Posted in Bible, Children, Christianity, Personal Growth, Sermons, tagged Children, Church, concert, events, labels, parenting, parents, princess, Sweetwater, Youth on September 20, 2010|
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The von Atzigen house is full of some pretty interesting and often times hilarious conversations. I vividly remember a mother/daughter chat in our home which left me both saddened and encouraged.
- Brenna: “Mommy, guess what?”
- Mindy: [Obligatorily] “What?”
- Brenna: “A girl at school told me I couldn’t be a princess anymore.”
- Mindy: Stunned silence.
- Brenna: “But, that’s not true. I am a princess. I’m glorious.”
- Mindy: [Sigh of relief] “Yes, Baby, you are a glorious princess.”
As the story was later related to me, I began to ponder, is that possible? Can you really take someone’s princess status away? And, though we dodged the tiara blasting bullet this time, the sad reality is that it is very possible for someone to take your princess title away. In fact, it happens all the time.
On playgrounds and report cards, in the locker room and at parties, the identity of our children is always being challenged. Psychologist Carl Jung put it this way, “The world will ask you who you are, and if you do not know, the world will tell you.”
Parents, one of our greatest responsibilities is to teach our children who God says they are before they believe the lies that others have to offer. At age five it means we fight to hold on to their inner princess, but the stakes only get higher as they mature.
Are you taking an active role in positively identifying your children? Have you planted the truth so deep in their hearts that the lies of others can’t root it out? This is the power of the kitchen table and tuck-in time at night, this is the value of long walks and projects together.
I once heard Dr. Dobson share that the primary source of a young woman’s self-esteem is what she thinks her daddy thinks of her. If this is true, then I have determined not to leave my daughter guessing — by God’s grace, may she have no doubt how much her daddy loves and respects her.
By God’s grace, may your children never doubt as well.
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Posted in Bible, Christianity, Church, God, Personal Growth, Sermons, tagged Almost, Bible, Children, Emmanuel Fellowship Church, Eric von Atizgen, God, Israel, Jacob, Name change, Peter Lopez, Sweetwater, teen, Youth on September 13, 2010|
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In yesterday’s message, we explored the story of a man named Jacob in the Bible. His life is woven together with the thread of “almost.” Many times he found himself incredibly close to God’s plan for his life, but he would so very often pull up short before he reached the goal.
Here is a review of Seven Key “Almosts” in Jacob’s life:
- Almost Never Happened: Jacob’s mother, Rebekah, was barren, but his daddy, Isaac, prayed for her, and she conceived twins.
Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife because she was barren. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. (Genesis 25:21)
- Almost The First Born Son: Even from the womb, Jacob was grasping for the blessings of God as he grasped at his brother’s heal when he was born. Esau was still the firstborn, but Jacob connived his way into getting the firstborn son’s benefits. He bought the birthright for a bowl of beans, and he stole the blessing with a bowl of soup.
After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. (Genesis 25:26)
- Almost blessed By God: God appears to Jacob and speaks amazing promises over his life, but Jacob tries to connive God. He tries to hijack the blessing and make a deal with God’s promises. Jacob responds to God’s promises with a statement of, “If you will bless me, then I will follow you.”
There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will… Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will…” (Genesis 28:13-20)
- Almost Married The Girl Of His Dreams: In one of the most heartbreaking stories of the Bible, Jacob wakes up the morning after his wedding to discover he is married to the wrong woman.
When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?” (Genesis 29:25)
- Almost Got Paid For Years Of Work For His Father-In-Law: Jacob’s father-in-law, Laban, steals the flock of sheep he had promised to give to Jacob.
“Agreed,” said Laban. “Let it be as you have said.” That same day he removed all the male goats that were streaked or spotted, and all the speckled or spotted female goats (all that had white on them) and all the dark-colored lambs, and he placed them in the care of his sons. Then he put a three-day journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob continued to tend the rest of Laban’s flocks. (Genesis 30:34-36)
- Almost Leaves His Father-In-Law Behind: Jacob attempted to leave his father-in-law’s house and get a fresh start on life, but his wife, Rachel, stole her father’s idols and brought all of the spiritual junk with them.
When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household gods. Moreover, Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was running away. So he fled with all he had, and crossing the River, he headed for the hill country of Gilead. (Genesis 31:19-21)
- Almost Repents And Gets Right With God: In fear of losing his life, Jacob cries out to God for protection, but he ends up wrestling with God rather than surrendering to Him. Jacob almost loses a leg in that wrestling match.
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. (Genesis 32:24)
But something happens in the middle of Jacob’s almost life. God steps in. God doesn’t just almost step in. God steps in. And God fulfills His promise to Jacob, and His purpose for Jacob’s life.
I challenge you to leave your life of “almost” behind. Allow yourself to fully surrender to God, and dare to discover what He can do through a life that is completely given over to Him.
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Posted in Christianity, Personal Growth, Sermons, tagged Bible, Church, Emmanuel, Fellowship, God, Grace, Growth, Idnentity, Protection, Sweetwater, Yahweh, YHWH on September 7, 2010|
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I’m not who I once was. I’m not yet who I will be.
These two sentences reflect both the beautiful redemption and the work in progress of a follower of Jesus Christ. As believers, our salvation is complete, and yet the process of becoming like Jesus and walking into the destinies God has called us to can be challenging—especially if we forget to give ourselves grace. Grace to grow. Grace to fail. Grace to try again. Grace to overcome. Grace to succeed.
The good news is that God does not ask us to do anything that He does not also equip us to accomplish. So, when He says, “Come,” He is already extending the measure of grace that will be needed for us to follow.
In Hebrew, the letter H is illustrated by an open window that signifies “grace.”
God’s very name, YAHWEH, contains two measures of grace—He has more than you need to get the job done.
What has God called you to do? Everything you need is streaming in through the open window before you. Don’t let fear make you pull the blinds. Let His grace in, let it change you, and let it fill you with the courage to trust and obey.
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