Leon Fontaine - The Culture of Your Home
Well, today I wanna talk about the culture of your home. The culture of your home. The word "culture" is something that we hear a lot about today. If you've got a successful business, then you have established a business culture that works. If you've got a church that is attracting people and growing, there will be a culture. In fact, there is a culture on every family. There is a culture on every business. There's a culture on every church. There's a culture that you develop, and culture is this human ability to put our culture on what we are building. Whether it is a family, whether it's a company, a marriage, and most people have never really seen how to do that effectively.
A lot of times, it's by default. Many of us have worked for companies where it's just kind of lazy and hit and miss. There's not a sense of purpose. There's no vision. There's no drive. And you work there, and everyone just puts in their time hoping someone will pick them up for a better job. There are families the same way. And then there are other companies. They're driven. They'll rise up with purpose. People are valued. They work together. There's a sense of team. There's a sense of leadership that permeates the organization and everyone wants to do their best, and this company will just rise up and grow and literally go on for years or decades. And there are families like that.
Today, I wanna take the word culture and I wanna superimpose it upon our families. And let's go to God's Word and let's understand what it means. Culture. Now, we could drag going into a lot of Greek words but when you go into Genesis, when God told man to go into the world, that he was to multiply, he was to subdue. He was to literally multiply the garden of Eden. There you'll find the word, the root word from the word "culture". Man was to take and be innovative with this planet. The very first time he took a twig off a tree and used it to roast a burger, he was being innovative with the wood. But buried in that mountain of ore was gold and silver and buried in that sand was computer chips and things that we would find into the future.
Everything that man thinks he's so smart about today because we discovered a new metal. God put it all there. And all we're doing is discovering what He has placed on this planet for literally centuries ahead of us. He's that brilliant. He's so far ahead of us. But we are to take this planet and we are to multiply. Now man isn't always doing it well because we're destroying our earth. We're destroying different areas of it and God doesn't want us to do that. So culture, I'm gonna give you a quick definition of culture. Culture is your beliefs expressed outwardly. Culture is your beliefs expressed outwardly.
Now, let's take a look at families. And my purpose today for speaking on this is not to in anyway hurt anybody or show you how ineffective and poor your culture is. But God's Word is always bringing truth and all truth confronts. There is no change in your life unless you are open enough to go, "You know, I need to be opened to find where I can change and grow". Pride, the reason pride is so destructive isn't because the tilt of your nose when you walk down the streets. It's because if you think you do no wrong, you'll never change. And only change will save you from the storms that are ahead in life. Only change will help you navigate something new that pushes against your business, your marriage, your health, your family.
So it's crucial that we understand and accept this, "I want to change". I want God's truths to impact me. So if you've got a family for example. Maybe you were raised in a home where money was a big issue. If you just wanted a new pair of shoes, money doesn't grow on trees. There was just a sense of poverty if you were raised that way. Now, you might say, "Well, Leon, money was scarce". No, I'm not talking about how much money you have because lots of people with no money at certain times still have a great culture of prosperity in their thinking.
Some of the most generous people I know are very poor. Some of the most giving people I've ever met are people who have barely enough to get by. They have a culture of prosperity even during a time where they don't have much but they'll get there. But if you were raised in a home for example where finances were tight and their beliefs around money was if anybody has more money than others, that's evil. If anybody, you know, anybody who's got money, they've compromised somewhere. The rich people are bad people. You've got a whole, you know, a whole culture and a whole conversation around money. You will raise kids that will never prosper. And even if they do, they will feel guilty about their prosperity because they've been raised in a socialistic thinking. Take every belief that parents have and if you raise kids in that belief, some of the hardest ones are your beliefs about God. If you believed God is judgmental, God's gonna get you. If you're raised don't lie, liars go to hell.
