Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #9: Honesty

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Today the value we’re talking about is honesty. The irony of honesty is that all of us make a big deal about it and we want it but really, in practicality, we give it very little value. 

It is amazing how many opportunities there are in our day to be dishonest. Every conversation, every phone call, every interaction we have dozens and dozens of opportunities to be dishonest.

“Would you like to enjoy life? Do you want long life and happiness?  Then keep from speaking evil and from telling lies.” Psalm 34:12-13 GNT

When you tell a lie, you’ve got to commit to the lie. Then every time the phone rings, every time someone wants to talk you wonder, is this it? Is this when I get caught?

Dr. Leonard Keeler, inventor of the lie detector machine, determined after testing 25,000 individuals that human beings are basically deceptive. At the core of humanity there is dishonesty.

To those of us who have read the Bible, this is no surprise. We know that in the book of Genesis we’re told that dishonesty has plunged this world into the mess that it’s in. The Bible says that the heart is deceitful. We have wickedness that lives within us because of the fall of man, we have a resistance to truth. 

Lying is not only in our culture and nature, dishonesty is part of our spiritual structure. It’s much bigger than ourselves. There’s a struggle going on in the cosmos. Call it what you will, it’s light versus darkness, good versus evil, Satan versus God.

We are the object of this spiritual battle. It’s an eternal combat that is bigger than most of us are capable of understanding. Basically it comes down to this: truth versus falsehood. The Bible tells us that God is the father of truth. The Bible also tells us that Satan is the father of falsehood.

“He (Satan) has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 NLT

The Bible doesn’t sugar coat it, God is on one side and Satan is on the other and we have a choice, do we follow the culture or do we follow the creator? When it comes to the Creator, God says He hates dishonesty. That is not  a word used very often in the Bible.

The word “hate” means it’s disgusting, detestable, utterly and thoroughly repulsive. Dishonesty is repulsive to God because He is the Truth and dishonesty is a perversion of His character.


Steps Towards an Honest Life

1. TELL THE TRUTH CONSISTENTLY

Being honest 80% of the time is not integrity. The little boy who cried wolf is a classic story. Eventually you don’t know whether the guy’s telling the truth or not so you don’t believe him at all. 

So you must tell the truth consistently, honesty is a lifestyle. Nobody has a good enough memory to be a good liar. If you lie you have to remember what you said to each person. If you tell the truth at all times you don’t have to remember anything because you’ve always told the truth.

“People who can’t be trusted are destroyed by their own dishonesty.” Proverbs 11:3 GNT

Every relationship is built on one word — trust. Truth telling produces trust building. Deception destroys trust. If you are a dishonest person pretty soon you have no relationships because nobody can trust you.

“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” Proverbs 12:19 NIV

2. TELL THE TRUTH COMPLETELY

God says lying is an intention to mislead and when you’re just telling a half a truth you’re telling a whole lie. You can lie by falsifying or you can lie by concealing. When we deliberately hold back half the truth, we’re being deceptive.

You can lie without even saying a word. God says, in the end people appreciate honesty. God says tell the truth completely.

“In the end people appreciate frankness more than flattery.” Proverbs 28:23 TLB

It may be unpleasant at first. You have an employee that’s not fulfilling their job and you have to correct them. They may not appreciate it then, but if it helps them build their character it will help in the long run.

“Someone who holds back the truth causes trouble.” Proverbs 10:10 GNT

What kind of trouble can come from concealing the truth? You cause resentment, mistrust, and superficiality. You get into trouble by not saying what you mean and not meaning what you say. 

Marriages often get in trouble because during the engagement period, they lie to each other. Not overtly, but lie by not facing the issues. There may be major differences in the relationship that they just ignoring.

Once you understand the motivation behind your lying, then you can deal with the real issue.

Lying is not your real problem. It’s the symptom of a deeper problem.

“The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Jesus 

Jesus is saying the real problem is not our mouths but our hearts. What’s coming out of our mouths, these lies, are really an indication of what’s inside of us. If we are going to become people of integrity, we have to deal with what motivates us to lie. 

Why Do We Lie?

TYPE OF LIE MOTIVE
The Cruel Lie Resentment
The Cowardly Lie Fear
The Conceited Lie Insecurity
The Calculated Lie Greed
The Convenient Lie Laziness
  • The cruel lie – This is the kind of lie that is intentionally destructive and malicious. You tell it to get revenge. They’ve hurt you so you’re going to get even. You misrepresent them, this is called slander. Slander means when you make up something about somebody that’s not true with the intentional purpose of damaging their reputation. The Sadducees did this to Jesus. They brought false charges so they could hang Him on the cross. The cruel lie is an intentional mischievous lie.  The motive behind that kind of lie – resentment.
  •  The cowardly lie – This is the kind of lie you tell to escape consequences. You’re trying to protect yourself, prevent pain and avoid punishment. Adam told this kind of lie in the Garden of Eden, when he sinned and blamed his wife. The motive behind that kind of lie – fear.
  • The conceited lie – This is when you lie to impress. You’re trying to create an image or cover for a mistake. What may come off as pride and ego is actually a frightened, insecure person. The motive behind that kind of lie – insecurity.
  • The calculated lie – This is the kind of lie used to manipulate other people. It is a calculated lie to get what we want or think we need. The motive behind that kind of lie – greed.
  • The convenient lie – The convenient lie we tell because it takes effort to tell the truth. To not have to explain yourself or talk more, you shrug off the truth. Sometimes you don’t want to get involved with something or you’re too busy to check the facts so you tell something you haven’t really checked up on. This is often called diplomacy. This is the kind of lie you tell when you don’t want to offend anybody. The motive behind that kind of lie – laziness.

