How to Lessen the Dysfunction

The importance of the word of God in preventing dysfunction.

James Greer
Nov 11, 2018    31m
In this sermon Pastor James Greer teaches us the importance of the word of God in preventing dysfunction in our lives. He says that dysfunction comes from living outside of God's boundaries. The way to learn God's boundaries to to learn the word of God, and apply it to our lives. We may learn the dysfunctional behavior from our families, but it is up to us to take the steps to overcome it. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer: 00:01 Man, I'm excited about our new series called Dysfunctional, because I've got to admit I'm dysfunctional. First of all let's welcome Alexandria Campus, amen. Oh Michael, don't run off, don't run off. I want to talk briefly about the Haiti ministry, and for a long time in my life I'd always say that you know, there's enough people lost right here that I didn't want to go anywhere else, and I really believe that. But I went on trip to Haiti, and Michael Floyd, wherever you are, come here, and Darrell was with us. Alexandria campus, Darrell was with us, and Josh, and we visited different orphanages. And I remember a particular one that we went and visited to, that when we went in Michael, that we almost had culture shock.

Michael : 00:52 Oh, absolutely.

James Greer: 00:54 In fact, I almost tried to act like it wasn't really there.

Michael : 00:57 Even Robin too, even in the road. You look to your right and your left and it's just absolute poverty, just no comprehension.

James Greer: 01:08 But I can remember one of the places we stopped, and we went in, I was kind of culture shocked. You all, were kind of playing with them, and I was kind just watching. The one thing I remember most, I don't know if you remember or not. Remember the baby that was crawling up to you.

Michael : 01:27 That was when you know, I was going around handing out candy and food and such, and this kid had followed me around the whole time we were there, the whole time. And finally I turned around, and it was like when Jesus, somebody touched his robe and he could feel it. You just turn around and you could feel it, and you see this little kid had been following me around on his hands and knees. Because he didn't have any knees, his legs ended right there, and he couldn't walk, obviously. And so you know, you pick this kid up, and you look at him and you're like, oh my God, all he wanted was a little bitty Tootsie Roll. And you know, you just think that physically they're wanting that kind of thing, but spiritually, how, how deprived their spiritual soul be? Nobody's given anything to them.

James Greer: 02:09 I remember you reached over and picked that one up.

Michael : 02:11 Oh yeah, and still to this day it gives me chills.

James Greer: 02:22 But what it did, I said thank God how good we have it, and thank God how good our children have it. It made us say, hey, when God said the great commission is to go to all the earth, that was one of the places. And you talk about the end of the earth. That seemed like we were on the end of the earth. So I want to encourage you to pray about it. You know, I see it as an opportunity for us to give, out beyond ourselves.

Michael : 02:48 I think it's now only that, this is our first foreign mission of any kind.

James Greer: 02:52 Yeah it is, you're right. Not to be that proud of that.

Michael : 02:54 But He says to start in Jerusalem, Judea and then to go to the rest of the world. We started here, and we have made an incredible impact just here. And I think God finally laid it on to Brother James's heart to finally step outside, and this is our step to the rest of the world, and it's an incredible step. So if you can give you even, I think Josh and I will be going December 10, 11, and 12th, to check on the orphans.

James Greer: 03:20 So anyway, pray about it. If you look at the pictures, God will lay it upon your heart. All right, thank you Michael. Yeah, I'll never forget that.

