Friday, August 28, 2015

Do you know what your kids are reading?

 I just finished another book in the “teen fiction” genre. And again I’m reminded that we as parents, mentors and teachers of teens and young people have GOT to be aware of the messages our kids are soaking in from the world; because in many senses of the word, this book was “good”. The story was gripping. The writing was raw and real and honest. The characters were believable and the plotline sort of grabbed you up and carried you along. I finished it in two days. I even cried. But the central message was worldly. It lacked Truth. Cursing was common and sex was a given. The question of God was discussed, but no True Answer was ever reached.

I won’t mention the title of the book, because I don’t want this to be misconstrued as a book recommendation. But it was written within the last few years, and yes, it was made into a movie (not that that narrows it down much…lots of teen fiction seems to make it to the movies these days). Anyway, the point is that this book and books like it are highly influential over lots of people, but especially the teen and young adult audiences. I’m sure some can see the worldly messages, but I’m positive many do not. A compelling love story wrapped up with teenage angst and frustration probably makes a lot of sense to a lot of teens. And if the teen isn’t grounded in the Truth of God’s Word, then they are likely to develop a very confused opinion about this story. And that’s a big deal. Because confused teens can become “free thinking” college students and one day very “tolerant” adults.

That’s why I was reminded again that we have to be VERY AWARE of the messages our teens and kids are receiving. And we have to be prepared to combat the lies at every front. We can’t let some things slide or assume that any sin is “not that big a deal”. We have to address each and every lie so that our kids are so well-armed with the Truth that they cannot be confused by the messages Satan and the world sends. And to do this well, we’ve got to be familiar with the music, literature, movies and internet media that is influencing them.
        
Here’s a preschool example: When our oldest kids were young we listened to a LOT of kid music. You know, the high energy and sometimes annoying little jingles that get stuck in your head and pop up in embarrassing moments like when you find yourself humming them alone in the grocery story or wherever! J One CD we had was about Bible stories and one of the songs told the story of Noah and the flood. But every time the line came on “No-ah said Go shut the door” we hit pause. And we reminded…did Noah shut the door or did God shut the door? Because it matters…very much.

A young child example was the year and a half we listened to every single Magic Treehouse audiobook that was out at the time. Almost every book we had to pause and reprogram….”Is there really such a thing as a good witch?” No. “Is sorcery something that pleases God?” No. And for the youngest “Can people really be turned into mice?” No.

An older child example occurred a few nights ago while we were watching a kid’s movie with our kids. One of the characters referred to someone as “sexy”. It was one of those moments when you think “If I just stare at the screen and we move to the next scene will it just roll over their heads?” No. Our ten-year-old said “What’s sexy?” And the answer God popped into my head was “Thinking someone is pretty but in an immodest sort of way.” The blessing is our kids are still at a pretty literal stage. They think “pretty = good”, but “immodest = bad”, so “sexy = not something I want to be”. At least, that’s what they think for now. Until the world sends them the next confusing message about beauty and sexuality and relationships.

For the last ten years I’ve been a parent of mostly young children. Others have said to me along the way (usually at moments when I clearly hadn’t slept more than 6 hours that week or when I was chasing a two year old across the parking lot while holding my four-year old’s hand and trying to balance a baby on my hip while carrying my purse, diaper bag and someone’s shoe) “It will get easier!” “One day they’ll carry their own stuff!” “Before you know it they’ll be in school.” And while these changes are definitely physically easier, parenting becomes harder in so many ways. Because all of a sudden their lives are open to the worldly influence of so many…authors, movie producers, friends, non-Christian coaches and teachers, television networks, website operators etc.

And that brings me to my teen example. My kids aren’t reading teen fiction yet, and they won’t be watching movies like this for many years. But lots of preteens, teens and young adults are. And I wonder if anyone is talking them through these things? Is anyone reminding them that the ultimate purpose of life is not to be happy, healthy, well-liked and in love? Are there teens and young adults in my own life that need to be walked through the Truth? Of course.

But am I willing to do it? That’s the deeper question. It’s hard to keep up with what our kids are reading and watching. It takes time and energy, and sometimes their favorite whatever isn’t really our favorite whatever and we’d rather just do our own thing. But we have to keep up. We have to expose ourselves to the books and music our kids are exposed to. We have to watch their favorite shows. We have to check out their favorite websites and get to know their friends, coaches and teachers well. Because we have to be prepared to remind them of the Truth at every turn. We have to be prepared to counter the sometimes subtle lies of this world with a Biblical worldview. It takes time, it takes sacrifice, but we have to do it. I have to do it. Because one day I won’t be the one chasing my child across the parking lot and someone else may want to hold my daughter’s hand. And I want them to be ready to face the influences of the world.

