How Then Should We Live?

On Sunday, I talked about how Solomon’s Temple was built with a singular purpose, and when it was finished “the glory of the LORD” filled the Temple signifying that God found it a suitable and satisfactory place to dwell.

In the New Testament we find that through Christ we are “temples” that God has chosen to dwell in. And the more that we can be surrendered to God and His will for our lives, the more “at home” God is in us.

What if we lived each day with the singular purpose of being fully surrendered to God? Wouldn’t it be easier to live that way if we knew today was our last day? What if we just acted like it was our last day?

Discuss these questions as a family:

1) What does it mean to be surrendered to Christ?

2) What is one practical way that I can be more surrendered to Christ this week?

3) How can we help each other to live each day as if it could be our last… to make the most of each day and to live for Christ each day?

The CALL of the Cross

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Read Matthew 7:13-14 as a family. Discuss what you think these verses mean.

So what did you come up with? Are things as black and white as Jesus is painting them?

If we take Jesus’ words simply at face value, what are the implications for our lives? How do we respond appropriately to this?

The Christian life is more than just believing the right things, memorizing the right things, and following Jesus “in your heart.” The Christian life is a LIFE that is lived for Christ!

The CALL of the Cross is “to come and die.” To daily kill off your sinful self, and live for Christ. To love God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul.

Do you agree with the above statements? If so, discuss as a family some practical steps to take as you journey together on the narrow road to Christ.

How To Keep God Close

Staying connected to God is not rocket science. It is not something that is hard to figure out how to do, but it is often something we don’t want to do.

Then at those times when it feels like God is silent and distant, we often assume that it’s God who has drifted away from us. If God seems absent or inactive, maybe we should do a quick pulse check on ourselves

It would be good to ask if the following quote from Stuff Christians Like is true of us:

“…I’m not starting my days with God right now. I’m not praying actively like I usually do. I’m not centering my mornings and my days on who he is and who he made me to be. It’s been a week since I’ve cracked my Bible and in it’s absence I’ve been filling my head and heart with junk.

I’ve been watching shows on Hulu that I never watch. I’ve been aimlessly surfing online which is usually a deathtrap for me. I’ve been nudging my boundaries all over the place. I’ve been reading and listening to things I usually avoid. Hmmm, I wonder if any of that will have a consequence?”

What I put into my head and my heart affects my soul.

The things that I’m consuming will either feed or starve my relationship to God. There’s no such thing as neutral.

And I know what the good things are that strengthen my connection to Jesus… the problem is that I don’t always want the good things. It is in these times that I need to turn to Jesus and desperately ask him to change what I want into what he wants.

What have you been feeding your head and your heart this week? Is it time to go on a diet or maybe to introduce some new foods?

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

James 4:8

 

The CURE of the Cross

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This video is a promotional piece for a book by Kary Oberbrunner. The title of the book, Your Secret Name, is based on Revelation 2:17, in which Jesus is promising a new name to those who are victorious in him.

The imagery in the video is something that resonates with all of us. Because we live in a sinful world and because we are sinful people, as we go through life we find ourselves dirty and even dragged through the mud. Life beats us up and breaks us down.

But in Christ our story (and our name) is changed. In Christ, we are forgiven, faultless, and free. This is the cure of the cross.

On the cross, Jesus became everything that is bad about us, so that we could become everything that is good about him! That’s good news. 1 John 1:9, Jude 1:24, and Romans 8:1-2 are passages that clearly show our new standing in Christ.

As a family discuss these questions:

1) What does it mean to be forgiven? Faultless? Free?

2) Many times we don’t feel forgiven, faultless, or free. It takes faith to trust that what God has said about who we are in Christ is true. Why do you think we doubt our new standing in Christ?

3) Faith could be defined as living as if what we hope is true… IS TRUE! How can we as a family encourage each other and strengthen each other’s faith?

The COST of the Cross

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Sin is not a topic that comes up in the typical conversation. It’s more a topic we avoid than one we embrace. And yet the reality of sin and the negative effects of sin constantly weigh us down. Our sin has put us in a hole that we can’t get out of.

This past Sunday we took a look at sin by first looking at what sin is not: If we are following God’s rules, we’re probably not sinning. Jesus condensed all of God’s Law down into two commands: Love God with all that we are and love people in the same ways we care for ourselves.

By understanding what sin is not, we get a clearer picture of what sin is and how often we sin. How much of a typical day are we loving God and other people correctly in our thoughts, our words, and our actions? We probably can’t go more than four or five minutes without being selfish, jealous, greedy, prideful, angry, or lustful… just to name a few!

The other thing we discussed is how God’s Law is pro-relationships, while sin is anti-relationships. We’ve all been hurt by others’ sin, but we’re also all guilty of hurting others by our sin. Sin always damages relationships and brings separation between us and others and between us and God.

The Bible even says that sin leads to death, which is the ultimate separation. The Good News, of course, is that God chose not to leave us in that hole, but from the very beginning was putting into motion his plan to spring us free.

An innocent sacrifice is the required cost to cover over a person’s sin. Jesus, being the perfect man, fit the bill. And being God, the effects of Jesus’s sacrificial death were limitless and boundless.

His blood extends to the entire human race, to all those who have ever lived or are yet to be born. It covers every sin ever committed and those not yet committed. The blood of Jesus brings us forgiveness, cleansing, and new life.

As a family discuss these questions:

1) Why is it so hard to talk about sin? Even when we know that we’re all in the same boat, why is it so hard to admit to another person that we struggle with sin?

2) In the video, several people came and tried to give the man advice on how to save himself. Why do we constantly try to fix ourselves rather than initially turning to God for help?

3) Is it a sin to not turn to God for help?

4) Another tendency we have as Christians is to obsess about our sins. What if, as a family, we challenge ourselves this week to focus on loving God and loving each other and work on what we can do rather than what we shouldn’t do?

5) A third tendency we have is to constantly feel anxious or ashamed about our sins. Do you think this stems from not really believing that we’re forgiveable? If so, why is it so hard to accept that Jesus died for me? How can we work on that this week?