I’m 48 years old and that’s old enough to have brushed with a mid life crisis. Not everyone has one, but many many people do.Typically for men, it involves taking up a new hobby, buying a motorcycle or having an affair … I’m less familiar with how this can affect women, but I am sure you can fill in the gaps.For me, the more interesting part is why this even happens – why do people, who apparently have loads going for them, start taking major risks and can end up effectively ruining their own lives and damaging the lives of many people around them.Now you know there will be no one answer to this, because different people, different lives so different things become temptations.But if you did have to boil it down into one common factor, you’d probably park it under the label of disappointment.Disappointment with your life. My job is going nowhere and its taking up too much time. I no longer have expectations that it can and will get better.I’m not married and I want to be, or I am married but there seem to be unmovable blockages in my relationship. 5 – 15 year mark.Where is the person who will be my companion through life, my soulmate, the one who will always be there for me. It’s obvious that single people can feel this, the truth is that many married people do to.And where is God in all of this? I signed up for a Christianity that offered, no, promised, personal transformation … and I really don’t feel like it is delivering or ever will.Disappointment with the daily grind provides fertile soil for hatching plans of radical change. And here is the truth that comes along and kicks you when you are down, many people who opt for drastic changes end up living long enough to regret them, but they find they have burnt their bridges and cannot get back what they have lost.So what’s the option? Staying with the daily grind that disappoints you, accepting the known limitations … and slowly sinking into a depression … or is there another route through this? The answer is, Yes, there is another route … following Jesus; being a disciple and making disciples
This is where disciple making starts. This is probably where it started for you. Christians, a bit weird but essentially harmless, Note to self: steer clear of the over enthusiastic ones.How do we take people on a journey that takes them from a place where Christians are weird and silly through to a place where people want to follow Jesus, and are even prepared to be kind, forgiving and patient with us?
Paul’s typical pattern. Start with doctrine, start with truthThe church did not come into existence because God’s plans with Israel had failed. The church was always God’s plan.
Paul moves from truth to practice.Because you are this … this is how you should behave.
This has already been repeated several times, it is clearly quite important!
Seek the leading of the Holy SpiritMeet with other believers specifically to encourage one another in GodWorship God together.Be involved in praise and thanksgiving.This looks a lot like the sort of thing we want from our small groups
What does learning from others look like ?Submitting to one another is meant to be a mutual thing which is the context of everything that follows.Though, there are different roles in each of the settings.
To love your wife just as Christ loved the church is mind boggling.By comparison to love your wife as you love yourself might look tame, but it truth this was completely radical – you bought your wife, she belonged to you, her job was to provide children, raise them and feed and look after the family. Love was not a necessary part of this transaction.To love yourself is to put Jesus first.To love your wife, is to ensure that she is doing that as well.There is disciple-making that goes on within a marriage.
There is disciple-making that goes on with children.
It can really feel like the battles we are involved with are against real people – they probably are not!
Jesus First [10/11] ‘Making Disciples 1’Ephesians 5:1 & 21 … Since you are God’s dear children, you must try to be like him … Submit yourselves to one another because of your reverence for Christ.
The message of EphesiansGod’s plans for you go back a long wayYou are now seated with Christ in heavenly placesYou used to be darkness, now you are lightYou have been saved by faith through graceThere is ‘one new man’ in Christ
The message of EphesiansWalk worthy of your calling, humility, love,unityBe equipped so that you can serveBecome mature, to the fullness of ChristPut off your old self, be renewed, put on the newSpeak the truth in l0ve, be kind to one another
The message of Ephesians4:26 When angry, don’t sin, don’t let sun go down4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God5:1 Be imitators of God, walk in love5:4 Be careful what you talk about, be thankful5:8 Walk as children of light, expose the darkness
Ephesians 5: 15-17So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools,but like those who are wise. Make the most ofevery opportunity in these evil days. Don’t actthoughtlessly, but understand what the Lordwants you to do.
Ephesians 5: 18-20Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruinyour life.Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singingpsalms and hymns and spiritual songs amongyourselves, and making music to the Lord in yourhearts. And give thanks for everything to God theFather in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5: 21-24And further, submit to one another out ofreverence for Christ.For wives, this means submit to your husbands asto the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wifeas Christ is the head of the church. He is theSaviour of his body, the church. As the churchsubmits to Christ, so you wives should submit toyour husbands in everything
Ephesians 5: 25 & 28For husbands, this means love your wives, just asChrist loved the church. He gave up his life for herto make her holy and clean, washed by thecleansing of God’s word. …In the same way, husbands ought to love theirwives as they love their own bodies. For a manwho loves his wife actually shows love for himself.
Ephesians 5: 31-33As the Scriptures say,“A man leaves his father and mother and is joinedto his wife, and the two are united into one.”This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration ofthe way Christ and the church are one. So again Isay, each man must love his wife as he loveshimself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 6: 1-4Children, obey your parents because you belongto the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.“Honour your father and mother.” This is the firstcommandment with a promise: If you honouryour father and mother, “things will go well foryou, and you will have a long life on the earth.”Fathers, do not provoke your children to angerby the way you treat them. Rather, bring them upwith the discipline and instruction that comesfrom the Lord.
Ephesians 6: 5-8Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deeprespect and fear. Serve them sincerely as youwould serve Christ. Try to please them all thetime, not just when they are watching you. Asslaves of Christ, do the will of God with all yourheart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you wereworking for the Lord rather than for people.Remember that the Lord will reward each one ofus for the good we do, whether we are slaves orfree.
Ephesians 6: 10-12A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in hismighty power. Put on all of God’s armour so thatyou will be able to stand firm against all strategiesof the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers andauthorities of the unseen world, against mightypowers in this dark world, and against evil spiritsin the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6: 13-15Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armour soyou will be able to resist the enemy in the time ofevil. Then after the battle you will still be standingfirm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt oftruth and the body armour of God’srighteousness. For shoes, put on the peace thatcomes from the Good News so that you will befully prepared.
Ephesians 6: 16-18In addition to all of these, hold up the shield offaith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.Put on salvation as your helmet, and take thesword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Pray in the Spirit at all times and on everyoccasion. Stay alert and be persistent in yourprayers for all believers everywhere.