Summary: Our primary call is isn’t to be good parents. Our primary call is to model a vibrant and vital love relationship with the living God (quote from Gary Oliver)
Rev. Brian Bill
It’s really hard to stay centered when we’re all so busy. I really applaud every parent here today, especially moms. Check out this day in the life of a mom.
Video: “Mom Song” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8g-fljMgGzQ&feature=PlayList&p=77BDAAB7C7253701&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=23).
A mom’s work is never done, is it? I don’t know of anything more challenging and yet more rewarding than being a parent. Last Sunday we focused on how Joshua determined that he and his family would serve the Lord. Today we’re going to learn that it’s not so much what moms and dads do, it’s who they’re serving that matters. In his book called, “Raising Kids to Love Jesus,” Gary Oliver makes a provocative statement that I’ve been thinking about all week: “Our primary call isn’t to be good parents. Our primary call is to model a vibrant and vital love relationship with the living God.”
Whenever I preach on the topic of parenting, I like to start with some suppositions. I’ve added to this list over the years.
1. If you’re married and don’t have kids, or they are no longer in the home, you are still a family.
2. If you are a single parent, you are a family.
3. If you are single, you are not second-class. Scripture celebrates singleness. 1 Corinthians 7:8: “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.”
4. Children are a blessing from God, not a burden to bear. Psalm 127:3: “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.” That’s why I entitled this message, “Parenting Prerogatives.” It’s a privilege and a responsibility to raise difference-makers for Christ.
5. Parents are responsible for raising children who are spiritual champions. The home is the principal delivery system for the transmittal of God’s truth from generation to generation. I heard a quote this week that rocked me: “The greatest problems we have in this nation will not be fixed by who is in the White House; they must be fixed by the parents in my house.” Or, to say it another way: We need to fight for ‘family values’ but we better make sure we actually value our own families.
6. Everyone in the faith community is to partner with parents in the task of connecting kids to Jesus and equipping them to be growing and faithful followers of Jesus. You may not have children of your own but we need you to plug in to the lives of children in this community because it takes a family and a church to raise a child.
7. There is no fail-safe formula for parenting success. George Barna reports that fewer than one of every five parents of young children believe they are doing a good job of training their children morally and spiritually (“Revolutionary Parenting,” page 10).
8. Every parent can learn how to be a better parent.
9. I’m a parent in process, not an authoritative expert. Just because I’m preaching this morning doesn’t mean that I have it all figured out – just ask our daughters.
10. God wants us to synchronize the efforts of the faith community and the family to make disciples in the next generation. In his book called, “Think Orange,” Reggie Joiner puts it like this: “God has designed the church to shine a light to show every generation the glory of God’s Son and God has designed the family to nurture the hearts of a generation to love God.” He then summarizes by saying this: “So, to recap, when it comes to entities that God has created specifically to make disciples and accomplish His mission, there is the church…the family…and…nothing else” (“Think Orange,” page 79).
While I’m referencing the book called, “Think Orange,” I want you to know that every elder, deacon, ministry coordinator and Family Task Force member has a copy. That’s how important we think this book is to the future of our families here at PBC and in our community. Here are five basic assumptions that are foundational to the faith development of families (page 82):
* Nothing is more important than someone’s relationship with God.
* No one has more potential to influence a child’s relationship with God than a parent.
* No one has more potential to influence the parent than the church.
* The church’s potential to influence a child dramatically increases when it partners with a parent.
* The parent’s potential to influence a child dramatically increases when that parent partners with the church.
Please turn in your Bibles to Deuteronomy 6. Let’s set the scene. The people of God have been spinning their wheels in the wilderness for 40 years and are now about to finally enter the Promised Land. The generation that had disobeyed by not entering the land 40 years earlier has died and now “generation next” is on the scene. Moses was not able to go with them so he wanted to make sure they knew their job description.