Encouragement From The Word

Embrace and Nurture

Earlier this month, my wife and I did some camping in northern Ontario.  On the first evening, we were late arriving because we were detoured away from an accident on Highway 400.  (Unlike Highway 11, some of the interchanges on the 400 extension are just for dead-end cottage roads, so we ended up adding about 3 hours to our trip.)

I was setting up the camper van, plugging into the electricity and water, and the chap at the adjoining campsite was inspecting the front of his trailer.  Just trying to be a friendly camper, I made a compliment about his trailer, and he started telling me quite a bit of his life story.

I’ll spare you the details, but one part of his story struck me.  He was telling me about the business he is going to start when he moves, and said, “I was raised an evangelical Christian…” and proceeded to disparage his upbringing.

My heart ached as I completed that conversation so I could cook supper, not only for him, but because I know there are others who have a similar story to tell.

In some ways, in recent years, it has become trendy to walk away from one’s spiritual roots, but it is especially poignant when those spiritual roots are in the historic, apostolic, biblically-based expressions of Christianity.

The reality is that no church is perfect, and most churches have made assumptions about how well-equipped parents are to raise their children to know and love and serve Jesus.  They’ve let down their families.  But every church that roots itself in the basics of Christian faith seeks to do its best to see its children grow in Christ.  And when that doesn’t happen, the church mourns.  It should mourn.  And God’s heart breaks.

My fellow camper ideally would have held on to his faith roots, but he didn’t.  I don’t know the reasons.  But whatever your role in your local church, do all you can to disciple the children in your midst, starting with your own.  Equip them, and their parents, to embrace and nurture faith in Jesus in a world that is doing its best to do the opposite.  And leave the rest to God.

[Y]ou must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.  Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up” (Deuteronomy 6.6-7, NLT).

Biblical Messages

Parenthood: The Parent’s Priority

This series, inspired by Craig Groeschel of Life.Church, will take a look at some aspects of the crucial responsibility that befalls parents in our day to raise their kids to love and serve the Lord.  Today, we looked at Deuteronomy 6.1-9 and Proverbs 22.6 as we delved into the parent’s priority.  Have a listen, or check out the link to Facebook Live below.

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Encouragement From The Word

An holy partnership

This week, we’ve been hosting our annual Bible Fun Camp at St. Paul’s Church, Nobleton. I think when a church puts on a vacation Bible school, it receives a sacred trust from parents, grandparents and guardians.

But, as I said to the parents gathered last night, the church is not the purveyor of a consumer religious service. Parents don’t bring their kids to Bible Fun Camp so that we can dispense religion to their kids. No: sharing faith is the parents’ job, primarily, and the church’s job is to act as a partner with the parents, grandparents and guardians in helping their children experience a personal relationship with Jesus.

Neither party can do it alone. If we leave the spiritual formation of children to the church alone, it will not work, as the past 50 years have proven. And if we leave the spiritual formation of children to the parents alone, they will grow weary and discouraged; they need the church to support them and partner with them.

If you have children in your care, I ask you to let the church partner with you in helping your kids to know and love Jesus. If you’re in the leadership of a church, find ways to help the congregation partner creatively with parents so that they don’t feel cast adrift in a sea of various spiritualities.

Being a parent is the hardest job known to the human race. Being a Christian parent is harder still! If you’re seeking to raise children to know and love Jesus, I’m in your corner. Let us all pray for parents as they steward the church’s future!

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 6.6-7, NIV).

P.S.: Today is International Hug A Calvinist Day, otherwise known as John Calvin’s birthday. If you see someone with a Reformed bent today, give that person a hug!

Biblical Messages

Of Teething Rings and Testaments

Perhaps you’ve received things from your loved ones that are significant memories of your childhood.  Is one of them faith in Jesus Christ?  Scripture calls us to share our faith with our kids.  Deuteronomy 6.1-12 illustrates this well.  (The negative results are shown for us in Judges 2.1-15, reminding us that the church is only ever one generation away from extinction.)  To whom will you pass the baton of faith?  Listen to this message and consider that question.