At best, the church gets 52 hours a year to disciple your children. In your homes, however, you have over 3000 hours. At Tabernacle, we believe that the home should be the primary place of discipleship for your children. Their love for God should be both caught and taught.
- Teach Children to Love God by Your Example (Deut. 6:6)
- Be Diligent to Teach Children to Love God Beyond Sunday (Deut. 6:7-9)
Amen. If you have a copy of God’s word this morning, I pray that you do, open it with me to Deuteronomy chapter six. We’re going to be there again. We were there a few weeks. We’re going to be there once again. We’re going to be focusing on verses six through nine of Deuteronomy six. Today, we’re talking about our faith beyond Sunday once again. We’re in the last week of this series. If you’ve been here, it’s been a great series in God’s word that looked at a number of different things that we do beyond the Sunday morning hour and a number of different things that God gets the glory in. Today, our focus will be the next generation, our children, and the parenting or grandparenting or the influencing of our children beyond Sunday.
I want to tell you that there is a fight going on right now for every child’s heart. No matter how young they are or how old they are, there’s a battle going on. It’s against the enemy. We’re, for the glory of God, on the other side of that battle. You need to know this, though. Whoever has the most intensity, who tries the hardest, and ultimately has the most influence usually is the one that wins the battle. Now, that can be good for you, but it should also be convicting for you. I guess the question is, as we lead into this message: Who has your child’s ear? Who has control of their eyes? What are they watching? What are they listening to? Who has the influence of your children and your grandchildren? Because whoever has the influence over them, that’s the one that’s going to be guiding their future.
That’s the one that’s going to be teaching them how to live as a young adult and into adulthood. Whoever they turn out to be, because you’re sitting there thinking, “This is a message about children and grandchildren. I don’t have any in my life right now. It doesn’t apply to me,” no, they’re the ones that are going to be leading the nation you will live in. That next generation, they’re the ones that are going to be taking care of you when you’re too old, and your mind is gone, and you can not take care of yourself. They’re the ones that are going to be making the decisions, running the world, and have the responsibility of proclaiming the gospel to the ends of the earth. This message applies to everybody.
In 2014, Dr. Richard Ross here, and he was posing the question about who has the influence in your child’s life and should the influence of the world look different than your influence in their life. He proposed the question to look at that in a little bit different way that I’ll never forget. He posed the question, and I still remember it today. He goes, “What do you suppose an atheist,” which means someone who doesn’t even believe that God exists. “What do you suppose an atheist would want for their children?” At first, I was like, “I don’t care what they want for their children.” He goes, “No, just think through with me.” I want you to do that with me this morning. What do you think an atheist would want for their child? You’d probably come up with three major things.
An atheist would probably want their child to be loved, to be successful, and to be a contributing member of society. You could reasonably say that’s what an atheist would want for their child. To be successful means to make good grades in school, to get into a good university or a good trade school, to have a good job and to be able to have enough money to take care of themselves. To be loved is to find a spouse that loves them and will respect them and to care for them, protect them, and make them feel loved. To be a contributing member of society, an atheist might say, “I want them to be kind and care for others, pay their taxes, do things that they need to be good American citizens.” That doesn’t sound unreasonable, right, what an atheist would want for their children. Now, some of you are sitting there thinking, “Yeah, I agree with that. So what?”
Well, take it to the next level. Some of you also might be thinking, “Well, do I really want anything different for my child?” Is there a difference? Do you want anything more than that for your child? You’re sitting there as a Christian going, “Yeah, one more thing. I want them to be successful, I want them to be loved, I want them to be contributing members of our American society, pay taxes, be kind and things like that, and I also want them to be active in church.” I want to tell you, if that’s what you’re doing, if you’re just tagging on active membership in a church to the end and everything else is the same, I would encourage you today, you’re still missing it. To get a full picture of what we should want for our children and how it can be and should be different from the society or any unbeliever that you know out there in the world today, we have to turn back to Deuteronomy six. Go to Deuteronomy chapter six, and let’s look here at the message. We’re going to be honing in on verses six through nine.
If you remember a few weeks ago when we were looking at our mission beyond Sunday, we went to Deuteronomy six. We saw from that passage that there is one God, and he is Lord, meaning he is the Lord of our life. He has his Son Jesus Christ, of which is our Savior, and we are to love God with all that we have and all that we are. We’re supposed to love our neighbor as ourself. Jesus repeats this in the New Testament. We dove in Deuteronomy and saw this is our most important thing to focus on beyond Sunday. This is number one. This is our primary mission. Here’s my point. If it’s our primary mission to love God and to love others beyond Sunday, shouldn’t that be the primary thing that we’re focusing on as we’re rearing children in our society?
