Archives For discipleship

A recent seminary assignment challenged me to think of the 10 truths that I want to teach my children. Typically, my answer would simply be the GOSPEL, but the assignment made me think more deeply about all that is encapsulated in that word and how I would break it down for my daughters.

The assignment was valuable because it challenged me to define what I believe and get intentional about how I will impress those truths on my children. Here is the list I came up with:

Top 10 Truths to Teach My Children

1. God is Sovereign
Genesis 1, Psalm 103:19, Proverbs 16:4, Isaiah 14; 45
We want our children to know God as supreme creator over all things. We want them to see that He is God and we are not. This must be taught in conjunction with the attributes of God to help them understand the goodness of His sovereignty.

2. God is unchanging and faithful
Hebrews 13:8, Malachi 3:6, Deuteronomy 7:9, 2 Timothy 2:13
We want our children to know that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The same power that we see on display throughout the Bible is in existence today. In the same way, God’s promises always remain true. The promises He has made will always come to fruition. We can trust God’s character and His promises.

3. Sin affects every aspect of my life and your life
Romans 3:23; 5:12; 6:23, Jeremiah 17:9
We want our children to know their depravity and the consequences of sin. We want to be open as parents about our struggle with sin and gratefulness for Christ. We want to set an example of repentance and dependence on Christ for any hope of change.

4. God’s Law shows us our sinfulness and how great our need is for Jesus
Romans 6:23, James 2:10, Romans 7:7, Galatians 3:19-24
We want our children to know that, while we strive to be obedient, we will never be able to obey God’s Law perfectly. The Law only reveals sin and condemns. At the same time, we want our children to see the hope that God graciously provides through Jesus—our salvation.

5. Jesus died in our place to give us the life we never deserved.
John 3:16, Ephesians 2, Titus 3:5, Galatians 4:4, 2 Corinthians 5:21
We want our children to see that Jesus was fully God and fully man, that He faced temptation yet lived a life of perfect obedience, and that He died a sinner’s death in our place so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God! We want our children to know this was an act of God’s grace, a demonstration of His love, and not based on anything we could do to save ourselves.

6. Belief in Jesus means we are adopted as God’s children and now live as a new creation
Ephesians 1, Galatians 4:1-5, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, 1 John 3:1
We want our children to know what it means to fully believe in who Jesus is and what He has done for us. We want them to know that this faith in the finished work of Christ is the sole source of salvation and it means that we live as a new creation—forgiven, adopted, and called out to live as children of God.

7. The Holy Spirit helps believers to grow more and more like Christ.
John 14:26, Romans 8:26, Galatians 5:22-23
We want our children to know who the Holy Spirit is and how He helps us to grow as Christians. We want our children to know the fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in believers to make us more like Christ. We want them to seek out friends and future mates that are walking with Christ and show the fruit of the Spirit.

8. God’s Word is true and contains all we need for growing in our faith
Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Psalm 119
We want our children to cherish God’s Word and be disciplined in reading it, memorizing it, and applying it to their lives. We want them to see Scripture as sufficient for all issues of life in every season of life. We want to demonstrate a love for God’s Word that our children can emulate.

9. God has given us the Church where we can worship, serve, and grow with other believers.
Acts 2:42, 1 Corinthians 12, Matthew 28:19, Matthew 26:26-28
We want our children to know their gifting and their role in the body of Christ. We want them to be a part of a local body of believers to worship, serve, and grow. We also want them understand Baptism and Communion as part of a believer’s obedience and remembrance of Christ and how each of these sacraments fit into the life of the Church.

10. Jesus is coming back again to complete His work of redemption and restoration
Matthew 24:14, Romans 16:19-20, 1 Peter 3:10-13
We want our children to know that Jesus’ redemptive work is not yet complete but will be made complete when he returns. At that time, He will eternally destroy sin, restore creation to God’s design, and give us new glorified bodies to worship Him eternally.

What truths would you put in your top 10?
How will you be intentional about passing those truths on to your children?

I had an experience yesterday that reminded me of the beauty and the power of having a mentor. By mentor, I mean someone who is older or more experienced to speak encouragement and training over you–like the relationship between Daniel Larusso and Mr. Miyagi.

I had stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up a few supplies for our ministry. As I stood in the office supply aisle, I overheard a conversation between two Wal-Mart employees about 15 feet away. The first employee was a young man, probably early 20s. The second employee was a woman in her 60s or 70s.

As I walked up, I could tell that the young man was talking about a job interview he had recently. I wasn’t sure if it was for a role at the store or elsewhere, but he was sharing very openly about it with the woman. He ended his comment by saying, “I’m just not sure what I should do.”

This is when the conversation got amazing and I didn’t even care if they knew I was listening.

The woman asked if she could share some advice. She proceeded to share about a few times in her life when she was faced with difficult decisions and how she prayed and sought the Lord in those times. She talked about following Christ in obedience even when it was hard. She encouraged him to keep praying and to keep trusting that God was good and in control no matter what.

Her words were as sweet as honey. I glanced over a time or two and could see the young man just soaking in the encouragement this wise woman was pouring over him. He continued to stock shelves but his entire countenance changed. It reminded me why we all need a mentor to share what God has given to them and speak into our lives when we need it the most.

