As a teenager in my home church it always got my attention when the pastor would say something about how to relate in the family. If he referred to some verse on that topic in Proverbs or elsewhere I would typically underline it. When I was first married I often listened to Focus on the Family while working, which at the time typically addressed how to be a better parent, spouse, etc. I listened to Chuck Swindoll as well, who often addressed such issues in his sermons. Currently, I count at least 70 books I own related to family issues, many of which I have read, others are for reference. That does not count books I’ve given away or lost. I've been married for 27 years and a parent for just shy of 25 of those. I have two adult children, a 4 year old, and a daughter in law. I've also helped raise a few other teenagers over the years. I've walked through horrendous pain with many in the midst of terrible family tragedies. Some of my best friends have gone through brutal divorces. I’ve seen much hurt up close. So do I feel like an expert in this field? Not on your life. Yet, I feel compelled to address these matters form God’s word. This Sunday at Bethany Place I’m beginning a series I’ve called Applying the Gospel to the Family Circus, but the prospect of wading into these issues in the next few weeks I find pretty intimidating.
In praying and studying to prepare for this series I’ve hit upon an angle that I've not seen anyone take previously. Especially in the first three weeks I will explore these subjects from the first part of the book of Philippians. I am impressed with the power of applying the message of Philippians to the relationships that hit closest to us. Already my work on the first message is changing the way I think about and live among my own family. The thoughts in the text or so profound I am calling the first message, Overhaul. I believe it is that dramatic. I will link to the message audio here when it is available.
You can see the text and tentative outline for Sunday's message below as well as plan for the rest of the series.
Applying the Gospel to the Family Circus, Part 1
1. Clarify your identity
Philippians 1:1 (ESV)
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:
2. Evaluate what you give
Philippians 1:2 (ESV)
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. Sharpen the way you pray
Philippians 1:3–6 (ESV)
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
4. Identify a new basis for affection
Philippians 1:7–8 (ESV)
7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
5. Upgrade your desires
Philippians 1:9–11 (ESV)
9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Here is the tentative plan for the whole series
May 13: Overhaul, Phil. 1:1-11
May 20: Living Single in a Married World, Phil. 1:12-30
May 27: Exposing Unrealistic Expectations for a Mate, Phil 2: 1-11
June 3: Hope for the Broken: Isaiah 61:1
June 10: Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Deut. 6
June 17: Modeling a Heart for God, Phil. 3:17-21