James Greer: 03:29 You know, when we started talking about this Dysfunctional series, I decided today, you'll notice I actually wore regular shoes and wore a jacket. I said, you know, I'm going to dress up where I don't look so dysfunctional. I know the difference, because I know I'm dysfunctional. I'll live in a dysfunctional family, but one of those dangers about being dysfunctional is we try to act and hide our dysfunctions. Until we really admit how dysfunctional we are, and we learn how to deal with it, we'll have to continue to live with it. So I thought I say this, I'm dysfunctional, you're dysfunctional, we're all dysfunctional. We've got a dysfunctional church, with dysfunctional people. I want to mention one more thing about Haiti and I'll move on. One of the things about Haiti is this, I want you to really pray about it, but I want you to remember the generosity fights greed. And we're in the month of November of Thanksgiving, and we used to have a Thanksgiving offering every year, I don't want to have that this year. I want us to sponsor a child, and I want us to actually take that child, and then I want to start praying for it. And then we're going to help develop them emotionally, physically, financially, and as you're praying for that child, we have this great opportunity to be a part of the great commission. We can be blessed individually, and cooperatively like a church. Like Michael said, it was our first time to really do that. I didn't really have a burden for foreign missions. I just wanted to meet him here, until we went there. And I thought about how grateful, and how blessed, and how thankful, I was to live here in America, and our children, how blessed we were. So let's help change the world by being part of that. Okay?

James Greer: 05:14 Let me. Let me tell you what's going on. Let me give you a little introduction. This week we're going to learn the very basics of being dysfunctional, the basics of a dysfunctional family. Next week you don't want to be here, because we're going to preach about the hidden secrets of dysfunction. And when you understand this hidden secret, and you apply, you can immediately start functioning better with your dysfunctional family. And then the third week we're going to give examples in the Bible of dysfunctional families, and if we have time, I'll develop the most dysfunctional marriage in the whole Bible, and we'll talk about it.

James Greer: 05:50 Now what I want to tell you today is, this part is not in your notes, and so if I was you I'd pay attention to or I'd write it down. Dysfunction occurs when we try to operate outside our God given boundaries, that's when dysfunction occurs. That's when dysfunction began. We learned last week that how lack of knowledge, brings destruction. We learned in Hosea 4:6, it says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." That lack of understanding, a lack of applying God's word. "Because you have rejected the knowledge. God said, I reject you." And so God says, one of the main reasons for dysfunction, is we don't understand, we don't know our god given boundaries in our marriage, in our finances, in our school, and in our job for. For an example, when God put Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, they were functional, started out that way. He only put boundaries around one tree. And he said, man, you all can have a whole place, do what you want, name the animals, do whatever you want. But there's one tree I got boundaries around. Because they crossed that boundary, it was the very beginning, the birth of dysfunction.

James Greer: 07:07 After that, they had two sons, named them Cain and Abel. And God said, listen, I want to teach you right of the bat to bring the first fruits to God. See, God said, listen, bring the first fruits, he's always said that. He said it to them, he's said it to us, but Cain, he didn't like that. God said everything I've given you, but bring the first fruits to me. Because Cain didn't like the boundaries that God had set up for him, he killed his brother Abel.

James Greer: 07:33 Comes along father Abraham. I love Abraham, you love Abraham, we all love father Abraham, amen. He is the father of the nation, and because on him, we got the blessings that came through. But did you know that father Abraham, God said, listen, I'm going to give you a son. His name's going to be Isaac, and you're going to have seeds, like the sand of the world. But Abraham didn't stay within the boundaries of his marriage, Abraham decided to go sleep and have sex with is maid, he got outside its boundaries and it became dysfunctional. We have still have dysfunction in the Middle East, because Abraham got outside of his boundaries. So what I want you to know, dysfunction is the result of getting outside your God given boundaries. See, the first reason for dysfunctional families is because either we don't understand, or know our God given boundaries. So number one, if you don't know your God given boundaries, that's what you need to learn.

James Greer: 08:27 The second reason we have dysfunction is we know our God given boundaries, but we don't obey them. See if you want your family to be less dysfunctional, find out what God says about your boundaries, and learn it, then obey it. See, learn God given boundaries, and say, man, what are my God given boundaries? I want to learn about that, and I want to apply it to my life, and I'll be less dysfunctional. I know that, I think starting this Wednesday night, we're going to have something called Blended Families. I mean families, you know, that blended together. They've both been divorced, they come together, and have kids on both sides. And this Wednesday, I think they're going to start teaching. I think Donna and Terry Ford are going to be teaching that. Let me tell you what, when you're talking about when dysfunction hits, you need to be in that class, amen.

