October 13, 2013
One of the most common situations in the family octagon today is that of the blended family. But how many of those families are really less ‘blended’ and more ‘disjointed’? How can families from different backgrounds, different fighting techniques learn to live and grow together?
In this message, Pastor Ed Young reveals the recipe, ingredients, and directions God has to help blended family become more than a collection of individuals, and instead become fully blended.
Good morning! How are you guys doing today? You doing well? I want to welcome all of our different campuses. We’re one church in many different locations. Plano (let me go through them), Dallas, Fort Worth, South Miami, Midtown Miami, Columbia, South Carolina, Keller-Southlake, Allaso Ranch, Park City, Fellowshiplive.com, in several weeks London, England, and right here in gorgeous Grapevine. I think this is the only place where it’s difficult to get to. I mean, it’s tough to get to church! Thank you guys for being here.
I was stuck in traffic for the earlier service, I almost turned around and went home! And then I thought, well I’m the pastor so I better show up. Unbelievable. Thank you, guys, for being here. Thank you for being here.
You know, I’ve had a hobby over the last couple of years. I enjoy making smoothies. Does anyone like to make smoothies? Anybody juice? Oh that’s the rave. I love it. I love it, love it, love it. And it’s very interesting how you can take different ingredients, ingredients that seem ironic or rather paradoxical, put them in a blender, turn the blender on, and BAM! You’ve got a smoothie that is delicious and nutritious. Say that with me. It is delicious and nutritious. So I’ve been doing this for a long, long time. I’ve made some smoothies that are horrible, that will make you gag. I now pretty much have it down. It’s not perfect, it’s not an exact science, but it’s really fun to get involved in making this stuff.
Today as we are continuing to talk about the family, we’ve been saying the family is the ultimate fighting championship. Once you involve yourself in marriage and in family, I’m telling you, it’s like stepping into the Octagon. Today we’re talking about the blended family. The blended family. Now I feel pretty good in talking about this subject and tackling this topic because first of all I’ve done a huge amount of research over the years on the blended family. A lot. Also, I’ve coached and talked to numbers of people, different ages and stages of life, involved in the step-family or trying to blend the family. Also, too, this has touched our family as well. So just to ask you quickly about where you are in life, if you’re involved right now, if you, yourself, are involved in a single-parent situation or a blended family situation, at all of our campuses everywhere would you lift your hand? Everyone look around. Is this phenomenal? Give yourselves a round of applause! Because if you’re in the blended family you’re not a second-class citizen. In other words, God wants you to win.
Three things we’ve been talking about during this series. We’ve been talking about loving, fighting, and winning. The love is the fuel that gives us the energy to fight for what’s right so we can win again and again. And I’m so happy to see so many successful blended families at Fellowship Church. But as we look around the horizon of our society the numbers don’t look that great for the family, and especially they don’t look that great for the blended family.
Here are some states I want you to download just for a second. Seventy percent of remarriages with children fail within five and a half years. Sixty-eight percent of remarriages involve children from another marriage. There are 2100 new step-families a day. You ready for that? A day! Since 2010 blended families became the most common form of family. Now some might go, whoa, those are towering statistics. Those kind of mess with my mind! The Bible has a lot to say about the blended family.
Take, for example, Abraham, the father of our faith. He had two kids with two wives and he sent one wife out into the wilderness. “Good luck!” Abraham said. Pretty crazy, isn’t it? You want drama, you want trauma, you thought your family was jacked up? How about Jacob? He had 12 sons, many different wives, kidnapping, forgiveness issues, all sorts of weird stuff. That’s Jacob! Then we think about David. David, I’m talking about the giant-killer, David. David had several wives. All these kids. Rape, incest, murder, that’s David’s family. And one could argue that Jesus was a part of a blended family. Hmm…. Interesting.
So I believe at the end of our session today that the blended family, if you do it God’s way, and God’s way is the best way, I believe that the blended family will serve a smoothie that is both delicious and nutritious. Say it with me. Delicious and nutritious.
