All soldiers have families, households to fight for, places to return to, and communities called home. When they are not in battle, their thoughts remain on their wives, children, husbands, parents, family, and friends. After a long time away, All soldiers look forward to homecomings when they can return from doing battle in the world. The battles may be about great political issues, differences and conflicts of governments, but ultimately, the battles are about those for whom the soldiers care the most—family.
All of us are like soldiers, engaging in the battles of life, career among other things. Out there we are known by many titles and roles we are managers, workers, cadets, generals, pastors and accountants, business men but when we come to our families we are just simple human beings. We are husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters.
Sadly, because of our falleness, instead of a peaceful and joyous homecoming we find the war we were fighting out there has followed us in our own homes. The issues around many broken and shattered homes in our society affect the quality of the soldier and his readiness for Battle out there.
One famous Soldier acknowledged this simple truth, that we cannot win the battle out there, If I have not won the battle at home. His words have become famous and are recorded in the scriptures in Joshua 24:15
Joshua states “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day, whom you will serve, But as for me and my house hold we will serve the Lord”
We have been unveiling EMERGE 2022, a picture of what we believe God is calling us to in the next 7 years. This picture is about people and God ordinary people, building influential communities that will bring Nations into Gods Kingdom through God’s LIFE in their lives. We see a worshipping community of over 1000 people deeply connected to God, Touching other lives with the Gospel in their ordinary relationships, Living out their purpose and potential in the Kingdom and Influencing within and without their borders. We want to reach out to every household within 5Km radius of Syokimau, Plant 2 other church plants. This will demand a lot of work and commitment. There will be battles to fight, Money, Time and energy to expend.
Today I move to the second part of unveiling EMERGE, that I will call God’s dream Team- What kind of team is God going to use to make this Dream come to pass? I propose the make -up of this Dream team are EMERGING Homes and EMERGING Opportunities. Today I will focus on EMERGING Homes and Next Week Pst. Maish will talk about EMERGING Opportunities.
As believers today, there are many battles we fight in various contexts, but finally, people end up in places called home. They may “go to church” or ‘go to work’ but they come from homes and return to homes. Somehow, everything learned in the battle field comes down to defending the home.
God acknowledges families as important in advancing His Kingdom Agenda. As goes the home, so goes his battle for the defense of the gospel. The stronger the family, the stronger the Gospel, The stronger the church. But the weaker the family, the weaker the gospel and the weaker the church.
The largeness of God’s plan embraces small and fragile households, and as Christian warriors we must like Joshua consider – As for me and my Household we will serve the Lord.
As we pursue God’s Kingdom in this 7 year vision, we dare not exclude the smallness of homes to which We all retire to for reality checks. The future of the church is closely tied to the future of our families. Commitment to godly homes is a direct expression of the kingdom priorities of the church. If we must EMERGE, our house holds must also EMERGE. These 1000 people we hope to grow to do not exist alone but come from families.
Like Joshua, we cannot be effective warriors in EMERGE, if our families are not EMERGING. As honestly as we can be, until my family cares for this vision, it’s difficult for any of us to truly care and serve in EMERGE. Our commitment to serve and engage in this vision cannot be as effective until I answer- What does EMERGE mean to us as a family? How then can we participate? In the next 7 years, where do you see your family?
Through-out scripture- God has called people to serve Him, both men and women with their households such as Abraham and Sarah, Joseph and Mary, Elizabeth and Zachariah. The call to EMERGE must be the call for all the household.
But we must ask- What kind of family makes up God’s Dream Team, How then can we be EMERGING Families?
Turn with me to Ephesians 5:21-6:9 (Read)
This week at our Ndoa retreat- We reflected on that dreadful question- Why did I get married? Why did I get married to you? There were various motives to family in those days, just as they are now. To some it was because of companionship, to some it was for stability, to some it was a social status.
Marriages and families have been central in God’s Kingdom from the very beginning.
But when God made man and gave him the breath of life, He had a purpose curved out for him and for this reason He made Adam a helper. This helper is not an assistant, but a missing part for man to be effective in His call. In other words- Woman came in to complete Adam’s ability to serve God, not merely to watch from the side. We cry for Help, we ask for assistance. My wife does not assist me to do things, She is part of what makes things possible, without her input –things wont happen.
But Marriage is no easy relationship. Most of us know that. It begins by attraction to a person’s strengths but quickly exposes every weakness. It begins with great anticipation for unity and togetherness, only to become a struggle between big differences. It begins with a great idea only to become battles over many competing ideas. Each partner becomes vulnerable to the other and still finds it difficult to be fully known and fully loved faithfully. How can such a family EMERGE?
So how do these complications affect wives and husbands? And their ability to serve and live for God? A young wife spoke to her preacher and explained how she was struggling with the realities of marriage. “Remember” he said, “You took your husband for better and for worse.” “But he is worse than I took him for,” said the young woman.
