Bless This Home | Week 1
Speaker: Kevin Bryant
Simple question as we get started this morning…What do you want for your family?
– Whatever your family looks like and whatever your role…
Let’s define blessed —- Blessed = Happy, peaceful, joy, Self contained happiness; happiness independent of circumstances (literally “to be enlarged”) No matter the shape or size of our families we all would love to see our homes and families blessed.
If I am being honest, if my home isn’t peaceful, healthy, happy, secure …. than none of those things matter to me at all.
But when you look at families today, “Blessed probably isn’t the 1st word you think of. More likely to say, “Wow, they’re really struggling.” “Their marriage is not what it could be” or “raising the kids it’s more difficult than they thought“, or “financially, Man, we’re, you know, we’re kind of living paycheck-to-paycheck.”
Families are challenging period because they are made up of selfish people. Then there are the different dynamics and wrinkles when you are part of a blended family, which can be a blessing, but then you’re raising your kids and her kids, and our kids. And both exes and it’s complicated. Being a single parent today can be so difficult when you’re trying to support a family on one income and there’s only one of you to carry all the load, and the discipline of raising the kids is overwhelming at times.
And so, over the next several weeks we’re going to look at the teachings of Jesus from Mathew, chapter 5, when he taught on what is known as the beatitudes, and we’re going to apply several of the beatitudes into our homes. (“Beatitude” weird word; Comes from the Latin translation of the New Testament; Blessed is…)
You might be saying, “Wait, I don’t have a family yet” or “I’m not the leader in my home”. (Family = immediate family; whoever lives in your house right now) Whatever your family situation or living situation you have influence and you can be a catalyst for something better. —————————————— Listen before we get started its important to keep in mind that there are no perfect homes. The way we talk about our families is usually like this
1) Good home 2) Bad home
That is a false dichotomy. This implies every time you see something wrong in your family …someone loses their temper, your kid looks at porn, grandma says something racist … that oh I guess we fall in the “bad home category”
No, this is important so don’t miss it. There ARE two kinds of families. Only two… and here is what they are
1) Broken 2) Being redeemed
Every family starts from a place of being broken. Every family is marked by sin and failure. Every family fights. Every family wonders (at least at times) if they are going to make it. Some are continuing down the path of brokeness and some choose a different path. That is what we are going to talk about.
They look awesome. They are all smiling. People are always like you have such a beautiful family or… your kids are so great. So important to understand. They.. we… are broken, just like every family on earth. Tempers flare, Mom and dad don’t always know what to do, our kids lie to us (gasp .. shocking) However, we have decided to be redeemed. When you seek to have a “blessed home”. That’s what your doing. Your saying God, would you take the ashes of our brokeness … our sin, our tempers, our
finances, our fears, our dysfunction .. and he would make it something beautiful. Here is what is beautiful about that. You can start right now. I don’t care how broken your family feels you can start being redeemed by God today.
In fact, I would like to kick off this series by asking God to “bless our homes.” PRAY with me. (Help us to pause, listen, and examine … apply your wisdom…change generations)
(12:18) WEEK 1 CONTENT Ok, so today, let’s look at Matthew Chapter 5, verse 6 for our first of the beatitudes we’re going to study. This takes place in the beginning of Jesus’ longest teaching recorded in Matthew 5, 6, 7 and 8, called the sermon on the mount. Because well, he was on a mountain (clever right). Jesus Says…
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled Matthew 5:6
If we want a life that God blesses, we will hunger and thirst after righteousness. If we want a home that is blessed, we will lead our home to hunger and thirst after righteousness. What is righteousness? Righteousness:
One of those churchy words. Righteousness is a very simple word that means…
Righteousness: what is right
Ok, pretty simple. we all want what is “right.” We are all trying to live by a standard and we want our kids to live by a standard of right and wrong. So we should hunger and thirst after what is right. You might say, “No problem, I am already pursuing what is right” However, what is right? Because a lot of times the things we think are right are different from what other parents think is right. In fact, most of us in this room could have lively debates about what is “right” or what “right living” looks like. The truth is we all are already trying to do what is right. It’s just we all might disagree on what “right” is.
