Our hearts and prayers are with the families of Boston…there are no words!
Our hearts and prayers are with the families of Boston…there are no words!
The Lord always seems to be working on me in one area or another…and some are more painful than others! Over the last few months that ‘iron sharpening’ seems to be in the area of the so-termed “Sinner’s Prayer.” The general idea is that if you pray to God, admit you’re a sinner, believe in Him and ask for forgiveness – you’ll be saved. While on the surface, that looks Biblical:
- …because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:9)
- If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
The problem I think arises when we mix the understanding of what Paul was writing with how we define and understand what it means to confess “Jesus as Lord.” You see, in Rome – where this letter would have first been read – there was only ONE lord, Caesar! To confess any other lord other than Caesar carried some rather severe consequences! It meant alienation from your family, imprisonment, punishment, and even possibly death! When we “confess” Jesus as Lord, all we say in America is “Yes, Lord – I think you’re real and I’ll attempt to follow you…for now!” In most cases, there are no threat of consequences…no alienation from family…no torture or punishment. We simply believe and move on…
You see, if belief was all it took to receive salvation, then every one will be saved in the future:
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11)
What’s required is a continuous belief that is not just lip service; but truly from the heart puts Jesus in first place in our lives! First place in our families! First place in our secret lives! First place in our bodies! First place in our relationships! The list goes on and on…
What is required is genuine repentance! Again, this is not a simple, “I’m sorry, Lord for the sins I’ve committed!” In English, repentance is defined as follows:
But here’s the Greek definition:
I recently had the opportunity to assist with and attend a conference with Dr. Voddie Baucham. I had wanted to see him ever since reading his book Faith Driven Faith several years ago while working at Colonial Woods. I took a few note from the 2-day Ever-Loving Truth event that can be found here. Also, there are some pictures of the event that you can find here.
The best part, however, was being able to get in a lunch with Voddie and a few church friends from Grace Life Baptist Church! What a great conversation about theology, family, being reformed, Calvinism, Fundamentalism and much more.
As the next few months go by, I’ll be searching what the Lord has in store for us. I’m passionate about helping families – my mortgage loan job is an extension of that – but I’m not sure what the future holds.
As church leaders, volunteers, and parents we make decisions – some big and some small – that affect the direction of our churches and lives of our kids. We understand the weight of these decisions – often from our own views of OUR growing up years – and strive to make the best ones possible. I believe that God’s Word holds the answers for the decisions we need to make as church leaders and parents.
So, what are some Biblical principles at play? We all know the standard texts in talking about discipling young people – especially Deuteronomy and Psalm 78. These passages and numerous others discuss the importance of teaching the next generation. The direction we go in discipling the next generation will determine the future of the church and have a direct impact on the expansion of the Kingdom of God.
But what about our methodology? Does it Biblically matter HOW we structure our ministry or HOW we parent? For me, the simple answer is “Yes.” The discipleship and education of children and youth is the job of parents: Eph 6:1, Col 3:20 & 21, and Proverbs (the entire book was written by a father to his son – except chapter 31) are some proof texts for that. You can also read through some of my other posts to see an expanded hermeneutic on the prominence of the family. In fact, there is no evidence that the discipleship, education and training of children belongs to anyone else!
Another place where we see methodology matter is in 2 Samuel 6:2-7. Why was God so harsh with Uzzah? We know God had given specific rules to be obeyed regarding handling the ark, and Uzzah broke those rules. There are other potential reasons as well. Regardless of the reasons, God had said that methodology mattered when it comes to the medium in which his presence resided. How much more so with His Church in which His presence now resides in the lives of His people?
But, I believe that methodology matters for the entire church, not just in the areas of kids and youth. That’s what I want to talk about in my next post.
As parents and church leaders were are bombarded with resources, ideas, information and visions on how our kids and ministries should look, think, act and feel. You don’t have to be a parenting or church guru to know this. The self-help sections of libraries and parenting sections in Christian book stores are simply chalk full of the latest trends and ideas on how to live your life and raise your family. And well, this post will be just another one of those….just kidding.
I wonder what would happen if we put those aside and decided to look for God’s wisdom and discernment in raising children? What if our churches decided to stop trying to figure out how to “get butts in the seats” and instead insisted their people follow Christ in obedience and example of discipleship?
