Leon Fontaine - The Joy Of Family
Hey everybody, welcome. It's good to have you with me today. And, I love the Christmas story. I love the Christmas season. And I believe that as we go into our message today, it's going to help all of us. You see, nobody has a perfect family. I did an entire series to our church called, "No perfect families". It was one of the most sought after series we did because everybody thinks somebody must have the perfect family. Or you'll hear people say well, we have one boy and one girl. That's the perfect family.
There are no perfect families. And even if you see everything together on the exterior, you know, because we all work so hard when we get out to church or shopping or with friends. Your kids are on y our best behaviour, they're dressed the best, you know, you're setting the table for guests, you want the kids to know hey, we have guests coming over, let's be on our best behaviour, and then we've got all the social media that's going on today. And, you see these families on social media and, I mean, she's got her makeup on, all her clothes are perfect, her kids are so amazingly obedient. Listen to me. Those are edited segments. Nobody has the perfect family.
And so, it's almost like all the social media has gotten us all depressed like, who can compete with that family, that ministry, that person? Social media makes us look our best and in fact and in many cases just outright lies. It just says things about people that they're not even like that, they don't even have a life like that. It's their portrayal of their life in front of a camera, or their phone, as they try to get it to people. But I find everywhere I go as a pastor, as a leader, that people just feel like my family is so messed up, so flawed, no where near how I'd want it or how I like it, and they're just discouraged.
I had one person talk to me and say you know, our daughter grew up and just made a horrible turn doing things we never trained her to do. We are such bad parents, because if we would have trained her right, she'd be serving God today and so, I've often told people this. There are no perfect families. And, God who had a family, because He had Adam and Eve, He made them in His likeness and in His image. And that literally means an exact duplicate in kind. Of all the things God created, only Adam and Eve did He breathe His presence into. Which means, it's God's DNA, spiritual DNA, breathed into Adam and Eve. Growing up in the garden with Him, laughing, talking.
Can you imagine God coming down to walk in the garden with Adam and Eve? We all think that He's a great big forty-story tall guy and that if He'd show up on the planet, there'd be a great big explosion of fire and Adam could maybe reach His ankle, and, "Hey God way up there! How are you"? No. He walked and talked with them in the cool of the day. I believe, just like Jesus when He came to the planet, Emmanuel, God with us. He looked like a human, talked like a human, was the same size as a human. I know that when God came to talk with Adam and Eve in the garden, He was their size, communicated with them. He created their faces to smile and to need laughter, which means it comes from Him. He loves laughter, He loves joy. He loves adventure. He loved doing things.
It would be an amazing thing if someone could portray what God was like in the garden of Eden, with Adam and Eve before the fall. It must have been the most astounding, stunning, incredible thing you could ever see. But, Adam and Eve. They disobeyed God, and they left Him. They broke the principles that kept their relationship strong, went out on their own, and God Himself had a broken family. And when you recognize that the entire Old Testament is the human race pursuing its own goals, pursuing the things that it wants. You know, the tree in the garden of Eden was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Basically, they wanted to make their own decisions as to what was bad and what was good. And that's the way everybody is today. That's why people like atheists and agnostics. You know, they probably could believe, but they don't want to because they inside kind of know if I believe there is a God, there's a lot of things I better probably change in my life.
So the Christmas story is beautiful. Because it's about God restoring His family. Just like you want to restore your family. Maybe it's in the marriage area that you think you know, we've been married for this many years and it's not growing. Our marriage is not becoming better. We're kind of battening down the hatches. We're seeing how long that we can manage our home, our family. Or maybe as the kids are growing up, they're leaving and they'd rather be with their teenage friends than with you. Or now they're married and they're with the other family more than they're with our family. I don't know where you're at, or maybe there's one of the spouses is struggling with an addiction or the kids. Like, there are so many different scenarios, that people are listening to this message with me right now.
And so I want to bring you the hope of the Christmas story. It's the story of God, restoring His family. It's the story of Jesus coming to the planet, God with us, Emmanuel. And the reason He had to come as a baby, was because He had to come and He couldn't just kind of, horn in to the human race as God, because He had given the planet to human beings. And so, the human race is in control and in authority on the planet. And you'll find different verses in the Bible that say that. That the heavens are the Lord's, but the earth He has given to the sons of man. So, I mean, I could go through a ton of scripture but let me just repeat some of them. For example, when it talks about human beings and authority, that is why the world's so messed up. Not that God has messed it up, but that the human race has made decisions and the decisions that we make affect generations ahead of us.
You know, this is another topic. I don't believe in generational curses. Okay, actually when you get into the Word, it's not really, it's not there at all. And God's not like that, to say whatever I do, my poor kids are going to be cursed with. No. But, the things that I believe and the actions that I do, the behaviour that I have in raising my kids, is definitely going to affect them. It's definitely going to affect their lives. It's going to affect how they handle marriages and money, etc. So there is an effect that goes down generationally. It's not a curse that you have to kind of break, it's a way of thinking. It's a way of believing about money, marriage, sex, God. All of these things, that gets passed on from generation to generation.