3. TELL THE TRUTH LOVINGLY

Don’t use the truth as a club. Don’t beat people over the head with the truth. People change easier and faster when you speak the truth in a spirit of love. People always perceive truth without love as an attack.

Truth without grace is mean.

It doesn’t matter if it is the truth. People don’t receive it if it is yelled and beaten over them. They resist it, become defensive against it, don’t want to hear it, because they perceive it as an attack.

“We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:15 NLT

How do we know if we’re speaking the truth in love? Ask yourself the question, Who am I trying to benefit from this? Think through the motivation. Is it to change them so things are easier on you? Or is it because you care about them and want them to be the best they can be.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 NLT

4. TELL THE TRUTH TACTFULLY

Being honest does not mean being brutal. Whenever you have a need to share a tough truth the solution is never deception. The truth sets you free. But, when you speak the truth you must speak it completely, consistently, lovingly, and tactfully. 

“Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal.” Proverbs 12:18 GNT

You have an option with your words: you can either hurt people or you can heal them. Develop people or you can destroy them. Build them up or you can tear them down. Delight or you can devastate. He’s saying your words have tremendous power.

If you think about it, emotional wounds last longer than physical wounds. When you speak the truth in love and with tact you can learn how to make a point without making an enemy.

  • Plan your presentation

“The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is.” Proverbs 16:21 GNT

Planning your presentation doesn’t mean you come up with come backs to all the potential ways they might respond. Instead, write down the issue and a few points to that issue. That way when things get off track, you can keep the problem on the issue rather than the person or some other thing.

  • Choose the right time

“Intelligent people think before they speak.” Proverbs 16:23 GNT

Put your mind in gear before you put your mouth in gear. Timing is everything. Don’t try to start a tough conversation with your spouse late at night when you’re both tired, overwhelmed and frustrated. Plan a time to allow for constructive conversation. 


If you’ll do these four things, the Bible says you will begin to be an honest person.Speak the truth completely, consistently, lovingly and tactfully. The beginning of honesty is the confession of dishonesty. If you want to be a person of integrity, first admit to God that you don’t always tell the truth and ask Christ to forgive you.

He will give you the power to change and put a new heart in you. He will begin to replace the deception with truth as you begin to let Christ more and more control your heart. You do that by making a choice and saying, God help me to be more interested in character than in reputation. 

If you’re more interested in reputation you’ll lie to build your reputation. Reputation is what other people think you are. Character is what you really are. Character is what lasts for eternity. 


God Blesses Honesty

  • By guarding me – “He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.” Proverbs 2:7 NLT

That word means to be a bodyguard whose soul purpose is to protect you. If we’re honest, He’ll shield us. It’s not going to be easy but He will be our shield. 

  • By directing me – “The godly are directed by honesty; the wicked fall beneath their load of sin.” Proverbs 11:5 NLT

When we’re honest we see God’s way.  The direction becomes very clear.  That’s a reward.

  • By sustaining me – “Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.” Proverbs 12:19 NLT

Honesty will outlast dishonesty. There was a story some years ago about a newlywed couple from Chicago. They had opened their presents before they went on their honeymoon, gathered all their cash, put it in a suitcase, loaded up the car, then left the cash on the top of the car and drove away — $12,000. It fell to the street and was found by an honest man. This man was unemployed.  But he returned the money. 

The city of Chicago went hysterical about this guy. When the story broke, this guy got job offers from Sony, Hilton, Hyundai, Motorola and more. He was rewarded for his honesty. 

In a kind of physical way this is an example of what God does in a spiritual way. God is in the business of rewarding honesty. Some people will receive a reward for their honesty in this life, and sometimes we have to wait for the next life for our reward. But, that reward will be more than we can imagine. Honesty will last for eternity. 


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week about fairness and injustice. How has that message and discussion impacted the way you see the world and process injustice in the world?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

We would all probably agree that honesty is the best policy and a value worth building our lives on. But in practice, it’s often a different story. It’s easy to find an excuse not to tell the whole truth. Other times, it can be tempting to intentionally deceive people. But honesty is essential for the success of any relationship.

Dishonesty has many different faces in our life but it has one common result. Dishonesty strangles life out of us. One of the main reasons it runs so fast through our culture is because dishonesty is present in our nature. It’s deeper than just our culture; it’s in our nature. There’s something about you and I that is so warped and flawed that we are drawn to untruth. There is a wickedness about our nature because of the fall and because of sin, but there is also a wonder about our nature. We’re created in the image of God and something deep down within us really wants truth.

“Would you like to enjoy life? Do you want long life and happiness? Then keep from speaking evil and from telling lies.” Psalm 34:12-13 GNT

Application

  1. Why do you think people tell “white lies” and then expect there to be no consequences?
  2. When we understand the motivation behind any lie, then we can deal with the real issue. Lying is just a symptom of something else. Here are five types of lies and the motivation for each one:
  • The cruel lie is motivated by resentment.
  • The cowardly lie is motivated by fear.
  • The conceited lie is motivated by insecurity.
  • The calculated lie is motivated by greed.
  • The convenient lie is motivated by laziness.

What motivation might be most tempting for you? Why?

  1. What kind of reaction would someone have if you spoke the truth without love?    What might the response be from someone if you spoke the truth with love?
  2. Proverbs 12:18 says, Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal. Can you think of a time when someone spoke healing words to you? How did that person’s wisdom impact you?