The problem has been when marriages and households lose their divine calling and purpose, they instead become about human plans, my plans against your plans. Instead of God’s plan. Have you stopped to Consider- Why did God get me married and particularly to my spouse- what was my divine call? This is not just for the married but also those not yet married or even going through difficult marriages. When we stop at Human desires and goals for marriage, then we start to fight. When we see our marriages as fulfilling God’s plans then like Abraham and Sarah- our marriages can stand the test of time- waiting on God without a child for a long time. Scripture asks ‘How can 2 walk together unless they agree’ How can we serve together unless we agree?
So what makes families and marriages Tick.
Paul tells us in a simple statement that forms the Grounding statement for this passage. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
• EMERGING Families Submit to one another as Reverence to Christ.
The secret to strong teams in war is when Soldiers submit to their commanders and authority. This same practice is essential for strong marriages, However Paul makes the distinction that Believers must submit not out of fear, but out of faithful reverence for Christ.
Submission is not a popular word in our selfish and anything-goes societies today. This misunderstanding and disliking of submission, affects Christians, it affects churches and affects homes.
Submission is misunderstood to mean that one partner must lose, fail, fall, surrender, quit, or remove himself from the scene while the other gets to win and succeed. This is when submission is not out of reverence for Christ- but selfish human plans.
One person making independent decisions and rules and conditions for the others to submit to—a husband, parent, brother, boss, or leader. Such submission is fed by a fallen world view and cultural practices not on love.
For believers however, whether both of you are believers or only one- We must always remember that another life is always involved—the LIFE of God. That LIFE removes selfish inclinations and instead builds a ‘one another’ mode of operation. That LIFE sparks reverence for Christ. This how we serve God and like Abraham and Sarah we become a blessing to many and influence the world for Christ.
Paul further explains by pointing out specific areas of how this submission is to play out.
• Wives in a Dream-driven Church- What Kind of women will drive EMERGE (Read Eph. 5:22-24)
The world abuses the word submission more than any other word when it comes to women and wives. This is partly because of a male driven society and an upcoming generation of the liberated and empowered woman. But Scripture teaches Submit to your husbands as to the Lord. What contribution does God’s LIFE add to this kind of submission?
In the first place- Christ is the head of dream-driven churches. Without him as Savior and Lord, there is no LIFE and there is no church. Headless bodies are dead, and headless families are just as dead. Substitute heads don’t work either on the body of Christ. As head of dream-driven churches, Christ’s leadership is about specific Kingdom directions the submission of wives is part of it.
In the second place, EMERGING churches submit to Christ, meaning both husbands and wives in those churches follow his lead. Christ is the head of both and that is the basis for understanding how wives submit to their husbands in everything. This kind of submission brings about a miraculous unity between Man, Woman and God.
God’s perspective changes the way wives see submission. They see it reflecting the gospel intentions of God. They find common ground with their husbands because of the presence of God in their lives and in their marriages. They enjoy God-given visions with husbands who are submissive to Christ. They willingly unite with husbands for those visions. They eagerly seek family directions established with husbands surrendered to Christ. They submit in delicate and sensitive ways unique to their gender as well as in strong and courageous ways in the common contention for the truth of God’s plan. Like their husbands, they fight for God’s centrality and the kingdom. Consider How Sarah was able to follow along with Abraham’s calling.
But you might say, but He is not a believer, or How can I submit to him. Scripture is very clear in Corinthians- Do not abandon him, instead your faithfulness to God changes the picture. Pst. John Corson’s reflections are valuable – He says sometimes God has called us to demonstrate the Purity and Devotion to God’s service through faithfulness and submission to His will. Whether the circumstances are favorable or not.
Sometimes God will prompt us to write songs, not so that the world can hear and we can be noticed, but because when we sing to ourselves we strengthen our faithfulness to Him. When we submit as unto the Lord, we can serve God with a cheating spouse or unbelieving Spouse. Whatever freedom God has allowed you in that home- you can serve the Lord and redeem all those you can with you. If He allows you to go to church- Go to church with all your household.
As we speak of EMERGE- I pray in 7 years- We will still be Submissive wives- Who submit to our husbands as unto the Lord. This is how we will raise other EMERGING WOMEN. This is how the next generation will be drawn to Christ and the Church.
• Emerging Men and Husband: Paul uses 51 words to speak to the women and uses 161 to address the Man. Read 5:25-27
Men are called to Love their wives as the Lord loves the Church. This is an impossible task without Christ. They are not just called to mimick or imitate Christ- but can only do so if they are in Christ.
