Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Working on it

Finished Ephesians 6:5-9 this past Sunday, and reflecting on it.  I would have to say I enjoyed preaching this sermon. Paul's letter to the followers of Christ in the 1st century, in and around the great city of Ephesus, is still sound doctrine for the followers of Jesus in any town, city, or place of the 21st century.
The motivations of going to work, having to be subject to supervisors, or oversee others in any capacity of work requires the right heart. Thankfully the gospel of Jesus gives clear truth to the motivations as a worker and supervisor; "rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man," Eph. 6:7. This motivation alone helps anyone who is reaching for power, position, and possessions to see Jesus as the reason to work well.
We can take a long look at a faithful Savior who finished His job of redemption at the cross; as well as victory in the resurrection. All the effort, all the service, all the sovereignty perfectly worked out in complete submission to God's will of salvation, election, and making men and women holy before God. This motivation of Jesus in his work of the gospel is a demonstration of the love for His Father's will, and the disciples joy in that work.
Therefore Jesus invites his people called by his name to testify of that love by the way they serve in work environments of all kinds. To display the gospel is not limited to a pastoral office or church building, but an unleashed people of God who love Jesus by working like Jesus. May you be motivated to give Christ your best work, and I think he will use it for His glory.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ephesians 6:4

As Elevation Church continues to study, teach, and preach the letter of Ephesians on a weekly basis at our public gathering at 9 or 11am at 609 Auburn Folsom Blvd, Auburn CA, I have heard and seen some wonderful results of God's word challenging, changing, and conforming lives to "be imitators of God, as beloved children," Eph.5:1.
One such area (or as the sermon title of Ephesians is used in our series at Elevation Church calls it..."Realms") is in parent/child relations. The section we looked into this past Sunday was in chapter 6 verses 1 thru 4. In my study leading up to the sermon this last Sunday, I found this little article from a pastor in Mars Hill Church named Dave Bruskas. I will share it here and would encourage you to also check out more helpful Gospel centered material at the Resurgence. You can just click www.theresurgence.com to grab more help material on a multitude of topics. Enjoy this little work on Provoking Your Children...
 

Dave Bruskas » Family Children Home Discipline Education Calling

There are two texts in the New Testament that directly address fathers: Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21. Interestingly, they begin the same way: “Fathers, do not provoke your children.”
This pair of verses underscores the most serious threat a Christian dad can pose to his kids: to provoke or irritate them to the point of discouragement. As a dad, I have found two paths I am prone to walk towards provoking my four girls: perfectionism and passivism.

PERFECTIONISM

I desperately want my girls to become mature Christian women. I want them to be molded into women who think, feel, act, and speak like Jesus.
Yet I provoke my girls to discouragement when I expect them to be perfect now, in their own strength, by doing more or trying harder.  One time, while eating out with the family and a friend, one of my daughters complained about the taste of her enchilada in a most distasteful way. I had never heard her use the word she chose before. I was stunned, my wife blushed, and our guest squirmed. She sincerely apologized to us all and asked for forgiveness. But I struggled. I wanted her to do penance. But she respectfully reminded me that Jesus was more than her forgiver; he was in fact her forgiveness. I was trying hard to impress this discouragement on her, but she refused to be provoked.
Perfection, in the sense of being completely like Jesus, is the end goal. But perfection never comes through human performance, nor is it fully attainable in this life (1 John 1:8).

PASSIVISM

The overcorrection to perfectionism is passivism. Passivism has the fatalistic attitude, “Because Jesus must change my child’s heart, there is nothing I can do but pray and watch and hope for the best.” This error completely ignores the charge to dads regarding their children in Ephesians 6:4,“Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” This is the flip side of the coin of the great “Do Not”: there is much to do!  I traditionally take each girl on a father-daughter spiritual retreat in the summer between her 5th and 6th grade years. My youngest daughter just entered 7th grade, but we haven’t made the trip yet. I brought this up the other day as another summer passed and said I was sad it hadn’t happened and hoped it would soon. She replied, “I’m sad too, Dad. But I can’t drive, and they won’t let me buy plane tickets yet. Just sayin’.” She was right. This trip was entirely on me, and my passivity in planning it was provoking her to discouragement.

PREACHING TO MYSELF

If I am to be the dad Jesus calls me to be, per Colossians 3:16, it must flow out of the word of Christ living in me. The most important task I face each day as I raise my daughters is to preach the gospel to myself, turn from my sins of perfectionism and passivism, and instead trust in the finished work of Jesus for forgiveness and future obedience. Only then will I stop provoking my kids to the point of discouragement and start bringing them up in the Lord.