Over the years, I have had some pretty incredible God moments happen in my life. They were clear moments that God was leading me in different directions, whether it was calling me into ministry at an early age, to landing my first internship, to my first full-time ministry, to eventually God calling me to the west coast.
Each one changing my life in ways, that I could not have imaged and each happening with God’s direction.
As a Christian parent, I know that God is at work in the world around me. And I want to help my kids and my spouse to know that God is just as active today as He was in the stories in the Bible.
And we can do exactly that!
We can help our kids see God’s working by creating moments in your day to teach and show them God’s actions
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 say’s
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
We are commanded as parents, to teach our children diligently, every moment we can with them. We teach them by living with them but also by creating visual opportunities. In the Old Testament, if God did something, they would make a shrine, so when they passed by they could tell their families what God did for them. This visual would be great of what God has done.
This isn’t a command that we should take lightly, and it is something we should always in the back of our mind.
So what can you, next time you are at dinner with your children. Talk with your kids about what God has already done in your life. Maybe even have a little trinket that would help be a reminder of God’s story in your home.
After you told your family about what God has done, be aware of what God is doing for you today. Maybe He isn’t doing anything right now, but we on look out for God and be able to tell your children when they happen.
Finally, I was to encourage you to put yourself in opportunities for God to moving. A great way is to make sure you are worshipping God regularly. Praising God in church week in and week out does a few things.
First, it helps us make sure God is number one in our life. God needs to a focal point, and what better way is to make sure we are worshipping Him.
Finally, we are surrounding by other believers, and we can see how God is moving in their lives, which can be an encouragement in difficult times. And that works vice-versa as we can be an encourager to them during difficult times.
In this week’s Bible Study we are talking about always doing good, knowing your hope, and allowing God to be God.
Read 1 Peter 3
Reflect on this passage (1 Peter 3:13-16 ESV)
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
After reading this passage in context, jot down some of your initial thoughts.
There are a couple of things in these verses that stick out, that I would like to flesh out a little bit more.
Do Good Always
In the verses before vs.13, Peter explains what it means to do good. And by doing good Peter say’s “who is there to harm you?” If we took that verse out of the context of the scripture around it, this would make an excellent verse to build a church around. “Do good and bad things will stay away,” but we need to move to vs.14 and it starts off with a “but”. Peter say’s “but even if you should suffer.”
Question: Why would someone hurt you for doing good? Have you ever been hurt for doing the right thing?
I can’t tell you why good people get hurt. There could be a variety of reasons, but I can say this, “Do good always.” Regardless if you get mocked at work. Do good. Regardless if you are getting pressured by today’s society. Do good. No matter what happens today, tomorrow or years down the road. Do good.
Know Your Hope
Vs.15 is that verse that terrified me for many years. I came across it close to the beginning of my spiritual pilgrimage, and I felt that I didn’t know enough about God to be confident in my faith. So I went to a Christian college, learned theology, apologetics, greek, hebrew, spiritual formation, discipleship and I still wasn’t confident. Then a few years back, as I was writing a lesson for youth group, I realized something profound. Peter isn’t talk about knowing God fully to defend the faith. Peter is talking about knowing why you have faith. I don’t know every type of theology out there; I can’t debate the nuances of apologetics. But I can tell you why I believe what I believe. I can tell you why I believe that Jesus lived, died and rose from the grave.
You will never know everything about God and you will encounter people who have a deeper knowledge about Christianity than you. But, If you know why you believe, then you can silence those people who will question your faith.
Little Extra: Think back to the day you started to truly believe in Jesus. Jot down the reasons why you started believing.
Allow God To Be God
Peter then goes on to vs.16 and say’s “God will put them to shame.” Christians are the worst at getting upset for any reason. Outsiders, look at Christians and think “they need to cool down”. Christians get upset over everything. From theology to politics, to what my children watch at home.
If you are one of those Christians who get easily offended, I would say “grow up” but that wouldn’t fix the problem. Instead, take Peter’s reply to the Christians (WHO WERE BEING KILLED FOR THEIR FAITH) which say’s “God will put them to shame.” Or “God will judge them.” There is no if’s, and’s and but’s about it. The day will come when those who defile God, will have to face God’s judgement. Don’t be overly sensitive, allow the worldly to look stupid for their over sensitivity. Be different, and when you feel God is being disrespected, don’t protect God. God doesn’t need to be protected; He is our refuge. We are not His. Allow God To Be God.