Well, that's not true. You lie all the time. You called them white lies. But I don't see a gradient in the Bible. But if that's your thinking, that God's mean. He'll let cancer into your world. He'll kill a kid. He'll bankrupt your business. He's gonna come and slap you upside the head right off your high stool. Like, if that's how you see God, then that's how you will be. Your image of God internally is what makes you be the way you are. If God is good, if God is gracious, if God loves you, if God will help you and you make mistake and a mess goes into your life, was He the one making that happen or is He the one helping you out of it? However you see God is a very strong culture is formed in your family. Which is why if you look at world religions, okay, and you just pick on them one at a time however they see God. You know, in Islam how they see their God, okay, is how they live their lives. Whether you are Buddhist. Whether you are new age, your beliefs begin to emerge and they form a culture.
Now, culture is so powerful that when you're not there it continues to permeate everything that you do. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it". One of the things we know in counseling and many Christian psychologist will tell you this as well. That you can be raised in a home where a substance abuse, alcohol, let's just pick on alcoholism. And the kid's just gonna swear, "I'll never touch it because I've watched a parent be abusive, be angry, wrecked our family. I'll never touch it". Yet, there's a higher percentage of those children who go into it because the culture of that home is that when you're in need, when you're struggling, when you're hurting, where do you go for pleasure? Where do you go for relief? It will be to alcohol. And so that is there whether or not so that's why it's crucial as parents that we go into God's Word and rather than living our lives the way we were raised.
Let's live our lives according to the beliefs and the truths that God has given us. Which is why John 8:32 says that when you know the truth, when you discover truth, that truth will set you free from the governing culture that will destroy you. For everything you believed, okay, there are accompanying consequences and not just monthly, generationally. Anything you don't deal with as a parent, you pass on to your next generation to deal with. Now, they can with Jesus. But, "Now, Leon, are you saying that every problem with our children is because of parents"? Absolutely not. When we hit a certain age, we make all of our own choices, all of our own decisions, and so you're responsible. And I think that we've done a real disservice to our mothers because when you see a psychiatrist, they're gonna blame everything on your mom. Moms have had a bad rap. Okay? But we do need to see the power of beliefs because the world laughs about beliefs.
You know, I've often quoted the guy that I saw who had a big T-shirt on that said, "Everybody's gotta believe something. I believe I'll have another beer". Now, the T-shirt's funny. But if it shows the way he thinks, then he doesn't think his beliefs are important. I know many parents who don't care what their kids believe about God. You know, they'll discover it for themselves. So they've never taken a stand on anything and so they don't wanna push anything on their kids. They really don't know themselves, but they've never done the work themselves of checking out the beliefs that are here. Check out science and ask yourself, "Is this really true science or science got to the place where it's actually a religion and a cult in many cases"? You can look at evolution. What about religion? Which world religion should I believe? Is it Christianity? Is it Islam? Is it Hinduism? Is it Buddhism? I don't know.
Go look at the countries that these religions formed. Then ask yourself which country you wanna live in and you'll see a religion played out in countries. How do they treat women? How do they treat kids? How do they treat the marginalized, the sick? Why is the whole world coming to Christian countries? Why are they all trying to get in to Christian country? Why don't they stay where Hinduism or Buddhism or Islam has created there? Why are they leaving their countries if their religions are so right? Just a thought. Just a thought. And then when you look at Christianity does to families, to court systems, you begin to recognize that you can look and see over the centuries what has brought life, what has brought direction. The culture. What do you believe and are these beliefs being played out in your home, in your marriage?
If you say you have a belief that treasures your spouse, but you don't look after your spouse. Your kids do not do what you say. Your kids do what you do. If you ask any preteen, what their parents greatest fears are, they will know because you can talk like you're an overcomer and a victor and everything is fine. But they watch the fear that goes on, every time someone gets a cold, you know, you freak out and you're calling hospitals. You know, I spent seven years working in a hospital as a paramedic and on a Resus teams there and a merged into the ORs. And it was amazing to me how many people would run a child in there for just a pink or diaper rash and just be petrified. And raising a child in an atmosphere of fear brings this fear into their world.
