24/7: THE RHYTHM OF LIFE (Episode 3)

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24/7: The Rhythm of Life (Part 3)

September 23, 2018 | Pastor Steve Pixler

MESSAGE NOTES 

Review: Life balance begins with soul balance. We cannot tame the crazy outside until we tame the crazy inside. We cannot “impose” order. We must “manifest” (model-mediate) it. 

Soul balance leads to family balance

(NOTE: We are discussing “family” in terms of a household. The basic design of the family is dad, mom and kids. But a family can also be a single parent household, a grandparent-led household, a group of siblings living together or any other arrangement of related people living together in one household and sharing responsibility for the common good.) 

FAMILY CHAOS

There is no arena where the chaos is more evident and more distressing than in the family. The relationships closest to us are the most challenging ones. 

Psychologists have discovered that “family of origin” issues are THE single greatest source of ongoing personal and relational chaos. 

Paul the apostle addresses family issues in a powerful passage from Ephesians: 

Ephesians 5:20–6:4 (ESV): 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 

28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 

32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. 

6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. 

There is years worth of family teaching here. But our narrow focus today is on finding balance through a daily and weekly rhythm. (For more amazing teaching on the family, check out marriagetoday.com.)

Just before we focus on daily/weekly rhythm and balance, get this: 

There are two fundamental ideas to grasp about the family:

  1. The family is spiritually and strategically significant in God’s plan for saving the world. 

  2. The family chaos that we often experience is spiritual warfare. Because the family is central to God’s strategy for saving the world, Satan works furiously to sabotage family health. 

Family renewal is essential to the advance of Christ’s rule over the nations. The kingdom of God cannot take root in the world without taking root in the family. 

Just like the first days of creation, the Spirit of God hovers over the chaos of every family and broods in creative contemplation. He speaks his Word and brings cosmos out of chaos. God plans to bring healing to the home in order to manifest his plans for the ages. 

FAMILY BALANCE THROUGH DAILY/WEEKLY RHYTHMS

The family, just like the soul, is both spiritual and physical. This means that we must develop spiritual and physical disciplines for the family. 

What are some of the spiritual disciplines that we can develop as a family? 

  • Prayer

  • Worship

  • Bible reading

  • Family meals and communion (weekly sabbath rituals) 

  • Church attendance

  • Generosity

  • Community volunteering

  • What is the Holy Spirit bringing to your mind? 

What are some of the physical disciplines that we can develop as a family? 

  • Healthy eating habits (diet)

  • Eating meals together 

  • Exercise (family walks, biking, visits to the park...)

  • Good sleeping habits 

  • Family participation in household chores (shared responsibility) 

  • Preparing meals together 

  • Doing homework together 

  • Sharing movies and TV shows, playing games

  • Anything else the Holy Spirit brings to mind? 

FAMILY CONVERSATIONS

The one discipline that the Holy Spirit emphasized again this week during message preparation is CONVERSATION

This was our emphasis last week when we talked about “conversation with God.” But today, let’s wrap up by talking about the importance of family conversations. 

There is no greater discipline that we can develop than simply spending time talking together. God created the world with words, and our words create our world. 

The greatest longing of the human heart is to be understood. It’s all about words: to hear and be heard, to speak and to be spoken to. Our heart craves words like our body craves food. (It is no coincidence that most conversations happen around a meal.) And there are NO exceptions to this need. People who claim to not need human conversation are living in denial. 

Conversations cannot be forced: they must be cultivated. The laws of sowing and reaping work in conversations. Sow kind words, and you will reap kind words. Sow harsh words, and you will reap harsh words—or sullen silence. 

Conversations take time. And they usually grow around shared activities. If we want conversations to happen, we must “till the soil” where they grow: time. 

Conversations are about two things:

  1. Talking

  2. Listening 

People will stop talking when they do not feel heard. 

Here is a great conversational habit to develop: 

  1. Listen

  2. Repeat

  3. Respond 

Healthy conversations require “safe” spaces. We must create ground rules for healthy conversations. 

  1. Be honest. Speak your mind. Anyone can say whatever they want to say.

  2. Be kind. You can say whatever you want, but HOW you say it matters. 

  3. Be fair. We must give equal time and space for everyone to speak. No one gets “shushed.” From the youngest to the oldest, everyone gets to speak their mind. 

  4. Be open. No topics are off-limits. If we refuse to create a safe space for controversial topics, then family members “banned” from discussing their ideas will go underground and develop their opinions and beliefs alone, which is dangerous. 

  5. Be confidential. Conversations are sacred. We do not take them outside the home without the permission of the participants. 

What else comes into your mind about ground rules for safe conversations? Write it down. 

CONCLUSION

Colossians 4:6 (ESV): Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. 

Ephesians 4:29–32 (ESV): 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. 

What decisions will you make today to develop the conversation discipline in your family? 

Life is a dance. Find your rhythm. 


small groups study guide (Session THREE)

24/7: The Rhythm of Life (Session 3)

Discuss the following:

  1. Soul balance creates family balance. What does it mean to have “soul balance”? And what is “family balance”?

  2. There is a spiritual battle going on for the heart and soul of the family. Why does Satan fight the family so hard? And what weapons do we use to fight back?

  3. Family balance is strengthened through daily and weekly disciplines. Discuss a few examples of spiritual and physical disciplines that can be used to strengthen the family.

  4. The one “featured” discipline this week is “conversations.” Family health grows when family conversations grow. Discuss the five “rules” of conversation presented last Sunday:

  • Be honest. Speak your mind. Anyone can say whatever they want to say.

  • Be kind. You can say whatever you want, but HOW you say it matters. 

  • Be fair. We must give equal time and space for everyone to speak. No one gets “shushed.” From the youngest to the oldest, everyone gets to speak their mind. 

  • Be open. No topics are off-limits. If we refuse to create a safe space for controversial topics, then family members “banned” from discussing their ideas will go underground and develop their opinions and beliefs alone, which is dangerous. 

  • Be confidential. Conversations are sacred. We do not take them outside the home without the permission of the participants. 

Pray together that God will train us in spiritual and physical disciplines that will strengthen our families.