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“And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” Acts 2:40

The Palmer Road church of Christ, Westland, Mi.
May 24, 2015

Jump Start # 1351

Ephesians 6:4 "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."

   Teaching our children about the Lord is a priority that belongs in the home. This ought to be a must among moms and dads. Children learn about God and are impressed about the kingdom by the attitudes, decisions and engagement of parents. This starts early and it starts with the basics. As children grow, so must the lessons and the applications. God should never be far from their lives. Parents are that reminder. Saying things such as, "Have you prayed about that," helps to keep God before them.

    This godly shaping will have major impacts upon a child as they grow and decide which major to pursue in college. Chasing after high paying jobs isn't always the best decision. The life of theatre, pro sports, or professional acting can take a huge hit on one's faith. It can be done, but it isn't easy. So often, one's faith becomes the causality in the pursuit of the career. This is a huge disappointment to God and it ought to be for parents.

    I'm seeing more and more that it's not. I hear of parents bragging about their child off to an Ivy league school, or chasing the sports dream and when asked where that child attends church, there is silence. He doesn't have much time for that or, he hasn't found a congregation, or he'll get back to that once he's settled down. Really? The child's faith has died and parents don't even see it. And worse, they don't seem to be bothered by that.

Then it continues with the child dating and getting married. Faith doesn't enter the picture. A person will share the same bed, and sometimes even the same toothbrush, but they don't share the same faith? The parents are happy that their child has found someone who is sweet, or has a good job, or comes from a good family, but nothing is said about faith. The person you marry has the biggest impact upon you going to Heaven or not. Has the parents advised their child carefully along this line? What happens when the young couple has children? Will they be raised as our verse instructs? Or, will they simply know how to change a tire, balance the checkbook but know nothing about the Lord?

    There are fewer things that hurt more than realizing your grown child no longer walks with the Lord. This is happening all over the country. Parents are at a loss as to why this is. They claim that they have taken him to church since the child was a baby. And today, that child never darkens the door of the church house. He has an amazing job. He lives in a fine house. His life is good. And for many families, this seems to be enough. It is never talked about. It is never studied, discussed or brought up. Choices were made a long, long time ago that led to where the child is today.

Do we take to heart passages such as:

Why is there such a leadership crisis in the kingdom today? Men are put in position to be leaders who do not understand what they are supposed to do, so they run the church like a business. Other congregations have no one who can or will step up to lead. Why is there such a void of gifted male teachers in the kingdom today? Why is there so many that fill the pews but do not engage themselves in the work of the kingdom? Fingers are usually pointed to the congregation. Poor preaching. Lack of classes that are meaningful. Stale. Boring. Dull. So, what if it is? What's going on at home can be so much different. It's the home where the Bible comes alive. It's the home where the TV is turned off and real and relevant discussions that place. It's before that child leaves elementary school that discussions about dating and what you want to be when you grow up have taken place. During those middle school years those lessons are focused even more. During high school years, those choices are beginning to take shape. Who is your child dating? Who they date is who they marry? If the number one reason is that the person looks good, then that becomes the foundation of the marriage. Those marriages don't seem to last very long. Looks change. Someone better looking comes along. The purpose and reason for the marriage soon falls apart. If the lesson taught has been find someone who makes you happy, what happens when they are not happy? Off they go and the marriage ends. If the lesson has been, make someone else happy, what if they are not happy, the same thing happens again. But if God has been taught and God is the foundation and God is the reason and the glory of God is what becomes the purpose, then the marriage takes on a different meaning. It will be a special relationship because God has been invited and has been asked to remain in that relationship.

If your goal as a parent is to simply get them out of the house, then that will be done, but you will have missed your greatest opportunity to show them Jesus. If the goal is a great job, then school and grades become the number one emphasis in the home. If it's sports, then practices and games becomes the most important thing. But if it is discipleship and Heaven, then that shapes the choices, the decisions that parents make. I've known parents that have not signed the little ones up for summer sports because the games will conflict with church services. They have decided that church services are much more important. Other parents don't think that way. Their child grows up thinking that you go to church unless there is something more important. Some days, sleeping in bed seems more important and down the road they travel of a compromising and weak faith. And later in life, their parents wonder why their grown child no longer is interested in spiritual things? Really?

Parents, it starts early. It starts at home. It starts with God. Your goal is a follower of Christ. You want your child to be a disciple of Jesus. You want your child to live for Jesus, no matter what they do. That's what it's all about. To miss this, is to miss everything.

Evangelism begins at home.

Roger Shouse