago, pinpoint the time to be after Israel comes back into their land in the latter days. 
 
6. Nuclear Weapons (Rev. 6:4, Zech 14:12)
 
There is enough nuclear weapons on the planet to kills every man, woman, boy, and girl, and there are nations still seeking to obtain its power. The U.S. recently tried to broker a deal with Iran to stop their nuclear ambition, but do you really think they are going to stop? No, they desired the U.S. to allow their money to flow again. 
 
North Korea is testing at this time. 
 
7. Knowledge shall increase (Dan. 12:4, Nah. 2:4)
 
Look at the speed of the internet, and all the information at your fingertips. What are you search for? It is available. Need help with something – Go to Youtube. Do a search. There you have it. 
 
8. Mocker denying the Second Coming of Jesus (II Pet. 3:3-4)
 
People laugh today when we speak of what the Bible says about the return of Jesus Christ for the second time. Go ahead and laugh – God is patient, and he desire that you repent. I know there are various views of the end times, but the Bible is clear that Jesus will come again. 
 
Compass says in this article that 80% of the Christian Church is A-millennial, meaning “No Thousand Year Reign” of Jesus Christ as described in Rev. 20. Many of them believe that the church will make the world a better place, and usher in the kingdom of God. 
 
Christians don’t you deny the Second Coming of Jesus.
 
9. The 144,000 Jewish Evangelists identified (Rev. 7:4, 14:3-4)
 
It is believe that these will be unmarried Rabbinical Jews between the ages of 18-30. Today it is estimated that their number is somewhere around 150,000, and growing. 
 
10. Israel Deserts will Bloom (Isa. 27:6, 35:1-2)
 
In 1995 I saw just how lush Israel was. At that time they were being called the bread basket of Europe. I saw farmlands full of vegetables. Banana plantations were everywhere. In the hotels I enjoyed fruits and all types of breads. It was amazing. 
 
In the 1800″s Mark Twain commented that there was hardly anything green in the entire land. 
 
The Turks of Ottoman Empire, who controlled the land for 400 years, had heavily taxed trees on property. So most of the people simply cut down their trees to avoid paying taxes. 
 
Since the Jews have returned to their land the land has changed, and they have planted over 250 million trees throughout the country (which is roughly the size of Vermont). 
 
Yes, if you ever get a chance to visit Israel you too will be amazed at just how green everything is. Israel has bloomed! 
 
All of these prophecies ought to excite you. Yes, we are living in the last days. Are you fixing your eyes on things above? I hope you are. 


The Friendship Factor

The Friendship Factor

Read: Romans 16:1-16

 
Who are your friends? Can you list seven friends right now? Go ahead, do it: 
 
How important are friends? Read: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
 
   9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
 
Who is your BFF? Do you have a best friend forever? 

The Apostle Paul had many friends, and it was easy for him to make friends. It has been said that the greatest ministers are those who can make friends. 

In this lesson I want us to consider the twenty-seven (27) people that Paul lists here as he brings the book of Romans to a close. All twenty-seven (27) people played significant roles in Paul’s life. As do our friends today! 

Paul’s List of Friends

Friend 1 – Phoebe – 16:1

 
  • Servant of the church
  • Receive her
  • She has been a helper of many and of myself 

Friend 2 & 3 – Priscilla and Aquila – 16:3-4 

  • Fellow workers in Christ Jesus
  • Risked their own necks for my life
  • Give thanks
  • Church in their house 

Friend 4 – Epaenetus – 16:5 

  • Firstfruits of Achaia to Christ 

Friend 5 – Mary – 16:6 

  • Labored much for us 

Friend 6 & 7 – Andronicus & Junia – 16:7 

  • My countrymen
  • Fellow prisoners
  • Apostles – messengers
  • Were in Christ before me 

Friend 8 – Amplias – 16:8 

  • My beloved in the Lord 

Friend 9 & 10 –  Urbanus and Stachys – 16:9 

  • Fellow worker in Christ
  • My beloved 

Friend 11 & 12 – Apelles and Aristobulus – 16:10 

  • Approved in Christ
  • Household of Aristobulus (not one, but many) 

