You are on page 1of 7

Parenting Sermon Ocean View Methodist March 3, 2013 This year I started with a new vision for what

t I was longing for God to do in my life. I make goals every year and they usually include ministry, quiet times, health and exercise, and how I can balance better. When I had Keller in June of 2012 I decided to take 6 months off and pray about the next year and what I felt God wanted me to do in life. I had no idea that part of my new vision and goal would be to love my children well! I have been shocked, and Casey can attest to this, that somewhere in the past year, I have become obsessed with being a mother! I have NEVER been that person who loved children. I am not touchy feely. I am not maternal. I do not love other peoples kids. But having Keller changed me dramatically. Sure I have always loved Kieren. I mean she is basically me, so whats not to like? Actually that is the problem. She is TOO MUCH like me. But Keller is little perfection. I call him pure Casey. He is happy and content. All he wants to do is eat, play, and sleep. HE is perfection. So somewhere in the past year I feel in love with babies. With motherhood. With family. I LOVE FAMILY. Its the strangest thing. I am so broody. Yesterday at the Sisterhood we had a young mother who went with us who had a 4-month-old son and I literally stared at her baby the entire way there and back. She is probably still disturbed. Casey says no more babies, but the way I feel lately I want 20 more. Well see what happens. Part of my new vision for this year is to have a happy, healthy, and peaceful home life. Casey has this amazing calling on his life to lead Ubuntu Football but in this season it takes a great amount of time. He has to work hard and so I now have a vision to be the one who helps to create a loving and happy home environment that we can all enjoy. I feel like our home should be a place where we find love and laughter and rest. This year another part of my new vision is to teach more, and so I am teaching a new class at a Christian College in Woodstock that is called Cornerstone Institute. The new class is called Transformation of Youth Culture and we are trying to figure out how to transform youth. And I am supposed to be the expert. I am learning right alongside of the students.

As I have researched and created this course I found out the most incredible thing! I learned early on that God has a great vision for how he wants to raise children and transform youth! This is HIS heart too and He lays it out how to do it! But guess what, its not a youth ministry manual for Rhoda and the Sunday school or Chevonne and the youth. No, Gods vision for transforming children and youth goes way beyond anything that happens in the church. And we actually have it pretty great here. You have incredible people who are loving and teaching your children. WE are so privileged here to have these programs. But those programs arent Gods plan. You want to know Gods grand idea for transforming youth? Its you. Thats right. Its you. Gods great design is for PARENTS to transform their children and lead them up in Christ. Pretty crazy, right? We have enough to do for these children. We feed them, we clothe them, we put them through school, we go to parents meetings, we clean up their rooms, we discipline them, and we even hang out with them. But TRANSFORM them? Thats is a huge job! Surely its the job of someone qualified like Kyle or Chevonne right? I am honest in saying this, that Gods word has been challenging me so deeply as in my own family life, and I am so stirred that I cant wait to share it with you today So I pray that you would open your hearts and allow God to stir you. Allow God to teach you. Allow God to convict you. Allow God to change you as He lays out his VISION for how He wants to change your children. Your nephews, your nieces, your grandkids, your neighbors kids who are at your home every day. The kids God has brought into your life, he wants to use YOU to change them. I am going to show you how today. We are going to go back to the beginning, to Deuteronomy, where God was teaching His people what it looked like to be Gods children. They were learning and growing and so He laid out his heart and His path for them. And He teaches them about how to build a family and transform children. Deuteronomy 6:1-9 6:1) These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 6:2) so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and

commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 6:3) Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you. 6:4) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 6:5) Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6:6) These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 6:7) Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 6:8) Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 6:9) Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Many have said of these verses that they are the ideal model for a Christian family. What is happening here is that Moses is preparing the children of Israel to cross the Jordan River. They are FINALLY about to cross into their promise land. 40 years of wandering paid off. They are about to make it to all the promises God has given them and they have been waiting for. Its right on the other side of the river. But before they walk into the promises, they need to know how to follow God when they get there. I feel like this is so timely for our church. I am so proud when I speak about what God is doing here at Ocean View Methodist in these days. Our leaders are standing up and taking their mantles of leadership. They are meeting together, they are taking new tasks, they are loving each other, they are holding each other accountable. Its awesome! I feel like we are right at the edge of so many blessings and promises. But God wants to speak to us first. God tells us to hear, but it means more than letting the words hit your ears. Eugene H. Merrill writes, To hear, in Hebrew lexicography, is tantamount to obey, especially in covenant contexts such as this. That is, to hear God without putting into effect the command is not to hear him at all. If we are going to hear this we must know its to be followed. Deuteronomy 6:4 into four primary bullet points: o o o o There is a God. There is only One. Our God is that One. He deserves our best devotion

Moses is saying that the entirety of who we are must be given to God. We must worship Him with our everything. We must GIVE him everything. We must give Him our hearts. Then Moses tells us how we pass this love for God onto the future generations. We must not only think of ourselves. We must look ahead. We must think of those to come. We must plan for those who will lead after us. I always talk to Treswill Overmeyer about this. I think because he is my age but his body is like 80 years old. So I joke that we need to lead these youth because they will be pushing our wheelchairs soon. He will have a wheelchair first, but its going to happen. We cant just think of today and the promises of God that will happen for us, we have to think of the promises to come for the next generations. God says we must love Him with everything we have and THEN, we must impress these truths on the hearts of our children. Or other translations say we must teach them diligently to our children. This is amazing. Moses is really laying it out for Gods people. He is saying that there is blessing ahead, but if you want to keep that blessing coming, you have to prepare your CHIDLREN to receive the blessings. It even gets more practical than that. Moses says we should always be teaching our children scripture. When we are walking down the road, when we are in the shops, in our own homes, when we wake them up and when we put them to bed, we must be teaching them about the love of God. Gods people are to make the rules of God a comprehensive, memorable, intentional, and integral part of their daily family routines. There is no distinction between the secular as opposed to occasional moments for the sacred. Its not supposed to be Sunday church times and then the rest of life. All of life is Gods. All of life is sacred and holy. Its not about a MOMENT for daily devotions. LIFE is supposed to be a DEVOTION TO GOD. Sharing of the love of God and meditating on scriptures should not a random occurrence, when you actually remember to pick up your Bible, but part of the routine of the day. I want you to think about it right now. What else is the routine of your day? What is it that you do day after day after day? Even more, what do your children witness that you do day after day after day? What do they notice is important to you? Ill tell you some things that are important to me. I love EATING. I spend so much time preparing food. Thinking about food. Planning for food.

Finding snacks, making dinner, shopping at the grocery store. This is why I fit into Ocean View. And so because my children see this pattern in my life, now THEY value food. Keller is the happiest person on the planet, except for when he is hungry. Then he FREAKS. Now if he sees YOU have food, he wants it. FOOD is valued in our home. What is valued in YOUR HOME? Is it food? Is it having a clean home? Is it your car? Is it your television? Is it your job that you give everything to? Is it your friends? A drink? A smoke? Talking to people? Or is GOD the greatest value in your home. What your children SEE YOU VALUE, THEY WILL EMULATE and THEY WILL VALUE. What about the people who are in your home. Think about the people they spend the most time with? Who are the people that are forming your children? Who are their influences? These people have influence, but so do you, and yours is the most profound. And so we cant leave spiritual nurture to chance. We cant hope it will sink in for the 30 minutes they are at Sunday school or two hours a week if we are lucky enough that our kids actually attend youth. It is OUR responsibility to give them a Christian worldview, to see the world through the eyes of God and not the eyes of man. What does the normal man or woman see when they look at the world? Hopelessness, destruction, sin, anger, foul language, pain, and hurt. What does GOD see when He looks at the world. HOPE, love, redemption, peace, action, justice. For sure, God is not blind to the pain of the world, but God sees beyond now to the final chapter of this story when all will be revealed and redeemed. So everything He sees is through those eyes. And so too, we must teach our children to see people and to see the world through those eyes. Recently, Casey decided to teach Kieren to see the world differently than the world sees it. A couple weeks ago we went to Hillsong Church on a Sunday, as we usually do after worshipping here, and afterwards when we asked Kieren about Kids Church there, she told us she learned about The Good Samaritan She could recite to us the story and how others passed the hurting man by, but the one man stopped to help him and Jesus said he was good.