Well the first thing that I do when I’m trying to build this incredible smoothie is I get into the selection process. I mean, let’s face it. You’ve got to choose the right ingredients. You’ve got to go to the right store and you have to think about what you’re doing. As you go to the right store you’re looking at fruits, you’re looking at vegetables, you’re looking at other juices and things and you’re saying, OK, I know these combinations work, or I think they might work, and I’m really gonna concentrate on this selection process. To select the right spouse you’ve got to look past a lot of fruits and nuts. Thank you very much. Thank you. You really do.
“Well, Ed, what do I look for? What do I look for?” I wrote a book several years ago, it’s in like it’s sixth printing, called (I love this title… I love this title), Rating Your Dating While Waiting For Mating. If you want to go in depth into dating, if you’re 15 or 55 or 85 read this book and I think it’ll clear up a lot of confusion. Because our great God has a lot to say about spouse selection. So, again, we’re selecting for the blended family so what do we do?
Here’s what we look for. We look for Galatians 5:22. We’re looking at this person and this person has some kids, maybe, or maybe not and you’ve got some kids. Does this person have the fruit of the Spirit? Is it produce? Organic produce? Or is it plastic? Is it fake? What kind of fruit are you talking about? Well, the Bible says the fruit of the Spirit “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
In other words, the moment I become a believer here’s what happens. Jesus comes inside of my life and he places the person of the Holy Spirit inside of my life and the Holy Spirit works on the inside, out, to produce supernatural fruit. What’s the fruit? Here we go, it’s love. I’m talking about real love. Commitment on steroids, love. True love, not feelings. <wishy-washy voice> “I don’t feel it now. But I feel it now… but now I don’t…” No, I mean real love.
Also, joy, outrageous, contagious joy. I’m not talking about – nor is the Bible talking about – happiness (“I just want to be happy!”), nowhere in the Bible does it say God wants me to be happy. It’s not in there. Joy. Joy is inner tranquility of the soul.
Then you have peace! Peace! We say all the time. Selfies, peace! Peace. What does peace mean? Well, when we have peace with God we can experience the peace of God. Does this person that you’re thinking about selecting, does this person live by peace? Is the real F-word operative in their life? I’m talking about forgiveness. How about patience? Are they patient? Kindness, are they kind? Do they treat people who can do something for them differently than those who can’t? Whoa. How about gentleness? Self control? Is it love or lust? Those are major issues. The person that you’re selecting, have they committed their lives to Christ? Do you see the fruit in the past, the present, and also you think about the future? Are they committed to his house, the church? The house? Are they committed?
What if I told you, “I love the UFC, man. I love it! I love the Octagon but I hate to watch fighting. I hate to even think about Brazilian jujitsu, and grounding and pounding. I don’t like Vitor, in fact I don’t like any of the fighters. I don’t like any of the fighters.” You’d be like,
“Ed, that doesn’t make sense, man. You’re saying you love it but you don’t.” Have you ever met someone who goes,
“Oh, yeah, I love the Lord. Man, yeah, me and Jesus, we’re tight! You know!”
“Well, are you involved in church?”
“Well, no I just go… I mean I will go over there and I’ll….” It doesn’t make sense. So this person, I’m telling you, you’ve got to select the right person.
Make sure to, in this stage, you get great premarital counseling! You go to a counselor who has the Biblical anchor, who can help you and who specializes with blending families and with step-families, and with moving into this new season. After a divorce or after a death it takes you – relational experts say and I’ve seen this – at least 24 months to sort of have any kind of emotional equilibrium. The selection process should take minimum one year! I like to say, it’s all about the four seasons. You’ve got to go through the four seasons of life with this person before you go, “OK, she’s the one,” or “He’s the one.” When you do things together in this selection process, when you’re with biological kids and your future step-kids, make sure that you see one another in the real world. I mean, some families will be like, “Yeah, we just go to the amusement park once every other week! Yeah, I took him to my lake and we fished and…” I mean, some of that stuff is OK, it’s fine, but that’s unrealistic.
Dating, in and of itself, is unrealistic. Dating? Put the cologne on, guys. Dress up. It’s kinda unrealistic. I mean it’s good, you’ve got to, but that’s not the rugged plains of reality. Ladies, it’s not the rugged plains of reality. So make sure in the selection process that you’re doing this God’s way. And then when you select the person, OK, now you begin with the blend. So the selection. Choose the right ingredients. That’s huge.
