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Why In The World Would You Homeschool Your Kids?

school-chalkboard
Homeschooling is here to stay. More and more families are choosing to homeschool their children. In fact, more families are homeschooling their children now than any other time in recent years. According to the National Center for Education Statistics and Analyses, since 2012 the number of children being homeschooled has grown from 1.8 million to approximately 3.5 million in 2017. That is a lot!

 

Before I say what I plan to say, I feel the need to address a couple of things.

#1. While my wife and I have made the studied choice to homeschool our children, we do not feel it is “The right way,” nor do we feel like it is wrong to make another choice. In fact, I do not believe homeschooling is the right choice for everyone, and sometimes, not even a possibility.

#2. There are many “experts” on homeschooling, and I am not one of them. I simply have decided to share why my wife and I made the choice that we made for our children.

Truthfully, I have been hesitant to write much (or anything) about homeschooling children. I have been hesitant because I have witnessed some parents who homeschool their children accuse others of not loving their children and not wanting what is best for them. When I see this, I cringe. Refer again to #1.

With that being said, I have heard many (even within the church) who ridicule those who choose to homeschool. Many of the accusations levied against homeschoolers simply are out of bounds and untrue. My wife and I both attended public school all of our childhood, so homeschooling is a relatively new concept for us. While I do not speak for everyone who homeschools (refer to #2.) I would like to share a few insights from my little family.

What homeschooling is for us: 

  1. Hard work

One of the comments that I hear from time to time concerning homeschooling from individuals that really bothers me goes something like this, “It must be nice for her to get to stay home and not have to work.” Of course, the “her” is referring to the mother of the children.

I feel confident in speaking on behalf of all homeschoolers when I say this, if you come across an individual who makes these comments, they have no idea what they are talking about.

I am not the one who stays at home and does the bulk of the educating in my home. That award goes to my wife. Allow me to say, she works harder than I do, almost every single day.

Not only does she keep our house in good shape which is hard when she lives with our children… and me. But, she spends her time teaching all the important subjects that every kid learns at school to our children. When you understand that my children are different ages, so she spends time teaching two children all of their subjects on their respective levels, it is doubly hard work. This is not to say that it is harder than any job someone else might have, just simply stating that it IS hard work.

  1. Sacrifice

Make no bones about it. Homeschooling is expensive. I am reminded of how expensive it is every time I buy all the curriculum needed for the school year. Sometimes you can swap books with a friend if you know someone with children close to the same age as yours, but for the most part it costs a lot to purchase the materials.

However, this is not even close to the sacrifice that is having your wife stay home, rather than “getting a job” to make some more money for the household. I know far too many individuals who view homeschooling (from an outside perspective) as an “excuse” for the mother to not work in a secular job.

My wife and I are willing to sacrifice the money that she could be making doing something different, because we firmly believe we are investing for a much greater purpose. More on that in a moment.

  1. Rewarding

         Just like parenting is in any area, it is rewarding. It is rewarding when you personally take your child from having 0 knowledge of a subject and you guide them into a deep knowledge of it. It truly is an amazing feeling as a parent. However, even this, is not the primary purpose for my wife and I choosing to homeschool our children. I guess it is time to get into that now.

  1. A tool to help us reach our goal, and fulfill our purpose as parents.

I want my children to be in heaven. It is my job to train them. It is my job to instill in them a love for God. It is my job to protect them. It is my job to train them up in the way that they should go. As mentioned above, I do not believe that homeschooling your children is “The right way” as in, “The only way.” I was not homeschooled, I think I turned out ok, if you disagree, keep that to yourself.

Please allow me to briefly share with you why I believe homeschooling my children will give them a better chance of remaining faithful to the Lord.

When God commanded, that parents teach their children “When they walk by the way, when they lie down, and when they rise” – Deuteronomy 6. Most children were educated while working at home with mom, or in the field with dad. They were taught what they needed to know about life, while going through life. When you examine that command to teach your children when they lie down, when they rise, when they are walking, when they are sitting what you see is that they are supposed to be spending a great deal of time with their children throughout the day.

