Sunday, June 24, 2012


   Since I first started my 1st post of this blog on April 19th 2012, I have been blessed beyond measure as my knowledge and familiarity with scripture and it's specific location in the Bible have grown. I have completed seven posts and my passion for God and my desire to obey him continue to grow.  I truly believe that if not a single soul read this blog that it has still been a huge blessing to me and I have been in God's will in writing it.
      Gratefully, people have read it.  As I have invited people to it whether by personal, face to face invite or through facebook, many have been gracious enough to give some time to checking it out.  For that I would like say THANK YOU!  I hope you have read it with a heart to receive whatever God had for you in it and I hope that you have received it with the heart of conviction, love, compassion, and honesty that I intended it.
      Admittedly, I believe God has chosen what I believe to be some difficult and potentially offensive topics for me to write on thus far.  I say God because IF I was looking for popularity or return customers, the personal topics and the honest, scriptural, straight forward approach that I have felt led to take would not have been my first choice.  But, I am not interested in being popular or even in having return customers if it means I must compromise any of the truth of the Word of God.  Someone might wonder why I have not written specifically with a straightforward Gospel presentation in mind.  It is simply because that has not been God's leading...yet.  It is coming soon though.  Gratefully, to this point, there have been nuggets of the Gospel intermingled all through the discussions of the topics thus far.  Sometimes with an invitation style thought process at the end.  This also has been God.
    When I started, I had no idea what I was going to end up with.  What it has turned into thus far is a opportunity to preach mini-sermons through the written word in a blog.  To present the truth of the Bible, the truth of the Gospel, and the heart of God as accurately as possible.  I have addressed issues of sin, issues of the heart, and how they affect our daily walk with Jesus.  Much of it has been written almost as if directed at the Church rather than the lost.  Why is that?  
    That is because God has given me a burden that, the lost are not only in the world but in the Church buildings.  I say it this way because no true member of the "Church" which is to say "the body of Christ" can truly be a member unless they have been a true convert.  I, along with many sound, bible teaching, pastors out there believe that there are too many people inside and outside of the four walls of a church that have no idea what it means to be a Christian.  I and they would like to see that change.  However, on the flip side, for that to change then the apathy of the true members of the Church has got to change.  To many, are taking to long  in getting down to the business of living out the Gospel and sharing the Gospel.  If you lived in a third world country where you were not free to practice whatever religion you wanted too, you would not even call yourself a Christian unless you were willing to die and leave this earth for it immediately.  That is the kind of "radical" commitment that Jesus is looking for.  No longer can so-called believers continue to profess Christ with their mouths but not live it with their lives.  Many, would argue that if that is your practice you had better question your Salvation. 
     "Sigh".....I confess that I am not that far removed from the very thing that I now preach about.   I was one of those who was lacking in many ways when it came to obedience.  One author calls it "Christian Atheism". The idea of believing in God yet living as if he does not exist.  If there is a difference between "Christian Atheism" and an altogether "false conversion" then it is a very fine line.  I confess that even now, as I am growing in the Lord that I am still too quick to judge sometimes.  I confess that only recently have I really begun to understand what it means to truly love as Christ loved.  That has primarily been in my personal life.  What I am longing for is to love everyone as Christ loved.  To see people through the lense of the person of the Holy Spirit and to have a compassion for the lost that consumes me in such a way as to swallow any fear, or lack of interest, or tendency to judge to quickly and causes me to pray tirelessly, and share the Gospel consistently, and obey God faithfully in every area of my life.
      Soon I will give my testimony as thoroughly as I am able in order that no one would read my posts and reject the Truth in the Word of God presented by me because they think that I am Holier than thou, or because they think that I don't understand where they are, or because they knew me in my earlier years (even through college) and think me a hypocrite now because of what I was then.  God is certainly powerful enough to keep me out of the way.  However, the bible says that believers will overcome Satan by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony and that they will not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.(Revelation 12:11) So my testimony will go forth in due time.
     So again, I say Thank You to everyone who has subscribed to recieve the blog by email or is reading this for the 1st time.  As always, I pray that you will consider everything that I say in my posts, whether you agree or disagree, as an opportunity to scruitinize it against God's Word and allow the Holy Spirit to guide into all truth. (John 16:13)  Ask the Holy Spirit what His purpose is for drawing you to this blog.  I want nothing more from this blog except Jesus Christ and Him crucified to be exalted both in Heaven and on Earth. 

