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Fractured Families-Broken Lives - 2 Samuel 13-18

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The Department of Homeland Security was established after the attacks of September 11, 2001. It was, in part, a response to terrorism. But what about our response to the terrorism taking place to our own homes? Our society is hardly family-friendly. There are powerful forces operating to undermine the moral underpinnings of the family unit. Let's discover what happened to Israel's First Family. Lets review the story of David and Absalom that sadly repeats itself today.

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1/27/2008
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Fractured Families-Broken Lives
2 Samuel 13-18
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
The Department of Homeland Security was established after the attacks of September 11, 2001. It was, in part, a response to terrorism. But what about our response to the terrorism taking place to our own homes? Our society is hardly family-friendly. There are powerful forces operating to undermine the moral underpinnings of the family unit. Let's discover what happened to Israel's First Family. Lets review the story of David and Absalom that sadly repeats itself today.
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Homeland Security

Homeland Security

We live in a country that is on constant guard to preserve the democracy and freedom of its current state. But do we pay as much attention to the security of our souls as we do the security of our nation?

Pastor Skip Heitzig breaks apart the basic components of today's society and looks at the threats that believers face at every level: personally, family, communally, nationally, and globally. This series focuses on what God's word says about each of these levels of society and how we can best follow God's original plan for our lives, our family, and the rest of the world.

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Outline

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I. A Ruptured Home (2 Samuel 13)

A. Chaotic Relationships (Vss1-2, 11-14)

B. Passive Parenting (Vs 7, 21)


II. A Rebel Son

A. Violence (13: 28-29)

B. Subversion (15: 1-6)


III. A Remorseful Dad

A. Proximity without Intimacy (14:21-24, 28-29)

B. Dissension without Resolution (18:33)

Transcript

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20080127

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Today we continue this series Homeland Security, Peace in Times of Terror, by turning our attention to the most basic and important issue, the dangers our families face at home. An alarming trend is causing severe social problems in America and around the world. When fathers fail to raise their children and walk away from their responsibilities as dads, they set off a chain reaction of consequences.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

The contribution and influence of a man on the raising of children is crucial on establishing secure families. Our Homeland Security Series continues now, as we study 2 Samuel 13 through 18 and consider the message "Fractured Families-- Broken Lives."

I hope you brought a Bible today. As you can see, we're in six chapters. That doesn't mean we're going to read all of them, but there's things I don't want you just to hear, but I want you to see. And so if you don't have a Bible, you might want to steal the person's next to you. No, there's one right in front of you in a chair there's going to be a Bible. But take it and let's follow along and let's have a word of prayer together.

Our Lord, we continue our worship by our attitude, our openness, our willingness to listen to the word of God as we read it, and as we consider it together. And we pray that the Holy Spirit present with us now would be the ultimate teacher that we might learn and be conformed to Your will. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Well, I'm going to begin by posing a riddle to you. There was a perfect man who met a perfect woman. After a perfect courtship they had a perfect wedding. Their life together was of course, perfect.

One snowy, stormy Christmas Eve this perfect couple was driving along a winding road when they noticed someone at the roadside in distress. Being the perfect couple, they stopped to help. There stood Santa Claus with a huge bundle of toys.

Not wanting to disappoint any children on the Eve of Christmas, the perfect couple loaded Santa and his toys into their vehicle. Soon they were driving along delivering the toys.

Unfortunately, the driving conditions deteriorated and the perfect couple and Santa Claus had an accident. Only one of them survived the accident. Who was the survivor?

The answer, the perfect woman. She's the only one that really existed in the first place. Everyone knows there is no Santa Claus and there's no such thing as a perfect man.

Now I notice the women clapping. It ain't over. The males' response to that is, so if there is no perfect man and there is no Santa Claus, the perfect woman must have been driving. This explains why there was a car accident.

There's no such thing as a perfect man. There is no such thing as a perfect woman. Well, there was one. I married that one. There's none left.

There's no such thing as a perfect family. Every single family has some level of malfunction. We're going to step into the home of a premier family in the Old Testament, King David, the man after God's own heart. And even his family, the relationship that he has with his son Absalom is very strained, as we'll see this morning.

