How to Annoy Your Family Parent Discussion Guide Lesson 1 May 18, 2007 Over the next three weeks, we will be studying how students can have a better relationship with their family. Here the messages: May 18 – Making Radical Choices May 25 – Being Part of the Solution June 1 – Healing Your Family’s Pain It is my hope and prayer that these lessons help your students have a positive attitude for your family. Lesson 1 – Making Radical Choices In this lesson students will discover that God created families, even though families are not perfect. As a result, we cannot control our families. We can only control ourselves and our attitudes. Key Scripture: Ephesians 4:2-3 Some questions to follow up and reinforce: 1. What did you learn in Crave today? (Don’t settle for a generic answer, but try to dig a little deeper. 2. I heard that you were talking about families today. Even though our family isn’t perfect, what are some things that you like about our family? 3. What are some things that we can do together to make our family better? (Even though this opens to door for potentially negative comments, try to keep the conversation positive by focusing on what you can do in the future.) 4. Let you student know how much you love and care for them. Then, go ahead and pray with your student for God’s grace in you family. How to Annoy Your Family Bringing a Positive Attitude to You Family Life Opening video/spend some time with your family/ Drama Introduction I no doubt that when some of you saw the title for this sermon series, How to annoy your parents, you thought, “Kevin, I’ve got that down. I ignore my family all the time. I pick on my little brother or sister whenever I can. I don’t listen to my parents. I push all the buttons I can to make my family mad.” In fact, you might have even thought that you didn’t need to come today, because you’ve already got it down. Trust me that is not what I mean by annoying your parents. Instead in the next three weeks, I want us to look at the relationships we have developed with our families and see how can make them better. In other words, it is my hope that as we go through this series you will start to blow your parents away. In fact, I hope that I get some phone calls from parents being concerned. I want Josh Buffington’s parents to call me and say, “Kevin, I am really worried about Josh. Yesterday, I told him to pick up the living room and he did it, and then he started to do his own laundry. Do you think he’s on drugs?” I want you to annoy your parents by choosing to have a positive attitude toward your family. I would image that for some of us family can mean entirely different things. For some it may bring up images of Christmas morning with everyone together preparing to open presents. For others, it may bring up hurtful thoughts of your parents going through a divorce. Family may bring up harsh feelings toward a step parent. Still for others it may bring up images of parents you never met that may of left you when you were younger. I have no doubt that in this room family means something different for each person. Because behind every closed door is a unique set of circumstances and family dynamics that wind up shaping who we are, oftentimes for the rest of our lives. No matter what family means to you, I want us to discover how to make our family lives better. Let’s start this morning with some big picture stuff by looking at some truths about families. 1. God Created Families. I know this may be hard for you to believe, because some of you may think that your brother or sister is a product of Satan, but all the way back in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, we discover God is creating the world and everything in it. He says let there be light and it happens. Then God forms the earth by creating the sky and molding the land. Then he causes the earth to produce plants and places the sun and the moon in the sky. Then God creates all the creatures of the earth, and finally he creates man in his image. In Genesis 2, it says that for man there was no suitable helper. “21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man." 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. In this time of creation, God was laying the foundation for how he wanted the world to operate for thousands of years, and in his creation he included family. If I asked you to think of one word to describe your family, what would it be? In my conversations with students, these are some of the words I hear: pain, distrust, anger, yelling, hurt, turmoil, ugly, stress, and loneliness. And let me be honest with you, this is not God’s design for a family. God has a different picture in mind for our families, I think He would use words like: love, trust, hope, encouragement, conversation, laughter, influence, and safety. Some of you may think, “Kevin, you are living in a fantasy world.” No, what I’ve done is paint a picture of what God’s dream is for families. In the Bible, God uses a lot of family language to describe our relationship with him. As Christians he is described as our father, and we are his children. Maybe you have heard some one say brother Buffington, or sister Jones. Hebrews chapter 2 reminds us that “Those who are made holy are from the same family.” In other words, Christians are to consider themselves part of the same family. And if God were to sum up our relationship with him and each other in a few words, I think they would be: love, trust, hope, encouragement, conversation, laughter, influence, and safety. Because God’s design for families is also his design for our