F Is For Family : Fight For The Family
February 9, 2020, 11:30am
VIDEO: “Parent Map Rap”
You know, I don’t rap all the time but when I do rap, I rap caucasionally. We’re talking about the family and this is my fourth time to talk about the family. Frisco, Grapevine, Frisco, Grapevine. I enjoy it as a speaker because it doesn’t give me any down time. I mean, we can just roll so, I really like it. Also, too, I want to welcome all of our different locations. If you’re in Northport, which is outside of Sarasota, welcome to Fellowship. If you’re in Miami, great to have you. Downtown Dallas, Fort Worth, of course, fabulous Frisco, Allaso Ranch, and our prison campuses, God Behind Bars, also in Norman, Oklahoma, thank you guys for being here. I’ll be so happy when this road construction ends. You know, we’ve had road construction out here for almost 10 years. Ten years, unbelievable. Thank you for being here. Normally one drop of rain keeps about 100 people away so you’re fantastic Christians.
I want to talk to you about the family real quick. I’ve been calling this series “F is for Family” because the real F-word is family. Last week I talked about the foundation of the family. We’re all a part of a house. What’s a HOUSE? It’s a Holy Objective Utilized to Serve Everyone, the foundation. Today I’m talking about the fight for the family. How to fight, not in the family but for the family. There’s probably enough fighting in the family. How do you fight for the family? I would say the family is the ultimate fight because we’re fighting for the ultimate. The family. It’s God’s institution. God created it. God made it. It’s about the kingdom. When I say the word kingdom, I’m sure you’ve heard that before if you’ve been for a long time, or maybe you’re brand new. Kingdom, what does it mean, the kingdom of God? The kingdom of God? The kingdom of God is simply the rule and the reign of God, in the universe and also in your life and mine. The family – check this out – is so fantastic it’s a kingdom thing. So, it’s not just, oh, I’m gonna have some kids. I’ll crank out some kids and they’ll become, I don’t know, successful in the real estate business. Or maybe they’ll become, I don’t know, an NFL player, or maybe on Broadway, or maybe, just maybe I can leave some money to them. They can have my house by the lake or in the mountains. Kind of that’s it, that thing to perpetuate the species. The family is much more than that. The family is a kingdom entity, the kingdom of God. The rule and the reign of God. So, as we have families and develop our families, and as kids leave the family… amen? When kids leave… I want to bring “amen” back. When the kids leave the family then they can continue to perpetuate the kingdom of God.
However, there is another kingdom out there. There are a lot of thingdoms these days, a lot of kingdoms and the enemy himself does not want the family to flourish. Because let’s face it. When we’re born, we’re born into an octagon. We’re born into a fight. Jesus said these words in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you.” Notice the priority there and notice the provision of God. So, if my priorities are right in the family, in this fight, then my family is gonna be right. I didn’t say perfect.
Lisa and I have written, wow, many books on the subject. We’ve lectured here and around the world about the family. And I’ve talked to a lot of people about the family, interviewed a lot of people about the family. It doesn’t take someone who is brilliant to realize that the family is not doing that well as we look at our culture. It’s not. Most marriages end up in the deep weeds. So many of us who lead churches and plan, we’re planning with single-parent type situations or situations where kids are being shuffled here, there, and yonder. That’s just the reality of where we are.
No matter where you find yourself in the family… Some of you might go, man, Ed. You just described me. I’m in chaos. When God sees chaos, he sees order waiting to happen. You can do it God’s way, and God’s way is the way. Because name me an institution that is really family-friendly. Oh, the church. Seriously, name me a place, name me an entity, name me a thingdom that is really family-friendly from knee-high to tree-high. You can’t. It’s just the church, and the church is about family. God designed family. He thought it up. Family is about the kingdom of God. Family is about glorifying God. Are you fighting for the family? Because the text I just read to you is not some benign verse. It’s not some verse that’s just flippant. It’s not some weak verse. It’s a verse full of testosterone. It’s a verse that is about fighting, battling, because that’s what it takes. The fight, though, is well worth it. I’ll say it again. The family is the ultimate fight because we’re fighting for the ultimate.
I want you to notice a couple of things about this fight. Because when I’m talking about fighting, I remember one time I was speaking at a church. I looked out and there was a renowned UFC fighter on the second row. I met him afterwards and he was preparing to fight for the World Championship. In fact, if I called his name you would know his name, but I’m not gonna call his name. So, he said,
“Why don’t you come to my training facility and you can watch me train.” So, I was staying over for a day and I was like,
“OK, yeah!” So, I went to this training facility and watched this guy train. He had a wrestling coach. He had a kicking coach. He had a Brazilian jujitsu coach. All these coaches and nutritionists because he’s an ultimate fighter, and he knew about this person who was a contender. He knew about his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and he was training around his strengths and weaknesses. And for some reason, as I thought about that, as I was praying about that this week, I said to myself the real fight is in the family. The family.