This is the family of a driven man. A man who has great power as king, but he's a passive parent. When you get power and passivity together in one individual it's dangerous. We'll see that. This is a fractured family.

Now you know that the family is the basic core unit of any society. And you should know that as the family goes, so goes the society. If you have vibrant, healthy thriving families, you have a vibrant, healthy thriving community. If you have fractured families, I don't care what the economic status is, I don't care what the programs are, you have a fractured society, a fractured culture.

And there are powerful forces that are working against our family. I don't need to tell you that the media, the fashion industry, the lyrics to certain music aren't too pro-family. These are things that fight against what the biblical model of a family is. But there's another force at work that's attacking the family. You're not going to be ready for what you hear. Parents. Parents can be one of the forces that actually fight against the integrity of a family.

First of all, all of those list of things, the culture, the media, fashion industry, lyrics, all of those things are barraging us with their messages. So that you have young couples that get married, and they don't even know if they want to have kids. And when they do have kids, Rick Weiss, a researcher, noted that young couples that have children, their happiness goes down. Their frustration level goes up.

Why is that? Because of those messages that we hear. Boy, you have a baby, it's going to change the shape of your body. You have a baby, that's going to demand a lot of time. Your interests will have to take a backseat. No wonder the frustration level goes up and the happiness goes down. Culture sees that as an inconvenience.

Well, one of the greatest challenges in our culture, and it's going to be even way more in the future, is the issue of abandoned children, abandoned children. And with the abandonment, anger, huge anger issues. Listen to these numbers.

Worldwide, there are 70 million street or abandoned children. 7 0 million, 70 million street abandoned children worldwide. Two million of them are involved in the sex trade worldwide, Asia, South America principally. In our country, the good old US of A, 1.5 million children, teenagers, and young adults are on US streets, 1 and 1/2 million. It's been estimated that if all of the homeless youth were in one city in America, it would be the seventh largest city in the United States.

Now we can't change all of that. But the question really for us, is how do we secure the future generation? How do we provide security for them? One answer, two words, parental involvement, parental involvement.

Let's look at our text this morning in chapter 13 of 2 Samuel. Let's look into his ruptured home. And as we step into the story, we discover a family that is chaotic relationally. There is relational chaos in this family.

There is David. And I can't say Mrs. David, because there were eight of them. David, the King of Israel, has eight wives and many concubines. He may even have a few porcupines. But he's got a lot of concubines, those are other women. Eight wives, a bunch of other women that he has relationships with. And he produces, I counted them up, 19 children, 19 children from different moms. There's two kids born to him that are the result of an affair that he has with another woman while he's married to the rest of them.

So we have a chaos brewing here. You might be tempted to say, well I know history, and I know that it was commonplace in that day and that age for kings to have many wives. So what? God said in the very first book, for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, singular. And the two will become one flesh.

Moreover, God made a commandment in Deuteronomy 17 verse 17. The king shall not multiply wives to himself. And David broke all those rules. Now it's a chaotic family relationally. Let's look at verse one and get a glimpse of even more chaos.

After this, Absalom, the son of David, had a lovely sister whose name was Tamar. And Amnon, the son of David, loved her. So you got a brother and a sister. And then you got a step brother, a half brother. Same father, another mom. Amnon was so distressed, verse two, over his sister Tamar, that he became sick. For she was a virgin and it was improper for Amnon to do anything to her.

The reason that's there is because he's going to devise a plot to get her into his bedroom, which he does verse, 14. She tries to dissuade him. However, he would not heed her voice. And being stronger than she, he forced her, and he lay with her.

Boy, this is dysfunction junction, this family. I mean, David was lose, his dad. But this kid takes it to a whole new level of lowness, rapes his half sister, forces himself on her.

I can't prove this, but from what I've read and what we're about to read, I've studied these chapters over and over again. It seems that David never sat down with his kids to talk about sex. I don't think he ever briefed them on what's right and what's wrong.

