Monday, January 7, 2013

My Kids Are Running In Church

It is basically a weekly occurrence.  When church is over, the older members of my family get the younger members of the family from their classes and return to the auditorium.  Before leaving, my wife and I try to talk to different people and build relationships.  Meanwhile, my nearly four year old boy and three year old girl are running around the auditorium, climbing the steps on the stage, jumping off the stage, crawling under pews and anything else they can think of to embarass me.

I feel bad.  Children should not be running in church.  Worse, my children should not be running.  This is not acceptable.  But, if I am going to talk to people after church, my kids are going to run around; it is unavoidable.  I can only stop the running by leaving, which essentially consists of dragging the kids to the van.

I feel bad that my kids are running in church.  I judge myself.  I did not used to let my children run in church, but I can't stop these kids.  If you are wondering, there is a reason that I now let my children run in church.  My older children, the non-runners, are my biological children, so I could effectively discipline them and stop their running.  These running children are foster children.  So, everything I do with them is regulated by the State.  Discipline is especially regulated.  These regulations make it impossible to effectively discipline.  The result is often chaos, as seen when they are running in church.

At this point, I have learned to accept the running so that I can do other important things, like build relationships.  Also, I use their running to remind me that I need to pray for them.

I ask that people in church who see them running will also pray for them.  In his book Adopted for Life, Russell Moore explains that the church needs to develop a culture of adoption.  While many things go into developing a culture of adoption, one item is praying for adopted and foster children.  Not only can the running children remind someone to pray for the children, it can also spur them to pray for other nations.  He writes, "The children running through your church halls can be a perpetual signal to pray and labor for the nations to know Christ."  In my case, it is surely perpetual, as these kids are perpetually running.

When you see my children running in church, please pray for them.  Don't just pray for their behavior.  Pray for my sanity, and my wife's sanity, as we raise these very active, strong-willed children.  More importantly, pray for their salvation.  And the salvation of their mother.  And the salvation of their sisters who do not live in our home.  And the social workers who oversee the children.  And the attorneys who represent the State, the children, and the mother.  You get the idea; there are many people to pray for.  While we can address their physical needs, like behavior, it will mean nothing if they spend eternity in hell.  My goal in raising these foster children is not to save them from hell on earth, but to save them from a literal hell when their lives end.  For this, they need prayer, and less judgment by me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Beginning the Year With The Passion Conference

Like the last two years, my family started 2013 by watching the Passion Conference online.  Here are some of my thoughts from opening night.

First, it is a joy to see my children excited about watching Passion.  All four of my children (ages 18, 15, 11, and 8) could not wait for it to start.  Throughout the day, they were playing Praise and Worship music for Passion Prep.  During Giglio's message, the oldest three were taking notes.  Yes, three children were taking notes and this was without any parental persuasion!  After the message, my kids were quoting their favorite lines from the message.  As a parent, I love the fact that my kids love God and are passionate about Him.  I pray that this will continue.

Second, I pray for the salvation of my Foster Children, especially the oldest one, who is nine.  He has not accepted Jesus as his Saviour; although, he has been presented with the gospel numerous times.  While we watch Passion, he is with us.  Having an unregenerate heart, he does not understand or experience it like the rest of us do.  I am glad that he is being exposed to the Word again and in a different format.  He is getting an opportunity to see our family, and thousands others, getting excited about Jesus.  He is hearing that, no matter your past or what enslaves you, Jesus can give you a new life and freedom.  These are things that he needs.  I pray that God's word will not return void.

Third, when God is working, Satan will be opposing.  With the Georgia Dome only able to hold 60,000+ young adults worshipping God, the Conference is streamed on the internet so people all over the world can join in the worship.  When the conference started at 7:30, we could not get the stream.  After checking around online and on Twitter (the first time I have ever checked Twitter), we learned that the Conference was having techical difficulties (perhaps too many people wanting to worship for human technology?).  Eventually, they fixed the stream and we were able to participate.  Personally, I saw this as an attack by Satan.  The last think he wants is hundreds of thousands of people around the world worshipping God and being energized to let God work through them.  I also found it ironic how upset Christians (presumably) got when they could not get their "religious" program.

Fourth, God can do more than we can imagine, as Giglio preached.  God is the all powerful creator of the world and can do anything.  But, we limit His power in our lives.  Instead, we choose to be a slave to sin and to be satisifed with ordinary, mundane lives.  We need to ask God to do more in, and through, us.  He wants to do it, we just need to ask and have faith.  When we lack faith, we should pray that He will help our unbelief.