Pastor Bob shares how God shows his unfailing love to us and how we are to reflect His love in our relationships, even when it’s not the easiest thing to do.
Mercy is not a popular concept. Jesus received very heavy criticism when he showed mercy during his ministry. Many people resent those who offer mercy, but mercy is a key to living a life as a follower of Jesus Christ. This Bible study shows how we can live a mercy-filled life as Jesus did.
Pastor Bob will be sharing with the congregation at the Fellowship Church of God on Sunday, March 27th. His sermon is entitled, ” I am the way, the truth and the life” based John 14:6-11.
Fellowship Church meets at the Bayshore High School in Bradenton, Florida. The school is located at 5401 34th Street West. Fellowship time is 10:00; Services start at 10:30.
Please join us as we worship together.
I wanted to share a link to an excellent resource from a good friend who is also in the business of helping parents and children be successful. I think you will find his article called The Enemy very insightful.
Scroll through the TV Guide on any cable system and you will find hundreds of hours of programming by self-proclaimed experts. You will find diet and exercise experts. There are financial experts that explain how you can make tons of money without any effort. Almost every channel has either a medical experts or political experts, each one representing their own view point on a wide spectrum of issues.
How do you know who to believe? You start by asking what are the “credentials” of the expert; meaning, what have they actually done? When you find out what they have personally done, you can make an informed decision about who really knows what they are talking about!
Pastor Bob simply explains what Jesus did that proves he is an expert on living an Abundant Life. Listen and discover for yourself who you can believe.
Parents face lots of challenges; this can be especially so at holiday times or when they have a child who faces challenges of their own. When you combine both of these situations, it can be extra stressful for everyone. A parent of a child with Sensory Integration Disorder tries to explain why his child might be having non-standard reactions to the Christmas celebration.
Is marriage becoming an outdated practice in a modern world?
The media is constantly announcing a new study or a recent report about the decline in the percentages of people who are living in a stable marriage or family. Since so many people are opting out of taking marriage vows, the government must adjust to what is becoming an accepted practice. The Census Bureau is changing their definition of “family unit”. They will now start calling a single parent with a live-in, unmarried person a family unit. The statistics all tell the same story. People with less education and lower incomes are seeing marriage as an unnecessary bother and expense. An ever higher percentage of our society view getting married as creating a bigger expense and entanglement when it is time to switch partners.
Does that mean that I am worried about my role as a Marriage Coach becoming obsolete? Not on your life! I cannot imagine a situation where the skills and insights I teach are even more urgent or more in demand!
Just because there are more people who resist getting married, it does NOT mean that people are living as single adults. People want to be together! They need intimacy. They need someone to share their lives with. Just NOT getting married simply makes the task of living together more complicated.
If two people live in the same home they will face difficult challenges. Notice that I did not say “two people who do not get married will face difficult challenges”. Every couple will face challenges just because being faithful companions is a TOUGH thing to do! That other person is weird. That other person wants things from us sometimes when we don’t want to give them. There are tug-of-wars between the partners in even the best relationships. Our two in-born selfish natures collide and ricochet around inside the relationship where one seems to get more of what they want one time; then things change and the other person seems to be the one who benefits. Marriage is a tough business for most of us.
I am fully aware that there are people who get married thinking that “having a ceremony” is something similar to the magic potion that keeps bad things from happening to their family. They don’t have the maturity to understand the personal responsibility that goes into making a marriage work. Those people have not learned how to love. They are not able to look at the other person as a whole and completely different person who now becomes the most important other person in their lives,
Having acknowledged that some married people don’t really understand how to love, remaining unmarried is an even more difficult proposition. The underlying assumption of not being married often is, “I don’t want to get too entangled”. There are those who say, “I don’t want to get hurt again”. Some want to keep their options open for the future. Others are in relationships where one partner says something like, “I’m not ready to get married, yet“. That phrase can mean many different things but it is very clear that they have limited expectations for the relationship.
As it turns out, the very same people who don’t want to get hurt by a failed relationship again are in for a disappointment. They have made up this little script in their minds that says, “If I don’t commit to this relationship, then it won’t hurt so bad when we break up.” But, it does hurt when they break up. And in addition, it hurts again and again. People who remain unmarried have more breakups and have more heartache because they are changing partners more frequently. They have created the very situation they wanted to avoid.
For the individual who is in a relationship and says, “I’m not ready for marriage”, I have a message for you. GROW UP! You want to have someone to love. You want someone to love you. You want to have the intimate relationship that gives you much of what you want, but you don’t want to provide the very thing that your partner needs the most. How lame is that? If you truly believe that you are not ready, then remove yourself from the relationship until you get ready. If you need help to learn how to drive a car or find a good job, you would find the people who could train you to get the skills and insights you need to get the thing you want. Why not do the same in your personal life? Get to the right people who can teach you how to love like a real grown up, mature adult and then find someone you can commit to.
