A Word from Pastor Oren - July 2014
A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to dedicate 2 new children and their families to the Lord’s service and to his church during our morning worship service. (Side note: I want to say thank you to the Pinkston and Harden families for allowing us to serve your family in this way, and I am praying that we will be a source of encouragement and strength for your family in the years to come.) It is such a joy to have children in our church, isn’t it? From their inquisitive questions to the running in the hallways to all the broken crayons and the donut sugar stuck to their faces (maybe I’m just talking about my children), we as a church family are blessed beyond words. I have been thinking quite a bit lately about our children at FBC and the responsibility we have to them. Let me share my thoughts with you and a call to prayer for the sake of our children.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is one of the most well-known, oft-quoted passages of scripture concerning families and our commitment to the LORD God. Listen to the command issued by God to his people:
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 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.
These verses are called “the Shema”, which means “to hear.” In its most basic sense, the Jewish community understood Deuteronomy 6:4-7 to mean that hearing what God is saying also involved committing themselves to doing it. The Lord God testified that He is “one” and there is no other God beside him (Ex. 20:3), therefore what he says of himself and of his people is final and true without question. So the command to not only love him with all our being, but to teach our children to understand and love this sovereign, unchallenged, and gracious God is of utmost importance to the survival of future generations. Only by God’s grace would they prosper as his people, testifying to His loving-kindness and mercy. The command to love God with all our being is a command for us as well, as Jesus himself quotes in Mark 12:29-30. And this command has a distinct purpose: It is a generational command to faithfulness to God because God is faithful to all generations. Isn’t this something we MUST teach our children?
I am sure you, like most, are deeply concerned about the culture surrounding our children today. I think the answer is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-7. We must be diligent and consistent as parents and as a church to teach our children to love God and to love the Word of God. Their hope is found in Him, not in us or in their education or their financial future or their political viewpoints. Our children need to know and love God. So. . . Parents and grandparents, share with your children and grand-children the love of God. Teach them his word and show them the joy he gives those who love him. Teach them diligently day and night (v.7) and keep the commands of God in front of them always. This will turn their thoughts and attention to him more consistently, and in time God will turn their hearts to him.
First Baptist Church, I know you are serious about the responsibility we have to teach our children the ways of the Lord. I am so happy to have a church family that desires for our children to know Him and his eternal, infallible Word. But we must also remember that teaching is a verb, which indicates action and dedication and a deep commitment to the long-term benefits of leading our young people to see, know, and love God. If you believe this is important, then you need to get involved in doing something to help the process. Many of you have already served in the preschool/children’s department when your children were at that age; but we need you now more than ever. There is no retirement from teaching our children, and we need our most seasoned veterans to step up and take part in the process. We have our annual Masterpiece Kids Art Camp, where over 100 children will be in our building every day for a week learning the truths of scripture as they study the Word of God. We need volunteers to help lead our children to the different activities they will participate in, and to answer their questions about Jesus and God’s amazing love for them. Will you take part? Will you be the one to say “yes, I’ll do whatever I can to bless these children and their families for the sake of God’s glory and for the salvation of those precious souls”?
We cannot say we care deeply about our children and yet leave the most basic tasks undone. While we cannot believe in God for them, we can certainly show them the love of God by spending our valuable time with them so they can see just how important knowing God is to each of us. Please pray for our work with the children at Masterpiece Kids Art Camp. There will so many opportunities to share the gospel with them. I am asking you to pray that God would open their hearts and minds to understand more of Christ’s love for them, in hopes that they will put their faith in Jesus and experience salvation. Do this for the sake of their souls, and for the sake of our witness.
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