So you can literally pick on any belief. How you see yourself, how you see God, and how you see the devil, are three of the most powerful beliefs that will govern the culture of your family. In religion for example, there's a huge belief about the devil. And so if the devil's bad, the devil's powerful, he means almost as powerful as God in their eyes and there are two kingdoms on this planet. Demons are fighting angels and God's barely making it. I mean, look at the church. I mean, can't you just see how powerful the devil is? And their beliefs are so skewed that it creates a fear. The entirety to the book of Job that so many don't understand is in chapter 3, where he says, "What I fear befalls me and what I fear comes upon me". Your fears have a way of manifesting in your life because they are faith in reverse.
The reason the Bible is so powerful to you is it will give you correct beliefs to raise healthy children. The reason the Bible is so gorgeous is that when you begin to immerse yourself into it, what it says about marriage, what it says about family, what it says about health, what it says about himself. God is a good God. God is never gonna hurt you. Religion especially Christianity, but I mean every religion on the planet believes that if something bad happens to you, there's a purpose for it. I was debating with two theologians in Dallas one day over in a restaurant. And they brought this thought out that in their mind, that if something is happening to you, then God wants it there. I said, "Okay, stop". I said, "You guys are sick". And they kind of look at me. I said, "I worked in cancer wards and watched one-year old and two-year old children screaming from the pain of brain tumors in their heads and unable to cure them and teach the parents how to let them die". I said, "What a sick God we must serve if He has a purpose to teach a two-year old. Do you have an answer for that"?
And they don't because most religious doctrine doesn't carry out the ridiculousness of their doctrines. God is good. But we live in a fallen world and sickness and disease pushes against all of us. We've got 33.000 chemicals that are always being invented. I forget every how often that are now in our atmosphere. So in this fallen world, there's a fight for health and strength and belief and God in the midst of a bunch of stuff that happens. So God didn't look at you and go, "You're a jerk. I'm gonna let this happen to you for a while to straightened you out". They'd lock me up if I broke my kid's arm to teach him not to put his hands out the window. Like, it doesn't make sense. But that's the way people see God. So when you God like that, you begin to live like that. You're mean. You're vindictive.
If you were raised in a family where you feel like you had the right to judge others and you would talk about everybody from the pastor to their teacher and this kid just watched you tear down everybody. That child will grow up with no respect for others and he won't understand where to not judge others because you're not supposed to judge their heart. You only judge people's actions. Never why they do things. The Bible teaches that beautifully and it creates healthy relationships when you learned that in family and in business. The Bible is the most amazing book. But today in our microwave society, few people will actually just spend time in the Word. I was really lucky I had a dad who was a pastor but who also love the Word of God. My memories of my dad would be going to bed at night, giving him a huge and a kiss goodnight. He come and pray with us and we go to sleep. And if I happened to pop up, go to bathroom during the night, I often see him on his knees on the front room praying with his Bible open. Just studying it. Just gleaning from it. Just marinating in the truths of the Word of God.
So that his beliefs, what he knew, what he'd hear truth and that truth would permeate his heart. You see, truth doesn't change anybody until they believe it. Until you believe truth, it has no power in your life. If you don't believe that playing on the freeway can hurt you, that belief will eventually hurt you because you will disrespect freeways. If you don't believe in gravity and you can think, "Ah, what's that. I don't even believe in this". At some point, you're gonna make a move. Whether its playing soccer on the roof or, you know, up on a seventh floor without a line cleaning windows because I don't believe in gravity. Your beliefs have consequences and they have consequences for your kids and your kids' kids.
And the reason I wanna say this is because we have grown into this instant world where we just want instantaneous things. We'll sit, and we'll ponder life and then get a good thought from a movie. "Oh, that movie really touched me. It made me really appreciate my wife". Cool, why didn't you appreciate her because of the truths you've observed yourself in your meditation time? We call them devotions. It's just spending a little bit of time each day focusing on what is crucial for you. When you become a parent and a grandparent, you begin to look ahead and begin to realize that, okay, I wanna help my kids. I wanna help my grandkids.
