Make Memories

A question that I’ve been asking myself lately when it comes to raising our kids is, “what memories will they have of me?” When my children are grown and looking back on their childhood, what memories will they cherish? What memories will teach them, mold them, and shape them into the men and women they are then? How am I being intentional in the memories that they have?

Reading in Proverbs, you will come along this passage that every parent knows. Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Though never before had I looked at it from this perspective. Our memories and experiences shape us. But how are we as parents making sure that we are shaping our children the best we can to be obedient followers of Jesus? I by no means claim to be an expert, but here are a few things that we are making sure we do as a family.

1. Take Them With You. We believe that if we want our kids to be great servants of Jesus, this means they come along. When I do a hospital visit, or hang door hangers, or even go on a mission trip, we want to bring our children along. We want them to see what it is like to serve Jesus. That they experience daddy and mommy serving King Jesus and they remember what it was like to do so. For some parents, this is really difficult because they are concerned with schedules and other things, but let me ask you this question, isn’t it worth it to keep your kid up an extra hour so they can see you love Jesus?

2. Intentional On What We Say. In Deuteronomy we see Moses telling them to speak of the Law of the Lord with their kids. To teach them. This means as a parent, I am looking for opportunities to talk to my kids about God’s Word. Helping them see how it applies to my day to day life. This also means that I am intentional about what I am putting inside of me, that I am spending time in God’s Word.

3. Make A Plan. This one is the hardest for me, but most essential. What is the vision for my family? Where do I want them to be in a year? What do I want them to experience in a year? These are questions you need to ask in order to come up with a plan to be intentional of accomplishing those visions. You must know the direction that you want to go as a family, how are you molding them, what are the steps you need to take? In order to produce disciples, you must have a plan.

I know this list is not exhaustive, but if you have any other things you would add, put it in the comments!

Intentional Discipleship

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

The primary discipler of your child is you. God has called you to be the biggest spiritual influence in your child’s life. We’ve looked in previous posts about parenting, about being a grace filled parent, but this one I want us to look at that discipleship with children is to be intentional.

Train up a child. To train someone is to be intentional about what you teach them. In the work place this is coming up with a plan to make sure to produce the best employee that you can produce. In children this is being strategic in teaching your child what it means to follow Jesus. You are helping your child be trained in the way that they should go, to follow Jesus in their lives.

Even when he is old he will not depart from it. This promise is something that is difficult. For several parents out there they feel like they have done all they could to help their child follow Jesus and it seems like they have not continued down this path. In a later post we are going to deal with this issue, but for our purpose today, we are looking at the influence that you have on your children. That when you teach your children what it means to follow Jesus, they follow your influence.

As parents we have to make sure that we are intentional about how we teach and spend time with our children. We have to be intentional on what we teach. They are listening, they are watching, what are you teaching?

Mother to Motherless

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. A time in the year to celebrate the mothers in our lives that have helped us become the people that we are today. In this quick entry I want to propose another aspect to Mother’s Day that is all to often neglected.

Romans 16:13 “13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well.”

In this verse is something very small, yet so impactful. A mother to me as well. So many can attest to women in their lives that have been mothers to them despite being their actual birth mother. They influence you and are nurturing towards you the way a mother is. But what about those who don’t have a mother? What about those who are a product of the system of the state? For Christians we should take a hard look this Mother’s Day at the ones without mothers. How can we help thousands of children that are under the foster care system and allow them to experience the nurturing love of a mother?

Who Told You?

In Genesis 2:24-25 we see our ideal family once again. “24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” This text is something that we should take notice of. First, the marriage instituted by God and the results of that marriage. Marriage is a unique relationship. One that causes the bonds between a mother and father to their child to be overcome by another. That a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife. This first marriage also showed that a marriage is to bring with it complete vulnerability. Verse 25 says they were naked and were not ashamed. 

Nakedness brings with it the idea of shame. Part of the torture of crucifixion was for the accused to be crucified naked to further add shame upon them. To be naked is to be exposed. Adam and Eve were both naked with no shame, they were not afraid, they didn’t carry with them the guilt of sin. Therefore, they were able to be naked and without shame. This didn’t stay this way very long. The family didn’t stay ideal.

Genesis 3:6-7 “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.”

They both ate of the tree in the garden that they had been commanded not to eat of. Once they ate their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked. They now had shame upon them. They felt exposed. Their first action was to seek to cover their nakedness, to cover their shame. As people today, we still seek to mask and cover our shame, to cover our nakedness. We try to find ways of our own to cover our shame, it might be through religious actions, moral goodness, or actually in complete secular thought to deny the idea of shame. But shame is there, we still try and cover it.