Tell Someone Else

Who do you need to be honest with? Plan your presentation and choose the right time. How will you ask God to help you?

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Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #7: Moral Purity

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Today we’re studying a value that as Americans we care a lot about in some areas of our life and in others we could not care less: the value of purity. For instance, we want pure air to breathe, pure water to drink and we want pure food to eat. But, we’re not as concerned about having pure minds. 

We will allow almost anything in our minds and we get desensitized to it. It used to be that you had to go to an “Adult Book Store” to get pornography. Today it’s all piped into our home and life every day. The temptations haven’t changed. Human nature hasn’t changed. But, how we view it and how we access it has changed.

“God wants you to be holy and pure and to keep clear of all sexual sin… For God has not called us to be dirty-minded and full of lust but to be holy and clean.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3,7 TLB

As we read that verse, we may ask, is that possible in today’s world? Here’s a reason we believe that it is. A fish in the ocean has lived its entire life in salt water.  It grows up in a culture where every moment of its life it’s surrounded by brine, water that’s so salty you can’t drink it yourself or you’ll get sick.  Yet, when you catch that fish and bring it home and prepare it for a meal you have to put salt on it. 

The same God that can take a fish and keep it in an environment of salt its entire life and yet not be affected by it, can keep you in a polluted world and keep your mind pure.

We normally fall into one of two extremes when dealing with purity: imitation or isolation. The answer is not imitation which says encourages us to be like the world and adapt to every perversion that’s out there.

On the other hand, isolation pushes us to completely stay away from the world. Let’s build a bunker or become nuns and monks to isolate ourselves.

The answer is not isolation or imitation. It is insulation. Just like God can insulate that fish and keep it in a briny environment and yet not let it get salty, God can keep you in a polluted world and keep your life, your mind, your heart pure.


How to Stay Pure in a Polluted World

1. Make a commitment to God’s standard

God says several things in His word that aren’t very popular. God says a number of things, particularly about sex, in His word that you may make you wonder why. The answer –  because He knows a lot more about sex than you do and He understands the implications far better. 

When it comes to sex, God invented it. And yet God has also put some parameters around it. His standard has never changed and is very clear regardless of opinion polls. Sex is far more than physical. It is a spiritual act and it has spiritual consequences. Not only that, sex has emotional consequences, social consequences, even has legal consequences.

The problem with sex education is not that they teach too much, it’s that they don’t teach enough. When we reduce sex to simply a biological function, we forget sex is so much more.

The Bible also says that sex is exclusively reserved for a man and a woman who are committed to each other in a marriage. Anything outside of that — sex before marriage, sex outside of marriage, anything else — will have profound consequences in your emotions, in your spiritual life, and physical life.

God puts these parameters in place not to restrict your freedom, but for your protection.

“How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.” Psalm 119:9 NIV

Sex is not bad or dirty. It is holy and spiritual. That’s why it is to be used according to God’s standard. Making a commitment to God’s standard takes courage. It takes character to have conviction and do what God says is right. Once you’ve done that, regardless of mistakes you’ve made in the past, then you’re ready to move to step two.

2. Manage my mind

Anytime you see somebody really messing up their life, it didn’t start with the actions, it started with thoughts. They were thinking dumb thoughts before they started making dumb decisions. The way you think determines how you feel. You feel a certain way because you’re thinking a certain way and feelings are what motivate you to action.

“Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.” Proverbs 4:23 NCV

If you want to change your action, break a bad habit, or change your life you don’t work on the habit, you work on what caused it —the thoughts that caused the feelings that caused the action. God says your thoughts control your life. 

This is how you fall into temptation. This is how affairs happen. Long before the actual physical act takes place, little decisions have been made that lowered the barrier. It happens like this:

  • First, it starts with accepting sinful thoughts in my mind. “What would it be like to go to bed with that person? I wonder if it’s so wrong?  Did God really say…” You start having doubts and you start fantasizing in your mind. You think it is harmless, but thoughts inevitably produce feelings. That’s why while you’re thinking it, it produces feelings of excitement.
  • Second, there is emotional non physical involvement. That’s where you start flirting. You start making gestures and comments — that say, “I’m available.”
  • Third, comes the physical involvement.
  • Fourth, comes rationalizing my actions. “Everybody’s doing it.  It’s no big deal.  We’re both adults.” 

The Bible shows us how to break these steps.

“Turn your back on the turbulent desires of youth and give your positive attention to goodness, faith, love and peace…” 2 Timothy 2:22 PH

The way you stop is by turning your back on what you’re thinking about. You have a choice. You don’t have to give in to temptation. It’s not a sin to be tempted.  But it’s a sin to give in to temptation. 

How do you break any temptation? Turn your back on it and replace it with something else. If my mind isn’t on it, I can’t be tempted by it. Change the situation.

One of the practical ways you can do if you want a pure mind in a polluted world is …

3. Monitor my media intake

What you feed your mind is just as important as what you feed your body. Could you live healthy on a diet of Dr. Pepper and Twinkies? No, you couldn’t. Yet the moral equivalent of a Twinkie is most things on Netflix and Prime. On television and streaming you’re taught, through exposure, that the only good sex is outside of God’s plan for sex.

Therefore, you have to monitor your media intake or your cornea is going to develop your character. The problem with television and media is it lowers your resistance to understanding what’s right and wrong. On television, sin is glamorized. Television doesn’t show the results of the sin.