Friend 13 & 14 – Herodion and Narcissus – 16:11 

  • My countryman
  • Household of Narcissus (not one, but many) 

Friend 15, 16, & 17 – Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis – 16:12 

  • Labored in the Lord
  • Beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord 

Friend 18 – Rufus – 16:13 

  • Chosen in the Lord
  • His mother and mine 

Friend 19 – 23 – Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, and Hermes – 16:14 

  • Brethren with them (again, not one, but many) 

Friend 24 – 27 – Philologus, Julia, Nereus (his sister) , and Olympas – 16:15 

  • All the saints who are with them (again we have many) 

In Romans 16:16 we read,  

“Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.” 

   This was a custom, and still is in eastern cultures. In our culture we see women who hug each other, and men who shake hands. Do we really grasp the significance of the kiss, the hug, or the handshake? It is a mark of friendship.

 Wrap Up

How many of the people on your list of friends are you actively involved in ministry with?  How many of them do you attend church with? Who on your list has risked their life for yours? Who have you brought to the saving knowledge of Christ? Who are your beloved? How many people on your friendship list have you done ministry with? Do those on your list belong to a church family? How many of your own family are serving Christ with you? Are your friends better because you are a part of their lives? 

The Friendship Factor equals the true value of friendships. Why not jot a note to those you value the most – encourage your friends.  Write them a quick sentence telling them how important they are to you. 

Tonight, I want to express to all of you how much I appreciate serving the Lord along side of you. Thank you all so much for all you do. You are my beloved!



New Church App on its way!

Make sure you check out the new Spirit Lake Baptist Church App. It will provide you with ready access to a lot of create tools. Enjoy.


Get Over It – Helpful words for married couples

I just recently read through the article below, and found it very helpful. As you know I have started a new sermon series: Breaking Bad, and this was something that I was going to use. I didn’t, but still believe that others could benefit from it. If you find it help would you be sure to pass it on to others. Thanks.

A close friend just gave me a mug with “Get Over It” inscribed on the side. My wife gave me a sign for my counseling office years ago that read, “Get over it.” So what is the it?

The it  we must get over in marriage is anger. Release anger. Unresolved anger destroys marriage.

We don’t release anger by blasting or hurting our mates. We don’t get over anger by dumping on our mates. Try this:

We release anger by …

  • Taking responsibility for our own feelings.
  • Sharing honestly in love.
  • Allowing God to replace anger with forgiveness.
  • Believing the best instead of the worst about our mates.
  • Deciding that I can change even if my spouse doesn’t.
  • Setting appropriate boundaries so that what caused the anger doesn’t happen again.
  • Becoming calm instead of agitated.
  • Acting assertively not aggressively.
  • Admitting I was wrong in whatever part of the problem I created.
  • Knowing that my spouse is not the enemy.
  • Valuing the relationship more than being right.
  • Recognizing that my perceptions may not be reality.
  • Wanting both of us to win instead of me winning as my spouse loses.
  • Understanding that the battle is not against flesh and blood.

The time has come when we must decide as a couple to make “getting over it” our first priority whenever anger seeks to erode our covenant relationship.

“Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” (Eph. 4:26–27)

[1] Keefauver, L., & Keefauver, J. (2002). Seventy-seven irrefutable truths of marriage  (pp. 71–72). Gainesville, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.



New Web Site and Smart Phone App

It’s about to appear! Yes, as a church we have subscribed to Sharefaith, and apart of our subscription allows us to update our website, and to provide a Smart Phone App for our congregation. I am looking forward to being able to keep everyone at SLBC up-to-date on what is happening within our fellowship. 
 
These are exiting days before us. We are seeing more and more people coming into our fellowship at SLBC, and we are actively pursuing a consistent walk with Jesus Christ. Our community is aware of our presence, and we are making at difference in our local schools. In April we want to break ground for our expansion program, and we are depended entirely upon the Lord and His people for the necessary finances. 
 
This coming Sunday I will be starting the New Series: Breaking Bad. I am sure that we all have some bad in our lives that we need to break this New Year. Would you please be praying for me. I so much want to make these message down-to-earth practical.
 
Please make sure that you look around our new website. Everything will be located on one site instead of two. 
 
