Missed Opportunities

worship

The church is alive and well in this country. At least there are a lot of people that attend church in this country, and specifically it seems as though there are many people that attend large churches. This seems to be a trend in much of the evangelical churches of today for many people. I don’t have a lot of statistics to support my statement, but this article isn’t really about backing up that claim with statistics. I can look around my hometown and see several large churches that have a big attendance.

I recently attended a home-school conference and the conference was held at a church facility that was quite incredible. They had a very large auditorium, they had a sprawling campus, they had nearly every program that one could imagine to appeal to nearly every segment of every possible audience. I mean they had it all. Youth facilities, that looked to have a rockin’ band, multiple languages, cafe, coffee shop, book store, gymnasium, and on and on, even a jungle room for the tots. If you wanted something for your family and you wanted to go to church this would be the place.

I can imagine the “pull” a place like this has on the people around it. It’s the hip place to go to church. I’ll bet they can sing Amazing Grace like no other place in town. Whether that be a traditional version, or a new modern version, I’d be pretty certain this place can deliver…

It was while attending this conference that something really struck me. We were sitting in the auditorium, and Voddie Baucham was the keynote speaker. He had many sessions over the days we were in attendance and Voddie was very kind and stuck around after his sessions answering questions. A man and his wife sitting a row below us to our right said they were considering home-schooling their children, but the kids were a little older and they were rebelling against the idea. He asked Voddie if they should insist, or allow the kids to have their way. The answer was quite remarkable and probably the opposite of what most people would think. He told them they need to pull them in tight to their bosom and hold them their as long as they can.

In other words, don’t you dare let them go, and don’t you dare allow them to determine their course.   I was blessed by Voddie’s compassion for this couple and I was struck by the pain this couple seemed to be in over this decision, that they were struggling to make.

After the session I was walking outside the auditorium and I saw the man that asked the question and I approached him. I said that I was touched by his question, and had a compassion for his situation. Then I asked him if his church would assist him in shepherding him through this, and helping him make a decision about the home-schooling. It was at this point that I was grateful for what the Lord has done in my life and bringing me to the point that I continue to have more clarity as what the church is for.

He said to me, “well I don’t think they’d care either way… the church is very big and I’m not sure they’d have an opinion…” I guess I’m not surprised, but I’m surprised… this man didn’t go to the church where this conference was being held, but he described it as big, and I can imagine that it was similar. And among the “bigness” of their ministry they have missed their opportunities. They have missed their primary calling as the church. They have blown it… They are so full of the fact that they need to reach more people with Jesus, that they didn’t notice that the people that need Jesus the most are their own attendees.

Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. – Acts 20:28-29

These “shepherds” are so busy, they have no time to shepherd the flock. They’ve built such great kingdoms that they have no idea what’s going on at the grass roots level. It is actually tragic, and I fear for these leaders. They have no idea the condition of their flock. I’m sure they think they are doing good work, because they have lots in attendance, but are they really building the church?

I’m not against all manner of large churches, I know of some very good ones, that have figured out how to take care of their people even though they are big. They have available resources, but even in the best of these churches, if you desire to be lost in the crowd, you can certainly do that. I don’t mean to claim my church has it all figured out, because we don’t, but I highly esteem the leadership in our church because of how much they care, and they invest in the lives of the people God has entrusted them.

If you consider what a true shepherd does, and you consider today that most church leaders are nothing more than religious CEO’s it’s a big difference. A shepherd guarded the holding pen at night with his very life. He laid across the doorway that nothing could enter without him knowing about it. The shepherd closely inspected his sheep everyday to see if they had infections. I can’t cast a blanket upon every large church, just as I can’t say that every small church shepherd’s the flock well.

What I desire to have people consider in this article is what is the condition of your flock if you are a church leader. If you are not a church leader and you attend a church, how are they doing shepherding your soul? If you were considering home-school, would they guide you through that process? Or would they be too busy to concern themselves with such a trivial matter?

Kevin

Vision

vision

The battle for truth is a serious battle. It’s not a pillow fight, or a name calling contest. It’s the kind of battle where people live and die. It’s estimated that every day over 150,000 people die. Most of them die unexpectedly.

Some saw it coming, but the one thing they all have in common is that it ended too soon. We get on average 75 years or so on this earth. That’s not very long. In fact it’s described as a vapor, here for a little while and then gone. Case in point, how well do you remember your grandfather? How about your great grandfather? Mine died in the early 1970’s and I scarcely remember him.

Most people will leave very little legacy and therefore how important is it for you father’s to have a multi-generational vision for your families?

Exodus 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

This commandment will tell you a lot about your view of God and your view of yourself. Does God really give multi-generational curses and multi-generational blessings? The answer is a clear yes.

For unbeliever’s this causes them to hate God even more. It’s unfair they say, yet they are unwilling to turn from their evil ways. They won’t believe God, but judge Him as unjust and unloving, yet continue to live in willful disobedience, thumbing their noses at Him as though their opinion is all that matters, even though God has been crystal clear. Obey, be blessed. Disobey, be cursed.

For Believers this is a delight. We desire to walk in truth and we desire to seek to obey God’s laws. If not we should examine ourselves.