James Greer: 09:15 So what I want to do today is say, you know, I'm not up here saying that I don't have a dysfunctional family, because I do. My goal isn't even to try to preach that you'll never have dysfunction in your family, because that would be impossible. My goal for the next three weeks is never to to stop dysfunction, because we can't do it, because we've inherited it. But that we can learn to function better, in a dysfunctional family environment, amen. Would you like to function better in your family, and in your environment? Amen?

James Greer: 09:45 So what does it mean to have a dysfunctional family? Well, if you look at Wikipedia, it says this, it talks about where conflict and the misbehavior. See, dysfunction is about misbehavior, even abuse, on the part of individual members in families. Where they continually occur, and they're condoned by other family members. Where children often grow up understanding, and believing, such conduct is normal. See what happens in misbehavior and dysfunctional situations, what happens when you grow up to that, listen, you think, you're ready? You think dysfunction is normal, and normal is abnormal. So when you grow up in a real dysfunctional family, if you tried to act normal it would be abnormal to you, but yet the abnormal lifestyle has become normal to you. See dysfunctional behavior is usually passed down from generation to generation. Dysfunctional family, It destroys the peace within the family. Of course, I told you one of my definitions of operate outside of God's boundaries for your life, but it's also dysfunctional families when we try to function outside the functions that God has given us. .

James Greer: 11:03 For example, a dysfunction between a husband and wife leads to fighting, and can even lead to divorce, because they're trying to function outside their god given functions or boundaries of God's word, God's plan. It's the same thing with parents and children, at least a mental and physical and emotional problems, because you're functioning and operating outside the function and boundaries that God has given you. The same thing with siblings, siblings it least the lifelong alienation and jealousy. Because one or all the siblings are trying to function outside their god given boundaries or functions for them. So number one insight is remember this, genes which come from your family, and environment greatly matter. Your family genes, which you inherited, and your environment greatly determine your behavior.

James Greer: 12:00 Now Genesis 20:5 talks about it, and it says this, "For I the Lord, I'm your God, and I'm a jealous God." When he says, I'm a jealous God, I'm jealously wanting your love. I visit the inequities, which is the false, the habits, the misbehavior, of your father's upon the children to the third and fourth generation. God says, I want you to know, you listen to me, there is a generational pool to be like your parents, good or bad. You're born with it, your genes are there, your environment's there, your behavior's there. Have you ever thought, man, I'm coming just like my parents. Sometimes that's good. Sometimes that's bad. I mean, the other day my wife said, you're starting to look just like your dad. I said, oh my gosh, am I acting like him? Which was a good thing? No, you just look like him. But God shows mercy, listen, he shows mercy to the thousands who love me, and keep my commandments. See, it's way more important than just knowing God's word, is learning to obey the word. See, we all known families was seemed like it had the same problem, the same addiction, the same behavior over and over and over, after generation. You said, man, I know, he's just like his father, she just like her mother, because I didn't break the generational curse. I do believe our genes, listen, in our environment will always have a pull on our life. Always. It'll always have that pull of that sin, that attitude, and that behavior, it is called predisposed sin. It's a pull in your life to behave like your like your parents did, and then say well I'm adopted, so I'm in a different environment. That's great because your environment greatly determines it too. But if you have the genes, and the environment together, you have a great pull, good or bad, to be like your parents. Many times you don't even know why you're acting the way that you do. You don't know why he behaved the way that you do. You don't even know why you respond the way you do. Because see you're abnormal is normal to you, but everybody else outside of you knows that you're acting dysfunctional but you.

James Greer: 14:27 Now it says, don't allow your abnormal dysfunctional behavior to become normal. Become teachable, have a teachable spirit. Don't start trying to justify why you behave the way that you behave. See, that's the beginning, that's the start of wanting to change and admit that, yeah, I did inherit that. I am acting like that, but I don't have to be like that. See if your were alcoholics, or they had drug abuse, you've got to be careful. Illegal drugs you should never do it, but if your parents had a problem with drugs, be careful with prescription drugs. If your parents were alcoholics, or really had a problem controlling alcohol. See, I don't believe the Bible says you can't have a drink, I don't believe that's in the Bible, I believe the Bible says don't become a drunkard. But I believe I can tell you right now, if both of your parents, especially one had a really problem with alcoholism, the best thing for you to do is not drink at all.