I don't think there was ever a time where he openly confessed yeah, I had an affair and this is what happened. And here's the lesson that I've learned from this, kids. And here's the lessons you ought to learn from this. From what I know about David, that never happened.

Surveys show today, get this, today less than 5% of Christian couples ever give honest, thorough explanation to their children about sexuality. No guidance at home. Less than 5% of Christian parents provide that.

Well, kids are pretty smart. They're intuitive. They have very sensitive antenna. And they pick up on lots of stuff. They know a lot more than we give them credit for at a very young age. But they will emulate what they see, what they hear, or what they don't see.

Now let's see what David does with this. OK, he's the dad. He hears about this. Now if you mix relational chaos with a passive parent, you have a volatile situation. Verse 21, when King David heard of all these things he was very angry. Period. That's all the information we have. He got mad, which is his MO.

If you remember a few chapters back, here's David's reaction to problems. Prophet comes and says hey, let me tell you about two guys. One was rich, one was poor.

The rich guy had lots of sheep. The poor guy only had one. And the rich guy was hungry, he had a friend over, so he killed the poor man's single lamb and ate it for dinner.

You know what David did? He got very angry. He flew off the handle. He had a temper. Kill that man. Really, kill a guy for an animal? Whew, I mean, talk about animal rights. Kill him. David gets angry over the lamb. Now his daughter is raped. He gets mad.

Doesn't say he calls Amnon in. Doesn't say he confronts Amnon. There's no parental intervention. There's no mature resolution. There's no Godly restitution. We just have a guy who's really mad at that, and that's all.

During this time, Absalom, the son, Absalom, the brother of Tamar, is watching this. He's watching dad's response. He's saying, where's the justice? And he sees nothing happening. And all the while, resentment grows, anger grows within him day by day.

And we have here, though you don't see it yet, but you will, we have the making of a juvenile delinquent in Absalom. As he takes and internalizes it and gets angry, he's turning into a juvenile delinquent. You'll see it.

We saw some of the statistics up on the screen as we began the service today about the rise in juvenile crime, et cetera. Dr. Loren Moshen from the National Institute of Mental Health, as he analyzed census figures he found the absence of a father to be a stronger factor than poverty in contributing to juvenile delinquency.

I'll tell you why that's important. Because when people talk about this during election time, all these problems, they say, well the problem is poverty or the problem is race. Wrong. This guy is saying I've studied it. And absent parenting is a bigger cause than those other factors.

Listen, the cure for crime isn't in the electric chair, it's in the high chair. It begins when they're very young, and nobody can shirk that responsibility. I don't care how committed they are. Even Socrates said to the men of Athens, he marveled that they could turn over every stone, he said, to find wealth for themselves, but pay so little care to their children to whom one day they would relinquish all.

Well, there is no such thing as a perfect parent. But you can be a good parent, not perfect, but you can be good. And if you want to be a good parent, there's one thing you can never be. And that is a passive parent, an aloof parent, a non-engaged and uninvolved parent.

I tell you who else was watching this whole scene unfold. Not just Absalom, as he's getting angry. A guy named Solomon, he was also one of the kids in this family. Solomon who was watching this. This was his family too.

And Solomon is the kid who later on will grow up and be the king and write the book of Proverbs. And if you know Proverbs, he writes a lot about raising children, right. And one of the most famous things Solomon ever said in Proverbs 22 I think verse 6.

As soon as I say it, I know your lips will start moving because we all know this verse. Train up a child in the way that he should go. And when he is old he won't depart from it. Solomon said that, the kid in this family who is watching this.

What does that mean, train up a child? Well, it can't mean be passive. It must mean be active, be engaged. It does. The word "train" doesn't mean toss out a few words of advice every couple of months, that will suffice. The word "train" is the Hebrew word "chanank," which means to put something into somebody's mouth or to affect their taste.

It is interesting, there's an Arabic word that is closely associated to that. It sounds a lot like it. And it's a word the Arabs still use. It describes a process. They take date honey with their little finger and they put it on the lips of a newborn. It stimulates the taste, the sucking reflex for breastfeeding.