“Keep me from paying attention to what is worthless.” Psalm 119:37 GNT

A way we often do this as adults is through the news. The news is often just a more sophisticated version of all the other junk. It’s worthless. Before you click on that headline or watch that news story, ask yourself if that is really what God has called you to think about that day.

“I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar.” Psalm 101:3 NLT

4. Minimize the opportunity for temptation

That means don’t place yourself in a situation where you know you’re going to be tempted. If you don’t want to get burned, stay away from the fire. Here are three verses that can help you with minimizing temptation in your life.

“So be careful. If you are thinking, ‘Oh, I would never behave like that’—let this be a warning to you. For you too may fall into sin.” 1 Corinthians 10:12 TLB

People tend to think the longer they have been a believer, the less they will be tempted. That is not true. The time you’re a believer has nothing to do with it. It really has more to do with how hard you’ve worked to develop conquering temptation.

Even Jesus was tempted. If you’re thinking, “I would never be tempted!  I would never give in to that temptation! I’m too old for that. I’m over that.” The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful.” Given the right circumstances each of us are capable of any sin. If you don’t think so, you’re already in trouble, because it’s going to get you in a way you don’t see coming.

“Bad companions ruin good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 GNT

Choose your friends carefully. It’s a well known fact that most affairs occur between couples who already know each other. That means you’d better make sure that your closest friends are as committed to their marriage as you are committed to yours or you may be setting yourself up for some unnecessary temptation. 

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality…” Ephesians 5:3 NIV

You need some guidelines and guardrails in your life. Guardrails such as making a commitment that you won’t talk about your marriage problems, won’t be alone, won’t go out to eat, won’t travel alone, or won’t have late night phone calls with people of the opposite sex. Situations like these is where all that stuff begins.

5. Maintain my marriage

A growing relationship with your spouse will reduce the pull and attraction of adultery. Many people get tempted after they’re married because we stop dating in our marriage. We stop doing those things that keep the spark and romance going.

What happens is men tend to get married and think, “Mission Accomplished.” Now he, as a natural goal oriented guy, starts thinking, “What’s next?” He focuses on providing and turns to work and projects. The woman wonders what happened to all the dates and hours spent talking. She’s thinking, “Bait and Switch.”

“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love.” Ecclesiastes 9:9 NIV

“The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs… Do not deprive each other of sexual relations… so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:3,5 NLT

For many of you, if you took the time you spent complaining about your marriage or fantasizing about something else and used that time to work on your marriage, it would be a whole lot better. You already have the time and the means.

6. Magnify the consequences of sin

The enemy tries to minimize the consequences of sin. Then after you sin, he condemns you.

“But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself.” Proverbs 6:32 NLT

“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15 NLT

Nothing damages your emotions more than sexual sin. God made you to be a sexual being. And since your sexuality invades every single part of your life, it’s not just a physical act. 

Many people wish they could roll back the clock and undo mistakes they have made due to temptations they have fallen into. God wants to spare you this pain. That’s why God’s standard has never changed. 

Premarital sex. Living together without getting married. Adultery. Homosexuality. Pornography. All of these are unacceptable to God. They always have been and always will be.

If you have been guilty of one or all of these things, God says He wants to give you a chance to come clean and start over. He is the only one with the power to do it. He offers healing, forgiveness and restoration.


The Path Back to Purity

1. Repent

Repent means we change our minds and admit God was right and we were wrong, we have sinned. David did this in Psalm 51. He prays a prayer after he committed adultery.  The important thing is you do it nowIf you’re in the middle of an affair right now, this is it. It’s over. It’s dead. It’s done today. Quit cold turkey, right now! 

2. Receive forgiveness

God says He wants to release us from the shame, regrets and hidden hurts. God wants to forgive you and wipe the slate clean. The good news is once He’s forgiven you, you can forgive yourself which you’re having a hard time doing.

3. Refocus and replace

You make a commitment to live morally pure by God’s standard from this day forward for the rest of your life. That means having sex only with the person you’re married to. 

4. Request help daily

Commit your life to Christ and ask Him to help you manage what He has given you. Galatians 5:16 tells us to walk by the Spirit and we won’t gratify the desires of the flesh.

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week about forgiveness. Were there any action steps you needed to take? Anyone you needed to forgive? If you can’t forgive in person, did you use one of the other techniques?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

We want pure air to breathe and pure water to drink, but some of us may be less aware of our mental or moral purity. Is it even possible to maintain purity in a world where we’re continually bombarded by media trying to rob us of our purity? The answer is yes!

How do you stay pure in a polluted world? Make a commitment to God’s standard; Manage your mind; Monitor your media intake; Minimize the opportunity for temptation; Maintain your marriage; Magnify the consequences of sin.

Application

  1. Of the six steps to stay pure in a polluted world, which one do you need to focus on right now?
  2. What is one temptation you have struggled with? What thoughts, emotions, or maybe even family history led you into the struggle?
  3. What are some voices you need to turn off in your life to live a pure life? This may be another person, or something from the sex-saturated media.
  4. A growing, thriving relationship with your spouse will reduce the pull and attraction of sexual immorality. What are some things you and your spouse did when you were dating that you both enjoyed? How can you start doing some fun things together again? (If you’re single, maintaining your marriage starts now. Commit to saving your sexual purity for marriage. Trust that God knows best and he has your best interest at heart. You can start honoring your spouse before you’ve even met them.)
  5. Regardless of what’s happened in your past, God offers you a new start today. Follow these steps…The path back to purity: Repent, receive forgiveness, refocus and request help daily.
  6. Using the “Personalize It” method of Bible meditation, put your name in place of the pronouns or nouns used in scripture. “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)

Tell Someone Else

Prayerfully consider who you could share this message with. You could have a conversation with them around the topic using some questions from these Talk It Over Notes, or you could send them a link to message through rockbrook.org/sermons, the podcast or Rock Brook App.