God bless you all in 2016
Pastor Kim 


Where are you with CULTURE?

Where are you and I when it comes to culture? I hear people on the West and East Coasts talk about people living inland (country living), and they say things like, “You’re not very cultured”, or “Where you live, lacks culture”. I hear those statements and I literally laugh inside (I have a real: lol moment). According to some people the more you embrace culture, the more cultured you are. Really? I’m not sure we should buy into that thought pattern. Take a look at the statement below: images-11

I think I can agree with that statement. Our culture will often determine our values. Just think of how we have watched the slippery slop of events happen here in America. We have seen how culture shapes our values in a wide variety of ways, everything from drug use in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Alaska, to legalization to same sex marriage by the vote of the Supreme Court of the United States. Will culture continue to shape America and Americans?

I am so surprised to listen to people talk, and they are of the opinion that they are not affected by their culture. What you embrace in your culture will shape your values. This is why in America we can kill babies in the womb, and then market their parts for financial gain. As if Congress should have an issue about shutting down Planned Parenthood.

We talk about a responsible culture. Have you ever heard those words before? You see, what you and I embrace in our present day culture will determine how we live tomorrow. I remember a program in the schools called: D.A.R.E. – Drug Abuse Resistance Education. The goal was to help kids to say no to peers who may try to get them to do drugs. Excuse me – we now have state approved drug dispensaries! How has culture played a role in that one? Sorry, maybe I should just be quiet and sweep it under a rug somewhere. The topic may get a little difficult to talk about.

Culture tells us all the time that if it legal, that it is permissible. Are you aware that the Bible says, “All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful.” (I Cor. 6:12). How is culture shaping your values? What are you embracing today that you would have never dreamed of accepting ten years ago?

Picture two arrows going into the opposite direction. The arrow on the left is our modern day culture (that does pierce our values) – it flies at a rapid speed. The second arrow in the right is YOU. Here are three ways we can deal with our culture: 1. Soar above culture. 2. Become like your culture. 3.  Seek to change your culture.

Consider the following slides:
Slide1Slide2Slide3

Well, I hope that I have provided us some things to think about. I truly believe that God has called us to engage our culture, but NOT to become like our culture. Far too many Christians have become like culture and have embraced the values that go along with it.

Paul wrote, “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed.” (Romans 12:2)

Conformed or Transformed? Which describes you right now?



SCOTUS Decision – The impetus for Coming CHANGE in America

SCOTUSThe Supreme Cout of the United States doesn’t always get it right, and this time they got it wrong. They got it very wrong. My understanding of law is that there must be a precedence, and there was, over thousands of years of world history, not just US history, but world-wide history that marriage consisted between one man and one woman, or polygamy – one man and many wives. But the truth of the matter is that marriage was between a man and a woman. This time the US Supreme Court in a decision 5-4 got it wrong.

Also their decision doesn’t change the truth that marriage is a union of a man and a woman. Just because something has been made legal by the courts, doesn’t change NATURE, nor does it change God’s laws of humanity. Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female,” (Matt. 19:4). Evidently some are not well read. Jesus made it abundantly clear – so then, don’t muddy the truth.

As a pastor and a church leader I will NOT cave in to the reshaping of American culture for the sake of the alphabet people who would like to tell us that we are the ones with the problem. They need to stop saying that we are homophobic, I think they are the ones with a phobic – a phobic against natural marriage that has been a part of the world at large for thousands of years. I also believe that they need to stop using their bully media outlets to try to beat us into subjection. Oh, and by the way did you notice that not one Christian set fire, turned over police cars, or destroyed property after the US Supreme Court ruling. I don’t believe it would have been the same had the decision gone the other way. It’s possible that our “Justices” made their decision based on the consequences that would have followed had they gone the other way. It is also possible that this decision was based on kickbacks and bribes. After all, look at the recent Dennis Hastert fiasco. None of this would surprise me.

Its really not over yet. I really believe that we need to think 2016 when we will vote for a new leader of our free society. Its time that we begin to make choices to clean house, both the White House, and the House of Congress. We actually need to vote in some people with backbone, and moral fiber who will take a stand for what is right, in the midst of a society that has lost the whole idea of right and wrong. I mean think about it: We have people who don’t know whether they are male or female, whether they are black or white, and no clue as to what is right to wrong.

