Sunday, July 18, 2010

From Tots to Teens ~ Greater Are You Lord!


What an amazing month I experienced since last writing here!

God has shown up in so many ways in our home and in each of our children.

We say, “God is good all of the time!” “God is faithful!”

Yet, sometimes those words fall off our lips without the true praise, honor and glory God deserves. Or at least they have for me.

However, I have seen the glory of God in our home recently in more ways than I can count!

God doesn’t want to receive partial glory in our lives – He wants all the glory!

Just as He commands, “love the Lord your God, with all of your heart, mind and soul.” Also He tells us, “lean not on your own understanding, but in all of your ways acknowledge Me and I will direct your paths.”

Parenting is NO exception to this rule and promise.

For years I would ask my patient husband, “when will things change with this child?” “I know we are doing things His way and yet, the heart of this child seems to push further away and care less about the things they seem to do wrong or hurtful.” My husband would keep reminding me, “We must continue on His path, His way and trust the Lord to do what He promises with each of our children.”

Sometimes it really bothers me – because my husband is always right. This time I’m glad he wasn’t wrong.

With each of our adopted children there comes a time when challenging behavior shows up. Things that go against the norm in parenting and areas that are not easily corrected. Yet, when you get past the behavior they are no different than any other child’s reason for misbehaving…sin nature and wanting to know that we mean what we say – “No matter what you do we will always love you.” Our children hear that 100’s of times a week in our home. Because someone needs to hear it.

Well, God is saying the same thing to all of us. NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU!

I began reading Alan Melton and Paul Dean’s book – Disciple like Jesus two weeks ago and every page I found my head shaking yes, yes, yes.

This book will not be popular with most – because they sadly don’t want to really be told they are doing it wrong and parenting as the world does. The facts don’t change no matter how hard we try to avoid hearing them, or learning them. Then I began to pray that God would touch the hearts of others to begin reading this book and get it into the hands of leaders of every church. We must not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ – it is life! It is freedom! It is breath to our bones! It is a love story from beginning to end. We must stop looking for feel good solutions to our problems and look to God who is greater than anything in our life! That means the good and the bad.

I’ve read so many parenting books in the last 5 years since coming to Christ. Sure some were good and even helpful. Yet, there always seems to be a hole in each one – and for the first time I think these men did it right. They touch on the real issue and it comes to down to one thing – FOLLOW CHRIST and His every example. NOT one of us can go wrong if we treat our children like Jesus did His disciples.

You see, “God gave His only Son, so that whomever shall believe will not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

We must live like we believe. You believe Jesus is God’s only Son. You believe God raise Him on the 3rd day! You believe His death on the cross paid for all of your sins – past, present and future! You believe that He is the only way to God in heaven. You believe that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of His Father speaking good things about you. You believe He is The Life, The Truth and The Way!

Yet, most of us don’t disciple our children in our own beliefs.

Sure we take them to church each week. Sure they attend Sunday School. Yet, that isn’t enough as far as God is concerned.

We have given our lives over to the world – too busy for real time discipling our children. We have bought into the worlds ideas – our children need to be involved in “x” number of activities to be socialized and prepared for life – more time away from us – more time out of the house, more time driving here and there. I often read blogs and see how busy they are going here and there – the moms are simply losing steam by keeping up with their children’s too full schedules. I ask myself each time, “is it worth it? Why are they so concerned about their children's happiness?” Sure team sports can be a great tool to build character in a child and prepare them for many things in life – but when do we ask – at what cost? Some facts that inspire our family to keep on His path:

“Independent research groups indicate that 75% to 90% of our young people walk away from the church upon graduating high school. Every MINUTE we lose four youth, every HOUR we lose over 200, every DAY we lose over 5,000 and every year over 2,000,000. Our children are walking out the doors of church never to return.

Think about the enormity of losing two million children to the world every year. Something is definitely wrong. Parents are truly blindsided. Of the Americans who call themselves born again Christians, only about 9% have a biblical worldview. The majority lose their virginity by their second year of college. With more than 50% of Christian marriages ending in divorce, the church’s divorce rate is slightly worse than that of secular society.”

Chapter One starts with this fact: “If we think about the fact that almost 90% of our young people walk away from the church every year, we must consider that part of the problem is a faulty process. In fact, it does not go too far to say that the root cause of our losses is a faulty discipleship process that has been used by most Christian parents for decades.

In the average Christian home the total time spent on biblical training is less than five hours a week. With less than five hours of biblical training a week and more than eighty hours (80) of non-biblical training/influence per week from various sources, the non-biblical influence easily wins out shortly after our children leave home. As a result, our children and future generations are lost to the world.”

I love what it says on the very next page: “The world training system we have bought into (as designed by Satan) is the opposite of what Jesus Christ did in making disciples. Jesus imparted biblical knowledge and wisdom, but more importantly, He cultivated deep trust from, heart relationships with, and a lifelong commitment to His disciples.”

Jesus said, “For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15

And what comes next you have to read for yourself – sorry but it is worth the time because our children deserve all that Jesus gave us – His life!

I highly recommend you checking out their blog and purchasing a copy of their book!

Back to Sunday school and why it isn’t enough? Because Jesus is the example.

Jesus spent 3 years one on one with His disciples. He gave all He had to them. Pouring into them everything the Father told Him to. He loved them. He taught them. He feed them. He performed miracles before them. He prayed for them and with them. He gave them wisdom and taught them how to use it. He didn’t want anyone else teaching them the things of His Father. He did it!

I began reading through the gospels again myself to see all that Jesus spoke. I want to know the words He said so well that they become life inside of me. Because in order to disciple our children like Him – I must know what He asked of each of His disciples.

His words are pretty clear and His commands truly not a burden – love each other, as I love you. Serve others before yourself. Listen more than you speak. Speak in love and truth. Always forgive as you have been forgiven. Lay down your life for your brother. Follow Me and deny yourself. Everywhere you go – tell someone about Me. Share the good news. Give hope to others. If you need anything, ask My Father in My name and it will be given to you. Trust Me. Obey Me. Listen to what I say and then do as I ask because I love you.

Now I really shortened all the wisdom Jesus gives to us – but these words ring in my ears daily and they are the message loud and clear through Disciple like Jesus.

Our goal as parents is to help our children know that they know that they know Great is You Lord! That everything the world has to offer is nothing in comparison to the blessings He will give to them without end!

Walking in His amazing grace!



Valerie said...

Amen! Very well said. I will be looking into this book. Thank you.

bless their hearts mom said...

wow- i think we need a copy for both our churches- so everyone can borrow and learn and the pastors can look at what we can do as a church to keep the kids!

Unknown said...

AMEN Nicole! That is a great idea - it all begins with us grabbing the heart of our children and helping them realize that faith is not some thing we simply do - it is who we are as created by the ONLY ONE and TRUE LIVING GOD!

We must teach our children how to think and defend their faith.

Walking this with you!

Alyson said...

This is great--

Have you heard of Answers in Genesis? Look into it if you haven't. It's all about teaching you to defend your faith. It says the same thing about teens leaving the church.

The book sounds good...