Later that evening our hearts were really hurting for a couple kids that we take care of daily in our home, and Casey decided to use it as an opportunity to teach Kieren about Gods love. He took Kieren on his lap, and he reminded her about the story of the Good Samaritan that she had learned. Then he told her that we love Vano and Aquila very much, but many people had been like the naughty people who just walked by even though they saw that Vano and Aquila needed help. And Casey told Kieren that WE as a family were going to be like the Good Samaritan and STOP to HELP our friends when others had passed by. And Casey told her that stopping to help no matter what was what God wanted us to do. It doesnt have to be a daily Bible study, but we need to incorporate the truths and love of God into our time and conversations with our children. We need to IMPRESS the truths of God on their hearts. Here is the key: If we want to BLESS GOD, we must IMPRESS his love on our children. If Gods goal is an awe-inspiring faith in God passed from generation to generation (Deut. 6:2); only persons of faith can pass on the faith. A concern for teaching the faith to our children must, therefore, involve nurturing the faith of the adults in the faith community. What this means is that the spiritual health of our children depends on OUR OWN spiritual health. We can only take our children as far as we have gone ourselves in our faith. This statement through reminds me that many people in this church do not feel like they are ready for leadership here not ready to lead other children, adults, lead worship, lead outreach, because they feel spiritually they arent in a good enough place spiritually. Lets think about that for a minute. You say you arent ready to lead others in this community, but you have no choice about leading your children. They are following and you are automatically the leader. So you cant just sit this one out, you cant just dart Charmaines eyes when she asks for volunteers, YOU have been called to lead your children spiritually rather you are ready or not. So its time you get ready. Its time to lead them in the right direction and not the wrong direction. Its time to impress the truths and love of God on their hearts while they are living in your house and under your leadership.

And this brings me to my last point. Before we had children, I had no doubt that I could feed them, clothe them, find a place for them to sleep, bathe them and so on. I knew how to do those things for myself, so I was pretty sure I could figure it out for little people. Or I knew I would google it. Which I still do. What TERRIFIED me about having children was messing them up spiritually and emotionally. I felt confident leading other kids, youth, and adults, but the responsibility of leading my own children. It was too much for me to bear. Too much responsibility. Too big of a risk. I was 100% sure I would screw up parenting so I honestly decided I just wouldnt have kids. And I was a pastor. But it was too risky. So I was telling these fears and my decision to a good friend in my church who had a daughter. And she said, well of COURSE you are going to screw up your children Sarah! You are sinful! But that is your opportunity to show your son or daughter the cross. Your failures are the opportunity to show your need and their need for Jesus Christ and the work of the cross. And that is the key. Four Steps to Impress Scripture: 1. Training must be formal and informal. 2. Training must be a lifestyle. 3. Training must include constant exposure to Gods Word. 4. Training must include Scripture memory Its simile, but its profound. If we want to BLESS GOD, we must IMPRESS his love on our children. WE must teach them His love, we must SHARE His truths, and we must LIVE our faith in front of them. God has great promises ahead for us. We, like Gods people in Deuteronomy, are on the edge of the Jordan River, on the EDGE of His promises for us. They are right there, but we have to walk into them by being obedient to Him. And God wants us not just to love him, but to BUILD that love into those who will follow us, into the future generations. TO BLESS GOD, we must IMPRESS his love.