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Updated: 3/21/2012

What I've learned about Family/Fellowship from my teachers:

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Rick Warren...Draw Near to God to Avoid Arguments
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)

I have made an amazing discovery: The more time I spend alone with God, the better I get along with other people. I can count on it!

When the argument level rises in your marriage, it means somebody is not spending time with the Lord. It’s that simple. You must grow closer to God if you want to avoid arguments.

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” When you spend time with the Lord, you turn your thoughts to him. Then, you get along better with others, because he keeps perfect peace in your heart, and you’re not as irritable.

Have you noticed some people only draw close to God when they’re in trouble? They only pray when they have a need. You need to spend time with God. Bible study, Sunday morning, daily quiet time — make time for these things. Think you’re too busy? Then maybe you are. Maybe you need to cut some things out of your schedule to make more time to spend with the Lord. Get up 15 minutes earlier each morning. Read and pray, and then notice the difference in your attitude and relationships the rest of the day.

The more you spend time with God, the more you will enjoy the rest of your time. It will be more productive and more beneficial. You’ll get along better with others and have fewer arguments because you’re drawing closer to God.
The conflict in your life is in direct proportion to the time you’re spending with God.

There is a great promise in James 4:8: “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (NIV). He doesn’t back off. He draws close to you. When you move toward him, God moves toward you.

To avoid arguments, you have to give in to God, get wise to Satan, and draw close to God.

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Greg Laurie...Resist the Mold

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. —Romans 12:2

The Bible tells us in Romans 12 not to be conformed to this world. But what does that mean? The J. B. Phillips translation puts it this way: "Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold." The idea is that we are not to pretend that we belong to the world.

We live in a world system that is spiritually bankrupt and hostile to God. John the apostle warns, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world" (1 John 2:15–16).

Sometimes as Christians, we pretend to be something we are not. But that is what the Bible says we should not do. We are children of God. So let's behave accordingly. Better yet, let's be proud of it. Let's not hide our light. Let's not be ashamed of our faith. Jesus said, "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels" (Mark 8:38).

This world's thinking clouds our own thinking as believers. I see this happen in the church, especially when a couple is having problems in their marriage. They listen to the world's thinking that says, Why are you staying in that relationship? Just get a divorce. Yet they don't have a biblical reason for ending the marriage.

The Bible is our basis for knowing the will of God. We need to do what it says.

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Pastor Rick Warren…“My sheep recognize my voice and follow me.” John 10:27 (NLT)  There are three reasons why you should hear directly from God on a daily basis.

1.  It proves you’re in God’s family. When you are tuned in to God and hear from him, it confirms your relationship. God talks to all of his kids. He doesn’t just single out the pastors or the missionaries, or those who have been Christians the longest. He talks to all believers, whether they are mature or immature.

2.  It protects you from mistakes. If you listen to God, you’ll make fewer mistakes because you’ll hear him warning you in advance. Proverbs 3:6 says, “Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, and everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track” (MSG).  I couldn’t count the number of times God has saved me from wasting time, wasting money and wasting energy because I listened to him.

3.  It produces success in life. This is not the kind of success the world talks about where you’re famous and filthy rich. This is God’s definition of success – being exactly who God made you to be so that your life can have meaning.

“I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you” (Psalm 32:8 NLT). God has a customized pathway for you, and if you follow it you will succeed.

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God is not finished with us by Rick Warren..."Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

We humans are great starters but often bad finishers. We leave unfinished symphonies, unfinished buildings, unfinished books, unfinished projects. We may not always finish what we start but God always finishes what He starts.

The Bible says, when Jesus Christ starts working in your life, He will complete what He started, in spite of the hang-ups, faults, bad decisions, sins, and circumstances that we face. One day when we get to heaven we're going to become just like Jesus because we will see Him as He is.

In the meantime, if we want to enjoy the people in our lives, we need to be patient with their progress. We must allow for their growth and development. Paul could say, "I'm not the man I used to be, thank God. But also, thank God, I'm not the man I'm going to be. I'm growing and changing."

If you want to enjoy your marriage, you've got to learn to enjoy your husband or your wife right now while allowing for growth and development. Otherwise, by the time they meet your conditions, you will have still another condition for them to meet.

Parents, if you're going to learn to enjoy your kids, you've got to learn to enjoy them in the process while they're growing, because there is no such thing as a perfect kid.

And there's no such thing as a perfect adult. If you demand perfection of the people in your life in order to enjoy them, you're going to be miserable for the rest of your life. Nobody's perfect.

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Rick Warren...Good advice from Ecclesiastes 4:12: "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves" (NIV). Does anyone have your back? Is anyone defending you - watching out for your spiritual welfare? You need a community of people who are saying to you: "We'll be with you when you're going through the tough times. We're not going to let you get discouraged or depressed."

