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Monday, November 14, 2016

DO YOU HUNGER & THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS? - IS THERE A HOME IN YOUR HOUSE? (LESSON 1)

DOES YOUR HOME HUNGER & 
THIRST FOR GOD?

Mt 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.


(CLICK TO WATCH SERMON 1)
THANK YOU FOR VISITING AWAKENED NOW! I want to share a four-week sermon series with you I'm preaching this month entitled: "Is There a Home In Your House?" 

If you (or someone you know) are sincerely seeking help for your marriage and your relationship with your children, please, study and share these four messages.

A BLESSED HOME HUNGERS AND THIRSTS FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

Mt 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.            
         
I’d like to submit that there is a difference between a home and a house. Now, I know the definitions are very similar, but this isn’t a strange concept. Have you ever heard the proverb: “Home is where the heart is?” How many know that you can have a house, apartment, trailer, even a mansion, and not have a home in it? A house is just wood, shingles, carpet, paint, drywall, and stuff like that.
       
A home is where your heart is. It’s a place where you find peace, joy, love, and comfort. I’d like to ask you: Is There a Home In Your House?

How many of you would love to have a home in your house? How many want your homes and families to be blessed? Of course you do. We all would love to see our homes and families blessed.        
           
But when you look at families today, in general, the first word that DOES NOT come to your mind is the word blessed. Right? When we look at so many families today, rather than saying, "Man, they're really blessed. God’s favor is on their lives", we say: "Wow, they're really struggling. Their home is a mess. Their children are crazy. They can’t get a handle on their finances."
         
And admittedly, there are a lot more challenges today than there was in the past. There's the challenge of more and more blended families. You know what a blended family is, right? Men and women who’ve been married multiple times and have children with multiple spouses–they’re blended. This can be a blessing, but then you're raising your kids, her kids, and our kids and you both have exes living in Texas and it can get complicated.          
 
We see a record number of single parents today which can be so difficult when you're trying to support a family on one income and there's only one of to you carry all the load–and the discipline of raising the kids can be overwhelming at times.                 

Now, some of you may say, "But I'm a student. I don't have a family yet." Awesome! This is the best time to prepare your heart for future blessings. I would have given anything to have learned stuff like this before I got married. So, I believe it will speak to everyone.

And so what we're going to do is learn and apply several of the beatitudes from Jesus’ teachings in Matthew, chapter 5, to our homes. Jesus gave us 8 characteristics of those that are blessed! Let me tell you where we're going to go in this series. This week we’re going to deal with hungering and thirsting after righteousness.           

Week 2,"Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." Does purity reign in your home?          

Week 3, "Blessed are the peace makers” ... not peace takers. Is there peace in your home?         

Week 4, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The godly home will be mocked and ridiculed. Can you take it?
    
We’re not going to worry about people talking about us. In fact, we're actually going to worry when people aren’t persecuting us because we're probably blending in.

You should just go ahead and bow your head and pray, “God, I want you to bless my home. I will do whatever you require of me to make that happen.” 
 
WHAT DOES YOUR HOME HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER?

Most people I know are not hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Don’t get me wrong. They will tell you they want more of God, but when you look at their home you can’t really tell it. A lot of the issues we have inside the church; a lot of the reason our services aren’t even higher than what they are is directly connected to our home lives. The reason you don’t pray for people in here; the reason some of you won’t pray around the altar; or pray for other people around the altar is prayer is not familiar to you. You don’t pray at home, so you don’t really know how to pray around here either. It kind of hard to hide prayerlessness. It sticks out like sore thumb.

So, here's a question that I want to ask all of you just for application, and I want to dare you to be really honest. Here's the question: In your home, what are you hungering for? In your life, with your friends, what are you pursuing? What matters most to you? 

I believe some of you, with integrity, could say, "We're striving to please God." And others would try to say that–We’re striving to please God–but if I asked your kids, they might say something entirely different. If I asked your children when they last saw you praying, what would they answer? If I asked them when they last saw you reading the Bible, what would they answer?           

Let's make it easy. In the last seven days–Sunday to Sunday; what would you be characterized as having pursued?  What did you hunger for this past week? 