See, we’re not here to make good children that obey us and listen to us when we’re at Walmart or in public. No, we’re here to introduce our children to a good God and a good Savior. Once they know that good God, he will turn them into what it means to be good. That’s exactly what God is saying in Deuteronomy six. Let’s go back there. We’re going to pick up here in verse four. We’ve heard verse four, five, and six. Then, the new verses will be verses six, seven, eight, and nine. Let’s stand together. Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might,” or your strength. This is the greatest commandment Jesus says.
Then, he goes on in verse 6, “These words which I am commanding you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons, and shall talk of them when you sit down in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a signs on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” This is God’s word. Please be seated. More than the grades that your children or your grandchildren make in school, more than the school they go to, the college they choose for themselves, more than the trade school that they choose, more than the job that they have, more than who they choose to be their spouse and who they are loved by, more than how good of an American citizen they become, how much respect they have, more than all of that is our responsibility as adults to pass on our love for God to them so they can own it on their own.
If we miss this, to teach our children and grandchildren to love God and to love others, the other stuff doesn’t matter anyway. Yeah, I want my children to be successful but successful in the eyes of God. Sure, I want my children to be loved, but how can they understand love if they’re not first in love and loved by God? Yes, I want my children to be active members of our American society, but what does that even mean? The founders would say that it means to love God first, to love others, and to follow his commands as according to the scriptures. Let’s see this in the view of how God sees it, starting in verse six. Number one, teach your children to love God by your example. I love this passage because it’s so practical. It teaches us what to pass on to our children, it teaches us how to pass that on to our children, and it teaches us even when we should be passing that on to our children. In verse six, it starts with a little bit of how before we get too deep into the what.
You need to teach your children to love God by your example, which means that you must first love God yourself. If you’re here today and you have a child, if you’re here today and you have a grandchild, heck, if you’re here today and you have the influence of any child at any point during the week, you need to teach them to love God by your example, which means you can not teach them to love God if you don’t first love him yourself. You can’t pass on to somebody something you do not have. To love God is something that is better caught than taught. Yes, we’re going to talk about how you teach them the love of God and what exactly that is, but before we get to all that, my real question is: Do you love God? I’m not saying do you say, “Yes, everybody should love God,” but do you, as an individual who has influence over a child, do you yourself love God? Do the children in your life see you loving God? Because if they don’t, you can’t automatically assume they’re going to catch what you’re trying to talk about if they don’t see it from you.
A lot of parents say, “Just do as I do. Don’t do as I say.” That’s utter nonsense. Your children are smarter than that. They are most likely going to do what you do. What you need to be able to say to your child is, “Loving God will work for you because it works for me,” but not just to say that. They’ll only believe it when they see it. Then, they need to see you loving God. If you haven’t listened to that message on what it means to live life on mission by first loving God, go back and listen to it, not just because I’m a great preacher, but, more importantly, because God’s word is great. We discussed three things in that message of what it means to love God with everything that we are coming out of Deuteronomy chapter six verses four and five.
Number one, I said you need to love God in Christ. Number two, you need to love God daily by reading his word. Number three, you need to love God daily in prayer. This is true for your children, but it has to start with you. All of you here today would probably say, “I want my child to love Christ. I want my child to have salvation. I want my child to love God in Christ.” That’s great that you say it. I commend you for saying it, but you must first love God in Christ if you want them to love God in Christ. We’d all want to say, “I want my children to pray.” Great. I want your children to pray too, but you must first love God daily in prayer if you want your children to love God daily in prayer. How can you teach them something that you do not know? How can they observe you practicing something that you do not do? Children learn by example.
Many would say, “I want my child to daily read the Bible.” That’s good. My question back to you is: Do you daily read the Bible? Do they know that you do that? Do they see you doing that? There was a study this week that I read put out by Christianity Today. Lots of things in that study were convicting, but it said that there are teenagers, can you believe this? There are teenagers in our world today that read the Bible weekly. Some of them are right here. When they surveyed the teenagers that read the Bible weekly, 90% of them that read the Bible weekly said that their parents read the Bible either often or even sometimes. What does that mean? That means if you want a teenager that reads the Bible, your teenager needs to have a parent that reads the Bible. It’s not complicated. You need to teach your children to love God by your example.
