It’s hard to believe how quickly a new school year is approaching. Many churches have been and are continuing to prepare for their fall startup of Sunday school and midweek programs. Ministry leaders have been busy recruiting volunteers to fill various classroom positions. But have your volunteers been inspired with a grand and glorious biblical vision for what they will be doing? Have they been thoroughly equipped and trained for their specific roles? Is there a plan to officially and prayerfully “launch” them into their ministry?
What is greatness in God’s sight? Too often I wish for my children, (and even for myself), greatness that is praised in the world’s eyes: high grades, academic accolades, advanced degrees, leadership positions, world-shaping achievements, visible fame, etc. This has been a temptation in every age.
The older I get, the more I have seen this and wept – young adults, raised by godly Christian parents and who grew up in vibrant churches – simply walk away from Jesus. Some of these wayward children do so in dramatic overt rebellion, rejecting any semblance of the Christian faith. But others still display an outward appearance of godliness yet have no true love for Jesus. In either case, it’s tragic. What’s a parent to do? What’s the church to do?
"News spread throughout Judea that this was a special child, and the people wondered who he would be," Sally Michael writes in this excerpt from the forthcoming New Testament volume of More Than a Story. "For the hand of the Lord was with him. But long ago, God had already let His people know about this child through the words of the prophets Malachi and Isaiah. His father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and foretold or prophesied about God’s purpose using some of the words of these prophets."
Parents and teachers: Do not grow weary in providing your students and children with the “ordinary” means of a godly education: reading and teaching from the Bible, offering godly encouragement, attending corporate worship, listening to the preached Word, praying, singing hymns, etc. Because it is through these means that God, by His sovereign grace, does extraordinary things!
Imagine giving your children a beautifully wrapped package. They eagerly tear off the wrapping to find the treasures inside. What do they find? Simple cards with these words: A breath, A heartbeat, Air, Sunshine, Rain, A glass of water, A piece of bread…What might their reaction be? Would a smile come to their faces? Confusion? Disappointment? Complaints? Yet each of the cards should be a humble and joyful reminder of the daily, and even moment-by-moment, generous and gracious provision of God.
When I first became a grandparent nine years ago, people would ask, “How do you like being a grandma?” My answer typically was something like, “It’s great! All of the benefits of having children without the responsibilities.” I quickly came to realize that that was a really careless, thoughtless answer. Why? Because God has given grandparents a huge and glorious responsibility—one that is also an awesome privilege…
Parenting is HARD WORK. PERIOD! Christian parenting is even harder. But God’s Word offers unshakable hope and help for every parent who is trusting in Christ and His good and loving provision.
As a Christian parent, do you affirm the statement once made by Theodore Roosevelt: "A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education"? Does this show in the priority you give to biblical instruction in your home?
I am an avid gardener. But last summer I was laid low by knee surgery, so I simply planted my garden in late spring and then “let it go” for the rest of the summer, thinking that a couple of months of neglect wouldn’t matter too much. It’s amazing how many weeds can take root and take over a garden in a short period of time!
How about the “garden” of children’s discipleship? Will it be okay to take a few months off from doing any kind of formal biblical instruction due to the seemingly overwhelming obstacles related to our current circumstances? Should we just let children’s ministry “go” this fall until we can all get back on track as a church and in our families?