2021 family conferenceMarch 8–12
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 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. – Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (ESV)
On May 31, 2004 President Bush shared these words on Memorial Day, “This morning I had the honor of placing a wreath before the Tomb of the Unknowns. This custom is observed every Memorial Day on behalf of the American people as a mark of gratitude and respect. And when this ceremony is concluded, and all of us have gone on our way, the Honor Guard will keep watch over the Tomb. Every hour of every day, on the coldest nights, in the hardest rain, there is a sentinel of the 3rd U.S. Infantry standing guard. The soldiers entrusted with that duty count it a privilege. And, today, as we reflect on the men and women who have died in the defense of America, all of us count it a privilege to be citizens of the country they served.”
President Bush went on to say, “Those who risked their lives on our behalf are often very clear about what matters most in their own lives, and they tell it to those they love. Master Sergeant Kelly Hornbeck, of the Special Forces, was killed in action last January, south of Samarra. To his parents back in Fort Worth, Texas, he wrote this: “I am not afraid, and neither should either of you be–for I trust in my God and my training, two powerful forces that cannot be fully measured.”
President Bush’s words still ring true, “Those who risked their lives on our behalf are often very clear about what matters most in their own lives.” Deuteronomy 6 is a message God gave Moses to give to the nation of Israel prior to crossing into the promised land. God wanted children to be taught what matters the most. Jesus’ death on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice for us and our families. God makes a point to tell them to “impress” these words on their children. We should be diligent to teach our kids about things that matter the most.
We were reminded on Sunday about the importance of family and teaching our kids biblical truths. If you have kids, take time to talk with them about why God is special and why our families are special. Building memories around things that matter most is a key to building strong families.
Thank God for the gift of family. Thank Jesus for His sacrifice on the cross. Ask God to help you teach others what matters the most.
Family Matters: Are You Redeemed?
Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.– Revelation 20:14-15 (ESV)
Some men in a pickup truck drove into a lumberyard. One of the men walked in the office and said, “We need some four-by-twos.” The clerk asked, “You mean two-by-fours, don’t you?” The man said, “I’ll go check,” and went back to the truck. He returned and said, “Yeah, I meant two-by-fours.” “All right. How long do you need them?” The customer paused for a minute and said, “I’d better go check.” After a while, the customer returned to the office and said, “A long time. We’re gonna build a house.”
When raising kids, we are building them to last a long time. And if we are building them to last a long time we must start with a solid foundation. The solid foundation starts with a saving relationship with Jesus. We learned Sunday one of the three most important questions we will ever answer is “Are you redeemed?” The only way our name is written in the “book of life” is by trusting in the redeeming work of Jesus on the cross.
Building a foundation in children is a daily responsibility. If you have kids, what type of foundation do you think you have laid for your kids? If you don’t have kids, are there kids in your life you can invest and pour into? Have you talked to them about heaven and hell?
God is our Redeemer because He purchased our pardon with His death. Praise God for paying such a high price for our souls. Ask God for opportunities to tell others about His purchase.
Family Purpose: Knowing Christ
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” – Philippians 3:7-8 (ESV)
Former Hollywood bad boy, Martin Sheen, says watching his son, Charlie Sheen, lead a similarly decadent life fills him with remorse. He worries that he learned to be a father too late. He particularly regrets his failure to share his faith. “I never lost my faith,” Sheen says. “But I felt for a time that I had outgrown the church. Now it is a bone of contention in my soul that I did not share my faith with my kids, as my parents did with me. It was a source of grace when I needed it. I have been greatly nurtured and inspired by my faith.” (Electronic Telegraph interview with Martin Sheen. Larson, C. B., & Ten Elshof, P.)
How many of us parents have similar regrets as Sheen? After working so hard to give our kids the world, we neglected to share Jesus with them. The Apostle Paul was willing to give up everything for God’s purpose. We were created to know Jesus and make Him known.
We don’t need a seminary education to help others understand God’s desire to know us. We just have to be willing. The older kids get the tougher it can seem to have conversations with them at all. But when you do have conversations with your kids, what do you talk about most? We often talk most about the things that we love the most. Ask God to show you how you can talk about God’s purpose for their life.
Thank God for the opportunity to know Him in a personal way. Ask God to grow your relationship with Him. Pray God would use us to help the next generation know Him!
Family Purpose: Loving
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. – Luke 10:27 (ESV)
A little old lady was amazed at how nice the young man was next door. Every day he would help her gather things from her car or help her in her yard. One day, the old lady finally asked the young man, “Son, how did you become such a fine young man?” The young man replied, “Well, when I was a boy, I had a drug problem.” The old lady was shocked. “I can’t believe that.” The young man said, “Yes, when I was a little boy my parents drug me to church every week.”
While the word picture of being dragged to church may not seem appealing, teaching kids to love God is essential. We are taught to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Jesus said this was the Greatest Commandment in Luke 10:27.
The second part of building a solid foundation in the lives of kids is teaching them to love God and to love others. Everything in life flows from this. God desires that we have a strong, intense, love relationship with Him and that relationship should lead us to love others.
The four ways of loving God, mentioned in Luke 10, were with our heart, soul, strength, and mind. What do you think it means for you to love God with each of these four parts of who you are? Are you modeling that for others around you to see? Ask God to help you love Him with all of who you are.
Praise God for modeling perfect love and for loving you perfectly. Ask God to grow the amount of love shared in your family.
Family Purpose: Making Disciples
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. – Matthew 28: 18-19 (ESV)
A young minister, with very small children, preached to his congregation on the theme, “10 Ways to Raise Good and Godly Children.” Some years later, with his children entering their teens, he returned to this theme, but the same sermon was entitled: “10 Suggestions for Raising Good and Godly Children.” Several years later, with his children, now in their late teens, the sermon got another airing, this time presented as, “Feeble Hints for Fellow Strugglers.”
The more we learn about parenting and family, the humbler we become. Jesus made it clear that one of our main purposes was to go and make disciples. The discipleship process starts at home. In Matthew 28:18-19, Jesus gives us what is called The Great Commission. A commission is an instruction, command, or duty given to a person or group of people. Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. He is in charge. And as our Commander, Jesus wants us to lead other people to be His followers.
How effective were your parents at making disciples? How effective do you feel at making disciples? In order to lead others to follow Jesus, we need to follow Him ourselves. After that, making disciples is a natural overflow of who we already are and who we are becoming.
Thank God for the people in your life who have helped disciple you. Pray God would help you make disciples beginning in your family.