The greatest thing I've ever helped them with was growing up was my beliefs but none of us are perfect. None of us. I'm not. My dad wasn't. And so God is the God of the fatherless. And you can even add to that, God is a God of the fatherless areas of your life. The way He does that is to help you learn and grow in the teaching of His Word that your parents didn't walk in themselves. And so I'm glad that I can pray over my children and say, "God, I just trust You to teach my children the things I missed. The things I didn't know. The things I wasn't victorious over". And so every individual person has a relationship with Jesus Christ on their own and this is crucial.
In Romans 12:2, it says, "Do not be conformed to this world. But you be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is good, and acceptable, and that perfect will of God". It shows us that everyone of us are raised in a fallen world with imperfect parents. All of us are imperfect parents. So the reason I'm giving you this just kind of this collage of this look at this topic is you need to spend time learning the Bible. You should never trust what I say from this pulpit. You'll never, when you stand before Jesus and you go, "Well, I didn't know anything about this topic. If I'd had known that, I have done better on the planet. Leon never taught me that". He'll go, "You had the Bible and Holy Spirit is your teacher".
You should never listen to a preacher including me and just go, "Oh, okay". No, you should check it out in the Bible. Write down the references. Not only are you making sure that you're hearing truth but your own saturation in God's Word. Meditating on God's Word will have a profound effect on your life. There's two ways to know Him. His Word and His Spirit. His Holy Spirit is within you. But a lot of people won't study the Bible. They'll give their lives to Jesus Christ. They'll be a Christian and then they'll say things like, "Well, I don't understand why this is happening to me. I'm a Christian". I'm going, "You know, giving your life to Christ is the start of an amazing journey and in this amazing journey Holy Spirit's your teacher". Why would Holy Spirit need to be your teacher if you didn't need to learn anything?
And so wherever you are now, just start now. Begin, if you don't know Jesus, give your life to Him. Then go into God's Word and it will empower you. It will empower you to change how you believe. It will change then the culture of your home. The culture of our homes are truly where we're gonna see the world reached for Christ. When we come to church, today we're sitting in church. I'm gonna just be honest as a pastor, church has failed miserably at creating a Jesus culture. So that families, marriages, businesses can go. Instead of teaching His grace, His power, we've often taught in religion His anger and your works and you have to earn it. And if you make a mistake, ho, you're in trouble.
You say, "Leon, that's not true" it is. Liars go to hell is what most parents taught their kids growing up as though we're gonna scare the hell out of them and they're gonna stop lying. But they watch mom and dad lie on the phone. How are you? Oh, we're good. Meanwhile, they're watching you fall apart at home. That little white lie goes against everything you're saying to them. Let's get into God's Word. Let's appreciate church. Make sure that you are faithful and a part of a life-giving church. A church should never manipulate you. A church should never dominate you. A church should never make your decisions for you. Often people if they can get to me in the hallway, "Pastor, what should I do in this situation"? Almost never do I tell them what to do.
I found it's very destructive. If I tell them what to do and it fails, they just blamed me and don't take personal responsibility. If I tell them what to do with some good advice and it wins, they're gonna try to get hold of me every time they've got a problem. Church is where we teach and equip people so that they can rise up and make wise decisions, become strong leaders, raise up great homes, great businesses, great families. Everyone of you here is brilliantly gifted by God and all you need to do is hear the truth about you to rise up and win in the areas you're struggling with right now. You will know the truth, John 8:32, and that truth will make you free. The verse before 31 says, "If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed".
So when you hear truth, it's not just enough to hear it. I share this one more time because it's brilliant at communicating this principle. You make up your mind every January you're losing weight. You make up your mind every January you're quitting smoking. You make up your mind every January you gonna get more physical. And they tell us it last no more than a few weeks. So making up your mind here does not bring change, but when you spend time in God's Word. Why church can be powerful is if the culture of the church is correct. It's grace-filled. It's focused on Christ. It's focused on His love for you. It shows that wherever you failed or fallen, get back up. He loves you.