Your child understands technology but not Communion…
This Sunday as a church we worship Christ through the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. Do your children understand why we do these?
As a child I remember the Sundays that we had the Lord’s Supper. They were exciting to me because I got to eat a cracker and drink juice… in church; and I knew the sermon would be a bit briefer. As for baptism, that made little sense to me. I was baptized because I was promised Krispy Kreme if I did. For a 7 year old that was the greatest deal ever offered. But do our children know what is happening? Here is what I know without reservation: it is the parent’s role to explain/teach/disciple our children in church.
- Does your child understand the blood of Jesus?
- Does your teenager understand what it means to eat the broken body of Jesus?
- Does your 8 year old understand why people are dunked in a hot tub above the choir or at the beach?
- Does your 13 year old know why they are drinking grape juice in church?
- Does your family understand the sacredness, reverence and importance of communion?
- What about the gospel? Does your child/teen understand the gospel?
If your child does not understand the gospel and cannot articulate the gospel they are not ready, and should NOT to take communion. If we allow them to, we make them liars and frauds, before they can do so themselves.
We, the church, for far too long have made the assumption that everyone watching understands. To make this assumption without knowing for sure is sinful and lazy. Both of which I have been guilty of as a father and a minister. My plea is this, just as much as communion and baptism should be forms of worship, they should also be used as opportunities to share the gospel. Here’s how:
Sit with your child/family/teenager and quietly share with them why your are eating the “body” and drinking the “blood.” You may have no better opportunity to share the gospel with them. That Christ’s body was broken for you and them and that his blood was spilled for you and for them, and that Christ died as a free gift for us it is not something we can earn. Explain we do this to remember what Christ has done for us. Explain the gospel. Remind/Share with them that they ARE sinful and need their sin to be pardoned or forgiven, and Jesus offers forgiveness by the blood he shed on the cross.
Refer to these points of scripture: Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 53, 1 Corinthians 11: 17-34
As baptism occurs (whether at the beach or at the church) talk to your child/teen before and after this occurs. Explain before that baptism is simply the way that a Christian makes their faith public. That is, this is their announcement to both the church and the world that they are Christians; and that Jesus is Lord of their life. This is also a great time to share with our families what new life in Christ means. We also must remind our children/teens that baptism is not what saves or changes anyone, it is simply obedience. Nothing more.
Refer to these points of scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:17, Luke 3:16, Romans 6:3-6, 1 Corinthians 12:13
Church services that include communion and baptism are unique services. Both communion and baptism are what make a church a church. These are called church ordinances and without them based on scripture, there is no church. Baptism and communion are two of the most important things that will ever occur in a church. They serve to remind the church of the gospel of Christ. To lead the church to worship Christ as Lord. Baptism and communion help the church to continue to align its focus on Christ and the cross. As great as communion and baptism are, when parents do not actively teach what these mean, by default they are sending their kids to Hell.
Josh Glymph is the Youth Pastor at Fruit Cove Baptist Church. You can reach him at email@example.com
This past week I attended the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville. It is an honor for me to get to serve in that capacity, though this meeting was anything but pleasurable. We had to deal with the sorrowful news that, due to the lack of gifts to our International Mission Board (IMB) an unprecedented 600-800 field personnel and IMB staff members can no longer be supported. It was difficult news at best… tragic at worst.
But it was the moment when Dr. Chuck Kelly, president of New Orleans Baptist seminary spoke that gripped me deeply. He was talking about the reality that one of our professors, who had been caught up in the Ashley Madison scandal, had apparently taken his own life. He had dealt for years with an addiction to pornography that had just come to the surface. He apparently took his own life in his family’s garage. When Dr. Kelly learned of this professor’s death, he went immediately with his wife to the home to visit with the bereaved family. He was met by a grieving widow who put her hands on Dr. Kelly’s shoulders, moved her face close to his, and with tears said “Please, please don’t let anyone else on this campus die because of pornography! We could have forgiven him… he didn’t have to die.”
I wonder if we even consider the reality that pornography, or any sin, leads ultimately to death. This occasion was one of more immediate consequence, as a grieving campus community filed past the body of a beloved teacher. The reality came home. “The wages of sin is death…” Romans warns us. People die because of sin. They die immediately spiritually, and eventually physically. But sin always kills those it takes captive. Only a Redeemer can come to set us free from an endless cycle of death- producing acts and bring freedom from sin’s chains.
And Jesus Christ is that Redeemer. But we must trust Him, not just once and move back to what we used to be. We must trust Him constantly if we are to truly and meaningfully be set free from our sin and from the resulting death it brings.
