Dispelling the Myth: “My Kids Know about Jesus Because I Take Them to Church”

Parents, it’s time for a wake-up call:

Ask yourself “How much time do I spend each day teaching my kids about Christ and the Scriptures?” Take some time. Think seriously about it. And answer honestly.

Does your family regularly have devotions together, and if so, how long does it take?
An hour? I seriously doubt it.
Half an hour? Yeah, unlikely.
Fifteen minutes? Maybe.

How often do your conversations with your kids reflect upon Scripture as it intersects with everything going on in your and their lives? As you eat together and talk about the day, do you remind them of Christ’s love for them when they are upset about the kid who said something nasty or hurtful to them? As you drive them to school, do you pray for and with them for their day?

Time is the great equalizer. Rich or poor, healthy or sick, urban or suburban or rural – EVERYONE has the same amount of time.

Hours per Year in Ping Pong Balls

Photo used from FaceBook user Cory Austin

Look at the picture. That tall tube of orange balls represents the time you have with your kids each year. Three-thousand hours or about 8.22 hours per day. That sounds fairly accurate. The little vase of orange balls represents the average amount of time kids spend in church (I’m not sure where they got that number, but go ahead and double it if you think it’s a fair assessment for your kids). That vase of balls, even if you double it, would easily fit into the tube.

Now, let’s color those balls. Orange for the time spent rushing them to whatever sports practice and games, for the time spent doing homework and studying for tests and quizzes, for watching television, for when you just want a break and go on your mobile device and send them off to be on theirs. And white for the time spent in God’s Word and prayer.

Now, take those 3,000+ balls, mix them together, and pour them back into the tube. How much white do you see? Maybe, you’ll get lucky and a majority of those white balls will land on the outside of the tube. Maybe, the white balls will all land in the middle and all you see is orange.

Bringing your kids to church, Sunday School, and youth group isn’t enough. You, (yes, you) need to be bringing Christ and faith in Him into every part of your kid’s day.

And I can already hear the objections, “But our schedule is full already.” “But they have so much homework, and they have to learn.” “But sports teach them important life skills – what it means to be a team, a good work ethic, how to be healthy, etc.” “But the house isn’t going to clean itself. They need to do their chores or the house will be chaos.” “But I need a break from a hard day at work.”

You are right. Absolutely right. I’m a parent too. I know.

Let’s try something else with those pesky balls and their color. What if you do the little things? What if you do actually pray with your kids when they bring up something made their day difficult? What if you take the time to thank God for something good that happened? What if you point them to Scripture that fits with each joy and disappointment in their lives? And each time you do one of those things, that orange ball gets a white dot on it. It’s still mostly orange. But little specks of white land on a lot more balls. At least you see a peppering of white speckling in that sea of orange. This is all well and good.

This is how God designed parents to teach their children the faith. Deuteronomy 6:6–7, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

But, remember parents, you can’t teach what you don’t know. You can’t connect the events of your kid’s life to the Bible and faith if you don’t know what the Bible says.

Parents, you have 8,760 hours in a year. How many of your ping pong balls are completely white? Are you at church hearing the Word of God? Are you attending Bible Study? Are you in Bible class while your kids are at Sunday School? Are you reading your Scriptures and praying daily? When was the last time you read something in the Bible and went to ask your pastor about it? (You’d make his day if you did that! I can speak from personal experience [Gal. 6:6]). If you aren’t doing those things, start.

Yes, those orange balls are important. God wants us to work and learn and enjoy creation and take care of ourselves and the things He has given us. But, in the end, everything orange pales in comparison to the white.

Parents, do your job. Teach your children the faith. Your pastor and your church are here to help you every step of the way. But it needs to come from you. Feed them and be fed for them.

Philippians 3:8, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Php. 3:8).

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For Thirty-Four Years, I Am Baptized

Thirty-four years ago today, my parents did the best thing they could do for me. They brought my sinful, not-so-little infant body to the waters of Baptism. And they didn’t stop there. They, then, did the second best thing they could do for me (and the thing that I am learning is constantly difficult) – they continually catechized me in the Word of God.

In those waters of baptism, God joined me to the death and resurrection of Jesus (Ro. 6:3-5).

Baptism 2In those waters of my baptism, the all-consuming Flood of God condemned all that was unbelieving in me while God safely placed me in the ark of His catholic Church.

In those waters of my baptism, God led me out of slavery to sin and drowned all the evil that pursued me. Yet, I went safely through the waters.

In those waters of my baptism, God led me into His Promised Land.

In those waters of my baptism, God sent His appointed messenger, not with a burning coal to touch my lips, but with a few handfuls of water to splash on my forehead.

In those waters of my baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon Me, and God said, “You are my beloved son.”

None of this was my own doing. It was God’s. He washed. He condemned. He delivered. He absolved. He chose. He elected. He predestined.

I was passive through it all. Check that. I was kicking and screaming and resisting.

Like Naaman, I and others often scoff at the idea that water could cleanse me of my leprosy of sin (1 Kgs. 5:1-14). However, the Scriptures repeatedly promise that it wasn’t simply water. It is water with a promise. A promise of God. God said it. Baptism saves me (1 Pe. 3:21). I can’t change it – and neither can God. His promises are sure, certain, and unchangeable.

Cross and CommunionThe best part of all of this: today, God is going to continue to make promises to me. God is going to feed me with His Body and Blood. The resurrected Body and Blood of Jesus will be placed in my mouth so I know my sins are forgiven and also that I too, like Jesus, will rise again on the Last Day.

Exodus 15:1b-18 is now my song as it is the song of all the baptized:

1 “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;

the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.

2 The Lord is my strength and my song,

and he has become my salvation;

this is my God, and I will praise him,

my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

3 The Lord is a man of war;

the Lord is his name.

4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea,

and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea.

5 The floods covered them;

they went down into the depths like a stone.

6 Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power,

your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.

7 In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries;

you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble.

8 At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up;

the floods stood up in a heap;

the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.

9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,

I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.

I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’

10 You blew with your wind; the sea covered them;

they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

11 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?

Who is like you, majestic in holiness,

awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?

12 You stretched out your right hand;

the earth swallowed them.

13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed;

you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.

14 The peoples have heard; they tremble;

pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia.

15 Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed;

trembling seizes the leaders of Moab;

all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.

16 Terror and dread fall upon them;

because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone,

till your people, O Lord, pass by,

till the people pass by whom you have purchased.

17 You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain,

the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode,

the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.

18 The Lord will reign forever and ever.”

Thirty-four years now, I am baptized. And for that, I praise God.