Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Legacy Church”

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and a workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, we interrupted our series at Kfirst to do our first Partnership Summit.

Last fall, we made a huge shift in the structure of our congregation. We moved from the terminology of “Membership” to “Partnership.” This was more than a shift of verbiage but a shift of philosophy and heart. We discovered an “issue” with membership. Membership was misunderstood, misapplied, or not applied at all. Because of a variety of church experiences, it made some want to avoid it all together.

It took quite a few years of prayer, research, and conversationWe landed on biblical term out of the book of Philemon that not only identified what it meant to be the core of our church community but also described our role.

The term we landed on: PARTNER

A Partner is more than an attender but someone who identifies and participates in the heart and vision of Kfirst. And we Partners, meet 3 times a year to celebrate God’s goodness, own the vision, and to pray together.

Last Sunday, was our introduction to Partnership by holding our first Partnership Summit on a Sunday morning.

Check out the message here:

Other thoughts from Sunday:

  • Celebration is the reminder that every success happens by the grace of God.
  • Partners are key to the atmosphere of Kfirst: CELEBRATION
  • Partners are key to the heart and vision of Kfirst:
    • Why? Partners carry the vision
  • You will find what you think you’re going to find.
  • God doesn’t bless you instead of someone else. He blesses you for the sake of someone else.
  • “If you don’t reinvest your miracles, you will see the end of them.” Levi Lusko
  • When we give what we have, our obedience becomes the conduit for miracles.
  • God’s gifts get multiplied with their use.

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

A Prayerful Marriage: 6 Things that are Okay to Pray Over Your Marriage

I’ll give props to Cori, my neighbor down the street. On my weekly Wednesday prayer walk, I ask my Facebook friends to post their needs so I can specifically pray over them. Her request froze me in my tracks. It was so simple, and yet, specific. Cori’s child was heading off with other 5th graders to a weekend camp. She asked for prayers for the 5th graders to have “insane amounts of fun.”

I literally stopped my walk for a moment and thought to myself, “why don’t we pray for that more often for our marriages?” The next thought, “what other prayers do we disregard?”

I had heard a quote sometime ago (and for the life of me, I cannot remember who said it):

Prayer is the easiest thing we never do.

I think a lot of that mindset seems to have to do with the understanding of the necessity of a prayer life. If you understand how important communication is to your marriage, you can begin to grasp the need for a consistent prayer life. Prayer is simple and powerful. It is transformative both for you and your marriage. Yet, in my experiences working with marriages, I find couples don’t know how to pray. Most marriage prayers center around someone wanting God to change what they don’t like in their mate. Very few spouses pray about other things.

So today, I thought I’d give you a simplistic list of things that is okay to pray for in your marriage:

1 – “Help us to have insane amounts of fun.”
Cori hit the nail on the head. We need to see more fun in our marriage. Fun is more spiritual than you realize. God isn’t against pleasure; He is absolutely for it (the Garden of Eden is proof enough about that). When I talk about fun, I’m talking about striving to find those leisurely thing that feed the fun in marriage.  I’ve known couples to rotate on who choses the date nights so the “fun” doesn’t always favor one person over the other. I’ve known others to consistently plan evenings around those things that both enjoy doing.

2 – “Give me an overwhelming sense of gratitude.”
When we start praying to have a more grateful heart, the Lord will open up our eyes to help us to see the blessings around us. It seems everything about our culture wants to seed dissatisfaction with what we have so that we can strive for something new. And I’m afraid that puts a false filter of disappointment over our lives. Step back and begin to see, not what your spouse lacks, but what he/she is gifted in. When you do, speak up and say something about it. Remember, silent gratitude is not gratitude at all.

3 – “Help us to laugh more.”
This is related to #1 but a bit different. Why? most people relegate “fun” to a moment. I believe “laughing” is a lifestyle. Anne and I don’t have much in common.

We love Jesus.
We are stubborn.
And we love to laugh.

Having that “merry heart” that Proverbs talks about becomes the catalyst for your attitude. It helps you to see things in perspective. You understand what is worth fighting about and you see what is worth laughing with your spouse about. Learn how to not take some things so serious and learn to laugh with (not at) your spouse.

4 – “Bless our marriage with a deep and lasting sex life.”
Of all of the needs that a human has, there is only one need that your spouse has been granted permission to be the ONLY one to meet. Sex was God’s idea. Sexual desire is God-given. Your sex organs were given to you, by God, to receive pleasure and give pleasure to your spouse. So suffice to say: If God gifted our marriage with sexuality, why don’t we make it a priority to pray for it? If both are praying for it, perhaps the Lord will bless our marriage with more desire, greater creativity, and a deeper sense of pleasure. Don’t let the world make what God has given into something dirty. Take what God has given and ask that it be blessed.

5 – “Help me to love when I don’t feel it.”
I don’t always act lovable; neither does Anne. But that’s where we take things and make them so overly emotional that the presence of feelings dictates our actions. Love is a state of our soul. And we act upon love because we know what love does (1 Corinthians 13). Actions don’t follow feelings. If that was the case, nothing would get done. Feelings follow actions. Be the spouse that prays for the humility to act in love without having to “feel” love.