James Greer: 15:23 See if your parents were real negative, if they're a absent all the time, if there were domineering, especially if they're immoral. I'll tell you after 35 years of counseling in the ministry, which I don't counsel much anymore by the way, one of the things I'll do, I'll say, tell me about your parents. And they'll tell me, and many times they say, hey, you know, my mom or my dad, you know, they were in and out of relationships their whole life. And guess why they're there, they're having problems in the relationship. And they'll say, well, I don't want to be like them, but I guess I'm acting just like them. And so you perfectionism. See, what you've got to do is you learn from your parents, you don't blame your parents. I was at a meeting the other day with some young people, and I was talking about dysfunctional families, and I looked around the room and every single one of them was from a dysfunctional family. Not One person in the room had a traditional marriage where the husband and wife had stayed together, and we started talking about the pull in their life, and how they come where they're at. And they were in pretty good environment, but see they can to the point that they said, listen, I don't want to be like my mom or I don't want to be like my dad, but I want to learn from this, and I stopped blaming him for my problems.

James Greer: 16:38 How to lessen your dysfunction? How do you do that? Genes and environment play a great deal of the way you behave. Amen. You understand that? It's scientifically proven, that doesn't have anything to do with, but they throw the Bible in there and though genes and environment or part of it. That does not mean that's who you're going to be. That's not what you have to do. Galatians 3:13 puts it this way, it says, "Christ has redeemed from us the curse of the law." He's redeemed us from the curse of our immorality, dysfunction, and habits and sins. Having become a curse for us, for it is written. That Jesus Christ, that he might receive, It is written, he was cursed, and he was hanged on a tree. That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the gentiles in Jesus Christ. That we might receive the promise of the spirit through faith." So what he says this, when Jesus Christ came and died for our sin, where we under the curse? The answer is yes. Did he redeem us from the curse? Yes. Where we the gentiles? Yes. Are we entitled to the same promises, Abraham now? Amen. We've got the blessing's the curse is broken. Your genes and your environment do go hand in hand, your genes and environment go greatly to developing who you are, but you no longer have to live that way. Because you know number one, because you can get a new gene, you have your mom and dad's gene. Amen?

James Greer: 18:08 But how about getting re-gened. See First John 3:8 puts it this way, "He who sinned is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose, (what) the son of God has manifested, that he might (what) destroy the dysfunctional works of the devil. That God wants us to destroy it. When Jesus rose from the grave, he actually humiliated the devil, and destroyed the works. Now we still have the pull don't we? The word when it said, when it talks about, whom so ever has been born of God does not sin. For his seed, his what? Seed remains in him, and he cannot sin because he has been born again. The word seed in First John 3:9, means sperm. It means you've got new genes, you have been re-gened, you now have God's genes. You now have your parents' genes, when you get born again, you get re-gened, and you get God's gene, and the Holy Spirit lives in you, and now you have two genes within you. Now you have a choice by the way you live, and by the way,you learn, and by what you do, which gene you follow. You got your parents gene, and you've been re-gened by God himself.

James Greer: 19:21 If you read First John 3:9, if you read it in the amplified version, it would say that, "No one born again deliberately, knowingly, habitually practices sin." Because God's nature abides and his principles, his life, and his defined sperm remains in you. It's permanently there. It can't leave. Re-gene though you ready? Do we all know people that got saved, and re-gened, and still go back live like their parents? Amen. And listen, I'm not blaming parents, I'm one. I failed, you failed. Guess what? When our kids get grown, they'll fail. We're all failures. So this is very important, re-gened which is being saved, apart from transformation, will not give you the freedom from your past genes. Re-gened, apart from transformation, will not give you freedom from your past gene. You can get saved but not transformed, and you'll be discouraged, defeated, and you want to give into the pull of your parents gene. Now, when you get saved, you get re-gened, you still got your parents gene. When you're not transformed, when you don't grow and we'll talk about it, you'll even begin to doubt your salvation. Or even say, what's the purpose? I can't change my behavior, I continue to live like I did in a past. Was I even saved? Because the truth about transformation, it's way more than trying. We got a lot of people trying to be a better person, trying to be better, husband, trying to be better father, but it's not trying, it's training. Interesting.