Community is God's answer to defeat. Ecclesiastes 4:10 says, "If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him" (NIV). Remember: You can try, but you can't live life well on your own. We all need other people - to walk with us, to work with us, and to watch out for us.

Do you have a safety net - a group of fellow Christians you know you can count on in life's toughest times? If not, go out today and begin building those friendships. The hard times in life are inevitable, and only a fool would go into them unprepared.

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Rick Warren...God's Five Purposes===Children, Your Life and for the Church


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Dr. James Denison...If Jesus is your Lord, you are part of the largest family in human history. There may be times when you feel alone and lonely during the holidays, but you're not. You have a Father in heaven who loves you and likes you and thinks your eternal life is worth the death of his Son. Your Savior is praying for you right now (Romans 8:34); the Holy Spirit lives in you and is interceding for you before the Father at this very moment (Rom. 8:27). You are surrounded by unseen angels whose only purpose is to serve and help you (Hebrews 1:14). You are the child of God. And it's all because of Christmas.

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Dr. Andy McQuitty...A mentor of mine once told me that there are four things children need to hear from us every day:

“Have a great day.” This is the day the Lord has made (Psalm 118:24); you have one shot to enjoy it.
“Do your best today” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Not be the best; do your best.
“Remember whose you are.” It’s a great thing to be part of this family….
“Remember that I love you.”

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Discipleship Dangers - John 12:9ff

1. Worshiping a Jesus of our imagination (Believe in Jesus of Revelations not your imagination.)
2. Thinking the praise is for me (we are like a jacket, it's the indwelling Christ inside that does the work)
3. Assuming the original disciples have an advantage over us
4. Forgetting that the message is for everyone v.26 a.k.a. "Drive by praying" without involvement

Jesus DOES let people die  (John 11:4-5
The end of life on earth is not the end of life for Christ followers.  (Unroll a roll of toilet paper down the sanctuary floor.  A very long strip.  The first panel represents our complete life on earth.  The rest of the strip represents our life in eternity.

Christ-filled marriage  Read Colossians 3:17-19 and Ephesians 5:22-33.  Because of the fall of Adam and Eve we are under the life described in Genesis 3:16-17.  Marriages often fail because the woman wants to be in-charge and so does the man.  Roman 8:9 commands us to allow Christ to fill us with His Spirit.  Depend on God, not your spouse.  We are to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Voluntarily put yourself under the other person.  We are to surrender to each other.  The husband is to be the lead servant.  Husbands:  Submit (voluntarily) place her needs above yours, Sacrifice, Serve, Care for wife and Feed your wife.  Wives: Submit (voluntarily) place his needs above yours, Seek Jesus, Reciprocate and Respect your husband.

Our Lives Today  Pete Briscoe...Our relationships today are one-inch deep because they are a mile wide.  Consider all the circles you belong to with Church, Spouse, Children, Friends, School, Sports, Hobbies and Work.  With all the commuting required, we live our lives in the car and eat there too. 

Pete categorized our lives as "relational isolation syndrome brought about by excessive fragmentation".  Consider Acts 2:42-47  to see how the early church functioned.  They 1) Devoted themselves to the right things (v.42); 2) Functioned in the power of the Spirit (v.43); Lived together, sharing everything (v.44); 3) Ate together in homes (v.46); 5) Spend time with people (v.46) and 6) saw their community enlarged (v.47).

Pete gave three suggestions:
1) Follow the Hebrew calendar:  6a-6p be productive, 6p-10p work on relationships, and 10p-6a rest/sleep.
2) Proximity effect. 
Proverbs 27:10  'in time of need it's better to go to a friend nearby than a brother far away'.
3) Painful Delimit --Learn to say NO better.  
1 Corinthians 6:12

Life style is a contagious disease. Your kids will catch it.  You live on in your children. 
It’s your job to teach your kids. Influence them by the way you live. Deu 4:9
Influence your kids by the advice you give. Make sure you won it and empress it. Deu 6:6-9
Make sure you cover it. Income, budgeting, consuming, giving, saving & investing, debt, routine responsibility and work.

Settling for More in Your Marriage  Genesis 2:19-24
Leave the former life. You give stuff up.  Marriage like mashed potatoes. Peeled, then Boiled, then Smashed. At the end you can’t see the individual potatoes anymore.

Settling for More in Parenting  Prov 31:1-9
Holy Spirit causes you to love when human love runs out.  Parenting is the most important work in life and continues forever.  Think of spiritual parenting. 1 Cor 13:4-6. Paste it up.  Be a Jesus lover and a glory giver.  Be specific—Talk and live it out.

Settling for more in our Drive  We all have our high times and low times, we ebb and flow.  So what to do if you don't care enough?  Renew your mind.  Read John 3:16-19, John 3:36, Acts 4:12 and Romans 10-13-15.  Consider all of that.  It is all in the Bible so it is all true.  Remember God doesn't struggle with not caring enough.