The Intersection Between Culture And Family

Your Family Is A Great Piece Of Your Purpose, Don't Let Culture Destroy It.

Today’s topic is a little controversial possibly…

The intersection between culture and family.

There is an intersection…A place where culture and your family meet head to head. I believe culture’s aim is to go against the grain of your family. You may have never considered that your family is really a huge part of your purpose; but it is.

Let me define exactly what I’m talking about when I say family. I am using this word to describe a husband, wife, and children…or a single parent with their kids. Do we all have extended family? Most people do, however, that’s not what I’m dealing with in this episode.

I want to talk about your immediate family and the impact that culture has on it.

Now…I’m not usually a person who takes my content from everything in culture…I believe that we can really OVERUSE hot button topics. I believe that FOR THE MOST PART…the world already KNOWS where we STAND on certain issues. I also believe that we sometimes alienate people by ONLY speaking about those HOT ISSUES in christian circles.

I think that many pastors and churches make a POINT rather than making a DIFFERENCE…

 BUT….

There are times when issues need to be addressed…Today is one of those times.

With that being said, what I hope for most is that you see the culture behind the issues…

The culture is the real culprit.

The basic disregard for God, sin, the Bible, church, and all things connected to God are the driving force behind culture’s decline.

The decline in the MORAL AUTHORITY of our leaders is a direct result of the decline of our morals as believers.

  • We blame everything on the leadership.
  • We want to elect righteousness into our public offices.
  • I am as much for voting the right direction as the next person…and I DO BELIEVE that we can vote in the right person and have greater PEACE, AND MORALITY FOR A TIME.

 

But HERE’S MY DEEPLY HELD BELIEF:

Legislation alone NEVER makes up for the direction of CULTURE.

You simply cannot legislate righteousness.

In fact…this same MISGUIDED CULTURE that we’re experiencing is the driving force behind who becomes our elected officials.

So…the question isn’t:

How do we elect the right people? 

The question is this…

How do you counter the cultural problem?

There is a dulling, a numbing, and a desensitization that is going on among believers. We are being slowing desensitized to the cultural problem.

[et_bloom_inline optin_id=”optin_3″]

Culture says things like:

  • Sex outside of marriage is okay – Eventually you’re seeing christians begin to pick up on this and believe this lie. – Sexually transmitted disease is out of control, young adults are led to believe that this is a normal part of life…that it’s the normal thing to do…even that it prepares you for marriage…these ideas are wrong. These ideas are lies.

 

  • Marriage doesn’t last for a lifetime – eventually you’re seeing christians begin to be one of the largest segments of people who are getting divorced.

 

  • Marriage isn’t just between a man and woman – We are beginning to see churches and christians that embrace this idea and even cater to it. We are seeing churches that promote the acceptance of this pivotal idea. (by the way, I’m not saying believers shouldn’t love people; but I am saying we cannot condone, or accept as normal and natural this alternate lifestyle). The acceptance of homosexuality as normal has been part of the decline of civilizations in the past…It will be a part of our decline as well. Churches and christians need to be careful to not be desensitized…or NUMBED to this cultural problem.

 

  • Putting your work above your family is okay – We are seeing christians who work record numbers of hours…all in the name of providing for their families. In the end they usually lose the family they were working so hard to provide for because they were never PRESENT with them. (now…I understand that some people have NO CONTROL over their work hours…but some DO…if you have no control over this area of your life, all the more reason to spend TIME TOGETHER with your family during your off hours)

 

  • Raising your kids outside church is okay, that it makes them more well rounded – Christians are beginning to embrace this idea in droves…and really…it’s the church’s fault…why? Because we haven’t presented the church as being relevant to the day by day life of believers. People no longer attend because they no longer feel the importance or see the need. It doesn’t feel relevant to them anymore.

 

  • Having a FUN LIFE is the goal – Christians are embracing this and leaving behind some of the most powerful core values that they’ve held onto for years. God is not against you enjoying your life…But having all the fun you can is not the main objective in life. As a believer our main goal is to live for Jesus Christ fully…TO BE FULLY DEVOTED TO HIM…TO HIS WAYS…TO PLEASING HIM…and in the process…THAT will MAKE your life the most ENJOYABLE LIFE POSSIBLE…God is the creator of JOY!