I pray for many challenges,  many blessings, and much growth for each of you
in Jeus name. AMEN!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Validity of the Bible and our Responsibility to share it

The Validity of the Bible and our Responsibility to share it

2 Timothy 3:16-17 states, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work".

    As I have made an effort to share the Gospel.  As I have shared what the Bible says regarding sin in the life of believers and sinful lifestyles among believers and unbelievers alike.   I have tried to do it in love and from the position of what God's stance in his Word is on how we should live our lives and represent Jesus.  In this I have faced opposition from professing believers and non-believers alike.
    I can handle opposition from unbelievers. In fact, I expect it.  They do not have the spirit of God on the inside of them to bring revelation about God's Word.  Therefore, I don't expect them to understand or accept the Bible as an authority on any subject.  That does not mean however, that I will not share the Word with unbelievers and give the Holy Spirit a chance to water that seed and make it grow.
    On the other hand, professing Christians, are without excuse.  IF they are in fact children of God with the Holy Spirit on the inside then not only should they believe the Bible is the authority on what God expects, but they should be thrilled about sharing it with others.  They should also be thrilled that a brother or sister in the Lord cares enough about them to correct them if they are out of God's biblical will.  So when people who are supposed to be Christians defend ungodly actions or principles and make the argument that it is not loving to share the truth with unbelievers or to share the truth in the correction of believers, I must take issue with that.  This argument does a disservice to unbelievers  who need to hear the truth and to believers who need correction.  Not to mention, the blatant disobedience to God's Word that it suggests.  If this sounds like it describes you, I would suggest some evaluation of the validity of your relationship with Jesus.
    The bible is God-breathed, infallible and the authority on our eternal life that begins now, if we are a believer.  If we do not believe that as Christians then we had better question our salvation because nothing in the bible can be depended on as fact.
    As far as our right to share God's Word with others, it is not only our right as Christians to do this, it is our responsibility.  Let's start with the Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20 says, "Jesus came to the disciples and said, "all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age".  That is a command from Jesus himself.  In Romans 10:13-15 Paul asks these questions, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?  How can they believe in one of whom they have not  heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent"?  Romans 10:17 states, "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ.  Matthew 18:15-17 tells us how to handle church discipline in regards to a brother in the Lord walking in deliberate sin.
     So my questions to anyone challenging whether or not we are to share the word with everyone are these:
How do people believe in what they have not heard?
How do we train new believers to be disciples and make disciples without the word?
How do we hold each other accountable to do what is right in the eyes of God without the Word?
The answer is we cannot!
     Now to address the question, Are we showing the Love of Jesus by challenging sin in the world and in the church?  This concern has been expressed many times.  The idea that we might push people away by challenging sin or sinful lifestyle's.  The idea that we are not being loving in suggesting that those who do not accept God's salvation through Christ Jesus and making Him Lord of their Lives are going to end up in Hell, apart from God and suffering for eternity has been expressed many times.  Let me just say, that Hell IS a biblical reality.  It is not a figment of our imagination. It is not a state of mind.  It is a real place that many people will end up in. Anyone who says or believes differently is misinformed and needs to study further on the subject.  Neither Jesus Nor myself want to see people go to Hell.  God so loved the world that He sent Jesus to die for our sins so that we could spend eternity with Him in Heaven.(John 3:16)  Unfortunately, everyone will not choose that path.  In fact, Matthew 7:13 states that "wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few will find it. Jesus goes on a few verses later to state that even some of those serving in the church and doing very religious things and thinking that is what Christianity is all about will find themselves unknown by Jesus and spending eternity apart from Him.(Matthew 7:22)
    Let me ask you, When did Jesus not speak the truth regarding sin out of a concern for offending someone?  When did any of the disciples or the apostle Paul not speak truth or challenge sin because they were afraid of pushing someone away from the faith.  The answer is NEVER.  Jesus, more than once, after healing someone or delivering the woman at the well from the judgement of her accusers said, "Go and sin no  more".  He was very clear all through the Gospel's of the sacrifice required of his followers.(Luke 9:23)(Mark 8:34-38)  He was also very clear about what kind of fruit would be evidence of a true follower.  This fruit would be what was used to separate the sheep from the goats.(Matthew 25:31-46) The apostle Paul's letters were designed for challenging sin and encouraging a faith filled, obedient, loving, righteous, lifestyle. No where did you ever here these guys say, "We know that you are struggling with sin.  How can we make you feel better about yourself in this sinful lifestyle".  No! They commanded that we pursue change.  That, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we leave our sinful nature behind.  That we forget what is behind and press on toward the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus. (Philipians 3:13-14)  Nowhere does Jesus or anyone else ever apologize for the Gospel.
