If you have been following our one year plan for Teaching Your Children to Live More Like Jesus, you know I am posting this at the end of the month instead of the beginning. Our family left town for three weeks, school started and we have several older family members in ill health. I felt guilty at first, but realized this gave me an opportunity to encourage you.
Often, we start programs or ideas or Bible studies with the best of intentions. We do really well for awhile and then life sort of explodes on us. Maybe you have one of those weeks when the car and two major appliances break down at once. Perhaps you had to go out of town or sit in the hospital with a loved one. Maybe you were just too tired to move.
If you have been working with your children on our year long challenge to teach them to live more like Jesus, they are hopefully developing some great new habits. You may be wondering about this month’s challenge though. Why is it important for our children to know how to ask meaningful questions and listen to the answers with love?
Jesus set a wonderful example by reaching out to the marginalized people of his day. No real religious leader at the time would want to have been seen with tax collectors and prostitutes. Yet, Jesus knew their hearts and spent time with them. He didn’t just meet their physical needs though. He spent time in their houses (Luke 19:5).
If you are following our 12-month challenge to teach your children to live more like Jesus, this month we are focusing on teaching our children to tell others about God. The early Church grew quickly and spread throughout the known world in a very short time. One would think with the internet, airplanes and SKYPE, conversions today would be happening at breakneck speed. Yet now, many of our churches are shrinking instead of growing.
The reasons the church supposedly isn’t growing fascinate me. “Our message sounds outdated.” “We ask people to give up too much.” “It is too hard for people to understand.” “We can’t compete.” If we could only make the Gospel more fun, more exciting, easier. Then we could convert people as quickly as they did in the first century.
It’s not too late to join our 12 month challenge to teach your children to live more like Jesus. This month we have been adding the idea of teaching our children to help the hurting. Not just serve them by meeting their needs, but sharing the Gospel message with them as we show them God’s love.
If your family has been searching for ways to help the hurting people of the world, you may just be overwhelmed. It seems like every time I open the paper, read my mail or turn on my computer I am bombarded by stories of people who are hurting. Some in ways I can’t even imagine. All of these people could use our help, but we only have a limited amount of time, energy and resources to give.
If you are following our 12 month plan to teach your children to live more like Jesus, we have already covered Bible reading, prayer and Christian relationships. April is the month to add “training your child to help the hurting with love”. Sounds easy, but it is actually more complex than most people realize.
This is going to sound a little strange, but a lot of times people help those who are hurting with the things that they would want and not necessarily what the other person actually wants or needs to feel better. I think we get tangled up in the whole empathy thing and think it means what we would want done in any given situation is what everyone would want or need.