Today, I’m thinking about something that 90% of professing Christians willingly disobey. They send their children off to government schools to be educated. Is this something that is going to send them to hell? That’s really a big question isn’t it, and may seem somewhat judgmental on my part?

And when I ask that question who am I talking about? Will the parents be condemned, or will the children be condemned? You will object that I’m probably being a little extreme. I want you to consider today, where is the line? How far and how deep will you decide to expose your children to the world and all the diseases that can be caught and still hope everything will be okay? Is this something you are willing to risk?  I use disease here metaphorically for sin.

Can your children stand against the world? Are they strong enough? Are you sure they are even in the faith, and how do you know?

I want to grow and nurture my children in my own home, where I know the exhortation and teaching they are getting is gospel saturated. I’m so intensely convinced of this that I will go so far as to say if the only thing my children know how to do is read the word of God that is good enough.

If they can’t perform high level math, or even low level algebra I’m convinced God will reward my diligence to teach them about Him, beyond my desire to have what most consider a “superior” education. Although the facts bear out that home educated children perform far better on average in all standardized testing. That does not matter to me.

When I consider a multi-generational vision for my family that begins at the house of the Lord. It begins with the salvation of my children. It begins with me educating them in the fear and admonition of the Lord. It begins with me teaching them when they lie down, when they rise up, when we walk by the way. In short it means all the time. How can I do that if I commit them to 15,000 hours of time with others that are most likely unregenerate? Will not a student be like his teacher?

If you are objecting to this and you are a Believer I’ll encourage you to search the scriptures for the book, chapter or verse that tells you to turn your children over to others to be educated, you will not find it. You will however find the scripture has plenty to say about how you will educate your children.

Alas, if our children lose the crown of life, it will be but a small consolation that they have won the laurels of literature or art. —Charles Spurgeon

Here is a sermon you may wish to consider from Pastor Voddie Baucham called Whoever Controls the Schools Controls the World.

Kevin

“Be Fruitful…”

be fruitful and multiply

One of the things I enjoy about blogging is the opportunity to share some personal things going on in my life and Lord willing this week we will welcome our fourth child into the world.  We didn’t always have this attitude towards children.  Before salvation it was more of an obligation than a desire.  As a Believer I’m to have my mind changed and renewed by the Word of God (Romans 12:2) and as I look back now I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

I really enjoy the quizzical looks that I receive sometimes and it’s actually quite humorous for people to think that four kids is a huge family.  By today’s standards it’s almost double the average but by no means is it a big family.  I will be 48 years old in less than 2 months and Jen will be almost….  Well let’s just say she’s north of 40.

Someone told me when I announced Jen was pregnant with Lydia, “I hope you’re not going to have 12 more kids…”  I’m not sure that’s possible but if that is what God chose for us I would be all for it.  As I thought about writing this I had to consider why would I desire to have has many kids as God would provide?  This is surely foolishness to the world.

Recently I was picking up my daughter Grace from a dance class and I heard a woman going on and on about a family that has so many kids and they don’t use birth control.  That was so completely foreign to her thinking.  After all doesn’t God use these sorts of modern inventions to assist us in controlling the chaos?  For this woman absolutely “yes”…  For the unbelieving world the message of the cross (all God’s Word) is ridiculous.  She went on to say, “but at least the children are well behaved…” and “oh she home-schools them also…”  I wanted to walk over and ask the lady for their phone number.  Sounds like someone I need to meet.

So what’s the big deal about all of this?

Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

This is so full of the truth of God and so incredibly rich how could I begin to scratch the depth of what it all means?  God created all the animals and pronounced it “good”, but God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7).

Man is the image bearer of God and with that the responsibility to glorify God in everything.  God also gave man an eternal soul.  God did not breathe life into the animals only into man.

Genesis 1:28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Notice that it was God that blessed the marriage relationship and it was for the filling of the earth.  After sin entered the world everything about this has been distorted and debased.  As with the woman I heard at Grace’s dance class, she should not be filling the earth and it is better for her to limit the children in her home.

Believers should understand the purpose of raising children is all about the glory of God.  When I raise my children according to Biblical standards and I trust God’s promise from Exodus 20:6 that He will show mercy to those who love Him and keep His commandments, I then have an opportunity to subdue and take dominion over the earth.

Does this mean I conquer politically or wage war?  No, this means we execute what the Lord Jesus Christ told us in Matthew 28:18-19.  We go out into the world teaching those to observe everything Christ has commanded, and that He Himself has given us this authority.  When God blesses us with more children we have more opportunity to bless Him back by faithfulness to His Word and His commands.

We must believe that children are a blessing, and we must believe that these blessings are actually arrows in our hands (Psalm 127:4).  We must trust and believe God’s Word that His command to be fruitful and multiply extend over all of time, not just when the earth was first being populated and certainly not what a culture dictates.  If we are to truly have impact, we will look different from the world and they will wonder why.  They will make fun of us, they will revile us but some might be saved because we are faithful and trusting in God.

If God has blessed you with many children, few children, or no children at all, be faithful to Him in all circumstances.  If you don’t understand His plan, simply trust in Him (Proverbs 3:5-6).

I’ll leave with these two questions.

Are you willing to have your mind changed by God’s Word?

Do you desire to be obedient to God’s Word?

 

Kevin