     Ask yourself this, If you were in a building and it was on fire, but for some reason you didn't realize it. Wouldn't you want someone to come tell you it was on fire?  And once they did, wouldn't  you want them to help you find your way out?  Would you really argue for your right to stay and get burned up because the furniture was nice, you had beer in the fridge, a pretty girl by your side and the big game was about to come on your flat screen TV?  I hope you wouldn't argue with the person standing in front of you who is trying to convince you that all of that stuff you have in front of you is going to be a pile of ash in a very short period of time.  That it is going to be worthless and you are not going to be able to enjoy it anymore even though you will want to.  This is the picture of reality you need to understand when you think of eternity.
      I pray that the Holy Spirit will make every reader of this post keenly aware that their house is in fact on fire and that if they don't let him pull them out, they are going to get burned for all eternity.  I pray that they will be able to realize also that Salvation is not fire insurance.  If you truly accept Jesus's salvation that he lovingly bought for you by his blood on the cross, he will change your life. You will be a new creation. The old things will pass away and all things will become new.(2 Corinthians 5:17)  Your heart will long to obey God.  Your mind will long to think on the things of God. And you will be able to live with the knowledge and the excitement that you get to spend eternity in the presence of God. He will not only be your Savior but he will be your Lord.  Not only will you not challenge others on sharing the Word.  You will realize that you are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because you will know that it is the power of God unto Salvation.(Romans 1:16) And believe it or not, YOU will not be able to help yourself but to TELL SOMEONE ELSE ABOUT IT!

Love in Christ,


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Guard Your Children’s Hearts (Part 2)

Guard Your Children’s Hearts (Part 2)
       I would like to begin this post by asking you to go back and read Guard Your Children’s Hearts (Part 1) if you have not yet done that.  Everything in this post will be in relation to that post.   If you have read Part 1, then I am thrilled that you have chosen to move on to Part 2.  Thank you!  This blog is like a church service.  If you don’t like what the preacher says, you don’t have to come back.  So, thank you for continuing with me on this journey.
          In Part 1, I Iaid out the perils of today’s culture and the ways in which we often fail as parents because we do not effectively protect our children from that culture or teach them how to grow in their relationship with Jesus.  I connected this heavily to our own relationship with God.  I would like to make it clear that what I am suggesting as a problem that needs to be corrected is not necessarily a simple task, at least not under our own power.  If you feel burdened in trying to raise your children, exhausted by the daily grind of just making life happen, I understand.  In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus states, "Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. 1 Peter 5:7 says, "Cast all your cares on Him, because he cares for you".  Hebrews 4:15-16 says, "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly before the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need".  So you see,  I understand the challenges of parenting as I am a parent myself.  But Jesus, our High Priest, the Son of God, feels our pain and is available to us at all times to help us through life's trials if we will just turn to him and let him show us how to do what is best.
        Let me be clear, it is impossible to successfully raise Godly children without the involvement and support of Almighty God.  If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus, then I encourage you to do so.  I am not talking about praying a prayer and living life as usual.  I am talking about making him Lord and King over your life.  I'm talking about getting in the Word and letting Jesus change your life.  You CANNOT teach your children that which you are not walking in yourself.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is absolutely necessary and should be central to Christian child rearing. Especially in today's culture.
     As I said toward the end of Part , I would like to apologize for the church in regards to their unintentional misleading of parents regarding their involvement in training up their children in the Bible and what living for Jesus is all about. Organized church shares some of the blame for this by creating children's ministries and youth/student ministries and then not reminding parents that these ministries play a supporting role, NOT the primary role in teaching our children about Jesus .Parents, make no mistake, you are the primary vessel by which God wishes your children to be trained up. 
     Not only are we as parents responsible for teaching our children.  We are responsible for shepherding our children.  A shepherd protects the sheep from harm. A shepherd says, if a wolf is gonna get one of these sheep, it will not be on my watch.  It’s not enough to teach them a few truths, or read them a few stories from the bible or quote them some scripture.  We have to expose them to the depths of scripture.  Teach them to memorize it and meditate on it.  Teach them that Christianity is not some religious thing that you do.  It is a life you lead.  It is a relationship with Jesus that you have to cultivate through a prayer life and time spent in the word daily.
