“Family (is a) Trip”
Proverbs Guidance in the Family Cycle
Sermon Series for April 23 to June 25
Family is tough and terrific all at the same time. Just when a family thinks they have it figured out, the season of life changes and the learning curve increases once again. The multi-generational, varied-personality, tradition- laden, peculiar make-up of the tribal system, (spoken and unspoken), make each family unique. Thankfully, beneath the chaos, there are principles from the Word of God that bring stability.
Solomon had, most likely, the most complex family system in the Bible. Hundreds of wives and concubines created a dizzying web of in-laws, children (who became outlaws), ethnic differences, and even religious conflict. In the midst of that (or because of it), he records the wisdom he has learned from the God of the ages. In the Book of Proverbs, he lists principles for all aspects of relationships and family and records what he discovered for us to achieve healthy homes.
We will use King Solomon’s wise conclusions found in the Book of Proverbs. We will also use the chronicle of his life and the observation of his decisions from the book of 1 Kings to illustrate the teaching. Finally, we will highlight truths from the New Testament to solidify the teaching.
With the wisdom of God we can learn from Solomon, and with the grace we receive from Jesus through the Spirit, we can experience the joy of family no matter what our past has been or what life cycle we are in. It is hard work. It can be a struggle. Not every element can be controlled. However, it is God’s idea and humanity’s foundation. God will instill His supernatural energy into our efforts so that we can have “crazy-free clans.”
April 23 – Dating / Courting (for all ages)
Title – “What’s the Point?”
Text – Proverbs 5:1-11; Proverbs 17:1; 21:9; 21:19; 25:24
The series will begin with the first season of family. How do we date and seek God’s choice for our life partner – our mate? We will look at the principles Solomon gives us, the mistakes he has made, and determine their application to the dating process.
April 30 – Engagement
Title – “The Leap!”
Text – Proverbs 4:8-15
Why do we have this period of time between determining who God has me spending my life with and the wedding day? What do I do with it? Is it meant for more than planning the dinner, getting measured for the suits, and picking out dresses and flowers?
It is a useful time and a necessary preparation for life together. This week will be assisted with a roadmap for the engagement period that will provide the tools for the “warm up” to the wedding.
May 7 – Marriage
Title – “Two Made One, Seriously?”
Text – Proverbs 31:10-11
Marriage is the relationship that forms the core of the family unit. The bond between two people that God forms is designed to be the foundation of the primary discipleship arena of all creation. Marriage is so important and holy that it is even used as a symbol of the church’s relationship with Jesus – the Bride and the Bridegroom. It might be because it is so important that marriage is so attacked and tough.
This teaching will consider the rules, roles, romance, and renewal of marriage we see in Proverbs and in Solomon’s writings in the Song of Solomon.
May 14 – Early Years
Title – “… And Then There Were Three, Four, Five …”
Text – Proverbs 24:3-4; Proverbs 15:16; 22:4
The first years of marriage are a gift from God to be used by the couple to establish the foundation of all that is to be accomplished by the family. There will be behaviors to shed. Both the life of being a son or daughter first and the core values of a single person need to be put aside. The early years of marriage are about putting the other first and preparing to welcome children into the home. Many young couples also miss the opportunity of establishing financial stability during the early years of marriage. These are also the days in a marriage to concentrate on acquiring wisdom and knowledge.
May 21 – Parenting
Title – “Who’s Raising Whom?”
Text – Proverbs 22:6
Parenting and discipleship should be considered synonyms. The family is the primary classroom for followers of Jesus and the parents are the primary teachers. Solomon talks about “training” children and his wisdom comes from his successes and his failures.
This teaching will not make promises nor will it cause parenting to seem easy or formulaic. We will honestly discuss the journey we guide our kids along and how we are to listen to God to hear what He is “doing in our kids’ lives” -and join Him in that.
May 28 – Adolescence
Title – “Figuring It Out”
Text – Proverbs 15:20; 20:20; 3:25
The teaching this week will be “two sides of the same coin.” We will begin with instruction that will empower parents to disciple teens. We will also have teaching that will assist teens in aiding their parents’ discipleship journey. Much of the parenting process in this season of family is actually de-parenting and moving the young man or woman to independence.
Solomon has much to say about the wisdom and knowledge needed to be a God-fearing and God-following young adult. We will use the passages where Solomon is speaking to his own adolescent kids. These lessons will be applied to the time in a family when it is preparing to multiply families and followers of Jesus.
June 4 – After High School
Title – “Reality”
Text – Proverbs 6:16-23; 10:2
After high school is over and a person is of “legal age,” family may be more important than ever. The decisions made in the few years after high school will affect a young man or woman for the rest of his/her life. The vast majority of actions prior to a person’s 18th birthday are reversible and redeemable. Not so after 18. Although one may not want the wisdom those who have “been there before” might offer, it is vital to navigating these years. This is when a mentor is asked for but not thrust upon.
If college was a time when parents “coached,” this is the season when parents wait to be asked. Sometimes the waiting is agonizing. The dynamic in this phase is unique because the “child” is a true individual and the parent might be feeling the grief of their role being “over” or perceptually less. The reality is that this can be the time when the parent and the young adult can move to being peers, peers with respect for one another’s contribution to the relationship. Wisdom can be shared both ways.
This will again be a week when the teaching will have two sides that will come together to form the blueprint for a relationship.
June 11 – Empty Nest
Title – “Frightening Simplicity”
Text – Proverbs 5:18-23
“Free at last, free at last, thank God I’m free at last!” When the kids are just post- high school, one is not truly an empty-nester because the responsibility level is still very high and the kids’ bedrooms are still set up and ready for them to visit. Once the offspring are employed and launched, the parent(s) realize a new beginning.
One element of this week’s teaching will speak to the struggle of an adult child who is failing to launch. We will also address heath issues that affect this season. We can’t move forward without recognizing how the grief of becoming an empty-nester affects this season. We will also speak honestly about divorce.
The joy of this phase of life can also be the struggle. Often a couple can suddenly realize that they are not as connected as they thought. Sexual struggles can become prominent. Menopause and mid-life crisis are factors to be addressed. However, if a couple is willing to revisit the commitment they made to one another, this is truly the best time to be married.
June 18 – Grandparenting
Title – “Round Two”
Text – Proverbs 4:1-7; 14:26; 20:7
These are the best years to pass on all that one has learned. In many ways, this is the last season one has to hand on the wisdom and knowledge gained over years of living and learning. When many think it is time to draw inward, God calls those in this stage of life to look and focus outward- not to “retire” but to engage in discipleship.
When someone is past working years and parenting years, time is available to learn what is needed in the community and to pass on the solutions to the problems. Health does fade in this season. How does a follower of God display faith? Change is hard to absorb. How does one who follows God embrace it? Death is much closer. How does one display faith and hope? These are vital lessons for those behind us to learn.
June 25 – Single Again
Title – “Again”
Text – Proverbs 14:1-3; 30
This weeks’ teaching will cover all of the phases of family life when we can find ourselves single and will look at Proverbs for guidance as to navigating this situation. Death and divorce can bring singleness. A spouse’s debilitating but not fatal illness can also bring aloneness. Functional singleness can also happen when, for whatever reason, a spouse or partner can emotionally and even physically detach. How do we remain holy in these situations? Solomon give us the guidance.