Part 3: Happy Family
Discussion following the sermon from 6/19/2022
"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for. You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world." Matthew 5:7-8 (The Message)
Part 3 of our series "Happily Ever After" reveals that happiness requires that we have Jesus' servant's heart. These two beatitudes are great examples of the attitude of service that a Father is to have for his family, and Pastor Beau uses them as the basis to speak to fathers. No group is more important to the health of the community than fathers, but sadly, many fathers have shirked their responsibility. This void greatly impacts their children, and this impacts the whole community.
A Father's Day Challenge:
1. WAKE UP TO WHAT MATTERS
“Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light. So be careful how you live. Don't live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do." Ephesians 5:14-17
God has a plan and purpose for fathers as well as everyone else. It all begins with each believer waking up from the day-to-day temporal activities of life and recognizing that God has something bigger—something that matters. Paul compares the life of the flesh to acting "thoughtlessly." But the father is to be dedicated, intentional, making the most of every opportunity to grow and protect his family. Jesus gave His life for His followers, and the father must have this same attitude of sacrifice for his family.
Discussion Question: What kinds of thoughtless activities are keeping you from God's plan?
2. STAND UP TO THE ENEMY
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy..." John 10:10
"Do not give the devil a foothold." Ephesians 4:27
"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7
The reason so many families are broken and destroyed is because the enemy is at work influencing the hearts and minds of people. There is a fierce battle going on all the time, with the forces of evil fighting against heaven's armies. Fathers, as well as anybody else for that matter, aren't able to defeat the devil. We can, however, stand against the devil if we stand on God's word. God does not command Christians to attack the enemy. He just tells us to stand on His truth, and if we do, He will strengthen us to withstand the enemies assault.
Discussion Question: Where do you see signs of the enemy attacking your family?
3. SPEAK UP TO BRING HEALING
"Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift." Ephesians 4:29
The father is to lead his family both in how he lives and in what he says. The children learn not just what to say from their dad, but how to say it. The father should speak the truth of God to his children, and he should never allow foul or inappropriate language to come from his mouth. He should also continually encourage his children. Positive reinforcement is the best way to teach children how to speak and act.
Discussion Question: Is the communication in your home pleasing to God?
4. STEP UP TO GOD'S PURPOSE
"Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children." Ephesians 5:1
God is the perfect father, and this is why we are to imitate God in all we do. God not only communicated His love and care for us in His Word, but He continually demonstrates it to us through His loving Spirit. If a father wants to be a better father, then he should get closer to His Heavenly Father. It is the Father's love that allows us to be loving and kind to others.
Discussion Question: Is God calling you to make a commitment to live His purpose?
Part 2: Satisfaction Guaranteed
Discussion following the sermon from 6/12/2022
“God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied." Matthew 5:5-6
This series is about how one’s personal relationship with Jesus is what brings true joy and happiness. Beau addresses two more attitudes that will help the Christian to live happily ever after, as he explains how choosing to be humble and having a desire to be like Jesus produces unconditional satisfaction. These two attitudes stand in stark contrast to how the world sees happiness. Human nature views humility as weakness, but God sees humility as the appropriate posture for us in regard to how we live and relate to others. Man sees being needy as being under the control and power of someone else, But God tells us that having an insatiable need for Him and His righteousness brings joy and purpose to life.
1. GET NAKED
“At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves." Genesis 3:7
"But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening, they tore their clothing in dismay and ran out among the people, shouting, 'Friends, why are you doing this? We are merely human beings—just like you! We have come to bring you the Good News that you should turn from these worthless things and turn to the living God...'" Acts 14:14-15
Christians often have a desire to look like they have everything all together to keep them from being open and transparent before God. But God knows our sin. He knows everything about us, and real happiness and freedom come from laying ourselves open to God. Paul and Barnabas were God’s representatives, and yet they knew that they were sinners in need of God’s grace just like everyone else. God loves and accepts us despite our hidden sin.
