Parental Calling

Often the term “calling” doesn’t come alongside parenting. We don’t view being a parent as a calling from God. For many parents the goal is to simply make it to the next day, to keep the kids fed, and to hopefully be alive at the end of the day. My proposal is that we should look at our parenting with a different set of lenses. To be a parent is to be called by God. A mission has been given to you as a parent.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV “4“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

In this scripture there are a few action responses that must be taken into consideration when it comes to parenting.

  1. The Lord our God is One. As parents and as Christians, we must have a proper understanding of who God is. To understand proper Christian Doctrine of the Lord. God is One, yet He exists in Three Persons. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The doctrine of the Trinity is one that is complex, yet vital to the Christian Faith. As parents we must have a proper understanding of Christian teachings.
  2. Love the Lord your God. The writer tells us to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and might. Conveying to the reader to love God with all of your being. That your life should be in complete submission to God. No part of your heart, your life, your being does God not lay claim too. Christians are called to live in full submission to the Lord. That every aspect of their lives is in full obedience to God. We can not claim part of our lives for our own, we have been purchased fully with a price.
  3. Know the Word of God. Take time to spend time in God’s Word. Know His laws, His commands, His revealed redemptive history. Christians and Christian Parents must take the time to spend in God’s Word. Through God’s Word it is revealed to us who God is, His Character, and the redemptive work of Christ.
  4. Teach them diligently to your children. God commands parents to teach the Word of God to our children. The role of the parent is to convey the Word to their children, to point them to the Lord. For many parents this comes at a great struggle. I’ve heard so often, I’m not a seminary student, I’m not a pastor, I’m not a Bible scholar, I’m not able. God doesn’t call the able, He calls you. In a later blog we will talk about having Gospel conversations with your children, but for now, teach them what you know. Read scripture with them, help them to see God’s Word.As parents, this is never easy. It takes effort, it takes work, it takes being intentional. This is our calling as parents from God. He has tasked you with the discipleship of your children. You are the biggest influence on your children’s spiritual journey, it is not meant to be taken lightly.

Parental Identity

Who am I? Where do I find value? These are two questions that we must ask ourselves. Especially true when it comes to being a parent. For many parents, their identity is wrapped up completely in the performance, behavior, and success of their child. Go to any ball field or any after school club and you are bound to see the parents that find their identity in the child’s performance. When they score a goal, the parent’s erupt in cheer, when the ref makes a bad call, the parent has to be held back from trying to physically harm the referee. This identity is one that is bound to crumble and fall.

First, your children are not capable of bearing that type of weight. Their shoulders were not meant to carry around with them your identity crisis and unrealistic expectations of performance, no one is for that matter. Children are trying to work out their own understanding of God, the world, and just getting good grades for that matter. To try and add, live up to parents’ unrealistic expectations for their personal identity crisis should not be high on their priority list.

The place that parents, and everyone for that matter, need to find their identity is in the One who gave them identity in the first place. When we find our identity in creation rather than the Creator, we are bound to have an identity crisis. Creation was never meant to give identity, rather to point to the one that does. Look at 2 Peter 1:3-4 “3His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, 4by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

We have been called by God and given power to participate in Him. That through His promises you can be partakers of his divine nature, and I love the last part, escape the corruption of the world, in other words, escape the identity in the world. Mom, Dad, Grandparent, caretaker, your identity can only be found in Christ alone. He is the one that gives you the identity as child of God. He says come to Him in Matthew 11:28-30, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,]by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 

This is where we find our identity as parents. When Little Johnny strikes out or the referee makes a bad call, your identity is not found in the performance of Little Johnny. Little Johnny gets to wrestle with failure without the weight of your identity on him. He learns to trust in his own identity and not try to perform and carry yours.

Jesus: Holy God

In Acts 5 there is a story of a couple that come to give an offering to the Lord. Though they come and lie about the offering to the Apostles. Because of this mistake it cost them their life, not because they lied to men, but because they made a mockery of the Lord. They allowed their pride to overcome the holiness of the Lord in their lives. When they could have simply said we are giving a portion of the profit rather than the entire thing, since as Peter said to them, it was yours to do with as you pleased. Rather, they lied about the amount to be seen. Reading this story should remind us that first, God is Holy. When we sin, we do not offend men, rather we offend a Holy and Righteous God. David echoes this truth in Psalm 51 when he states, “Against You only have I sinned.” Sin is against a Holy God. Secondly, sin costs life. In Genesis when God tells Adam to not eat of the tree, He tells him that sin will ultimately cost him his life. Sin always cost something, someone has to pay, for believers, it cost Christ His life.

 

Application thoughts: How are you robbing the Lord of what you’ve promised? Do you think too lightly of your sin? Take this time to pray and repent as David did.

Jesus: Our Conerstone

In Acts 4 we see Peter and John standing before the council. At this council they are asked to basically explain themselves, to explain how they were able to heal a man that was lame. “By what power or what name did you do this?” This question sets up an understanding, there is power in a name. In Roman rule and today, a name carried weight. We see it when people “name drop” or when they speak on behalf of someone influential. “By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead- by him this man is standing before you well.” That name was Jesus Christ, you remember Him right? He was the one that you crucified and then God raised Him from the dead. You remember right?

Upon this statement we get a powerful statement that would have resinated with these leaders very well. “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation is no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” The builders, those teachers and leaders of the people, were to build upon Christ. This stone which they were to build on was the stone that they rejected. They built upon something else, but God built upon this stone. This stone has become the chief cornerstone. For there is no other name to build upon. There is no other name given to men where we must be saved. There is no other name to build upon, Christ alone.

Have you trusted upon the name of Christ? Are you building upon another rock?

Break Away

For the past month I have taken a break from social media. Though I have missed some of the latest discussion on issues in our culture, missed the latest dumb teen challenge, as well as another viral video. Here’s the secret, I didn’t really miss it. In terms of not experiencing those things, I’m truly ok with. So much of the past few years has been looking at endless feeds, concerned with issues I have no control over, as well as missing out on things that I didn’t want to miss. It’s time for this generation to take back our lives. Time to take back the events that are worth remembering, and I don’t mean for a social feed.

Thought of the day.

Recently I have been listening to podcasts from various different perspectives on society, parenting, technology, even handwriting… I am coming to many conclusions on what is going on in the direction of our current western culture and the climate to which my children will grow up in. I can honestly say that I do not like where it is going. Now listen, I am not saying this because of some sort of conservative nor liberal agenda, I say this because we are losing our backbone. Today if you disagree with someone you tell them on the false security of the internet. The face to face conversation with those of opposing views doesn’t happen, rather we find people who think like us, look like us, and want the same things that we do in order to have non-confrontational conversations. If we want to disagree with someone, we do it on the internet. Lately I have been making some experiments with folks to purposefully disagree with them to their face to see how they respond. Almost 100% of them gave up their side to agree with me on the most outlandish of claims. Friends, we have to restore healthy conflict in face to face dialogue. I don’t have that answer, but I am trying to help my children to think on their feet, not to have to go to facebook or twitter to disagree with someone.

Going Paper

As of late I have really been struggling with how much time I’ve spent on my smartphone. The events that may have passed me by because of a screen. Not knowing really where to turn, I began a web search of all things to discover if anyone else was having this struggle. Through this web search I found a book, “Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport. In his book he argues for a digital philosophy called, Digital Minimalism. I am currently in process of implementing some of these philosophical changes in my life. As a pastor, I’ve often thought that I need to get my message as wide as possible to impact as many as possible. While partly true, I was missing other portions that are more true, discipleship, relationships, and seeing how this small screen had captivated life that I didn’t want it to have. I highly recommend the book.