Years ago, a good brother shared a story with me that I would like to share with you. I hope that it will have the same impact on you that it did (and does) on me.
He told me about a mother who asked her young son to shine her slippers. He worked very carefully. He did a wonderful job. She was so impressed that she gave her son a quarter. (Remember, this was years ago.)
The next time she wore those shoes, she felt a lump in one of them. She pulled the shoe off and found a quarter with a piece of paper wrapped around it. On the paper, in her son’s boyhood scrawl, were these words:
“I done it for love.”
What a tremendous and touching illustration of the proper motivation for Christians! We can act without loving, but we cannot love without acting.
Hopefully, all who wear the name of Christ will approach our relationship with our Father and with others just like the little boy did with his mother. Hopefully, we will simply do what we’ve been asked to do and what we are able to do with a powerful motivation.
Hopefully, we can honestly say that we “done it for love.”
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging symbol. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all that I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3, ESV).
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What do you want your children to know? I mean, what do you most want them to know, especially before they are grown and gone?
In this episode of the podcast, Adam begins a four-part series of the 20 things he has on his list for his children. This list is meant to help spur your thinking, as you seek to instill certain principles in their lives. We hope you enjoy this program, and will tune in next week for part 2 of the list.
The Five Things Discussed on This Week’s Program Are…
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This may sound like an odd topic for a Legacy of Faith post. You may also think it is only for a very limited audience, but I hope you’ll take the time to read this post.
While doing a lesson for preachers’ wives at Polishing the Pulpit several years ago I made some comments about this role that touched the hearts of several people. One lady in particular, Carrie Voss, came up to me and said, “We need to have a retreat for preachers’ wives and you need to speak at it.” I agreed that it would be helpful for ladies in the same role to gather in one place, and I agreed to be the speaker (in the back of my mind thinking it would never happen). I underestimated Carrie!
A few weeks later she contacted me to say she had found a place to have the retreat and gave me the date. I don’t remember what each lady paid to attend the retreat, but it was minimal and, working with that limited budget, Carrie made it all happen. Twenty-seven preachers’ wives of all ages gathered together for a weekend of sharing, laughing, crying, singing, praying, and enjoying the company of those who understood the role of a preachers’ wife.
This year (2016) we had our fifth retreat and I was again privileged to speak to a group of eighty-six ladies from all over the United States. The retreat has not only grown in number, but also in helpfulness for those attending. Classes on many different topics are held and break-out sessions on how to handle certain situations are beneficial to all in attendance (especially those who are new to this role of preacher’s wife).
I want to share with you just a short list of blessings I take away from the retreat:
If you are reading this post and you are a preacher, try to encourage your wife to attend next year’s retreat. If you are not a preacher, why not give this information to your preacher or his wife, or maybe one of the elders who may encourage your preacher’s wife to attend next year’s retreat?
If you are a preacher’s wife, take steps toward attending next year’s retreat. You’ll be so glad you did!!! I sure would love to see you there!!!
The 2017 Preachers’ Wives’ Retreat will be held in Bowling Green, Kentucky on April 28-30, 2017. Registration cost for the retreat is $50. Contact information: www.preacherswiferetreat.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
…if you have reached out to someone with the Gospel of Jesus, the only message that can save their soul.
…if you have encouraged someone who is downtrodden.
…if you have been faithful to your spouse and shown that you would marry him or her all over again.
…if you have told your children you love them and spent time pouring into their lives.
…if you have drunk deeply from the Word of God and drawn ever closer to Him.
Then, no matter what else you might not have gotten done, or what you feel a failure for, your day has not been wasted.
AUTHOR: Adam Faughn
Recently, I was preaching in another community. During my time there I saw something that I thought was worthy of some consideration.
What I saw was a church sign. That’s not really all that remarkable. I have seen more church signs than I can remember. We even have one where I preach!
Most church signs inform those who pass by about the identity of the group that meets inside that particular building. Other information that is deemed pertinent is usually included on those signs (schedule and times of classes and services, phone number for the office, etc.).
Sometimes some of those signs have other messages. The message may change from time to time. One of my tasks at a congregation where I used to preach was to regularly put something on our sign that was scriptural, informative, helpful, thought-provoking, and/or challenging.
Sometimes those signs have a permanent message. Often that message seems to be intended to serve as a “slogan” for that particular group. At other times, the permanent message is something that the people hope will further identify them and/or provide helpful information.
If the message on the sign I saw recently is intended as their “slogan,” they may want to do some rethinking. Here is that message:
MOTIVATED BY PRIDE
I wondered what these people are proud of? Is it their history? Is it the service they offer to the community? Is it their “standing” in the community? Is it their name (which is not found in the Bible)? Is it their doctrine (some of which also lacks a biblical foundation)?
I do not know what they are proud of, but I am afraid that I know one thing. I’m afraid they’ve missed a very important emphasis in the New Testament.