So the word "train" up a child means stimulate that child's hunger and thirst for godliness and godly behavior. Do you play with your child? Do you pray with your child? Are you actively involved enough to stimulate their desire to be godly?

If your little boy says, I want to be just like daddy when I grow up is, that a good thing? If the baby girl says, I want to be just like mommy, is that a good desire? Are you stimulating? That's the idea of training.

Well, we go from a ruptured home to focusing on Absalom for just a moment, a rebel son. Absalom responds. He's watching, and he will respond to dad's indifference. Dad does nothing. This boy wants justice served.

Flick over in chapter 13 at verse 28. Now Absalom had commanded his servants saying, watch now when Amnon's heart is merry with wine. In other words, let's booze this guy up a little bit. And when I say to you, strike Amnon, then kill him. Do not be afraid. Have I not commanded you? Be courageous, be valiant.

Listen to this briefing. He's encouraging his buddies as if you are the dispensers of justice. My dad didn't do this, be courageous, be valiant, this is the right thing to do.

So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons arose. And each one got on his mule and fled. That's Absalom's response to David's passivity in dealing with Amnon.

OK, so where's David? Where is dad in all this? What does he do? Let's see His reaction, verse 36.

So it was as soon as he had finished speaking that the king's sons indeed came. And they lifted up their voice and wept. And also the king and all his servants wept very bitterly. Now that's understandable, I won't say anything negative about that. That's understandable. Here's a grieving father.

Verse 37, but Absalom fled and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, the king of Gesher. David mourned for his son every day. So Absalom fled and went to Gesher and was there for three years. Now watch this, and King David longed to go to Absalom. For he had been comforted concerning Amnon because he was dead.

So far, David has gotten mad and David cries, but he never went to see and confront his son Amnon. He never saw Absalom after he murders his brother. And notice what the verse says, David longed to see Absalom.

OK, here's my question. Why didn't he? He wants to, he longs to, he never did, why? I mean, he's the king, right. He can do whatever he wants. You carry the king ID card you can go anywhere you want. Why didn't the king go see his son? I don't know. I don't.

I could ask that question of a lot of families. Why doesn't that guy humble himself? Well, why doesn't she decide to reconcile with her husband? Why doesn't that stubborn young man just get together with them and talk this thing through?

Whatever it is, there are family dynamics and entrenchments that get set up. And we get sort of used to our little way of we're dealing, and we refuse to do whatever it takes. And here's a classic family who did exactly that.

But here's something I do know, is I followed the story through. Now that cycle of violence due to resentment, immorality due to resentment and anger gets perpetuated and gets amplified. Why? A passive dad. An absent dad.

And when I say absent dad, I know there's a lot of reasons for it, and I don't want to paint with a broom. It could be a divorce, it could be abandonment. It could simply be neglect, just neglect. That's a possibility.

Charles Colson of Prison Fellowship said take away the family, and you might as well build prison cells right now. That's the bottom line. Take away the family, because why? There is an incredible insecurity that gets set up in the psyche of a young man or a young girl without the stability in a home, of leadership. And I'd say masculine leadership.

Jim Dobson writes, the Western world stands at a great crossroads in its history. It is my opinion that our very survival as a people will depend on the presence or absence of masculine leadership in the home.

Now you saw the stats as we began our service today, some of them that were put up there. Over the last 30 years, if you went from 1978 up to today, and looked at the 30 year trend, we notice that there is a rise in violent crime among the young that corresponds with a rise in families abandoned by fathers.

There's a lot of stats on that. Teenage aggression and hostility mirrors the growth of single parent families. And they've done the research, and we have the numbers. The states in the United States that have the most of such families is first on the list Mississippi 48%. Second, Louisiana 45%, third in America, New Mexico, 37%.

You see this, this isn't theory. This is our reality. This is happening next door or in our own homes. That is the state of our affairs.

Well, not only does this young man get violent and kill his step brother, runaway. But if you look at chapter 15, the violence turns into subversion, gets worse. His behavior is even more erratic.

In chapter 15, Solomon, back in Jerusalem, takes 50 guys with him. Goes out to the gate of the city, and as people come into the city, well, watch what happens. Verse three, Absalom would say to him, look, your case is good and right, but there is no deputy of the king to hear you. Moreover, Absalom would say, oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me and I would give them justice.