 

This INTERSECTION is specifically designed to pull your family apart.

Why?

Because family is the basic building block of society.

The more families are pulled apart, destroyed, hurt, damaged by sin and wrong choices…the easier it will be for culture to control your family and it’s decisions.

 

Listen…whether you agree with this next statement or not won’t change it’s validity:

We were not meant to change the culture. We are meant to counter it. 

change culture

Christianity has always ran side by side with the culture of the day…we offer a COUNTER CULTURE…we present to the world a BETTER WAY TO LIVE…

The Culture of Christianity is the fabric of a life that is greater than the life worldly culture has to offer.

You may say that early christians changed their culture. I agree with you…they did…in fact scripture says that they turned their world upside down.

But they didn’t do it through:

  • ELECTED OFFICES
  • PROTESTS
  • PICKET LINES
  • AD CAMPAIGNS
  • TALK SHOWS

 Early Christians changed their culture by living out and presenting a culture that exceeded the offerings their present day worldly culture had to offer.

They countered the culture and in this way they changed it.

Now…I’m not against trying to elect the Godly, moral person…we should DO THAT SINCE GOD HAS GIVEN US THAT OPPORTUNITY. And until that opportunity goes away, we should USE IT.

 

But here’s the deal:

You cannot change culture with it’s own devices. The rule of law is broken at best. It will only accomplish a degree of change at best. 

In no place is this truer than in the context of your family.

  • Your family’s culture needs to COUNTER the culture the world offers.
  • The way you raise your children needs to counter the culture the world says is right.
  • The way you serve God needs to counter the present day culture.

Now…I think there are many scriptures that we could look at that would show us some specific ideas about countering the cultural problem…

But I think Jesus had something great in mind when He preached one of His most memorable messages ever…The sermon on the mount…Everything about this sermon of Jesus lays out a philosophy that counters the culture.

We are to offer something different…NOT try to fix the thing that’s BROKEN.

 

Scripture says this:

 Matt. 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

 We are not to be mixed in with the culture of the world…we WON’T CHANGE IT…IT WILL CHANGE US!

Matt. 5;14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.

15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.

16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Now that’s some counter cultural stuff!

Now here’s the deal…

We are talking about the intersection between culture that is broken and our family.

If You don’t want your family to be BROKEN with the culture…you need to COUNTER OFFER with something different!!!

3 Things to offer your family different from what culture offers

 Culture offers – Do as I say, not as I do.

Counter offer is – Don’t just talk it, live it.

  • Your family IS the BYPRODUCT of WHO you ARE not who you WISH you WERE.
  • Your example in EVERY situation trickles down to your family.

 

Culture offers – Happiness filled with empty air. 

Counter offer is – Tons of lasting joy.

  • Happiness filled with empty air that eventually busts or deflates.
  • If you want strength in your family then give your family joy
  • THE JOY of the LORD is your family’s STRENGTH.

 

Culture offers – This life is your only hope.

Counter offer – There is hope beyond this life.

  •  Give your family HOPE BEYOND this life.
  • They need to hear about Jesus from YOU FIRST, not just the church.
  • If we have hope only in this life, we are miserable
  • Jesus offers hope that we can offer beyond what’s broken in this life.

 

You are the COUNTER CULTURE…because a new nature lives in you.

 

  • YOUR FAMILY CAN MAKE IT
  • YOUR FAMILY CAN THRIVE
  • YOUR FAMILY CAN LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST
  • YOUR FAMILY CAN LAST FOREVER

 

Here’s a great resource that goes with this idea of family and culture:

Andy Stanley’s book – When Work And Family Collide

Could I ask you a favor?

Would you share this post on your favorite social network and help your friends live their purpose too? You can find links to do this easily below this post and you can also sign up to receive periodic emails from me regarding the podcast, books, blog posts and other resources that will help you live with purpose.
 
Remember, you have a purpose and you can live it!