As a parent I have a voice and a responsibility to speak Truth into my kids’ lives. As a Christian I have a voice and a responsibility to speak Truth into the lives of other teens and young adults who aren’t hearing the Truth in this world. Let’s pray today that God will help us see this world through Biblical eyes, and take the time to teach others to do the same!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Back to School

TIME TO GET SERIOUS!


and stop the shenanigans...


school is back in session! 



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Leaving a Legacy: Elisabeth Elliot


"If you could have lunch with anyone in the whole world, who would it be?" 



That was the question I had to answer about 15 years ago in some sort of icebreaker game. I said Elisabeth Elliot. At that point in my life her story had greatly influenced and affected me and I would have loved to sit down to lunch and ask her to tell me more. For several years I devoured her books and was enthralled by her story. I got to hear her speak once at a women's conference during my senior year of college. I remember being shocked that the small, fragile-looking woman standing at the podium with her hair pulled back in a tight white bun was the spiritual powerhouse whose story had so affected me. I suppose that if she knew my thoughts she would have reminded me that the Holy Spirit was the powerhouse; she was just the jar of clay. 

I read several of her books including Shadow of the Almighty, The Savage My Kinsman, Passion and Purity, Let Me Be A Woman, Quest for Love, and The Shaping of a Christian Family. Shortly after I heard her speak I found and bought a copy of the January 30, 1956 Life magazine that first told the story of her husband and four other missionary men being killed by Indians in Ecuador. A few years ago I was given the DVD of the 2006 film End of the Spear, which also tells the story of the death of these five missionaries, and what happened following. Needless to say, Elisabeth Elliot's story and ministry has affected my life. 

(Elisabeth Elliot in 1956 Life magazine)

There is one piece of her life that especially still amazes and challenges me. When she was at the lowest point possible...her husband killed by the very people they had been praying for and working to serve; left alone to raise her toddler baby girl...she responded completely opposite of my expectations. If I were in her shoes I think I would have gone home. Slept in a warm bed. Hugged my toddler close. I think I would have allowed others to cook for me and pity me. I might have lived for a while in a fog of sadness, curling up regularly on my bed to cry and wonder and question. But Elisabeth went back. She stayed in Ecuador and after a short time went to live with the very tribe that had killed her husband. She took her toddler to live in a tent among the savages, and they became her kinsmen, as her book title professes. She did not sink in to her own loss, but rather allowed God to use her hardship to strengthen her faith in Him and serve as a testimony of Christ's unfailing love to this Indian tribe. 

Yesterday I learned that Elisabeth Elliot died this week. And as I reflected on her life and ministry I went back to her first book I ever read. I was first exposed to the Elliot's story my junior year of college by reading Shadow of the Almighty late at night in my dorm room. These are the quotes from Jim Elliot's journal that I underlined back them....all of them still an incredible challenge to my thinking and living today:

