Tag Archives: grandparents

How parents and grandparents can bring revival to our land

20 Sep

Image result for parents and grandparents

There’s a scary reality we need to bring up.

Though we are studying Deuteronomy, jump ahead to Judges 2:10, which takes place maybe 40-50 years after Deuteronomy.  By this time Joshua has taken over for Moses as leader of Israel, guiding Israel as  they take possession of the Promised Land and settle down.  Then Joshua dies.  What happened to Israel, then, one generation removed?  We read in Judges 2:10 that they totally forgot the Lord.

That freaks me out a bit.  Can this happen to us?  Can we totally forget the Lord?  Let us never think, “No way, that will never happen.” It sure can happen.  But how?  Just like it did for Israel in Judges 2. One generation that knows the Lord does not pass on the faith to the next generation.

Now let’s travel back to Deuteronomy 4, and I’ll explain why we took this little trip into Israel’s future.  Yesterday I mentioned that God is odd.  He really is, but in a good way!

Look at Deuteronomy 4, verses 10-14. Moses is reminding the people of Israel of a famous story in their history, a time the previous generation heard the voice of the Lord, and God gave them the Ten Commandments.  Moses is about to review those Ten Commandments next in chapter 5.  For now, he has a different purpose. He wants the people to remember their odd God.  Their God wasn’t like the Canaanite gods which were mute idol statues made of stone or wood.  No, Israel’s God, Yahweh, could speak!  Moses then tells the story of when God dramatically spoke in an audible voice to the people many years before, a story you can read in Exodus chapters 19 and 20.

What is the significance of this?  Why does Moses bring this up?  He knows how quickly we forget.  He knows that one generation can have an amazing connection to God, but sadly that generation is unable to pass on that connection to their kids and grandkids.  So Moses describes what the parents and grandparents are to do.  He says, “Teach your children and their children who God is, how he works, and what is Word is all about.”

How many of us are teaching our kids and grandkids what God is like? Are you teaching your kids the story of God?  It is crucial that we parents and grandparents take an active role in passing on the faith to our kids and grandkids.

Tell them God is so different from other gods.  Definitely this practice of teaching the next generation should include teaching them Bible stories.  But what about also telling them stories of how God has shown himself to be alive and well to you personally, to your family? Do you remember?  How has God been faithful, how he has answered prayer?

You know what the Psalmist says in Psalm 71:18? This is a great reminder for older people who have kids and grandkids:“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.

So parents and grandparents, invest in the spiritual welfare of your kids. Disciple them to be true followers of Jesus.  Don’t depend on the church to do this for you.  Have dinner together, and talk about the Lord.  Have family devotions.  Memorize Scripture together.  Then tell the stories of God at work in your lives.  Go on mission trips together, serve together.

Keep faith alive in the next generation.  Help the next generation learn what discipleship is all about.  Teach them how to advance in the unending cycle of being disciples who make disciples.

Moses’ fireside chat: Introducing Deuteronomy, a bold, risky book of truth-telling

28 Aug

Related imageI want you to imagine a scene with me.  In this scene older adults sit down with their family.  Splayed out around them are their kids, grandkids, and maybe even great-grandkids.  The older adult then starts telling the family history.  They include the familiar stories, and they tell ones never heard.

What I am describing is a fairly common scenario.  Maybe you have that one grandparent that loves to tell stories.  In our family it is my father-in-law.  He is a story teller, and he loves to talk about the pranks he pulled in college and when he and my mother-in-law were missionaries in Africa for 6 months and he shot big game.

The scenario of an older adult telling family stories tends to focus on “when I grew up in the Depression” or “When I fought in the war”. But how often do the stories tell the personal details of family failure?  Would a grandparent talk with their grandkids about how the grandparent really messed up, or how the grandkids’ parents really messed up?

Would they tell the good, the bad and the ugly?

We are very used to the public airing of dirty laundry of celebrities or politicians.  But not so much of our own.  We really appreciate our privacy.  It can be hard for us to hear the bad things.  At funerals we rarely talk about the person who passed in a negative light.  You get the idea that they were perfect and amazing.  But the family knows the true story.  The person who passed, like us all, had their faults.

Too often we just hide our faults, and we don’t talk about our mistakes.

What if older adults did broke with tradition?  What if we made a practice of reviewing the good, the bad and the ugly with our families?   What if we review the way of the Lord with our families?

