Sunday, September 21, 2008

As the Head of the Family Should Teach

In the front of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, the first thing it says is, “The Ten Commandments: As the head of the family should teach them in a simply way to his household.” I’ve been teaching confirmation classes since the Fall of 1995 and I am sad to report that most families don’t know that the head of the family is the one that’s supposed to teach everyone in the household about the Christian faith. I’ve seen so many moms and dads drop their kids off at church for worship, for Sunday school and for confirmation classes, without coming in themselves. It is frustrating when I’ve been trained to supplement the initial teaching of the faith by moms and dads, but in reality I’m just about the only one teaching the faith.

And that’s not good. I don’t have the required relationship with a child, other than with my own, to be able to effectively teach them. Thankfully, God is a good and loving God and makes up for my failures.

But since we love our kids more than just about anything else, I would think that this part of the parent-child relationship would be more important. What could be more vital to a child than their faith in Jesus Christ?

This year’s confirmation class has proved to be a little different than in years past. I see evidence that I’m not the only one teaching the faith, and it is great to see! There are more dads now taking an active role in sharing their faith in Jesus with their kids.

This weekend, take a look around in church. Will you see more dads in our church than seems to be the norm in the American church today? When a dad is worshipping with his family, that family is tremendously blessed. The kids, especially, are given a foundation that will see them through all the pitfalls and storms of life that certainly await them.

There are some great examples of dads in my church, and I’m proud to be associated with them. If you want to be a better dad raising strong sons and daughters, start by getting out the family Bible and just reading to your kids before bedtime (or another time that works for you). Attend worship each week with your family. And pray for your kids. I know dads that actually pray over their sleeping children each evening – what a powerful way to be the head of the family that Martin Luther wrote the Small Catechism for.

©2008 True Men Ministries.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fear of Sharing

A parent announced to his child’s teacher that he disagreed with his philosophy.

“We let him say anything to us, call us any name he wants. We don’t want to give him the impression that free speech – no matter what that speech is – is wrong.” The result was that this child could call his mom and dad things that would make a drunken sailor blush.

I’m tempted to write, “needless to say the teacher was speechless.” But the word “needless” wouldn’t be inaccurate. It is evident to me that there are some – if not many – in today’s society that do not understand or even know that God has a specific way for us to live. To the teacher’s credit, he responded, when he could respond in an articulate and as loving way as possible, that God doesn’t it like it when His children talk this way. The parent responded, “Really? I didn’t know that.”

This happens not because our society and culture have reached a stage of sophisticated communication, or enlightened form of language. It is because, in my opinion, that people today simply don’t know how God wants us to live.

God loves us. He has a way for us to live. It is the best way because God is perfectly good! But more and more people don’t know this. They have grown up in a world that is increasingly distant from any message from God or teaching about God.

I have been afraid of tell people this. I make my living as a preacher of the Gospel and yet I’m afraid of telling people about God. Not on Sunday morning, but that’s too easy. After all, I’m telling people about God who pretty much already know about God. In other words, I’m not telling them anything they don’t already pretty much know.

It is the people who don’t know about God or about His way of life that I need to tell. And yet I’m afraid. I’ve always been afraid of that. I think it is because I’m afraid of not being liked. Let’s face it; if you are going to share with people both God’s Law and God’s Gospel, you are going to upset people. No one really likes to hear that they are a sinner deserving God’s wrath, even when you can follow up such a message with the sweet Gospel of God’s love for us in Christ Jesus.

Yet, while I am still afraid of doing this, I think I’m doing a decent job of teaching my kids how to do it. And if we teach best by doing, I may not do it well because of my fear, but I am trying to do it. And if my kids see me doing something even though I’m afraid of doing it, that may just be a powerful lesson that they’ll take with them into adulthood.

©2008 True Men Ministries.