I want you to notice God’s simple formula, God’s simple formula for the family. It’s not complex. It’s easy to talk about here. It’s not always easy to apply. God, though, has a simple formula when it comes to family.
#1 – God. That’s it. God. So, I should put my life in his hands. When I become a believer, I’m adopted into the family of God. When I’m born physically, I’m a 61-model, March 16, 1961. Send the gifts and cards and letters during that week. You know some pastors, like, it’s a big celebration when it’s their birthday. I’m not against that, I just have never done that. It’s my birthday! OK. Have you ever been working with someone and they’re like, “It’s my birthday week!”? Don’t put me in a bad mood. It’s my birthday week!” You’ve got to be kidding me. That’s a whole ‘nother sermon. Don’t let me, don’t get me going on the birthday people. I mean, I love birthdays. Don’t send me any hate. I get enough of that.
I just said that J-Lo’s halftime performance was pornographic. I got more hate on that. Could you believe that? Family friendly? Somebody ought to slap Roger Goodell upside the head, man. Appropriately. And then brings their daughter up there? And the kids up there? “Oh, it’s just art.” Some people were saying, “Oh, it’s just a Latin thing.” A Latin thing? You’re gonna play the race card? Really? It’s just a cultural thing? Well, maybe your culture is not of God. Maybe somethings culturally I would do is not of God. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of in my life. But we’ve got to stand up, guys, girls, and we have to protect and fight for purity!
Last week I said a HOUSE is a Holy Objective Utilized to Serve Everyone. One of the things a house is to be is holy. And as the leader of my house, because guys, we’re the leader. We’re not the best. I know women are superior, there’s no doubt about that. But we’re the leaders of the family. Did you know that? What did God say over and over? I’m the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You’re the leader of your marriage. I’m the leader my marriage. You’re the leader of your home. I’m the leader of my home. That’s my role.
You know the Cowboys just fired their head coach. Did you know that? Yeah, they did. One service I said that, and people started cheering. I’m like, man, that guy’s been to our church before. I’m not saying he’s bad, but they released him. Why? He’s responsible for the team! Why didn’t they fire the whole team? They could’ve. But he’s responsible. God holds you responsible. Guys, we’re responsible as the leader in our home. So goes the father, so goes the rest of the team. God is first.
#2 – Marriage. Marriage, that’s the second most important thing. Marriage is more important than kids. I’m still trying to find that verse in the Bible where it says family first. It’s not in there. Sounds sexy, it’s just not in there. So, God is first. Marriage is second. My relationship with Lisa supersedes every other relationship in the family. And I’m not saying I wouldn’t give my life, or parents, you wouldn’t give your life, for your kids. We all would. But spouses stay, kids leave. But now, because so many kids are staying so long under the rooftop of mom and dad, it’s like: Kids leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaavvve. And that’s OK sometimes.
Kids, two responsibilities (I just want to throw this out) the Bible gives you as a kid. And I’m an adult kid. #1 – here we go. Kids? You listening? If you are under the rooftop of your parents, here’s the first thing you’re to do. It’s very simple. Obey. I’m serious. That’s it. Obey. Second thing, the Bible says this. First is obey. Second thing is once you leave, Honor.
What’s so crazy is, as I said a second ago, we’re born into the octagon. So, I’m born into a family, but I’m estranged from the ultimate family. When I make a faith decision I’m born again, adopted into the ultimate family. So, I learn what family is about from the ultimate family. I’m a child of God. I’m a kingdom kid. I am. So, I’ve got an earthly family, but I’ve got heavenly family. I’ve got all these blood relatives, saved by the blood of Jesus. It’s interesting, it’s kind of a dichotomy. I’m adopted but I’m still a blood relative because of Jesus. Powerful, isn’t it? God is my father, the perfect heavenly parent. That’s my ultimate relationship. So, as a parent, kid comes into the octagon and it starts out I’m one up. Then, as the child grows and matures from boy to man, from girl to woman, it becomes a 1 to 1 relationship. Then, as the child gets older and individuates, and mom and dad, as we get older, one up and we’re down then. Because we’re older. Yet, the whole thing is about the kingdom.
Now, the devil does not like the kingdom of God. He wants to build his thingdom. He wants to build, and he is building, the kingdom of darkness. Now, we win, we know that. But stay with me for a second. God made you and me a little bit lower than the angels. We, the lesser, have an opportunity to glorify the greater, God. Angels don’t have that opportunity in a family unit (of course, they’re about glorifying God), but they don’t. The devil, if you read and research him on Wikipedia, he was the showroom model of angels. Glorifying God, leading the whole thing in worship. Yet, he couldn’t handle it, so we have narcissism, pride, “mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the baddest of them all? Lucifer, you are.” He was kicked from Heaven to Earth. His kingdom coup – there’s the word kingdom again – was thwarted. Because after all, God is omniscient. Somebody slap somebody appropriately. You have to say appropriately now.
