Parents & Kids of Faith

  • Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Question: What is prayer?
    Answer: Prayer is an offering up of our desires to God for things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins and thankful acknowledgement of His mercies.
    Scripture: 1 John 5:14; 1:9; Phil 4:6; Psalm 10:17; 145:19; John 14:13, 14

    (Maybe this really happened)

    At the time our daughter Brita had married Bill, Deb and I had a very successful home business we were doing in addition to my duties at Lincoln Christian. After their marriage I had the following conversation and business proposal for Bill...

    "I welcome you into the family, Bill,” I said. "To show you how much we care for you, I am making you a 50-50 partner in my business. All you have to do is go each night and help me put together the packages of the products and prepare them for shipping and learn the whole operation."

    Bill interrupted. "I hate packing things and I can't stand figuring out who gets what and where it goes."

    "I see." I replied, "Well, then you'll work in the office and take orders and make sales calls."

    "I hate office work," said Bill. "I can’t stand being stuck behind a desk."

    "Wait a minute," I said. "I just made you half owner of a money-making company, but you don't like doing the shipping work and won't work in taking calls or sales. What am I going to do with you?"

    "Easy," said Bill. "Buy me out."

    By Tad Thompson, Harvard Ave Baptist Church, Siloam Springs, Arkansas

    It is amazing to me that a Christian has to ask this question, “What is the gospel?” This is the one item of truth that ought to become the most crystal clear in our homes and churches. This is why we must never take for granted that our children know the gospel. One of my personal goals for my kids is simply that they are able to articulate the gospel. I not only want them to articulate the gospel, but I want them to be able to articulate the gospel in all of its richness and beauty as presented in the Scripture.

    We have a small group ministry as a part of the church I pastor that we call growth teams. One of the exercises we are doing is taking turns sharing our life stories. The point of this sharing is to see how the gospel comes to bear in each of our lives, which helps us learn how to communicate our story in a way that demonstrates the gospel. One of the interesting aspects of this discussion is how various facets of the gospel are amplified in the stories of our people.

    For some, the doctrine of adoption is very important because of their difficult upbringings. For others the focus is on the process of sanctification as they were raised in gospel-centered homes and churches. It seems that every story intersects with God’s sovereign design as we can each see how He has divinely orchestrated the events of our lives. We have discovered, in each of our stories, the richness of the gospel.

    If we are going to saturate our homes with the gospel, we must learn to gaze upon the Good News in all of its beauty, as a jeweler might gaze upon the facets of a diamond. Below, I list six different facets of the gospel. This list is certainly not exhaustive, but it’s a place to start. Think about these truths and begin to meditate on the Scriptures. Look for opportunities to discuss the depths of the gospel with your children.

    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. “ (Ephesians 1:3-12)

    “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:1-9)

    For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them." Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us- for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"- so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:10-14)

    “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

    “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:15-17)

    “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died- more than that, who was raised- who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:28-39)


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