Image result for Shadow of the Almighty
"We are so utterly ordinary, so commonplace, while we profess to know a Power the Twentieth Century does not reckon with. But we are 'harmless,' and therefore unharmed. We are spiritual pacifists, non-militants, conscientious objectors in this battle-to-the-death with the principalities and powers in high places. Meekness must be had for contact with men, but brass, outspoken boldness is required to take part in the comradeship of the Cross. We are 'sideliners' -- coaching and criticizing the real wrestlers while content to sit by and leave the enemies of God unchallenged. The world cannot hate us, we are too much like its own. Oh that God would make us dangerous!" (p.79)
"'We are the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.' And what are sheep doing going into the gate? What is their purpose inside those courts? To bleat melodies and enjoy the company of the flock? No. Those sheep were destined for the altar. Their pasture feeding had been for one purpose, to test them and fatten them for bloody sacrifice. Give Him thanks, then, that you have been counted worthy of His altars. Enter into the work with praise." (p. 89)
"Paul went to Salonica and lived a life that more than illustrated what he preached; it went beyond illustration to convincing proof. No wonder so much work in the Kingdom today is shoddy -- look at the moral character of the worker." (p.121)
"Remember always that God has taught you the importance of a building ministry. Staying for some time in one group, stressing certain things consistently, is the best way to accomplish lasting work for God." (p.126)
"Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that they were as an heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So, with the strong arms of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly -- all of them, straight at the Enemy's hosts." (p.132)
"Believers who know one-tenth as much as we do are doing one hundred times more for God, with His blessing and our criticism." (p.138)
"Faith makes life so even, gives one such confidence in his movements, that the words of men are as wind." (p.172)
"I have been thinking lately that life in the will of God is better in each phase that we enter, so I can say honestly today, 'This is the best year of my life.'" (p.228)
"It is a never-failing source of amazement to me how the lofty teachings of our Lord -- having been fitted to primitive situations -- are frequently more readily understood by a jungle Indian than by a cultured person who is a product of twentieth-century civilization." (p.233)
"You wonder why people choose fields away from the States when young people at home are drifting because no one wants to take time to listen to their problems. I'll tell you why I left. Because those Stateside young people have every opportunity to study, hear and understand the Word of God in their own language, and these Indians have no opportunity whatsoever. I have had to make a cross of two logs, and lie down on it, to show the Indians what it means to crucify a man. When there is that much ignorance over here and so much knowledge and opportunity over there, I have no question in my mind why God sent me here. Those whimpering Stateside young people will wake up on the Day of Judgment condemned to worse fates than the demon-fearing Indians, because having a Bible, they were bored with it -- while these never heard of such a thing as writing." (p. 237)
"The will of God is always a bigger thing than we bargain for." (p.249) 

Walks on the Beach and Dance Recitals




Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Trusting God at the Top of the Bridge

Our bridge looks elegant in the picture I found below:

Image result for talmadge bridge savannah georgia

but let me tell you its a whole different animal when you are crossing it in your family-filled mini-van at the height of a massive thunderstorm with wind gusts reaching up to 75 and 80 mph! Those were the circumstances we found ourselves in a couple weeks ago as we trekked home from a great afternoon of visiting with family and playing on the beach. As we started the hour-plus drive home, the rain was just starting to drop and the sky was just beginning to turn dark and ugly. But within a few minutes we found ourselves in the middle of that growing storm. Lightning bolts began crashing one on top of the other all around us. The wind started picking up and Jon's phone received an alert: "Severe thunderstorm. Take cover immediately." Thank you. We can see that. But what if you're on a lonely stretch of road, in your van, and the last real stop before you get to the bridge is some kinda strip-club you'd rather not take cover in?!

So, we drove on with the hopes that we could get home before the storm got any worse. There was tons of lightning and the rain was coming down in sheets, but it didn't really get scary until we started crossing the bridge. As we started heading up and over it I thought "maybe this wasn't a good idea." A split-second later those wind gusts started hitting us and I began to pray OUT LOUD variations of the following: "Lord, please get us across this bridge. God help us to get off this bridge. Lord please get us over the bridge!" You could see the swirling wind in front of us and feel it pressing us toward the center wall. Jon's hands were clenched on the steering wheel, and I was continuing to pray. In just a few moments the clenched-teeth tension started to wane as we drove over the crest and became level with the treetops. And once we were off the bridge entirely, my mind was able to formulate a new thought: "Thank you God! Now somebody needs to shut down that bridge!" 

God protected us and got us safely home that night. We didn't get stuck on any partially flooded roads downtown, we didn't hydroplane, we didn't get hurt as we raced into our house, and biggest relief of all...we didn't get blown off the bridge! As Jon and I reflected on the experience, we laughed at the different reactions of our children. Two of them slept through the whole thing, not waking until we were almost home. One sat wide-eyed in the backseat asking "what's that sound?" every few minutes (I chose not to say "Its the wind baby. The wind that seems to want to throw us off this bridge and into the dark, fast-moving water below!"). And our other child, bless her heart, was reading a book. Literally holding a flashlight with the book up to her nose the WHOLE TIME!      

We laughed about it, but later as I reflected on the experience I realized that our little book reader was showing the most faith. She had faith that her dad was in control of the van and would get her home. It doesn't really take a lot of faith to sleep through an ordeal and never know you're in danger in the first place. It also doesn't take a lot of faith to freeze in fear, staring at the circumstances around you. It wouldn't have taken faith to jump into the driver seat and try to take over the wheel or start offering advice on how to get through the storm (thankfully no one did either of those last two things!). 

