Thursday, April 2, 2009

Be Still And Know

Psalm 46:10 reads, "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth."
We live in a busy, busy world. That includes our young people. Much has been said already of the importance of getting your child's heart; and if it helps, I will say it again, "Every parent MUST get their child's heart."
One of the Devil's greatest tools in keeping the heart of the child away from their parent is that of television and internet. Now, I do not believe that either is a sin in of itself. They can be used to sin, very easily; but they are objects. They are stealing the hearts of our young people from their parents as much as guns are to blame for killing people.
The responsibility is with us, the parent. I know some homes where the television is never off. I mean-never! Even when the family is gone, the television is left on for pets or for the fact that it will be on when they get home. Constant noise and distraction. Families will even sit together in the same room for 4 hours a night, but no one is aloud to have a conversation... "Shhh, I can't hear the T.V."
Fathers will sit for hours a night watching their favorite shows, while the children are banished to their rooms, so not to interrupt Law and Order. Mothers do not like the shows their husbands are watching, so they have their own television set in their room to watch their shows; and those kids better not knock on the door until John and Kate is over!
So the children set, yearning for fellowhship and communication and their sits the answer....FACEBOOK, MYSPACE, or Twitter. There they can share their feelings, talk about their day, share the joys of life, cry on a shoulder, laugh, listen, and talk to somebody named "RedDragon22" while their father and mother stare at their shows.
Of course the children, join in the habit of television watching also. Dad, to show his love (and make up for his lack of parenting) purchases them their own television for their room so they can watch Sponge Bob!
I spend on average either watchign TV or on the internet each day:
A: One Hour or less.....29%
B: 1-4 Hours.....59%
C: 5 or more hours...12%

A recent study showed that children watching excessive television is linked to: obesity, nagging, violence, illiteracy, ADHD symptoms, and more. Constant noise, constant distraction, constant social communication-but the home remains divided.
I have, in an earlier post stated why I deleted my facebook account, and I would encourage those with one to read it again. Youth are spending too much time on these sites on the web...last time I checked, getting stuck in a web meant certain doom for the innocent that was flying by.
Why should my Teen ager NOT have an online social gathering account?
1. Too wasteful-think if that time was spent with their parents talking, chatting, sharring, crying, laughing, opening their heart one to another-it would change our homes.
2. Too Friendly-You can be "Friends" with anyone. I guarantee most, if not all, of our IFB teens that are on these sights, have "friends" who we as parents would never let them be "friends" with in the real world.
3. Too Open-Proven fact, you are more honest and open your heart more in writing than words. That is why Johnny always asks Suzy "Do you like me" in note first, "Circle Yes or NO." Fact is, behind a screen and keyboard, one is much more open and puts themselves in danger of giving their heart away.
4. Too Wicked-They may be not writing any thing wicked, but look at the adds, look at their friends, look at lifestyles that are promoted.
There are more, but you get the gist. We need to stop!!

Parents, turn off the t.v., unplug the computers, and spend time with your children. We posted the same question on our blog for the adults who read the blog to answer....
A.Hour or less...28%
B. 1-4 Hours...56%
C. 5 or more hours...14%

At least we know where our young people are learning these poor habits. Turn it off, talk, listen, love and share your hearts. One of the greatest things the Lord has led our family to do is a daily schedule. Now, of course, flexibility is the key, especially in the ministry; but a typical day has been outlined and is hanging on our refrigerator. It has on it times for sleeping, reading, school, devotions, eating, play time, exercise, and showers. Why? Because any of us can get the 'couch potato' syndrome.
May we all recognize our addiction, turn it all off, and be still a while...He is God!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monkey in the Middle

Columbine. Virginia Tech. These names are fairly familiar to most of us, and upon hearing them, we are filled with a sense of sadness that these tragedies occurred in our nation, in our time. Sadly, these incidents, while by far the worst of their kind, are not isolated. Over 40 other such tragedies have taken place in the past 15 years, and the general feeling is that there are more to come. Many have attempted to understand why and to get a grasp of how this could have happened. Unfortunately, the majority of those searching for reasons are looking for answers in the wrong places. As always, the simplest answers are usually the right ones. Let me explain. One of the saddest things about these tragedies is that seemingly no one knew what was going to happen; no one thought their child was capable of such violent acts. To that I say - Huh? Where have you been? How do you not know what is going on in the life of your child? How is it possibe that we allow our young people, who we brought into this world, to drift so far from us that we don't know what is going on? What are we doing? What is so important that we neglect one of the greatest gift's God gives to us? Parents, it is our God-given responsibility to raise up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. As a child of God, I'm glad to know that He is concerned with everything that goes on in my life and doesn't allow anything to slip by His ever watchful eye.
The title of this discourse is Monkey in the Middle. When I became youth pastor, I thought I knew exactly what was required for the job. Teach S.S., plan activities, go to camps, build and maintain realtionships with the youth, and try to guide them in the right direction. Sounds simple. The problem arose when I began to realize that I had a better relationship with many of them than their parents; that troubled me. It didn't seem quite right that whenever I would try to get them to talk to their parents, they didn't feel comfortable. I didn't understand it fully at the time, but I was taking something that didn't belong to me. When Pastor Burke approached me two years ago regarding how God had been leading him concerning youth, it relieved me to know that I wasn't the only one having difficulty with this issue. My hope and prayer is that, as parents, we would desire to first give our children our hearts that we might gain theirs. What is the result if we don't? Having already looked at Malachi 4:6, I would present Proverbs 30:11-14:
There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.
Are we there yet?