Parents who accept the biblical mandate to be the primary faith trainers in the lives of their children often face a common obstacle. How do we impress the glory and complexity of such a great God on the hearts of our children? Can they even understand His glory? The short answer is yes, in a child like way.
General revelation: The skies declare your glory. (Psalm 19:1)
Theologically, God’s glory among the generations is His first priority. Though we will not yet grasp in fullness the depth, breadth, or width of God’s glory this side of heaven, we can all observe that He is glorious. This is also true of our children. Psalm 19:1 tells us, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” The concept of understanding the glory of God by observing His magnificent creation is called general revelation. Recently my family took a Sunday evening walk from our house to a local coffee shop. Along the way we stopped to take note of an extravagant sunset displayed with shades of orange, pink, purple, and yellow. Eden, our 5 year old, said, “Isn’t God a great artist.” In that single moment she acknowledged God’s general revelation of His glory. She understood His greatness because of the “great art” He made for us to enjoy that evening.
Special revelation: Let the little children come to me. (Matthew 19:14)
Jesus is God’s special revelation of Himself to the world. Jesus, being fully God and fully man, is incomprehensible on the one hand but understandable on the other. We glimpse God’s glory when we discover Jesus as a sinless man bringing complete glory to his Father. We see God’s glory when we learn Jesus is a miraculous healer demonstrating power over the flesh. We are drawn to God’s glory when we find Jesus is able to calm storms demonstrating control of the creation. We are submissive to God’s glory when we realize Jesus is able to cast out demons demonstrating Kingship in the spiritual realm. Finally, we are baffled at God’s glory when we learn of the crucifixion of the God-man wrought with earthquakes, darkness, a torn curtain, and amazing words of forgiveness. We worship our glorious God when we read that Jesus rose again, defeating death, fulfilling prophecy, and exercising complete victory over sin. Even as I write, I am worshipping. Our kids experience God’s glory by knowing Jesus as well. Jesus says in Matthew 19:14, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” If you want your child to comprehend God’s glory, bring them to Jesus.
What can you do? God-moments and Scripture reading.
As a parent, be intentional about pointing out the glory of God with your children. Capture God-moments. They are those little moments along the way where God is clearly at work. Take a moment to point His glory out to your child just like the sunset we saw on our Sunday evening walk. God-moments happen all the time; A sunset, a torrential downpour, a baptism, communion, etc. Keep your eyes open and you will find God at work. As a parent, take the opportunity to reveal His glory to your child. Finally, read the Bible to your children. We love to read about Jesus from the Bible with our kids. Without sounding irreverent, Jesus is a kid-magnet. Jesus will reveal the glory of the Father to our children. Read them the biblical narrative. Let them hear how Jesus fed 5000, healed the blind, and conquered sin. Our children can discern the greatness of God especially when parents take time to demonstrate the glory of God.
My wife Angela and I were reviewing my blog several nights ago. We realized that the most commonly read post is one called “Christian Moms: Pursue Career or Stay at Home.” With so many comments and questions, Angela felt led to lend her own voice to the subject. In her first guest post on legacyblog, she describes her own journey as a Christian women who is a wife, mother, and professional. Here is Angela on motherhood, career, and the choice to stay at home.
I am a woman who has chosen to give up my career for a season to stay at home for my three daughters and husband. Who am I? My identity is that I am a loving, compassionate, gifted, intelligent, educated, woman created by God my Father. I am who I am because of Him. My gifts and talents are from Him and for Him.
You see, I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend, an accountant, and many other things. But, my identity is not in these things because at any moment these things can be taken away from me. I must know who I am, not by my relationships or associations or gifting and talents, but in my Creator. If I find my identity as a wife, mother, or accountant, I will fail because I am not, nor will ever be, perfect at any of these things.
As Christian women we need to support each other and realize we are all on the same team. Women are so important, powerful, loving, compassionate, intelligent, wise, and gifted. I am so blessed to have the choice to pursue a career or stay at home or both. I am so blessed to have women and mothers in my life that are and were my doctors, teachers, storeowners, nurses, and more. I am grateful for them and their gifts and choices.
I must say this. Whatever you feel convinced by the Holy Spirit of in your life and family, we as mothers must do some things. First, we must support each other, encourage each other, and pray for each other. We all love our children and want what is best.
We also must pursue our children more than anyone or anything else pursues them. We as mothers, no matter if we work or stay at home, have one of the most powerful influences over our children. We influence them no matter what, even if we intend to or not. We must succeed at our love pursuit of them or someone or something else will. We must make choices to spend time with our children when and however we can. Pursue them with love, time, and encouragement. Money and gifts are great but not the answer. Love and time and words of encouragement can not be substituted.
