Posted by: pastortomvabeach | July 22, 2019

Thought For The Week July 28, 2019

I heard back from a couple of readers regarding the first part of the article, When Church Is Optional, You Set Up Your Kids to Fail by Pastor Blake Laberee.  Here’s the rest of the article.  I’ll make some comments at the end.  If you didn’t get to see part 1, you can read it on my blog at www.pastortomvabeach.wordpress.com

“Children are a heritage and a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127:3-5), and as gifts from the Lord they are to be handled and cared for as precious beings made in His image (Genessis 1:27).  It is the parents that are commanded in scripture to discipline their children (Proverbs 25:19) and teach them what they are to know about God (Proverbs 22:6, Deuteronomy 6:7).  It is the parent’s responsibility to introduce their child to the scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (II Timothy 3:14-17).  Oddly, in all of the passages we read about raising children, nowhere are these responsibilities shifted to the church.  If I must give an account for my family, then I must take these responsibilities seriously.

“We can argue the validity of youth ministry all day, but most of us should at least agree, as mentioned above, youth group is not an acceptable substitute for Godly living and training at home.  I am the first to recognize that there are a lot of bad youth programs out there.  However, youth ministry, in its purest form is to come alongside parents in helping to equip, meet, and reinforce the spiritual needs and habits of their children.  Unfortunately, instead of being used as a helpful tool, youth ministry is often used as a substitute spiritual guide.  It is a sad day when spiritual care of kids is pawned off onto the church, who having them for an hour or two each week is supposed to make up for the lack of spiritual vitality and leadership at home.  Is it any wonder that kids get ‘bored’ and fall away?  It is even less of a wonder that upon the child falling away, the blame is often placed directly on the lap of the church.  Imagine if parents took to regularly praying with, studying with, and investing spiritually into their kids!

“When parents choose to enroll their children in programs that will directly violate the clear commands of Hebrews 10:25, it is a sign that they have forgotten the purpose of the local gathering.  It’s easy to say ‘(fill in the blank)’ is more fun than church, the kids enjoy it more; forgetting, of course, that the purpose of the church is not to entertain you!  Gathering together fulfills a much greater purpose than simply something to do on Sunday morning (as long as nothing else is going on).  Mark Dever summarizes the purpose of the church gathering in this way: ‘The proper ends for a local congregation’s life and actions are the worship of God, the edification of the church, and the evangelization of the world.  These three purposes in turn serve the glory of God.’ (A Theology for the Church, p. 809)

“Most Christians profess that they love God.  I John 4:19 reminds us that, we love because he first loved us.  In fact, love for God and love for others is the most prominent mark of believers (John 13:15).  Jesus says in John 14:5, If you love me, keep my commandments.  Simply put, the Christians life is marked by love.

“Consider the fact that Jesus lived, died and rose on your behalf.  He died as the propitiation for your sins; satisfying the divine wrath of the Father that would have justly fallen on you (I John 2:2), had His mercy not spared you.  You, who were once dead in your trespasses and sins, have been made alive (Ephesians 2:1).  When you were born again, Christ took out that old stone heart and replaced it with a heart of flesh that would worship, honor, communion with, and glorify Him (Ezekiel 11:19).  You were bought with a price, believer, and you are no longer your own (I Corinthians 6:20).

“Jesus and His commands are EVERYTHING to the believer and it is that love and passion for Jesus that we should be demonstrating and passing down to our children.  Friend, as much as I like baseball and hunting – neither of those have done what Jesus has done for me.  When I pull my children away from the things of God for the sake of hobbies, I am not loving God and I am not loving them.  I am programming them to be satisfied with lesser affections.  I am programming them to fail.  Parents, we need to stop ‘programming’ our children to fail in spiritual things by substituting spiritual things with an excess of programs (say that 10 times fast), and get back to reminding ourselves of our responsibilities and showing our children that true joy is found in the presence of King Jesus (Psalm 16:11).”

Now, I understand that Pastor Laberee says some pretty “in your face” kinds of things in this article, but I don’t find anything he says out of line with God’s Word.  Is it possible that part of the reason so many young people are abandoning the faith when they leave home because their parents have programmed them to believe that their faith and their connection to the church (Christ’s body) is a choice that fits coequally with sports, leisure, hobbies, and most self-gratifying activities?

When my kids were growing up, our default position was that we were going to church on Sunday.  Certainly, there were a few times we missed, and likely for the wrong reasons, but most of the time, whether we were in town or out, whether we had activities planned that day or not, whether we had company staying at the house or not, we were going to church, to worship and show our love for Jesus.

What’s your default position regarding the body of Christ and faithfulness in connecting with His body (the chuch)?  What do you kids think about your commitment to living for Christ?  Is it evident in your daily interactions with them and your vital connection to His family?  These are hard questions but the next generation depends on us getting them correct.  Are we?  Just a thought.


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