     We have to teach them that Salvation and Lordship are not two separate concepts.  They go hand in hand.  We have to teach them that Jesus said, “if you love me you will obey my commands”(John 14:15).  That they don't just say yes, I accept  your salvation and be done.  They must walk out the love of Jesus in their lives.  They must take care of the least of these.(Matthew 25:31-46)  They must understand that "the only religion that God considers pure and undefiled is to help care for widows and orphans and to keep oneself unstained from the world"(James 1:27).  Unstained from the world.  This reminds me of Romans 12:1-2.  to paraphrase it says that we are to be living sacrifices, Holy and acceptable to God.  That we are not to be conformed to this world but transformed, by the renewing of our minds (by studying the word) that we may discern God''s will. To know what is good, acceptable, and perfect in his sight.  These are two very clear commands that we are to be different from the rest.
      Is it bad to learn to be successful in this world.  Of course not.  However, today's culture tells us that the IN thing is to be athletic, enjoy romantic relationships, get good grades, and get into a good college.  Then we can get a great education, have a successful career, have a nice home, have 2.5 kids, and that is the American Dream.  Perhaps another version if  you are gifted in the arts would be to pursue a career in music or movies and gain the American Dream that way.  To get most of what WE want in this life through hard work and determination.  That is not the life we are to pursue according to the gospel.  Some of that may come to pass, if it is part of God's will for our lives.  However, teaching them that success in this world is hinged on financial and material gain is not scriptural.  Jesus said, "if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily,  and follow me".(Luke 9:23)  He says in Luke 9:25, "What does it profit a man, if he gains the whole  world and loses or forfeits his soul".  Doesn't sound much like the prosperity message that we hear from Pastors that embrace the merging of the American Dream and the Gospel, does it.  We must teach our children to be successful in this world by God's standards, not man's.
      Our Children must, in whatever they do, whatever their specialty in life may be, they must know that their number one purpose is to glorify God and to fulfill the Great Commission.  If you have never heard of The Great Commission  that's ok, I will tell you.  In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus said to his disciples before he ascended into heaven, "All authority has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age".  This was not a command to preachers, teachers, or evangelists.  This was a command to all of his disciples.  This was a command to all believers.  Notice He didn't say, do this, unless you are gifted to be a plummer, nurse, doctor, teacher, park ranger, zoologist, etc. He commanded this of everyone who accepts his gift of salvation.  Make disciples, baptize, teach.  Notice He said that He is with us.  His Holy Spirit comes in the second chapter of Acts to endue power from on high that we would have boldness and passion to share the Gospel.   We must teach our children that when they accept Jesus's salvation that the Holy Spirit comes into them and is there to lead, guide, and direct them, assisting them in everything they do if they develop a relationship with Him.
     We have to protect them from all of the things that today’s culture says are acceptable and yet are in direct contradiction to the Word of God.  We must teach our young ladies how the bible describes the characteristics of a biblical woman of God.  We must teach our young men how the bible describes a spiritual leader of a home.  We must teach them God's purpose and design for relationships and that they are not trivial or easily set aside. We must teach them to guard their hearts (Proverbs 4:23) in regards to relationships and to consider the relationship that any person they are interested in does or does not have with Jesus(2 Corinthians 6:14). We must teach them their identity in Christ so that no matter who says what about them, they know who they are and they have a heavenly Father who loves them and has great plans for them(John 1:12, 1 Peter 2:9).  We must teach them to pray for their future according to God's will, not their own.(1 John 5:14).  As teachers and shepherds we have to teach them in the way they should go and yet protect them from the many spiritual and physical pitfalls along the way.
     Yes, we must understand that our children will have to make mistakes.  But that there is no excuse, even if there is a reason. That even though they will not achieve perfection until Jesus returns that they must strive for it.(Philipians 3:12-14) We have to understand that they will ultimately have to “choose this day whom they will serve” and continue to pray and encourage them to serve the Lord.(Joshua 24:15) However, whatever stumbling blocks they encounter should not be because we did not do everything we could to guard/guide their hearts along the way.