James Greer: 21:05 Romans 12:2 puts it this way, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be (What?) transformed. The metamorphosis process. It says, there was a caterpillar, and it had a cocoon, but I love butterflies. But how did we become transformed? By the renewing of our mind. What we might prove? What is good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. And how do we do that? And for I say thou, the grace given me. In other words, you can't do it on your own. God gave us grace, he gave to me, to everyone who is among you. Not to think more highly of themselves as they ought to, but think soberly as God has given him. Do you understand, he's given every man the measure of faith. Do you know what he's saying? We get saved, but we don't get transformed, we start thinking we can do it. We're saved, we're forgiven, we've got a brand new start. But God says, don't think more highly of yourself, it is not grace in you that's going to help change you. Then we're start depending on ourselves, and we get defeated, and we get discouraged. We got to learn to renew our mind. We renew our minds by replacing our worldly thoughts and our thinking, with God's Word and God's truth. How do you begin to transform? You got God's word, you replace your earthly thanking, you continue to be obeying, and you'll begin to be transformed into a new life. He said, don't think it's all about you, because apart from God's grace, you can't do it. Now you've got your parents' genes, and you get God's genes, and now you've got to focus on being transformed. God says, I give you grace, I give you a measure of faith. Grace is the power to do what God's called you to do, and even do it with joy, you can't do it on your own. Don't think more highly of yourself, then you can, then you should. Way too many people are thinking I can do it, I can do it, I can do it. I got saved, I've come to church, I got baptized, now I can do it. No, you can't, not apart from God's grace, you can't do it. You got to be what? Transformed.

James Greer: 23:02 Second Corinthians chapter 10 puts it this way, "For though I walk in the flesh." In other words, the genes, the world, the pull, "I don't war against the flesh, for my weapons of my warfare are not carnal, (They're not worldly, they're not physically.) but they're mighty for the pulling down of stronghold." Did you know in the Bible in the word, really habits in the original writing was not in the Bible? It was called a stronghold, and God says, listen, we don't fight the same way. We got strongholds, we got habits, we got behaviors that we needed to change. He said, "Cast down every argument, every high thing, that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bring every thought, impulse, and emotion, into captivity of obedience to Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled." In other words, God said, listen, what I'm trying to tell you is this. The real battle is for your mind, the real battle if you want to change your behavior, you have to change what you believe. If you want to change what you believe, you got to know God's word. You got to replace God's word, with the pull of the genes, and the pull of the world. And you've got to take that, and you got to replace it, so you got to know God's word. And so together you got to control your mind, or your mind will control you. What you meditate on, will materialize, it will come about. So you better be careful. The Bible says, "A man thinketh in his heart, so is he." The Bible says in Proverbs 29, "He that trusts in his own heart, is a fool." First Joshua 1:8, "This book of the law of God's word shall not depart out of my mouth. I shall (What?) meditate on it day and night, and shall observe, do according to what is written. And then you will make your ways prosperous, and then you will have good success." God says, who's responsible for the success in your life? You are. Once you've been re-gened, you then become responsible. You can no longer blame your parents, your past, your environment, you now become responsible for your own success. By what you think on, and by what you do.

James Greer: 25:14 Before we become less dysfunctional in our family, we personally have to learn to be less dysfunctional, personally. See, I believe everybody's dysfunctional. I believe every family in our church, is definitely dysfunctional. I believe every family I've studied in the Bible was dysfunctional. Adam and Eve, man, one their sons killed the other one. Abraham sleeping with the servants, with the maid. David committed adultery and murder. Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery. You see what I am saying? I believe we're all dysfunctional, so what we've got to do is learn to be less dysfunctional. We got to learn to function within a dysfunctional family. Because you've got to know, you got two pulls going on in your life. If you are saved, you got God's genes pulling you to do one thing, you got your parents and the worldly genes pulling you another way. And see it depends on what you're feeding on, what's going in your mind, depending on how you're going to act, depending on your behavior, depending on your transformation. God used dysfunctional people in the Bible, and he can use you, and he can use us. Don't allow your dysfunction to destroy you, begin to destroy the dysfunction in your life. Joseph was one of the most dysfunctional, from one of the most dysfunctional families in all the Bible, and yet God used him in a great and mighty way.