I know mothers who work for many reasons: to make ends meet, to send kids to a better school, or because they are gifted in a certain capacity. Whatever the reason, it is a choice and not unbiblical according to the example of women in Proverbs 31. The choice of a mother to work or stay home is between her and her husband if married, and God and it is not the right of others to judge. It is our job as Christian women to support and encourage each other. No more sideways energy about who is right; the stay at home mom or the working mom. We are on the same team.
To single mothers who do not have a choice about working or staying at home: You are heroes, especially to the children for which you put food on the table, clothes on their back, and offer the exhausted compassion of mom.
I love my choice to stay home. I have times and days that I miss my career. I loved working and receiving rewards and kudos and using my education and talents in that capacity. However, I made a choice for me and for my family. I am thankful that I was able to have that choice. I have three daughters whom we are raising to discover who they are in Christ and how they are gifted and talented. I am committed to encouraging their gifts and talents. I am also committed to pursuing them with my love, time, and encouragement. I tell them that they can do and be whatever they feel led by God to do and they they get to discover that plan. That could be anything: President of the United States, doctor, teacher, or stay at home mom. Mothers, thanks for all you do. I am excited to invest in the next generation alongside all of you women and mothers.
Palm Sunday is the day we as Christians remember Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Passion week; that is the week we meditate on the last days of Jesus life on earth filled with triumph, trial, persecution, crucifixion and glorious resurrection.
Just about 2000 years ago Jesus entered Jerusalem mounting an unridden colt as recorded in Luke 19:28-44 to fulfill the messianic prophecy of Zechariah. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he; humble and mounted on a donkey, on a calf, the foal of a donkey.” – Zechariah 9:9
On that day the Scripture says people began to rejoice and praise in a loud voice. They blessed the King. They cried “Hosanna,” meaning “Save us now!” I can only imagine the stirring in the hearts of people as Jesus rode from the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron valley and into Jerusalem. The excitement would have been unimaginable. Finally the “King who comes in the name of the Lord” had come as Luke 19:38 recalls.
I wonder why, after the excitement of such a triumphal entry, that Jesus found himself weeping over the city of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41)? Jesus answers the question with this statement. “Would that you, even you had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” -Luke 19:42 Is it possible that the people who were excited about the entrance of the Prince of Peace didn’t understand who Jesus was or what kind of peace he came to bring? Most were looking for a king who would deliver the city of peace (Jerusalem) from Roman oppression. Jesus entered as a different kind of King to offer a different kind of peace. Peace with God.
The Bible teaches that all those who have faith in Christ for salvation have found peace with God. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Romans 5:1 Understanding our original position with God is important. “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.” – Colossians 1:21
Jesus rode into the city of peace (Jerusalem) to bring peace and salvation. This peace was much greater than peace with Rome or world peace, or peace in the middle east, or any other kind of peace. This was and is peace with God. The God whose wrath would crush us because of our sin (Romans 3:23 and 6:23) if it were not for the sinless Messiah that rode into Jerusalem and wept.
This week is a week of remembrance. Remember the triumphal entry this Palm Sunday and remember that he was, “Pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities, upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” -Isaiah 53:5
Happy Birthday! I’m sitting in my study preparing a sermon to preach twice on Sunday morning. On Sunday I’ll preach that sermon to more than 900 people that call me their pastor. If they only knew the “Brian Booger” that you know. Sometimes I stare out the window and wonder how I ended up here. I have been blessed to preach the gospel all across the United States, Canada, Ukraine, and the Middle East. I have written two books and contributed to two others. I regularly write for several Christian publications. I have counseled CEO’s, politicians, and astronauts. This year, as you know, I will be 40 years old. I am grateful to God that He has allowed me stewardship of a tiny part of His Kingdom in my generation. Truly, I can’t wait to see what else He has in store.
The best part of my life is family. I have the best wife. You probably sense this but you simply do not know at what depth I am blessed to call Angela my wife. I have three amazing daughters, your great granddaughters, that are each a special gift. They have my heart and my life commitment as daddy. Sometimes I wonder how a man could be so blessed. Bless the Lord oh my soul!