Isaiah the prophet penned these words, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.” (Isa. 5:20).

I believe it might take an event like this to actually wake up the church. Church are you awake now? Have we slept along enough. Do we want to reclaim our America? Let’s do it in 2016. Rally the troop, get your pen ready to making some sweeping changes. It can happen, and it will happen if you and I have had enough of runaway politic and politicians.

Remember the ink on the finger tips of the Iraqi people? Well, lets do something just as amazing here in our nation when we go to the polls next year. Let’s let our votes be heard!

Rise up Christians – Rise up Church.



A Total Disgrace for the Married People

 Did you hear the latest to come out of the state of California?

Jerry Brown has signed SB1306, that goes into effect on Jan. 1. The bill will strike out the words “husband” and “wife” from all state documents. Husband and wife will be replaced with “spouse”, and the reason given is to accommodate same-sex marriage (became legal in the state last year after the Supreme Court struck down a voter-approved ban on it). Take away our rights, and the rights of the majority for a small fraction of people. Strip away our right for self-government – the vote of the people of California, and now take away from married men and women the right to call each other by the words, husband and wife.

State Sen. Mark Leno (author of SB1306) of San Francisco has said, “I am pleased Governor Brown has recognized the importance of this bill, which makes it explicitly clear in state law that every loving couple has the right to marry in California,” Leno said. “This legislation removes outdated and biased language from state codes and recognizes all married spouses equally, regardless of their gender.”

It not only removes language that has a history worldwide, but it takes by force the rights of the people (the majority) away.

I for one will say, “NO” to Jerry Brown and Sen. Mark Leno. These two men are out of touch with the majority of people in there own state, as well as the United States, and the world at large.

Perhaps next they will seek to do away with the term, “kids” because it makes children feel ignorant and less valued as an individual. I know, lets use the word, “offspring”.

Enough is enough, but as someone has said, “You can’t change stupid.”

 



Two Becoming One with Children

Slide1God designed couples to get married, and to start a family (children). Now, I understand that not all couples have the ability to have children. However, it is still how God designed them – they want to have children. I know of couples that were unable to have children, and so they adopted. I also know a few couples that do not want children. That is an aberration from what is normal, and from how God designed us as people.

A man (male) and a woman (female) were created to come together (uniquely designed) for procreation. God designed you to become parents. He designed you to produce offspring! And contrary to what we hear in society this is God’s blueprint for humanity.

In this message I want to walk through the Bible with you and look at what the Scripture teaches us about becoming parents and producing children. How can a couple start a family and maintain an oneness in their marriage?

Key: Do it God’s way. 

I. Be fruitful and multiply 

In Genesis 1:28, “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 

Who spoke those words? God did! If you don’t like those words, take it up with God. If you family and friends don’t like those words let them take it up with God. 

Here is how it has played out since creation. A man meets a girl, they grow in love and friendship, they plan a date to get married, they enjoy each other physically, and then they get pregnant. They start a family.

Husbands and wives throughout time and memorial have always enjoyed combining their DNA and creating a miniature version of themselves. I mean don’t most of us look at a baby and say things like:

  • She looks just like you.
  • Wow, look at the hair. Just like Dad.
  • She has her mother’s eyes.
  • He has his daddy nose.
  • I see both of you in your baby.

There are a lot of people that have decided NOT to have children. I want to say this as gently as possible, and my intent is not to rub you the wrong way. Your plans are NOT God’s plans. And are you aware that there are a lot of people that would love to have your ability to create a child.

God commanded humanity to be fruitful and multiply. To choose to say NO to God’s command is outright disobedience. 

II. Let God determine your family size 

   What about the first couple on the planet? That would be Mr. Adam and Mrs. Eve. How many children did they have? As we study the early chapters of the book of Genesis we discover the following. They produced:

  • Cain – Gen. 4:1
  • Abel – Gen. 4:2 (Murdered by Cain)
  • Seth – Gen. 4:25
  • Sons and daughters – Gen. 5:4

We are not told how many other sons and daughters they had. Daughters were not actually reported in the Bible.

