Is Your Child in the 12%?

This article had some great thoughts about parenting.  Here is just one of them for you to consider:

According to Search’s nationwide study,12% of youth have a regular dialog with their mom on faith/life issues.   In other words, one out of eight kids talks with their mom about their faith.

Deut. 6:6-7    And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Get started with three questions at the dinner table (if you don’t sit at the dinner table together start there):

  • Low of the day – What was the worst moment of your day?
  • High of the day – What was the best part of your day?
  • How did you see God work today?
Oh, and Mom and Dad you answer first.  TALK of Him!

What Defines You?

John 17:14-16 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

What defines you?

A paraphrase of the final verse reads; “They are no more defined by the world than I am defined by the world.”  

What’s the big deal?  Everybody thinks that way!

But, everyone talks that way!  Everyone texts that way!  Everyone’s seen it!  Everyone does it!   Jesus speaks to that type of thinking here.  No: everyone who is godless talks that way.  Everyone who is godless texts that way.  Everyone who is godless visits those sites. Everyone who is godless watches those shows.  Everyone who is godless treats their parents and authorities that way!  What a radical difference in thinking! 

Here is the big deal!  Christians are defined by God’s thoughts.

Jesus says, that Word of God makes the radical difference.  When we receive the “Word” we no longer join the world’s ways because we think godless thoughts.  Instead of being defined by the world we were redefined according to the very words (or thoughts) of God. 

At salvation, we exchanged our plans for a good and loving God (who has better plans).  Now, we have been given, the good plan of God for mankind (the gospel).   Our purpose is to fulfill His purpose: bringing men to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.    But it won’t be easy…

Jesus prayed for you.  You were going to need it!

Jesus was telling his followers to expect the same animosity that he experienced.  In fact, Jesus prayed for you, not to remove you from these difficulties but that amidst them, you would not fall to the ever present godless thinking of your age.  Jesus asked the Father to help you endure the temptation of ungodly (or  “godless”) thinking.   

Someone has already endured it!

 I am not defined by this world:  This was the basis of his prayer.  Jesus endured every temptation of godless thinking in the exact same manner that you or I would.  By depending on the Father, he not only to provide the perfection we needed in order to be with Christ, but also reminds us that it is possible for any Christian who is living dependent on the Father to be defined by God’s thoughts rather than the thoughts of this world.

So, what has defined you this week?  What will define you today?

10 Reasons Why There Is No Higher Calling than Ministry to Children

A high percentage of people in our church are involved in some sort of formal children’s ministry. If you’re like me, you may struggle with discouragement, wondering at times whether your ministry is really making a difference at all, so I put together a short list of reasons why there is no higher calling than ministry to children: Continue reading

Thoughts from a Former Youth Pastor (part 2 of 2)

Sometimes when you’re in the role of youth pastor there are things that need to be said, but you really can’t. It may come across as harsh or even my motives might not be right even though I’m speaking the truth. These thoughts are meant to be a help to parents and I trust you understand the spirit with which they’re written: love and concern for you and your family. (part 1 can be found here)

Punish by taking away something else. From time to time a parent would tell me that their teenager needed punishment. The punishment was to keep them away from youth group on Wednesday night and/or the paintball activity on Saturday. Now I certainly understand withholding a teen from paintball, skiing or even bowling, but Continue reading

Thoughts from a Former Youth Pastor (part 1 of 2)

I can write this because I am no longer a youth pastor. Right? No hidden motives or secret agenda because it no longer affects me. These are things I have wanted to say, but couldn’t for fear of wrong motives, being unkind or not being spirit-filled. I write these things to be a help to parents and teens (if teenagers read blogs).

Spiritual health not robotic Christianity is the goal. I’m fearful that at times we put the “cart before the horse.” Somehow hoping that if they dressed just so or combed their hair this way that eventually we would be able to reach their heart. I understand in a youth group setting that sometimes teenagers may not dress according to the accepted norm. If the sum-total of our relationship is correcting a teen on his external apparel than we have lowered Christianity to a low that none of us would want to stoop. More importantly, that low Christ warned the Pharisees (see Matthew 23). The goal of spiritual health is Continue reading

Sincerity Is Overrated

“If you prayed that prayer, and you really meant it in your heart, then you’ll go to heaven when you die.”

Many of us who grew up attending Gospel-preaching churches have heard–and repeated–this statement countless times. Of course, I don’t debate its truthfulness. Whenever a sinner genuinely calls upon Christ in repentance and faith, their salvation is secure.

But what this statement reveals is the weight we place on sincerity as a test of the genuineness of a person’s salvation experience. As long as you “meant it,” you’re good to go.

I believe this is a serious mistake, especially when dealing with children.

Sincerity is an inappropriate test of the genuineness of a child’s salvation. Why? There are at least five reasons: Continue reading

When I Don’t Feel Like Going to Church

Do you ever feel like NOT going to church? How is it that some people never  miss a Sunday and you struggle to make 2 out of 4 Sundays in a given month? Are some people destined to be super Christians? And others destined to struggle with faith for the rest of their lives?

Sometimes we look at more mature Christians who are spiritual giants and we wonder if they were born that way. If we can understand and practice a few biblical principles we too can be growing spiritual muscles that will help us develop spiritual maturity.

  1. Christian maturity = church attendance. Church attendance ≠ Christian maturity. Continue reading