Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Next Generation

Psalm 78:1-7

O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old-- What we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born and they in turn would tell their children. They would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

In my first year of seminary, Dr. Roy Fish made a comment that will likely stay with me the rest of my life. He told me, "We are only one generation away from Christianity dying out as a faith system."

This is my daughter, Emma. She is not unlike any other two year old. She is stubborn, adorable, and soaks in new information like a sponge. Each day she wows us with some new phrase (some phrases that we have to quickly keep her from shouting at the top of her lungs in the middle of restaurants) or some new activity that she has learned to do. My wife and I, like most parents, spend lots of time making sure that we teach her colors and shapes and letters and animals. You probably have spent time with your children in similar activities and thanks to your tireless efforts they now know what sound a cow makes and that the sky is blue. But how much time is spent in your household teaching them about Jesus? As believers in Christ we are commanded in the Great Commission to "make disciples" (Matthew 28:18-20), and as a parent we are commanded to teach our children the statutes of God (See Deuteronomy 6 as well as the text above). In other words,

the number one most important disciple you will ever make as a follower of Christ is your own child!

Colors and shapes and letters and numbers are all important, but even more so is the importance of parents teaching their children about Jesus.

This is a difficult endeavor, however, for many parents, as we did not have this modeled for us while we were growing up. Many of us were farmed out to churches where our parents hoped Christianity would "catch." We read the Bible as a family one time a year (Christmas) and prayed once a day (maybe) the same prayer every day right before dinner. How are we supposed to disciple our children when we feel like we have so far to go in our own spiritual walks? May I suggest a web page for you: http://www.homeword.com/. Go there, get lost in this page for a while and soak in the helpful articles on reaching the next generation for Christ and growing them into mature believers.

After all, Christianity is only one generation away from dying out...

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