Summary: In order for us to affirm and encourage others in relationships we must first accept God's love and view of our lives.
Lake Washington Fellowship
Title: ‘First Things First’
Series: The Positive Side of Family
Prop: Bucket of beach sand
‘First Things First’
We begin this morning a new series of messages that I’m calling ‘The Positive Side of Family.’ By family I don’t just mean blood related but also people we consider family, the meaningful relationships we hold. For example my family is composed of me, my wife, and two daughters. Our dog princess Jasmin went to doggie heaven a couple of years ago…we considered her part of the family. Then there’s the extended family, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and cousins, in laws…you get the idea. I also have good friends that are like family. Beyond that bunch there’s my church family (the brothers and sisters in Christ). The best thing about family is the good times, those high times with the people we love that make us feel like we’re on top of the world. I want us to concentrate on those times and think on how to make more of them happen.
This morning let’s look at the subject of affirmation, the times when we lift each other’s spirits. Before Ipods, Playstation, laptops and cell phone texting existed families used to talk…I was at a restaurant last night with the Acevedo tribe and a couple with a 5 year old was seated close to us. They had brought a portable DVD player so the child could quietly watch a movie while they ate. Families used to talk and sometimes around the dinner table or in the car on a long trip the mom or dad would say, ‘why don’t we go around and say something nice, something we like about the other person.’ The little boy would say, ‘but I don’t want to… I don’t like my sister…’ then he’d say, ‘ok, I got one, I like it when she’s grounded…’ and the moment was gone.
Words [statements, phrases] can have such amazing power…use them wisely.
INSERT…Stuart Briscoe tells a story of something that happened to Howard Hendricks when he was in elementary school. Howard had come from a broken family and was a problem kid. During his first day in fifth grade the teacher said, ‘Oh, Howard Hendricks. I’ve heard a lot about you. I understand you are the worst kid in school.’ That year Howard did whatever he could to prove her right. When the next year rolled around his sixth grade teacher said to him, ‘Oh, so you are Howard Hendricks. I’ve heard you are the worst boy in this school.’ Hendricks thought, ‘Here we go again.’ But then the teacher continued, ‘And you know what? I don’t believe a word of it.’ And Howard said that year that woman did everything she could to help him and encourage him and praise his work; she believed in him. Hendricks credits her with changing his life forever. (Spiritual Stamina, Stuart Briscoe, p 231-232).
Make the effort to compliment (encourage, praise) someone today.
Check out these two Proverbs and the power of affirmation,
“12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12… you know what people are longing for? Validation, for someone to put their stamp of approval on us; we long for affirmation and recognition from people we respect and care about, for being told that we are special and our lives count for something. When we hope and long for that and it doesn’t happen, it’s disappointing, makes our heart sick (the word sick there can mean to become sorry for one’s own life; to feel sorry for being alive even). But when affirmation happens, when someone compliments you and speaks well of you to your face, it’s gratifying and fulfilling and brings happiness like the tree of life once did in the garden.
Hear me, there are people you know and are close to that would love to hear you say something special about them…it may sound corny but it’s true. The wise man also added something to that in v. 19,
“A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul” Proverbs 13:19
That’s what families are for: to meet needs, to bless each other, to bring a smile on each other’s face, to be sweet to your soul and mine. First things first, though, I think that for you and I to be able to empower others you must feel yourself empowered; to give joy you need to have joy inside, to encourage you need to be encouraged yourself. The question is do you have it in you to give.
PIC OF THOMAS JEFFERSON (on screen)
INSERT… I read a story about our 3rd president, Thomas Jefferson, him and his companions were traveling the countryside when they came upon a river that had overran its banks because of heavy rain. The bridge had been washed out and they had to cross the river on horseback fighting against the rapid currents. It was a dangerous situation. There was a traveler who was not a member of the group watching it all take place. After several had plunged in and made it to the other side, the stranger asked president Jefferson if he could hitch hike a ride with him and so the two crossed safely to the other side. After he had gotten off, one of the president’s companions asked the man why he had asked the president of the United States for this favor. The man was shocked, he had no idea it was the president who had helped him. Then he said, “All I know is that on some of your faces was written the word ‘No’ and on some of them was the answer ‘yes.’ His was a ‘Yes’ face.” (The Grace Awakening, Charles Swindoll, p 5-6)