It’s been said that (not sure by whom):
“…as goes the father, so goes the family; as goes the family, so goes the Church; as goes the Church, so goes the nation.”
People of God: it’s time to stop TRYING and to start BEING! Read His Word, pray to Him, tell your children EVERY DAY about Him! Stop reading this blog and listen to God…
As believers, we often have a difficult time relating God’s Word to our modern culture and families. So, in what ways has the concept of “the family” changed from Biblical times until now? In what ways do conservative Christians view “the family” similarly and differently than they did in the New Testament era? In what ways are these changes good and in what ways are they not so good?
6) Outsourcing – We have become a nation that outsources just about everything. We get our kids lessons for sports, music lessons, tutoring, spiritual training, etc. We buy our groceries at a store rather than grow them ourselves. We use technology to outsource our entertainment so kids don’t have to entertain themselves. In part, this has been driven by necessity – working 40-70 hours a week doesn’t leave a lot of time for other things. But there are also choices the family has made to value certain things over others; so to make time for those things we see how we can cut time to “make room” for it all.
7) Maturity & Rite of Passage – By and large, in European and American cultures, the age of maturity and marriageability has risen since OT & NT times. We tend to think of young people not being adults until they reach 18-21 years of age; and even then they not really ready to be married until much later in their twenties. This wasn’t the case for a LOOOOONG time! A Rite of Passage typically took place (Bar Mitzvahs, Bat Mitzvahs in Jewish culture) took place at age 13-16 – and it is then they were marriage eligible. You still see this in various cultures around the world – Quinceanera, for example – but by and large has gone by the wayside.
So, I was talking with a new friend today from our new church and kind of came to a renewed sense of understanding about the gospel and its role in the world and scope of humanity. Before serving in ministry for the last 8 years, I worked in social services for nearly 10 years with adults, kids, youth and families.
The realm of social work is based in large part on humanistic ideas and theories. Those ideas can basically boiled down to 1) do no harm to yourself or others and 2) protect yourself at all costs. One of the problems, therefore, is when those two rules conflict! What does a young person do when the adults in their life – who are supposed to protect and take care of them – neglect, abuse or ignore them? Rule #2 takes over, they defend for themselves (most often NOT physically), violate rule #1, and thus perpetuate the cycle of the humanism falicy.
The answer for these kids & families – well, all of us for that matter – is solely the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only He can convict of us sin to cause us to repent. Only He can transform us into what we are to become. And only He can solve the worlds ills and bring about reconciliation. Unfortunately, Christian families today are being schooled in the ideas of humanism, in our public schools as well as a vast majority of our churches. We need to set up the prominence of the good news, and begin to live it out in our families and our lives. That is our part in ushering in the Kingdom of God.
OK, I’m giving you fair warning…let some controversy begin. As we mentioned a few posts back, the Great Commission & Commandment are directly connected to the Covenant set up with Adam, Abraham, Noah and so on…The overarching Story of God seems to set up a direct link to the home and family. Check these verses out:
These and many more point to a profound and possibly startling conclusion: God’s primary plan for evangelism and discipleship of the entire world (in both the Old & New Testament) is through the committed, Gospel-centered family. Now, you may say “But didn’t Jesus set up the Church to take over that role?” Well, Jesus did set up the Church, as did His Disciples and Paul; but that was still done with the basic building block of the family left intact and central to the formation of the early churches:
So, why is this important? Well, if we realize and follow this link of the church and home – and if we see how central the family is to reaching the world with the gospel – this should drastically change how we do church in America! Our missions, evangelism and discipleship efforts seem to insist on separating the family, when in reality we should strive to do everything in our power to 1) keep the family together, 2) insist that fathers and mothers take up the mantel of discipling their children and 3) re-center our church efforts to line up with the Biblical model.
Well, it’s your turn to weigh in. Spread the world about this article. What do you think? Are there examples that would discredit this line of thinking? Give us your thoughts?
There is a recent Documentary style movie released that is causing some controversy in various Christian Education circles. It’s chronicles the story of one young man’s journey into helping us answer the issue of why so many young people are leaving the church during or right after high school.
You can watch the video by clicking here or on the pic. [Note: You need to sign up for a newsletter from the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches, but can always opt out later.]
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