While some states vary slightly, sending your child to public school ensures that they will be under someone else’s guidance approximately 900 – 1,000 hours a year (not counting extra-curricular activities). That is roughly 13-14 thousand hours throughout their childhood including pre-k and kindergarten. Or, nearly two full years of their life. While I do not suggest a child going to public school will without a doubt fall away from the church, what I am suggesting is that as a parent, I have a greater opportunity to influence my children in the way God would have me to do if I take those 2 years of my child’s life back from the public-school system and use that time to model a Godly example while educating them in a variety of topics.

The statistics show it. I am in my 10th year of ministry, most of that time has been dedicated to working with youth and young families. In that time, I have seen great times, I have also seen tremendous heartache. Not all good times are a result of homeschooling, and not all bad times are a direct result from public school. However, the church “dropout rate” is staggering and heart breaking. After watching many dear friends fall away from the church, my wife and I determined to do whatever we could to make our children’s souls the top priority in any decision we make for them. We began researching, reading books, studying the word of God and praying. The conclusion that we reached? We don’t have any concrete answers.

With that being said, here is what we do know, homeschool children that attend worship services, and Bible class faithfully while growing up remain faithful to the church into adulthood at a higher percentage rate than any other group we know of. Christiannews.net released an article in February 2015 detailing a in depth study that was done, dealing with 9,369 individuals who are now 18-38 years old. These individuals met these qualifications stated above and 87% of them remained faithful to the church.

Is that 100%? No, it is not. I do not believe that homeschooling my children guarantees their faithfulness. What I do believe is that for my children, it gives them the best opportunity possible to remain faithful.

 

What homeschooling is NOT for us:

 

  1. A way for us to keep our kids in a bubble.

 

“You know, homeschoolers just don’t know what life is really like.” “Have you seen that family? The homeschool family… Those kids are weird.” “I just don’t understand why someone would want to shelter their child so much, I mean they are going to hinder their development.” Yes, I have heard all of those and many, many more. Most of those statements do not warrant a response. I do however, feel the need to address 2 statements that nearly every homeschool family has heard. While I do not speak for each family, allow me to speak for mine.

 

“You know, if you homeschool your children they will be socially awkward.”

 

This statement makes complete sense, if you don’t think about it. I went to public school and was surrounded by socially awkward kids. I used to be that socially awkward person. However, all of that silliness aside, allow me to speak from my heart. I would rather have the two most socially awkward kids you have ever seen, and them have a love for God that burns so strongly that they will dedicate their lives to Him, and will be in heaven, than have the most popular kids you have ever seen and them lose their soul.

I fear that sometimes even in the church we begin valuing things that God does not. Where in scripture do you read of the need to fit in socially? Is that something Jesus did? May we never value the socially acceptable more than we value the scriptural example. One of the first things many people asked me with disgust when hearing of our decision, was “What about sports? Don’t you want them to play sports?” For the record, my son is on a football team and my daughter takes karate. It is bothersome how these insignificant issues in light of eternity become so important to those who wear the name of Christ.

Growing up, sports was my favorite part of school. If it wasn’t for football and weight lifting my high school days would have been extremely dull. I learned a lot of valuable lessons while learning to play on a team. Some of those lessons I pray my children will learn in their endeavors. That being said, not one of those benefits outweighs their walk with the Lord. If we must choose between those earthly benefits or the eternal, we will choose the eternal each and every time.

“I don’t understand why a Christian would keep their children at home, don’t they know public schools need their godly example?”

I must tell you that this question/statement kept me up at night while my wife and I were discussing how we would school our children. It is worthy of our time to think on and pray on. I have heard many answers to this. Allow me to share with you my 2 cents. When do our soldiers in our armed forces receive their training? Is it when they get to the battlefield, or beforehand? You know the answer and so do I.

It sickens me how quickly our children are exposed to the evils in this world. Allow me to share one specific example. Most are familiar with the pervasiveness and destructiveness of pornography. The average age that children are exposed to pornography is 11. Yes, you read that correctly, 11. With that being said, many children are exposed to it even younger than that, closer to age 8.

