BBC news video
Isn’t it great to have kids?! In the moment, you’ve got to feel for this guy. But once it’s over, what a trophy! This dad has this video to treasure for the rest of his life. As you might expect, this video has gone viral and this guy and his whole family have been re-interviewed several times. Everyone loves them. But even if he hadn’t become an international star, what a great family moment!
It’s great having kids. A couple of weeks ago when baby Masahiro was dedicated, I spoke about parents being in Christ, following our theme for this year. Today I would like to follow up and talk about how to raise kids in Christ.
Is there a more important job in the world? Probably not, and we would do well as parents to remember that through our busy days. So here are 10 ways to raise your kids to be in Christ.
1. Be creative with your kids
I mean this in the fullest sense. I believe that routines are really important in the lives of kids. Bed times, meal times, play times – having routines is a big deal. But having routines is no excuse for being boring. As God our heavenly Father is supremely creative with us, so we are to be creative with our kids. All the other nine points about raising kids to be in Christ must be applied creatively. A life of faith should never been seen or experienced as routine or dull. Church services or Sunday School should never be routine or dull. The same with home life and faith activities. So be creative.
And one of the best and most important ways to show creativity to our kids is to enjoy creation with them. The Bible says, “The heavens declare the glory of God!” もろもろの天は神の栄光をあらわし Take your kids out and show them the glory of the heavens, the beauty of the hills and power of the seas. Let them experience as much of God’s creative works as you can and then reflect that creativity into your family life.
1. Have fun with your kids
Be a joy giver as God is a joy giver. I remember when Remi was 6 or 7 years old and I asked her, “Remi, what’s the best memory you have of your life so far? What’s been the happiest day of your life?” I was thinking of maybe Christmas in Australia or the beach in Okinawa or maybe a day at Universal Studios. She thought about it and said, “When you tickle me on the sofa!” Isn’t it great having kids?! I suspect I might get a different answer if I asked that question today but I don’t think she was lying at the time. The happiest time of Remi’s life was when she was having fun in the family.
As our kids grow up our primary role is not to entertain them. It is to teach them about the joy of the Lord and how to distinguish between the joy of the Lord and the pleasures of the world. The pleasures of the world are fleeting and deceitful. The joy of the Lord is our strength for life. 主を喜ぶことはあなたがたの力です
1. Pray with your kids
There was once a young boy who for some reason that confounded his parents started calling God “Harold”. He would pray, “Dear Harold, would you please help me with my friend at school…” His mother asked him, “Why are you calling God Harold?” He answered because Jesus said when we pray, we are to pray, “Our Father in heaven, Harold be your name.”
Isn’t it great having kids?!
Praying with your kids and teaching them to pray is one of the most important things you can do to raise them to be in Christ. Specifically, I would encourage you to teach them the Lord’s prayer, even from a young age. I learned this as a young boy and even today, after decades of prayer and following different prayer programs, the most meaningful prayer pattern for me is the Lord’s prayer. Raise your kids on it.
1. Read the Bible with your kids
Feed them the Word of God. Make sure you use an age-appropriate Bible. Get into a routine of not just reading the BIble to them but reading the Bible with them.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:6,7
Note the creativity here in grounding your kids in Biblical knowledge.
And read the Bible in front of your kids. I have a quiet time every morning. It’s a special time in my day. Unfortunately for me though, my kids have always left for school at 4:30 in the morning (or some other horrible hour) so they have rarely seen me in the Word. Keep the door open. Let them see you spending time in the Lord.
1. Teach them the fruit of the Spirit
The fruit of the Spirit is the character of God. It should also be the essence of your character and it should be the essence of your kids’ character. Teach them what each of the fruits looks like in practical terms. Give them examples. For example, “Patience is when Daddy’s standing in the genkan for a long time holding the car keys and bags and mummy’s running backwards and forwards between the kitchen and the bathroom and Daddy just smiles and says nothing at all.” Or, “Kindness is being a friend to someone who maybe doesn’t have many friends and saying something gentle and helpful to them when they are hurting.”