Another thing that convicted me about Dr. Ross’ sermon when he was here in 2014, he said, “God turns your child’s heart towards you.” That’s how they’re created. That’s why many sons and daughters act like mom and dad. God’s turned their heart towards you. He also says, we find in the last book of the Bible, Malachi, that God’s not only turned their hearts towards you, but he’s turned your heart towards them. He says if you are going to pass on the love that you have for God in your heart, which you must have if you ever hope that they’re going to have it, it has to come through a conduit. Isaac, come up here. He didn’t want to, but you need to get up here, boy. This is my son Isaac. I want to show you. Way to go, buddy. Sorry. I could have chose somebody else, but you’re my son.
He says that if you’re going to pass on the love that you have for God to your child, it has to come through a conduit. This is a conduit, just a pipe, PVC pipe. It was dirty this morning. I cleaned it. I found it my garage, and here it is. The conduit, when your heart is connected to your child’s heart, the conduit of which your love for God passes to them is called a … Remember what it is? Yeah, a conduit, a relationship. You’re right. This technically is a conduit. Water passes. Conduit, spiritually, if you’re going to pass your love for God onto your child, it comes through a relationship. You can sit down. Thank you. Spiritually, let’s ask the question. What’s a conduit? Relationship. You have to establish a relationship with your child. That relationship is they see you love God, is they hear you love God, they interact with you on a daily basis. That love of God, that will pass the love that you have for God on.
Some of you want to pass on your love for God when you only talk to your children once a week. In that once a week time that you spend with your child, you think that you can just kind of force God down their throat. It’s not going to happen. Your heart’s connected to theirs only through a relationship. Once that relationship’s established, boy, I want to tell you it’s like a superhighway of faith. It will pass from your heart to theirs because they will see you living it. A relationship’s important, but the relationship doesn’t even matter if you don’t first love God in your heart. That’s what God’s saying here. You love God, establish a relationship, and a lot of it naturally will take care of itself.
One day, this gets good, get ready. One day, if you’re intentional about it, which we’re going to talk about, and you have that relationship, and they can see you loving God, that faith through the power of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit will pass to them. They’ll make that decision to trust Christ on their own. You can’t do it for them. They can watch you do it. Seeing your children own their love for God, church family, there’s nothing greater than that. You think you want to be your child’s friend. I think you should try to do that. That’s okay. You think all these things about what you want in your relationship with your child. Nothing is going to bring you greater joy than seeing the love of Christ grow in them and for them to own it.
Say, “Pastor, how can you guarantee that?” I’ve lived it. I’m speaking from experience. I’ve seen all three of my children surrender to relationship with Jesus Christ, and I’m good. Do I still parent them? Yeah. Do they still make mistakes? Yeah. Do I make mistakes? Isaac, don’t answer this, but the answer is yes. You can’t come up here for that. Sometimes, despite your mistakes, they will own their faith. Just this last week, Christian was talking to me, he’s my youngest son, about wanting to be baptized. Why did that conversation come up? Because last week he saw his good friend be baptized. The Wiley family is a great example of what I’m talking about today. Little Carter Wiley was in Sunday school one day. He started learning things about God and about Jesus. He started asking questions.
Well, he didn’t just ask the questions here. He went home and asked the questions there, which is why we believe that the primary source of spiritual formation for your child comes from the home, not the church, but we partner together. I want to be your partner. We want to equip you. He asked the questions at home. Mom and dad lead little Carter to faith in Christ. They start discipling them at home. We help. He understood baptism, wanted to show his example of faith through baptism, and he was baptized. Christian watched it and said, “Daddy, I want to be baptized.” Christian surrendered to a relationship with Jesus years ago, and that was awesome. We’d been waiting to baptize him because we wanted to make sure he understood the difference between gospel salvation, being saved, and gospel obedience, which is not connected to salvation other than through a pitcher, which is baptism.