Might we plead the widow’s prayer to Dr. Kelly with our Savior: “Please, please don’t let anyone else on this campus…in this church…die because of sin!!”
And then may we join Christ in His redemptive mission on this planet in answer to that prayer.
“My chains are gone…I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior has ransomed me…”
An anonymous writer offered the following statement. It touched me as I read it, and hopefully will be meaningful to you as well:
Can we who have so much be untouched by those who have so little? Can full stomachs hear the hollow echo of stomachs that are empty? Can a people drunk on personal freedom, personal rights and civil rights, truly understand those who are held captive by famine and hunger? Can we who are held captive by our gadgets, entertained by TV, seduced by Hollywood, victimized by our own success, be touched by those who search frantically for individual grains of rice to fill their now empty bowls? Can we, whose ears are attuned to Panasonic, Sony, and Pioneer, hear the plaintive cries of the child in Sao Paulo’s slums, the wailings of a young mother wailing hopelessly at the grave of her child in India, or the broken sobs of a father recently bereaved to now raise six children in San Salvador? Who, really, are the deaf, the crippled, the hungry, the blind?
You and I are. We have eyes that cannot see, hearts that cannot feel, feet that will not move, ears that cannot hear, and a hunger that cannot be satisfied. We can change the course of a hurting world. But will we?
“Though He (Jesus) was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor that we, through His poverty, might be made rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
Actually, Netflix is not the only thing. I have created a list, in an attempt to repent of the things that keep me from preaching the gospel at home. I am sharing this list in the hope that it will encourage you and lead you to repentance in areas that keep you from sharing the gospel at home.
- The Big Fat TV. Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, ESPN, HGTV, NFL network, Monday Night Football, College Gameday, Movies, The Office, Breaking Bad until I finished it. How pathetic is it that I can allow the above devices and programs keep me from sharing the gospel at home. How pathetic is it that the list is so long. How pathetic is it that in the end none of that will truly matter. Lord, forgive me for making things that do not matter, matter.
- Football. Games, fantasy, college, pro, a different favorite group of teams at each level; Friday night, Saturday and Sunday after church; checking scores, checking standings, checking statistics; watching pre-game, post-game and mid-week reports. If I am not careful I can allow it to consume me. Lord, forgive me when I make football and idol and allow it to blur my focus. Lord, remind me daily that sharing the gospel is greater that any football game could ever be.
- Tired. I carry these titles: Husband, Father, Pastor, Employee, Student, Preacher, Guest Preacher, Bill Payer, Yardman, Coach, Teacher, etc.… I am not alone and I know more people who wear more hats. But the hat I should wear first and foremost is Herald. A Herald of the gospel. And I must herald that gospel at home first! Lord, forgive me when I fall short of this.
- Selfishness. I just want to sit there, read the paper, watch CNN, read a book, and go fishing by myself. There are times I do not want to be “bothered” by others. There are times I want to be left alone. Lord, forgive me for the times that my own selfishness takes precedence over your gospel.
- Laziness. Sometimes I would rather do nothing, literally nothing. Just be, just breathe, just exist, and just be quiet. Lord, help me in times of laziness to know that I do not have time to be lazy.
- I get flat out busy. Much of my business is keeping my children busy. From soccer practice, to basketball practice, to church the constant shuffle of kids along with feeding, cleaning and laundry. Most of this my wife doing… When I am too busy I begin to believe the lie that I will make time tomorrow to do what is most important. Share the gospel with my kids. Lord help me to not get lost in my business. Lord help me to place priority on sharing your gospel with my children even in the midst of business.
- “They do that at church.” It is not the church’s role to share the gospel with my children, it is my role as their father. Salvation, discipleship and worship should all at the very least begin at home and very often occur at home. Taking my kids to church should be the reinforcement of what is taking place at home, NOT where the only conversations about the gospel take place. In my experience most children do not hear the gospel at church enough anyway. Lord, help me to see that sharing the gospel at home, not expecting the church to do it, is what you have called me to.
- It is easier to place emphasis on ministering to others. I have family members that need the gospel. I have neighbors that need the gospel. I have friends I have met, and people at church that I serve that need the gospel. Lord, help me to see that my first ministry is to my family. Lord, help me not be so hypocritical that I only focus outside my home.
- Sin. My sin makes me lazy, selfish and complacent. My sin causes me to value things differently. My sin causes me to place importance on the wrong things. My sin tells me lies that I believe. Lord, help me not to be blinded my own sin.
