Teach the Children (Why C2H Pt II)

I remember well how Holy Spirit God brought conviction into my heart concerning my lack of zeal for teaching the Word to my daughters.  In the Fall of 2008, I heard Dr. Albert Mohler (www.albertmohler.com) preach a sermon at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  The title of that sermon, if memory serves me, was “How Not to Raise a Pagan.”  The text was Deuteronomy 6:1-9, which includes the well-known, but not well-practiced shema

At the time, my wife had been homeschooling our daughters for about a year, and I had functioned as a laissez-faire partner in the whole affair.  God got my attention through Dr. Mohler’s sermon!  I began to sense the overwelming task of a godly Dad, which I had shamefully been ignoring:

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 who you rise up (Deut 6:6-7).

Wow!  How had I neglected so clear a command and expectation from God?  I mean, it’s even re-emphasized through Paul’s pen (Eph 6:4).  Up to that point, my wife and I were functioning much like throngs of other Christian parents in America.  We left the Bible teaching primarily to the Sunday School teachers.  Our homeschool was nothing more than a “school at home.”  That is, it reflected the state-run curriculum, only we were doing it at home!  Really almost pointless when you think about it?! 

The Lord put me at a crossroad that day.  By His grace, I began to commit myself to living out Deut 6 in my home.  But I am stubborn and my consistency in teaching the Bible to our daughters at first was mostly inconsistent!  So, the Lord continued to pursue me (isn’t He an amazing God?).  My friend Robert Williams preached a sermon in the early part of 2009, from, you guessed it, Deuteronomy 6

Then, I received a sale catalog from my friends at Ligonier Ministries (www.ligonier.org).  And what was on sale, you ask?  When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling by R. C. Sproul, Jr.  This book is based on, yep, Deuteronomy 6.  The Lord used the combination of these sermons (two oral and one written) to light the flame in my heart for good.  I have no intention of looking back! 

The blessings of God being showered on my family since we decided to take God at His word and make our home a WSZ (that’s Word Saturation Zone) have humbled us and kept us at the foot of the Cross, singing praise to our King Jesus. 

So, it should come as no surprise, then, that Deuteronomy 6 is at the very heart of Cross-Centered Homes.  We want to be used by God to encourage and equip parents to live out this wonderful text. 

As I have spoken with several Christian parents in the past year or so, I have found that many of them really do want to become what God says they should be – the primary Bible teachers of their children.  But, they simply do not know how.  Sadly, their parents (many of them Christian) did not open the Bible and teach it to them every day as they grew up.  So, today’s Christian parents have never even seen this modeled! 

We have seen the need for a major paradigm shift back to obedience to God’s Word in our homes.  For too long, Christian homes have tithed mint and cumin while neglecting the weightier matters of God’s Law – like teaching it to the children!

Church of God, rise up!  Pastors, rise up!  Church Bible Teachers, rise up!  Teach parents how to teach the Word and talk about the Word in their homes!  “Equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” beginning in their homes (Eph 4:12).  Soli Deo Gloria!              

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Why C2H?

Cross-Centered Homes (C2H) is a ministry initiative birthed out of several years of research and personal concern for the homes represented in Tar Landing Baptist Church in Jacksonville, NC (www.tarlandingbaptist.org). 

Like most local churches, our pastors and Bible teachers understand what the word of God says our homes should be like, but there seemed to be a disconnect when we took honest assessments of what our homes were like in actuality.  We know what ought to be, but we are also dealing with what is every day. 

After a year of reading books, websites, blogs, attending conferences / training events, and talking to couples in our church, God began to produce a clearer picture of how to bridge the gap between what ought to be and what is.  A few things became obvious, including:

♦Pastors / teachers had to place heavy emphasis on the Bible’s teachings on the home.

 ♦Pastors / teachers had to be bold enough to make specific applications of those biblical texts to our current culture (much more on this in future posts).

♦Pastors / teachers had to get serious about equipping spouses and parents with tools to help them obey the commands of our God.   

The more we looked into these matters, the more we became convinced that almost nothing else we do as a local church will make much of an impact if we do not first reclaim our homes for Christ.  It has been researched and proven so many times that it should go without saying – the home is the foundation of society.  Churches are only as strong as their homes.  The plethora of societal ills we see around us every day are nearly all attributable to the breakdown or redfinition of the American home.  Again, I could cite sources, but I imagine you are as familiar with them as I. 

The hymn writer / pastor George Atkins voiced our lament and prayer well in his song Brethern We Have Met to Worship:

See our fathers, and our mothers, and our children sinking down?  Brethern, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around.                                          

C2H is really a heart cry to God to use us to help this local church produce the strongest, most biblically healthy homes in our city and county.  We pray this for every Bible believing church.  And, here at Tar Landing, or where ever the Lord may place me in the future, we intend to put our money / time / effort where our mouth is in this foundational matter of Christ-Centered Homes.

“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps 11:3)

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Anon - I hope the church’s strength surely is not in our homes.

tlbcassocpastor - The church’s strength is solely in her sure foundation, the Rock, the Cornerstone, the Head, Jesus the Christ and in the Holy Spirit which He has given to those He has graciously redeemed by His blood! My point is simply that if our homes are not Christ-centered, then it is all but certain our churches will not be, either. Weak Christian homes make for weak Christian churches. Thanks for your comment!