He's a perfect politician, this kid. And so it was, whenever anyone came out to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. He knows out to campaign, this guy.

In this manner, Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. Now watch this, so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. What's happening here?

You say, well it's a guy starting a coup. What's really happening here? You have a young man trying to get his dad's attention, really trying to get his dad's attention.

Here's what I want you not to miss. The whole stability of the nation rests upon a single relationship of a father and a son. And it's about to split.

Well, let's move now to King David for just a moment, a remorseful dad. We'll close on this, a remorseful dad. What I want you to see, and really this is the heart of the message. There's two principal reasons for the dysfunction in the family of David. If you don't like the word dysfunction because you think it's psychobabble, use another word, malfunction. Better? Disarray, a breakdown, two principle reasons for it.

Number one, proximity without intimacy. Proximity without intimacy. That's where you're close, but you're not close. You're in the same town, you're in the same house, you're close physically, but you are detached emotionally, proximity without intimacy.

Well, here's the deal. We read in chapter 13 that Absalom fled. He was gone three years. Joab, the general who was David's buddy, knew that King David, this was eating him up. It was eating him up. He knew that he wanted to see Absalom, his son, but he wouldn't swallow his pride and go get him. So he figures out a way to bring Absalom back to town. Begs David. David says OK, bring him.

So verse 23 of chapter 14, notice so Joab arose and went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. That sounds good, right? And the king said, let him return to his own house, but do not let him see my face. Ouch. So Absalom returned to his own house, but did not see the king's face.

Verse 28, Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem but did not see the king's face. That's proximity without intimacy. There's no-- there's no way to heal unless you see, talk, read the body language, confess. Don't let him see my face.

So watch what happens. That turns into resentment, watch. Therefore Absalom sent for Joab to send him to the king, but he would not come to him.

And when he sent him again the second time, he would not come. So he said to his servants, see Joab's field is near mine. He has barley there. Go set it on fire. And Absalom's servant set the field on fire.

And Joab arose and came to Absalom's house. And said to him, why have your servants set my field on fire? Absalom answered, Joab look, I sent you saying come here so that I may send you to the king to say, why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still. Now therefore let me see the king's face. But if there is iniquity in me, then let him execute me. I'd rather-- I'd rather die than live like this.

Just as David longed to see Absalom, Absalom longs to see David. David says, I don't want to see him. Bring him to town, but I don't want to see him. That's how he dealt with things. Proximity without intimacy, two years of that makes for two years of resentment.

Back in the 1800s, the 19th century, there was a pretty notable, busy politician by the name of Charles Francis Adams. Bigwig, important, powerful. He kept a journal. One day there was this entry written in his journal. It said, went fishing with my son today. A day wasted.

Now his son also kept a journal. And on the very same day he entered in his journal, went fishing with my dad today. The most wonderful day of my life.

That's proximity without intimacy. Here's a boy who couldn't wait to be with his dad. Here's a dad saying, I have to do this. A wasted day. In the same boat, but not in the same boat. Not on the same page.

Dads, it's much easier to build a boy than it is to repair a man. And you're about to read about a broken relationship that never gets repaired. And how do you build a boy? How do you build a girl? You sew into their life your life. You sew time. You share the intimacy that comes with the proximity.

Gallup poll put out a youth survey of 1,000 teenagers. And Out of 1,000 teens, 42% of them had not received words of praise during the 24 hour period tested. Half of them got no hug or no kiss. And 44% never heard the words I love you.

Well, they don't need to hear it. I told them. I tell them enough. Tell them every day. Tell them several times a day. Talk to them on the phone, I love you. You can't hear that enough. We need to be buttressed, built up, fortified in that love.

So there was proximity without intimacy, and that was the first cause of this dysfunction. There was something else. There was dissension without resolution. Dissension without resolution.

There's been this long time rift between David and Solomon that has never been resolved, never been resolved. So Absalom kills and sets fields on fire, in chapter 15 starts a coup, get his dad's attention. Now what happens? Historically we know.

