Thursday, September 17, 2015

Your Children's Faith: Listening for Who's Voice?

I've recently started meeting with some parents of teenagers. Often we focus so much on the teens, that we forget the single largest influence on a teenager isn't the church: it's their parents!

Last night we looked at 1 Samuel 2-3, well we started into chapter 2 but never made it over to chapter 3. Here, in chapter 2, we get insight into what happened with Eli and his sons. They chose not to honor God in their actions, and because of this God cut off Eli's lineage. Instead, God said that he would raise up "a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind" (vs. 35). Wow, I want to raise up my children to be faithful to do what is in God's heart and mind. But how do we do that?

It starts with us. I know that wasn't the answer you wanted. But if we want our kids to be faithful to God and to walk in his heart and will, then we have to be faithful followers that are seeking His heart and will. What is God's heart and will for us?

We get a little picture of this in the next chapter with Samuel hearing God's voice. So often we wish that we could just hear God's audible voice to tell us what to do, how to live, what's next. But I don't think God's voice is the key to chapter 3. The key is in Eli's wisdom in how he tells young Samuel how to respond. "So Eli told Samuel, "God and lie down, and if he calls you say, 'Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.'""

Eli is teaching Samuel how to be open to the voice of the Lord. To wait patiently for him to speak. How to listen. And then how to walk closely with Him.

If we teach our children nothing else we need to teach them how to be listeners. They have to learn to listen for His voice before they can learn to walk in His ways. How do they listen for the voice of the Lord? How do they listen to those who are in authority over them? How do they listen to their friends? How do they listen for the voice of those who can't or won't speak up for themselves?

Children need to learn how to listen. Parents need to learn how to listen. I need to listen.

How is God teaching you to listen for His voice?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Your Children's Faith Begins With You

I woke early yesterday morning, you know the pre 5 am, why am I awake and can't go back to sleep, kind of awake. As I lie there in bed I began to pray and just talk to God. Now don't think too highly of me or that my spirituality is so great that I wake up at 5 am praying. The reality is, I was half way hoping that praying would send me back to sleep (much like it seemed to work for the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane).

After laying there for about 30 minutes it became obvious that I was not going back to sleep. I got up, went out to the couch, and began to read my Bible. God keeps sending me to Ephesians 4 this week...but that is another post.

I read and prayed for the next 30 minutes or so and then I heard a door open and out comes my son. He is an early riser anyway, but on this morning he had a bad dream and came out with a tear in his eye. He snuggled up on the couch with me and asked what I was doing. I told him that I was reading my Bible and praying. He said, "We haven't done that in a while, I wonder where my Bible is."

I pointed over to the shelf where his Bible was sitting and he went over and grabbed it (in case you are wondering it is the age appropriate version of The Story). After a bit of looking, he wanted to read the story of Sampson and we did. Then he wanted to know where the stories about Jesus began. I helped him find the New Testament section and he began to read on his own.

There we were, together on the couch, reading our Bibles. That is how discipleship begins. I look forward to more of these precious times with my children as they learn and grow in their faith!

The summer of recovery and difficulty

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