Live Christ With Your Children
This morning I felt impressed to share; encouraging some and challenging others in their pursuit of raising children. On writing this let me preface this post with full acknowledgement that I have made my fair share of mistakes as a parent but one thing I have sought to actively do is encourage my boys in their faith.
Many believe that their responsibility is to provide for their children- provide food, clothing, shelter or financially and that is enough. They believe that is the extent of our responsibility. Some believe that parenting is nothing more than being the disciplinarian or on the other extreme simply being your children’s friend. This is very flawed thinking. While we have some responsibility to fulfill all of these responsibilities- none of these are the essential responsibility we have as parents.
Our single greatest responsibility is to live Jesus in front of our children and with our children! What exactly does this look like?
Some believe that is sending your kids to a church youth group once a week and whenever there is something special happening for youth. With all do respect this is just passing the buck! I agree it is important to have your kids participate in youth ministries regularly! However, if this is all you do to encourage your children in their faith you are failing as a parent! Your kids are way more likely to mirror your actions instead of listening to your words. For your kids to be active in their faith, they need to see YOU being active in your faith. This means it is not enough to send them to church- you as a mom or a dad have the responsibility to get yourself to church! Be engage in a Bible Study when your kids are attending youth. Don’t treat church attendance as secondary. People who say they can be a Christian without attending services regularly are lying to themselves and setting up their children for failure. If your goal is to make your children feel ambivalent in their faith then by all means stay home and don’t encourage your children to attend church with you. There are seven days in the week. You have six days to engage in whatever is necessary for you to make a living. When you take attending worship and say they are secondary to work, play or whatever else you deem more important you are sacrificing the faith of your children!
Hebrews 10:23-25 says it this way: 23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works, 25 not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.
Over the years millions have died in pursuit of their faith. When you treat attending worship with other believers as secondary you are saying that all of these who have died as martyrs waisted their life. You are telling your children by your actions that their faith is not important- that work (Yes I understand some are scheduled in such a way that they have no choice but to work and I understand those situations cannot be helped in certain professions such as healthcare) or play are more important than your faith or their faith. A statement I have seen repeated over and over lately is along the lines- when you treat church as secondary your children will treat church as irrelevant. You as parents or grandparents if you are raising your grandchildren have the responsibility to model Hebrews 10 in the life of your family. By the way bringing your children to church and then letting them go run all over the building instead of participating in worship is useless. Your children should be involved in worship in the sanctuary or in an age-appropriate worship setting- not just simply hanging out somewhere.
Not only should you get your children involved in congregational worship, you should engage your children regularly at home in the discussion of scriptures, in sharing the great historical accounts of the Bible with your children and helping them interpret these scriptures. If you think you are not capable of doing this- there is a wealth of free resources out there to help you engage with your children. Do a little research and you will find these resources- many which are free or have just a small cost involved. This does not have to be some lengthy dissertation it can be as simple as 10-15 minutes an evening; but as you engage the family in this pursuit you may find yourself spending several minutes a day in these discussions- quite often brought up by your children.
Psalm 127 speaks of our children (particularly sons) as being arrows in our quiver. For an arrow to be effective it must be sharp and have the feathers in place to fly straight. Spending time in the word with your children will help sharpen them. Encouraging them in the love of Christ and exposing them to others who regularly encourage them in Christ helps to keep their fletchings in good working order so when they leave the quiver they are more likely to hit the bulls eye of life and live the life the Lord intended for them.
I plead with you do not shirk your responsibility as a parent- Raise your children to live out their faith! To be successful with this- you must practice your faith in front of them and engage with them in faith discussions on a regular basis! There is no greater responsibility we have as parents!
Take Hope America- His Love Endures Forever
Today I wanted to share a selection from my sermon from Sunday, July 3rd. The scripture text was Psa;m 136 which assured the people of Israel and all of us today that The Lord’s Faithful Love Endures Forever. This selection of my sermon is written in a personal way for the nation of America. You know all the promises of God can be applied to His people. Sometimes it really helps us to understand by making scripture personal for our circumstances. This is my hope with making it personal to America that it will help us to understand that we should always put our hope in the Lord; and that we can do this not only for America but we can do it for our individual families as well. I would encourage you to reflect on this passage from my sermon and read Psalm 136 along with this and think about the promise that is made to each of us in this passage of scripture.