Please understand why I use such harsh words. People who refuse to commit, who refuse to live a life of dedicated, loving service to someone in their lives, are a danger to society. They leave a trail of heartbreak and sorrow behind them. All around them are broken relationships, children without a stable parent, partners who are left to cope with the debris of broken dreams and wasted years. Why do I sound so harsh? Because selfish, sinful people hurt the very ones they were supposed to love and care for. This is a terrible tragedy and should be stopped.
Photo by Sherry Main licensed under Creative Commons.
I had a young person write to me at MarriageHelp.com and complain about my “old fashioned” ideas. This person was letting me know that our society had outgrown old rules about what we should expect from our sexual relationships. They had read my lesson called “No Sex before Marriage” where I taught about the value of the Biblical rules about sexual relationships. This person wanted me to know that everything had changed. The current rules are simple: If you are in a relationship, sex is allowed. If that relationship comes apart and you end up in a relationship with someone else, then sex is allowed with that person as well…and so on and so on.
I wish it were that simple. I wish I could say, “Do what you want to do. What I taught was just one person’s opinion, anyway.” But, I can’t. Why? Because nothing has more potential for harm and damage to people than becoming involved sexually before a relationship has matured and a commitment is made. Something happens between two people who share a physical relationship. The Bible calls it “becoming one flesh” which most people don’t really understand.
The way I explain it is this: Who has the potential to do us more harm that someone who knows us very well? Our truest friends are the ones who know us the very best. They are the ones who know our hearts and minds. They are the ones we have opened up to and with whom we have shared our most personal thoughts and feelings. Our long-term, deep friendships make us vulnerable and yet satisfy our longing for intimacy. We take the risk of letting someone know what might harm us the most; the tender spots we protect the most carefully, because we need to be known and understood by someone we trust. We believe our friend will protect us from others who might want to embarrass or humiliate us and would NEVER think about doing hurtful things to us themselves. We need to trust that this person would never betray the friendship between us.
How do we get to be such trusted friends? It takes TIME. It takes sharing experience after experience, joys and sorrows, hopes and dreams, victories and defeats over long and varied life experiences. Somewhere along the line, shallow relationships fall away. People who are not trustworthy slip away into faded memories of hurt feelings and moments of sorrow. True friends remain true and with each experience of life they become closer.
Let me ask you a question? Why would you welcome someone into a more intimate and personal place in your life without expecting them to earn such a relationship? Even a long-term friend does not have the potential of embarrassment, humiliation, guilt, grief and pain that a sexual partner would have. You have exposed yourself to an even deeper level of exposure with an even less trustworthy relationship to support it. You have become a co-dependent partner (our Non-Biblical name for being “one flesh”) on a sexual level with someone who might not even be worthy of a “short term friend”. Your needs on a sexual level are now linked up with someone else’s needs. It takes no imagination at all to visualize how fragile this kind of relationship is by simply calculating how long your sexual partner would stay connected if there were suddenly no sexual gratification.
It sounds so wonderful to recite “Sex is natural and normal. No one should put limitations and rules on something as important as our biological sexual urges.” Yes, sex is natural. The common cold is “natural and normal”, but you don’t want to catch it! I just came from the doctor’s office having completed my annual physical exam. He gave me a whole list of “normal, natural” foods that are causing my cholesterol levels to rise too high. The warning at the top of the page reads, “Foods to be AVOIDED”. Foods; natural, normal, healthy, wonderfully tasty foods that everyone else gets to enjoy, are on my list of “Foods to be Avoided”. How dare that doctor make rules that spoil my supper!?!
You see my point. If you want to live and be healthy, there are ALWAYS rules and restrictions. We are supposed to exercise, but not too much. We are to eat, but everyone needs to watch for foods that are dangerous for their physical system to ingest. We must follow the rules and guidelines, laws and regulations in every area of our lives. Why would we pretend that somehow our sexual roles would be exempt?
We have been keeping human history for several thousand years. That combined experience, confirmed again in God’s Word, the Bible, tells us that if we follow the rules about our sexual lives, we live longer and we live better. Most of my generation came to sexual maturity in the 1960′s when “free love” was being promoted openly. When I was in my graduate program sexual promiscuity was called the “Open Marriage”. Every one of those experiments in sexual “liberation” has ended in sorrow and regret. Many have even died as a result. You can call it anything you wish but the reality still comes back to the same basic truth. If you ignore the best advice of thousands of years of history, you will suffer greatly.
I don’t want that for you. So I tell you the truth.
Photo by Greg licensed under Creative Commons
“We hold these truths to be self-evident…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Living a joyful, fulfilling, happy life is everyone’s goal! The real question is, “How do you do it? What makes a life joyful and rich?”
Pastor Bob outlines the basic elements of living a Life Worth Living.