Something else, the preparation. I gotta prepare the stuff. I mean, I gotta wash the stuff. I don’t just take an apple and start cutting it up and going OK, that’s it. I don’t just go, “Here’s some carrots. Here’s some spinach and celery and cucumber. Yeah…” No! You’ve gotta wash it! You’ve got to wash the pesticides off it, the germs off, all the junk and funk. Who knows what’s on the stuff. So when we get ready for it, we’ve got to peel away some of the pride. Cut out some of those bruises and those little nicks and scrapes and we’ve gotta grate the guilt and cut the criticism, and we prepare it. And the Bible says to me about preparation, 1 Corinthians 6:11, I mean it says, “You were washed (really). You were sanctified.” Now in some churches where I speak when I just said “You were washed” an organ would go “Waaaaoww!” “You were sanctified!” “Bah-bah-bah!!” you know? “You were justified!” “Bomp-bom-bom!” They would go to town, that’s OK. That’s not our style. I’m just saying some places I speak it can get a little bit crazy.
“You were washed!” “Waaaow!” I thought the band would join me. That’s OK. You were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and but the Spirit of God. Here’s what this text is saying:
<singing> “Bom-bom-bom-bom. Splish-splash I’m taking a Biblical bath! Bom-bom-bom-bom.” We’ve got to be washed and we’ve got to wash this stuff with the water of the Word. The water of the Word. And then it’s ready!
So we open up the canister and we go, OK. I’m just gonna go for it. Apple, apple, yeah. Maybe in the blended family with a biological child, “Oh, he’s the apple of my eye. She’s the apple of my eye.” And that’s part of the stress, right? That’s part of the noise and the messiness of this blended family. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Apple of my eye. Pretty good.
OK, carrots. Carrots are about vision, you know. So we’ve got to have the right vision for the blended family and with the right vision we have to understand some people have different perspectives when you blend the family. You’ve got some people who are like,
“Dad, I remember…” And, “Mom, wait…” And here’s what happens. When you get married it’s very traumatic for your kids because when you get married it erases their fantasy of you and your spouse ever getting back together again. So you have different perspectives. Let’s put a lot of this stuff in there. Think about it. Some more….
And maybe some kids – because some kids when this happens – some kids are drawn to the Lord. They’re like, “God, I’m gonna rely on you. I’m gonna build my faith. I’m gonna listen to you.” Other kids are like, “Pfft. I got the gift of celery now. I’m not gonna marry anybody.” You didn’t get that? Celery? Celibacy? Help me! That went over your head, didn’t it. If it went over your head lift your hand. Go ahead. That’s all right. OK, good, good. The gift of celery. Sometimes they say that! What do kids go… “I’m not gonna get married. I’ve seen too much stuff, I’m not.” But put it in there. It’s OK. I don’t know what the cucumbers represent. Spinach! Oh how about spinach. This money. That’s money. Oh there are money issues. Am I right? Mom, dad, you ever feel like an ATM machine? Oh you know it.
Beet juice. Mmm! Just a little bit, honey. My wife is a Home Economics major. See when you major in Home Economics it’s not just like this, that, wear an apron, whatever. She knows all the science and stuff of food. That’s why she said, “You probably shouldn’t pour that in because you drank some of the beet juice.” But I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I see my, I see where I drank it, I’ll just turn it this way.
And now we have some green juice. We’re putting all this in and we’re preparing everything. Now this right here. I want to tell you something about making smoothies. This is the equalizer. I’m a little bit obsessive compulsive, I’ll admit it. Orange juice, I cannot drink any more, any orange juice, unless it’s like the real deal. From concentrate? I just can’t do it. So I just don’t drink it. But if it’s fresh I love it. And here’s why I love fresh orange juice. You can have an off day making a smoothie but if you pour enough orange juice in it, it’s like the bacon of the health food world. You pour enough orange juice in there I promise you the smoothie will be good. That’s a little tip.
So we’ll pour some orange juice in there. I just love. I could drink this whole thing right now but I’m not because of germs. Now, we’ve got beet juice, orange juice. This right here I can’t tell you this. It’s my secret recipe, I just call it green juice. Pour that in there. So everything now, I’ve prepared it, now this third stage.