That’s why the definition of righteousness goes one very important step further. This is a key distinctive so don’t miss this. Righteousness is doing what is right … according to God.
Righteousness: what is right according to God
If you want God to bless your home … that’s has to be your goal. Whatever role you play in your home In every decision you want to discover what is right. Not according to your best friend. Not according to Twitter/ cable news host. Not according to the latest trends, not according to the way YOU were raised…
God blesses the home that hungers and thirsts after what is right according to God.
This brings so much clarity.
My wife and I are in that crazy young kid stage of parenting right now. Organized chaos? The time where you say things you never knew could possibly come out of your mouth… “Don’t stick your head in the potty”… “Don’t pet the spider”… “Never eat blueberries that have been through your digestive system!”
It seems we spend a lot of our time trying to keep our kids from hurting each other, being mean, and not screaming when we are on the phone.
Here is my temptation… maybe you struggle with this…is to set tons of rules to keep them from doing bad things or stupid things. More than anything I often just want to do something that will change their behavior to better fit what I want in that moment.
– No throwing anything ever – Never touch your brother or sister – Don’t touch that… – Stay out of this room… While kids need simple rules and boundaries so they don’t die and to help them figure out how to live with other people, I can easily train my kids to think that the right thing to do is whatever pleases dad or doing the right thing simply means not doing something wrong. — That will work for a little while. It will bring some peace and order for a little while. But it is short sighted and will stunt the growth of my kids.
Being good doesn’t mean just not being bad. Doing the right thing doesn’t mean just not doing the wrong thing. It’s bigger than that. Behavior can change without anything really changing. (When hearts are change, behavior changes.)
When we hunger and thirst for what God says is right we will find direction. My wife and I ran across a principle from Paul in Romans…
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10
As we are trying to navigate this stage of parenting young kids, my wife and I have realized the concept of “honoring others above yourselves” not only encapsulates the many things we want our kids to stop doing, but lays a foundation for them of how to live and respond in a way that will help them experience a full life.
This is wisdom that transcends immediate circumstances. It speaks guidance into the selfishness and squabbles of little kids just as much as it shows direction for the drama they will experience in high school; let alone when they become adults. My kids are going to have people be at odds with them, they need to understand what is right in God’s eyes. Paul continues
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. On the contrary:“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. Romans 12:19
Every chance we get we are trying to point our kids not to the standard of “don’t be stupid” or “do what it takes to make mom or dad happy”, but to the life giving wisdom of God. The reality is “honoring others” is something I need my kids to call me out on too. So here is the question “do you hunger and thirst for Righteousness?” Do you lead your family to Hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Here is what true,
We are in control of what we hunger for
– Soda/ Pop/ Coke — Lauren drinking a soda a day – soccer coach told her to stop – Coffee — Sugary coffee too expensive; decided I’m going to like black coffee
When it comes to desires for food we know that it is possible to control what we hunger for. It might be a struggle, but it is in our control. We have all made at least small changes or seen a friend change what they hunger for…and this is true for much more than food.
As a family you hunger and thirst for many things. What does your family gets excited about?
– The perfect image (30 min to get one family instagram picture/ parking lot smile) – Peace (I don’t want to ruffle any feathers, I just want everyone to be happy) – More money ( this is subtle but probably something we are all guilty of) – Honor roll (great goal, but if this is the ultimate goal you miss out) – Experiences/Entertainment/Dining/foodie (Jude “feels like a fancy meal; turn
lights off; candles” Mac Cheese and applesauce)
If we are honest, we hunger and thirst for a lot of things that don’t ultimately matter. We need to train our homes to be people who put desiring what God says is right first — because that is the common denominator for living a blessed life.
But listen, we are talking about training not just to do different things, but desiring something different. So how do we cultivate a desire within our families. You can’t require people to desire something.
This is THE challenge of being a healthy parent: cultivating the right desires How do we do that? I will tell you this, forcing vegetables on kids doesn’t work.
– Cooked spinach or Lima beans – had to eat before leaving the table. Have you
smelled cooked spinach?