How To Not Be A Spiritually Passive Parent

Parents lose their spiritual influence with their children if they’re not careful…But you don’t have to. You love your kids. You probably wouldn’t be reading this post if you didn’t. But when it comes to leading their life in the right direction…you can’t afford to be passive.

Leading your children in the direction that God wants to take their life is an active process. It goes deeper than just being present or spending time with them. You have to do more than show up at their games or listen to their stories. All that is important…Don’t get me wrong…but…those things aren’t the most important determining factor. Being a fun, outgoing, friendly parent isn’t necessarily the fix either.

If you want to actively influence your child, you need to pray for them.

The single most powerful thing a parent can do is pray for their child.

Praying for your children is literally a way that you can help write the story of their life. The reason that’s true is simple. Every time you pray for your child you are influencing him or her in ways that go beyond words. Through prayer you have the opportunity to shape, mold, and  create your child’s outlook and perspective on life.

As a parent you have the chance to pray for:

  • God’s protection over you child’s life.
  • For God to influence their direction in life. (whether they are young or older)
  • The power of God to fill their life.
  • For the plan of God to be accomplished in their life.
  • For God’s purpose to prevail in your child’s life.

These sorts of prayers are the greatest determining factor for your child’s future. As a parent you have the awesome responsibility that comes with being given a position of great authority in your child’s life.

God has given parents spiritual authority over their children.

Don’t take that lightly…It is a responsibility that carries consequences. Use your God given authority to direct and guide your kids through your prayers. Your prayer for your kids is the seed bed of opportunity in their life. Be encouraged because your prayers matter. Prayers are the single most influential thing a parent can invest in their child.

You’ll always be your kid’s parent. Whether they are young or old doesn’t matter…you are their parent…your spiritual authority in their life doesn’t diminish with age or time. Long after you’ve lost control over their life, you’ll still have authority in it. Why? Because it’s what God has given you. That authority is activated when you pray for them.

Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church says…

You’ll never be a perfect parent; but you can be a praying parent.

In fact, scripture says this:

Lamentations 2:19

19 Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children, for in every street they are faint with hunger.

Here’s what to do:

1.) Pray about, what to pray about.

Ask God what the most specific and powerful needs are in your child’s life (no matter what age) and pray for that.

2.) Ask God to give you a specific scripture to pray over your child.

God has a promise in His Word for your child. Once you get ahold of that promise…pray that scripture like crazy over them!

3.) Pray for your children in person.

This is powerful. Some parents won’t do this because they lack confidence; but I encourage you to do it when you can. Why?:

  • They can hear you and it encourages them. (no matter what age they are)
  • You can lay your hands on them. – Laying on hands is scriptural…it’s a point of contact. If they are older and won’t let you do this, you could even lay your hands on their picture as a point of contact…just an idea.
  • Anoint them with oil. – This is another scriptural practice. Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
  • You can agree together with them in prayer. – This is true even if your child is young. If they can understand, they can agree.
  • By praying in person, you are literally planting the language of prayer into their heart.

4.) Pray for God to give them a vision for their life.

God will answer that prayer. He’s given you the authority to pray it.

Don’t be a passive parent when it comes to spiritual things. Use the authority that God has given you and watch God do amazing things in your child’s life. Believe it or not…God loves your kids more than you do…and if you let Him He’ll use you to make a difference in their life!

If this post has encouraged you, please share it on social media. Chances are you know someone that could use a little encouragement today!

Also…Don’t forget to sign up by email and you’ll never miss another chance to be encouraged!

 

 

He said, She said…an idea to stop divorce

“If you don’t stop treating me like this, I’m gone!”, he said. “You never put me or the kids first, I can’t keep living like this!”, she said. These kinds of conversations happen in marriages everywhere. Somewhere along the way, things get crossways between a husband and a wife and they argue. It seems the norm today is to just give up on your marriage when things aren’t working as they should. Why is it that divorce is so prevalent? Why does it seem that everywhere you look marriages are breaking apart.?

file000804537121

Not just young marriages either. People who have been together for years are beginning to just quit on their marriage. Without remorse or sorrow. They simply leave. Without regard to consequences or hurt…they’re gone.

It’s really hard to understand.