He started to get it this week. I mean, he was answering questions right. He was so excited. He goes, “Daddy, like Carter, I want to write my testimony.” If you know Christian, you’re thinking, “Okay. I should probably help you with that.” “No, no. I want to write it.” I was like, “Okay.” I say, “Yeah, you can take first shot.” I didn’t know how excited he was about it until I went into his room one morning waking him up, and there was a little sticky note. On a little globe in his room, the sticky note read, “Be sure to write testimony today,” kind of broken English, but I understood what it meant. We came home that night. We didn’t know that he was going to do this. When we walk in, he’d already done his homework to make sure he wouldn’t get in trouble. He handed us a piece of paper. It was lined out point one through point 10, just like his mom, organized, 10 points of his personal testimony.
I so wanted to read that for you today, but I’m going to wait. I’m going to let you hear it when he’s in the baptistry because that’s God’s moment with him, and I don’t want to let it out too early. As I was reading those 10 points, I had a smile on my face because he’s just a little goofy, but in his own words, as he’s telling me how he wants to show you how he’s gone from an old creation to a new Christian, praise God for that. When I was reading about how, I mean, like three lines is like I’m just so glad today came. I started to feel like I was oppressing my son, keeping him from being baptized. I never thought this day would happen. As I was reading those words, tears filled my eyes, a smile came across my face. I’m telling you, there’s nothing like it, but it doesn’t happen on accident. Teach your children to love God first by your example. It has to be here if you ever want it to be there.
There’s some practical things on how to do it. Let’s continue reading in verses six through nine of Deuteronomy chapter six. Number two here, be diligent to teach children, your children and your grandchildren, to love God beyond Sunday. That’s what he’s talking about. For them, I guess it’s beyond Saturday, the Sabbath, but in verses seven through nine, it’s talking about things that are beyond when you gather together for corporate worship that happens as you live your life and when you’re at your home, not at the church house. Verse seven, “You shall teach them diligently to your sons,” and even your daughters is what is implied here, “and shall talk of them when,” not when you’re in church, “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.” That’s not talking about only on Sunday morning. It’s talking about the rest of the week.
It’s the same three things that you need to learn about loving God that your children need to learn about loving God. Remember I said love God in Christ, love God daily by reading his word, and love God daily in prayer. What do I teach my child about loving God? That’s it. First and foremost above everything else, your child’s just like you. They’re a little sinner. I’m a big sinner. They’re incapable of loving God on their own apart from Christ. You need to tell your children and tell them often about God and his glory, his majesty as creator, how he is perfect, above everything, knows everything, has all power. Make God look grand to your children. Once he looks grand to them, help them understand how sinful they are. “I don’t want to tell my child how bad they are.” Listen, they already know it.
You need to be truthful with your child. This goes for all types of other parenting things, by the way. Sometimes I don’t want to tell my child things that are going to hurt their feelings. Get over it. You need to tell things to your child that are truthful. If it hurts them to hear that they have sin, that’s okay because they need that pain. Tell them how God is perfect and he can’t be around sin in heaven. Therefore, the sin that they have, explain sin to them on whatever level they can understand. Explain it to them often. Help them understand that their sin will keep them separated from God, not only on this earth, but forever and all of eternity. Once you see them understand and grasp the grandeur of God and their own sinfulness, then tell them and tell them often about their redeemer.
Tell them about Jesus and that’s why he came, to deal with their sin problem, to live a life of perfection, as he was fully God and fully man. Tell them how he died on the cross to be their substitute. You can use these words. Explain it to them, to make atonement for their sin. Because of that, he is their redeemer and wants to rescue them from their sin if they would just repent of their sin and believe in him. Whatever way they understand it, start building that knowledge about God, about sin, about Jesus. Then, once they fully understand it, show them how to accept him as their own personal Lord and Savior. Teach them early, tell them often, and one day it will click. That’s the content. Then, once you do that, then you got other things to do. It’s just getting started. You’re not done when your child surrenders to relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s really the beginning.
Teach them then what? To read God’s word daily. That’s how you love him, and then obey it. Teach them to pray to God daily. That’s what it means to have a relationship with him. Not only is this passage telling us about how, meaning by your example, and what, to love God in Christ and these other ways, but then it also tells you when. Look at what it goes on to tell us in verse seven. Most of this is beyond Sunday. “Teach your children,” it says, “diligently when you are sitting at home, when you travel on the road, when you’re walking.” We don’t walk anymore, but we drive, “and then when you lie down, and when you rise up.” That means any time you can, you teach them. Now, you may get confused on verse eight and nine here when it’s talking about how to teach your children the commands of God, when it says what you do is you bind them on your forearms, you put it on your head, and you put it at your gates.