Please tell me what 8-year-old you know that is “spiritually strong enough” to “handle” their friend at school (the most common occurrence) showing them pornography.

While I cannot speak for every homeschool family, I can speak for mine. The reason we have chosen this is not because we think we are better, smarter, or more holy than those who choose otherwise. No, we do not believe we love our children more than other parents love theirs.

However, homeschooling gives us a better opportunity to train and prepare our children for the spiritual war that they will fight in this life. We want to train them and raise them to be productive members of society, but more than that, we want them to be warriors for Christ (Psalm 127:4). We do not wish to send our children into battle before they know how to use their sword (Hebrews 4:12).

It is my prayer that those in the church support and encourage all children and young families regardless of their schooling choice. Attend their functions, encourage them, participate in their programs, and most of all pray for their souls. Let’s strive forward together as the family of God, lifting each other up and running this race together.

 

 

 

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Posted by on September 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

“Dear Dad, I Get It Now”

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One of my absolute favorite things about my childhood was going camping with my family. The mountain climbing, swimming, hiking, relaxing around the fire, and of course scary stories were right up my alley.

I got to take my family camping at the same place that I grew up camping. It was a blessing. As we were making new memories together, old memories flooded my mind. In the field I was playing catch with my children I still heard my dad’s keys jingling (he wore his keys on a D link on the outside of his pants) as he would run to catch the Frisbee that I just overthrew. As we walked part of the way up a mountain I smiled as I remembered my dad waking me up one morning at 6 with the words I was waiting for “Let’s Go!” as we went hiking for hours on end. As I drove by the lake I thought about all of the magnificent sculptures he made in that sand. The man was truly an artist. I remember one particular Sunday morning that my mother provided the emblems for the Lord’s Supper while we went and worshiped in a cave. My dad spoke to us about the kind of faith it would take to live in the 1st century where Christians had to worship in caves and in other private places. He spoke with passion, and I will never forget it.

While I was trying my best to teach my son how to throw a baseball, I learned a valuable lesson. I was showing him how to throw and all he wanted to do was close his eyes and randomly throw the ball in the opposite direction. So I thought we would try batting. He kept hitting the ball behind him. Then we just played catch. I could not for the life of me get him to throw an accurate ball.

While I was chasing another one of his wild passes, I wondered how many hours my dad spent doing this for me. I wondered why I never heard him become frustrated when I couldn’t throw very well. It was about time for us to wrap up our play time and have dinner as Jagger came up and hugged my leg and said, “Daddy, thanks for teaching me how to play. You’re the best daddy.”

It was at this moment that I had my answer to my previous question. My dad never lost his cool about an off target pass or an uncoordinated swing of a bat, because my dad was not investing in an athlete, he was investing in his son.

The memories I have of my dad spending time wrestling, playing ball, playing video games, hunting, and yes even working, are some of my most precious memories that I will forever cling to.

There are moments, days, even weeks that are still unbearable as I think about losing my dad. I still can’t believe it. There have been times that I felt as if I did not know what to do with myself. However, thanks to the grace of God and the tender heart of my son I was reminded of what I should be doing… Investing in my family.

I thank God for blessing me with a father who genuinely loved me, spent time with me, and invested in me. It is my prayer that I will live up to his legacy within my family. My heart hurts because I lost a father, a daddy, a buddy, a mentor, and a friend. However, I LOVE the thought of my dad resting from his labors in paradise.

Psalm 34:18- The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

My Challenge to Dad’s

IMG_7288  This post is meant for dad’s. That being said, I believe any parent/grandparent could benefit from this. I am just simply writing this with dad’s in mind.

Dad’s, you are so important. You are the one that shapes what your son’s think manhood looks like. You are the ones that set the standard for how women should be honored and treated for your daughters. You are the one that God has laid the responsibility on to train your children in His ways (Deut 6:6-9, Eph 6:4, Joshua 4:21).