So, selection, preparation, now integration. Everything is in this tight little canister. And you’ve got feelings. You’ve got frosty feelings. Ice. Oh man, I don’t like the way this family is doing my other family. It was this way and that and you’re kinda like a ping-pong ball kid. You’re with one family and then you’re at the next family. You have routines here and then routines there. Sometimes you can have disciplinary procedures here that are consistent and over here they’re totally ambivalent. It’s difficult.
So what if I just stop right there and said, “Well, that’s the blended family. Let’s have a prayer. See ya later.” No. Or I could go, “I know what! I will blend the family myself!” That’s not gonna work. Well, I’ll just leave it. Now if I leave that for a while it’s gonna get gnarly. Rot. It’ll stink. It’ll make you sick as a <barking> dog! Don’t drink it! So what do we do? We’re doing it God’s way!
“Yeah, but I’ve selected. I’ve really worked on the selection process and I’ve prepared it all and now I’m integrating everything. There are space issues involved. There’s guilt, there’s shame involved and it’s just not working.” So most people bail. Most people divorce before the breakthrough. Most divorces occur within about three years of the blended family. Hmm… so what do we do? I tell you what we do.
Well, there’s a plug. We’ve got to plug it into the power source. If we’re gonna integrate something we’ve got to plug it in. I mean, the Bible tells me, it says that you will receive – the blended family will receive – the step-up family will receive – the nuclear family with 2.3 kids will receive – the single-parent family will receive power! The word power means dynamite! When the Holy Spirit comes upon you. Because a blender, you don’t use a blender outside. This one’s so powerful it’s one of my favorites. I’ve had it for 10 years. It’s a VitaMix. This thing’s so powerful I could put it on the back of a bass boat. I’m serious. This thing is ridiculous. It’ll blend anything! Well, I plug this thing in. It’s a household appliance. Wait a minute. A household appliance. House-hold… house… yeah, you got it. House-hold appliance. So if you want success or the family, success in your marriage, success in any realm, use the house-hold appliance and blend your family with God’s family. I think about Ephesians chapter 4, chapter 5, chapter 6, basically to give you the Wikipedia there it talks about unity in the body of Christ. We’re different. Then it talks about marriage between a man and a woman. It talks about submitting ourselves to one another. It talks about rearing kids. It’s amazing stuff! So I just go ahead and plug it in. Hopefully it’s not on, is it? Whew. That’d be bad. Just plug it in. So it’s plugged in! Whoo!!! OK, that’s enough. No it’s not.
Illus: I’ve got a funny story about that. Lisa was out in another state speaking over the last couple of days. I was at home trying to be the man for all seasons. I am an idiot when it comes to anything about repairing stuff, you know, handyman. Lisa’s father who passed away years ago, like, could build the Space Shuttle in his spare time. He was that kind of guy. I’m horrendous. And that’s brought some issues into our marriage where Lisa was like, “Well, you can…” I’m like, “What? Huh?” Anyway, our disposal breaks while Lisa’s out of town. So we’re texting back and forth and you know whatever. And so I’m thinking, what do I do? I’m gonna call somebody. Somebody call somebody! So I called a friend of mine and he’s like, yeah, and he’s telling me where to check. He said to go out in the garage and the GFI or FBI or something, I don’t even, you know the switches. Try those out. He said,
“Does it work?”
“No, it doesn’t work!” He said,
“Now, Ed, open the cabinet and underneath there’s a button underneath the disposal and if you push it, it probably will kick it on.” I pushed it. Nothing. Well, there’s some pressure. My mother-in-law is coming into town as well. You know, you’re mother-in-law comes in town you gotta take your house to a whole ‘notha level, you know what I’m sayin’ to ya. So I’m like, man, this thing’s gotta work. It’s gotta work! So then I see a little sticker on the fuse box that says Hernandez Electric. So I call them, left a message, they called me back. And right after they called me back, they were gonna show up, I was looking and I was looking and I looked closer and one of our twins, Landra, goes,
“Hey Dad, there’s a giant plug that’s not plugged in!” I’m thinking to myself, surely a disposal doesn’t have a plug. She goes, “Why don’t you try it?” I go,
“OK, Landra. Whatever.” Because we’re having dishwasher problems, too. So, I plugged this puppy in and then I said, “Landra, hit the switch.” <wwwoooooo> Man, I felt like a real man! I’m a handyman!!! I take care of my woman! You can trust me when you go out of town! So I called Hernandez Electric (I didn’t mean to give an advertisement for them but they’re great) and said, “Hey, you don’t have to show up. I fixed it.”
