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This Is Us - Singleness

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Today Pastor Ed Allen continued his sermons series "This Is Us" with a message about Singleness.  We began by looking at I Corinthians 7.

As part of the introduction, he pointed out that Paul rejected the ideas from the time coming from gnosticism, that physical pleasure is evil.  Self-sacrifice is never an end in itself.

We looked at Four Important Things about Being Single:

1)  Singleness is hard.

Sometimes sexual temptation is hard to bear.  (I Cor. 7:9)

Study after study has shown that sexual exploration outside marriage doesn't help you build a healthy marriage.

Marriage is a great gift (Gen. 2:18) and readily offers the kind of community we need.

So if you're single, deliberately build connections and community.

2)  Singleness is a gift.

I Cor. 7:7 -- Paul means both a good thing in our lives and a work God is doing in us.

Sometimes it's because God has something better for us.

We tend to think it's because something is wrong with us or we're unattractive.  That's simply not true.

We need to trust God.

Maybe the work we need to do is not finding a partner, but exercising our trust muscles.

Put that energy into trusting God.

3)  We each have an assignment -- for some of us, that includes being single.

Don't rail against your assignment.  It doesn't do any good.

God is good and has our best in mind.  It does take faith to believe that, and some times it's more difficult than other times.

You can complain to God, but you don't want to stay there.

The longer you complain, the worse you'll feel.

Remember that God is good.

Remember that the single you is the married you.  Work on the single you.

4)  Singleness offers us more spiritual freedom.

I Cor. 7:25-35 -- There are advantages to singleness, and the chief one is you can be totally devoted to the Lord.

Some Applications:

1)  We need to think differently about singleness.

Honor singleness and single people the same way we honor marriage.

Honor God's assignment for each of us.

2)  Those who are single have to start taking advantage of their singleness.

3)  Our lives are about leaning into God and seeking His kingdom.

(Matthew 6:28-33)

This Is Us - Parenting

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Today Pastor Ed Allen continued his series "This Is Us" on relationships, by talking about Parenting.

We all know that parenting has extraordinary challenges and extraordinary rewards.

I Corinthians 7:14 says that children of believing parents are holy to the Lord.

Four Surprising Observations (with conclusions):

1)  The Bible doesn't say as much about parenting as we might expect.

We can apply other teachings from the Word of God to our parenting.  In suburban America, we tend to over-love our children and make idols of them.  

Do not make idols of your children!

You don't have to clean things up when things go wrong for them.  Let them learn from their mistakes and disappointments.

2)  Spiritual education is the primary job of parents.

Spiritual education happens primarily in the home, intentional or not.

Deuteronomy 31:10-13.  It's also our corporate responsibility.  But it's the parents' primary job.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 -- As you're doing life, impress this on your children.  This is still true for those of us with adult children.

Train your children spiritually.  This is your primary job.

This applies as a spiritual father or mother.  Your primary job isn't bringing food, building a warm connection - but spiritual training.

3)  The Bible is not very interested in self-esteem, good citizenship, success, or appropriate social behavior.

What are the more essential things?  Psalm 145:4-7.  One generation tells of God's greatness to another.

Train our children to know God's works.

Train our children to worship God joyfully.

Good behavior is a natural byproduct.

Train our children in God's expectations and commands.

The results:  They'll hold God in deep reverence.  They'll be all in.

We're training people who love God so much, they'll one day abandon us for the cause of Christ.  When your quiver is full, let the arrows fly.  We're not training our children to purchase picket fencedom.

Focus your attention on the greatness of God - on his works and his ways.

Learn about him and get to know him.

4)  Obedience and love are complementary terms.

John 14:21-24 - Love and obedience are intertwined.  II John 1:6

This is why we teach our children to obey: We want them to be loving.

Ephesians 6:1, Colossians 3:20.

We must teach our children to obey.

If they learn to obey their parents, they'll learn to obey themselves, all proper authorities, and God.

Concluding Observations:

1)  None of us gets to be people who don't make mistakes with our children.

2)  Be consistent.

This also means between parents.  For example, they always exercised discipline for direct disobedience and disrespectful attitudes.

3)  Training in obedience teaches us about how God deals with us:

-- God allows natural consequences to have their effect.

-- Consistently, God withheld privileges after disobedience.

-- Restoration was always the point of God's discipline.  Consistently throughout Scripture, God's goal was never to punish, but to train.

The Great Commission asks us to TEACH and train disciples, not just to establish warm connections with them.