relationship with Him. Even though God created our families and He designed them for Growth, nourishment, and health… 2. Families Are Not Perfect. Let me show you my family (Picture). This is a picture of me when I was little with my two older brothers and my parents. Even though I love my family, they are definitely not perfect. My mom talks too much and can really pry into your business My Dad sometimes can have a short fuse. My brothers locked me in the deep freeze one time. Trust me my family is far from perfect. In the Bible before the first family, the first children, there was sin. Adam and Eve sinned against God, and what was the consequence of their sin and disobedience? Adam and Eve had their first children Cain and able. If you’ve been in church for very long or read those first few pages of the bible, you’ve read about Cain and Abel. You know that Abel was probably the good kid and Cain was the bad one. In fact, I can hear Eve saying, “Why aren’t you more like Abel, Cain?” and “Why can’t you be as productive as him?” To make a long story short, Cain takes his brother out to a field and kills him. There is the start of humanity right there. The first family out of control – brother kills brother. Any of us that have had a brother or a sister have probably thought about that, “How do I kill my brother/sister? How could I do it and not get caught?” It started at the very beginning. The rest of the Bible is full of imperfect families: Abraham’s Children Isaac and Ishmael fought over Abrahams blessing. David slept with another man’s wife. As we learned last week, even Jesus had trouble with his family. His brothers didn’t believe he was the messiah, until he had risen fro the dead, and one time they came to take hold of him because they thought he was crazy. Families aren’t perfect, because none of us our perfect. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” In other words, we have all messed up; we have all been disobedient; None of us are perfect. And if families are made up of imperfect people, then families are not perfect. Listen to this testimony - Video Testimony So if God created and designed our families for growth, and they aren’t perfect, then what do we do? First you have to….. Realize You Cannot Control Your Family. This is a big step of maturity for some of you. You may think you can control your mom or your dad by altering your moods and pushing the right buttons, but the truth is you can’t control anybody. In my ministry, I realized this a long time ago. I can’t do anything to make someone a Christian. I can’t force them to be a Christian; I can’t make choose to be baptized. All I can do is to tell them the truth, and they have to make that decision. They have to decide if they are going to accept who Jesus is or not, and my job is simply to lay out the truth as clearly as I can, because I cannot control them. The truth is you can’t control your parents. In fact, the only thing you can control is yourself. Realize You Can Only Control Yourself. The Bible tells us that no matter who they are – Parents, brothers, sisters, friends – we are to show them love. “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and your soul and all your mind and all your strength. What’s the greatest commandment? Love God. That’s it. The second is equally important. Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” When Jesus summarized everything, He said, “What it comes down to is love.” If you want to have a better relationship with your family, choose to love them. Ephesians 4:2-3 tells us “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Earlier we talked about how there is not one family on this earth that is perfect. Let’s face it. Our families are just weird. Seriously, does anyone in here have a normal family? But this text tells us to bear with one another in love. We need to patiently endure their quirks, or even mistakes. Just like you do with your friends at school or at church. We have to permit and even accept the things that are weird. Bearing with one another in love means Forgiving your parents when they are wrong Listening to your parents when they are talking Asking forgiveness when you are wrong (Because you are not perfect either) Ephesians 4:3 “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” It doesn’t matter what type of relationship it is (Marriage, friendships, or even family) if you want it to be a fulfilled, great, and lasting relationship, you will have to make every effort. Students, we need to make our relationships with our family better. And not one of you can look me in the eye and say I have made every effort to do that! Why would I say that? Because two words in this verse give you problems: Every Effort. Most of us take advantage of our families and may only put a minimal effort when we are forced. But we are to make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit. That means… Choosing to hang out with you family Helping with things around the house without being asked Not yelling and screaming at your parents or siblings when you’re mad Admitting when you are wrong and asking forgiveness Let’s face it, when it comes to our families, it is easier for us to look at all the things that are wrong with them. They yell a lot. They get angry easily. They don’t even take the time to get to know me. But today the question isn’t what they choose to do, it revolves around what you choose to. Are you willing to make some radical choices for your family? Are you willing to making ever effort for your family?
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