How do the family and the church work together to rear children for God's glory? Who has the main responsibility? Well, the reThink Conference provided some good ground level instruction and theological insight about how to have your church prioritize the family more and how to encourage your parents to take the responsibility for the spiritual lives of their children. Steve Wright and the gang at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC did a great job pastoring pastors. You can read Alex Chediak's posts about the conference to see what you missed.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Everyone has their idea of a perfect vacation. For my family, it is going to the beach and just spending time enjoying each other, playing in the sand, and talking. Last week, we went to Harbor Island, SC. I want to pass on this location to you because we found it helpful for a family of young children. Not all beaches are family friendly. I remember going to "biker week" (unintentionally) At another SC beach about 3 years ago and let's just say that the word "friendly" and "family" do not even pop in my mind about that week. Although, I did get a cool "Bike Week" t-shirt!
Harbor Island, SC is family-friendly for several reasons.
1. Secluded: While we were there, we basically had the beach to ourselves. Harbor Island is a private island, so a gate pass comes with your stay. There were 3 other families on the beach one day, but that was the most we saw. We did not have to worry about our little girls wandering off or being taken by a stranger.
2. Purity: When there are not many people on the beach, there are not many immodest bathing suits. I found this quite refreshing. It was a new concept to be at the beach, but not be so concerned about where I turned my head. It was really nice.
3. Small Waves: The waves are not bad. In fact, there are not big waves at all. Now if I had older children, I don't think I would like this, but with younger kids, it was really helpful to know your kid was not going to get pulled under.
4. Pool and Playground: They had a sweet pool and playground area for everyone on the island. This was a great way to spend our post-nap afternoons because we were at the beach all morning.
5. Wildlife: Well, you might not like that, but the Seaver family did. We were playing with crabs on the beach and the marshes have crocodiles that you can watch (no, they are not very close, but you can still see them). They also had a lot of exotic birds.
6. The Golf Cart: The condo we stayed in had a golf cart that we were allowed to use. Our girls enjoyed testing out their driving skills as we did a scavenger hunt with them on the island.
7. Price: The price was really not that bad for a 7 day beach vacation. Pretty reasonable.
8. Beach: At low tide, there are about 250 yards of beach. At high tide, there is still beach, but you can also walk out into the ocean for a long time before it ever gets up to your waist. This was fun for the kids.
If you are planning out this year's vacation, I think you may be too late, but you can book for next summer.
Speaking of vacations, CJ Mahaney has some good tips for dads about leading your family on your vacation.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
At Together for the Gospel, John Piper encouraged women to go hard after the Lord as "sages." Jeff Robinson of CBMW posted, "Piper made clear his feelings regarding the place of godly women in the church, calling churches to cultivate female sages who take seriously both the close careful study of God's Word, while serving as wise, theologically-informed mentors for younger Christian women. In one of the most unforgettable lines of the conference, Piper expressed his deep love for women who live and labor fearlessly for an invisible kingdom and the glory of God. Piper answered his own question about where these women can be found:
"Where are these women? The single women and the married women and the pastor's wives like Esther, who, when Mordecai came to her and said, ‘you have to do this because your people are perishing,' [she said], ‘Tell them to fast and I will go into the king though it is against the law, and if I perish, then I perish.' Where are those women? Our church is crawling with them. I love them....I married one of them." "
Piper's comments resonated with the pastors at our church and our desire have older women mentor the younger. Recently, we have been working on a mentoring curriculum to assist these ladies to take college females under their wing and care for them. As many of us have discussed this curriculum, one of our pastors had an insightful paragraph in an e-mail.
"One thing that might fit under 'womanhood' or 'disciplines' or as a theme of the curriculum altogether would be the vein of thinking that Piper spoke about at T4G. I would love our young ladies to have a picture of womanhood that is strong, intelligent, theologically deep, and culturally engaged. I want them to have a picture of themselves as being the nurturers of the next generation of Christians in the world. Yes, their husbands will lead them in this, but they will be the ones on the ground day in and day out that will be teaching, instructing, encouraging, and correcting our children, and challenging and sharpening us as their husbands! Womanhood includes care for the home, but it is far more than this. Care for the home is the minimum, not the end of womanhood. One area I think feminism has gotten it right has been their push for women to realize their standing as equal to men in value and intelligence. At times I believe our ladies (young and old) believe hard thinking about theology, tough books, and cultural engagement are to be left up to the men; “there domain is the home,” as if this doesn’t require a deep grasp of theology. (They do more pastoring, counseling, evangelism, and discipline than anyone else in the church, and cook our dinners to boot) If they are truly equal in value and dignity before God and not intellectually inferior, which we all wholeheartedly believe, then there is no reason for them not to be as diligent in their pursuit of experiential knowledge of God in every discipline available to them. The only difference is the primary sphere in which they will regularly be applying this knowledge, the home."
I thought this paragraph expressed a pastoral heart toward caring for women and having them achieve their God designed role: Intelligent, Humble, Submissive Womanhood.
Monday, May 05, 2008
A couple of years ago, my wife and I were trying to figure out how to teach our oldest daughter about God. We knew that the home was the primary place for our girls to learn about God and the Bible (see Deut. 6), but we wanted to have a routine on how to teach them. My wife saw that some of the families represented on the GirlTalk blog did "breakfast with dad" in the mornings. This idea consists of dad fixing breakfast and spending time with the kids while mom can get ready for the day. It allows dad to do some "spiritual care" for his children and gives some consistency on the amount of God-talk that begins the day.
In our home we have been using My First Book of Questions and Answers for a few years now and it is amazing how much my oldest daughter has retained through the simple question and answer process. I can ask my 4 year old daughter, "What is sin?" and she will say, "Disobeying or not keeping God's law in any way?" If we expect to teach our children how to count and do their ABCs, we can teach also expect them to have the mental capacity to learn simple doctrines.
We resently added My First Book of Bible Prayers to also teach my daughters more about prayer. Both of these rescources are simple tools to help parents lead their children. If you are not specifically and consistently training your children in the ways of God, I encourage you to take the small step of talking about these ideas with your spouse. Jesus said, "Let the little children come unto me." This is a way we can take them to him.