He was successful in his subversion. He managed to split the nation. He inaugurates himself as the king. And chapter 15, 16, 17 and 18 reveal that story. So now you have King Absalom with a whole group of people for him and against the king. And he manages to kick King David out of Jerusalem. David has to flee like a refugee.

So as the chapters go on, now there's two armies. Now get this. There's the army of King David and the army of King Solomon. The armies, and the armies of King David and the armies of King, excuse me, Absalom are fighting each other. See this is a family feud on steroids. Their armies are fighting each other.

OK, look at chapter 18. David's army is about to face Absalom in battle. Here's the briefing before the battle, one verse, verse five. Now the king, chapter 18 verse 5, now the king had commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, the three generals. Saying, deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.

He won't talk to him, won't resolve conflict. Deal gently with him. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captain's orders concerning Absalom. What's David thinking about? His son.

Well, the battle goes on, Absalom gets killed in the battle. A runner comes back to give the news that David and his army has won the war. Verse 28, so Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, all is well. And he bowed down his face to the earth before the king and he said, blessed be the Lord your God who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord, the king.

Now most kings would rejoice at that news. But watch this. The king said, one question, one concern. Is the young man Absalom safe?

What was this king thinking about during this war? His son. He wasn't thinking about how the battle is going to go. Wasn't thinking about, I hope I get to Jerusalem by the end of the month. Hope I get my throne back. One thing is on his mind, his son.

And some sons or daughters here this morning, you think about your dad or you even your mom, you might say, my dad doesn't care about me. My dad never thinks about me. He's thinking about you right now.

Why didn't he ever call me? Why didn't David ever go to Absalom for three years? He was the king, why didn't he do it? I don't know why. I don't know what weirdness is set up in the family of yours that has caused somebody to get entrenched.

But I'm going to say this. If you're a mom or a dad and there's a rift, leave this place today and do whatever it takes to reach out. Just try to reach out. Do your part to reach out and heal the rift.

Or if you're a son or a daughter and you've been hurt by your parents, don't you sit there after this message and say, well I'm just going to wait for them to call. You call. You tell them you love them.

Me? They blew it. Yeah, but last time I checked, that verse about honoring your father and your mother is still in the book. It's still there. Well, they're the ones that blew it.

OK, think of it this way. You've been forgiven by Jesus Christ. God's given you His unconditional love.

Don't you think that people who have received unconditional love should give unconditional love? In fact, don't you think the only ones equipped to show unconditional love are those who have received unconditional love?

You're a Christian. You have a different standard. You have a different power. You could go and make it right.

Well, we close with verse 33. The king was deeply moved. Went up to the chamber over the gate and he wept. And as he went he said thus, oh, my son, Absalom. My son, my son, Absalom. If only I had died in your place. Oh Absalom, my son, my son.

That's too little too late. What grief. These are the very words he should have said Absalom two years while Absalom was in Jerusalem or three years when he was in Geshur and had the opportunity, because he longed to go see him. Can't now. He's dead, it's over.

I've seen this replayed so many times in emergency rooms of hospitals. And you know what? For me this isn't just a Bible verse or a statistic. I watched this in my own family.

I had a father who was very aloof, very proud. And I had a brother who had a rift with my dad. And it was a longstanding rift, and neither of them would budge. In fact, I even watched them have a fistfight in our own home. That's traumatic to a young teenager to watch that. I watched it.

And I watched the rift grow worse and worse until the night my father called me on the phone and he was-- I'd never heard that in anybody's voice. He announced, your brother has been killed in a motorcycle accident. And-- all of us were grieved. All of us were torn up by it. But it crippled my father. For the rest of his life, emotionally everything was filtered through that failure. Oh Absalom, my son, my son.

Now about now you're thinking great, I come to church to get depressed. What kind of a sermon is this? I'm going to have roast preacher for lunch.

Well, I wanted to sort of frame the problem so we can talk about the solution next week and the week after. But here's what I want to end with. There's a great principle that is perfect right about now. It's in Isaiah chapter 59 right around verse 16.