What about Noah and his wife? The Bible tells us that they had three sons! Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Gen. 6:10). We also know that each of their boys had a wife, and they produced a lot of children. Check out Genesis 10, and you get what is called: The Table of Nations. From Shem, Ham, and Japheth and their wives we have the various nations of the world.

People in the Old Testament considered themselves wealthy based on the number of children they had. They didn’t base their wealth on how much land or animals they owned, No, a man was considered wealthy by the number of children they had in their household.

As you read through the book of Job you discovered that he and his wife had many sons and daughters that were killed, perhaps by a tornado (Job 1:18-19), and as the book concludes God blessed Job and his wife with seven additional sons, and three daughters (Job 42:13). It is possible that he and his wife had upwards to 20 children. I am not saying that Job has to be our example, but please STOP this thinking today that a large family is two children. That’s absurd!

Debbie’s dad was one of twelve children! Susanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley had nineteen (19) children. And she herself was the twenty-fifth (25) child born to her mother.

In Psalm 127:3-5, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.” 

   What a wonderful picture! Children are not a burden – they are a blessing! Look at what that verse tells us, 

   “Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.” 

   I have read that a Jewish quiver held five arrows!

I’m not telling you that you need to have five children. I’m just telling you historically what a Jewish quiver held. I’m just saying!

   III. Trust God for your children. 

   If God told you to have “X” number of children, then don’t you believe that God will also provide for those children? Remember what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount? He said,

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (Matt. 6:25)

What it Cost to Raise a Child 

   Recently I read that to raise a child to the age of 18 will cost you $ 245,000 dollars (and that doesn’t include college). Now we all agree that that is a lot of money (1/4 of a million dollars), but you do know that that figure is spread out over 18 years, which equals to $ 13,611 dollars a year.

I want to be very honest with you. Children will cost you more money than you will make if you have to give them the BRAND (the best and high end of everything). If you have to buy your children the BRAND, then you are right, you can’t afford children.

Can I remind you that most of the time children live in hand-me-downs for the first several years of their lives! There is nothing wrong with hand-me-downs, or second-time-around clothes. Nor is there anything wrong with buying clothes at a Ross or TJ Maxx at a fraction of the cost. Stop thinking that your children have to walk around in $ 100.00 jeans, and $ 100.00 sneakers.

If you provide the essentials – food, shelter, and clothing for your children, then you can afford them – so have yourself a family.

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

IV. Share the responsibility of children.

Children bring an entirely new dimension into your home life. Your world will be rocked when you have your first child. You will also have additional responsibilities. Here is my short list:

  • Feeding
  • Holding
  • Changing diapers
  • Putting baby to bed
  • Getting up at night with baby
  • Caring for baby when crying
  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Cuddling

That’s responsibility with a capital “R”. 

   All those things will require work on the part of both parents. This is what parenting is all about. It is laboring together to raise a family for the glory of God. A couple is to pull together and share the load of responsibility.

When children enter the equation couples have additional work. But it’s NOT unbearable, and it doesn’t always remain the same. Children are constantly changing, and so do the responsibilities for raising your children.

Get this down – It is to be a SHARED responsibility. A family by God’s design is: Mom, Dad, and Children. Society has devastated God’s original plan for the family, and its not working well. Suggestion – let us go back to God’s blueprint for the family!

There is a verse in Ephesians that speaks of the responsibility of the church body sharing the load together, but I want to borrow that verse right now for parenting. We read,

from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:16)

Underline the words, “by which every part does it share,” That’s true of the church, and that is true in parenting.

V. Develop a plan for your children. 

   It is vital that parents come together and have a meeting of the minds. You have got to be on the same song sheet when raising children, or else you will have discord in your home. Children have the unique ability to know whether parents are unified or if disunity exists among them.

I would encourage you to come together and talk about how you are going to deal with the following issues in child raising. Have a well laid out plan. Allow it to be fluid and flexible, but have a plan.