James Greer: 26:41 So as we kind of got to start wrapping up, I want to give you some ideas. Number one, if you haven't been re-gened, today is the day. In other words, today is the day to come out and accept Jesus Christ as your savior, that that's what you do. You get re-gened by accepting Christ as your savior. Second of all, maybe you've been saved, but you've never been transformed. You haven't started changing the way that you think. You haven't started taking the worldly thinking, and the gene from your parents, and your past, and your environment. You've got to say, hey, I'm going to make an intentional effort to bring it into the captivity of Christ. And I'm going to replace it with what God's word says, not what my parents said, not what the world says, not what anybody else says, you've got to know who God says you are. Third, you've got to stop blaming everybody else. It says by your words, you'll be justified; by your words, you'll be condemned. Your words bring blessings and curses, not only what you speak out loud, listen, but what you speak to yourself. Some of the greatest battles are not just what I say out loud, but it's how I talk to myself. And God said in Romans 14:12, and he says, "We're going to give an account of ourselves." Everybody is you. You're going to give account for yourself, not your parents, not your boss, not your sister, not your mother, brother, friends. Each of us is going to give an account for our self before God.

James Greer: 28:16 I'm sorry if you came from a really, really abusive, dysfunctional family, or if you're in a dysfunctional marriage and relationship, but you have to come to the point that you're ready to start making some decisions. You have to admit, yeah, I'm dysfunctional, and I'm sure I'll struggle with being dysfunctional rest of my life. But today I want to start transforming my life, and how do you do that? Of course you get saved. You admit that you need to be transformed, and not conform to this world, and you make an effort. See you're not just trying, say I'm going to start training and trusting in God's word. Where does dysfunction start? You're ready? When you're operating outside your God given boundaries. Some of you in just a moment, I'm going to have you stand up, I'm going to give an invitation. And you need to quit worrying about everybody else, quit trying to hide your dysfunction, everybody knows that anyway, but you. And you just say, man, I've been trying to operate outside of my God given boundaries, and today I want to begin to learn God's boundaries for my life. That's called admitting it. Number two, I want to start taking responsibility for my own behavior, I want to quit blaming my parents, I want quit blaming the environment. It does have a pull, but no pull's greater than God's pull on your life. See and I believe that God is pulling you right now, I believe the Holy Spirit is here, and it's alive, and it's powerful, and it's quick. And I don't care if you have a good life, he wants you to have a better life. Some of you as parents said, hey man, the environment I've got my kids in is probably not the best environment, and I want to start changing their environment. But whatever God's called you to do, I pray that you don't go home the same way that you came.

James Greer: 30:02 Would you stand and let me pray with you, and pray for you? God, you're a great and awesome God. God, I thank you for our parents, I thank you that we can learn from them, I pray that we stop blaming them. God, that we forgive them, but we don't put ourselves back in a situation that could harm us. God, I'm thankful that you loved us so much that you wanted to change us, that you sent your son to die for us. God I pray If there's anyone here today that hasn't been redeemed by putting their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, when I give an invitation and they would do that. Then God for the majority, you know that it's the Holy Spirit's impressing upon right now. You know I was saved and followed through and public baptism, if you haven't, you need to do that. But God, I haven't really been transformed. I keep thinking the old way, just like I did before I was saved, and God today I need to admit that, I need to take responsibility for that God. And I'm so grateful that I know that your gene is stronger, that you defeated Satan, that your very purpose was coming to give us freedom. And God, I pray today that some people are set free like never before, and God we'll give you the honor and glory. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360