My life is upside down at the moment. One minute I am enjoying watching a movie with my wife, the next I find it hard to breathe because my dad was the one who took me to see that movie when it first came out to theaters. One minute i’m enjoying roasting hot dogs over the fire pit with my kids, then I begin to cry as I think about all the times Dad patiently taught me how to build a fire on our camping trips. One minute i’m laughing at a joke, the next I feel like i’ve been punched in the stomach with the reality that I can’t hear my dad laugh anymore. His pure, unbridled laughter that comes from a man with tremendous Joy from his God and his family, is something I will always want to hear, “one more time.”

I miss my daddy. I miss my friend.

I am forever grateful for all of the fond memories that I have of him. I will cherish them as long as I live. Something else that I will always treasure is a letter that my dad wrote to me when I was just a baby. It is a treasure. This made me think about myself as a father. This made me think about the impact that I want to make on my children and their futures.

CHALLENGE:

I want to challenge every dad to buy a notebook of sorts (The one i’m using for my son is pictured above) for each of their children. Start a journal for your children to read one day. In my journals that I have purchased for my kids I date each entry then write short letters to them. Sometimes there is an event that happens in our lives (such as the loss of my father) that I want to talk to them about, so I write it down. Sometimes there is a powerful scripture that I want to share with them along with an application, I write it down. Sometimes they make me laugh uncontrollably by their silliness, I write it down.

I plan to give my children their journals as a surprise when they are “old enough”to appreciate it and care for it. I want them to have something from me that they can cherish as much as I cherish the letter from my father.

Dad’s, we can do this. It really isn’t hard. One or two entries a week is not much to ask. I now realize that something like this could mean more to our children one day than it will ever mean to us.

If your kids are already grown, start a journal anyway. Don’t excuse yourself because your kids are “too big now.” That’s nonsense. They will enjoy the wisdom that you have at this stage in your life for as long as they live. Do it for your children. Do it for their hearts.

I am reminded of Joshua chapter 4 after Israel crossed the Jordan river with God’s help. They were commanded to collect the stones and build a tower. In verse 21 the directive was to father’s. When children ask their father’s what the stones mean, the father’s would explain to them about how God is faithful. Dad’s wouldn’t it be great if you kept a written log for your children reminding them, teaching them, and showing them of God’s faithfulness to them and their family even from the time that they were too young to remember it?

Do it for your children. Do it for you. I love you all.

in Him,

Troy Rogers

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

When your compass breaks

Twenty years ago my dad took our family to Quartz Mt State Park to go camping. This wasn’t out of the norm. We frequented that location. In fact my mother made a patch to put on our camping tent that said “home away from home”, and that it was. Our family took great comfort in getting away from our routine and spending time together out in nature.

My dad woke me up early one morning and said the words I was longing to hear, “Let’s Go!”

I sprung into action. He took me climbing and hiking all over the mountains. We climbed to the top of the first mountain, then the next and the next. by the time we made it down we had to hike 4 miles back to the car. We spent the entire day hiking together, father and son. We went up this hill, over that boulder, through this cave, down this slope… I never worried about getting back to camp. I had my dad, my compass.

When I was a teenager and working with him trimming apartment complexes and I messed something up or had a problem I couldn’t figure out. It wasn’t a big deal. I had my dad to help me. When I played football and I struggled with my technique, my dad helped me. When my car broke down on the side of the road when I was driving to college, Dad rescued me. When Meagan and I married he wrote us a note reminding us that my parents and Meagan’s parents were here for us to ask advice, but decisions were to be between my wife and I. He wrote the words, “I’ll always be here when you need me.” Boy, did I abuse that 🙂

When we purchased our first house he was there to inspect it to give his opinion. He helped me replace the roof, redo some flooring, fix plumbing issues, and yes, fix my car again. When we had children he was there… I took such comfort in those words from him, “I will always be here.” I didn’t fear job changes, moves, raising teenagers, etc… I had my dad to talk to.

Four weeks ago today, I lost my compass. At least, that is initially the way I viewed it. I felt like myself 20 years ago hiking in the mountains only this time, I have no idea how to get back to camp and this time, I can’t ask dad to tell me how. Each day I long to wake up from this terrible nightmare. Only to be reminded that I am not asleep.