1.MONEY AND FINANCIAL EASE? Do you work more to make more to waste more? At the end of the day, there’s not a whole lot of difference. You have more money, but you’re still in debt and miserable and slowly falling away from God. You don’t have time to train your children because you’re busy hungering and thirsting after possessions. Someone else will have to do that for you.

2. THE WHIM? I know a lot of people that you can't really keep up with what they're hungering and thirsting after. It will be one thing this week but something completely different next week. It just depends on what the latest whim is. Every week they get an ingenious idea, a new hobby, or a new project to start but never finish. If it's not rebuilding a hot rod truck, they're setting their eyes on becoming a mixed martial arts expert! It's always something and that something is so important they can't spend time with God or their family. It's the whim!

3. SPORTS? Folk have to get their children enrolled on the synchronized water polo cricket team. That’s what they hunger and thirst for. Every parent thinks their child is going pro in the four and under league! They teach their children that sports is more important than God and His house when they're out there cricketing during church time.

And if you're like most people in our culture today, you'd say over the last seven days you were pursuing something (or many things) above God.

How have we gotten so busy we’ve pushed God right out of our every day life? For some, if it wasn’t for Sunday, there’d be no God at all in their life. If it wasn’t for a one and a half hour service on Sunday, there’d be almost zero spirituality in their life; no other avenue to express their faith. Had you thought about it like that? That can’t be healthy. I wonder what would happen if you only ate natural food once a week for an hour and a half? Yep! You’d starve to death. And that’s what’s happening to a lot of people and their families spiritually. They don’t hunger and thirst for God, therefore they’re not filled; hence they are starving.

CHANGING YOUR APPETITE

So what do we do when we realize that we are hungering for the wrong things?  What do we do when we realize that we have an appetite for things that do not satisfy and are not best for us?  Well, we change our appetites.

I love SWEETS! I like sweets of all sorts. Cakes, pies, cookies, candy bars, banana pudding, brownies, milk shakes, ice cream of all flavors, buckeyes, peanut butter roll, etc ... Get the drift? I've lost weight, I've gained weight. Here's what I've learned on my journey: When I eat healthy I eventually stop craving sweets. I feel so good physically I don't want to eat anything unhealthy. Unfortunately, I eventually cave and go back to my old habits and then start over. Sad.  


You Can change your appetite. 

Here's the thing, if you start pursuing God, suddenly, you're going to see the benefits of walking by faith, being led by the Spirit of God, and being empowered by His presence. You'll start longing for more of Him. The junk food of this world which wasn't good for you and didn't satisfy you isn't going to be at the top of your cravings because you've developed a healthy appetite. You're hungering and thirsting for righteousness and you're fulfilled doing the will of God! It's a grand and glorious feeling!
 

WHY AREN’T OUR FAMILIES HUNGERING AND THIRSTING FOR GOD?
         
Why don't we see more of our homes having revival? Why is there no home in many people’s houses?

I hope you’ll allow me to share a few things that work and a few things that don't work when it comes to building a home centered around Christ.

Let’s start with what does not work. There are two things that do not work. The first thing is legalistic Christianity. The second thing is lukewarm Christianity.       


 1. LEGALISTIC CHRISTIANITY
   
Let me give you some examples. What is legalistic Christianity? That's when we reduce Christianity in our homes to a bunch of do's and don'ts, cans and can'ts, shoulds and shouldn'ts, oughts and ought not's.  "Don't do this and don't do that". "I can’t believe you did that. If you were a real Christian you’d always get it right." Rules and more rules!

Here’s the problem with legalistic Christianity:

RULES WITHOUT RELATIONSHIP LEAD TO REBELLION!              
   
Have you ever seen that? Have you ever noticed that pastors' kids are known as the wild ones? What's up with that? It's because rules without relationship lead to rebellion!


Have you ever met a family that basically made their children slaves to rules and restrictions without pouring quality time into them? How's they turn out? Did they became hellions when they hit 18? I've met several families like that. God, help the Lambs. 

Rules are necessary, but if it's merely rules without relationship, it's going to lead to rebellion. You're going to lose your children because legalistic Christianity never works. 
  
