Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

God detests idolatry, even in the form of parental love. (1)


It’s the first week of school and school buildings across the nation are filled with parents.


Yes, there are kids present, but you have a hard time seeing and hearing them through the thicket and over the buzz of the parents hovering around their kids.


Young adults are heading off to college and pictures are popping up all over Facebook of parents unpacking, decorating, and rearranging their children’s rooms, while the adult-child sits on the side with a perturbed look on his face.


When I was in school, parents never made it past the table set up 25 yards before the front door.  It was at this table where we learned who our teacher would be for the next year.


When I went to college, my Dad (Mom stayed home) helped me get my suitcases and boxes out of the trunk of the car and onto the sidewalk before shaking my hand and telling me he’d see me at Thanksgiving.  I had to haul the stuff up to my room by myself.


It use to be that most Christians only practiced idolatry at the bank, in front of the mirror, or at sporting events of their college or professional team.


That has all changed.


Parents, including the Christian-kind, have become idolatrous in their worship of their kids.  


God would rather we worship Him instead of our kids.


Sarah Young wonders if this is why God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac.  In the voice of God, she writes:

I took Isaac to the very point of death to free Abraham from son-worship. Both Abraham and Isaac suffered terribly because of the father’s undisciplined emotions. (1)


God instructs parents to love their kids, not to worship them.  We have become a nation of child worshippers.  It is an addiction that is reinforced everywhere we go, including church.


I love my boys deeply.  I love them so much I refuse to worship them.  After they were married, I told both of them, “I relinquish my parental rights over you.  However, I will always love you as your father.”


It was a freeing moment for them and for me.


I am the Lord your God, “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or 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 or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.” (2)


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  1. Young, Sarah (2004-10-12). Jesus Calling – Deluxe Edition: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (p. 247). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Exodus 20:2–5.

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Good Roots, Good Life

Preaching Notes

Psalm 1

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.

His delight is in the law of the Lord,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does prospers.

Not so are the wicked!

They are like chaff that the wind blows away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked will perish.

I. The Tenacity of the Honeysuckle Vine

Honeysuckle invasion in backyard hedge

Volunteered to clean it out

Two days became 6 weeks

The vine was already regrowing at beginning

Provide personal experience to relate to Bible Stories

The vine and the branches – John 15

The parable of the sower – Luke 8

First significant botany lesson

Life of plants is in their roots

II. First Day with my New English Bible

Decided to read through the Psalms

Early 70’s – Hippies still in vogue

Motto – Peace, love, and happiness”

Constitution’s The pursuit of happiness

First line in NEB caught me heart and mind

Happy is the man …

I wanted to be happy

It was American and cool

Second verse

His delight is the word of the Lord

He meditates on it day and night

I can do that as a reader and thinker

Told me I would be happy if I did this

Did not tell me what happiness was

Always a multitude of definitions to happiness

Hippies – drop out, drop acid

Society – conform to the world

Dad – hard work and loyalty

III. Happiness Defined in Psalm 1:3

He is like a tree, planted by streams of water 

yielding his fruit in season

It’s leaf never fades

He prospers in all he does

This image exploded in my mind

Grew up along the banks of the St. John’s River

Massive oak trees lines the river

Gnarly branches swooping to the ground

Reaching to the sky

A Habitat of Life

Provisions and protection

Hundreds of years old

Jacksonville’s The Treaty Oak

These trees were survivors

Floods, drought, hurricanes, tornados, pests

The lived and began more beautiful and productive with age

This was the happiness I wanted

This is the happiness God wants you to have

To have a purposeful, fruitful, sustaining life

Which provides life to you and others

A life which endures

IV. Botany and Bible coming together

Life is hard

Roots are source of renewal and restoration

When difficulties arise

When life is cut-off

Imagery of Book of Isaiah

God’s people displaced by brutal kings and their sins

Imagery of Exile – Isaiah 2

People rejected God

God has a charge against them

==> Cedars of Lebanon and Oaks of Bashan being cut-off

Imagery of Hope – 11

From the stump of Jesse shall come a shoot (vs 1)

The root of Jesse shall be a signal for all the people (vs 11)

The new life to anticipate – Isaiah 55

Trees of the field shall cap their hands

Promise of God – Isaiah 61

You will become oaks of righteousness

V. People ask me why Children’s Ministry is so important

Our ministry to them roots them in God’s love and Word

John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world

Romans 1:16 – The gospel is the power of salvation

Romans 10:17 – Faith comes by hearing

Children are tender plants

We either root them well or do not root them at all

Psalm 1:4 provides a contrast to 1:3

They are blown away by the wind

They do not stand in the judgement

We either root them early and provide them a good life

Or we leave them without roots, to blow in the wind

Study on Psychology Today magazine in 1980’s

Children rooted in faith at a young age are healthier and have a better life

As parents we have major responsibility to fulfill

In precious little time, which flies

Infant becomes a toddler

Child becomes a teen

The teen becomes an adult

What seeds are you sowing in their lives

What investments are you making in their future

Only one seed, one investment

Secures their happiness

Secures their living

Secures their endurance

Rooting your children in God’s love and word

Is the best investment you can make in their lives

Yet so many Christian parents invest in other things

Falsely believing there will be time later to invest in God

Event the atheist reject this way of thinking

For the church and Christian parents

Our biggest investment should ALWAYS be in children and youth

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I cry out to God Most High,

to God who fulfills His purpose for me. (1)

Parents lose control of their children at conception!

Long before the terrible two’s, the trying three’s, and those testy teen years, parents should realize that their children have a will and spirit they cannot control.  Parents who believe they can control their kids are engaged in wishful thinking.

It is equally foolish to believe you are in full control of your life.  There are hundreds of outside factors and forces that influence your life every day.  You cannot control them.

This is why I have chosen to ask God to fulfill His purposes for my life.

Life has become simpler, less frustrating, and more productive since I yielded my illusion of control to the reality of God’s sovereign purpose for my life.

Yes, I still dream of greener pastures.  Yes, I still discuss with God how He could make things a little bit better.  Yes, I still make plans for my future.

When you become a disciple of Jesus you give up your independence!

I believe this is why most people reject Christianity.  It has nothing to do with Darwin, Big Bang,  clean living, or an enlightened way of thinking.  It all has to do with the battle of the will.

Too many Christians make an unsustainable deal with God:  “Give me what I want God and I will give You what You want!”

God does not answer to us!

God’s plans are better than mine.

Best yet, He can make them happen.  As the sovereign Lord of heaven and earth, He is in full control.

I like that.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (2)

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  1. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Psalm 57:2.
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jeremiah 29:11.

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