Home Discipleship 101: Time For Dads to Step Up

Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

 

Clearly this calls for dads to be spiritual leaders for their children. If we are going to disciple the children living in our homes, dads have to step up and be the leaders God calls them to be. Whether the children in your home are yours or not is irrelevant. As the father figure in the house, you need to step up.

 

You can’t lead where you are not going. Dads, if you are going to disciple the kids living in your home, you need to be sure that you are going where you say you want them to go. Do you want them to pray? Are YOU praying? Do you want them to read their Bibles often? Are YOU reading your Bible often? Want them to study the Bible? Are YOU studying the Bible?

 

Be more than an example. Ensuring that you are doing what you want your kids to do is a good start. There is great power in them SEEING you pray, or read, or study, but it can’t end there. Do these things WITH your kids. Intentional has become a bit of a catch phrase in ministry, but in this case it is the right word. We need to be intentional about how you lead your kids. It doesn’t have to be a series of fancy family devotionals. It can be a simple as reading the Bible with them and praying with them. However, family devotionals are a great way to disciple your kids. The good news is you don’t have to write them yourself. There are many books out there that can help you with this. In fact your pastor or children’s or youth minister can probably help you find one.

 

Just do something. I have this problem. I am a perfectionist. Unfortunately, this sometimes prevents me from starting new things waiting for all the pieces to be in place and perfect. As parents we can feel the same way about discipling our kids. But, we need to just start somewhere.


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Be Prepared For The Work God Has For You

Earlier this week I talked about the fact that God has placed you in the place where you are and has a plan for using you there. You can read that post HERE I also talked about some ways to find out what God wanted you to do there. Today I wanted to caution you:

 

If you are going to ask God what He wants you to do, be prepared to DO IT!

 

Please understand I am not saying that ALL of the work of preparing for ministry is on you. When God called Moses to free the Israelites Moses argued that he couldn’t do it because he was not a good speaker. God responded that He would be with Moses and would teach Moses what to say. (Exodus 4:12) But, there is some work that we should do to be ready for what God is calling us to.

 

Prayer. If you have read very many of my posts you know that this is a central theme. There’s a good reason for that. Imagine you worked for a large corporation. You received an assignment from the president and founder of the company. You were not given many details, but had complete access to talk to the president any time you want. Would you go out and try to complete the task without even talking to the boss? NO! At least not if you wanted to do the job well and please the boss. That’s how it is with God. God is the founder. He is the boss. He has given you an assignment. Spend some time talking to Him about that assignment.

 

Bible reading. Every company I ever worked for gave me an Employee Handbook. Going back to our story above. If you wanted to please the boss and complete the assignment he gave you it would also be a good idea to be familiar with the Employee Handbook. This is true not only for the current assignment, but for future assignments. In fact it would be in your best interest to maintain a familiarity with this book. After all, there is no way you will be able to remember every item that is covered in the manual. The Bible is kinda like that employee handbook. It is the handbook for the ministry that God has planned for you. Even if you don’t know what He is calling you to, become familiar with the handbook.

 

Bible study. In the employee handbook there are usually areas that require greater familiarity or are a little more complex. For these areas you should spend a little more time in order to know them well enough to do what you need to do. The same is true for the Bible. You need to study it in order to have the understanding you need to do some of what is going to be needed to get the job done.

 

  1. Ok, this one may seem out of place on this list, but trust me on this. My last job was at a hospital where I worked for 18 years. In that time I came to know people in every department. In just about any instance I knew who to call when I needed answers or to get things done. Your ministry is not much different. Put yourself in situations that present an opportunity to meet and get to now people in your community. It is through these people that you will come to know what the needs are around you. These people will also become a network that will help you to get things done when the time comes.

 

You need to and probably want to serve God in your community. If you earnestly seek Him and pray for opportunities to serve your community He will give them to you. Your job is to do all you can to be ready when that time comes.


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Why Are You Here?

Why Are You Here?

 

We often talk about God’s plan for our lives. We say that nothing happens in our life by coincidence, but is all part of God’s plan. I believe these things to be true. But, if this is true what are does it mean?