2.LUKEWARM CHRISTIANITY
   
The second thing that also doesn't work is Lukewarm Christianity. What is that? That's when we believe in God but we live half-hearted; it's cultural Christianity. It's basically Christian in name only, but no real passion for things that bring Glory to God. It is a prayerless, Bible-less church goer. I call them Churchians because they don't resemble victorious Christians.          
   
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR HOME IS A LUKEWARM CHRISTIAN HOME?

Well, I can’t really make that judgment for you, but here’s some indicators that would tell me our home was lukewarm:
 

1. Can you tell me the last time your family prayed together? I don't mean a “Rub a dub dub, thank God for this grub” type prayer. I mean really prayed together. If you can’t remember the last time, your house is probably lukewarm.

2. Can you tell me the last time you read the Bible with your family?
If not,  your house is probably lukewarm.
 
3. Can you remember the last time you testified about God to them?
If not, your house is probably lukewarm.
 
4. When was the last time you led them out of something harmful to their faith? Let me illustrate:


When you’re watching a movie and hear God’s name in vain about 30 times in the first 30 seconds and you say, “You know what? This isn’t going to fly in our house.” 

Or “You know, those people, we love them, but they’re not a very good influence on us. We're not hanging out with them any more!" 

Lukewarm houses don't do that.

JESUS TOLD THE LAODICEANS IF THEY WERE LUKEWARM HE'D VOMIT (SPUE) THEM OUT OF HIS MOUTH. (REVELATION 3:16)

 
Legalism and lukewarm Christianity never work! 


OK ... BUT WHAT DOES WORK? 

Here’s the statement:

WE ARE NOT JUST A "CHRISTIAN" FAMILY; WE ARE A CHRIST CENTERED HOME.

In America, anyone can claim to be a Christian, right? Some statistics say over 80% of Americans profess Christianity, but just because someone claims Christianity doesn’t make them one.

Jesus isn't just a PART of our lives, He is the CENTER of our lives. Our home is characterized by being Christ centered. A Christ centered family is a sold out family. 


I love Psalm 63:1:

Ps 63:1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
   
YOU are my God! I will seek you early! My soul thirsts for you! Not just in good times, but even in dry and thirsty places where we can’t find water!

WE'RE NOT JUST A CHRISTIAN FAMILY, WE'RE A CHRIST-CENTERED HOME!
 
We need husbands that thirst for God! We need wives that thirst for God. We need children that thirst for God! We need families that thirst for God!
    


What do you thirst for instead of God? What are you teaching your children to thirst for instead of God and His Kingdom? Money? Sports? A vehicle? A job? Popularity? A career? If you're not pouring God into them, you're pouring something into them.

WE MUST CREATE A PROPER APPETITE IN OUR HOMES!

HOW DO WE DO THAT?

By helping our families see God as: 1) LOVING; 2) APPROACHABLE; and 3) INVOLVED.

God is lovable. He loves you. God is approachable. You can go to Him any time for anything and everything. And God is involved in every area of your life. God is involved in what you do, where you go, what you watch, what you read, what you listen to, what you say, how you act, and how you present ourselves. God has a say so in everything.


3 WAYS TO CREATE A HUNGER AND THIRST FOR GOD
 
A 17 year old girl named Mandy was asked what she, as a teenager, would suggest to parents as being a healthy environment in the home. She said:   

"You should create an environment where your kids want to have discussions about God so it's not something they feel like they have to do, but something they want to do."

So, how do you do it you? You say, "I don't even know where to start." Let me make it as simple as I can and give you three ways to create a hunger and thirst for God. 

1. GOING TO INVOLVE GOD IN DAILY CONVERSATIONS

When we're talking about anything, we're going to involve God in our daily conversations. And this may seem kind of weird to you, but it's really simple.

You're driving along outside, beautiful sunset on the way to the store, you might say, "Wow! That's awesome." Not anymore. Now, you’re going to say, "Wow, look at the sunrise that God has blessed us with." And you're simply showing that God is a part of your conversation.          