So then, he’s down to Earth. You have the earth being dark. It’s like a giant swamp, and not to get too deep here, then you have God separating the water and the land and creating man lesser than the angels to glorify him. Giving us the family, which really is reflective of the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, three in one, one in three. It’s like a pretzel with three holes, yet the dough holds it all together. The family, your family and mine, should reflect the Trinity, the oneness, the unity, the purpose. Well, God, when he kicked the devil out, didn’t just throw him into the lake of fire. He kind of put him on death row. And the devil wants to take away and crush and crater your family because he knows the family is where it’s at. The #1 way he does it is getting in between you and your spouse, marriage.
So, God is first, marriage second, kids third. He comes after you, he comes after me. What do you mean? Well, think about this. We love these personality tests, these sexy personality tests. Yes, I’m this kind of person. I’m really organized and my spouse, they’re not. I’m loud and they’re quiet, and all this stuff. When it comes to marriage it’s a personality issues. It’s just a miscommunication. That’s to deal in marriage, that’s why we have these issues. Personality difficulties. OK. I buy some of that.
Hey, don’t raise your hand or don’t knob it. Spouses have you ever been over a little fight over something insignificant and it just blows up? And you’re saying where did that come from? I love to look at all the married couples. They’re like, “Oh my gosh. Have you been following me around?” Have you ever wondered why? I have. A little thing, no big deal, you know? Maybe it’s an off-the-cuff comment like, “That reminds me of your mom.” No big deal. No, I’m joking. I did that for a cheap laugh, OK? That was funny, wasn’t it? I’m telling you, I’m on a roll. The governor is off, I mean I’m talking about J-Lo. I’m talking about mother-in-law, mother-in-love.
You might say something, and it blows up. Why? This is a microphone. Well, sometimes in marriage you just talking. No big deal. You have some personality quirks, issues, some arguments. You know? Blah-blah-blah. And you would think it would just end at that. Noooooooo! Suddenly, it becomes amplified! I wish I had half a church up in here! Why? Why? The devil. Oh yeah, man. The devil amplifies that. It starts out. I understand, we’re self-centered sinners. I get the personality quirks, and this is your strength and here’s my weakness, and his needs and her needs and all of this. I get it. The devil, though, because it’s spiritual warfare, is the one that does this. And he’s doing a great job. Look at the divorce rate. Look at the marital mayhem. Look at the lack of sexual activity in marriage. I read this morning that record numbers of couples are sleeping in separate beds and bedrooms. We’ve got to fight for the marriage.
God, obviously we fight to have him in first place. It’s our sanctification. Then the kids. I like my rap. KIDS: Keeping Intimacy at a Distance Successfully. I love that. Kids are amazing. We have to teach and train them to leave. That’s the definition of parenting, Deuteronomy, Proverbs, and Genesis. Teaching and training them to leave. How do they know about how to relate to the opposite sex? Family. How do they know about forgiveness? Family. How do they know about generosity? Family. How do they know about the importance of the church? Family. How do they know about a daily quiet time? Family. How do they know about how to take difficult times? Family. How do they know about answered prayer? Family. Family, family, family, family, family, family, family, family.
So, three areas, three fights that we get into and then I’m out of here. It’s not gonna take me long to do it. The first one is attention. We fight for attention, don’t we? I want attention. I do. I know Lisa does. She probably doesn’t demand it like I do. Again, guys, we’re not that smart. Our kids, man, wanted attention and still want attention. And our grandchildren want attention. Attention, attention. You know, we can give too much attention. Too much oxygen will kill someone. Too much attention can mess someone up. Like the helicopter parents… We’re out kids agent, we’re their homies, their friends, their buddies. It’s just like, yeah. And we give them too much attention.
I’ve really enjoyed watching the craziness over the last couple of months, two to three months, with our government and all the trials and investigations. We’re investigating the investigators who investigate the investigation and the committee. Have you ever seen some of these people, I mean on both sides of the aisle? Spoiled, whiny brats, some of them. I thought to myself, I wonder why they’re spoiled, whiny brats? And then I thought, no wonder! Their parents were spoiled, whiny brats and they allowed them to be spoiled, whiny brats. Gave them too much attention. Applause sign. That was not a political statement. Attention. We have to have attention. Attention to God, attention to our spouse, attention to our kids.
How do we give our spouse attention? Date night, mate night. Date night, mate night. Date night, mate night. What you use to get her is what you use to keep her. What you use to get him is what you use to keep him. Too many guys, we just retire.
