minute message

Christopher Roberts

Best Is Yet To Come –

 

“When the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the raise up a deliverer for the children of Israel, who delivered them” -Judges 3:9

But when the people of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the people ofIsrael, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.

Sometime after Joshua and the original leaders ofIsraelhad died, God raised up Caleb’s younger brother (who was an elderly man by this time) to help save and judge Israel.

The Spirit of the Lord was upon him to do this (verse 10) because, no matter how old a person is in the eyes of the world, they can be renewed by God to continue the work they were called to do.

It is a fact the older we get, the weaker we can become. In her elderly years, Kathryn Khulman asked the Lord why he did not use her when she was young and had more strength. He told her that had he done so, she would have blown it. The weaker we are in the flesh, the more we need the Spirit of God to quicken us. Your best days are ahead of you – so carry on!

 

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mesaage by rick warren

Rev. Rick Warren

CHILDREN NEED TO KNOW GOD LOVES THEM

“You (God) created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created.” Revelation 4:11b (NLT)

So a parent’s primary responsibility is to teach their children to love God. It is the first critical choice a child has to learn because it is a choice they will be faced with over and over at every stage in their life

Out of all the conversations parents need to have with their children, one of the first and most important is telling children that God created them and loves them.

Until our children understand that they were made by God and for his pleasure, life will not make sense. Isaiah 44 tells us, “I (God) am your creator. You were in my care even before you were born” (Isaiah 44:2 CEV). Children need to know that God thought them up. They were not an accident. They may not have been planned, but they were not an accident because God knew them and loved them from conception.

Now, no parent is perfect. They can have their good days and bad days. But God does not. His love is not based on his mood. He doesn’t love us one day and dislike us the next because his love is unchanging – that’s his character. It has nothing to do with who we are or what we do. We can’t make God stop loving us. He created us and made us to love us.

Our children need to understand this. And then we need to talk to them about how we respond to this love because God also gave us the capacity to love him back It is called worship. So we need to talk to our children about this key issue – what will be the center of my life?

Whatever is at the centre of your life is what you worship. As children grow up, they can center their life on what other people think (peer pressure), sports, school, family, career, having fun, money, or collecting things. And there’s nothing wrong with any of those things. God created all of them for our enjoyment. They just don’t belong at the center of your life because they don’t last.

If you centre your life on you career, it can go away. If you center your life on money, you can lose it. If you centre your life on your appearance or health, they can fail. All of these things can disappear and you’re left growing up with insecurity. But a life centered on God is solid because God cannot be taken away from you.

So a parent’s primary responsibility is to teach their children to love God. It is the first critical choice a child has to learn because it is a choice they will be faced with over and over at every stage in their life. Will they choose to live a self-centered life or a God-centred life?

When our children understand that they were created by God to be loved by him, and they choose to put God at the centre of their lives, they will be able to stand strong against any challenge that comes their way.

 

messages of note

Rob Parsons

DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF

Many years ago, J. B. Phillips, who produced some of the first ‘modern’ translations of the Bible, wrote a book called Your God is Too Small. I too, have written a book. It’s called, Getting your Kids Through Without Them Ending Up Hating God. I think maybe the two titles have more in common than one might think at first.

Over the past ten years I have spoken with countless parents who were praying for their prodigal children to come home. Time and time again I noticed the same thing: many of these young people had not turned their back upon God, but something else. I wrote my book to explore what that ‘something’ might be.

In truth, there are many ‘somethings’, but one of them is that so often in the Christian community we have a tendency o do the very opposite of the advice given by a famous book: with great passion we sweat the small stuff. And we sweat it with young people such as David. He used to go to church near where we live. I remember visiting and seeing him in the worship band, hammering away at a keyboard, singing ‘shine Jesus Shine’ for all he was worth.

I asked him why he didn’t go to church anymore. He sighed and said, ‘I stopped when i was 17. i became too ashamed to go, you know – because of what i’d started doing outside church’.

I thought I knew him and his family pretty well, and I’d heard of no great scandals’ perhaps that’s what gave me the courage (or the foolishness) to ask: ‘What kind of things were you doing?.

‘I started running around with a really bad crowd’, he replied.’ And I got my bottom lip pierced’.

These days, organisations are into ‘key performance indicators’. Most Christian communities have similar indicators that allow them to assess how their young people are doing. It’s true that they are almost never written down, but they are always there.

However the ‘indicators’ can sometimes produce skewed results. If, to be a good Christian girl,   you have to attend church at least once a week, go to the youth Bible study, not wear more than the lightest touch of make-up, and not listen to raunchy pop music, then even if you never miss Sunday service you can still end up with a mark of just 25% because you find the youth Bible study boring, you wear half and inch of make-up, and you’re a lady Gaga fan. The main problem is that you church is measuring the wrong things.

But what if our God is too small? What if we are making generations of people feel unloved and unwanted by things that are not high on heaven’s agenda? And how can we choose the right things to measure? It’s not easy, but we’ve been given a little help. Jesus has told us some of the ‘indicators’ He is going to use when we stand before Him at the end of time. I quite understand that this is not the whole story, but there are some of the things that really matter to God.  The passage of Matthew 25 is very clear: He will want to know if we have fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the prisoners, cared for the sick and welcome the stranger. In heaven’s eyes these are some of the big issues.

If we get this wrong we will continually be judging our children using the wrong criteria. In doing so, we will be making some kids who really care about the things that matter to God – such as the plight of the poor, visiting friends in hospital, giving their  pocket money to bu The Big Issue.

It’s a tragedy when a young person  walks away from God because they don’t want to be like Jesus. But it is a scandal when they feel they have to leave because although they love Him, they just can’t be like us.

Rob Parsons is founder and chairman of Care for the Family. Getting Your Kids Through Church Without Them Hating God is out now.