Now, here’s something easy to understand…no one is perfect! Marriage, on it’s best terms will take work. But I believe firmly that marriages don’t  have to end in divorce.

Marriages were meant to last a lifetime; and that includes yours.

Don’t take me wrong…no condemning here. Wherever you find yourself on the marriage spectrum, you can’t go back. If you’re on your second or third or whatever. You can’t change what’s happened in the past. But I have to believe that you don’t want your current marriage to end in divorce. No one goes into a marriage with that mindset.

You’re hoping and praying for the best…and if your current marriage isn’t your first one…you’re hoping this time things work out differently. Why? Because what you really want down deep inside is simply to be happy.

Let me go ahead and say this too…”you can’t help what someone else chooses”. You may not have been the one that chose divorce. Maybe you fought against it with everything you had. You did the right thing.

Fighting for your marriage relationship is the right thing!

If you’re married right now, there may be times when stuff doesn’t go as you planned. You’re going to be tempted to get angry. You may fight. But in the middle of all that…choose your words carefully.

Why? Because words are powerful.

My wife and I have been married for nearly 18 years now. Really, she’s my best friend! We’ve been together as a couple for around 24 years (we dated a long time! And found each other young). One of the things we’ve discovered, and that other older couples have told us, is the thought I want to leave you with today…

HERE’S WHAT TO DO:

  • Never, under any circumstances, use the word  divorce

    – When you put this one little word into your vocabulary you are setting yourself up from the start. It’s going to get easier and easier to use it. You’ll start to throw it around as a threat. It becomes something you are accustomed to thinking about. Finally, divorce becomes a viable option.

Here’s what I know:

What you think about consistently, will become an action in your life. Thoughts become actions. That’s just how we work.

If divorce is something that’s always in the back of your mind, you’ll eventually act on it more than likely. So decide to never let it become an option. Determine between you and your spouse to never use that word. Don’t think about that word. Don’t let divorce be an option.

Listen…I’ll say again…you can’t determine someone else’s choice; but you can determine yours! Don’t let divorce be an option in your mind, your heart, or your vocabulary.

Question: What do you do to keep your marriage strong?

Help someone out…leave an answer in the comments box or in the Facebook comments below. Who knows, your comment may be someone’s key!

Also, if this post has helped you or if you think it’ll help someone else…would you consider sharing it?

Stop Feeding Me Trash

I love to eat food!

Anybody else out there agree with me? Do you love food too?

But here’s the deal…Because of some issues that we’ve had recently…Our family has made the decision to go gluten free.

Now…We are doing this for our son. And it’s already making a difference, I’m glad to report.
But that’s not really the focus here…The thing that really gets me about being gluten free is that you have to constantly search the label of everything you purchase looking for “hidden ingredients” that may cause potential harm.
Even the so called “gluten free” products hold the possibility of cross contamination.
Until a few weeks ago…I really never considered how difficult it would be to go gluten free.

We know that eating healthy is good for our body…but…When it comes to your family…What are you feeding your family’s spirit? What does it take to raise a great family?

You are trying your best to raise a great family. You want them to know love, acceptance, confidence, strength, and character…and most of all Jesus.

Everywhere you go, you are making “purchases” in life.
  • You purchase money with time.
  • You purchase credibility with trust.
  • You purchase character with discipline.
But what about those “purchases” that you see everyone else making for their family? Sometimes we see the crowd find a new “product” and it looks great.
Some families seem to benefit once they start using the new “product”.

Here’s a word of advice when it comes to making decisions for your family based on the cultural norms…Always check your families new “product” (decision, change, direction), for hidden ingredients.

 

Here’s what I’m saying…

Some things that look like a good move for your family aren’t. There are hidden ingredients contained in the move. These hidden ingredients hold the potential to harm your family’s health and well being.

  • Not every opportunity is a great opportunity.
  • Not every social achievement is worth it in the end.
  • Not every place the crowd says is helpful actually is.

You can’t afford to base your family’s strength, character, and spiritual well being on what everyone else says is good for your family. You need to check the label for yourself so to speak before you trust your family’s future with the latest trend or idea. The world is a minefield of “hidden ingredients”.

