As Christian parents, our plates are full of responsibilities: training and teaching our children, nurturing them, pointing their little hearts and minds to Christ in all things, let alone keeping them clothed, fed, and alive by the end of each day! What if I told you there was one not-so-small detail you, like so many of us, might be leaving out?
Jesus gives us our greatest commandments, which should be the foundation of the Christian life, in Matthew 22: “…You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Even on our worst days, we return to the Lord in our hearts and seek his grace, and our children see and model this. Yet, in the age of active shooter drills in schools, increasing acceptance of “gender fluidity” and other societal dangers from which we want to insulate our precious cargo, how are we putting the second-greatest commandment into practice? How are we loving our neighbor like Jesus, and teaching our kids to do the same?
Author Lisa Scandrette grew up in a family that beautifully modeled selfless hospitality. “The walls were elastic,” she shared with Christianity Today, referring to countless Bible studies in her home, foster children that joined their family, and other community engagements her family did together. Now, as a mom of three, Lisa sees this approach as a permanent lifestyle: “We have the opportunity to model the way of love to our kids. Part of the work we do as a family is to encourage each other to extend the sort of belonging we hope to cultivate to the people around us.”
Popping The Bubble
Lindsy Wallace, a missionary with InnerCHANGE, which ministers to the poorest, most vulnerable people in urban areas, notices that Christian culture can often pressure us to raise our children in a protective bubble. Church attendance, Christian schools and friends, and Bible stories are great, but they don’t provide our families with the lived experience of a life that looks like Jesus. “It’s difficult to imagine how a deep love for Jesus and neighbor will develop in our children if all they have is book knowledge of Jesus but have never seen him in the eyes of the poor and have never witnessed their parents visiting him in prison,” Wallace says, referring to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 25:35–36.
Kathy Khang, author of Raise Your Voice, encourages us to live out and model loving our neighbor for our kids to imitate, just as we do with loving God. “My kids are 22, 18, and 16, and I am still learning about helping them find their own voice,” she says. “I try to model living out my values in ways they can integrate into their own lives as they enter into adulthood: recycle, vote, donate blood, volunteer, advocate, protest with your feet and your budget, but I have to remember they have their own interests, concerns, and skills.”
When we saturate our lives with God’s love for the lost sheep in an active and intentional way, our children, at any age, can learn from us. They can learn how loving God translates to loving our neighbors, and hold both commandments in their hearts as they grow.
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On What Seemed Like Another Ordinary Route, This Mailman Became A Hero
The Bible tells us that God orders our steps. Anyone who still believes in coincidences just hasn’t encountered God’s miraculous hand in their lives.
For one mail carrier in North Carolina, what seemed like a delay in his route turned into God’s perfect timing.
Chris Petersen, who has served in the Postal Service for 32 years, was rushing to finish his Christmas Eve mail route in Cary, a town about 10 miles west of Raleigh.
Just moments after delivering a few parcels to a neighboring home, Petersen shared with Fox News that he heard shouting coming from another house on the street.
The shouting came from Pam Hodgin, who was crying out for help after her husband, Mike, had collapsed in their home.
Petersen and two other neighbors sprang into action, running into the Hodgins’ home to assess the situation.
Mike was sprawled out on the kitchen floor, unconscious and not breathing. While fear of losing her precious husband began to grip Pam, Petersen immediately began performing CPR.
After about two minutes of Petersen administering the life-saving procedure, Mike gasped for breath and opened his eyes wide.
Emergency responders were soon at the scene, and it was determined that Mike had suffered from a sudden heart attack. If his wife hadn’t called for help at that very moment and if Petersen hadn’t been running late on his route, the Hodgins’ family holiday might have been a much darker time.
“My mother-in-law always says that everything happens for a reason,” Petersen shared with Fox News. “I was running late that day because I was meant to be there to help Mike. I couldn’t have imagined a better outcome.”
“Chris is my hero,” Mike told Fox News, “and it is because of him I’m alive today to watch my grandsons grow and enjoy each new day.”
Praise God for his perfect timing! Never forget, God orders the steps of his children. The next time you find yourself running late, watch out, it might just be God setting you up to be a blessing in someone else’s life.
The Incredible Way These Christian Students Are Bringing the Gospel to the Hearing Impaired
When we think of how to reach all different people with the Gospel, what kind of “different” do we have in mind? People in other towns? Other countries? Maybe people in prison? What about different abilities?
Communication between deaf and hearing people is an often overlooked language barrier, but if we’re to spread the Gospel to every creature, this barrier must be overcome.
The Passion Conference was founded in 1995 by Louie Giglio, and seeks to “glorify God by uniting students in worship, prayer and justice for spiritual awakening in this generation,” according to their website.
“Since 2007, believing worship + justice are two sides of the same coin,” the Passion website continues, “students at Passion have generously given over $18 million to 70 amazing partner organizations around the world.”
Passion, it declares, is more than just music, teaching, and preaching. It’s a movement for Christ.
“In the last week, people have gathered for football games and holiday celebrations,” Passion’s global ambassador Brad Jones said in a statement to Fox News. “During Passion 2019, 40,000 college students and leaders gathered under one name—the name of Jesus. Passion is more than an event; we exist to see this generation live for what matters most—for us, that’s the fame of Jesus.”
Previous conferences have raised millions of dollars for incredibly worthy ministries and initiatives. This year, Passion set its sights on a new target: the language barrier that prevents deaf people from receiving the Gospel in their own sign language.
If you’re unfamiliar with this issue—don’t worry, many people are—you might ask why deaf people can’t just read the Bible?
According to the Deaf Bible Society, “as many as 80 percent of Deaf children in some countries never receive access to formal education.” It’s not so simple, especially if a deaf child or adult has never been taught to read in their language.
This means that over 70 million souls worldwide who are never taught to read aren’t hearing the Gospel because, well, they can’t hear.
With over 400 different sign languages in the world, missionaries who seek to reach deaf people with God’s saving truth certainly have their work cut out for them.
So, at the 2019 Passion conference, those thousands of young people gathered to praise and worship the Lord, and then get to doing His work in the world. They raised a stunning $448,370 for the Deaf Bible Society as part of Hope in Every Language, a campaign that, according to Fox News, “helps fund and distributes translations of the stories of Jesus into the unique sign language to areas that haven’t been reached.”
Because of the Passion attendees’ tremendous giving, the New Testament gospels will be translated into the unique sign languages of Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Moldova, Egypt, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, and Russia.
Praise God for this incredible work in removing yet another barrier to the Gospel! Pray that the people reached would, at least figuratively, have ears to hear His truth.
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