It says when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against him. There are ways to secure your families, your relationships, the next generation. Number one is communication. Learn to communicate as a family.

There's a lot of opportunities, a lot of help. You'll find a lot of resources around you to help you do that. Because how you communicate, parents, with your children, you're setting up the imprint for them to communicate with their children and grandchildren. They're just going to copy and do what you do.

Number two, humble yourself. Get them together and begin with these sentences. I'm sorry for-- not I have a few things I want to point out about you. No. I'm sorry for-- forgive me for. Try that. Try that. Again, what you're setting up for them is the ability for humility in their future.

And here's a third, and we'll talk more about this, or actually we'll provide next week in the foyer some kiosks with more information. I want you to think outside the box as we close. Because we're thinking about our own families, and I guess we should be. But you know, all those millions of children that are street kids, what about them? How about this. How about mentorship? How about Big Brother Big Sister programs? How about even adoption?

You know, there are these kids that are abandoned. But if they could be brought into a Christian home, or if somebody once a week could become a mentor, a big brother, big sister, you know what the stats prove? All the stats are bad. You know the stats get good if there's a mentor or a big brother. You know that crime goes down, absenteeism at school goes down, drug usage goes down if just for a period of time a kid interacts with a loving, positive big brother, big sister.

So there's no perfect parents. There's no perfect families. There's no perfect homes. But you can have and should have a secure home.

I want you to listen to this. I am really closing with this. This girl writes, my dad says I am enormously gorgeous. Isn't that a great phrase? I wonder if I really am.

To be enormously gorgeous, Sarah says you need to have beautiful, long, curly hair like she has. I don't. To be enormously gorgeous, Justin says you must have perfectly straight white teeth like he has. I don't.

To be enormously gorgeous, Jessica says you can't have any of those little brown dots in your face called freckles. I do. To be enormously gorgeous, Mark says you have to be the smartest kid in the seventh grade class. I'm not.

To be enormously gorgeous, Steven says you have to be able to tell the funniest jokes in the school. I don't. To be enormously gorgeous, Lauren says you need to live in the nicest neighborhood in town and in the prettiest house. And I don't.

To be enormously gorgeous, Matthew says you can only wear the coolest clothes and the most popular shoes. I don't. To be enormously gorgeous, Samantha says you need to come from a perfect family. And I don't.

But every night at bedtime, my dad gives me a big hug and says, you are enormously gorgeous and I love you. Hmm, my dad must know something my friends don't.

[APPLAUSE]

I hope that you know something nobody else knows. Those kids wake you up at one and then three and then four and five. They're all gifts. They're all gifts.

And they don't have the equipment to deal with life like you have the ability to deal with it. And so the choice is ours not to be perfect, not to be flawless, not to never make mistakes, not that at all. In fact, not even to fix problems, but to try to do your part to communicate, to humble yourself, and to help shape those precious gifts.

Heavenly Father, we pray for security in homes. We're speaking to you as the one who unconditionally loves us. You love us. There are no strings attached to that one. It is unfailing, unmerited, unconditioned love.

Lord, because we have been forgiven, because we have been loved, I pray that that would be enough of a foundation to treat others in like manner. And especially those precious gifts that are in our own homes. I pray for intimacy. Satisfying relationships between parents and children, moms and dads. I pray for a home security system built by love and good communication. In Jesus' name, amen.

