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Rev. Brian Bill
I need two volunteers this morning. I’d like one of you to make 40 little circles on the white board and I’d like the other to make 3,000 circles. When you’re finished you can sit down. Ready. Set. Go.
In our series called, “Faith Begins at Home,” we learned two weeks ago to remember because we forget, to respond because we falter and to remain because we’re fickle. We must be like Joshua and declare, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Last week we camped in the first six verses of Deuteronomy 6 where we discovered that according to God’s Parenting Primer, we’re to learn why God must be central, we’re to live what God says, and we’re to love who God is. We must first start with the heart before we can move to anything else. As parents we must make loving God a priority in our lives. In short, we must be passionate about Him and about parenting.
I think Jon Dewald is trying to convert me to be a Michigan fan because he let me borrow a book by Bo Shembechler called, “Bo’s Lasting Lessons.” He’s the former football coach of the Wolverines, having won 13 Big Ten Titles. It’s going to take a lot more than a book for me to cheer for a team on the wrong side of Lake Michigan but I was very impressed with his opening words: “Let’s start with first things first: passion…because the fact is, you’re never going to be able to lead others effectively unless you put your whole heart into what you’re doing. If it’s just a job to you, it’s going to be just a job to them. And trust me: You’re not going to fool them.”
I realize that Bo’s talking about football but we can apply this to families as well. Parents, if we want to lead our families effectively, we must be passionate about our parenting. Last week we focused on the who – parents (and everyone) must make faith at home a priority. Today our focus will be on the how and the when – as we focus on some practical parenting principles. We all need help, don’t we? I’ve been reading the Book of Judges in my Quiet Time and came across this request of two parents while they waited for their son Samson to be born in Judges 13:8: “O Lord, I beg you, let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.”
Before we jump in to our text for today I want to say a word to parents who have prodigal children. My aim is not to pile on and make you feel guilty. Nor is it my intention to be trite and oversimplify what is one of the most challenging tasks that we will ever have. Some of you have hurting hearts today as you wonder where your child’s wandering heart is. Don’t beat yourself up because your child has a will that is separate from your own. He or she will make choices that you don’t always agree with. God gives grace to the grieving. Don’t lose hope. Keep praying. Keep fighting for your family (we’ll talk more about this next week).
My outline is simple today. First, we need to teach truth intentionally; second, we need to talk truth relationally and finally, we need to transmit truth practically.
==> Let’s go back to the white board to check on our two volunteers…
1. Teach truth intentionally. We see this in the first part of verse 7: “Impress them on your children.” The word “impress” literally means “to sharpen” or
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