6 – “Keep me humble.”

I’ve heard some dumb things about prayer. One of them being, “don’t pray for patience because God will give you something to be patient with.” This may seem harsh, but I find it stupid to think, first, that we think God doesn’t know we need it, and second, that asking Him for help is a bad thing.  I think we should request something deeper than patience. Humility is the place where we can see the complete Fruit of the Spirit grow in and through us. Humility is what lowers our pride and places within us a teachable/growing heart. Humility gives us the type of voice that needs to be heard while granting us ears to listen.

Do you have other “simple” prayers to add? Are these prayers anywhere on your radar? I hope so. Because as your prayers grow, so does your marriage. Make your next step today to set a daily reminder to pray blessings upon your spouse. Write some of these prayers down and get a few of your own. Follow that up with asking the Holy Spirit to work some change in you. As you pray, I believe God responds to your faith and He’ll do the work that you and I can never do on our own.

I love you all. I’m praying for you at this moment. Now go pray for your spouse.

Oh yeah…thanks Cori for the inspiration.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Happy wife… Miserable husband: 6 Reasons Why Appeasement Doesn’t Work

 

You’ve said it, I’ve said it: Happy wife…happy life. Call it nice.  Call it sweet.  I call it appeasement. It’s a conflict avoidance style that sacrifices your feelings, beliefs, or ideas in order to pacify or please the other person. To some, this seems like a noble identity to assume. After all, keeping peace and harmony in the relationship is important. But, is “giving in to get along” an effective method for fostering a healthy marriage?

Nope.

Appeasement has never been an effective strategy in marriage (or parenting, or friendship…or, well, life). Don’t get me wrong, it’s good and gracious to be accommodating to the preferences of your husband/wife in various circumstances. Our first response should always be to serve. In strong marriages, both spouses understand both give and take. Servanthood is a mark of healthiness. But when one spouse ALWAYS GIVES and the other ALWAYS TAKES major problems are unavoidable.

Constant yielding to your spouse may appear to achieve the desired peace, but this peace, at best, is temporal and superficial. In reality, appeasement brings eventual harm to the marriage. 

Here are some of the reasons why…

1 – Replaces Christ as the center of the relationship. Instead of a relationship that pleases the heart of God, all actions are done to please the heart of the spouse being appeased. It’s through him we are created and he holds all things together (Colossians 1:17)

2 – Creates a one-sided relationship.  Constant appeasing one’s spouse will empower him/her to assume a position of dominance in the relationship. Appeasement makes one spouse inferior to the other. This creates an imbalance that will fracture the oneness that marriage was designed by God to be. (Mark 10:8)

3 – Removes the word “no” from your marriage. I’ve found that couples that have an issue with appeasement want to say “no” but just don’t know how to say it properly.  “No” is a very good word and keeps us in check.  Healthy marriages don’t look to say “no” but are not afraid to say it in a healthy edifying way (Romans 14:19). Without “no,” the whims and desires of the spouse are controlling the relationship. 

4 – Removes respect.  I find both the spouse that is appeasing and the empowered spouse lose respect for one another for different reasons. The lack of healthy servanthood erodes the opinion that each spouse as of the other. Romans 12:10 says to “take delight in honoring.” Appeasement keeps you from doing that. 

5 – Cultivates a spirit of fear. Appeasement replaces the heart of serving the needs of your spouse is with the anxiety of having to constantly attend to the wants (not necessarily needs) of the spouse.  That mindset will loom over the marriage creating an atmosphere that God never designed us to live in. (2 Timothy 1:7)

6 – Develops frustration. The appeasing spouse lives with unmet needs. He/she represses heartfelt feelings at the expense of legitimate needs. Unfulfilled needs have a tendency to re-emerge and manifest themselves in other ways – depression, anger, bitterness, resentment, regret, and so forth. Appeasement literally drains the joy of serving your spouse. (Galatians 6:9)

Appeasement doesn’t work. Like scratching poison ivy, it feels good in the moment but spreads faster than you intended to places you never wanted it to go. I’m not a proponent of shifting to the polar opposite of appeasement (which is domination…basically involves one or both parties striving to have their desires prevail). But appeasement will feel right in a moment but will erode what you are trying to build. 

Marriage is a daily walk of humility before God and our spouse. Don’t stop serving each other. Be willing to take a step a step back and ask yourself, “How full is the ‘love” tank of my spouse? Have I been more of a taker than a giver?” If we’ll be humble and honest as couples, we’ll see stronger and more fulfillment than we dreamed of while showing an example of Jesus to the world around us. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

It’s in my blood: My Challenge to Kfirst for Global Missions

Went back home to Detroit a month ago a sat for a lunch with my parents.  No idea how it came up, but I mentioned I had A-negative blood. It sent dad on a thought-tangent he couldn’t let go of.  Even hours later, at a Red Wings game, he was still bringing it up trying to figure out the heritability of my blood type verse his and mom’s types.  Not being the most versed in genetics, I didn’t have much to add to the conversation.