  • Discipline – How will you discipline your children? Time out chair, or the rod of reproof?
  • Rebellion/Strong will – Its not a matter if, it’s a matter when. We are all born with a rebellious nature. How will the two of you deal with outright rebellion?
  • Chores – What are you going to assign your children to be doing in your home? Make it age appropriate. It will change through the years. Agree now as to what responsibilities you will give to your children.
  • Character development – integrity, honesty, compassion, and humility.

Paul penned the following words,

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)

Make a plan for bringing your children up.

   Five Reasons for having Children

  1. To grow up. Children force you mature.
  2. To learn what it means to be responsible. You have others to think about.
  3. To become a godly example.
  4. To offer society healthier citizens.
  5. To leave a lasting legacy. 

   All of us as parents need to have a plan for reaching our goals. And this brings us to our last point:

VI. Set your Goals early as Parents.

It has been said, “If you aim for nothing you’ll be sure to hit it.”

My goal as a parent was based on Psalm 127:4,

   “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth.”

Our goal for children: To shoot arrows from our home that would impact the world.

  • Culturally different
  • Doctrinally sound
  • Biblically relevant
  • Lovingly sensitive
  • Holy Spirit guided

Only time will tell how well of a job we did as parents. Four out of five of our children are actively serving in a local church. (I’m praying for five out of five). They appear to impact the people their lives come in contact with. People notice the difference Jesus makes in their lives. That’s what we wanted! That was our goal.

1. Help them achieve their Dreams

Another goal we had was to see what interests our children had and to help them develop their interest. Personally, I would have loved having a son that followed my footsteps into the full-time Christian ministry. It would be great to have a son preaching from this pulpit. So far, that hasn’t been their interest. I’m okay with that.

Debbie and I saw our children’s bent, and we encouraged them to pursue their dream with excellence. We remind them often that their # 1 ought to be God. God above all else!

2. Prepare you Kids for Life

Prepare your kids for life! They live in a real world, and our world is complicated. Teach them how to walk careful in this world (Eph. 5:15-16). We are to live in this world, but we are not of this world (John 17:14-19). Teach your children how to conduct (behave) themselves in this world.

Here is a secret – Let your kids see Jesus in you. You can tell them many things, but they need a living illustration of a Jesus before them.

Living for Jesus a life that is true,

Striving to please Him in all that I do;

Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free,

This is the pathway of blessing for me.

  • Parents, set goals for your children.
  • Parents, develop the bent of your children.
  • Parents, prepare your children for life.

VII. Give your family to Jesus.

I cannot overly stress the importance of giving all of your children over to God. As soon as it is feasible dedicate your children back to the Lord, and do it publicly.

  • Hannah brought Samuel to the temple and dedicated him back to God – I Samuel 2.
  • Mary brought Jesus to the temple. Had him circumcised, and dedicated to God – Luke 2

Debbie and I dedicated all five of our children back to God. What does that mean? It means that we understand that our children are on loan to us. We understand that they belong to God, and that we are only stewards of His wonderful resources! And may I add – WHAT GREAT RESOURCES! I love being a dad, and now I love being a grandfather!

We only have our children for a very short time!

I want challenge all of us to steward our children well. We all only have one shot (going back to my arrow analogy), so shoot your arrows out into the world to make a lasting impact on their world for the glory of God.

   Conclusion: Two Becoming One with Children can only happen when you:

  • Take God at His word and you become fruitful and multiply. Couples were meant to become parents.
  • Let God speak to you about the size of your family. Obey His voice.
  • Trust God for our children. Where God leads He provides.
  • Share the load of responsibility as a couple. You determine to raise your children together. Both fully invested.
  • Develop a plan for raising your children. You work from the same song sheet. That’s when there is sweet harmony in the home.
  • Set goals for your children. Set your aim well.
  • Dedicate your children back to God. Recognize that they are on loan to you.

I close with these words: Become the very best parent you possible can become.

 



Two Becoming One with Money

Slide1

Money Magazine states that couples argue about money twice as much as they do about sex.

What was the cause of your last argument (fight)?