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Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #5: Respect

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Today we’re looking at one of those endangered character qualities. It’s the quality of respect. We live in a very rude world, people are becoming more and more rude. Common courtesy isn’t so common anymore. It seems that respect for other people, respect for property, respect the government, educational institutions, big business, law enforcement, and religious institutions is at an all-time low.

The Bible makes it very clear that respect is one of those values that a stable life is built on. Respect is the framework for a civilized society.  If there isn’t respect among each other, respect for rights and respect for responsibilities, then civilization decays.

“Show proper respect to everyone.” 1 Peter 2:17 NIV

The Bible is really specific about this: everybody is worthy of respect. We all want to be respected. That’s one of our basic needs in life.  There was an interview in which they were asking people who were poor what their greatest need was. The number one thing that came up above material possessions or money was to be treated with dignity and respect.

We all want other people to treat us with dignity and respect. So, how do you get respect?

The way you get respect is the way you give it.  


Why Treat Everyone With Respect?

The Bible shares with us four reasons we should show everyone respect regardless of their lifestyle, decisions, behavior or beliefs.

1. BECAUSE GOD MADE EVERYBODY.

“You (God) made (human beings) inferior only to yourself; you crowned them with glory and honor.” Psalm 8:5 GNT

Everybody is created by God and God doesn’t make junk. There are no worthless people. Now, we can agree that there are people who do worthless things and people who do wrong things, but all people are of value to God.

2. BECAUSE JESUS DIED FOR EVERYONE.

Let’s look at our memory verse for this week.

“God paid a ransom to save you… He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 TLB

We may not think much about somebody, but God does. He loves the unlovable. In fact, He says He love them so much they are worth dying for. The cross shows how much people matter to God. God loves people who don’t believe in Him, people who reject Him, people who choose to disobey Him.

3. BECAUSE RESPECT SHOWS YOU KNOW GOD.

“If a person isn’t loving and kind, it shows that he doesn’t know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8 TLB

Love always treats people with respect. If we are filled with Jesus Christ’s love and if Christ’s Spirit is living through us, then we will treat other people the way Jesus did.

The number one test of our faith is our relationships.

It’s not what you believe or what you say you believe that matters. What matters much more is how your beliefs come out in your behavior.

“Love is not rude.” 1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV

What is rudeness?  We see it all around us but what really is it?  The bottom line is, rudeness is simply disrespect. If we are rude to someone it shows we don’t care, or that person is not worth much in our eyes.

4. BECAUSE YOU WILL GET BACK WHATEVER YOU GIVE OUT.

It’s the law of the harvest; the reciprocal rule. Whatever goes around comes around.  God has set it up this way.

You will get back whatever you give out. 

If you want to be respected, it’s simple — treat other people with respect. If you want to be treated with value with dignity, treat other people with value and dignity.

“A man’s harvest in life will depend entirely on what he sows.” Galatians 6:7 PH 

Here is a little insight about the rule of the harvest. A harvest is for a season.  A farmer does not plant a seed one day and wake up the next day to harvest. Some of you may have planted grass seed this fall. You probably verticut or aeriated your yard then planted your seed and then watered it properly. Depending on the type of grass seed you planted it can take a week to four weeks before you start seeing the new grass pop up out of the ground.

So, don’t expect to go home today and start showing respect, or treating another person with dignity and expect them to respond immediately. It takes time. Especially if you are a person who is consistently disrespectful. It’s not going to happen overnight. Don’t get discouraged and frustrated. A little respect can start to make a difference. Over time you will reap what you sow.

Great people are just ordinary people who make people feel great.

The most respected people are the most respectful people.  They show it and they receive it in life. So, these are the biblical reason why we show respect to everyone. So how can we show respect? What does that look like?


Five Practical Ways to Show Respect

1. WHEN YOU SPEAK TO OTHER PEOPLE… BE TACTFUL, NOT JUST TRUTHFUL  

Gentle words cause life and healthgriping brings discouragement.” Proverbs 15:4 TLB

The primary way we show respect is with our words. This verse is talking about tactfulness. Tactfulness is a quality we don’t hear too much about today. It’s about watching how and what you say.

If you are tempted to say something rude you stop and T.H.I.N.K. Ask yourself:

T – Is this truthful?

H – Is it helpful

I – Is it inspirational?

N – Is it necessary?

K – Is it kind?

The way you say something determines how well it’s going to be received. You can say the same thing in different ways, and it will be accepted or rejected. Tact is the secret sauce when it comes to communicating to others. It’s the key to a happy home, a happy marriage, and strong friendships. It increases productivity in the workplace.

Learning how to be tactful and truthful at the same time is an absolute essential of being respectful.

People with tact often have a lot less to retract.

You don’t have to eat your words so often if you say them in a kind way. Some people today don’t understand tactfulness. Have you ever heard someone say, “I just tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may!” That’s not smart at all! Most often those chips land on disrespect and rudeness.

Before you even start to speak, ask yourself – am I about to destroy them or develop them? Build them up or tear them down? Make a point to prove I am right or find common ground?