Genesis 3:10-11 “10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” Once God was walking in the garden, came to speak to Adam and Eve, yet they had hidden themselves, they had tried to hide their nakedness from God. They felt shame before a Holy and Righteous God. God replied to their feeble act of trying to hide their shame with, “who told you that you were naked?” Who told you that you should have shame? Who told you that you were exposed? You have brought shame upon yourself, you seek to cover your shame, yet you are completely exposed. Friend, do you not feel completely exposed? Do you not fear that your shame will be exposed? Are you trying to cover your shame as Adam and Eve did? 

Genesis 3:21 “21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” You will never be able to cover your own shame. You will never be able to hide it enough, it must be paid for. For Adam and Eve, their acts to hide their shame with leaves were not covering, God had to sacrifice an animal to give them a garment of skin, to cloth them, to cover their shame. You cannot pay for your shame. You cannot cover your own shame. Christ has come and become the ultimate sacrifice to take upon Himself our shame. He was naked before the world so we could be covered by Christ. You and I will never be ideal, but to Christ is the only place that we can take our shame? Will you cloth yourself with Christ today?

The Ideal Family

Currently, our church is going through a series called “The Ideal Family”. At the start of this series we looked at the only perfect family to ever exist, Adam and Eve. We find in Genesis their story, of how they lived and also their fall from being the ideal family.

In Genesis 1, we see the creation of man, his mandate, and his job to fill. Genesis 1:28-30 “28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.”

God created man and gave him the “cultural mandate”, the mandate to first, be fruitful and multiply. To have children and lots of children. For mankind to fill the earth and to subdue it. In culture today we see a lot of leaders claiming that we are to stop having children. One politician is even stated that because of climate change we are to seriously question if we should have children. Christians should respond to this with understanding our mandate as Christians. Scripture speaks of children as a blessing and a responsibility that we are to have. For the couple that is biologically unable to have children and for those that can, adoption is something else as Christians that we should prayerfully consider (more to come later). God has called families to have children, it’s a good and godly thing to have children.

Mankind is to also exercise dominion and to take care of the earth. As stewards of God’s earth, we have a responsibility to take care of it. This means that we are responsible for the resources that are available to us, that we make sure that we are doing all that we can to preserve it. This in and of itself is not a religion that we must take upon ourselves as many in our culture do, but rather a responsibility of good stewardship. This was the calling that was given to mankind, for Adam and Eve to do, but it didn’t take long for it all to go wrong as we will look at in our next post.

As Christians, we must take seriously our mandate, to fill the earth, to subdue it. We should also take seriously the mandate that was given to us by Christ in Matthew 28:18-20 “28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.” We are commanded to make disciples, this means to make disciples of those children that we have under our care. I know that this goes completely contradictory of our culture, but as Christians, we are not called to live completely in sync with the culture, rather, we are called to live under the guidance of God’s Word and His Commands. 

Gospel Conversations with your children

“Dad, why is the sky blue? Does chocolate milk come from brown cows? Why do I have to clean my room?” These are ordinary questions from both my six-year-old and my three-year-old. These questions are a young mind trying to wrestle with the reality around them. To make sense of a very complicated world in which we live in. These questions though are opportunities for parents to turn to the Gospel.

 

In Acts 17 we see a conversation with the Apostle Paul and the people of Athens. In this conversation he points out to them observations that he had made about their culture, one of which that they were very religious and that they worshiped multiple gods. One of those gods was a god that was unknown. Paul seizing the opportunity began to explain to them the God they sought to know but didn’t know. He reasoned with them through their understanding how Jesus was the one who brought redemption, that He was the creator of all things.

 

As parents it is our opportunity to take those opportunities to share with our children the story of Jesus. When speaking of creation, when you notice a beautiful flower, tie that conversation to the majesty and creation of the Lord. When you are doing the hard side of parenting and discipling your child, point them to the Cross of Jesus Christ, how He took our punishment of sin. These may seem like they will have no impact, but constant Gospel conversations will help your child seek to understand the true God. How He loves them and took their sin upon the cross. That He alone is God, He is Creator, they are creation made to worship Him.

 

I do not do this enough as a parent, nor any parent. This post is simply an encouragement to seek out these opportunities to have these Gospel conversations with your children. Point them to Jesus. Let them see the wonder and beauty of God’s creation.

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.