As I continued to shop and process the conversation, I jotted down a few questions to ponder:

  • How can I thank those mentors who have invested in my life over the years?
  • How can I continue to seek out the advice of a mentor in ministry and in life?
  • Who can I encourage and offer the wisdom (limited as it may be) God has shown me?

The following is an article that I shared last year on the Fellowship Bible Church blog. In just a few weeks, we will send our daughter to her first day of Kindergarten. I’m excited about practicing some of these notes, and I thought it might be helpful to other parents.


ChalkboardClipLunchNote

It’s time to go back to school.

I can hear the collective groan of children from all over the city. The memory-making events of summer are coming to a close, and parents’ days will soon be filled with school supplies, homework, pickup lines, and trying to fit all five food groups into that tiny lunch box!

I dreaded the first day of school every year. Well, every year except for one. The year I started second grade, my excitement was off the charts. I just knew that I was going to be the talk of the school because of my new G.I. Joe lunchbox.

This lunch box was bright red with locking latch. The front was decorated with the battle-ready cast of the cartoon. But the pièce de résistance was the Thermos. It featured a matching G.I. Joe design, and it had the lid that could also be used as cup. There was something classy and sophisticated about a second grader who could pour Kool-Aid into a cup and sip as if drinking tea with the Queen of England.

Whether your child has a G.I. Joe lunchbox or a paper sack, you can make it a great discipleship tool by including a special note from you.

Deuteronomy 6 specifically commands parents to pass faith on to children as they go throughout the day. Imagine your son or daughter sitting down for lunch, opening their lunchbox, and finding a special note from you to remind them of who God is and what He has done. These lunchbox notes can be your way of speaking Truth to your children even when you can’t be with them throughout the day.

Three types of notes that could be used to disciple your child through their lunchbox:

Affirmations or Encouragement

Every child needs and wants to hear encouragement from their parents. As you see the unique gifts and character that God has placed in your child, be sure to acknowledge and affirm that to them.

Try not to make this about their performance. Instead, focus on what the Holy Spirit is doing in them and through them. An example might be a note that says: I have noticed how patient you are with your little brother lately. I can see the Holy Spirit working in you.

Scripture and Prayer

There is nothing more necessary for children than to know Scripture. In a world of information, some children may not understand the authority of the Bible. As a parent, you can help them to store up God’s Word in their hearts.

This type of lunchbox note can be as simple as a Bible verse that you’ve been talking about as a family and a prayer. It might also include a question that the family will discuss at dinner. For example, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 God, help Maggie know that she was created in a wonderful way for a wonderful purpose. Help her to feel Your amazing love today!

Challenge

What kid doesn’t love a challenge? As children are growing in their faith, challenge them to apply it. This type of lunchbox note is geared to helping your son or daughter be more intentional in how they live out the Gospel in their school. Here’s an example: A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17 I challenge you to ask a friend or teacher this question: What’s one thing that is making you worry? Tonight, our family will pray for that person and for God to give them peace in that one thing!

The beginning of the school year is a great opportunity to be intentional in the discipleship of your child. As you’re packing their lunch with PB & J and handi-snacks, write a special note to encourage them, pray over them, or challenge them in their faith.

Sweet Morning Prayers

October 10, 2012 — Leave a comment

morning prayers

One morning, I parked the car at school and turned around to talk to my 2-year old daughter. She was having a hard time with being dropped-off at school. And by hard time I mean snotty-nosed crying fits that left me feeling like a terrible father. As we talked, I asked her if she wanted to pray about it. I’d like to say that moment was my wisdom, but it was really just a moment of frustration and desperation!

We prayed a simple prayer that morning, but nothing really changed about the drop-off meltdown. I didn’t think anything else about the prayer until the next morning. As soon as I turned off the car, she said, “Let’s say a prayer?”

That prayer has turned into a moment that we share every time we pull into the parking lot. Before I can even turn the car off, she’s getting excited and ready to pray. Part of it is that she just likes to see her daddy talk with his eyes closed, but I think she also gets the point of Who we’re talking to.

As we were praying this morning, I was just reminded at how important those types of moments are for parents and children. As parents, we are called to disciple our children but we often don’t understand when or how to do this. These moments create a rhythm that is necessary to discuss and model faith.

This rhythm is a routine. It is not necessarily a sit-down Bible study that bores the kids to death. It is infusing Grace and the Gospel into every moment of every day life. These moments are special. They take the ordinary and connect the dots to the extraordinary. They will often lead to other moments. And the goal would be that the whole day is filled with moments that strengthen our faith and bring us closer to God. I think that’s what it means to disciple your children.

I want to find more moments like this to share with my daughter. I want to be constantly looking for teachable moments when I can help her see God’s Grace and the power of the Gospel. Even as a toddler, I want her to understand Who God is, what He has done and what great plans He has for her.

I don’t have it all figured out. No one has called and asked to make a documentary on my life because I’m an expert of discipling my children. I doubt that will happen. But, I’m thankful for our sweet morning prayers and what God is showing us in that time.