Summary: If God doesn't bless, your family will be a mess.
Building a Family God’s Way
Rev. Brian Bill
How many of you are on Facebook? Let’s see a show of hands. You might be surprised to know that 291 people have joined the PBC Facebook Group. Did you hear the story from a week or so ago about a mother from Arkansas who has been charged with harassment for making entries on her son’s Facebook page? Her 16-year-old son filed charges against her after he claims she posted slanderous entries about him.
The mom says that she was just trying to monitor what he was posting: “I read things on his Facebook about how he had gone to Hot Springs one night and was driving 95 M.P.H. home because he was upset with a girl…” When asked what she’s going to do now, the mom replied: “Oh yeah, I’m going to fight it…I think this could be a precedent-setting moment for parents…If I’m found guilty on this it is going to be open season on parents.”
How many of you think the mom was within her rights to monitor her son’s account and post entries on his page? How many of you side with the son? By the way, I check on our daughters’ Facebook activity and also go through their texts so you better be careful what you send them!
In our technological world, parenting has gotten more complicated hasn’t it? I heard a speaker at the high school this week challenge the students to go without texting for a day to see if they could actually talk without their thumbs! According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, if you add up the total time children spend consuming “media,” which includes iPods, phones, computers, video games and TV (and now iPads – I’m coveting one of those), it’s almost 8 hours a day, seven days a week! This is more time than most grownups spend in a full-time job.
Here’s one sentence that really jarred me: “Children spend about four and one-half hours daily in front of the TV, about two and one-half hours listening to music, an hour and a half on the computer, about an hour and a quarter playing video games, and just 38 minutes reading.” Electronic media are now “a part of the air that kids breathe,” says Vicky Rideout, director of Kaiser's Program for the Study of Media and Health. Amanda Lenhart of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project jokes that iPods and cell phones may be this generation’s “magazines and chewing gum,” harmless ways to fill time (see www.businessweek.com and www.usatoday.com). That may be so but I’m not so sure that it’s all that harmless.
For the sake of full disclosure, I’ve been hassled about my incessant blogging, emailing and Facebooking, but I just want you to know that I significantly reduced my Internet consumption this past week…but that was because our connection here at church was down for four days!
Hope For Your Home
We’re beginning a brand new series today called, “Hope For Your Home: Learning From the Families of the Bible.” God created the institution of the family but it is under attack today. Actually, from the very beginning, families have experienced friction and many have fractured. In this study of the good, and not-so-good, families in the Bible, we’ll discover timeless principles that will help us find hope for our homes.
I recognize that some of you are single, others of you are married without kids, and others don’t really want to hear about families. I want to propose that we’re all connected somehow to a family and since we’re the family of God here, we all have the responsibility to influence and impact children. In addition, many of us are aunts and uncles or even grandparents.
Please turn in your Bibles to Psalm 127. This is a psalm of ascent, song by joyful worshipers as they headed to Jerusalem for one of the feasts. It’s written by Solomon and parts of it sound like Ecclesiastes. Some commentators believe it was sung to parents by the Jewish community. This makes a lot of sense because faith must always be lived out at home. When faith and family are linked together, a powerful force is set loose! As I read and reread this psalm, I wrote down this phrase related to the family: If God doesn’t bless, it will be a mess.
I see three parenting principles that we must embrace.
1. Don’t overestimate yourself. While there is work and watch care that we must provide as parents and grandparents, it’s the Lord that ultimately does the building and protecting. We see this in verse 1: “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.”