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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our kids

I remember the day I found out that we were expecting Harrison. I came home from the church office and Sarah met me at the door. She said, "Sit down. I need to talk to you about something." A million thoughts went racing through my head--is there bad news? Did she find a job? How did she find out about those extra chocolate chip cookies at lunch? She walked into the bathroom and came back with a shoe box. In it, was a baby doll. As I opened it up, she simply said, "You think you are ready to handle one of these?" I was floored. Have been ever since.

We began to pray that day for Harrison--and the other two kids that would follow--asking that God would protect them, bless them, and use them for God's glory. Lisa and I still pray that prayer for all four of our kids. Harrison may never win a Super Bowl. Morgan may not discover the cure for cancer. Landon may never appear on Broadway and Abby may never make it to the World Cup. That's okay. That isn't what I am seeking for them. I just want their lives to be used up for God's fame. The thought struck me this morning, Josh is already being used for God's glory and He never got older than 17 months.

That's why it bothers me so much to see kids throwing their lives away and never being encouraged to reach their potential. Some of you have seen those situations. You work in the schools or in the recreation programs.

I've got a young person I'm mentoring right now. He's a good kid at heart who comes from a pretty tough situation. But down inside this kid, buried beneath the confusion and desire for attention is all the potential in the world. It just can't make it's way out. Not without someone convincing him that he can do it.

I just talked with a friend who told me about another kid in our area--17 years old and in a facility to dry up. Dry up! Really? At age 17 he's drunk so much alcohol that he's not playing sports or doing homework or talking on the phone with his girlfriend. Instead, he's locked away in a facility to detox.

You know, Jesus had much to say about children. He considered them precious and gave special warnings for those who would lead them astray. That causes me to stop, to reflect on what we are doing--or should I say, not doing--for our children. We bring them into the world without consideration of whether or not we are ready to raise them. We give them few boundaries and little spiritual foundation. We push them too hard in some areas, forcing them to be the next Tiger Woods or Mia Hamm. In other areas, we make them grow up too fast, asking them to deal with things like divorce, child abuse, custody battles and sexual pressures. At the same time, we baby them to death, never asking them to learn the meaning of words like responsibility or personal integrity. Then, we scratch our heads at the "younger generation."

If we don't do our part to redeem the next generation, we've got no one to blame but ourselves. They are stressed out, strung out, confused and dazed. They read the same headlines we do and wonder what kind of world they will inherit from people like you and me. What they need is for us to believe in them and to teach them the important truths that change lives. Truths like God is absolutely crazy about them. They are not an accident but an individual created for a purpose. Failure is not the end of their lives but the beginning of their learning.

As long as their is an empty tomb, their lives can be full of hope. The choices you and I make now will have ripple effects across many lives and many generations. I just pray we are guiding them in the right direction. We will have much to answer to God for if we don't.


Chrissy said...

Good stuff, my friend!

hold_fast061706 said...

That is very much true. I work with a pretty rough group of teenagers in the youth group at my church. All they know is violence and addictions and then I look at their parents and those leading them and i ask myself have they seen Jesus? If not I'm failing them. Am I loving them like Jesus or have I just gave up on them and shook my head walking away as everyone else in their life has ever done. i think we will be held responsible for them.

leslie said...

I think us praying plays a big part in our children lives. We also have to think about the kids out there that don't have no one to pray for them. To have no one say to them look God loves you! We need to pray with our whole heart about not only our children but every child or young person that we know.If no one ever pray for me and show me that there is a wonderful God that loves me, I don't think I would be here today.

Traci Jenkins said...

amen amen AMEN!! thanks for being a youth minister who infected one of your students to marry a man passionate about the next generation. you and sarah ellen were great (and still are) examples of how it all starts and ends in the home. thanks for seeing more in me than just a girl who was hyper, talkative, and a little too boy crazy at the time. i wouldn't trade our teenagers for anything at church - it is exciting to see where some of them will end up and for others, I am reminded of the many adults outside of my family who never gave up on me.....and I always usually start with you :)

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love this! I'm a children's pastor at a church here in Mobile, AL! I just read all of your Tuesday blogs! I remember what an amazing pastor and family you were in Douglas and all the lives you've changed! Thank you for always blogging! I learn so much!

Keep doing what you're doing, you're changing the world! =) people that you don't even really know... Look up to you! I'm praying for you...

-Ashley Purvis