     They shouldn’t stumble because we let them listen to the clean, popular, yet secular music, that glorifies romance between people of any age but says nothing about romance between people and God, at an early age.  They shouldn’t stumble because we decided that G, PG, PG-13, and R were appropriate standards for us to use in deciding what we should let our children hear or see in a movie.  Why is it that when our children are young, we have a G rated mentality but as they grow we decide that they are old enough to handle "the more grown up things in life". The material in movies that helps create these ratings are things that are NEVER pleasing to GOD.  The fact is that God has a G rated plan for all of our lives.  No matter the age of a person, GOD's standards for our lives are G rated. If it is not ok for a 5 yr old to think about it, hear it, or see it by most Christian parental standards then it is likely not something that we as adults should be digesting in our spirits either.  And last but not least, they shouldn’t stumble because we didn’t pay close enough attention to who their friends are and what company they keep.  Association makes assimilation. You tend to become like the company you keep.  This is a proven fact and scripture speaks to this as well.
1 Corinthians 15:33 says, "Do not be deceived, Bad company ruins good morals/character".
       Listen, I am certainly not an expert on parenting.  I also know that the Bible does not provide an answer for every little detail of raising children. However, as you have seen, their are many Scriptural references in both parts of this post speaking to the good and the bad aspects of parenting. While all books and seminar's available today on parenting are not bad, allowing them to have more authority and receive more attention in regards to our parenting than God and the Word get is unacceptable.  God's Word is sufficient.  I gaurantee you that God did not take a look at today's culture and decide he had made a mistake by not putting more info in the bible regarding it.  His Word is perfect and will accomplish the purpose for which it is sent.
      God made each of our children for a purpose unique to them.  He entrusted us with the responsibility of cultivating an environment that would influence them toward Jesus.  It is so easy, when we as adults are so easily swayed by today’s culture, to drop the ball, to set the wrong example by our own choices.  It is scary how easily we as parents can mess it up.  It is also encouraging to think of the tools God has given us and the change we can make if we just love Jesus.  If we truly put him 1st and make him Lord of every aspect of who we are and how we live our lives, minute by minute, day by day.  He can do amazing things in us and through us.  He can do amazing things in our children and through our children.  Things we would never have thought of for them.
     So let's start to trust Jesus and obey His word.  Let's begin raising our children with the Bible as our guide and primary tool for setting the standard of expectation for our children. Teaching them how to make the Bible their guide for living a life that is pleasing to God.  Let's raise the bar by being a Holy example of what God expects from His children.  Then our children will be set on a path for eternal success that will provide a greater hope for their future than anything in or of this world.

As always, with the love of Christ as my motivation,


Friday, June 8, 2012

Guard Your Children’s Hearts (Part 1)

Guard Your Children’s Hearts (Part 1)
Some of what you will read here will seem familiar from a previous post because I believe it heavily influences who we are as parents.  I write this primarily to professing Christians who are potentially not glorifying God in what they watch or listen to nor by protecting their children from these things.  I write this out of an honest loving concern for you and your children.  I would like to start by making this statement, “If we believe that we can allow whatever we want into our spirits through movies, music, books, etc. and that it will not contaminate our children, we are fooling, no, lying to ourselves.  The filth of this world pollutes our hearts and minds and will affect and influence the hearts and minds of our children through us.  Even if we never let one foul piece of media near them”.
       In this day and age when everything in our culture is telling us as adults that sexual immorality is ok, that homosexual relationships are not only the acceptable norm, but are natural.   Everything on television is designed to support immorality and feminism, and to tear down the role of the father as the leader of the household.  The devil is using mainstream media, secular movies, music, books, even video games, to not only keep the lost deceived, but he is numbing the spiritual minds and hearts of the church.
         Luke 11:34 states that“ Your eye is the lamp of your body.  When you eye is healthy, you whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness.  Mark 7:20-23 states that, “What comes out of a man is what makes him unclean. From within, out of the heart of a person is what defiles them”.  Jesus goes on to list most of the sins of the flesh (evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness) stating that if these things are coming out of a person’s heart, it defiles them.  If all of these sins defile a person and are qualities of people that will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21), why would we want to take in anything that glorifies these things or makes them seem commonplace and acceptable.  God hates these things enough to not allow their practitioners to go to heaven.  And yet we call it legalistic when we are challenged about watching it or listening to it.  It stands to reason that if bad things are going in to your heart through your "lamp", thus causing your body to be full of darkness, then these dark, unclean things are going to come back out at some point, thus defiling you and making you unclean.