Today is your 90th birthday. I’ve been thinking about you all day. Certainly, I bless the Lord for His grace and guidance in my life but He reminded me today of how grateful I am for you. You have played a significant role in shaping who I am becoming as a Christian man. You may not realize this but you are the one human source of constant, consistent, and unsolicited encouragement in my life. When I think of you I know I am loved. I know when I call that you will lift my spirit. You have been that to me since before I can remember. Sometimes in the difficult times of adult life and pastoral leadership I go to a special place in my mind. It is on the old yellow couch in your living room. It’s dark outside and I am ready for sleep. It is just you and me and endless ghost stories. All I can say is thank you. Thanks for showing me love that is not based on my performance in life. Thank you for praying for me all of these 40 years. Thanks for cheez-its, coconut cake and ice cream in the summer. Thanks for bible stories, books, and magical Christmas mornings. Thanks for vacations on the beach that are the highlights of my childhood memories. Thanks for always being my cheerleader. Keep praying for me. It’s comforting to know my Polly always intercedes for me. Thanks for showing me what kind of legacy a grandparent can leave in the life of her grandson. I hope I have the same privilege in the lives of my future grandchildren. I can’t wait to see you this summer. I truly miss you.
With tears of joy. Your Grandson,
There once was a father who had a son who turned his back on the old man in rebellion. Day after day the father, in love, agonized over his son and longed for him to return. One day, as the father gazed into the distance, a tired and humbled man slouchingly returned home. The father began to weep. His heart was filled with compassion as he recognized his son, aged by reckless living. There was no anger or pride. The father tucked his cloak and ran to meet the son who wounded him so. He embraced him with strong arms and gasps of joy. The father shouted for all to hear, “My Son was dead but now he is alive!” He kissed his once rebellious but now repentant son over and over again. He put a ring on his finger and gave him the best robe in the house. He put shoes on his feet and he killed a calf, spilling its blood, and hosted a grand feast for his son. This is how the Father, our Father, loves. (Adapted from Luke 15:11-24)
Yesterday I read a blog post by Pastor Mark Driscoll that resonated with me as a father of daughters. I’m with Mark in that our family won’t be driving to the theater to see the Twilight movies. According to Driscoll…
“Twilight is for teenage girls what porn is to teenage boys: sick, twisted, evil, dangerous, deceptive, and popular.”
To read the rest of the post click here. http://theresurgence.com/2012/11/16/a-fathers-fright-of-twilight. As a parent it will be well worth your time.
If milestones are a part of your Kidmin strategy to equip parents to disciple their children then you should consider how you are demonstrating milestone celebrations for your parents. We are learning that unless parents actually see what you mean by celebrating milestones at home, they have a difficult time implementing a celebration of their own. Showing them how is something that children’s ministry can do for families.
This spring my wife Angela did something for our girls that I thought was simply brilliant. Any parent can do something like this if you show them how. Two of our daughters are ready to celebrate milestones 3 and 4. In our world, that is preparing for adolescence (milestone 3) and purity for life (milestone 4). She hosted two brunches, 1 for each daughter, for the purpose of celebrating what God is doing in their lives and highlighting key truths associated with each milestones. Here’s what she did:
She designed a brunch geared toward the child: their favorite foods, décor, and theme. We did it “on the cheap” because she is a stay at home mom and I’m a pastor. She invited friends that are true positive influences in the lives of our daughters. She took an important step farther. She invited the mothers of those friends to participate and discover how to celebrate spiritual growth and influence their children at the same time. At the brunch Angela led a short conversation on confidence and identity in Christ for both daughters and a short lesson on purity for the milestone for celebration. She went around the room and highlighted a particular, God-given quality that she sees in each girl and each mother. She asked the other moms to speak a word of encouragement over the girls if they felt compelled. At the end of the talk time the girls and moms made a pact to uphold and encourage each other in the months and years ahead. Then, they partied.
All in all it was a simple 2-hour celebration that our daughter, her friends, and group of moms will never forget. Encourage parents who are doing it well to invite other parents to participate in the milestone celebration. This is likely the most effective method of equipping possible. Demonstrate milestone celebrations so that parents can learn to do it themselves. Here are some quick ideas.
- Show video clips from family milestone celebrations
- Ask parents who are doing it to teach milestone seminars
- Tell stories of family milestone celebrations that work well.
- In every milestone seminar, demonstrate an associated family celebration.
- Host panel discussions using parents who do it well.
- Blog, tweet, FB about family celebrations done well.
- Strategically place pictures of family milestone celebrations in publications, websites and walls for your church.
- Challenge staff members to share their family celebrations.
- Video kids talking about their family milestone celebrations.
If you want to take it from talking about family ministry to seeing it happen, demonstration is key. If you want them to do it, you will need to show them how.