2. WHEN YOU ARE SERVED BY OTHER PEOPLE… BE UNDERSTANDING NOT DEMANDING

One of the greatest tests of your character is how you treat people that serve you. When people are doing something for you are you understanding or are you demanding? Sometimes we forget those serving us are people too.

Those waiters and waitress have difficult bosses, co-workers who don’t show up for work, technical issues, a spouse or kid who is at home sick. Their cars break down just like yours does. It is possible they are having a bad day.

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat people who serve them. Jesus said…

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”  Luke 6:31 NIV

There is a quote by Eric Hoffer, “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.” It takes no intelligence at all to be rude. Rude people are rude because they want control. Rude people have often been wounded in the past, so they protect themselves by wounding others before they can be wounded themselves.

Some people are rude because of pride, they view others as inferior to them. Rude people often have a secret they don’t want you to know about. So, they keep people at a distant by being rude and disrespectful. It takes character, maturity and great strength to be understanding, not demanding, of people.

Common courtesy is just love in the little things.  

3. WHEN YOU DISAGREE WITH PEOPLE… BE GENTLE NOT JUDGMENTAL

As a believer there are a lot of things we disagree with in our culture. So how are we supposed to react to people we disagree with? When we disagree with our relative, neighbor, co-worker, or friend we need to remember two things:

  • Every will be accountable to God for their own attitudes, actions and behaviors.
  • You are not God – others are not accountable to you.

“Each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one other.” Romans 14:12-13 NIV

What does it mean to be judgmental? It is when you take the truth and you beat people over the head with it and you enjoy it.  It makes you feel morally superior. Being gentle is when we tell the truth to help people and to develop them rather than harm them or put them down.

4. WHEN YOU SHARE YOUR FAITH WITH PEOPLE… RESPECT THEM DON’T REJECT THEM 

If we are tactful, understanding, and gentle when speaking God’s Truth, His Truth will convict people in Love through the work of the Holy Spirit. Some of the rudest people you may have ever met were over zealous Christians.

Some are so committed to the truth, that they don’t really care that much about the people that Jesus died for. They beat people over the head with truth in a judgmental fashion. They are more interested in showing you what they know then showing how you can know God.

“If anybody asks why you believe as you do, be ready to tell him, and do it in a gentle and respectful way.” 1 Peter 3:15-16 TLB

You can’t argue people into heaven.  You don’t win them over by saying, “Turn or burn!”  God wants us to be a light in the world, not a blow torch.

5. WHEN PEOPLE ARE RUDE TO YOU… RESPOND POLITELY

Don’t retaliate by being rude back, that only adds fuel to the fire.

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil… overcome evil with good.”  Romans 12:17,21 NIV


Where Does Respect Begin?

Respect starts in the home. We start at our physical home, our church home, and our community. We’re to honor our parents — that’s the fifth commandment. One of the most critical lessons a child learns is how to relate to authority.  If a child doesn’t learn how to relate to authority and show respect, he’ll never be successful in his career, in school, in relationships, or marriage.

How do you teach your child to respect authority? By the way you treat others. The Bible says we are to respect parents (Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:1-2), spouses (Ephesians 5:22-33, 1 Peter 3:1,7), church leaders (Hebrews 13:17), and anyone in authority (Romans 13:1-7). We learn respect at home, it starts in the family. Whatever you give out, you’re going to get back.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week about BALANCE. Do you remember the memory verse? Have you had any opportunities to commit your schedule to God?

“My times are in your hands.” Psalm 31:15

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

Good relationships depend on respect and one test of your faith is how you handle your relationships. It’s not what you believe or what you say you believe that matters as much as how that belief is expressed in the way you treat other people.

In Matthew 25 Christ tells us that we bless him when we feed and clothe the needy, when we extend hospitality to others, and when we visit the sick and imprisoned: He says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.”

In your time together, read Matthew 25:34-45.

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31

Application

1. The Bible has a lot to say about why respect is so important. Here are just a few truths to reflect on. God made everybody. (Psalm 8:5) Jesus died for everyone. (1 Peter 1:18-19) Respect shows you know God. (1 John 4:8) You’ll get back whatever you give out (Galatians 6:7) Which one of these reasons to respect other people stand out to you the most?

2. Proverbs 15:4 says, “Gentle words cause life and health; griping brings discouragement.” I’m sure you probably know someone who is good at speaking truth with grace. They are often tactful and truthful. How do they do both?

3. Have you ever noticed that we can often be kind and respectful to people at school or the people we work with and the people we interact with in the community, but then go home and be rude to our family? Why is that? Why do you think that sometimes we are the most disrespectful to the people we are closest to?

4. Romans 12:17,21 says, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil…overcome evil with good.” That kind of respect really begins in the home. This is one of the most critical lessons for a child to learn. Discuss with your group how you can model respect as an example for your children or young people in your life.

Tell Someone Else

Who can you show some respect to this week? Is there a coworker, fellow student or family member you could share this message with so you could help one another be respectful?

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Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #4: Balance

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Do you ever feel like everything is accomplished just as you’re running out of time? Does life feel like diffusing a time bomb? This week, we’re going to look at a value that is universally admired, and universally ignored – balance.

God established the universe with the principle of balance or equilibrium. For instance, the earth is balanced on an axis. Another example is architecture. Architecture is built on the principle of balancing stress load. If there is no stress it will collapse. If there is too much stress it will collapse.

If your life is not balanced it will collapse.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” Colossians 3:23 NIV

The Bible presents a balance between work and rest. Good, hard, focused work is godly and biblical. It’s completely reasonable for your employer to ask for 40 solid hours from youIt’s right for them to ask for those hours to be focused, not doing personal projects or shopping or social media.