One of the things that worries me most is having my child in the world. Will they be treated fairly? Will they be bullied or harassed? What if there is a dangerous person who wants to harm them? Those uncertainties can make any parent stay awake at night.
So, what I can do right now? I can prepare them to be good, to know Jesus, and not to get upset over trivial things.
Question: How can you teach those things to your children?
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. (Matthew 9:10 – 15)
Have you thought of how Jesus relaxed? Many pictures of Jesus show him in terms of a somber, melancholy tone. But look at the scripture above. We see Jesus sitting down in the midst of dinner, having a joyful time with friends and sinners. How do we know that He has a joyful time? Because when the religion bullies come to question Jesus, he uses a parable of a wedding day. Last time I checked, weddings are not supposed to sad, but rather a celebration.
Christian living is supposed to be a joyful experience, especially in the midst of those who do not believe Christ to be the savior. One of the elements of Holy Spirit, which is in all Christians is joy.
So the question for you, “Is your life, a radiation of joy, a component of your testimony to your faith in Jesus Christ?”
I am not the kind of guy who “wings it.” When I was younger, I winged it a lot when it came to school work or social activities because I felt I could pull it off. Which never worked out well. One time I had to do a devotion for our Christian Club in high school, and I had nothing prepared. The only thing I had in my hand was a ballpoint ink pen, so I went on making a spiritual devotion on a ballpoint ink pen. It was a disaster. It did not help that I was the president of the club at the time. Embarrassing.
As I matured, for the most part, I gave up on winging it and now I can get a little over prepared when it comes to things in my life. A couple of days ago, I was replacing a windshield wiper, which I prepared myself by watching videos on YouTube.
When my second son was born, I realized it was time to get serious about parenting. So for the past five years, I have been reading and studying about how to be a great parent. Here are a couple of observations.
First, all parenting looks different. It is based solely on your family situations and since every family is different, there is not one way to parent your child.
The other I discovered, as a Christian I looked into the Bible and realized there isn’t much the Bible says about parenting.
Why would God leave out the guidelines for how to instruct our children to grow up in the Lord? Should I have family meetings? Should I send my children to Sunday School, Children’s Church, both or neither?
I love what Barna say’s about the subject.
There is more guidance provided about the nature of spiritual maturity in adults because God knows that parents, in effect, create children in their own image—just as He did with us. We pass on our values and habits, often without realizing the transfer is taking place. 1
Spiritual Parenting is about us, the adults, passing down our faith, values, and habits to our children. I do believe children need to get their own grasp of faith on their own, but that is something that needs to happen as they themselves mature into adulthood. But with our students and children, we need to be the imagine bearer of Christ to them. We need to be the example of peace, patience, self-control, goodness, etc…
As we grow in our own faith, we help grow faith in our children. If we neglect our faith, then we start neglecting faith in our children. Spiritual parenting is about spiritual training in our own life.
Feel free to let me know about your own thoughts in the comment section below.
Barna, George (2010-09-01). Revolutionary Parenting: Raising Your Kids to Become Spiritual Champions (Kindle Locations 1784-1788). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition. ↩
The importance of being a Christian parent is preparing your children to one day accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. My oldest son is getting close, to understanding what it means by putting your faith Christ. Currently, he is almost there, but he just doesn’t understand some important elements of faith.
An example of what I mean, he wants to be baptized because he feels bad for sinning. He believes baptism will automatically make him behave better. That somehow, when he get’s out of the water, it will make him a good person, but that is not why we baptize. Baptism is not something we do to make us a better person, but to symbolize Jesus’s death and resurrection.
He’s not ready, but he’s close.
Barna brings up an encouragement about great parents.
The great parents we studied typically waited for their children to make the decision to pursue Christ as their Savior, preparing them for that choice by educating them about the Christian faith and demonstrating what it looks like in practice. The most impressive facet of this process was the amount of prayer that these parents invested in their children’s future spiritual standing. 1
This quote reminded of God’s patience with us, found in 2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
If God is patient with us all in accepting Christ, I as a parent need to patient with my own child. Though he is close, he is not there. I, as a mature adult, shouldn’t be pressuring him to be making this important decision. So I must continue to keep showing him faith by my actions and continue to educate him about God through His words.
