We’re All Parents – Some of Us Just Have Kids

65294_10200932839150099_1427605294_nOn Sunday we are going to look at a major issue for all of us as Christians. We are looking at parenting.

You might actually want to push back a little bit. You might be asking, “Is it a major issue for all of us? What about those of us without kids? What about those of us with grown kids? What about those of us who never want kids?”

Well I hate to be the one to tell you…but if you are a follower of Jesus you are a parent.

That’s right. As followers of Jesus in a community we all matter in ensuring that the next generation launches well. You are a model and an example, even if you aren’t a biological parent.

Stanley Hauerwas writes it this way: Christians, single and married, are parents. “Parent” names an office of the Christian community that everyone in the  community is expected faithfully to fulfill.

And he is absolutely right. We all have a responsibility with the youth we, as a community, have been entrusted with. Kids matter. Youth matter. And you matter too in developing a caring community that launches them well. So yes parenting is a major issue for all Christians.

And come Sunday we are going to look at how to launch our kids well. I’m going to share with you three things that I think are really key. But before we get there what about you? What do you think is key in raising kids as a community? What did your parents do – that worked so wonderfully? What have you learned not to do from your parents?

Because the reality for good or bad, we have all been shaped by parenting. Whether that’s good parents, bad parents, or non-existent parents. The question we want to discover is then for those in our care and community how can we raise them well. How can we launch them well? What do you think?

Finding God in a Dark Bathroom

601631_10152708652060643_280127811_nHudson had to go pee last Sunday. So we ran quickly at church to the bathroom. The lights were off because we were closing up and leaving, so he said “Dad I scared”. I of course turned on the lights, but I thought while using a urinal would be a good time to have a little talk.

So I told him we don’t need to be scared with mom and dad around. Then I told him that even better than that, you always have God with you. He loves you, and is with you even if things are dark, so we don’t need to be scared.

I thought I had done a great job explaining things, but little did I know Hudson would do an even better job. He said to me, “Oh yes daddy, God, I know him. We have him at our house, I do devotions with him” and he ran out of the bathroom.

Nothing as a dad, or a pastor makes me happier than little moments like that. In case though you are picturing me and Hudson sitting down and reading the Bible together having deep prayer moments, that’s not what it’s often like. It’s often like what every interaction with busy boys is like: loud, sometimes difficult, and sometimes frustrating. Hudson is often jumping around, getting out of the covers, singing, making car noises, playing with a car he snuck into bed, and most often not looking at our devotional book. But we press through and do it every night in spite of the ups and downs.

And as Hudson ran out of that bathroom saying, “I know God, we do devotions” I realized something. That the very rhythm and action of trying to lead him into a deeper relationship with God is in fact leading him into a deeper relationship. The point isn’t perfection, it’s perseverance. We might not get it right every night, but the very act of trying is leaving an impact.

I tell you this, because I don’t know if you’re at all like me, but sometimes faith is tough. Sometimes following Jesus isn’t easy, and sometimes it’s a struggle. Sometimes our nighttime routines are beautiful and wonderful. Sometimes they seem like an utter disaster. Sometimes I wonder if me reading our devotions to a jumping boy making car noises is having an impact – if it even matters. But what I realized on Sunday was that sometimes just sticking it out is succeeding. Sometimes the very act of us not giving up leaves a bigger impact than we might imagine.

So even if tonight goes rough, I’m not going to quit doing devotions, praying, and following Jesus with my little boy because it’s making a difference. Because on Sunday after months of up and down devotions, I’m so proud to share with you that Hudson told me that he knows God, he’s at our house, and we all do devotions together.