From the landing at Jamestown His faithful love endures forever.
Through natural disaster, food shortage and disease His faithful love endures forever.
Through tyranny, taxation and suppression His faithful love endures forever.
As established by Our Creator the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, His faithful love endures forever.
As a people greatly influenced by the Great Awakenings His faithful love endures forever.
Through divine protection during the revolution His faithful love endures forever.
Through the hard times of the birth of a nation His faithful love endures forever. Through the sins of slavery and broken promises to our native people His faithful love endures forever.
Through the brokenness of civil war His faithful love endures forever.
Through the restoration of a nation His faithful love endures forever
Through the confusion of and resulting mistreatment of immigrant peoples His faithful love endures forever.
Through the dangers and blessings of westward expansion His faithful love endures forever.
Through disease and natural disaster His faithful love endures forever
Through the industrial revolution and disastrous working conditions for peoples of all ages His faithful love endures forever
Through the Dust Bowl and shortages of food His faithful love endures forever
Through the Great War and the Great Depression His faithful love endures forever
Through the tragedy of Pearl Harbor and the heroism of D-Day His faithful love endures forever
From the Cold War to Equal Rights for all persons His faithful love endures forever.
From our failures to protect the unborn, the aged and students of all ages His faithful love endures forever
Through great leaders and in spite of several bad ones His faithful love endures forever.
From the Greatest Generation to the ME generations of today His faithful love endures forever
Despite hurricanes, earthquakes, and pandemics His faithful love endures forever!
In spite of our failure to stay faithful to Him, His faithful love endures forever
Give thanks to God- Father, Son and Holy Spirit His faithful love endures forever
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I encourage you to share so others might see it as well. God Bless You and may you ever be in the favor of the Lord. And remember His Faithful Love Endures Forever.
Celebrating the Past, Looking Forward to the Future
A couple of days ago a large gathering (the largest since I have been here) of Warsaw Family from the past and present gathered for a time of celebration at Homecoming 2021. Music included specials from a past choir director and a trio from one of our newest praise team members and her visiting sister and mother. All of the music from the praise band and the specials drew us into worship and helped us focus our attention on the Lord.
We were blessed to here from missionary Lisa Giri - who grew up in the Warsaw Church as the granddaughter of the founding pastor- as she updated us on the details of what is happening with their ministry in Nepal and the health challenges that are faced by her husband Nanda. Afterward we received a special love offering to help them with theit ministry and their health crisis. If you were not able to give Sunday, you can still participate in this love offering by marking your offering for the Giri family on your envelope or by online giving on the church website. The church will see that any additional offerings make it to the Giri family.
One of the highlites of the morning was hearing from the church’s founding pastor- Bishop John Thomas- as he shared his own introduction to Pentecost and the early days of the church- the first Pentecostal church on the peninsuala. At 95 years of age his mind is still crisp and clear. The church was officially founded in 1961 and we are celebrating 60 years of service this year. The service concluded with a stirring in my soul of where the Lord is calling us to focus our attentions in the days and years ahead. These are detailed through the remainder of this post.
The Warsaw Church of God will be focusing on:
Believing the Bible- placing an emphasis on what Scripture says and how it applies to our daily life. Remember Jesus is the Word become flesh and He is the foundation of our faith. If we want to understand our faith and our future better, we need to spend the time understanding the Holy Scriptures and putting them into practice.
We will Love Others- God has called us to action and the first priority after Loving God is loving others. Our faith is put into action, not by the words we say, but by the actions we carry-out for Christ. The love we have in helping those in need, ministering to our commiunity and to being a hospital for the hurting. We are called as a church to see the need and fill it, and find the hurt and help heal it. At times in our ife we are the ones hurting and in need of healing; and at other times we are the ones God is using to help provide healing to the hurts of others.
We will Inspire the Family- Long before God created the church he created the family. From Adam and Eve, Noah, through Abraham. Isaac and Jacob; God made His Covenant with these families and their patriarchs. It is the responsibility of parents to raise their children in the faith and walking the path of Christ. It is our responsibility as a church to partner with them and help provide tools and support material to help along the way. Youth and children’s ministry are important as a church but they are even more important for the parent’s to focus on throughout the week. A new resource we have added as a church is a partnership between the Church of God, our church and Right Now Media to provide thousands of online Bible Study videos and other resources for all ages- including special studies for men, women, children, teens, married, single and more. These resources will help families provide that instruction at home and it will allow the church to strengthen their training for the whole family. More details to follow on this as we rollout this resource in a couple of weeks. We are excited that these resources will be free to our families and at a greatly reduced monthly cost for our church.