At Faith Church this past Sunday, we started a sermon series through an Old Testament book that is just like that.

In the book of Deuteronomy, for the most part, Moses is sitting down with the nation of Israel to review what they have gone through.  The good, the bad, the ugly.  As we study Deuteronomy, we get to hear wisdom from Moses, as he reviews the work of God, and the Law of God, with the people of Israel.  We’ll hear a very courageous and shocking group of stories from Moses.  When the people totally screwed up, he reminds them of it.  He doesn’t excuse himself either.  And he doesn’t excuse God.  There are some stories where Moses tells about his own failures, and there are some things he says about God that will leave us scratching our heads.  These are not the tidy stories we’re accustomed to hearing.

So what about you?  Who can you tell stories to?  Has God given you kids or grandkids?  Maybe employees?  Maybe someone that you are seeking to invest in?  How can you sit down with them and have a fireside chat like Moses?  Tell the the good, for sure, but will you also tell them the bad, the ugly?  As Moses does with the Israelites, we can do with those God has placed in our lives.  The Israelites needed to hear the truth.  The whole truth.  The needed the real picture of what got their people to this point.  Our families and friends need the same from us.  Who can you can tell the truth to?

Do you parents feel like going on strike?

14 Oct

Cat Barnard sits in her driveway in Florida near the tent where and she and her husband slept after both went on strike because their children won't cook or clean up.

Sometimes we parents feel like we need a break.  We can feel exhausted, frustrated, and like we want to go on strike.  In 2004, the parents in the picture above did just that.  You can read all about it here.  Parenting can be hard.  Do you feel like parenting can drive you crazy?  That while you love your kids, there are times you don’t like them?

Parent-Child relationships are a wild mixture of happy and sad, joyful and troubling, close and distant.  Over the last few years at Faith Church we have toned down how much we emphasis we put on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day because for so many in our family of Faith Church, those holidays are painful.

Even though we have toned down Mother’s and Father’s day, they are holidays with a good intention.  In the Ten Commandments we read God tell the nation of Israel that they are to  honor their mother and father.  So for God the parent-child relationship is a very important one.

God wants us to be good parents and grandparents.  And he wants us to be good sons and daughters to our parents.  That’s what we’re talking about at Faith Church this coming Sunday as we continue our series, Life in These United States.  Maybe this sermon can be some help for those of you who feel like you’re ready to go on strike from parenting.

We’re going to approach this sermon a bit differently.  Sermons are almost always monologues.  The long-standing homiletical tradition where one person delivers a speech to an audience is not necessarily a bad thing. But how often have you heard a sermon and wished you could discuss it further?  Or maybe you’ve had questions about it, but didn’t feel you had a forum to ask those questions?  How many of you have a culture in your church’s worship service where you can raise your hand, ask a question and your preacher will stop and discuss it with you?  I know some of you do have that, but most don’t.  At Faith Church we have a sermon discussion group after our worship service, and that time of open-ended discussion is fantastic.  I often find it to be better than the sermon!

So for this sermon I thought I would enlist some help.  I have been a parent for 19years, and Michelle and I have four kids.  But some of you have kids and grandkids, and even great-grandkids, and you have been parenting or grandparenting for longer than I have been alive.  I haven’t experienced grandparenting, and Michelle and I aren’t the perfect parents, so we have much to learn.  I thought, then, that I would get help from our Faith Church Leadership Team.  Here’s how it will work.

This Sunday is our once/month Coffee Break Sunday, which means after we praise God in song, we dismiss to our Fellowship Hall.  We normally have a time of continuing our praise of God through open mic sharing about how God has been at work in lives, but on Coffee Break Sundays, we do that around the tables in the Fellowship Hall.  Then after 15 minutes, we return to sanctuary to sing and listen to God’s Word.  But on this Sunday, we’re going to stay around the tables in the Fellowship Hall.

I’ll still have a few words to say, looking at some biblical passages with parenting principles, but I have asked Leadership Team members to help lead mini-discussions on parenting, based on the passages that we’ll read.  Each discussion will take place around your table.

So do you desire to be a good parent or grandparent?  Join us at Faith Church as we learn from God’s Word, and from those who have for many years wrestled with applying biblical principles of parenting in the real world of their families.