We at Corydon Baptist Church have just finished a two month sermon series aimed at the family. While in my mind “Family Ministry” is never-ending and all-encompassing (because the church itself is a family regardless of our various life situations), I have been pondering how to use this blog to wrap up the last two months of sermons and emphases. While digging through some files this week, I came across a study done by Lifeway Research titled “The Top 10 Issues Facing Today’s Family.” (You can view the article here: http://www.lifeway.com/article/164120/ ) Here are the Top 5 (with some brief comments by me) per this particular study:
1. Anti-Christian Culture. The article defined this as “the stripping away of Christian heritage and traditional values.” I affirm that our culture is definitely growing more and more anti-Christian. Nearly every view point is tolerated in the name of “tolerance” except the biblical one! And if you think our local public schools are somehow immune to doggedly promoting the Darwinian secular humanistic worldview just because they say a prayer every morning over the loud speaker, then you are obviously not reading your children’s textbooks or listening to the few conservative Christian teachers who are fighting the darkness of this system daily. Our children and adults are being overwhelmed by a tsunami of godless thinking and man-centered ideology. Guard those TV sets, or maybe sell them. Be careful about putting iphones in your pre-teens’ hands. Computer access is so widespread you can hardly keep your kids off them. Why not send your teens to a Christian Worldview camp this summer like the one run by Summit Ministries?
2. Divorce – defined as “the ongoing wave of broken marriages and families both within the church and without.” Perhaps nothing has so fractured families in our nation and churches as rampant divorce. It is time for Christian couples to take divorce off the table, to not even consider it an option. If divorce is not an option in our marriages, then this forces us to make some changes and pursue holiness, forgiveness, repentance, and Christ-likeness. And these are the things that make marriage great and glorious!
3. Busyness – “the participation in numerous activities crowding out quality family fellowship.” Friends, I could write a novel on this one! Men working 60-70 hours per week is devastating families. We make excuses that “we have to work” or “have to keep my job” but how many of us have ever had a heart-to-heart with our bosses explaining the importance we place on time with our families and worshipping with our eternal family? How many have asked for reduced hours, less overtime? How many will aggressively seek another job, even if it means less of that precious idol (money) but more time to pursue holiness in our homes and churches? And then there’s sports. I like sports, but I must tell you Christian parents that riding a hard bench for hours and hours to “support” your child at the expense of true family time and more time spent doing life together with your family of God in Christ is NOT time well spent. For many Christians, sports literally drive their whole home for months and months out of every year. How much gas money is spent on sports in your family? How much do you give to missionaries? Is sports idolatry hurting your ability to do life deeply in small groups or small Bible study groups? Do you spend more time doing sports than you do reading the Bible with your kids, or serving in your church’s ministries? What eternal value are your kids really deriving from involvement in sports? And what other hobbies are you doing that also harm and do not help your biological or spiritual family? Busyness is the real American Idol!!! May we repent for God’s glory and the eternal sake of our children who may be champs on the fields but chumps in their love and loyalty to King Jesus and His bride.
4. Lack of a Father Figure – “The absence of a father in the home or lack of strong participation in the family.” Can I just say that even the way this point is worded shows how far we have fallen in our nation and churches. “Lack of a Father Figure.” Why not just say “lack of a father”? We are told 4 of 10 children in our country now grow up fatherless. If God is serious about caring for orphans (and He is), then we American believers need not look far to find them! We are now living in a Feminist Utopia in America. How do you like it? Sadly, even fathers who are in the home and involved in their children’s lives are NOT leading spiritually, are not reading and teaching the Bible to their wives and children, and are not ensuring their children drink deeply of gospel life together in the local church as God intends. They are physically present but spiritually absent. Dads be warned – you leave all that “spiritual stuff” up to your wives at the eternal peril of your own soul, not to mention that of your precious children.
5. Lack of Discipline – “the death of respectful behavior as a norm in our schools, churches, and families.” The recent outrage at the bullying of an elderly school bus monitor serves our point here. Why do these kids treat anyone, much less a grandma, that way? Well, let’s see, they are not even with parents 80% of every week, so they are raising themselves. Or, they are being raised in a system that extols the virtues of philosophies like relativism (no absolute right and wrong). Boys do not have strong fathers, and girls have to learn to fight for survival in a sea of these over-sexed boys. Parents are told never to physically discipline a child. Teachers cannot even think about it! Parents blame teachers for their child’s misbehavior. Hard work is missing from a child’s upbringing. It’s all fun and video games in the a/c all the time. Ask our military drill instructors what kind of young men and women our nation is producing. They see it first hand and are given the impossible task of converting the competely undisciplined into the most disciplined fighting force in the world (though I think that status is crumbling before our eyes as our spineless generals cave to demands of liberal politicians and themselves promote sinfulness in the ranks). Where is this all heading?
Well, next post we’ll deal with the last 5 issues listed in this survey. These top five have given me a headache! I am so glad God is in control and I rest in His promise to one day make all things new in Christ the King. Until then, however, my heart aches for families at CBC to grow into a committed body of believers who are training up the next generation to live as those who truly grasp the significance of calling one another “brothers and sisters in Christ.” That bond meant so much to the early church because in their society, the blood family was the strongest possible of human relations and links. But today we don’t “get it” because our blood families are in disarray, and because our ties to so many other social groups supercede our ties to our church family.
God help us make sacrifices to reclaim His vision and truly grow into the “household of God” (Gal 6:10). For His glory in the gospel of Christ, and for the eternal good of the generations to come!