Monday, January 25, 2016

Every Home Needs to Prioritize: Time

As a Christian, my response to the grace of God matters - a lot! This post is the third of a series of posts about the home. The big question of this series: How are we honoring God in our homes? We are exploring what the Bible says along with practical application. 

A Christian home has a plan, submits to clear authority, 
and runs a disciplined race with an eternal focus.

For the above statement to be a reality, we have to realize the obstacles that stand in our way. As an affluent culture, we pack many things into our schedule. We work hard raising families, providing for our needs and wants through our careers, and do what we can to make a difference when we can. But, we are also prone to waste time on things that don't really matter.

I've learned (and am still learning) the importance of the Apostle Paul's letter to the Ephesian church where he encourages them to make "the best use of time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16). Even Christians who are in love with Jesus and His Church waste time. We often lack discipline and fall prey to the wants of our bodies.

Our body longs for the temporary, but God wants to 
use our body as an instrument for the eternal.

What would it look like if we prioritized our time based on eternal goals instead of temporary ones?

As a Christian, my day would be far more purposeful if I constantly:
   1. Committed every day to the Lord.
   2. Intentionally invested in a person's soul.
   3. Prayed without ceasing while following the lead of the Holy Spirit.
   4. Knew that wasting time would always be a temptation.

Furthermore, what would happen if I consistently prioritized:
   1. Loving God (Matthew 22:38)
         a. Praying - admitting my need for full dependance on Christ with ongoing gratitude
         b. Reading the Bible - studying the depth of grace and truth as revealed from God
         c. Growing in trust and obedience knowing that faith is marked by these two attributes
   2. Loving Others (John 13:34-35)
         a. Serving others in such a way that shows selflessness and sacrifice
         b. Encouraging others by speaking the truth in love and building the church community
         c. Teaching others about God, His Word, and His redemptive plan
   * The time leftover can be used to enjoy all the blessings God has given me (1 Timothy 6:17).

The secret is found in understanding, "Today is the day the Lord has made..." (Psalm 118:24). Since He created this day, it's His - for His purposes. His plan involves us. Think of the possibilities!

Additional Resources:
   Biblical Counseling Keys on Time Management 
   Hooked App - designed to track phone/tablet addiction
   Edwards: A God-centered view of Time Management

Friday, January 22, 2016

Every Home Needs Clear Authority

Last Sunday, I preached one of the most counter-cultural sermons of my life. The premise was based on the principle that without clear authority in our homes, chaos is inevitable.

We have been "SHAPED" by our background, experiences, and surroundings in such a way that living biblically in the home is a counter-cultural idea. God has outlined clear authority in the Bible that can breathe life into our homes. Yet, many professing Christian homes settle for chaos.  

Here's a brief overview of what I mean by "SHAPED":
   Our Society opposes God's design
   Our Heart selfishly longs for glory
   Our Autonomy wants everything our way 
   Our Pride refuses to submit 
   Our Emotions makes us fearful
          Decline is the natural result of sin

The Bible teaches clear authority in verses like these (there are many more):
   1. GOD (Ex. 20:2-7, Luke 4:8, Eph. 1:22, and many more!)
   2. Men submit to Christ (1 Cor. 11:3)
   3. Wives submit to husbands (1 Peter 3:1, Eph. 5:22)
   4. Children submit to parents (Col 3:20, Eph. 6:2)
   5. Single Adults submit to God. (Is. 54:5, Pr. 23:22)
   6. Employees submit to employers (Col. 3:22-23)

   7. Everyone must submit to government UNLESS it violates God’s Word (1 Peter 2:13)

Here are some helpful resources I believe will re-shape our homes for God's glory:

Every Home Needs Clear Authority

Why Should Husbands and Wives Agree on Life Decisions?

Article: What Should be the Husband's 'Role' in Marriage?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Every Home Needs a Plan

This verse hangs in our house as a reminder of our purpose as a family. It is a reminder of our faith and heritage as well as a call to action to every member of our home. We are Christians who long to serve the Lord and obey His Word. Does this mean we're going to be perfect? Absolutely not! We are saved and sustained by His grace - this is a great gift from God. We are sinners who have a lot to learn and apply to our lives. Therefore, we humbly acknowledge that we need Him to accomplish in us what only He can do - shape us into the likeness of Jesus (Philippians 1:6, 2 Corinthians 3:18).

The Bible speaks clearly about the home:
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Psalm 127:1
The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand. Proverbs 12:7
The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish. Proverbs 14:11

Jesus spoke clearly regarding to obedience:
Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:46-49

Christians Respond, That's What We Do!
To call Jesus "Lord" means that there is a response to the Gospel. This response is worship and faith in action out of gratitude for who God is and what He has done (Romans 12:1-2, James 2:14). This response in no way has anything to do with "earning" salvation, because that's impossible (Ephesians 2:8-10)! Jesus already did that (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Your Plan: Create Biblical Alignment & Cultivate Obedience
A Plan shapes our VALUES
A Plan defines our PRIORITIES
A Plan guides our DECISION-MAKING
A Plan helps in making FAITH a verb
A Plan HONORS the Lord

Do you have a PLAN for how you (and your family) are going to serve the Lord?

Here's some ideas of how to get started:

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Vision for 2016

Advance Community Church

Our Mission: Make Disciples of Jesus Christ
Our Vision: Plant Church-planting Churches

What to Expect in 2016:

1. Corporate Worship (Sunday Nights)
      - Environment where our focus is clearly on Jesus
      - Environment where everyone is invited and included
      - Environment where there’s freedom in worship
      - Environment where demographic diversity is celebrated 
      - Environment where the Bible is boldly preached

2. A Clear Focus on the Home
      - We must all mature in the Gospel (Identity in Christ)
      - We must all mature in Obedience (Response to the Gospel)
      - We must all mature in Gratitude (Stewardship of Time & Treasure)
      - We all play a role in the discipleship of Teens & Children
      - Marriages must mature (4 Great Dates & Mentorships)

3. A Culture of Growth & Equipping
      - Community Groups - Grow Relationally & Spiritually
      - “IF” - Regional Opportunity for Women to Grow in Christ
      - Bible Studies - Growth in Expositional Knowledge & Response
      - Advance Community Institute - Equipping Future Leaders
      - Advance Residency Program - Focused Ministry Training

4. Emphasis on Missional Engagement
      - Scattered Worship - Organic Evangelism (twice a year)
      - Community Outreach - Opportunities to Bless Our Region
      - International Missions - D.R., Pastor Training, Church Planting

Accomplishing this Vision Requires:
     1. The Church abiding in the Holy Spirit
     2. The Church committed to Prayer
     3. The Church embracing Sacrificial Giving
     4. The Church joyfully Serving
     5. The Church humbly United in Christ

Our Pursuits:   
      - Our identity is secure in Jesus
      - Our lives are shaped by the Bible
      - We are here for each other
      - We herald the Gospel (locally & Globally)

Would you prayerfully consider partnering with us in 2016?