“Oh man, I used to romance your mom, back in the day. I could even dress myself back then. Now she dresses me too, but that’s OK. I was creative, I was innovative. Now I just like to sit down on this sectional and watch another golf tournament.” Isn’t that true? I mean, guys, when you married her, she was like, “Oh boy! My knight in shining armor! We’re going to a whole ‘notha level as far as romance!” So goes the marriage, so goes the family. And hey, I need as much work as any man on this but when I say romance the word ‘man’ is in romance. If your wife is 99.9% wrong, husbands, you are to initiate the reconciliation. Because remember, you’re to love your bride like Christ loved the church. You think you had anything to do with bring reconciled to God through Christ? Please, playah. I don’t mean to be hard on us, guys, too much, but let’s just be honest. We need to take that warrior spirit, that competitive nature and put it toward the family first. Attention is something that we have to think about because when kids are born, at a young age they’re in that octagon. They look at mom and dad and they go, I’m gonna kick your butt. I have all the attention. And I like the attention. One day I want to be a politician. I’m gonna kick your butt. And the fight ensues.
What do we do? What do we do? What do we do? Do we orbit our lives around the kids, the kids, the kids, the kids, the kids? Maybe they can be an NFL player. Maybe they can be a singer. Maybe they can have money. Maybe they can have my house. Maybe … … they’re smart. They’re good. They’re smart… That’s it? Really? So, some of us need to go home and fire our kids because they’re running the show. It’s not about the kids. It’s not. It’s about the marriage, then the kids.
Another fight is the schedule fight. What kind of schedule do you have? We’re made for order, not chaos. As I said earlier, when God sees chaos, he sees order about to happen. How about your schedule, or as they say over in Europe, “schedule.” I don’t know how they do that. They sound so great over there. Shedule. What’s your schedule? Well, establish the weekend as worship. I mean, we’re just agreeing with what God says. So that means if someone says,
“Hey, what do you want to do next month on Sunday?” your first thought is church. But I had coffee recently with someone that pastors a massive church. He said, “Ed, our most active people attend once every six weeks.” How are you going to build a kingdom family showing up once a month? Or once every six weeks? No guilt, I’m just throwing it out, man.
OK, Thursday night is the date night. You get an opportunity to do whatever. Whup! That’s already scheduled. That’s my date night. Or Friday, that’s the family date. Whatever it is, we have to have the schedule to make the decision before the decision. That’s why I like priorities. The word prior, priorities, so a schedule is a fight.
Sometimes if we look at our app, our schedule app, we go oh my gosh! It’s blank! What do I do? It’s blank! That calendar monster, “You need to fill your calendar up!” One of my favorite things to schedule is nothing. I’m serious. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to talk to a lot of leaders. We’re having about 4,000 leaders here at Fellowship Church in a couple of weeks from all around the world. We love to talk about calendar. And sometimes they’ll ask me,
“Ed, we would like to know your calendar?” I go,
“Well, I schedule nothing.” Nothing. Nothing is underrated. Nothing is awesome. Nothing. “No really, seriously.”“Nothing.”
Try to schedule ‘nothing’ for your family. You won’t believe what will emerge out of nothing. That sounds like Seinfeld, doesn’t it? Nothing. It’s a bad imitation but I tried.
Romance, I’ve said enough about it but guys. We’re so bad at romance women have invented a day called Valentine’s. It forces us to be romantic. You think some guys were sitting around smoking cigars and, like, “Yeah, we need to come up with a day about romance. Yep. Buy my wife expensive stuff, or my girlfriend…. Blah-blah-blah…” No. Women thought that up. You just orchestrated it, ladies, and it’s now a holiday where billions and billions of dollars are spent by well-meaning husbands, boyfriends, Valentine’s.
We should do valentines about once a month. Now I’m preaching to myself. Ladies, you thought it up and you make us think, like, we look forward to it and we thought it up. That’s why you’re so much smarter than we are. You’ve thought, like, you’re playing chess, we’re playing checkers basically.
Four things and then we’re going. First one is this: Don’t O.D. on options. So many options are out there, don’t overdose on the options. I think you get it. #2 – Use a kid lid. You know, when our kids were small and now with grandkids. We go to a restaurant. You order something to drink for the kids. You put a lid on it. If not. you’ll have some serious spillage. Too many of us are drowning because we don’t have a lid on our kid. #3 – I just said it, let me say it again. Downtime is good time, and good time emerges from downtime. And the 4th thing, and this is probably the most important thing I can tell you, don’t quit your job. Fathers, mothers, don’t quit your job. What am I talking about? Your #1 job is to be a husband, fathers. Your #1 job is being a wife, mothers. Don’t quit. Teach and train your kids to live because the ultimate fight is in the family, because the family is the ultimate.