Thursday, May 6, 2010

Unnecessary Tensions in Relationships


From MAD CHURCH DISEASE: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic by Anne Jackson

Better to live on a corner of the root than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. –Proverbs 21:9

For some reason, this verse always makes me laugh. And whenever I get an attitude with Chris, I think of him camping out on our roof. It cracks me up every time. Maybe God’s intent for painting such a vivid picture was to help us loosen up when we begin to take ourselves too seriously.

Stress and burnout can cause us to project our pain and exhaustion on others--- usually on those closest to us. Some people respond to burnout by lashing out in anger – stomping around in a rage as their lives are falling apart.

Exhaustion can cause us to shut down and stop communication with our spouse or our friends. And by communicate, I mean both talking and listening. We no longer feel connected to those around us, and we begin to not care about nurturing those relationships God has placed in our lives.

After not communicating for a while, resentment can develop. Our spouses or friends may not feel comfortable opening up to us anymore, and bitterness can be formed and directed toward us, toward the church, and even toward God.

In Matthew 5:9, Jesus directs us to be “peacemakers” (in Greek, eirenopoiai, from eirene, which means “peace,” and poieo, which means “to do or to make”). It will take effort and intentionality on our part to bring balance back into our relationships. We are to make peace and strive for unity.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

WHY DO YOU PRAY?

"I PRAY

1 ...BECAUSE JESUS DID..........
.................................................

2 ...BECAUSE THE BIBLE SAYS TO .........................................
3 ...BECAUSE OF COMING TEMPTATIONS AND TRIALS ....
4 ...BECAUSE THE SPIRIT NEEDS TO." ..............................

Why should we pray? Is it really important? Sometimes it doesn't even feel like anything is getting accomplished, and isn't that the big question in today's world---
"What have you accomplished?"

So why should a Christian pray?
First off, because Jesus did. All throughout the Gospels we see Jesus
--- getting up early to go off and pray (Ref. Matthew 14:23, Mark 1:35, 6:46, Luke 5:16).
--- thanking God for provisions (Ref. Matthew 14:19, 15:36, Mark 6:41, 8:6, Luke 9:16, John 6:11)
--- taking himself away from others to pray (Ref. Mark 6:45-46, Mark 14:32-34, Luke 4:42, Luke 5:16, )
--- praying all night long (Luke 6:12)
--- praying for others (Ref. Luke 22:32 and John 17)
--- praying during agony (Ref. Matthew 26: 36-46 and Mark 14:32-42)

and of course, Jesus taught his followers to pray in Luke 11:2-4 and Matthew 6:5-15)

Secondly, we should pray because the bible tells us to. It tells us to pray continuously without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17, Acts 6:4, ) We read of Daniel refusing to give up prayer when the decree banning prayer was instituted. (Daniel 6:10) Numerous places in the bible mentions prayer and stresses the importance of prayer. We are told not to be anxious about anything but in everything we should pray (Philippians 4:6-7). Prayer is essential to the believer's life.

The third reason we should pray is crucially important. We need to pray because trials and temptations will come in this life. The word of God is plain on this. And it shows us that we need to be "prayed up" before trials and temptations come. The Holy Spirit took Jesus to the desert for 40 days before Satan tempted him. Jesus took Peter, John and James to the Garden with Him to pray before the events that led to the crucifixion occurred-- before the trial that Peter was about to go through (and subsequently fail in!) They kept falling asleep and He kept waking them up because He knew what they were about to go through and that they needed prayer. At the time the soldiers were coming to get Him, He saw them asleep and let them sleep--- because the moment was upon them and time to pray beforehand was over! We need prayer to strengthen us and shore us up BEFORE temptation rears it's ugly head! As he taught in Luke 11, we need to pray that God not even allow temptation in our lives!

Jesus prayed before all the big life crisis moments: He prayed before choosing the twelve disciples; before the sermon on the mount; before starting out on an evangelistic tour; before His anointing with the Holy Spirit and His entrance upon His public ministry; before announcing to the twelve His approaching death; before the great consummation of His life at the cross. (Luke 6:12-13, Luke 9:18-22, Luke 3:21-22, Mark 1:35-38, Luke 22:39-46) Remember to do like Jesus also and pray after the crisis is over to give glory to God for His hand in getting you through it!

Lastly, we need to pray because our spirit needs to. Your spirit needs to talk with God. It's as simple as that. Three places in the New Testament refer to "praying in the spirit." (Jude 20, Ephesians 6:18, and 1 Corinthians 14:15). Our spirit needs to communicate with the Spirit of God!

We pray because Jesus did, because the bible says to, because of coming temptations and trials, and because the spirit needs to. That simple.

-----thanks to Pastor John for his sermon on this subject. I pray I conveyed it properly!

ONE FLESH

The subject comes up again and again: marriage, divorce and remarriage in the Christian church. Our hearts break for those who find themselves in a terrible situation. But are we to react as the world reacts or as Jesus would? Jesus had compassion towards the adulterous woman, but told her to "go and sin no more." We should have compassion, yes, but we are helping no one if we go along with the world and merely tell people what they want to hear. We need to speak the truth in love. We cannot sit by and watch others fall into this trap.

THE BIG FAT FACT:
God never intended for divorce to happen. And if it does happen, the only recourse left for a Christ follower is to either try reconciliation or remain celibate.

Dean Taylor's booklet, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage, was recommended and approved by my Pastor recently. I believe it explains this reasoning far better than my previous post. You can download the entire booklet by clicking on: ntchurchsource.com

May God help you see His truth in this difficult subject.