     Watching television has become such a way of life, such a staple of most American households, that we are not even aware of the fact that what we are watching on television/movies and what we listen to in secular music, even reading in secular books or playing on video games, is killing our relationship with Jesus.
     Worse yet, it is tearing down our children’s opportunities to develop an intimate relationship with the one, true, living God.  In Ephesians 6:12, it states that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.  Satan is using our apathy toward our relationship with God to steal our children’s hearts.  He comes like a lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).  He comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10)He wants our children.  If he can steal that childlike faith.  If he can get them when their brains are like sponges and they are able to absorb the most.  If he can keep their minds and hearts from the things of God.  Keep them from knowing Jesus and the fullness of his love.  Keep them instead focused on the things of this world.  Focused on lustful, imperfect, human love (i.e.  going together, dating, physical infatuation, romance) rather than on the perfect love of Jesus.  That 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 love that is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no records of wrongs, does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth, always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres.   Satan introduces violence, lust, vulgarity, at an early age through video games, movies, television shows, books that are read and music that is listened to.  In doing this he plants the seed before the child is mature enough to have a clue what is happening.  That is why WE MUST protect them.
          If he can distract from God’s purpose for their lives, no matter the means, which requires us to take up our cross daily and follow him.  Requires that we keep the two greatest commandments which are to  love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves.  Requires us to practice the only acceptable religion which is to take care of widows and orphans (James 1:27) and also to take care of the needy (Matthew 25:31-46).  Instead, he wants to refocus their minds and hearts on the American dream which is, obtaining wealth, a successful career, romance, love, etc.  Then he can steal their potential.   Let’s not forget the potential for our own disobedience in not properly training up our children in the way they should go.  Scripture says that if we do this they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).
         But what does this mean?  To train them in the way they should go.  Does it mean take them to church?  Does it mean, make them learn John 3:16 and maybe go to VBS during their summer breaks?  Maybe it means you tell them the story of Jesus, perhaps even tell them about David and Goliath, Daniel and the lion’s den, you know, all of the popular, well know stories in the bible.  And based on all these wonderful stories and maybe a slight mention of Hell, enough to scare them, they decide they’ll accept Jesus as their Savior (with no solid understanding of the cost of Lordship).  In a grand, emotional moment with the suggestion of a preacher or evangelist or youth leader, they will be led in a prayer and believe they are saved. They get baptized and you put a cross necklace around their neck, maybe give them a bible with their name stamped in gold on the cover.  Now they are effectively set up to walk out a successful, religious life…at least for a little while. 
           Slowly over time, you begin to convince yourself you have taught them well enough.  I mean, you’ve touched on all the major commandments as least once.   They have prayed the prayer.  It’s in God’s hands now.  You figure that what they take away from Sunday school and youth group will help them continue to grow.  But you want to be careful now.  They’re  a tween or a full  blown teen by now.  You don’t want to push them away, turn them off, or cause them to close off by pushing faith on them now.  They are becoming young adults.  They need their independence and privacy.  They’ve got so many social and academic stresses in their life, they don’t need me harassing them about their spiritual life, you tell yourself.  Besides, I’m sure they are not committing any major transgressions, and nobody’s perfect.
          Meanwhile, all this time of spiritual child rearing has been plagued by a massive imbalance of mainstream, secular, media and cultural, exposure and influence.  These children, who are not yet mature enough in themselves or in the Lord to fully understand how to look out for themselves, have been bombarded at school and by their friends with what is culturally acceptable.  To say nothing of the media influences of today’s culture that we have allowed into the home unchecked.
           The full onslaught of evil influence begins as soon as a child is old enough to watch TV and mimmick what is on it.  Disney is not your child’s friend by the time your children start watching shows based on real life, not imagination.  Shows using real people and imitating real life scenarios found in school and hang out spots for young people. Shows that glorify adolescent versions of disobedience to God’s word.  There are even Disney shows using tame versions of witchcraft or vampires as there themes.  Books, like Diary of a wimpy kid, which have very little redeeming quality but reinforce the obnoxious, often vulgar, and almost always ungodly behavior that so many kids see and experience in school.  But, we figure, they are going to see it in school and other real life situations.  What’s the harm in them reading about it or watching it on TV.  REALLY!  This is our faulty reasoning, rather than thinking and applying the idea, that it is bad enough my children are going to have to experience the evil of this world at such a young age in real life situations.  I’m not going to perpetuate the process by allowing more of it into their hearts and minds by allowing fictional stories to reinforce these ideas.  If faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17) then what is to make us think that continually being exposed to worldly things isn't going to saturate us and our children with ungodly non-faith building ideas?
