CHARACTERISTICS OF

A STRONG & HEALTHY FAMILY
(PART 2)

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

1.       Last week, I started a series on the family.

 

2.       I explained that the traditional family unit is in trouble.

 

3.       The family is in trouble because some husbands and wives are more preoccupied with their careers then they are with their own family’s needs and because parents are not disciplining their children.

 

THIS MORNING, I AM GOING TO PROVIDE THREE CHARACTERISTICS OF A HEALTHY FAMILY.

 

4.       A few years ago, professor Nick Stinnett who was the chairman of the Department of Human Development and the Family at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, launched a fascinating research project “On What Makes Families Strong.”  All together, Dr. Stinnett studied 3,000 families and collected a lot of information.  From his research, Dr. Stinnett found several main qualities in strong families. 

 

5.       Some of my lesson material that I am going to present comes from his study, the Bible, and several other books on the family.

 

I.                           FIRST, IN ORDER TO HAVE A STRONG AND HEALTHY FAMILY, WE MUST HAVE A SPIRITUAL COMMITMENT.

 

1.      Joshua, a military and spiritual leader to the nation of Israel explains to us about the relationship that a family should have towards God.

 

 

2.      Joshua and his family made a commitment to serve the Lord together.  And this what God expects from us. 

 

3.      Families that are committed to God are more likely to stay together.

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

I once saw a billboard that says, “Families that pray together, stay together.”

 

4.      Families that are committed to God tend to love and respect each other more than families who do not have a commitment to God.

 

5.      Families that are committed to God tend to produce successful godly and moral offspring.

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

A study was once done on two early American characters. 

 

Max Jukes lived in New York and had nothing to do with the Christian faith.  Of 1,026 of his descendants who were studied,

 

300 died prematurely…

100 served an average of 13 years in the penitentiary…

100 became public prostitutes…

100 became alcoholics.

 

The same study examined 720 descendants of Jonathan Edwards a man who served the Lord.  Of these,

 

300 became preachers…

65 became college professors…

13 were university presidents…

60 became authors…

3 United States congressmen and 1 vice president of the United States.

 

6.      It’s easy to see that families who are committed to God produce successful and moral offspring.

 

7.      If you have a family that loves and serves God together then praise the Lord.  Keep up the good work.

 

8.      However, if your family is not committed to God, then I would like to encourage you to go home, set down and make a godly commitment together. 

 

a.      Make a commitment to love and serve God together.

 

b.      Make a commitment to pray together each day.

 

c.      Make a commitment to come to church together.

 

9.      If you want to have a strong and happy family, then follow Joshua’s commitment: But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord!

 

II.                         SECOND, IN ORDER TO HAVE A STRONG AND HEALTHY FAMILY, WE MUST SPEND QUALITY TIME TOGETHER.

 

1.      If my arithmetic is correct, (and I think it is because I learned a lot about arithmetic from Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies) then adults living in a family household have:

 

 

2.      Out of these 52 hours a week, the majority of American families watch TV together.  However, that is not quality time.

 

3.      Quality time consists of:

 

a.       Having family devotionals.

 

b.      Doing homework or other educational activities together.

 

c.       Going out for a fun meal together.

 

d.      Experiencing a cultural activity together, such as a museum, zoo, or play.

 

e.       Playing a sport together.

 

4.      A family that spends quality time together normally has a healthy family life.  However, a family that spends little time with each other, tends to be fragmented and uninterested in each other.  They feel distanced from each other.

 

5.      How can you start spending more time together?

 

a.       Go home, have a family meeting, and develop a family “philosophy” of leisure time.  Ask the family what they would like to do together.

 

b.      Next, plan some family activities.

 

c.       And then, arrange your busy schedules, so that you can be there for the activity.

 

6.      I am not telling you to spend all of your time with each other.  Everyone needs his or her own space and time.  But I am saying that you need to do some things together as a family.  And if you do, then you are on your way to having a strong and healthy family.

 

III.                       THIRD, IN ORDER TO HAVE A STRONG AND HEALTHY FAMILY, WE MUST HAVE GOOD FAMILY COMMUNICATION.

 

1.      Communication is to love what blood is to the body.  When communication stops, love begins to die.

 

2.      According to Dr. David Mace, past president of the American Association of Marriage Counselors, “Poor communication is the main problem in 86 percent of all troubled marriages.”

 

3.      Columnist Ann Landers once said, "The most important single ingredient in a marriage is the ability to communicate.  If my mail is a fair reflection of what goes on with Mr. And Mrs. America behind closed doors (and I think it is), most marital problems stem from the inability of two people to talk to each other.  How precious is the ability to communicate! … The couples who are secure in marriage can be honest about all kinds of feeling."

 

4.      Here are four rules in good communication.

 

a.      The first rule in good communication is knowledge. 

 

(1)       How much do you know about your spouse?

 

(2)       What is your spouses favorite:

 

My wife's favorite:

Food?   (Steak and Lobster)

Drink?  (Pepsi or Dr. Pepper)

Place to eat?  (Japanese kitchen)

TV program?  (Nash Bridges)

Sport (Volleyball)

Favorite Bible character (Jesus)

 

(3)       If you do not know very much about your spouse and children, then you must not be very interested in them.  Good communication first seeks to know one another better.

 

b.      The second rule in good communication is speaking the truth in love.

 

 

(1)       Let's be honest, all strong and healthy families at times have arguments.  In fact, you can become so angry at each other, that you say things that you really don’t mean. 

 

(a)        For example, I told Mary one time while I was angry that she was as hard headed as her mother.  But that’s not true, she's close.

 

 

c.      The third rule in good communication is be positive.

 

(1)        A marriage that is 85 percent positive and only 15 percent negative will appear 90 percent bad if the couple spends 90 percent of its time arguing over the 15 percent problem areas.

 

(2)        We need to stop fighting over the negative areas, (like finances, housework, & kids) and start focusing on the good and positive areas.

 

d.      The fourth rule in good communication is to be an active listener.

 

(1)       The Pharisees and the Sadducees of Jesus’ day heard sounds, but they did not listen.  Jesus said in (Mt. 13:13) “though hearing, they do not hear”

 

(2)       Their inner ears were closed by their preconceived views.  Some people are like that today.  They hear what they only want to hear. 

 

(3)       In the family, however, we need to truly listen to what is being said.  Everyone wants to be heard and listened too. 

 

CONCLUSION:

 

1.       Although the family unit is in trouble, we as Christians can turn that around and have strong, healthy families.

 

2.       To have a strong and healthy family, we must have:

 

a.       A spiritual commitment.

 

b.      Spend quality time together.

 

c.       Good communication.

 

3.       I hope and pray that this series on the family has been beneficial.

 

4.       We never want to close a service without offering an invitation, so if you have any needs, please come as we stand and sing.