Tell the Next Generation

One of the things that saddens me most about this pandemic is the church’s reduced opportunities to teach children about God. Sunday School, children’s church, children’s ministry events, and church-based preschool have all been curtailed or altered in some way. My church has just cautiously re-opened preschool with safety and sanitation protocols that were unheard of 12 months ago. We have yet to reopen all of our typical children’s educational opportunities. We gather the kids together safely for some fellowship and outdoor learning activities, but the more traditional classroom settings haven’t been reestablished yet.

Psalm 78 (Common English Version)

Listen, my people, to my teaching;
    tilt your ears toward the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth with a proverb.
    I’ll declare riddles from days long gone—
        ones that we’ve heard and learned about,
        ones that our ancestors told us.
We won’t hide them from their descendants;
    we’ll tell the next generation
    all about the praise due the Lord and his strength—
    the wondrous works God has done.

But when you think about it, not being able to gather children in a church building for Christian education should not matter if parents are doing what this Psalm suggests. The best way for kids to learn about their Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer is right at home. Two things need to happen for this to be successful.

First, parents must make an intentional plan for teaching. Bedtime prayers, saying grace before meals, reading every day from a child’s bible or a bible-based story book, and most importantly talking about God as he moves throughout a parent’s life are the beginning steps in a child’s spiritual formation.

But even prior to that, parents need to know the Lord themselves…up close and personal. We can only teach what we know. More accurately, we can only teach WHOM we know. Do you know God?

He established a law for Jacob
    and set up Instruction for Israel,
        ordering our ancestors
        to teach them to their children.

What are you teaching your children and grandchildren about God? Are you living a godly life as an example to them? Do the things they overhear you saying line up with God’s instructions? Because trust me, the children are listening.

This is so that the next generation
    and children not yet born will know these things,
        and so they can rise up and tell their children
    to put their hope in God—
        never forgetting God’s deeds,
        but keeping God’s commandments
.

Today is a good day to begin your own home version of Sunday School. Teach them God’s commandments. Teach them Jesus’ salvation. Teach them to love their neighbor. Teach them who made the stars and the bugs. From sunrise to sunset, teach them that God is LOVE.

And for heaven’s sake, tell them to put their hope in God. They’re gonna need it.

Sunset Hope by Kathy Weeks

The Sure Thing

Stadiums are closed. There will be no Olympics this year. We have learned that there IS crying in baseball…when it disappears. Movies and concerts are cancelled. Bars, clubs, and even Las Vegas are shut down. All of the world’s “sure things” aren’t so sure anymore.

A good friend asked me recently how I come up with things to write about every day. He wondered if I was worried that I would eventually not have anything to say. Does he KNOW me?? I am never at a loss for words! But my confidence is not in my own verbosity. My confidence is in the endless flow of messages that comes from the Word of God. I believe with my whole heart that the Bible has something to say about EVERYTHING.

That is a sure thing.

So imagine my delight when the scriptures assigned for this week included Psalm 40. I know for certain that the psalmist did NOT write this during a pandemic. But look at how applicable this is for where we are today:

Psalm 40: 5-10 (The Message)

Blessed are you who give yourselves over to God,
    turn your backs on the world’s “sure thing,”
    ignore what the world worships;

Indeed, everything we worshipped two months ago is gone for now. So in this time, we have an opportunity to discover God-wonders.

The world’s a huge stockpile
    of God-wonders and God-thoughts.
Nothing and no one
    comes close to you!

We can’t even attend church. Any attempt to “be religious” or “act pious” is out the window. Put away your Sunday hats, ladies. The expression of our faith can only come through our actions, words, and deeds.

Doing something for you, bringing something to you—
    that’s not what you’re after.
Being religious, acting pious—
    that’s not what you’re asking for.
You’ve opened my ears
    so I can listen.

Our notions of everyday life have been altered, and we have been forced to adapt. Kids don’t go to school anymore. Parents don’t go to work outside the home for now. But God still invites us to come to his party and allow his Word to enter into our lives and become part of who we are.

7-8 So I answered, “I’m coming.
    I read in your letter what you wrote about me,
And I’m coming to the party
    you’re throwing for me.”
That’s when God’s Word entered my life,
    became part of my very being.

Pandemics are a time to relearn that God is the only sure thing we have. And when we relearn that, we have to go and tell it.

9-10 I’ve preached you to the whole congregation,
    I’ve kept back nothing, God—you know that.
I didn’t keep the news of your ways
    a secret, didn’t keep it to myself.

So here are your marching orders: tell it all. Tell people about how dependable God is. Don’t hold back! Share his love and truth.

I told it all, how dependable you are, how thorough.
    I didn’t hold back pieces of love and truth
For myself alone. I told it all,
    let the congregation know the whole story.

And let us remind one another that WE ARE ONE DAY CLOSER TO THE END OF THIS THING. And that’s a sure thing. Thanks be to God.

Sure Thing Sunrise by Michelle Robertson