What I am being reminded of each day is the fact that my compass is not broken. Its not even lost. My father’s direction that he gave me was continually pointing me to the Word of God. I still have God’s Word. I still have my compass. (Psalm 119:105).

Every single day, I cry. Every single day, I hurt. Every single day I love my family more, I sing praises to my God, I rest in the knowledge that my dad is not hurting, I long to be with The Lord and my dad.

This journey is long and dark. I know that even though I am walking through this valley of death, my God is with me (Psalm 23). I think the same thoughts that King David expressed after losing his son in 2 Samuel 12. I cannot bring him back, I will go to him.

“O, Father. Help me in my weakness. Comfort me in my pain and in my fear. Lead me beside your still waters and restore my soul. I love you for who you are and for what you have done. Strengthen my resolve to live for you. Help me to honor you as my dad honored you. Thank you for my father. Thank you for taking his pain. in Jesus name, amen.”

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Dear Daddy: You have always been my hero.

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As I look around our society today, it is painfully clear that our world has forgotten what it means to really be a man. They chase after money, power, and anything self-indulging. I stand here today, blessed. Because I did not simply have a biological father, I had a daddy. My dad taught me what it means to be a man. It is impossible to sum up in a few minutes all that any man has accomplished or the impact that he had. That is especially true with my dad. I will not be attempting to do so today. I simply wanted to honor dad by sharing with you the most important things that he taught me.

1. Dad taught me that God comes first, no matter what.
Some of you may not know that my parents were not Christians when they were first married. Soon after children entered their life, my mom made the decision to follow Christ. My dad was a little more hesitant to make that choice.
When he decided to follow Christ, he never looked back. He read us stories from the bible as we were kids, he sat down with us and studied God’s word when we were considering being baptized, he helped me write the first lessons that I gave, he built me a pulpit that was the perfect size for a young boy, and he made sure that we never missed a service of the church as long as we were able to attend. I am eternally grateful for his sincere faith.

2. He taught me how to pray.
He came into my bedroom and prayed with me before bed, he made sure we talked to God before our meals. When dad prayed, he didn’t just say words, he spoke from his heart to His God.
Around 5 years ago I was out in dad’s workshop with him and he said the elders here at Blanchard had visited with him about him becoming an elder. One of the reasons they believed so strongly that he was qualified was because of his two kids. (Although, some might say that they did a questionable job 🙂
He told me that he didn’t deserve any credit for the way that Keshia and I turned out. When I asked him why he believed that he said. “I didn’t do anything to make you who you are, I just prayed for you every single day.” I told him that that is what made him such a great dad. He didn’t fool himself into thinking that parenting was about him, he knew it was about God.

3. He taught me a hatred for sin.

As I stand before you today, I hate sin more than ever. The Bible tells us in Genesis 3 that when sin entered the world, so did pain and death.
Dad watched as various sins ripped apart the lives of those that he loved and he developed a strong hatred for it. Because my dad was not usually very “public” many people didn’t realize the depth of his faith on a day to day level. One of the highlights of my childhood (at least it’s the way I see it now 🙂 was getting to work with my dad.
One day while we were working on some apartments, I heard my dad say a word that he should not have said. I was shocked, I had never heard him use a word like that. I turned back to look at him, and he had knelt down and grabbed some sawdust and put it in his mouth. I thought, “He really has lost his mind” I asked him what he was doing, and he said, “I just don’t want to forget how bad sin tastes, I’m sorry son.” I believe it was this humble transparency, of a man who never pretended to have “arrived” that showed me the genuineness of his faith, and ultimately drew me closer to God.

4. He taught me how to preach.
Anyone that heard my dad speak in public would never confuse him with an “eloquent public speaker” he would often joke about trying to break his record of saying “um” 100 times in a lesson.
Even still, I learned more from him than I have from many other instructors. He spoke from his heart. He encouraged me as I spoke, to not get in the habit of reciting things, but to speak from the heart. I carry that with me each time I step behind a pulpit.