         All of this cultural exposure is in stark contrast to the influence that Godly things have been allowed to have on this child.  The child’s spiritual rearing has been plagued by a lack of a consistent influence on the part of the parents living out the fact that Jesus is NUMBER ONE in the order of life’s priorities.  The child is potentially watching their parents walk in blatant disobedience to what they, the children, have been taught by the parents or in Sunday School or youth group.  These children are observing their parents treating each other poorly, using profanity, or perhaps being unloving towards others.   In this time when children have to watch Christian parents get divorced, and then date and maybe remarry.  Maybe it’s their own parents or those parents of friends. Either way it is not what the bible teaches. Even many professing Christian parents, who may serve in a church, and may even do a lot right, by biblical standards are providing a terrible example when it comes to the previously mentioned forms of media. Then children are also having to watch their parents prioritize everything above God.  Their time, their money, their careers.  They learn from their parents that pursuit of material things and the American Dream are typically at a higher priority than the the desires and things of God.
         There are so many stumbling blocks that parents are unwittingly placing in the way of their children’s spiritual growth.
As the child grows into adolescence and is given more and more independence, their growth has been hindered by the fact that so many parents have been deceived into thinking that the church is somehow more responsible and plays a larger role in their children’s spiritual growth than they do.  I see it all the time.  Children dropped off, as the church is used as a daycare, while the parents take care of other matters.  The parents have no idea what their children are being taught.  Many parents are not even teaching the bible at home.  They are not living out their relationship with Jesus in front of their children.  Studying the bible.  Teaching the bible to their kids. Walking out biblical principals in their lives.  Could it be because they have a form of godliness but very little, if any relationship(2 Timothy 3:5).
      Statistics based on studies by several different groups in recent years suggest a staggering rise in young adults who are leaving home and not maintaining their faith or “religious affiliation” as it were.  Some blame the church or the youth ministry.  I believe that Jesus would point much responsibility back at the parents.  Young adults entering the world, leaving the fold, will have a very difficult time when faced with life’s storms if they do not have a solid foundation.  It is up to us as parents to provide that foundation. Granted, at some point, the responsibility lies primarily with the individual to maintain that foundation.  However, they will have a difficult time maintaining what they do not have or repairing that which they never learned to build.
      I have written at length, and with very little interest in being bashful about the severity of this topic and our role as parents in it.  The bible takes it very seriously and we need to as well.  In regards to the observation that we abandon our responsibility of teaching our children the Word and leave it to the church, I would like to apologize for the church.  Organized church shares some of the blame for this by creating children's ministries and youth/student ministries and then not reminding parents that these ministries play a supporting role, NOT the primary role in teaching our children about Jesus. Parents, make no mistake, you are the primary vessel by which God wants your children to be trained up.  If I have made you mad or offended you, I am ok with that.  Many pastors and believers are of the opinion that if someone is offended by a statement, there is likely truth in it.  If you are not mad, but in agreement and inspired then I am thrilled by that, because that is my greatest goal.  My prayer is that you will pray about it, seek God, and adjust as needed in order to become more obedient in this.  That is the direction I have been and am taking as these convictions have come to me in my own life as a parent.  It is uncomfortable because it requires change and growth, and growing pains often hurt. Read 2 Timothy 3:1-7.  Ask yourself is that the kind of a person you want to raise.  If not, let's pursue together the means by which to set our children up for success.
         This is a 2-part post. I will be completing the second part this week. If you feel so convicted or led to check out the 2nd part, I will be delving into the more positive side of correcting the many problems observed in this post.  This is a difficult and frankly an unpopular topic and thus loaded with unpleasant observations.  However if you are hungry to grow in your relationship with God and to do right by your children then keep reading as  I strive to present a picture of potentially successful Christian Child rearing.  I am by no means an expert, however the bible gives some solid direction to work with in regards to child rearing and example setting from a spiritual perspective.  My goal is to draw attention to this direction.
        As always, my heart's desire is to present my posts in love, even if it’s tough love.  God loved us enough to send His son Jesus to die for us.  Jesus loved us enough to speak the truth and then die for us.  We owe him everything.  I pray you will continue with me in this journey of growth and maturity in obedience to our Savior and King.