What takes faith is to see and recognize that there is danger around you, but to trust that your safety is in the hands of someone bigger and more capable. To trust that someone else will drive you through the storm, so you can just continue doing what you were doing before. That was the faith our little reader had in her dad. And that's the kind of faith I want to have in God. When I see life's storms of difficulty and illness, trial and pain, persecution and hardship, I want to have this kind of faith. To recognize the storm, yet trust that God's Word is true. Trust that God has my life under control. That He is bigger and more capable. He doesn't need my help or advice. And He definitely doesn't want me to have a panic attack or freeze up in the face of my fears. He wants me to trust in Him, and to continue doing whatever task He's called me to do.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not just flippantly suggesting that when the going gets tough we all sit down with a book and ignore the chaos around us. But isn't it true that even when life is hard, even when we're reeling from a poor prognosis or unexpected financial hit, even when we are aching from a painful loss...we can still choose to lay those burdens on the Lord? We can still choose to get out of bed (even if we have to pray minute-by minute-for the strength to move!), surrender the day to the Lord, and trust that He has it all under control.

God help me to walk in Your ways, following Your will, and trusting You to steer me through the hard times! Remind me every day, in every difficulty, that you are the God of Psalm 91. "My refuge and my fortress" (v.2), my deliverer (v.3), my "dwelling place" (v.9), the One who "command[s] his angels concerning [me] to guard [me] in all [my] ways" (v.11). 

You are the Lord who has made this promise to those who love and follow You: "When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation" (Psalm 91:15-16). 

God is in control. My life is in His hands and He knows what to do. He knows my needs. No matter how hard and scary things may become, I have to cling to this truth. I can trust Him at the top of the bridge.

Lord, help us learn to say with confidence: "let the storms come...my God is driving and He can handle this!"

(photo credit flickr.com)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Secular Media Should Make Us Desperate to Share Christ

I don’t really try to keep up with pop-culture. The world moves too fast and I’m too far behind on my laundry! But recently I read a book series that was written in the last few years and is currently being made into a series of movies.  I saw Divergent last year. I had no idea it was a series until I saw the preview for the second movie, Insurgent (which is currently in theaters), a few months ago. And, I had no idea the movies were based on a series of books until I saw them in Sam’s a few weeks ago. Like I said…not really keeping up with pop-culture!

It seems like every time Jon and I decide to watch a movie, he brings home what I call “weird” movies…sci-fi, futuristic, gritty. I keep saying “Can’t you find something like Sweet Home Alabama?” and he says they don’t make movies like that anymore. So, it’s likely that when Insurgent moves from the theater to the Redbox, we’ll be renting it. And I decided that just once I was going to be ahead of the game. I decided to read the books before I see the rest of the movies.


I was intrigued for a couple of reasons. First, the Divergent series is labeled Teen or Young Adult fiction. Since my husband is a youth pastor I was a little curious about what sort of literature is being marketed specifically to teenagers. Second, I read online that the author, Veronica Roth, is a Christian. That surprised me a little bit, so I wanted to read her books in search of clues that she’s writing from a biblical worldview.  And finally, I saw online that many people were not happy with the way the series ended in the final book Allegiant. So unhappy, in fact, that people were writing alternate endings and making them available online to other distraught readers. I tend to hate surprises if I know they’re coming, so I was really tempted to read the websites and comments to find out what was so bad about the way it all ended. But I restrained myself and read through the series instead.

What I can say for sure is, Veronica Roth is a good writer. The books are gripping. I read all three (500ish pages each) in twelve days. Twelve days. That’s really fast for me when you consider that I was still living my normal schedule of taking care of four kids and I didn’t drop cooking, errands, appointments, or my normal weekly activities. I just slept less. A lot less!   

I can also say that the first movie was amazingly close to the storyline of the book. It’s always annoying to see a movie based on a book and find that the only thing the two have in common is the title. That wasn’t the case here.

Image result for insurgent book

After reading these books I have two reactions that I want to share: 1. Why I can’t recommend the Divergent series; and 2. Why you might want to read it anyway (or just see the movies if they’re all as close to the books as the first one).  So, here goes….

Why I can’t recommend the Divergent series:

*There is some bad language. I’d rather not recommend a book with bad language.

*There’s a lot of violence…shooting, stabbing, blood, war, dying.

