This week, our first co-authored book was released! Raising Kids for Tomorrow’s World: 12 Keys to Preserving the Faith is now available for purchase. Here is the Introduction from the book:
Becoming a Parent
When I (Stan) was a twenty-four-year-old graduate student, a nurse placed an eight-pound baby boy into my arms. Not even sure of the proper way to hold him, I looked at this baby and then at my beautiful and exhausted wife.
She smiled. “You’re a father now; you have a son. What do you think?”
Think? Surely, I wanted to be a good father and protect my son. I imagined the fun we would have and wondered all those things parents wonder.
What will he be like? Will I be a good dad?
The desire was there, no doubt. Even with the good examples we had in our own parents, what Cheryl and I did not know about parenting was a lot. We believed a child is a gift from the hand of God. And, in receiving our new son, we had been called to this grand adventure of parenting.
Not only did I hold new life in my arms, but I also had new life in me. Christ was introduced to me as a young child and more fully revealed to me during college. There, I became a Christian and began to study the Bible.
Our new son, David, entered into a covenant relationship with God through our family. God had much to teach us about believing him. As David grew, so did we. In a few short years, God added three more sons to our home, Matthew, Andrew and Daniel.
As they grew, so did we.
While we could not see even one minute into the future, we knew our young boys would follow someone in their effort to find happiness. If they did not know God, it would be natural for them to follow the crowd or someone in the crowd, or even declare like Pharaoh, “Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice…I do not know the Lord…” (Exodus 5:2).
Fortunately, we saw our goal as parents was not merely to conform our sons to a standard, but to joyfully introduce them to God. Our task was to teach them of the one who created them, loves them, and plans for their flourishing.
Thus, our opportunity as parents through our words and life is to paint a portrait of the One our children do not yet know. With broad, sweeping brushstrokes and the finest detail, we create a beautiful portrait of the unseen God. Through our illustrating, our children will come to understand he is the Lord and desire to obey his voice. Whom your children follow will be the most important ongoing decision of their lives.
When you receive a child into your covenant family, by birth or through adoption, the “long view” will give perspective on the joys as well as the daily trials that are sure to come. Each day presents opportunities to illustrate something beautiful about Christ.
Becoming a Pastor to Our Children
Several years ago, I prepared to teach through Paul’s letters to the church in Thessalonica. In reading I Thessalonians 2, I studied Paul’s description of his ministry. He used terms “like a mother” and “like a father.” Though he had no children of his own, Paul obviously considered himself to be like a parent as he pastored his young church.
That was interesting enough and worth exploring further, but then I came to verse 13. Paul wrote, “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers” (I Thessalonians 2:13).
Paul gives thanks for exactly what we desire for our own children. Doesn’t every Christian parent desire their children would, like the Thessalonians, receive the word of God which they hear from us?
And not only receive it, but value it because they understand it is not just our word, but the Word of God? Our praise would undoubtedly echo Paul’s as we see how God has become the authority in our child’s life instead of the culture…or their emotions…or friends.
This section of text came to life for me. I knew there must be more for parents here and eagerly pursued these verses. In verse 1, Paul wrote, “…our coming to you was not in vain.” If verse 13 is what we hope and labor for most, then verse 1 is what we fear most; all of our years of labor, teaching, and instruction and all the giving of ourselves for our children’s sakes would be in vain. We have heard expressions of concern from parents who tell us their child wandered from the faith. Even Paul experienced this in other locations.
I Thessalonians Chapter 2 is a wonderful gift given to parents. We could not have received more from Paul if we had interviewed him in person in our living room. Paul recounts for the Thessalonians, and for us, exactly what he did–as if we have been handed the keys to Paul’s pastoring and parenting in his young churches.
Twelve keys (or passages) emerge from verses 1-14. The word ‘passages’ can be used to indicate the course by which a person passes or travels to get to a destination. Christian parents have a clear destination…to lead their children to love God, believe and embrace his Son, and understand and obey his Word. Parenting is a journey for both parents and children!
Each of the twelve Passages are illustrated with three short chapters and are helpful for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and anyone who is a loving mentor to children and teens. Through the pages of Raising Kids for Tomorrow’s World, theological truth is presented in a practical way. We, the authors, desire that readers will understand the theology and engage it, allow the wisdom of God’s Word to inform their parenting practice, and be encouraged to live by faith. What we do today in our homes will impact our children’s spiritual walk tomorrow.
Parents, it is never too late to start parenting well. If you are reading this and your children are well on their way, some even in directions taking them far from the protection of God, we invite you to engage this resource.
To those whose hearts are breaking for their teens and adult children, you may draw encouragement from Charles Spurgeon. “But Jesus still commands, ‘Bring him to me.’” Spurgeon then encourages us, “Never must we cease to pray until they cease to breathe. No case is hopeless while Jesus lives.”
You were born for this time and the time to come. So were your children.
Order Here: Paperback Kindle