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Archive for the tag “Children”

Innocence and Theology

Mark 10:14 – But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.

The other day I was driving my daughter home from her work. She works for a local Christian camp. She was talking about how she was writing Bible studies for the half-day students because the current series was not directed toward the age group she was responsible for. She wanted to do an entire weeklong series on “Finding Jesus.” As she was explaining it to me, she was explaining the plot line of the Disney movie “Finding Dory.” It was pure innocence, using the story of a fish-finding story to explain how we come to know the risen Creator of the universe.

As she spoke to me I found all these ways to poke holes in her theology.

But I kept my mouth shut and listened.

She explained how easy it was to find Jesus. She pulled a few Bible verses here and there, used a lot of Disney references, and showed a lot of passion in her voice as she explained it to me.

If a seminary graduate who has studied hermeneutics, Greek and Hebrew would listen to her speak, he would stop her from teaching this to the younger minds than hers.

But I sat and thought about it for a minute.

First, I thought about what Jesus said about children.

Matthew 18:1-3 – At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Now, please understand me that Jesus is not talking about becoming like children in ways of wisdom, but in innocence.

As adults, we tend to overthink situations so much more than children. If a child is angry or happy or sad they show their emotion and then, unless there is a significant outside influence like abuse, divorce, and death, the child will remember the major points of why they feel the way they do, but the details will be foggy. According to one study, “early emotional experience literally become embedded in the architecture of their brains.” (“Children’s Emotional Development is Built into the Architecture of their Brains,” National Scientific Council on the Developing Child)

While children are imprinting their brains, they simply do not have enough history to distort their realities. Adults, on the other hand, color everything we experience with our past.

Colossians 2:8 – See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

I think of it this way, what is the main thing at church?

When we look at church today, we focus on a lot that is not Jesus.

We package it up as Jesus, but it isn’t Jesus.

Music is great, but music isn’t Jesus.

Small groups are awesome, but they aren’t Jesus.

Mission journeys are needed, but they aren’t Jesus.

But people tend to make them Jesus.

Just like holidays. I think of holidays that celebrate the military or freedom. During those days in church, when freedom or the flag or the military is announced, the applause gets louder, there is cheering, and the church gets a great feeling.

The amount of excitement around those topics outweigh the excitement for hearing about the Savior of mankind.

But let’s look at the Hebrew church for a moment.

By the time the book of Hebrews was written and delivered, there were up to 100,000 Christians inside of Jerusalem. The majority of those Christians were members of house churches, what we would consider either a small group or an underground church. Most of those house churches had approximately 20-30 adults at it. That means there would be about 4,000 churches in Jerusalem during the distribution of the book of Hebrews.

The book was written to Christians in Jerusalem.

Now, before this letter came to those churches, what did they use? They used other letters.

So when the messenger brought the Letter to the Hebrews to the first church in Jerusalem around 60 AD, there were still 3,999 other churches that had yet to hear this amazing book!

The churches would spend all night studying the Word. They would consume it!

Matthew 4:4 – But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

We don’t consume the Word.

We consume the music. We consume the fellowship. We consume the opportunity to serve those who don’t have as much first world stuff as we do.

But we don’t consume the Word.

The church in Jerusalem consumed the Word.

And they changed the world.

They were able to affect people across several generations.

And they were able to build a foundation for faith throughout further generations.

They consumed the Word with an innocence and excitement similar to how my daughter shared the Word as she understood it with those younger kids.

Being a Dad

Proverbs 4:1-5 – Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.

As I lay in my bed writing this Father’s Day is coming up this weekend.  But even more importantly, my children are growing older by the minute.  I just left my ex’s house where my daughter was getting ready for her 8th grade formal.  I remember growing up and going to middle school dances, but they were nothing formal and it was never an event to behold.  Today, I was almost in tears as she emerged from the bathroom a beautiful young woman.

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I looked at her and was so excited, saddened, joyous, scared, young and old all at the same time.  My little girl.  How did she get so big?

So I though I would run through a pictoral look at my kids as they have grown.  I’m sorry this is more a sappy post about my family rather than something theologically poignant, but, hey, it’s Father’s Day weekend.  I’m allowed to go down memory lane. 😉

3 John 1:4 – I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

I love some of the old pictures of my kids.  When they were little, we could dress them up in so many different ways or take pictures of them in embarrassing moments and they wouldn’t care.  It was like having a dog that you dress up in those ugly sweaters.  I could pose my kids any way I wanted and it came out cute.

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As they got older, they got into sports.  When they were young we would take them on hikes when on vacation or have them take swimming lessons.  As they got older, the sport of choice was soccer.  Matt has been on the same team since he was 5.  Kenzi has been on a different team almost every year.  Their skills are amazing.  As a dad, I have to believe they will both turn into Lionel Messi some day.  That is my job.

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Sometimes, injuries happen.  Almost for the past 10 months, Matt has been tending to a knee injury that he received during soccer.  2 MRIs and a couple X-Rays later, we have no definitive answer to the problem.  It continues to hurt him from time to time, but he just presses on and continues to play the game he loves until the doctors say he can’t.

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Matthew 7:9-11 – Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Next, I just want to give you a few pictures that shows you how my kids have grown up.

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kids 80s dance

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Proverbs 20:7 – The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!

Every Christian dad wants their kids to grow up loving, fearing and worshiping the Lord.  Now I am not naïve enough to think that my kids are ready to preach, but I do see them growing in the Lord almost every day that I have them.  No, they are not perfect.  Far from it.  But then again, so is their dad.  But they are covered by the blood of Jesus, and that is truly what matters.

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Matt praying

At the end of the day, it is because this earthly dad has a Father in heaven that I can know that they are going to grow up just fine.  It is never easy.  I had a LOT of hair before these kids were born and now I am bald.  You do the math.  But I know that God is taking care of these little ones.  They are growing up to be such beautiful men and women of God.  I truly am blessed to call these two my own.

 Psalm 127:3-5 – Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.

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