Those two things alone are an important part of the process, but we cannot forget prayer. If we believe in God changing lives through prayer, we better believe He can change the lives of our own children.
Continue to practice the faith, educate them about God, and always be praying.
Barna, George (2010-09-01). Revolutionary Parenting: Raising Your Kids to Become Spiritual Champions (Kindle Locations 1556-1559). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.. ↩
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. Luke 16:10 (NIV)
What is Reliability?
Reliability is the quality of dependability and consistency. To rely on someone, means to attach trust on their words. When someone is a reliable person, their word is gold and holds a high value. Reliability is a quality we learn from God. The greatest example is that God has remained true to His covenant and has never broken His promise. (Malachi 3:6) For this reason, God’s words are reliable even today and is why we put a lot of value in them.
As a parent, I want my children to believe what I tell them is consistent and dependable. I want my words to mean something. So when I say, something is going to happen as it depends on me, it’s going to happen.
Showing Reliability For Your Family
First is to keep your promises. I am not saying, you should never promise something, because how can someone trust your words if you are never showing trust. So when you do make promises, make sure you stay true to your words. Think about work, if you are not feeling good but still able to go to work, what do you do? You go to work. But, with our children if we are not feeling good, we stay home and tell our children that another time will work better for you. Am I saying don’t stay home because you are feeling bad? No, but do that enough your children will stop trusting in your promises.
Now, one must be wise in their promises. Don’t promise things that won’t happen or over promise. If the promise is too big or something that will be difficult to fit in the calendar, don’t promise. Make sure you are not biting off more than you can chew.
Second, you can show up and be on time with your promises. For example, if you promise that you will be home at a set time for dinner, be more punctual at work. Have your stuff ready before you leave, so when it’s time to go, you are ready. Don’t stand around and chit chat after work and give extra time for the drive home. So when you get home, you have plenty of time to spend with the family.
Finally, be reliable with your faith. God’s values and morals should be something we practice all the time. Christianity doesn’t end when we leave church. If we lie, cheat, and steal during the work week, but then at church we are truthful, just and giving? Then we are not showing reliability of our faith to our family. We should be the same every day of the week.
What are some ways, you can show the value of spiritual reliability to your family? Feel free to let me know in the comment section.
Have you ever went on an extended vacation with family? You know the vacation that is a little too long. Where there are fun moments, but it is also filled with some stressful ones too? Then on your way home, you think “This is the last time I ever want to do this!” Years go by, and you start looking back at old photos, and all those fun moments are shown, which brings up the thought of going on another extended vacation.
That is parenting. Parenting is a longer extended vacation, filled with fun and heartfelt moments. From the beginning of when your children begin to walk or when your child pretends he is a power ranger. Those moments are priceless. But, parenting is also filled with moments of stress and anxiety. From the time when they begin to talk back, or when they decide that every “no” response is a death sentence.
In the process of this parenting season, comes a moment where children choose their faith, and it’s like that old saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.” You can lead your child to meet Jesus, but you can’t make them believe in Him.
How do we as parents help our children to believe in God?
Well you can’t. We can do actions to help them believe, but it’s not (nor will it ever be) a full proof method.
You can help your children believe in God, by your faith in God. Barna said it this way, “Parents are more likely to raise spiritual champions if they, genuinely love God, pray daily, worship regularly, read the Bible habitually for personal development, participate in the life of a spiritual community and apply their resources, spiritual gifts, and natural abilities frequently to influencing lives.” 1
How serious is your faith? Is your faith something the children are seeing? Is church a priority or something that happens whenever.? Are you praying with your children? Are you learning from God’s word?
If our children never see God in us, then how can they find God? In our children never see God living, then how can they believe He is living? It’s a little easier when they are young, where the magical still exists in them. When they can believe a man can walk on water, without doubting. When a man can be raised from the dead, and not think about the how that is possible? Eventually, they grow up, and logic comes to counters the magic. Then their faith is based on yours and how serious you take the faith.
Show God in you.
Barna, George (2010-09-01). Revolutionary Parenting: Raising Your Kids to Become Spiritual Champions (Kindle Locations 1448-1455). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition. ↩