Discussion Question: Is there a sin, habit, or something in your life where you need to humble yourself and lay yourself open to God?
2. BE CLOTHED
“And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5-7
"But his father said to the servants, 'Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet.'" Luke 15:22
Humility is not just opening yourself up to God, it is having the right attitude in how we relate to others. When we are humble it allows the Lord to shower us with His grace. And when we put the needs of others over our own, then God lifts us up. Human honor and exaltation is fleeting, but divine exaltation glorifies God and is satisfying to our soul.
Discussion Question: Does humility define the way that you treat others?
3. STAY HUNGRY
"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns...May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God." Philippians 1:6,11
God created us to be like Him, but sin degraded man’s existence. God remedied this by sending His Son so we could have His righteousness by trusting in Him. But that is not all. He gave us His Word so we can know what is right, and He gave us His Spirit so we have the power to live right. Christians can live righteously by daily eating (taking in) God’s truth and by being filled with God’s Spirit. Being hungry for God produces happiness.
Discussion Question: Are there unhealthy things in your "diet" that keep you from desiring God?
4. EXPECT JOY
"So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." 1 Peter 5:6-7
"For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning." Psalm 30:5
Humility is the correct attitude, but it does not mean that the believer should not expect God’s blessings. Humility is necessary because it gives perspective. It is not, however, God's eternal plan for us. The Christian can be confident of God’s blessings. These may not be good circumstances on earth, but this life is just the beginning. As Peter says, we trust our cares to God knowing as the psalmist says that we have His favor, and we live confidently knowing that God will honor our commitment to Him.
Discussion Question: Are you confident in God's goodness despite the hardships you are facing?
Part 1: Weak and Happy
Discussion following the sermon from 6/5/2022
“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them! Happy are those who mourn; God will comfort them! Matthew 5:3-4 (GNT)
Right from the beginning of Jesus’ most extensive teaching on a righteous life, the Lord reveals that true happiness is not about having it all together. The first two Beatitudes speak to one’s happiness being determined by their relationship with God and not on their personal circumstances, good or bad. This is good news because we live in a fallen world and bad things and suffering are a part of the human condition. But Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33), and we can be happy knowing that God’s Spirit gives us what we need in life (Luke 11:13). God sent His Spirit so that we can live abundantly (John 10:10). The Apostle Paul explained the sufficiency of God’s grace in 2 Corinthians 12:5-10.
“That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. 6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:5-10 (NLT)
1. OUR GREATEST WEAKNESS CAN BECOME OUR GREATEST STRENGTH
“That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. 6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God.” 2 Corinthians 12:5-7
Just before this Scripture Paul had shared some of the wonderful blessings and encouragement he had experienced in life. But here he is explaining that none of that was worth boasting about. He would boast only in his weakness or, rather, what the Lord had done in his weakness. His accomplishments paled in comparison to the work of God. Paul understood that all that really mattered in life was living in a way that revealed God’s goodness.
Discussion Question: Do you have an area of weakness where you need to allow God to take control?
2. OUR GREATEST LOSS CAN BECOME OUR GREATEST GAIN
“So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-8
God allowed Paul to endure physical suffering to keep him humble, and He did so even when Paul had asked God to deliver him three times. God told Paul that his relationship with Him was all he needed. He simply needed to depend on God’s strength and not his own. Letting go and letting God is hard because we want to be in control. But God works best when we stop trying to control our circumstances and simply abide in His grace.
Discussion Question: How has God taken your weakness and used it for His glory?
3. OUR GREATEST SUFFERING CAN BECOME OUR GREATEST BLESSING
“So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
By trusting his life to God, Paul was able to embrace the trials in his life. His knowledge of a blessed eternity in heaven with Christ made his present sufferings worth it. He realized that his suffering for Christ really could produce his greatest blessings.
Discussion Question: Do you look at your weakness through the lens of a blessed eternity?