 

For your neighborhood? If God has placed you exactly where He wanted you, then it is no simple coincidence that you live where you live. The question then becomes, WHY did God place you there? Who in your neighborhood needs to hear the Gospel? Is there a believer in your neighborhood that needs encouragement or a mentor? I don’t know why God has placed you there. What I do know is that you are there for a reason.

 

How can you find out?

 

Start with prayer. Spend time in prayer asking God to show you why you are in that neighborhood. Remember HE put you there and HE has a plan so it only makes sense to ask Him about it. Next spend some time IN your neighborhood. Walk the streets. Get to know some of your neighbors. It is through these relationships that God will use you.

 

For your work? Again, God placed you exactly where you are supposed to be, at least for this season of your life. Who at your work needs to hear the gospel or to be encouraged? Pray and ask God whom He wants you to minister to where you work. Then watch for the opportunities God gives you to minister.

 

For your church? Some may think that you can’t have a significant impact in your church if you are not on staff or in leadership. God put the pastor, the staff and the other leaders there. BUT, He also put YOU there. Just like God had a reason for sending the pastor and other staff, He had a reason for sending you. How can you find out why God has put you in THIS church? As mentioned above, it starts with prayer. From there I say get involved. Find someplace to serve. Not sure if they need help. Trust me, they do. Talk with the Pastor or other ministry leaders. Ask them where you can help. They will help you find a place to get started. If the first place you serve doesn’t seem like a good fit, don’t give up. I’d say continue to serve for at least 6 months. If after that it still doesn’t’ fit, try something else. When God called me to ministry I served in a number of different areas before finding a home in the children’s ministry.

 

For your community? Yes, God even has a plan for you that involves your community. I don’t know what that plan is, but God does. Just like in the church you may be thinking that you couldn’t possibly make a difference in the your community. You don’t need a fancy position or title. All you need is a willing heart, a desire to seek and follow God’s will, and faith to step out and follow where He leads.

 

What about YOU? Clearly God has a plan for each of us. Stop and consider where God has placed you. Take some time to consider why He may have put you there. Spend some time in prayer. Ask God why He put you there. Ask Him what He wants you to do. Spend some time walking around your neighborhood. Drive around your community. Go down roads you wouldn’t normally go down. As you do this, pray and LOOK. You might be amazed by what you see when you bother to pray and look where you might not have looked before. This doesn’t end with just the areas I mentioned here. Consider your dance or sports teams. Consider the places you shop or spend time. Basically everywhere you go is an opportunity to minister to people. Don’t let these opportunities pass you by.


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Just Happy To Be At The Table

Just Glad To Be At The Table

 

Recently I was watching a show on TV. In this show a chef had invited his brother and some friends for a dinner party. The men invited asked what they would be eating and the chef simply told them to trust him, that it would be good. This got me thinking…

 

Imagine that a friend has invited you over for a multi-course dinner. This is a really close friend that you love and trust. There’s just one catch. They have not told you what they will be serving. As the day approaches the anticipation grows for spending time with your beloved friend, but still you don’t know what you will be eating. Finally, the time has come. You enter to find the table already set and ready for you. Amazing aromas come from the kitchen as your host shows you to your seat. The host fills your cup and heads off into the kitchen, returning a short time later with the first course. As you’re finishing the first course the host runs off to the kitchen to get the next. Course after course comes while you sit and enjoy. At the end of the meal you find yourself full and satisfied from both the food and the company. It has truly been a good night.

 

But what does this have to do with God?

 

Well, I think that this is a picture of God’s provision in our lives.

 

We’ve been invited to the dinner. God promised that if we would seek His Kingdom, he would provide for our needs. (1) When looking at our story above, this is the like our friend inviting us to the dinner party. Here’s the question, do you trust Jesus in the same way you trust this friend? Do you have a close enough relationship with God that you love and trust Him the way you do this friend?