Have you noticed how God usually brings two people together – Opposites Attract! You may be a saver, and you married a spender. You may enjoy balancing a checkbook, and your spouse on the other hand may want nothing to do with balancing a checkbook – that’s awfully restraining! There are a lot of couples today that don’t know what a checkbook is; they only use a debit card and online banking. Each day they look at their account, and if they have money and they forge right ahead. You may desire to live on a budget, but your spouse on the other hand could care less about a budget – all they want to know is there money in the bank!

Are you aware that 15% of all that Jesus said relates to the topic of money? He said more about money than He did about heaven and hell. Jesus knew that money would be an issue with people and in marriages.

Experts agree that finances can be the number one cause of marital strain.

Have you been fighting over money issues in your marriage? (Maybe you just don’t talk about it – because to be quiet means to be safe).

Larry Burkett said, “You can tell more about the spiritual lives of a couple by looking at their checkbook than by anything else.”

My goal is to provide some very practical ideas about money. I want to provide some biblical direction for married couples regarding finances.

  1. Money can become a love affair. 

Money can become a love in you life, and not for your good. Loving money can become detrimental in your life, and to your marriage. People can actually have an affair with money!

Through the years as a pastor I have watched far to many marriages destroyed by an desire and love for money. Mankind always seems to want more.

Hell and Destruction are never full; So the eyes of man are never satisfied.” (Proverbs 27:20)

Consider what the Bible tells us about the Pharisees (the religious leaders of Jesus’ day). We read, “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money,” (Luke 16:14) 

Matthew records a number of parables spoken by Jesus (See Matthew 13). One Parable is called, The Parable of the Soils. Jesus actually explained this Parable, and in a part of the explanation Jesus said, Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22)

II. Money can become a god.

Money was never meant to become a god. Money was designed as a means of exchange for services and goods. And yet, it has become a god for a whole lot of people today.

Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24)

Money (mammon) becomes a god when it becomes the driving force of your life. When you think more about money than you think about God than money has become your god.

The Preacher wrote in Ecclesiastes 5:10, “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity.”

Remember what Paul penned in I Timothy 6:10-11,  “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.”

III. Money has a lot of buying power.

The American Dream – the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the American Dream: an American social ideal that stresses egalitarianism and especially material prosperity; also :  the prosperity or life that is the realization of this ideal.”  Next the dictionary provides the following example: “with the acquisition of a big house in the suburbs, they felt as though the American dream had indeed become a reality for them”

Dave Ramsey says, “We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t know.”

Do you know what money cannot buy? Money cannot buy oneness in a marriage. It will require a mutual investment in each other’s lives to establish true oneness in marriage. Do you know why we have so little oneness in marriages today? Because it is easier for husbands and wives to go off to work each day, and make money, than it is for husbands and wives to live together and create oneness.

Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart is also.”

IV. Money is to be mutually shared.

What do I mean when I say, mutually shared? I’m talking about joint accounts. Two Becoming One with Money!

Crown Ministries writes: A couple cannot be one if they separate their lives by separating their finances…. No viable marriage can survive a “his or her” relationship for long, because it is totally contrary to God’s plan.”

What keeps you from joining your accounts? What is keeping you from pooling your resources together? Here are a few of the top reasons couples give as to why they don’t pool their resources:

  • Debt that the other person brought into our marriage. Why should I be responsible for their debt?
  • I’ve seen way to many people divorce. I want security for the future.
  • Having separate accounts will keep us from division (fighting) over money. He has his, and I have mine.

Greg Johnson writes at Club Thrifty, “I believe the real reason that married couples separate their finances is because they don’t want to grow up. They don’t want to tell themselves “no” to anything – and they don’t want anybody else to tell them no either. They have no intention of being accountable to anybody for their bad spending habits, including their spouse.

With separate finances, it is easy for them to buy anything and everything they want without any consequences. Why? Because they can simply say, “It’s my money. I can do what I want.” If they had to be accountable to one another, they may actually have to change their habits to benefit the team. They may have to stop selfishly spending on new shoes, purses, and clothing so that the family (team) could reach their common goal. They may not be able to buy the newest gadget, go to the big game, or go on that hunting trip because it didn’t benefit the family. For this reason, most of the married couples I know who keep separate finances are also some of the biggest over spenders I know.”[3]

V. Money is to be properly managed.

Don’t forget to ask God what He wants you to do with your money.  Establish a game plan for properly managing God’s money. I would suggest the following ideas:

  1. Realize that God own everything – Psa. 24 

“The earth is the LORD’S, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.” 

