It amazes me just how often things don’t go according to plan. The fact of the matter is that if you’re a full time youth pastor, you are paid to prepare for the worst possible scenario. In no way is flexibility isolated to ministry, but rather flexibility is important to life in general.
In the past year here at Lewisburg Alliance, our ministry has been faced with some scenarios where we had no other choice but to adapt to our situation. Last fall we did an event where sharing the gospel was central to the whole purpose of the event. We had planned to go to a local corn maze and then we were going to talk about being lost. I am a genius! I mean think about that, you go and get lost in the corn maze and then talk about how we are lost in this world until we find Christ and how he is our guide! You are all welcome to steal that idea. I was sitting basking in my youth leader brilliance till I was told that it was supposed to rain. With rain comes no corn maze. Here our big event leading up to our big gospel presentation wasn’t going to happen, and this genius had no back-up plan. Did I mention I’m a genius? I hope all of you catch the sarcasm in my writing (I’m not as smart as I’d like to think I am sometimes).
Thankfully God knew exactly what he was doing and we ended up switching from a corn maze to a photo scavenger hunt and a movie. After the movie we had the gospel presentation and we watch three girls get saved. While I had a genius plan to make the gospel message stick, God had another idea of how to reach out to these girls.
Last night we were at youth when a rain storm pounded our area. I am thankful that we got rain, but the storm knocked out our power right before all of our students showed up. Here we were with no power, no ac, and 25 students being dropped off at the church. Thankfully by emergency light we got to play dodgeball and the word of God was shared.
No matter how much you plan or fail to plan, things are always going to change and you either flex or fail. Whether you’re a parent on vacation with your kids or a youth pastor on a missions trip when the church van breaks down, you have to be willing to be flexible. You never know when things are going to change but I promise you, flexibility is always your friend!
How many of you remember a time when you were little when your parents would have you pick out a book and read it with you before bed? You know, when you were decked out in footie pajamas, and could hardly see over the kitchen counter. My family didn’t have a designated reading time when I was little, but those times that we did sit down with a book were so special to me. I remember one book in particular. It was a small blue hardback book, covered in some type of cloth. I have no idea where this book has gone or where I could find another. But I remember flipping through the pages and reading the nursery rhymes as I grew older in age. I also remember special times of having my dad read to me even when I was in middle school (I had a hard time reading the unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo, and it was one of my dad’s favorites). That time we shared together was very special and brought us closer than we already were. I also remember spending the night at a close friends house one time and sitting down with them during a family devotional time.
Parents, I beg you to spend such precious time with your kids! Jason and I both are very adamant that God’s Word should change your life, and that’s Biblical too. And it does just that if you are constantly reading it and learning to apply it to your every day life. Like with anything else, the more you repeat something, the more learned or the more of a habit it becomes. That’s why little kids do number drills in school, or math uses flash cards over and over, and teachers often say “repeat after me”. Studies have even proven the fact that the more you repeat something, the more you retain that knowledge. It becomes “second nature”.
If anything should be second nature in our lives, it should be God’s Word. It doesn’t just happen. In fact, it takes lots of work if you really want to know the Word well. If you haven’t started to really know the Bible yet, start with small steps first. If you’re too ambitious, you may never even complete your goal. Did you know that you only have to read 3-4 chapters a day to read the Bible through in a year? That’s only 10-15 minutes a day, depending on how fast you read.
So why not make this a habit with your whole family? No time is too early to start reading the Bible to your children. In fact, it’s commanded in Scripture! Deuteronomy 11:19 says, “Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” God’s Word should permeate every part of your lives! So whether your children haven’t even been born, they’re newborns, toddlers, young children, preteens, or teens, read God’s Word together. It is the only true foundation to any family and any life.
As parents and future parents, we should be in the business of raising wise, godly adults, not merely “good kids”. Following Christ has nothing to do with good behavior. If it did, then Jesus did not set a good example, because He had a habit of breaking the rules (for a guy who’s not supposed to do anything on the Sabbath, He sure did a lot of it!). Following Christ has everything to do with surrendering your life to Christ and allowing the Spirit of God, Who dwells inside of you, to rule in your life. How can we live such lives if we don’t even know anything about God? Child rearing trends and fads will go in and out of style, but God’s Word is timeless and true. If there’s one thing that you should do as a parent, this is definitely it!
Find out some general benefits of reading to your kids from an experienced parent here.