5. He taught me how to be a husband/ and a father.
On mine and Meagan’s wedding day I was in a room in this building waiting on “the signal” that it was time to go. He came in the room and asked all the groomsmen to leave, I wasn’t sure what was on his mind. He asked me, “are you sure you want to marry Meagan?” I laughed and I nodded yes.
He said, “Son, you need to understand that you are not signing up to simply live with her. You are committing to take care of her, and place her above you every day.” He then told me that when I marry Meagan, she is “his daughter now” and if I didn’t care for her, I would have to answer to him as well as my father- in – law.
It was so evident watching the way he loved and cared for my mom, that my dad practiced what he preached.

My dad not only cared for my mom, he was the best father to me and keshia that anyone could ever hope for.
My dad wrote me a letter. I want to read part of that to you today: “Troy, my boy where have you gone? Would you please not be gone very long? Call me, write me, tell me I’m wrong. Tell me that my boy isn’t gone. I’ve watched you grow from babe to lad, we have always run short on the time that we’ve had, I turn now to the boy I once knew, and shake the man’s hand that now belongs to you. The boy I knew is now up and gone, and that child, for him, I still long but he is grown now and here I stand, face to face with my son, the man.”
The interesting part about this letter is he wrote it shortly after my 1st birthday. He understood that time was the most valuable commodity. When Keshia and I were still very young dad worked for a company that required him to leave before we woke up and return after we went to bed. We rarely saw him. My mom says that I came in to her one day and asked, “When is daddy going to come visit?” I didn’t realize he lived with us at the time. When mom relayed my message to dad, she tells me he just sat down and wept. He told her that something had to change. Without knowing what he was doing, he left a secure job and started working for himself. We didn’t have everything we wanted (materially) but we had our daddy. I wouldn’t trade him for the world.
He wasn’t just a dad to me and Keshia. He was sort of a community dad. He took care of many other kids along the way and treated them just like they were his own children. There are many friends, cousins, in-laws, co-workers, and church members here today that know exactly what I’m referring to.

6. He taught us how to work hard.
In a time when so many people are looking for handouts, my dad wouldn’t accept anything that he didn’t feel that he had earned from his labor. He had such a physically demanding occupation. He would wake up before most people and work long hours, then when he got home there was always something else he had to work on. Getting to work with my dad for several years on construction sites I grew to appreciate his work ethic. He never was one to cut corners.
He was always positive while on the job site… He would often tell me (or anyone who worked with him) to put a little pep in their step, we are almost finished, which we all knew meant we had a long way to go.
I loved to pick on him and accuse him of making me do all the hard work while he did the easy stuff. However, the fact of the matter is, my dad was the strongest, hardest working man I’ve ever been around. There was a time in high school that my dad had to install a display unit he had built and I was out of town and no one was able to help him, so he loaded it in the truck by himself. It weighed 800 pounds.
He would tell me recently that my arms were getting too big and that I was getting too strong. The fact is, I will never be as strong as he was. He didn’t go to the gym. He simply worked hard, every day of his life. even as recent as a week ago, mom tells me that dad spent several hours outside swinging an axe. I doubt you could find a single individual that wouldn’t tell you that my dad had an incredible work ethic.

Most people talk about being proud of their kids… I can not express the pride I have to tell people who my mom and dad are.
7. He taught me how to laugh
He loved life. He always had a positive outlook on life. He was always the “life of the party” he loved picking on people, and he loved it when they would pick back at him. When I think about my father, the image that I have is a man that is full of love, selflessness, and a smile that could light up any room.
Dad was one of the most masculine men I’ve ever known. He loved football, he loved competing with me in various physical events (running the 40) even with all of his manliness, he had no problem wearing his granddaughters pink tiara’s and having a tea party.
I will always cherish the fact that even while in the hospital he was joking and picking on people. He was teasing us for being worried about Him. He also felt uncomfortable by the fact that people were coming to see him, after all, they had “other things” they could be doing. Because he was in ICU his grandkids weren’t allowed in to see him. So he asked me to take a video on my phone of him talking to them. He was telling them that the only reason they couldn’t see him is because of those “mean ol doctors.”