Additional Messages in this Series

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1/6/2008
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Threat Level - Red?
1 Chronicles 12:32
Skip Heitzig
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The Department of Homeland Security was established after the September 11, 2001 attack. Designed to inform the public as to the threat of terrorism by color-coded levels, it has now become part of our culture. But radical terrorism isn't our only challenge. In this series we will consider the dangers we face personally, culturally, with our family, nationally and globally. In a culture conditioned by fear, how can we have peace?
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1/13/2008
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Securing the Foundations
Matthew 7:21-27
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The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security issued an important statement, "We [speak] often about protecting our nation, protecting our states, protecting our cities. [But we need] to reiterate the importance of protecting our homes." He acknowledged that the country's foundation is the individual and individual homes. But what about the foundation of the home? What about the foundation of each person? How can you be personally secure--forever?
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1/20/2008
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Heaven-Bound and Enjoying the Ride
1 John 5:13
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Having the assurance of salvation is a prerequisite for enjoying the Christian life. Some don't have that certainty and it shows--they are weighed down by insecurity. Others feel certain that they're saved but they're delusional. Why is it important to know your eternal destination and how can we know? Let's shore up the security of our souls.
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2/3/2008
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Stop the Dominoes!
Joshua 24:14-15
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Joshua's last State-of-the-Union address to Israel was timely. As leader of that nation he knew his people, and he knew there were forces threatening their spiritual survival. He could already begin to see the "domino effect" of compromise happening in his own day. "Put away the gods your fathers served" (vs14), he admonished them. Then as a leader, both of the country and of his own home, he made his own resolve to serve God with his family. Let's consider what this same kind of steadfast determination could mean today for securing our families. Find out how you can help stop the Dominoes.
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2/10/2008
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How to Prevent Soul Thieves!
Nehemiah 1-2
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The Christian is not to be "conformed to this world, but transformed" (Romans 12:2). This value system that the Bible calls the "world" imposes itself on us twenty-four-seven. It beckons to us to lower our standards of righteousness and conform to its unrighteous standard. Just as enemies and thieves were threatening to invade Jerusalem during the days of Nehemiah, "soul thieves" are breaching the walls of our homes and eroding the souls of those inside. What can we do? Find out how to prevent Soul Thieves.
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2/17/2008
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Is the Church Secure?
Luke 21:12-19
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There is an aggressive, consistently growing, vocal and active attack on the church in our culture. In a society where every viewpoint is tolerated and every ideology is celebrated, there is one that is becoming unacceptable--the Christian viewpoint. Once we were marginalized; now we are attacked. What are we to make of this? How secure is the church of Christ? What can we expect in the future and how should we respond to those who want to silence us?
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2/24/2008
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Casualties on the Battlefield of Truth
2 Timothy 4:1-4
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One of the most probing questions Jesus asked about His future return was this, "When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8). Today the historic Christian faith is being attacked, not just by outsiders, but insiders--by so-called Christians! Emergent-church philosophies espouse sentiments like, "Well, your truth isn't everyone else's truth." The idea of absolute truth is considered to be passe and harsh. What are we to make of all this?
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3/2/2008
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The Slippery Slope
2 Timothy 4:2-8
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Here's a question: Is everyone who can say "Baahhh" necessarily a sheep? Is every person who throws around the name of Jesus a disciple? In our series on Homeland Security we have considered how to be secure spiritually, relationally, morally and even socially. But what about the future of the church? What kind of Christian legacy are we passing on to the next generation?
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3/9/2008
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Abraham's Other Son
Genesis 16
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Every Muslim reveres Ishmael as the son of Abraham more so than Isaac (whom the Bible calls the son of promise). In fact, Muslims claim that Islam began with Abraham and his son Ishmael, thus claiming that it is older than both Judaism and Christianity. According to the Koran, Ishmael is called both, "an apostle and a prophet". How does this biblical story relate to the modern threat of radical Islam? How does this ancient account in Genesis 16 tie in with the spread of extremist ideas of jihad?
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3/16/2008
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Testimony of a First-Century Terrorist
Acts 9:1-6
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Historians still talk about the amazing transformation of Saul of Tarsus. He was once rabidly hostile to the early Christians, terrorizing them in Jerusalem and in attempting to do the same in Syria. Paul's life shouts to us that no one is too hard, too lost or too far-gone to be saved. If we could really believe that last sentence, it would change forever how we deal with people. Let's consider how God might use us to reach out to the Islamic world with the gospel.
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3/30/2008
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What Now?
Romans 12:1-2
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For the past 11 weeks we have probed the scriptures to find peace in times of terror. We've considered the dangers we face personally, culturally, nationally and within our own family. Today we bring all the pieces together to wrap up with a final application. I'll be joined with a few friends of mine to help me as we think about what to do now!
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There are 11 additional messages in this series.