[The fruit of the Spirit]
Something I’d like to point out here and a little heads up for something I’m going to talk about next week in the family service. “Niceness” is not a fruit of the Spirit. Don’t teach your kids to be nice. God is not ‘nice’ and neither are we to be ‘nice’. We are to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled. Teach your kids this. But never be nice!
1. Teach them obedience to God and authority
All of you must obey the government rulers. No one rules unless God has given him the power to rule. And no one rules now without that power from God. Romans 13:1 (ICB)
Do you think this is harder to follow or any less true in today’s world? We need to teach our kids respect and obedience to authority figures. This refers to parents, teachers, pastors:), police and the government, whether we voted for them or not, and so on.
But most of all, it applies to the authority of God in our lives and in the lives of our kids.
Jesus said, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19,20
He also said, “If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15 もしあなたがたがわたしを愛するならば、わたしのいましめを守るべきである。 ヨハネによる福音書14:15
We need to teach this to our kids.
1. Teach them to have a relationship with God
This is key. We are not just teaching our kids to have a tacit acceptance of Christian principles. It’s not just so that they can live a moral and upright life. These things are important but they are not what raising kids to be in Christ is all about. The essence of being in Christ is to have a personal relationship with God – What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. (MSG)
This means we teach our kids how to confess sins, call on the name of Jesus and receive the Holy Spirit and we encourage them in these things.
There’s nothing better than to have kids who grow up to be in Christ.
1. Teach them to do all things without complaining
It’s not often I’m tempted to be physical in the classroom. But if I am, it’s more than likely with a whining, argumentative kid. And it’s only worse with a whining, argumentative adult. (Am I whining right now?)
Do everything without grumbling or arguing Philippians 2:14
What an important practical teaching! Discipline your kids in this. Don’t let them be moaners, whiners, whingers, complainers, grouches, grumblers, or gripers. But rather teach them even from a very young age what Paul taught: Let your conversation be always full of grace” Colossians 4:6 いつも、塩で味つけられた、やさしい言葉を使いなさい。コロサイの信徒への手紙4:6
1. Attend church regularly with your kids
Isn’t it great having kids?! Yes, but there are also days when we want to say, “Isn’t it hard having kids!” And it can be. It can be really hard work. And sometimes Sunday morning is the hardest time of all when you have to get the kids ready and put them in cars or buses or on bicycles and get them here by 10:30 so that everyone doesn’t look back to see which family is coming in late – and still look happy! And raising kids is hardest when you feel you have to do it on your own. It really does take a village to raise a child. The church is a family. A village of spiritual relatives. It’s where we come to find rest, to receive support, to serve, to be absolved of sin, to learn, to be renewed, to worship, to celebrate, to pray, to enjoy God, to enjoy the company of other believers and to raise our kids together. Isn’t is great having a church!:) So,
let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24,25
1. Be a good example for your kids
I remember a few years ago when Niki secretly recorded my conversation at home. When she played it back I was really disappointed with myself. I hadn’t said anything mean or wrong at all. But I just didn’t like way I sounded, Maybe I was a bit grouchy or cold. I don’t remember but my words were not “seasoned with grace”. And it reminded me of how much I don’t listen to my own voice when I speak. But others do. My kids certainly do. Our speech, like our actions, should be something that our kids can confidently imitate. If we teach our kids one thing but live differently, they’ll see through it almost as quickly as our wives do.
Paul wrote, “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2
Nowhere is this truer than in the family. The righteous live by faith. 信仰による義人は生きるAnd the wise make sure their kids see this.
1. Be creative with your kids
2. Have fun with your kids
3. Pray with your kids
4. Read the Bible with your kids
5. Teach them the fruit of the Spirit
6. Teach them obedience to God and authority
7. Teach them to have a relationship with God
8. Teach them to do all things without complaining
9. Attend church regularly with your kids
10. Be a good example for your kids