So, the integration process, that’s what I was talking about. It’s one thing to plug it in, it’s quite another to turn it on. How do we turn it on? Well, when you turn it on you don’t just rev it up. See you put it on variable, low, I put it on about #1 and it goes up to #10. So watch this, I just turn it on. All right. And in the blended family here are some stages the kids go through.
The first stage is it’s painful. The thought of mom and dad reconciling is gone. The blades, the ice, people all up in my space. It’s painful. I’ve talked to many of them. Painful, Ed.
The next phase: Whatever. “Hey, how’s it going, man? How’s it going in the step-family?” Hmmm… whatever. Then if you stay plugged into the power source in the house, the house-hold appliance, it moves to the “we’re cool.” Really! So it was ‘whatever’ and now you’re saying, “We’re cool. All right, I like that. Yeah, we’re cool.”
Then if you let the years go by, because at year five, go old-school, high-five! Yeah! High-five your neighbor! Year five, that’s when it can come alive and that’s when it usually does come alive. From year 5-6, then, oh we start cranking it up and the kids are like, “Man it’s going great! We’re a unit!” And we turn it up to 6, look at this… 7… then we hit the high speed! Wow! Look at that! Now that’s what I’m talking about. That’d be a good place to clap, right there, because that’s God’s goal for the blended family.
Now we stop. I guarantee you, I will bet you cash money even though I don’t bet, that it’s gonna be great. Delicious and nutritious. Whoo! I’ll just taste it first. That’s good. It’s very vegetable-y but it’s very good. It’s good for you. So tell you what we’re gonna do. Who would like to try this frozen concoction? Jimmy Buffett… <singing> “this frozen concoction that helps me hang on.” Remember that song? If you’re over 50 you got that. We have some Parrotheads here? Come on. This is… yeah. This is the real frozen concoction. Who wants to try it? OK, don’t drink it yet. It’ll be like communion when we serve it here. Seriously. I’m gonna tell everybody when to drink it. What’s your name? Hi, Madison. Where do you go to school? Excellent! Who else would like. Yes sir! I love that shirt. Next level. What’s your name? Where do you go to school? I almost said, “where do you go to church?” obviously Fellowship, yeah. OK. Let’s have some more.
Now I want to tell you what we’re doing here. When we’re pouring this in I want you to think about some other items. Think about the ring. You’ve got to put the ring in here. I’m talking about the wedding ring. Because the marriage has got to be the main thing.
“But my biological child!…” The marriage has got to be the main thing! The marriage has got to be the main thing. It’s the most important relationship. That’s how kids learn all of these major issues. It’s the marriage, then the kids. God, MARRIAGE, kids. God, MARRIAGE, kids. God, MARRIAGE, kids. It’s not the kids. No where does the Bible say “family first.” No, it says marriage. So the ring.
Now you’ve got to dance. You know the word discipline means disco? It does. It comes from the Latin word disco. I can’t dance that well with these drinks here but you’ve gotta disco with your spouse. You’ve gotta disco with your ex-spouse. You’ve got to adopt those eight octagon objectives I talked about last time. Who wants some more? Anybody else? OK, what’s your name, sir? What’s up David? You have a good voice. Anybody else? That’s my man, right here. Yes, sir. How you doing? OK, let’s stop. Because, because, because, the ring, you’ve got to dance the dance of discipline. You’ve got to understand there’s a passport involved. Your kids have dual citizenships. They’re a citizen in one family, they’re a citizen in another family. Also, too, you’ve got to throw in a model in there, you know a model. You know what I’m saying to you? You’ve got to do that. You’re modeling each and every day, mom and dad. You’re teaching and modeling. Teaching and modeling.
So, let’s drink. 1-2-3. Drink up. Mmmm!!! Whoa, they love it! Everyone loves it! <laughter> Psalm 34:8, let’s read it together. Ready, at all campuses, 1-2-3, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” The blended family, it is delicious and nutritious! Let’s pray together.
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]