By no means am I a backwards thinker. I love change. I do things differently. I have my own viewpoints and opinions…but before I go a new direction or lead my family in a new direction…I think it’s wise to count the cost and look for the “hidden ingredients” that might bring harm.
Have you ever made a decision that looked great initially; but in the end you regretted it? We all have. 
With that in mind…

Here’s some helpful advice for your family…(this advice is yours to take or leave, it’s totally free!)

1.) Form your own opinions – Don’t be stirred or mesmerized by every current notion.

2.) Look before you leap – Not every opportunity is great, check the label for “hidden ingredients” that will hurt you in the end.

3.) Choose character over criticism – People will always debate your decisions about your family but continue to choose character anyway.

4.) Money is only a tool, don’t spend all your time on it.

5.) Don’t feed your family trash – Family’s can’t be strong, healthy, and lasting if you build them off of the “fast food” of every new idea or trend.

6.) Stand up for your choices – Don’t be afraid to say why you believe your choices are right for your family.

Question – What has helped you make good choices for your family?

Start the conversation by commenting below…

Also…if this post has been helpful to you…would you comment, share, or like it on Facebook? Thanks!

Why Marriage Takes TeamWork – 3 Ways To Make Teamwork Better

If you’ve ever felt like your marriage just isn’t working…

Or that every decision you ever make is countered and shot down by your spouse…this post is for you!

Marriage isn’t easy. There are relational things that we have to work on. There are the material things like money, a home, a car. Then there’s the area of hopes and dreams. Do my dreams match her dreams and vice versa.

Luckily, I had the great fortune of meeting my wife at a very young age. We grew up together in the same little church, which is also where we met…It’s where I asked her to go out with me…and about six years later, it’s where we said our marriage vows.

Having the advantage of “growing up” together made a huge difference in mine and Amanda’s marriage. The greatest difference was that we really knew each other. One of the things that we believe in is this:

Marriage Takes Teamwork.

If spouses are constantly fighting and going in opposite directions…eventually it will literally pull a marriage apart. To be a team means that you are going in the same direction. You have the same goals. You compile your dreams and search for the best ones together. In fact…being a teammate to your spouse is much better than just being a mate to them. Your spouse is more than someone to simply be with. They are the person that God gave you to do life together with…And if you haven’t already noticed…Life often has a way of throwing the unexpected at you at the worst possible time.

You need your marriage to reflect a team effort.

With that being said…I have three suggestions that will make teamwork better in your marriage:

1.) BECOME FRIENDS

One of the things that helped Amanda and I the most was that we were already great friends when she became my wife. In fact, we spent nearly a year out of the six years we were together, just developing our friendship. We learned to depend on each other. We found out about our similarities and our differences. It was a great time in my life. I’m always amazed when I hear someone talking about how they couldn’t marry someone or date a person because that person is too good a friend. Your marriage has to be built on the foundation of great friendship or you will never function as a team.

2.) DECIDE YOUR STANCE IN ADVANCE

Life brings big decisions. If you are married…you won’t be making those decisions alone. Or at least you shouldn’t. One of the best things you can do for your marriage to make it work as a team is to  decide where you both stand when it comes to the big decisions in life. How are you going to deal with credit? Where will you live? How will you discipline your kids? What are your core values? There are too many decisions to list…and you’re going to face them all. Start an ongoing conversation with your spouse about where you both stand when it comes to the big topics of life. You may have already made a few mistakes along the way…but it’s not too late to begin a conversation about this. Here’s the deal…teams have to go in the same direction or they won’t work. Marriages are the same.

3.) HONOR THE OTHER PERSON

Simply put…place them before yourself.

There are practical ways to work this one out though…Don’t speak anything but good about your spouse. Treat them with fairness. Don’t expect something from them you wouldn’t expect from yourself. Put them in a place of honor. When a team is at work…everyone has their part to play…don’t take the credit for wins, give it away. Honor your spouse.

Three simple things that absolutely will make the teamwork in your marriage grow.

What do you think? What are some things that have helped your marriage become a stronger team? Leave a comment in the box below.