Finally we will Worship in Freedom. Worship is important for us individually and corporately, especially to invite the Holy Spirit into our midst. We continue to be focused on pursuing the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to live and work in us and through us. We enjoy great freedoms as Americans but they pail in comparison to the freedoms we have when we allow the Holy Spirit to have full access to our life and we are willng to follow His lead. Jesus assured his disciples that greater works they would do than he did, but this could only happen when he ascended into heaven and sent the Great Comforter to come and dwell in their lives. The Great Comforter- the Holy Spirit came not only for the first disciples and the early church but also for us as disciples of Christ today, and the church of the 21st Century. The comforter, the encourager, the strengthener, and so much more- the Holy Spirit provides us with great freedom in our walk with Christ. Worship is more than just a few songs in a Sunday Service- our life evertday should be worship to our Lord and Savior. This is possible with the help of the Holy Spirit. Worship in Freedom!
Our mission as a church has not changed. We are called to share the Gospel at home and around the world. God wants the Warsaw Church of God to be a lighthouse to the communities of the Northern Neck here in Virginia. Whether you live in Montross, Warsaw, Haynesville, Farnham, Calleo, Heathville, Irvington, Kilmarnock or many other communities in between each of us is called to be a light in that lighthouse sharing Christ in our little piece of the peninsula.
I am excited for the challenge. Please join me on this journey of loving others and sharing Jesus.
In HIS service, Pastor Dana
Encouragement From Youth Camp
You have discovered my blog page. I am Pastor Dana and I pastor the Warsaw Church of God. Thank you for checking in to read my thoughts, insights and tid-bits of humor along the way.
This morning as I type, I am watching teenagers from churches across the commonwealth enjoy activities like Gaga ball, slip n slides, cards, ping pong and so much more. It is hopeful for me to see these teens and leaders gather to worship with passion and play with enthusiasm, without fuss or fight or argument. Even better is to see them listen and respond to the gospel as they fill the altar seeking more of God. I find hope that this generation is still excited to not only enjoy camp but get serious about their relationship with Jesus.
While my body reminds me that I am not as young as I try to be, and while being a cabin leader perhaps means sleep deprivation, it is only for a short time. The take away from all of this is that we need to invest in the future of our youth. We can never give up on this generation; we must persevere in our efforts to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with this generation and those who follow after them, as long as the Lord tarries. The more we do, the greater HOPE we will have in the future for The cause of Christ.
In my 50+ years of life I have spent portions of my summer first as a camper and later as camp staff, camp directors and in various ministry roles at camp for the vast majority of those years. Each time these summers remind me of the importance of investing in our youth not just with a summer camp, but with loving, encouraging, training and sharing Christ with our younger generations throughout the year.
For twenty years my family served in children and family ministries; while our role has transitioned to lead pastor now our commitment to young people has not changed. We have to be vigilant in sharing the gospel with ALL generations.
Everyone can help us in this endeavor! Men you can mentor boys who have no male influence in their lives or teach them valuable skills like working on their car or how to catch a large mouth bass. Men you can also help boys understand how to treat a lady and how to love and lead in their families as faithful followers of Christ. Ladies you can come alongside girls and encourage them in their self-esteem, encourage them to succeed in their professional life but also in their relationships and as a wife and mother. Most of all you can be present in their life and let them know you care and that they have a friend in you.
Joel 1:3 says “Tell your children about it, and let your children tell their children, and their children the next generation.”
But the teaching is not one-sided. There is much that we can learn from the younger generations as well. Our faith works best and the church is most successful, when all generations learn from each other and come together to love and encourage each other.
If you are a part of the Warsaw family, then please take the time to ask me how you can help. If you do not currently have a church family, then we would love to welcome you into ours at the Warsaw Church of God. Visit us this Sunday with worship at 10:30, we would love to welcome you “home”.
Blessings, Pastor Dana
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