Even though he and I have different blood types, there are traits that come naturally to me because of these two people who raised me.  My hairline (obviously from dad), my lack of basketball height, the emotional disposition I carry, and work ethic are just a few things they’ve passed down to me.  Of all the things they’ve passed down, one that I will be forever grateful for is generosity. At the risk of sounding prideful (please don’t read any of this in that tone), any generosity in my life is NOT of my own doing.  I owe it, first, to the work of Jesus in me and, second, to the nature and nurture of Hal and Linda.  They were natural givers and they nurtured that into me and Rachael.  There’s not a moment when an opportunity for generosity opens up where I don’t think about what my parents would do in the same situation.  I give because, well, it’s in my blood. 

As a church, Kfirst is dedicated to make it simple for people to follow Jesus.  It’s not about making it easy (because quite frankly, follow Jesus isn’t easy), but it’s about making the message of the love and mercy of God clear and understandable so that people can respond to Jesus.  Our lives have lavishly received his grace and we stand transformed by his love.  Regardless of our past of sin and pain, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” The generous nature of His love gives to us and his generous nurture/care of us CONTINUES to grow us day by day.  That transformation has so moved our church and fellowship that we believe it’s more than a mission for our area.  Because of his nature and nurturing, it’s our mission for the world.  It’s in our spiritual DNA.  It’s in our blood. 

Reach final

Coming out of a great weekend with Tim Enloe, we celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives.  I love to see how the Holy Spirit is touching people and using them in His gifts.  But we cannot have an Acts 2:4 church without the Acts 1:8 expectations. We cannot possibly richly receive and keep it to ourselves.  Last week we were poured into.  This Sunday we reciprocate that by pouring out onto the mission field. 

This Sunday, we approach a significant Sunday that, perhaps, is the most important service of the year thus far.  We make our six-month “Missions Commitment” to global missions.  We have a tremendous opportunity in 2015 to have an impact in places that we may never go.  The 82 missionaries and ministries that Kfirst supports are reaching people locally and all over the world with the gospel.  These amazing heroes of faith need our prayer and our financial support to enable them to make it simple for people to find and follow Jesus.  

Can I challenge you to do 4 things? 

First, would you pray for our champions of faith (missionaries) that are on the field? We have a map in our prayer room where you can pray over them by name anytime during church office hours and/or before and after services.  They need your prayers daily and with so many we support, we need all of you to help pick up the mantle of prayer for all 82 of them.

Second, would you pray over what you would give to global missions at Kfirst? Pray on your own.  Pray and talk with your spouse. Pray with your children (this is a great time to nurture generosity to missions in them).  Talk as a family and decide what you want to do together.  Make this a family affair.  Take a step of faith. It may be a one-time gift.  I’d encourage you to do what Anne and I do.  Out of every paycheck, we tithe AND we give to global missions.  Why? First, we want to put God first in our finances.  Second, we don’t believe in asking ANYONE to do something we won’t lead in doing ourselves. 

Third, take a step of faith and make a missions commitment on Sunday.  For some reason if you cannot be with us (seriously, you don’t want to miss this Sunday), sometime within the next few weeks, fill out a “Missions Commitment” card HERE or at Kfirst.  What’s a “Missions Commitment”? Check out this video: 

https://vimeo.com/127321439

From the months of June, 2015 through November, 2015 we’re challenging you to give to the work of missions through our Missions Commitment form AND give via PushPay.  You can easily set up recurring giving and designate to “missions commitment” HERE.

Lastly, would you see yourself as a missionary to the field around you.  Just as you may not carry the calling to go to places like Senegal, Thailand, or Columbia, the missionaries that are there are not necessarily called to the Kalamazoo area.   You are.  Just as you freely received His love and mercy, walk as agents of the love of Jesus to the world around you. 

Again, the generous nature of His love gives to us and his generous nurture/care of us CONTINUES to grow us day by day.  That transformation moves us to be passionate about people hearing the life-changing message of Christ. Because of His nature and nurturing, we walk in generosity to the world around us.  Generosity is in our spiritual DNA.  It’s in our blood. 

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Barringer couple 2

2 Minute Marriage Devo – Day 19

Welcome to our 2 Minute Devos. This month we are in our Annual Marriage Series at Kalamazoo First Assembly of God and we’re going through devotions for couples. Take the time to read through the passage of the day and listen to the 2 Minute Devo.

Song of Solomon 4:9

You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.

2 Minute Marriage Devo – Day 17

Welcome to our 2 Minute Devos. This month we are in our Annual Marriage Series at Kalamazoo First Assembly of God and we’re going through devotions for couples. Take the time to read through the passage of the day and listen to the 2 Minute Devo.

Galatians 6:9

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

2 Minute Marriage Devo – Day 13

Welcome to our 2 Minute Devos. This month we are in our Annual Marriage Series at Kalamazoo First Assembly of God and we’re going through devotions for couples. Take the time to read through the passage of the day and listen to the 2 Minute Devo.

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”