*There is too much sensuality. The main characters don’t seem to actually have sex in the books (although the pluggedin.com review of Insurgent suggests Hollywood takes the movie further than the book in this regard), but their physical relationship is still everything I tell teenagers (and any unmarried individual) to run away from. There’s longing, wishing, passionate kissing, hands moving slowly over skin…  

*The series ends with a sense of hopelessness. In the author’s defense, I think she was trying to end it with hope. But I don’t feel like that message really came through. And based on the internet comments of readers disappointed with the ending, I think a lot of others felt the hopelessness as well. A few people said they’d been depressed for weeks. Not really an outcome I like, especially considering the books are geared to a teen audience. One of the final statements near the end of the final book is,  “Sometimes life really sucks…But you know what I’m holding on for?” “The moments that don’t suck.”  That’s it. Depressing. Hopeless. A few different times through the series one of the characters wonders what happens after life on this earth. But she never gets an answer. She never has a hope for any life to come. Maybe that’s just how it is with dystopian literature. Regardless, it’s not a feel-good story that leaves you smiling or full of joy in the end! And, it’s not a Truth-based story that shows the hope we can have for life beyond this earth.

Why you might want to read it anyway:

*Someone you know may be reading these books and watching these movies. In fact, based on the number of similarly themed books and movies that have made it big in the last few years, it’s probably safe to say that lots of people you know are being influenced by this genre of entertainment. It would be helpful to be able to discuss the messages in these books and films and point out how they line up when compared to a biblical worldview.

*These themes are influencing your children/teenagers. My oldest daughter is almost ten and she loves to read. But it’s a chore to find books for her reading level that don’t contain material too mature for her young mind. I do lots of research to find books that are enjoyable without undermining everything Jon and I are trying to teach her about life and Truth and what really matters. With that said, there’s no way I’m letting my kids read the Divergent series (or books like it) in the next five to ten years without me right there walking them through every paragraph and making sure they  read it from a godly perspective and with their feet firmly rooted in the truth of the gospel. These books are marketed to teens and young adults. If someone you love is reading these books, read with them. Fall in love with the characters with them. Enjoy the “edge-of-your-seat, can’t-put-this-down” writing style.  Talk about your favorite parts or the things you didn’t see coming. Then gently but firmly point them to the truth. Remind them that the relationships aren’t Christ-centered. Point out that the characters have no real hope for the future because they have no knowledge of the gospel.

*There are some redeeming threads…one is the idea of sacrificing self for others. In the first book/movie some very important people in the main character’s life sacrifice their lives so she can live. This theme continues throughout the series in both minor and major ways. Its reminiscent of John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” The Desiring God blog posted an interesting article about a year ago which points out Christian themes in the movie Divergent. You can find it at this link http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/divergent-lesson-in-human-depravity.

*As I read the last 50 pages of the final book in the series, Allegiant, I felt overwhelmed with a sense of loss and hopelessness for a few moments.  I actually had to spend some time speaking gospel truth to myself. I had to remind myself that what these characters were missing is Christ. And while I know this is fiction, I don’t think it’s enough to just remind oneself that “This is not a true story. This is just fiction.” I think we miss a great opportunity when we brush it off like that. Because while much of the action and circumstances of the series are unrealistic, the fact that people live and die with this sort of hopelessness, sadness and lack of purpose in their lives is very true to life. Therefore I think it can be helpful to read something from a secular perspective, to be reminded of the hopelessness of the world. These books represent a world that is lost, struggling and Christ-less. If we aren’t reminded of the desperation of that sort of reality we won’t run out to rescue people from despair with the Truth of the Gospel. This type of secular media can remind us that without Christ, life really is pointless. We should use these books and movies as a tool to make us desperate to share Christ with a lost and dying world.


Tim Challies wrote an interesting article several years ago about the benefits of reading secular books (http://www.challies.com/christian-living/why-christians-should-read-in-the-mainstream). But let me be clear…all books are not created equal. There are definitely some books/movies no one should be reading or watching. Fifty Shades of Grey, for example, is another book series made into a movie that is currently in theaters. I will certainly not be reading/watching it, and I strongly recommend that no one else should either. Let's be wise and discerning with what we allow to fill our minds! 


Sweet Cousins!





Monday, April 13, 2015

Preparing Children to Face the World

What are we supposed to do with the world? I mean, isn’t that a question that we as Christians really have to grapple with? How can we love the world, and reach out to the world, but not become worldly? How do we engage the culture without conforming to it? If ministry is messy, how do we get “dirty” without getting stained? And how do we as parents prepare our children to function as Christ-followers in such a world?