If you want kids to eat vegetables … your going to have to fall in love with vegetables. Your going to have to serve it at every meal (and probably throw a lot of it away). Your going to have to cook it in a bunch of different ways. Your going to have to talk about how good you feel when you eat veggies. You have to make vegetables a priority. You can make them eat them, but you can’t make them want them.
You cannot force a hunger and thirst for Righteousness.
Enforcing spiritual do’s and don’ts works when the kids are young. As they turn 9, 10 .. 12 .. 13 you will find this actually creates more problems. “today your going to love God and like it!!” ———————- So today, I want to give you some extremely practical guidelines on how to cultivate a home that hungers and thirsts after righteousness. Let’s start with the most important ONE.
I could probably stop here because we all know the whole “lead by example thing. I cannot overstate this. If you don’t hunger and thirst for what is right according to God, your kids are not stupid, they can tell. They more than anyone can clearly describe your ultimate desires. Your spouse … is even smarter. If your faith is only lived outwardly. The people in your home will know.
If you talk a big game, but never crack your bible, they’ll know. If you go to church and “amen” a message about generosity, but are not generous. If you attempt to teach your kids about integrity, but don’t have any. It’s over!
STORY of Dallas: Friend with pastor for dad — barista at local coffee shop and people often say nice things about her dad and ask how he is doing — truth is she moved out when she was 16 — dad abusive and hypocritical — Sad that she had to endure that as a kid, but the scarier part is she went about life believing God didn’t love her and couldn’t love her, because who God is was defined by who her pastor dad was – took time to peel away who her dad was from who God really was and how God really felt about her If you want your family to hunger after what God says is right you have to model it.
I want to suggest a simple prayer. You might need to take a pic of this with your phone. It comes from Psalm 63:1
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1
One of the things I love about 242 Church is the emphasis on the daily encounter (daily getting into scripture and praying). A huge priority here is taking your next steps. Daily
encounter is so vitally important to this. Make a decision today that you are going to meet with God every day. — Daily encounter reading plan APP / HANDOUT
Your kids/spouse don’t need to see you doing this. They don’t have to catch you reading your Bible. They will just know. I promise. Let me say it again. They will know. It is impossible to meet with God, prayer, read his word, recalibrate in his presence, without it being evident.
Your families level of desire for God will be defined by your desire for God.
SECOND, practical thing is Declare It
In the book of Joshua, Joshua speaks to his nation of Israel to families, not to individuals. He calls them to be decisive. Make a decision.
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. Joshua 24 :15
In other words you have thought about it. You have researched it. Now it’s time to make a decision. It’s either God or somebody else. Now choose. Check out how he ends it.
But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
Maybe you need to declare this over your home. Now, don’t just yell this at your kids. That won’t work. Maybe they need you to have a family meeting. First rule of family meetings : keep it short. have a family meeting and say. “Hey we haven’t always been followers of Jesus, but we have decided that is the foundation we want to build our lives on.” Don’t be afraid to own up to how you have failed at this in the past. “from now on our one guiding principle is to understand what is pleasing to God. This is a home dedicated to finding out what pleases Lord.”
FINALLY, schedule it
We schedule our kids lives. Work, school, sports… We often don’t ask our kids what they think is important or what they want. Most kids don’t even really think about it. They just follow the schedule. Schedule what is really important in your home.
In our home, they know we go to church.
We are just scheduling what is important to us. The kids don’t question it. – Which, let’s be honest my kids are young – it’s easier to get them to go along with
the schedule right now. They don’t really know anything different. — training – Growing up going on vacation — finding a church or having church
In our home we prioritize small group – our kids notice; chaos to me – training for kids In our home we help our kids find a place to serve at church and other places. In our home we schedule generosity. At least 10% for us and for kids; compassion kids In our home we take time to pray – sometimes its hard — Model, don’t force
Hungering and thirsting after righteousness is on the schedule
CONCLUSION God blesses the home that hungers and thirsts after what is right according to God.
So here is your take home.
Model it Declare it Schedule it
Not a formula, but an invitation to a journey lined by God’s grace and faithfulness and filled with blessing.
○ Remember what God has already done
○ Look at own heart – How is God calling you to respond? Take a step