And you do this in your marriage, instead of saying, "Wife, I don't know what to do. What do you think we should do?” You say, "I wonder what God wants us to do? Let’s pray about this." And so, in your marriage, you are reminding yourself you are not just a Christian home, you are a Christ centered home. You involve God in your conversations.          

For years and years, I've told my kids over and over again, "Look at how God has blessed us. You get to be part of a church that's making a difference around the world. Look at how He’s blessed our family."

 
If you want to create a hunger and thirst for righteousness in your family, you will have to:




2. MAKE CHURCH A NON-
NEGOTIABLE PART OF YOUR LIFE 



If you're a Christ centered home, guess what you do? You make worshiping God your priority, you make it something that is non-negotiable. Taking a couple hours a week to honor the Creator and Sustainer of this universe with the household of faith shouldn't be an option. Tell your family, "We're going to go to church, period." And then stick with it.

Here's why going to church faithfully is important:

"A study disclosed that if both Mom and Dad attend church regularly, 72% of their children remain faithful. If only Dad, 55% remain faithful. If only Mom, 15%. If neither attended regularly, only 6% remain faithful." 
 
The Lambs are going to church when the doors are open. It's part of who we are. How about you? Wonderful! We will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. We will engage in fellowship with other believers faithfully. 

Some of you that come when you want, hit and miss ... you need to remember that your children are watching. There’s almost zero chance that your children are going to serve God and become a member of your church when you’re only committed half the time. You’re teaching them by your actions. What does your family thirst for?     

The third thing you must do is:      

3. SHOW HOW SEEKING AND RECEIVING GOD IS FUN       

Serving God is fun. Let’s get real here! Do your children believe serving God is fun? Or do they see you complaining about life, about church, the people, and life in general? Are you happy? Are you miserable in your house? Do your children see you enjoying God? Do they see you excited about the Word? Our children need to see us having fun serving God.

Both of my daughters read at least two chapters of the Bible every night. Ariel has been through the whole Bible at least once and the New Testament several times. Eden has completed the New Testament and is now close to being finished with the Old Testament, too. Josiah will soon be starting his journey through the Bible. People are like, "Wow, how do you get your 12 and 15 year old daughters to do that? How do you get them to serve God like they do?"          

I never have to ask them to do it. It's not really a rule. They don’t have to read the Bible. It's just a part of our family culture. If we can spend time engaged in secular entertainment, we can spend time with God and His Word. They have seen their mom pray and read the Word. They have seen their dad do it nearly everyday of their life. And so, it's just what we do. And we’re turning that up even higher right now! It's part of our culture. We do it because serving God and diving into His Word is enjoyable.          


YOU "CAN" DO THIS!
 

Now, you say, "Okay. 'Rah, Rah, Pastor Lamb.” Good for you, your little home schooled, cute family. You don't live in the real world. We could never have that."

Listen to me. You can have what God wants you to have if you will pursue God ... period. But you say, "You don't know how messed up we are. You don't know how bad it is. I mean, I'm trying to keep my 14-year-old off drugs, you know? You have no idea." 

Listen to me and listen to me carefully. You can have what God wants you to have if you pursue him. Don't give me excuses. Either you believe God or you don’t.


YOU CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST! (PHP 4:13)          

Gentlemen, get up off your backsides and lead. Lead toward a Christ centered culture. Lead toward it! You say, "Hey, I don't even know where to start." Yes, you do. I’ve made it as simple as I can.

Can you show your family it's a blessing to serve God? Yes, you can. 


Can you gather them in the living room, read the Bible to them and then pray over them each day? Yes, you can! 

Can you make church a priority? Yes, you can. 

Can you involve God in your conversations? Yes, you can.

You don’t have to be a pastor or home school your children to create that kind of culture. But you’ve got to love God with all your heart!  

I love what Joshua said in Joshua 24:15:  He said, "...if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; ... but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

There it is! You have to choose today. Right now! This moment. You choose this day. Are you going to be a Christian home in name only, blending in like the culture, or are you going to be a Christ centered home? You make the choice today because blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled!

Is there a home in your house? If not, get thirsty! Get hungry!          
 

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