4 Hear, O Israel: The
our God, the
your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your strength.
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Pause for a moment and think about the passage above. It is hard work to disciple a child. The NIV uses the word “impress.” This makes me think of those moments where you get down on your knees, and while holding your child in your arms you say, “I want you to look at me.” Then you say the important truth that you want to impress upon them, “I need you to stop eating paint chips.”
Impress is a reminder of our vocation as parents and grandparents. It is a call to do the hard work of discipling our children. It is also about the joy of living out this role that God has graciously given us. You are parents and grandparents of and for the Kingdom of God! You can share the forgiveness and healing of the gospel that you have received from Christ.
Since this is the first word I am writing to you in this way I want you to know that you are doing holy work. It’s true. Deuteronomy 6 reveals that God’s will is to make your home into a little church- a place of prayer, study and instruction of God’s Word, hymns and songs of praise, and a home that overflows with the hope that we have in Christ
500 years and still impressive!
I am hoping that this blog in some small way continues the Reformation tradition of equipping parents to be priests and pastors of the home. If you were wondering if a quote from Luther was coming… you would be correct.
“Most certainly father and mother are apostles, bishops and priests to their children, if they make them acquainted with the gospel. In short, there is no greater or nobler authority on earth than that of parents over their children, for this authority is both spiritual and temporal.” –Martin Luther
I would argue that we more easily see ourselves as guides, coaches, or teachers of our children. To be a pastor or Apostle of my home might be a completely new idea! On this page, we will spend time together figuring out what this means for your children now, and as they grow older.
In the future, I hope to share some reflections on discipling children. I am learning as I go. I will write as both a parent and a pastor. I do not have either role completely figured out yet. I only hope to take what I notice and pass it on to you. I’ll also highlight different resources for parenting that I find. Who knows? We might even share interviews with other people who have reflected on sharing faith at home.
In short, I hope this blog is one way of walking with you as you reveal the mystery of God’s love in Jesus Christ to the next generation.
I’m excited to get started!
It is interesting how we look back through history to find the exact moment that something significant and world-changing happened. There is no clearer example of this than that fateful evening Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg.
God had been building these ideas in Luther for some time before this seminal moment.
Luther was going to become a lawyer, but he was literally thrown off course. He found himself in the middle of a life-threatening lightning storm in 1505. He prayed: “Help me St. Ann! I will become a monk!” He kept his word, and became a monk upon surviving the storm.
In 1510, he visited Rome and saw first-hand the corruption that had run rampant throughout the Catholic Church.
Afterwards, he lectured on books of the Bible as a professor at Wittenberg. He had made his way through Romans and Galatians where he said things like this:
A couple weeks ago, both of our daughters had trouble going to sleep. Tracie and I were watching Monday Night Football when they both came out and complained: “We can’t sleep.” (Insomnia is apparently contagious.) We had already sent them back to bed a few times that evening so we decided to have them lay down in the living room while we watched football.
They were both awake as the game was just beginning. Sometime before or after the national anthem there was a moment of silence for the victims of the massacre in Las Vegas. Tracie and I both looked at each and waited for the inevitable question to be asked. There was a tense silence for a few minutes.
And … nothing happened. Whew!Neither of us were ready at that moment to answer questions about the nature of life and death from a pair of frightened and confused children.
Last night was a bit scary. We felt our house shake a couple times as the wind ripped through North Georgia! Things seemed to have calmed down, but there are many places without power. This means that many places are closed- especially school!
Today I am working from home. I don’t mean to brag, but we are fortunate to have both power and WiFi. Maybe you are at home today too, and if you are, this is a great opportunity to spend time with the kids! Below I want to offer some thoughts on how to take advantage of this break from the routine, and spend some time with family in prayer and devotion. Perhaps, God gives us these interruptions so that we can do just that.
1) Read God’s Covenant with Noah in Genesis 9:1-17 (You can look over Genesis 6-8 for background) and Jesus Walking on Water in Mark 6:45-52 together. Depending upon your children’s age you can read these stories from either a children’s bible or a normal bible. This is a great time to talk about how even in the midst of a terrifying storm like the one we just had; God does not forget his promises or his people.
2) Spend some time in prayer giving thanks for the many who were kept safe. Also, pray for anything else that might be going on in school or other activities.
3) Have your children draw their favorite bible story or act out everyone’s favorite story together as a family.
4) Rest. No explanation needed here.
5) Play! Break out the play-do, Legos, board games, cards, watercolor, etc.
What ideas do you have for an unexpected day with your kids? Comment below!
God’s blessings on this wonderful-unusual day. I pray that you and your family grow together in faith and love for Christ today and every day.
P. S. It is not too late to join Tracie and I in our 7-Day devotional challenge! Today is day three. Check it out here!https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/4157-parenting-under-pressure