For years now I’ve been preaching, teaching, writing and blogging about the importance of raising Christ-Centered young adults and children. Sometimes I feel like it falls on deaf ears.
Do you ever feel that way?
You try and try and try and yet, it feels as if you are barely making a dent?
Sometimes that’s how I feel? I get a bit discouraged from time to time. Just being honest. After all…it’s my blog, right? Am I allowed to be honest? Or am I supposed to be all “pastoral” here too?
I mean people listen and hear the Word of God for weeks and weeks…months and months and…even year after year but they won’t heed the Word of God and then they come to me in a crisis and won’t me to fix it. Think about the audacity of that. Months and months…even years of doing it “my way” (as Frank Sinatra used to sing) and then they want me “the Pastor” to snap my fingers in a counseling session and make it better. Well, I love Jesus and I believe He walked on water, but I can’t! I’m not Him.
Do you know what I do? I just point them right back to the Word of God that they’ve been hearing with deaf ears. I will not back down from teaching the Word of God and using it to help lives. Why? It’s supernatural and it’s all we’ve got. And it’s all we need. All I can do is hope people will become “doers” of the Word and not “hearers” only.
So, I continue to teach and preach because God has told me to. I can’t help it. I’m just mule-headed and stubborn enough to do it and that’s how God made me.
This past weekend I spoke at the North Carolina Homeschool Conference in Winston-Salem.
I taught with all I had! And you know what. There were some really good folks there. They wanted…no…check that…they were hungry for how to go about teaching and training their children to follow Christ. You see homeschooling is more than just a method of education, it’s truly a lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle where Pam and I have total control and total stewardship of our children. Scary? Yep. Yet, that’s the way God set it up. It’s my job to teach and train my children. In fact, I’m mandated in Ephesians 6:4 to do so.
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
I’m to bring up my children in the discipline and instruction OF THE LORD. That’s what the Bible says. As a father that’s my job to educate my children in the ways of the Lord. The rest is fluff. But, that line of thinking will just about get you killed in this “education is everything” society we live in today. Education trumps God. Just look at what we value in our homes. We’ll pick Dancing with the Stars, The Voice and American Idol over talking about the Bible.
I loved what speaker Todd Wilson shared in the keynote on Saturday morning. He had four points…
#1 Home is the best place on earth. #2 Parents are the best teachers of their children. #3 Each child is a masterpiece and #4 Relationships with our kids come first.
It was powerful, humorous and blessed my heart. As a man who preaches and teaches at least three times every single week, sometimes I get dry. Man oh man…I was fueled up and reinvigorated this weekend. I was reminded that it is my job to train my children in the ways of the Lord in all facets of their lives.
I want to follow Psalm 78 and be the faithful father and not the stubborn father.
5 [God] established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
6 that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
7 so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
8 and that they should not be like their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.
I am to teach my children to set their hope in God…not a diploma and not getting a high paying job. Life is not about the American Dream. Think about it. Share the Gospel in China and what do you tell them to hope for? Share the Gospel in Ethiopia with people who live in a hut with a dirt floor and what do you tell them to hope for? Are they going to get rich and live comfortably like all of the Americans chasing the DREAM?
Are American Christians really teaching their children to love and desire Jesus or love and desire money, success, material possessions and a comfortable lives? I’m passionate about this. I see it over and over and over again. We SAY one thing and DO another (even in Christendom). We sing songs about our love for Jesus, but live like He’s a nuisance who cramps our style. We often treat Him as a cosmic therapist to make us happy or as a divine butler to bring us stuff.
Lord forgive us and Lord help us to teach our children. Help us to spend time with them. Help us to teach them when we sit down, lie down, rise up and walk along the way (Deut. 6:7). But, in order to do this…we’ve got to be around them. They’ve got to be in our presence in order for us to do so.
Here’s three of my lovely ladies…
We had a wonderful time. And Clara got her one of her favorite things…
Oh the simple things in life. That’s what really matters…
It’s listening to my daughter singing with Andrew Greer this past Sunday.
It’s seeing Andrew on a “one wheel” tractor that his grandpa refurbished…
Those are the things that really make me smile.
So what if they don’t make a million dollars? So what if they don’t live in two-story house with four bedrooms and two baths? So what if they live in a mobile home or even 7,000 miles away on the mission field? What really matters…I mean REALLY matters is that they know Jesus and make Him known.
I teach my children all the time that ALL education and ALL learning is really about God Himself. Jesus is the preeminent One. He holds everything together. So, when we’re teaching our children biology, we are teaching them how God put the body together. When I’m teaching Kandace the quadratic equation, I’m teaching her how precise and absolutely succinct our Heavenly Father is in mathematical precision. When we teach about civics and government, I point out the three branches of government in our republic and liken them to the Trinity. When we are teaching about persecution and suffering, I give my children those experiences by taking them to third-world countries on mission trips. I teach my children to do hard things and I’m not necessarily interested in them having it “better” than I had it. What’s “better” about “comfortable?” Was the Apostle Paul comfortable? How about Stephen or the prophet Jeremiah or Jesus on the cross?
Oh I’m passionate and I don’t apologize for it. I’m tired of mediocrity in Christendom and lack of committed dedication. I’m ready to see people put their money where their mouth is and convictions where their time is mostly spent.
If you are a parent, what do you really want for your children? What do you desire? What would be your greatest joy for your child to accomplish? Would it be something in academics or athletics? What about spiritually?
I thank God every day for the privilege of being with my children and for being with them a lot! And so does Pam! We love them and desire to give them our very best.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 4
So, I’ll keep on preaching, teaching, writing and blogging. Maybe I’m deluded. Maybe I’m over the top. Maybe I’m off my rocker. But, at least I’m passionate, right? 🙂