And so, God wanted to change that. And it was, Jesus, was the miracle that restored God's family. I believe today, that there can be a miracle that restores your family. And His name is Jesus. And not only is knowing Jesus restores marriages and families and homes, but it also gives us the power to begin to change our world in our lives. You see, giving your life to this Jesus, who was born as a baby, who died on the cross for you and I. It's not enough to just say okay now Jesus do all the miracles and fix everything. No, what He's going to do, is He's going to live His life through you. And when Jesus lives His life through you, you become this attractive force that restores and brings help and health. You have a patience beyond anything imaginable. A wisdom on what to say in situations, and how to even begin to plan and see your home begin to move in right directions. And, so there's some pretty incredible things.
In Galatians 4, the Bible says in verse 4, but when the proper time had fully come, God sent His son, born of a woman, born subject to the regulations of the law. To purchase the freedom of. To ransom, to redeem, to atone for, those who were subject to the law. That we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us. And be recognized as God's sons. Now, this is talking about Jesus. And how that when a certain time came, Jesus came and He died. Now, mankind including Adam and Eve, couldn't live good enough to really stay in God's family. To be in God's family. So it says that sonship, or to be in the family, was going to be conferred upon people. It was going to be gifted to people. It was going to be given to people.
And when you study this Jesus that came and lived on the planet for 33 years. He was a baby, a toddler, a teenager. He began to do what His father wanted Him to do. He never sinned. He lived a righteous life. Never gave in to the temptations that all the rest of us might have given in to in so many areas. And then when He died on the cross at 33 years of age. He died for you. And He died for me. And He took our place on the cross. The Christmas story, is one of God sending His son, born of a woman. So that as a human being, He could represent the human race. You know, if Canada wants to send someone to represent us to the United Nations, we don't send a dog or a cow, we send a human being. And when the human race needed to have a representative in God's kingdom and go before. It was Jesus that came, because no one else could represent the human race.
So when Jesus died on the cross, He died for everybody's sins. He became sin. He took the curse that was out there, and it said you are free from the curse, you're free from your sins. All that requires, is that you accept now this free gift. I think, people often ask me, don't you think Christmas is too commercialized? Yeah, I do. Don't you think, yeah, it's not even the right date, that's not the date he died. I don't care about any of those things. I'm just glad that we have a time that celebrates Jesus. And I know that we buy presents and people go into debt and we've got Santa Claus and elves and the Grinch. I love it all, I just see it all as beautiful fun stories. To bring families together, kids and their parents, and get out and do things.
And it's not my religious experience, it's just culturally families coming together. But when the Bible talks about Jesus, I always bring our family and our church services. You know, we do a ton of fun things in our church services in the entire Christmas season. But we always come to a place of showing people it's about Jesus. And Jesus is here to restore you to His family and to help you restore your family. And so I want you to get faith about that. Now, when you look at this verse in Galatians 4, it says and because you really are His sons, God has sent the Holy Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying Abba Father. Therefore, you are no longer a slave, but a son. And if a son, then it follows that you are an heir. You are, you can inherit by the aid of God through Christ.
One of the things that I've noticed about myself, and the humans that walk on this planet, are these times that I can have, and maybe you do the same thing. You know, whether it's certain music or certain things going on, or maybe I'm tired, or maybe I'm alone somewhere. And I begin to feel almost like haunted. Almost like, what's life doing? Do I fit in here? I think everybody goes through that. There's a part of human existence that, the Bible says that it feels like, you feel like an orphan. Jesus said, I'm going to send the Holy Spirit when I die, and that He will come in. Says I'm not going to leave you as orphans. I have found that if I'm not spending time with God, you know, and even when I'm just tired, maybe got a crazy weekend as a pastor, as a leader.
And, you know, Mondays or Tuesdays I'm just kind of relaxing and resting up from the crazy weekends. If you're tired, or if you're just kind of mentally exhausted. If you're not careful, you can go back as a Christian to these feelings of feeling alone. Feeling lonely. Feeling orphaned. Where do I fit in? I'm married, I have kids, I have parents, but I just feel left out. Does anybody love me? And you can say well Leon, you're just feeling sorry for yourself. I understand that, but just stop. The entire human race has a sense of, orphans. Of not fitting in. And that's why Jesus came. And when you go through the beautiful story of like, you know, the angel singing peace on earth, good will towards men. It's talking about this Jesus coming. And instead of having this orphaned feeling, this depressed feeling. This thing's never going right.
Jesus came to restore God's family, and when you get into God's family, as a person that is born again. Forgiven for your sin. The curse no longer can touch you. This new life that Jesus has because of His resurrection. This resurrection Zoe life, is now in you. It restores your family. To you singles that are listening to me, come on. Do not build your family like everybody else around you. Make Jesus the center of your life, of your dating, of who you're hanging out with. Because you need to build your dating, build your marriage, on Jesus. The only one who brings peace and joy, and a hope that as you get married and you have children, that there's going to be generations. One day when you're old and at a hundred years old, and you look back at your great grandkids, and your great great grandkids, you can see the blessing of the Lord in the land of the living.