“It is senseless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night… God wants his loved ones to get their proper rest.” Psalm 127:2 TLB

The Bible also talks about rest. God cares about your work, but he’s also concerned that you get the right amount of rest. The human body is built on the principle of balance. Your body is made up of many systems and functions properly when these systems are in balance with each other. 

When any one of these systems gets out of balance, we call that dis-ease or disease. When the systems are all in balance we call that health. Healing is the recovery of balance to the body. God’s interested in you living a balanced life.


B.A.L.A.N.C.E

B — Build my life around Christ

The only person who ever lived a perfectly God-honoring life was Jesus. Therefore, He defines what balance is. Think of your life like a wheel. 

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At the center of the wheel is the hub. Out of that hub are all the spokes of life which represent your relationships, your family, your career, your finances, your dreams, your goals and every other area of your life.

Many people put “God” or “going to church” as just another spoke on their wheel. But, that means something or someone else will be at the hub, because there is always going to be something at the center of your life. 

How do you know what your life is centered around? Simple — What do you think about the most? Every time we make a decision, we think about what that decision will affect. Do you think about how the decision will affect your relationship with Christ?

Whatever you think about the most is what you center your life around. 

The center of your life is very important. If you have a solid center, you’re going to have a solid life. But if you’ve got a weak, flimsy center you’re going to crack up at the edges. Only God is strong enough to hold you together, nothing else has the strength to hold all the pieces of life together. 

Not only does the hub create stability, the hub controls everything else. So whatever you put at the core of your life, is going to control and influence everything else. The center of the wheel is the hub, the hub is connected to the axle and the axle is connected to the source of power.

The power always emanates from the hub outward, not inward. If you have anything except God at the center of your life, at the hub, at the core, you’ve got a power shortage. 

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 NLT

If you put Jesus Christ at the center, He can direct, He can influence, He can empower, He can give stability to every spoke of your life whether it’s education, career, family, etc.

A — Accept my humanity

That means we stop trying to pretend that we have all the answers, that we can solve everybody’s problem, that we can meet every need and that we can fulfill everyone’s expectation. We must recognize that we have limitations.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” Isaiah 40:28 NIV

We think, “It’s all going to crash if I don’t keep it going.” But we forget, we are not the general manager of the universe. And even God can’t even please everybody. One person wants it to rain, another wants it to be sunny. Only a fool would try to do what even God can’t do.

Not all the pressure in your life is coming from other people; we often put the pressure on ourselves. We think we need to add more extra curricular activities, remodel the bathroom, get another degree, start a side hustle, throw a huge birthday party… but this is uneccessary pressure we put on ourselves to try and measure up. 

“You made my body, Lord; now give me sense to heed your laws.” Psalm 119:73 TLB

L — Limit my Labor

Just like a bow and arrow, a bow that is constantly strung tight, loses it’s power. It has to be unstrung periodically. We can’t live under constant tension. This is not just pop psychology or good advice, it’s so important that God put it in the Ten Commandments.

“You have six days in which to do your work, but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to me.” Exodus 20:9-10 GNT

Up there on the list with, “Don’t make any idols.” He also says, “Take a day off every seven days.” God wired you up to be in a rhythm of work and rest.

Our best requires rest. 

This principle is called the Sabbath. Sabbath simply means “A day of rest.” God expects you to observe a sabbath every seven days.

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.'” Mark 2:27 NLT

They were creating extra rules for the Sabbath to the point where the Sabbath wasn’t a relief, it became just another burden. The book of Colossians in the New Testament says God doesn’t care which day your Sabbath is. We get concerned about all the rules but He wants us to catch the principle of balance, not get so wrapped up in the law. 

If the goal of Sabbath is rest, then there are three types of fatigue we need to tend to. 

  • Physical fatigue: when your muscles and your body get tired.
  • Emotional fatigue: when your emotions get tired.
  • Spiritual fatigue: when your heart dries up and you just don’t feel close to God and you feel like when you pray, nobody’s listening.

So what three things do we do on a sabbath?

1. Rest my body

If you don’t take time off, your body will take time off for you. Your back will go out, you’ll get a headache, you’ll get the flu… We are not designed to go without rest.

2. Recharge your emotions

This takes different things for different people. You can recharge yourself emotionally through quietness, through recreation, through relationships.

3. Refocus your spirit

The Bible word for that is worship. Worship is when I focus on God instead of all my problems. One of the things worship does is put everything else in perspective. It shrinks your problems. Too often when people are tired and overworked they look for peace & quiet when they really need the Peace of Christ.

A — Adjust my values

The real reason our lives get out of balance is because our values get out of balance; we start majoring on the minors. The Bible says that one of the reasons we overwork is materialism, but you can’t keep up with the Jones’ and live a balanced life at the same time.

“I have also learned why people work so hard to succeed: it is because they envy the things their neighbors have.” Ecclesiastes 4:4 GNT

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Mark 8:36 NIV

One of the reasons why Americans have a hard time relaxing is because we often confuse our work and our worth. We think that what I do is the same thing as who I am and my net worth determines my self worth. That’s all a lie. It’s just not true.

Your identity has nothing to do with your career or how fulfilling the job is. It has to do with who God made you to be. We think if I achieve a lot then I’m worth a lot. But, we need to remember, the greatest things in life aren’t things.