Now, there are people in Israel today that take that literally, and they have a box that they put on their head. They tie it around their forehead, and it has scripture written in it. Then, they put the same kind of box and wrap it around their forearms. Then, they put that same scroll, it has 22 lines of Deuteronomy in it to include this passage today, it’s called a mezuzah, and they put it on their doorpost outside their home and their gates. Is that how? No. That’s not how. Clearly what we see here is an application of all that you are and everywhere you go, that’s an opportunity for you to spiritually pour the truth of God’s word into your children. Wherever your forearms go, wherever your forehead goes, that’s where you take the word of God with you. Outside of your home, as the foundation of your home, everything inside your home needs to be laced with and built upon the foundation of God’s word. Not just on a Sunday morning is the point, but be diligent to teach your children how to love God by your example, by your actions, by everything that you do beyond Sunday.
This is what matters. This is what God wants for us. We believe this as a church. We build this Kid’s Town building, 13,000 square feet of awesomeness, not to do your job for you. We only built that building to help you do your job and for that rare occasion, it’s sad, but God is an awesome God, sometimes despite you. Sometimes a child will come. I heard a story this week about two children that go to church with another church member’s daughter, and their mom and dad are atheist, but because their friends go to that church, they let their children go to that church. You know what’s going to happen there probably? Calling it. They’re going to come to know Christ as their Savior, and the children are going to teach the parents, but that’s rare. Don’t you dare depend on that. That’s not what God says here. God can do it despite you, but he wants to do it through you.
We teach a curriculum, it’s called Orange Curriculum. Orange is an interesting color. They chose it on purpose. Orange comes from the colors yellow and what is that, teachers? What’s the other color? Red, being combined together. The writers of the Orange Curriculum says that yellow represents the love of God in the church and red represents the love of God in the home. The curriculum is written to combine the two, the two working together primarily on your shoulders for the spiritual discipline of your children. We not only believe this in curriculum, but even in the building of our building, we wanted to push this vision. For example, when you walk into the check-in room, you’ll notice two mock houses there. Actually, one’s a house and one’s a mock church. I want to zoom in for a second.
I want you to notice the addresses of the church and the home. The address of the church is 52. The address of the home is 3,000. Why would we choose that? Well, here’s the reality. Best case scenario, we’re going to get 52 hours with your child during a year. How many of you bring your children to church 52 hours this year? Don’t raise your hand. I’m proud of you if you did it. If you didn’t, you’re normal. Most people only get between 40 and 50 hours at church, and that’s if they’re active. What’s 3,000? 3,000, parents and grandparents, that’s the number of hours that you get with your children beyond Sunday. I wonder: Where’s the primary source of potential spiritual formation going to come from, those 52 hours or those 3,000 hours? You know the answer to that. It’s you, your influence, your time that you take, your diligence.
Now, go back to the scriptures. This is exactly what God is talking about here. Look at verse seven. It says be diligent to pass your love for God on to your daughters and your sons. The word diligent here can also be translated intentional. It can also be translated repetitive. It’s the Hebrew word shanan. It’s where we get the name Shannon. How about that? It’s the word that means to sharpen and/or to repeat. I brought a hunk of steel in with me today. This is an old axehead. It’s actually a splitting head. It’s not very sharp. It’s not going to cut me, not doing much damage. This old splitting head is just a raw piece of steel. Now, if I’m going to take this piece of steel and I’m going to make it useful like a knife, what’s the difference? This is a big hunk of steel and it’s useful for some things, but it’s not useful for anything while it’s dull, but this knife, I want to promise you, it’s sharp. If you know me, my knives are always sharp.
A good blade is a sharp blade for everyday tasks or in battle, but a dull blade is not good for much. What do I need to do? I need to take this raw piece of steel, and I need to put it on an abrasive. I need to work it again and again. I can actually probably transform a piece of this if I melted it down and even turn it into a knife or a very sharp ax or even a broad head for the tip of an arrow. That’s what you need to do with your children. Sometimes your children come to you raw. All the time they come to you raw. God blessed you with this moldable piece of weaponry, let’s call your children, but it’s up to you to put it on the abrasive through discipline, through instruction, through example, and to hone that child into that sharp piece of steel that you insert onto the edge of an arrow as you fling them into the world when they graduate high school.