 

We don’t know what’s coming. In our story, we didn’t know what was going to be served, but we knew there would be food because our host told us there would be. This is how it is with God’s provision. We often don’t know what is coming, how it is coming, or from where. But, we know it is coming, because God promised it was.

 

We don’t ask what’s next. With our dinner party we were served course after course, never knowing or asking what was coming next. Because of the trust we had in our host we simply sat back and let our host bring the food while we enjoyed it. However, when it comes to God’s provision this is often not the case. Rather we look around when we don’t FEEL God’s presence or can’t SEE what is coming next or where it is coming from. We worry about how our mortgage or rent will get paid. We worry about how we are going to feed our families. We have more trust in a friend that has invited us to dinner than we do in GOD! This seems crazy to say, but if we think about it we will find our actions reflect this.

 

We will be satisfied. In the story above, at the end of the dinner party we were full and satisfied. We did not need to KNOW what was coming for us to be satisfied when it came. The same is true with God. We do not need to KNOW where our provision is coming from. We do not need to know WHAT our provision will be or how it will come in order to be satisfied. If we trust in God to provide for our NEEDS, then we WILL be satisfied by the provision that He sends.

 

The Table is already set. Imagine if you showed up for this party and the host made YOU set the table. Since this is a friend, you may not mind, but you would expect that the table would be set when you arrived. Imagine if the host asks you to prepare the food, after you arrived. This would not be what you were expecting when you attend a dinner party. The truth is, when we have FAITH in God the table I already set. What we will find when we step out in faith is that the provision is already out there. God’s just waiting on us to step out in faith and claim it. I’m not saying, “trust in God and all your problems will wash away.” There are some that preach such things. What I am saying is that God is going ahead of you and setting up the provision for what you NEED. It’s already there. Stop waiting till you can see it and step out.

 

I’m just glad to be at the table. At the end of the day, if a friend invited me to a dinner party and I found that there was not enough food to fill me or that I didn’t like anything that was served, I would still be happy to have been there, because I was with someone I love. This is how it should be with God as well. God has promised to provide for our needs, but even if He didn’t we should be satisfied having spent time with God. Simply having a relationship with God should be enough, even if He didn’t provide for our needs.

 

That is my prayer; that I would simply be glad to sit at God’s table.

 

Are you worrying about your future?

 

Are you just glad to be at the table?

 

Scripture References

  1. Matthew 6:25-34

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Home Discipleship 101: Deuteronomy 6:4-9

For many in ministry, Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is a well-known passage. Some even go so far as to say that this passage speaks AGAINST children’s ministry. Obviously, I am not one of those or I would not be doing children’s ministry. However, what is clear is that this passage provides an outline for discipling kids at home.

 

When you sit in your house. I’ve talked about using TV to teach your children, but that is not the only opportunity to disciple the children that live with you, while you’re at home. Look for opportunities to teach them. Talk with them about what God is revealing to you during your quiet time. Aren’t taking a quiet time on a regular basis? You really should be. Remember you can’t lead someone where you have not been or are not going. “When you sit in your home” can be meal times. It can be while watching TV. It can be pretty much anytime that you are in the house together.

 

When you walk along the road. Obviously at the time this was written cars did not exist and chariots were mainly machines of war. So, the modern day equivalent would be while your driving along the road. Do, you take your kids to school? Do you pick them up from school? This is a great time to talk about their day and look for the cues in that conversation that can lead to talk of spiritual matters.

 

But, I don’t know what to say. In the beginning having such conversations can be uncomfortable. Where do you start? What do you say? My recommendation would be to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your words. Trust me, He will. And, the more you listen to Him the easier it will become. But, if you’re looking for a place to start the conversation, think about what the preacher preached the past Sunday. OR ask them what their Sunday School or children’s church lesson was about. Use these points as a starting point for the discussion. When you sit in church or in your Sunday School class think about what is being taught and how you might discuss it with you children. Take some notes, if you need to.

 

The bottom line is to make Spiritual discussions a regular part of your daily lives, not just a special event or even a certain time during the day. Jesus used ordinary things and everyday moments to teach and so should we.


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