Recently Meagan has told me on several occasions that I am turning into my father. I hope she is right.

This sudden pain doesn’t seem real. At times, we don’t know what to think or do. All that I know is that we were SO blessed because of his life.
Mom tells me that dad would sit in his chair in the living room and when he was having a bad day he would talk about all of the negative things surrounding him. Mom said she would point at the wall that had the pictures of his grandkids… He would smile and say, God has been so good to us, we are blessed.

We do not understand. We don’t know why or how. But, we know that God is good, and we will praise him for caring for my dad.

Nahum 1:7-The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.

If you want to honor my dad. Give God your heart (not in word only, but by obedience to His Word) and allow your love to flow from you freely. I miss you daddy. you have always been my hero

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Dear Son,

One night last week my son said something to me that shook me. Not just caught me off guard, but shook me to my core. I was laying him in his bed, we talked about the day, we prayed, and I was about to leave the room… Then, it happened. He said “Daddy, can I ask you something?” Since my son is a very smart 3 year old, I assumed he was about to come up with some reason why it was NOT his bedtime yet. I asked him what it was that he wanted to ask, I will quote his question for you here, “Daddy, will you tell me what I need to know so I can go to heaven?” I wasn’t expecting that question. Realizing that my 3 year old son is not mentally capable of grasping God’s plan of salvation, I knew this was not time for Bible study, I simply assured him that I would.

I stayed up a little later that night laying in bed and praying to God. Asking that He help me be a better dad. I kept repeating his question over and over. assuring myself that I could fulfill his request. However, there was something bothering me. I know of many people (some very close to me) that know what the Bible says about how to get to heaven, and yet, they choose their own path. I know people who know that the Lord’s church plays a crucial role in God’s plan, and that Christ died to establish it, yet, they convince themselves that they don’t really NEED the church. It is simply, a good idea for some. I know people who can quote more Bible verses than I can who are not living them. It hit me harder than ever that night that my job is bigger with my children than to simply teach them the plan of salvation. It is deeper. The following is part of an “Open Letter” I have written to my son for when he is older. I am sharing part of it with you for your encouragement as well.

               “Dear Son,

As of this writing you are too young to read. It is my prayer that when you are old enough and the time is right, you will understand how much your mother and I love you. I can’t wait to share my passions with you buddy. I can’t wait to talk sports with you, show you how to hunt, fish, and do some handiwork. I can’t wait to take you camping, and mountain climbing. Above all of these things, I can’t wait to to watch you grow up in the Lord. You asked me once if I would teach you what you needed to know in order to go to heaven. Thank you for asking me. I would love to tell you. However, I cannot teach you all you need to know in a letter. I’m not sure I even know everything that I need to teach you yet. I do want to talk to you about one thing in this letter son. I need to talk to you about your heart.

Buddy, God has blessed you with a kind and tender heart. As you grow, the world will try to teach you that in order for you to “be a man” you have to be hardened. Please son, don’t listen. It is the tenderness of heart that will let you see the good in people. It is your kindness that allows you to show compassion. Jesus is recorded as someone that showed compassion to others, even when He was suffering from a deep personal loss (Matthew 14). Your kindness of heart will help you to realize your own sin, as well as urge you to reach out to those who are outside of Christ.

Satan will attack your heart. He will try his best to hurt you. You will be hurt by people that you thought were your friends. You will see someone within the church behaving in a way that you know they shouldn’t and it will make you question things. There will come a time or two, or even three, where you are hurt financially. It will sting you deeply. It will make you question things again. Satan will try to lure your heart away from God by showing you things in the world that look great, but ultimately lead to death (Romans 6:16).

Satan will use words of flattery to try to soften your stance on doctrinal issues. He will try to convince you that what you believe can’t be right because _____________ doesn’t believe that, and they are living a good life, therefore you really must be mistaken. He will try to get you to become firmer than you need to be and adopt a holier than thou attitude toward others. My son, if you never listen to another word I say, please listen to me now. Do not let Satan steal your heart.