Psalm 127 verses four and five says, “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” One day, I don’t even like walking over here. One day, your child’s going to get to the age of 18. They’re going to buy one of these crazy things called a graduation robe. You’re going to pack their bag. That’s the time in our society, 17 or 18-ish, when we take those arrows in the hands of the warrior, if you hone them, and you fling them into the world. As you fling them into the world, I want to tell you there’s a battle that’s waging, not only for the souls of your children but for the soul of this world. Now, God wins, but it’s your job to take your children from the time they’re in preschool and hone them in to be ready to be flung out into battle. You have to be diligent. It takes time.
When’s a good time to do this? Any time you can. That’s what God is saying here. When you sit at home … Anybody sit at home with your children? Don’t be lying to me. I know how much time you spend watching Netflix. Some of you sitting there right now, “We’re too busy to be at home together.” How many hours you watch Netflix? How many hours your child playing video games? How many hours are they at home texting their friends while you’re there? Don’t be lying to me. I know you have the time because I have the time. My children play video games. My children are on Netflix. A lot of times, I’m there doing my own thing. They’re texting their friends. It’s all happening. None of those things are evil on their own unless you allow your children, your grandchildren to do those things sacrificing teaching them to love God.
When you’re sitting at home, I’m just asking you to redeem some of that time. Redeem some of those 3,000 hours and make them work for your purposes, which should be God’s purposes for his glory. Instead of just sitting there mind-numbing on electronics, seize some of that time and do things as a family. Some families do crazy things like ours and we play boardgames together. We get that face to face time. While we’re playing board games together, what are we doing? We’re establishing that conduit, that relationship. You’d be surprised what conversations happen about school, boyfriends and girlfriends, all these crazy things that I don’t even like to hear about. All of that’s happening while we’re playing games.
What about using some of those times and sitting down and eating together? “We just don’t have time for that.” Those 3,000 hours, they’re yours. Stop letting other people have your hours if you don’t want them to have them. It’s not the sports teams’ hours. It’s not the video game console’s hours. It’s not Netflix hours. Those hours God gave to you. You’re the one that gets to choose to divvy them up to the teams and to the school and to the activities. Don’t you dare let the outside world tell you how to use your 3,000 hours. Use them. Sit down together. I don’t care what you do together. I might care. Tell me, but, mostly, I don’t care. Here’s what I need you to do while you’re spending time, three key words here. Together, two other words, time talking. Say that with me, “Together time talking.” Look to your neighbor and say, “Together time talking.” Those three Ts are going to do it for you, not complicated. Do it together, whatever you’re doing.
Spend time together and talk together. What’s going to happen naturally, there’s going to be a relationship established. As you’re loving God, your children, if you’re really loving God, they’re going to hear about it. Then, be intentional about it. While you’re sitting, read the Bible. I’m not saying you got to read the Bible every hour you’re together. Wouldn’t hurt anything, but I’m saying seize and redeem some of those hours. When you sit at home, I think there’s a lot of time there. Number two, what about when you walk on the way? “We don’t walk anywhere, Pastor.” I know you don’t, but expand your mind a second. What do we do if we’re not walking? We’re driving. I don’t know about you. We drive a lot.
Redeem those hours while you’re driving. Instead of just watching a movie, we do that a lot too, download the Parent Cue app for your children and your grandchildren. It’s P-A-R-E-N-T-C-U-E, Parent Cue. It’s an app that goes along with the curriculum that they’re learning right now in Kid’s Town. That app has videos. Most of them are funny and good and full of learning. It’s connecting what we’re doing on a Sunday morning to what you can be doing in your car. I drive my children to school almost every morning. We downloaded a different app. I’m going to recommend this one to you as well, lots of resources. Jeff’s going to put them online later this week. Not only the Parent Cue app, it’s called the New City Catechism app. Don’t let the word catechism scare you. It’s okay. It’s the New City Catechism app.
It was written in part by a man named Tim Keller. I trust his theology. It’s a great app because it’s interactive. We get in the car. I open my phone. The kids are all arguing whose turn it is to read. I open the New City Catechism app, and I just pass it to one of the kids. It’s either usually Autumn or Christian because they love to read it. What they do is they read a question. It’s this simple. The other children in the car, they answer the question. Sometimes I answer the question. If we don’t know the answer, we swipe right. It gives you the answer. If they’re getting stuck on not knowing the exact verbiage of a particular answer, you hit the little play button, and it plays a song. Now, we’re learning the answer through song. Yes, some of the songs are cheesy and all that, but we’re learning, and it’s fun.