Human Love falls short- Human Love is Eros and Phileo – When men Loving their wives by Eros- brings forth another kind- it is sexual and romantic. Loving by Phileo brings forth a possessive relationship- my sister, my brother e.t.c When we love our wives with Eros and Phileo we bring forth Children who look like us, but when we love our wives with Agape we bring forth women who reflect the character, beauty and holiness of God.
By this LOVE, Christ gave himself up for the church. Catch that thought. Christ loves the people of God, the church. He gave himself up for her, cleansed her by bathing her in the truth, removed her life-only stains, wrinkles and blemishes, brought out her radiance, and made her holy by the standards of LIFE. His LOVE establishes the agenda for husbands.
The said Holy Mary- became honored because of a loving husband who could have denied her at the accusations of a Holy Spirit pregnancy but instead Joseph under God’s submission loved her through a very difficult season amidst unbelieving community.
But it doesn’t stop there- Men are to love their wives as they love their bodies- As one author said, “No matter what kind of a body he has, a normal man will take care of it. No matter what kind of a wife he has, a godly man will take care of her.” The advice is just too shallow.
Believing Husbands do not just love their bodies in human fashion, they LOVE their own bodies because of the value of God’s LIFE within their bodies. They love their bodies because they are now a living sacrifice, a soldier of the Lord. That takes them beyond feelings about their bodies whether proud, ashamed, glad, indifferent, or disappointed. It takes them to that new level of unconditional and unchanging LOVE. In turn, they are able to LOVE their wives with that same LOVE. That makes sacred sense and a sacred challenge to respond to as men.
As we speak of EMERGE- I pray in 7 years- We will still be loving husbands- Who love our wives sacrificially as Christ loved the Church. This is how we will raise other EMERGING MEN. This is how the next generation will be drawn to Christ and the Church.
• EMERGING Generations; The children
Great warriors are courageous and determined, even those who rise from defeat. They usually have clear-headed visions. Some write, others compose best-loved songs, organize people, and rise to the top of leadership possibilities. Unfortunately most often they lose their own children, the next generation.
King David of Israel was such a leader. Charles Swindoll describes him: “To put it bluntly, as a husband and a father, David was a flop. Interestingly, he left behind a group of sons and daughters who turned against virtually everything he stood for, believed in and loved. At the office, at the palace, on the battlefield, in the studio, he had no peer. Straight A’s there, but he flunked inside his home. A superstar on the battlefield, no question about it, but he struck out on the home front.
One of America’s famous generals may have learned from David’s mistake. Douglas MacArthur left an unforgettable legacy for his son, a prayer written just before he led outnumbered U.S forces against the Japanese in the WWII . He wrote,
Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.
Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.
Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men, one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength.
Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”
As an Emerging Church- it will be sad if this vision we fight for- never goes beyond us to the next generation. Read Eph. 6:1-3
Dream driven churches Honor their father and mother as unto the Lord. A soldier comes home and is pleased to know the child acknowledges the freedom they have is because He has been away at war. EMERGE must change the way we raise our children. Our lives and example will attract them to honor us or dishonor us. When a soldier comes home and lets down his guard and ethics, he is dishonorable to His children. Again In the Lord reinforces submission expressed out of reverence for Christ.
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. —Eph. 6:4
EMERGING parents- live and behave before their children as God’s people while honoring their own parents. Whatever they do, they do it as to the Lord. Honor for parents results in children brought up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
A man’s concern for the generations represented in his small home affects his ability to engage in the larger battles related to God’s eternal plan. It also affects others who may be found in his house. Your concerns for your children affect the way you engage with God’s Agenda.
In conclusion- how will we achieve this vision? How will we Emerge, We must Emerge with our families. The stronger our families, the stronger our church now and in the next 7 years. This is then how we will attract people to Christ. When they see emerging families- they are attracted to Christ.
What areas are anti- Emerge in our own families? How can we be more intentional to raise our families as unto Lord? How can we as Joshua say – As for me and my house we will serve the Lord?
We want to invite you to be part of God’s dream team, you and your family. There is just no other way we can be effective. Consider gifting’s, resources, passions or strengths God has given you as a family- How can you engage. Imagine the possibilities.
Example: Sammy and Debby Mate (T412) – In my youth, I recall Sammy and Debby Mate, who raised a lot of young people by engaging with them in their lives and hosting them every week for a time of fellowship, It was in those times, they affirmed that Godly families are possible, we met every week, drunk their tea and ate their cakes but they guided many of us to the Lord. They mentored the young men and women that we are today. We saw how they raised their children and how they interacted with each other. They shared their lives and stories with us. I assure you they are blessed of the Lord.
Unfortunately, there are some we know that are no more, families that have fallen apart, people we knew that are no longer together- The result is a shaky future.
Consider then how can we engage in Emerge as a family? What abilities God has given us, Opportunities can you take up in the church- There are numerous opportunities. So this week as you go home Consider “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” What ministry can you take up, commitment can you make as a family to EMERGE.