Sometimes teaching my children how to function and think biblically in their world means I have to expose them to worldliness and sin. I mean, I can’t teach my children that abortion is wrong without having to explain to them that some mommies don’t want the baby in their tummy. That can be a shattering realization to a child. I can’t explain that homosexuality is not God’s plan for relationships without explaining what that word means. I can’t instill in them a deep sense of gratitude and longing to help those in need without opening their eyes to the daily desperation of starving people.  I can’t teach them how to be safe without informing them that there are people in the world who hurt others…on purpose.   

I want my kids to think biblically, which means I’m going to have to be the one to slowly (and guardedly) expose them to the world. I’m going to have to draw their attention to the ways sin wrecks our relationships and our lives. It seems counter-intuitive…ultimately I want to protect them from evil, sin, and its effects. So, shouldn’t we just hole up, and hide? Shouldn’t we turn off all technology and shut our eyes to everything outside our door?

The sad truth is that that wouldn’t be enough. Because sin is not just “out there”; it’s also “in here”.  In our hearts. In our minds. In our homes. Even when we’re Christ-followers. And I want to teach my kids that truth. Otherwise they’ll learn to turn up their nose at the sin of others, rather than fall on their faces at the realization of their own sin. There’s a weird thing that can happen to us as Christians. We can get all prideful that we don’t fail in a certain sin area (as if that’s due to some sort of innate goodness rather than the grace of God!) and get all judgey when we see others struggling with a temptation we aren’t fighting (at least for now).  Then we tend to separate and sector off, rather than run after others with that very gospel that saved us and freed us to stand firm in the face of temptation.  

Worldliness is all around us, and we are called to go out into the daily mess to reach the lost with the gospel. I want to teach my kids to do that. But I want to know the balance, as they get older and their eyes are opened to some of the junk I so desperately want to hide and shelter them from. How exactly do I prepare my kids to be in the world, but not of it?

Here are just a few thoughts:

1. Walk humbly before them.  Confess my sin…call it what it is and tell them I’m asking Jesus to help me overcome that sin in my life.  I don’t want them to think that I think I’m perfect. That would be like taking a giant step in the direction of the Pharisees!

2. Observe their weaknesses and temptations. Then gently help them see that those are the struggles they need Christ to overcome. Encourage them to repent and turn from sin daily.

3. Slowly, prayerfully, and in an age-appropriate way make them aware of the pain and disorder that sin is wreaking in our world and in the lives of people. We don’t have to show them scary news-footage or questionable movies to do this. We can just read them the Bible.  Our family is almost done reading through the book of Genesis together…here are just a few issues we’ve had to address (in varying degrees of detail):  murder, rape, drunkenness, incest, polygamy, favoritism, deceit, homosexuality, death, cruelty, slavery, prostitution, adultery, and starvation. Some of these topics were introduced in a more veiled manner than others…I still grin remembering the night Jon read Genesis 19:5 as “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, [so we can be mean to them].”  

4.  Teach them that sin is wrong. But also teach them to have a heart of compassion for others. “If you were stuck in that sin, wouldn’t you want someone to rescue you with the Truth of the gospel?”

5. Then show them how it’s done! I must saturate my mind every morning with God’s Word, and then put on my armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) and go out and join the fight. If every interaction is an opportunity for ministry, I need to ask God to show me how to infuse the gospel into every conversation, facial expression, and action I engage in that day.

6. Pray for God’s protection and wisdom every day and teach your kids to do the same. I don’t need to expose myself to temptation in the name of ministry, especially if it’s an area I already know I wrestle with. I need to flee the temptation, and look for a way to minister without giving the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:27).   

I want to train my kids to go and make disciples. I want them to be mentally and emotionally and spiritually prepared to face the temptations and evils of this world, and to respond in a Christ-like manner. To flee when they should flee, yes; but also to embrace when Christ would embrace. I don’t want to train little Pharisees, who know the dos and don'ts but have forgotten how to speak the truth with love; who hate the sin and the sinner too. I want to teach my children to run towards holiness; but while they're running, I want them to see the hurting, lost and sin-sick individuals all around them. I want them to stop just long enough to grab others by the hand and invite them to run too...in this race toward Christ and holiness. 

“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:15)

"...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1)


Sunday, April 5, 2015

For The Grandparents

After five months of not updating this blog, I'm not really sure what I'm going to do about it...but, our out-of-town family is missing the picture updates. So, this one is for you, grandparents!  :)