And this is what God needs from Christians. He needs generations from you, strong, rising up, succeeding in life and marriage and career, impacting the planet, influencing the planet. He needs every believer to restore their relationship as a member of God's family, and then take these principles, His Word, His spirit, His peace, His joy, and let your family be filled with this peace, this joy. You know, this Christmas as you get around the tree or whatever you do for Christmas time, let the peace of God within you dominate. There's sometimes, that families will get together and my brothers know how just to push my buttons and I know how to push their buttons. And maybe there's one person in the family that's always going to be, trying to control the mood of family get-togethers. You have to make a decision.
The Bible says, you can say peace be on this house. And it says, your peace, controls that house. Wherever I go, I believe the presence of God upon me, can control the atmosphere that I must work in. That I must have fun times in, that I must have lunches and family times. I'm not letting another spirit rise up. I'm not letting some other transference of spirits come in, that I'm, someone else is going to transfer in anger, unforgiveness. Transfer in, just the stuff the enemy uses to break down homes and families. Even in the midst of people squawking and saying things. I must control myself and just say hey, you guys, we're family.
And then I want to be the peace-maker. Not the peace-keeper. Oh please guys, let's get along, let's just get along. No, peace-makers, they bring resolution to situations and they believe that their marriage, their family, maybe you're a grandparent now and you've got grandkids and great grandkids, and you get them all together and it's a zoo. You rise up and declare this is my home, today, we are going to represent Jesus Christ. All of us aren't the same, we don't have a perfect family, but while we're in my home, we're going to allow joy. And you just speak to them. And then you just believe, and don't let anybody kind of get your goat. We had that saying here in Canada, where all of a sudden you're getting angry because someone said something pointed at you. And there it goes, the whole Christmas party, the whole family get together just goes down the tubes. Why? Because you've relinquished, that the spirit of peace and the spirit of joy, that you can have on that family.
And so I want to challenge you. Jesus wants to bless, restore your marriage, your family, your kids, and it starts with you being restored to Christ. Meaning, that in Galatians 5, the fruit of the spirit, or the attributes of Jesus. His spirit, can be in, you can have Jesus' joy. Jesus' love. You can have literally the patience of Jesus. Someone says well, you need to have the patience of Job. If you know the story, he wasn't that patient. He was a whiner and a complainer but people don't take the time to read the books. I want the patience of Jesus, and He's given it to me because His spirit within me causes patience to rise up in me. It causes goodness to rise up in me. All the beautiful nine strengths, or the King James calls them the fruits of the spirit. They are the strengths of the spirit, the attributes of the spirit. The characteristics of having Christ alive on the inside of you.
And you can raise up great marriages, great families. You can go into business parties. If you're working at a company, and just you being there, you're not a wet blanket. Well he's walking around and he's not drinking or partying. No, if I have to go to places where I'm invited, and I feel I should go, and there's all sorts of things happening at that party. And there's certain things I won't go to, but I am just the life of the party without alcohol, without smoking drugs. Without, I'm just laughing, loving, enjoying people, I'm not condemning people because they're doing things I won't do. Wherever we go and live, we're not the wet blanket. We ought to be the joy, the peace.
In fact, when we get together as a family, and we'll go to a restaurant, and they'll see us together. Waitresses will just pop by and say this is so beautiful, this is awesome. You guys aren't even drinking, you're having so much fun. Et cetera. And I want you to know the peace that Jesus brings. That someone will have to stand up for peace. That's you. Someone will have to stand up for joy. That's you. And, it's so easy to go negative. It's so easy to be unhappy, it's so easy to find something wrong and get your nose out of joint, we use the term. But instead, you can walk in this concept that God gives us, of being unoffendable. That people are going to say stuff to me, do stuff to me, and they just want me to join them in their anger, irritation. I mean, there are people who get around me and I can tell just me being happy irritates them.
Years ago when I was newly married and Sally and I had a couple of children. I would work as a paramedic out of a hospital. And Mondays and other days, I would be walking the hallways smiling and laughing. I literally would have people say what are you so happy about? And I said oh you don't want to know. Or I'd share with them a little bit. Other times, once people got to know me, they would literally say in such a grumpy mood Leon would you just shut up? I don't want someone whistling or singing around me. And, but they knew there was a joy that I had. And it irritated them. I want you to know, that don't give in to irritable people. Don't give in to people who want to change you because it irritates them. You're so happy, they're jealous of your joy, your family, your home. Get up and love people. Get up and make a decision that the fruit of the spirit are going to be my strengths.
I will be joyful, I will be peaceful. I'm going to be good to people. I'm going to be patient with them. I'm going to be long-suffering. I'm going to be kind, and gentle, etc. And when you do, the presence of God rises up within you. The Christmas story is about God restoring His family. And anyone who wants to be restored to God, can be. And at that point, He'll help you restore all of your relationships. I pray this Christmas season that you'll use every get-together, business, family, friends, home, use it as an opportunity to just love people. Value people. Even if they've hurt you before. Let Jesus heal you. Don't become you know, PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Let Him heal that broken heart, and go on let Him bring His presence into every one of your relationships. We love you, have a great Christmas season, and make sure that Jesus is the person that you're having the greatest relationship with.