I promise you, we’ve already gone through this like 12 times. We’re still not done with it. Why? Because we don’t have it all down yet. We’re going to keep going through it. When we get that, we’ll do something else. My point is there’s plenty of resources. The New City Catechism, is it perfect? No, I hone the things that I want to hone. There are baptisms in the week, so I talk about emersion and all these type of things, but there’s lots of resources that are good. We have a Parent Cue app, New City Catechism. I’m sure there’s 100 others that you can do while you’re driving to redeem the time. The question is not: Is there a resource? The question is: Are you willing to redeem the time when you’re sitting? Are you willing to redeem the time when you’re driving?
What is the last one? When you lie down and when you get up. That’s talking about morning time and bedtime. Morning times for us are crazy, but it’s a good time to pray. It’s a good time in the morning on the way to school to do some of these intentional teaching my children how to love God things. Bedtime, I love bedtime. It’s a great time to just stop and pray, read something from the Bible with your children. The hours are there is what I’m telling you. Are you willing to take advantage of it? We want to help you. We see four primary phases in a child’s life. You got preschool, elementary, junior high, and, I hate even looking over there because it’s coming next year for me, high school. In each one of these phases, it’s important that you take time with your child and try to pour the love of God into them.
Now, it’s a little different when they’re a preschooler. We use a word, embrace. A lot of the preschool things that you’re doing with a child are physical connection, but that’s okay too. You’re teaching them to trust you. What does proper physical affection look like? You’re using that time to get them ready to listen to your words. As you travel over here to elementary, now we’re engaging them. They’re using words, and we’re using words back to them. We’re teaching them the Bible in maybe catechism or the Parent Cue app. Now we’re going a little further. Now, they’re understanding between just information and then abstract information. Now, we’re taking it to another level in junior high. Then, as you start getting over here to high school, you’re preparing them to launch. Now, they’re owning their faith. They’re owning their career, whatever.
One day, they’ll take that suitcase to trade school, college, job, and then your influence is not over. There’s more phases back here. We couldn’t fit them all on stage, but we can’t help you as much there. You don’t have as much influence then. Now, here’s what’s crazy. Moms hate it when I do this, but I’m going to do it anyway. Look back over there at preschool. There’s a jar over here. There’s about 1,000 weeks that you have with your child from the time that they’re born until they get to launch in high school. It’s 940. It’s close to 1,000. In here, we put 1,000 marbles. It’d be awesome if every one of you bought 1,000 marbles or 1,000 whatever to take advantage of, to remind you of all the weeks that you have with your child when they’re born. Quickly, the weeks start going by.
What if you had this jar, and you took out one marble for every week that went by in your child’s life? What would happen is we showed you on stage. For the first few years, the jars would look full, two, three, four, five, six. Look what happens when you get to about eight, nine, and 10. The jar starts looking a little bit more empty. I’m telling you what’s happening. I’m in this phase. They start flying by. You think someone’s pouring the marbles out week by week, weekend by weekend. You get to 15, that’s about to happen for me right here. There’s not a lot of weeks left. 16, 17, and one day, let me tell you, this girl that’s in this picture, her parents made her ready. You’re going to get down to these last couple weeks, and then your influence changes.
You take that bow. You pull that string. That arrowhead’s sharpened, and you fling that child out into the world. We want to help you see each phase is important because here’s the thing. I don’t know what phase your child’s in. Maybe after this, I guess it’d be before this if you’re holding a baby, but here’s the deal. The most important phase is the phase your child is in. It’s never too late. You can always seize those hours at any point in time and pour into your child. We have resources. We’re here to help. We’re the church, but you’re the primary place where this is going to happen. What are you doing now is the question. Would you partner with me for the sake of your children and your grandchildren to do more in the future?
Love God with everything that you are and let your children see it. Create that relationship, that conduit, and teach them to love God by your example. It’s not just your example. With your words, take an advantage of those 3,000 hours that you have. Teach your child to love God in Christ and a relationship with him. Teach your child to love God daily with his word, daily in prayer, and commit to taking advantage of every single hour that you can because I tell you what. These marbles can make me lose my marbles. Watching the weeks go by is hard for me as a parent, but sometimes realizing the hours that you don’t have left helps you take advantage of the hours you do. That is true whatever phase they’re in. Let’s partner together. Let’s take advantage of these marbles together.