The highest (and really only) motivation for a Christian or a group of Christians is not pride. It is not even what might be considered the opposite of pride; humility.
What Paul wrote may never appear on anybody’s church sign. It does appear in God’s Word, however.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3, ESV, emphasis added).
Whether the discussion is about my (our) service to God, our relationship with one another, or our attempts to “…seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10), it is absolutely imperative that we must be…
MOTIVATED BY LOVE
“The end is near!”
How do those words make you feel? Well, if you are like most people, it probably depends on the context. Right now, those words sound glorious to me because I thought of them in reference to the fact that school ends for the year in just 2 days.
Summertime, here we come!!!
As I thought about what those words mean to me right now, it made me consider how they make me feel in a spiritual context. How do I (or you) feel when I think “the end is near” in reference to my earthly life as a whole? James 4:14 tells us that our lives are like a mist or vapor that “appears for a little time and then vanishes.” So, to borrow a phrase, while the days seem long, the years are short.
Does this make me uncomfortable? Or do I have the same attitude as Paul in Philippians 1:21 where he wrote, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Do I look forward to the coming of Christ with expectation and hope? Can I end my prayers the way John ends the book of Revelation: “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus”?
It is my prayer that I can hear the words “the end is near” in reference to my life and be filled with “the peace that passes all understanding” (Phil. 4:7) because “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Timothy 1:12).
I hope you can, too.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”–Romans 8:38-39
I see it virtually everywhere I preach, both at 9th Avenue as well as in various guest speaking opportunities. It is a trend that is disheartening to me, not just as a preacher of the Gospel, but also just one who loves the hearts of children and who wants to see them grow to love God and His Word.
It is kids playing video games during worship.
They bring their iPad, tablet, or phone and while many of us are singing “I Surrender All,” they are striving for a high score. While we are praying to God, they are playing baseball. While we are mining the depths of God’s Word, they are on Minecraft.
Parents, may I just ask: what are we teaching our children about worship?
It’s only for adults.
It can’t compete with electronics.
It’s something you do if you can’t find something more interesting.
Those lessons, spoken or unspoken, are what your children are picking up when you allow them to play games during worship.
And I know that there are plenty of Bible apps and websites that are also being used by some. That said, I have randomly asked children at places I have spoken about what they were doing on their iPad (or other device) during worship. Never–not a single time–has it had something to do with the sermon. It has always–every single time–been about playing a game or watching videos. (Yes, I’ve seen kids with headphones hooked up to their tablet during worship. Not a good way to show that they are paying attention to the worship service!)
Is this what we want for our children? As we are gathering around God’s throne to praise His holy name, do we want our kids to be off in virtual gameland? If I may say so, I want my children right in God’s throneroom with me as I praise Him!
“They can’t sit still through a whole sermon.” “They pick up quite a bit as it is.” “They don’t understand what’s going on.” “It helps me worship because they are still and quiet, at least.”
I’ve heard all the excuses. They just don’t fly. Worship is something that children must be trained in, and it starts when they are very little. What’s more, if they are trained how to act during worship when they are younger, children will most likely come to enjoy worship as they grow up.
Of course, children will be restless during worship (especially the sermon). That’s part of it, and it is understandable. But putting Temple Run in front of their face is not the answer. All that teaches our kids is that they can act up in worship, and they are rewarded for it!
I am not saying that children–especially smaller children–need to sit perfectly still during a worship service with just a King James Bible open to the text for the sermon.
But there are far better things to do, or even to give your children, than a video game (or social media access, for the older ones).
When they are really small, give them Bible pictures, Bible story “board-books,” or even small stuffed animals (and whisper in their ear, “God made the dog on day 6,” or “God made the birdie on day 5”). That way, though they have something in their hands, or that they are looking at, it is teaching them to focus on their wonderful Lord during these few minutes.
As they grow a little older, Bible story books are a good idea. Also, make sure they are at least trying to sing and that they are still during the prayers. They can do this much!
Another idea is to have little worship worksheets that they can draw and write on. (Note: We offer these for free in our “Training for Worship” pdf that’s in our store. Again, it’s free!) These sheets let them write the names of the songs or something we prayed about. Have your children draw a picture of something the preacher talked about on the sheets, or write down the verses he used in his sermon.
I know that all this means that you may struggle to worship at times. During those younger years, those children are forming such valuable thoughts in their little minds. Wouldn’t you rather struggle a little bit and have them grow up loving to worship and understanding what is going on?
Then please, not for the sake of the preacher, but for the sake of the souls of your children, nix the video games.
Replace Mindcraft with Matthew.
Replace Temple Run with Titus.
Replace sports games with singing with grace.
God is worthy of your effort. It will be a fight for awhile, but the eternal destiny of your child is in the balance. It’s worth every effort.
“Training for Worship” [Arrows in Our Hand podcast. Contains other helpful links, especially for parents of smaller children.]
“Training Your Children for Worship” [A Legacy of Faith podcast]
AUTHOR: Adam Faughn