“It is better to have only a little with peace of mind than to be busy all the time.” Ecclesiastes 4:6

N — Nourish my inner life

God puts an inner fire within each of us that gives us a passion and zeal and a reason to get up in the morning. If you don’t tend it, if you don’t nourish that fire, you will find that it goes out eventually. Then, you are then trying to live your life and meet other people’s needs from very cold embers rather than a blazing fire.

Our society encourages us to live externally, to live from the outside in, to make sure that everything looks really good on the outside and hope somehow we can cover up what’s going on, on the inside. But what does it matter if you’ve got an immaculate yard, every weed picked, every blade of grass is where it should be, and your house is decorated flawlessly your car is washed and your desk is clean if on the inside there is death, bitterness, rage, frustration and unforgiveness?

God tells us we are to live our lives from the inside out not from the outside in. That has to do with tending that inner fire. What is it you have stopped paying attention to or stopped doing because you are just too busy?

Charles Swindoll says in his book, “Growing Strong Through the Seasons of Life” that one time he went to a beautiful home and there was an amazing stone fireplace with a large wood mantel. He walked up close to see what words were on the mantel. It said, “If your heart is cold, my fires cannot warm you.” 

A three car garage cannot warm a cold heart. A promotion at work cannot warm a cold heart. A two week vacation cannot warm a cold heart. A successful business cannot warm a cold heart. What will warm a cold heart is contact again with the living God.

“I will delight in your decrees. I will not neglect your word.” Psalm 119:16

If you’re finding the fire in your life has gone out, get back in contact with the living God and let Him begin to warm up your heart again.

C — Commit my schedule to God.

Each day, we have to commit our schedules to God, knowing for an absolute fact, that life is not going to cooperate with our schedule. Have you noticed that life doesn’t really care about what is on your to-do list?

“My times are in Your hands.” Psalm 31:15

When we live by that verse, our stress level goes down. We can make a list, but also commit it to God, knowing that He alone knows what we are supposed to be doing on any given day. 

In Matthew 9 is the story of Jesus on His way to heal a dying child. On His way, a woman who has had a chronic illness for over 20 years stops Him and He stops and heals her. That it tells me Jesus understood this principle. He understood that the Father knew where He was supposed to be and He was willing to be bendable and flexible to let God show Him where He was supposed to spend His time. 

E — Enjoy each moment

“All of us should… enjoy what we have worked for. It’s God’s gift.” Ecclesiastes 3:13 GNT

Balanced people learn how to be happy while they’re working on goals. It’s okay to have goals, God even says to work on goals. But you need to understand that the goal of life is not accomplishments.

The goal of life — the reason you were put here on this earth — are two things: to get to know God personally through His son Jesus Christ, and to become more like God is in character using the gifts He gave you to serve other people.

We can’t do that if we’re not thankful for the moments he gives us. You can get everything else right. Your schedule. Time management. Money management. Days off. Vacation time. But it still won’t meet your biggest need.

Your biggest need is salvation.

You need to get plugged back in to God’s power. Physical fatigue can be cured by rest. But it takes more than physical rest to rejuvenate emotional and spiritual fatigue. If your spirit’s dried up, a two week vacation isn’t going to do anything for it. You do that by putting Christ back at the center, at the hub of your life. 

“Jesus: ‘Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest… the load I give to you to carry is light.'” Matthew 11:28,30

He tells us He will give us rest, not give us a whole lot more to do. Some of us may be afraid to really sell out to God completely because we are afraid God’s going to load more on us than we’ve already got. The myth is, if I live God’s way He’ll give me more to do. The fact is He will exchange our pressure for His peace and His power. 

He wants you to be balanced. He’ll give you a life and values that are going to matter for eternity. If you are carrying a heavy load, it’s not from God. God will never put more on you than He puts in you to bear it up.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. Any more thoughts or conclusions about the message on Self-Control? How did it go writing out your own prayer from Psalm 13, 43, 51 or 140?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook App

Hear the Word

Are you managing your schedule or is your schedule managing you? Have you ever considered how your schedule and the way you use your time could impact your values?

We all desire a balanced life, and for good reason: It’s part of God’s plan for us. Every nook and cranny of the universe is built on this principle. The earth is balanced. Your body, when it’s healthy, is balanced. Our life and our schedules are healthy when they are balanced.

“It is senseless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night… God wants his loved ones to get their proper rest.” Psalm 127:2 TLB

B.A.L.A.N.C.E

Build my life around Christ. Accept my humanity. Limit my labor. Adjust my values. Nourish my inner life. Commit my schedule to God. Enjoy each moment.

Application

  1. What does your life revolve around right now? Work? Family? School? Is Jesus Christ one of the spokes, or is he the hub of your life? You’ll never be at peace and never be balanced if Christ is not at the center. When Christ is at the center he gives you stability, control and power. What spoke of your life is currently competing to be the hub of your life?
  2. If you’re wondering what that looks like, here are a few ideas. Have a day that you rest your body, where you recharge your emotions and where you refocus your spirit by focusing on God. With that framework, what would a day of rest look like for you? What would be a successful sabbath for you? What activities? What people?
  3. What are you neglecting in your life right now that normally fuels your passion? What have you stopped paying attention to or stopped doing to nourish your inner life because you’re too busy?
  4. How often do you enjoy time and experiences with God and your family and your friends? If you want more of that kind of time in your life, get it on your schedule.

Tell Someone Else

Who can you share this message with? Maybe you could give them a break and use it as an opportunity to share this message with them. You could send them a link to the message at rockbrook.org or share the podcast with them. You might consider giving them a Building Your Life On Values That Last study guide.

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