The psalmist writes in psalm 119:10-11 that seeking God with all of your heart and storing His word in your heart is essential to avoiding Satan’s pit falls. Buddy, there are going to be times in life that it is simply easier to ignore this command. Maybe we are “too busy” to study, or maybe we know what the word says, but for our own comfort we “forget about that passage” for a moment. There are going to be times that you don’t feel like serving. There will be times that you don’t want to “go to church” and worship God. There will be times that you will want to do things your own way, and assume that God will just understand your heart. My son, this is Satan working on your heart. Don’t let Satan steal your heart, guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).

My son, follow Jesus. When Jesus was on this earth He had one consistent message, “follow me.” It is the same message you and I need to follow. Please buddy, don’t follow me. I make too many mistakes I say things I shouldn’t, I don’t always handle things well. If you follow me you will follow my mistakes. Please, follow Jesus. My son, I love you. I promise to try to be a good gatekeeper for our house. I promise I will try to teach you what you need to know. I promise I will try to guard you from the lion (1 Peter 5:8). However, there will come a time, (If it is not already here) that I can’t guard you anymore. It is a decision that you have to make. Please son, don’t let Satan steal your heart.

Love, Dad.”

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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“As a Rule, Man is a Fool”

One of my favorite quotes dealing with the subject of contentment is this: “As a rule, man is a fool. When it is hot he wants it cool, when it is cool he wants it hot, He is always wanting what is not.”

I do not remember where I first heard this saying, but it has stuck with me for years. I have been guilty of this. When it is summer time i complain about the heat. I say that I wish fall would hurry up so I can watch football again. When fall arrives I wish that the weather would hurry and turn colder to make for better hunting opportunities. During the heart of winter (assuming I have seen snow at least once) I long for spring time. I enjoy spending time playing with my family in the front yard, going hiking, fishing, and yes, I even enjoy a little yard work. As spring progresses I start looking forward to the vacation that I have planned… for the summertime.

In southwest Oklahoma we have been experiencing a pretty bad drought for the last couple of years. I would see many friends post on Facebook about how much we desperately need rain. Even going as far as to ask everyone to pray that God would bless us with abundant rain. Over the last week or so, we have been blessed with rain. You guessed it. It lasted about 24 hours before some of those same Facebook friends were complaining about the rain.

Unfortunately, this mindset does not stop at our desire for changes in weather. It shows its ugly head in many areas of our life. I believe that one of the hardest things to learn is also one of the most necessary. Contentment. When the apostle Paul spoke of contentment in Philippians 4:11 He mentioned that he had “learned” to be content. implying that contentment is not a natural thing. It is the opposite.

Natural responses:

  • We witness a friend buy a new car, and we immediately think about how inadequate our vehicle is. We need to buy a new one.
  • We see pictures posted by our friends of their amazing vacations that they have been saving up for, and we are jealous and we begin to ask why that can’t be us.
  • We go to a friends house for dinner and notice that their dinnerware is nicer than what we own. We now hate what we own.
  • We look around our living room and we notice that one piece of furniture that has a small hole in it, or a stain from a child and all we can do is think about how great this room would look if it wasn’t for that piece of furniture.
  • We hear our friends talking about how much fun they had at a church event down the street, and we begin questioning why “our church” never does anything fun like that.

We could go on and on about the natural response to many different situations that we encounter, but I believe you get the point. My challenge to myself and to you this week is that when these thoughts (and others that are similar) creep into our minds, close the door on them. Do not allow these thoughts (Satan) to have a foothold in your life. James 3:16 tells us that where selfishness exists, so does every evil thing. Think about it, can you name one sin that does not come from selfishness? When we allow ourselves to be discontent with the lives we have we are giving Satan a foothold in our heart, and opening ourselves up for disaster.

Paul reminds us how he was able to learn contentment. Jesus. We love to quote Phil 4:13- “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It is powerful to keep this in its proper context. Paul was able to maintain his contentment because of Jesus. Focus on your savior today, not your struggles.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 
 
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