  1. Put God first – Tithe from your income.

The word tithe means, a tenth part. As a couple I would suggest that you start there – start with the tenth. This is NOT the ceiling in giving it’s the base. It’s the minimum. Every believer should give back to God at least 10% of their income.

Here is how it works: God blesses you with one dollar, and you give back to Him a dime (10% back to God).

  • 27:30 – “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s. It is holy to the LORD.”
  • 3:9 – “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your increase.”
  • 3:8 – “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.”

Jesus taught, I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (Acts 20:35)

  1. Establish an amount you need to live on.

How much is enough? That question was asked of one of the richest men who ever lived (J.D. Rockerfellow) and he replied, “Just a little bit more.”

How much money do you need to live on? As a couple sit down and talk about how much money you need to live on. After you have set an amount begin to pray about where the rest of your money will go.

Are you aware that if you earn $ 30,000 dollars that you are among the 1.23 top richest people in the world? So Mr. & Mrs. Wealthy – what are you going to do with all your money? I would suggest:

  • Use what you need (Set an amount).
  • Share what you can. (Become a cheerful giver).
  • Glorify God with all of it. 
  1. Start a saving account.

You should establish an emergency fund so that when something goes wrong you don’t have to use a credit card (avoid debt). $ 1,000.00 is a good place to start.

You should also establish a second savings account where you seek to have between three and six months worth of living expenses. (Note: This information comes from leading experts in money management).

Most of us live from paycheck to paycheck, and if we lost our job we would lose everything. Put some money away for hard times. This is not a lack of faith it is actually wise planning. We live in a fallen and broken world and bad things do happen to good people.

  1. Give as God leads you to give.

Larry Brotzman’s motto was: Givers are Gainers.

II Corinthians 9:7 tells us, “God loves a cheerful giver.” Do you give with a smile and with a happy heart? Do you delight in giving to others?

Years ago a lady in this church used to hand me every three envelopes every Christmas. Inside each of the envelopes she placed a $ 100.00 dollar bill. She asked me to distribute those envelopes to individuals within our church that had a need. It was a lot of fun handing out envelopes with cash in them.

6. Invest in Eternity

Where is your real treasure? Here or in glory? We all know that things here don’t last. They grow old; they break down, wear out, rust out, and stop working. We lose things, break things, and we wreak things. Our treasure here is earthly and of this earth. It’s all going to stay here in the end.

Matthew 6:19-21 reminds us, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Husbands and wives, I would challenge all of us to consider the following places to invest in:

  • Invest in God’s work – the Church. Do you love the Church enough to invest in its ministries?
  • Invest in people – they last forever.
  • Invest in missions and missionaries.
  • Invest in Bible school students.
  • Invest in children’s ministries.
  • Invest in teenagers.
  • Invest in marriages. Family Life Marriage Conference.
  • Invest in Christian organizations making a difference in the world.
  1. Put away for the Temporal.

Far too few of people have a retirement account. I want to encourage you to begin to put something away into a retirement account. Save now for the time when you will not be a part of the earning community. Don’t depend on Social Security – it may not be there.

With God leading you put something away for your temporal time here on earth. We will all grow older, and we will continue to need money. Perhaps you might consider some of the following:

  • Investments – Stock Market.
  • Property – Land and buildings.
  • Gold and Silver – Precious Metals.
  • Ministry Related Annuities – Moody Bible Institute, Northwest Baptist Foundation.

Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep?  A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep– So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:6-11)

Closing comments:

A Few Don’ts:

  • Don’t allow money to suduce you.
  • Don’t allow money to become your god.
  • Don’t get enamored with the things money can buy.
  • Don’t allow money to cause division in your home.

A Few Do’s:

  • Do join your banking accounts.
  • Do properly manage God’s money.
  • Do become a tither and a giver.
  • Do put something away for retirement.
  • Do invest in eternity.

[1] http://clubthrifty.com/separate-finances-marital-disaster/