The American Holocaust

For many evangelical Christians in the western world, this Sunday is “Sanctity of Human Life” Day.  It is mind-boggling and stomach-churning to consider the tens of millions of unborn babies we have wholesale slaughtered in this nation over the past four decades.  If anyone is still wondering where the Darwinian / Naturalist worldview leads, he or she needs look no further than the massive infanticide industry led by Planned Parenthood. 

The quotes from Margaret Sanger, as well as popular professor Peter Singer are well-known and by now well-published.  Sanger was clearly a racist by any stretch of the definition, yet is still lauded as a hero in some circles.  In the July 1983 edition of the journal Pediatrics, Peter Singer argues that in some instances the life of a pig has more value than the life of, say, a down syndrome baby. 

In that same article, titled “Sanctity of Life or Quality of Life,” Singer wrote: “We can no longer base our ethics on the idea that human beings are a special form of creation, made in the image of God, singled out from all other animals, and alone possessing an immortal soul.”  And this guy has shaped the minds of hundreds of our nations leaders as a professor at some of our more prestigious universities!   

Friends, the Nazi mentality is alive and well in this nation.  Is this really the kind of philosophy and worldview we wish to base our culture and country upon?

But my focus today is more upon the impact abortion has had, and is having upon families.  Here are some questions to fuel thought:

1) How many families have been deprived of holding that precious newborn miracle of God as she coos and squirms after feasting on warm milk?

2) What impact will the death of 40 million babies have on our nation fifty years from now?  We have annihilated an entire generation of Americans!  Economic impact will be certain, but more importantly than that, I wonder how many Einstein’s, Mozart’s, Billy Graham’s, Ronald Reagan’s, Mother Theresa’s, and General Swartzkoff’s we have killed off?

3) How many mothers who chose abortion now are haunted by the voice of unborn life late at night?  How many hurt deeply in silence?  How many desperately need the forgiving and healing touch of the Master, Jesus?

4) How many could-have-been Dads, who are typically given almost no say in the matter of abortion, grieve over the loss of opportunity to play ball with their boy?

So, what to do?  I offer up this prayer on behalf of all who believe we should praise the Lord, “for we are wonderfully and fearfully made” –

Oh Sovereign Lord, break our hearts for the spiritual poverty of America.  God, grant Your people in Your churches courage to call abortion the horrific sin and affront to Your holy character that it is.  God grant Your people in Your churches compassion to reach out with the love and hope of Christ to any and all who have been impacted by abortion.  God convict churches all across this land to pour their time, money and prayers into local pro-life pregnancy centers.  Lord, bring the American people to their senses, enable us to vote local, state and national leaders into office who are firmly pro-life, and help the electorate to “fire” pro-death leaders every chance they get.  Oh Lord, forgive us.  Heal us.  Grant us repentance, that Your glory might once again be restored to this people called Americans.  For the Fame of Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Ellen Stone - Thank you for standing up for and speaking out about the sanctity of life! I pray that all Christians who read this will be convicted to make the very same stand.

Entering blogosphere . . . timidly!

Hello everyone.  It’s hard to believe I am actually typing a blog.  For those who know me, this will doubtless come as a shock.  For those who don’t know me that well, let me explain.

You see, I am semi-anti-techno-gadgets.  Make sense?  No?  Then perhaps some further explanation is in order.

I am a pastor to young adults in Jacksonville / Camp Lejeune, NC with a clear focus on Marriage / Parenting / Home.  Thus, the title of this blog, “Cross-Centered Homes,” or C2H as we affectionately call it in my home church.  C2H is a new emphasis in our church that seeks to reclaim God’s grand vision for the home, as He has revealed it in Scripture.  Thus, the focal point of this blog will typically be doing home God’s way.  But, what does all this have to do with my semi-anti-techno-gadgetry? 

Well, to be blunt, there is a huge part of me that thinks we, as a culture, are bringing ourselves to ruin by our absolute obsession with social networking, texting, emailing, tweeting or tooting, etc.  While none of these things are evil in and of themselves, and certainly can be used for redemptive, Christ-exalting purposes (which is what I aspire to do here), the fact is all of these things are estranging us from the truest form of human relationship – face-to-face. 

I love the Bible’s epitaph of Moses: “And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face” (Deut 34:10). 

For this we were created!  Face to face communion with God and one another!  This, I’m afraid, is what we are losing quickly in my generation, not to mention my children’s generation.  I will have more to say on this in future posts.  For now, just indulge me and carve out some time today to just sit face to face with someone and talk, and laugh, and enjoy the other person’s presence. 

Why not carve out some time to spend such precious moments with your Creator?  Not literally face to face with Him – not yet – but surely “mouth to ear” with Him in your prayer closet.  Why not lead your family to commune together with their Creator this very day?  This is the way to start reclaiming “face to face” relationship.

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VepapelfMup - Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!

Cheers
Christian,

tlbcassocpastor - Thanks for your kind comment. Keep reading for the glory of God!

T r u t h