- Some days I don’t believe the gospel. Some days I wake up and don’t believe the gospel and do not take the time to remind myself of the gospel. Lord, on the days I do not believe you are better and do not believe your gospel, remind me of Romans 5:8. Lord, remind me that you took my place.
Lord, forgive me for any instance in which I place any activity, any sin, any device before sharing the gospel with anyone. Lord, help me to embrace my first ministry: to share the gospel often in my home.
Josh Glymph is the Youth Pastor at Fruit Cove Baptist Church. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the cruel experiments performed by Nazi doctors during World War 2 on prisoners was an experiment initially designed to study endurance. The plan was simply to have a group of fairly healthy men dig a hole, then with wheelbarrows move the dirt to a pile about 50 yards away. After the hole was finished they had the men refill the wheelbarrows, fill in the hole they had just dug, and begin the process over again.
The study did something inadvertently that surprised even the Nazis. After days of monotonous, long, arduous days of digging and refilling, digging and refilling, with no end in sight the men did not collapse. Instead they went mad. They would intentionally run from the guards knowing they would be shot. They deliberately ran into an electric fence and died in that way. They literally began to lose their minds.
Some of us have jobs that make us feel the same way. The monotony, the meaninglessness, the unending assembly line can make us want to run screaming into the fence as well. Unless we know a secret:
Our work has meaning. God has a purpose in what we are doing even when we aren’t sure ourselves what it may be. God is not a God of randomness and chance. If you are working a job you’d rather not, it may well be that there are people there who need to know the God who can give meaning to their existence as He gave to you!
Work is not a punishment. It is not God harshly treating us to pay us back for sin or wrong in our lives. Jesus has already paid for that!
God is a God of meaning and hope. He knows that we cannot reach our full potential as human beings apart from some kind of work and effort. Have you ever watched children play? That’s their work! It’s calling out things about them that sitting at home doing nothing could never do!
If you feel you have a meaningless, frustrating, dead-end job ask the God who created work to help you see the “why” in what you do.
It just may change your life!
As we concluded our study last week of Christ’s Message to the Church, we looked at the “lukewarm church” in Laodicea. It would be wonderful if such a study were just a history lesson. But in reality, it is far more than history. It is for many a present reality.
I have been asked to reproduce the following list I used last Sunday from the Francis Chan book Crazy Love for the purpose of self-examination. We are to “examine ourselves” to see if our faith is authentic. (2 Corinthians 13:5)
- LUKEWARM PEOPLE attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of good Christians.
- LUKEWARM PEOPLE give money to charity and to church…as long as it doesn’t change their standard of living. They give if its easy and safe.
- LUKEWARM PEOPLE choose what is popular over what is right when the two are in conflict. They want to fit in both at church and outside the church.
- LUKEWARM PEOPLE don’t want to be saved from their sin…only from the penalty for their sin. They don’t hate sin and aren’t truly sorry for it. They’re sorry God is going to punish them for it.
- LUKEWARM PEOPLE rarely share faith with friends or co-workers. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they wish to make people uncomfortable by talking about “private issues like religion or Jesus.”
- LUKEWARM PEOPLE measure their morality by comparison with the world. They may not be all-out for Jesus, but they aren’t as horrible as this guy they know.
- LUKEWARM PEOPLE say they love Jesus and He is, indeed, a part of their lives but He isn’t allowed to control their lives, their thoughts, or their time or money.
- LUKEWARM PEOPLE love God but they do NOT love Him with all their heart, soul mind and strength. They believe that kind of radical devotion is only for pastors or missionaries, not average people.
- LUKEWARM PEOPLE love others but they do not seek to love others as they love themselves. They love those who are capable of loving them in return (family, friends) There is little love left over for those who don’t love them back or those who slight them. Their love is highly conditional and comes with strings attached.
- LUKEWARM PEOPLE seldom think about eternity and life in heaven. CS Lewis said, “It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”
- LUKEWARM PEOPLE do not live by faith, their lives are structured so they never have to. They don’t want to have to trust God if something unexpected happens…they have a savings account. The truth is, they have all they need and life wouldn’t look much different for them if they suddenly stopped believing in God.
- LUKEWARM PEOPLE are not really that different than an unbelieving person. They probably drink or swear less and equate a partially sanitized life with holiness.
Our answers reveal the truth about the temperature of our devotion to God and perhaps the truth about the genuineness of our salvation. Today, “examine yourselves” and evaluate the temperature of our love for God.
May we find we are on fire and not lukewarm. (Revelation 3:16)