Yesterday, I gave each child a third of some glorified silly putty I bought for Lee awhile back. They played with it and I talked. Maybe they liked playing with the silly putty (I told them they could only play with it when we were talking about the Bible), or maybe they just wanted to postpone the beginning of school. (I don’t do Bible as part of school.) In any case, they asked for more, and I was surprised how excited they were about playing with that putty! I gave them three challenges.
- I asked them if they knew what the most important commands were in the Bible. (I figured they wouldn’t know this)
- I asked them if they could find a place where someone wanted to know why we needed to be born again. (Bethel and David both went to John 3– I want them to feel successful at using their Bibles, so I asked them a challenge I knew they could get.)
- I asked them if they could find a place where the Bible tells us something to think about. (Bethel went to Phil 4:8 and then Psalm 1. I sent David to Psalm 119 and he found a few verses in that chapter.)
- We also read Psalm 103 together, and I asked them if they could find some verses that might help a child who was afraid that God was always mad at him.
Sometimes as I listen in church or read my Bible, I think “Oh, that would be a good verse for my children.” On Sunday I had a whole bunch, all at once, so I had to write them down. On Monday, I really wanted them to get the most important command– love the Lord your God with all heart soul and mind– because of its importance to salvation. For a child who is pretty good at being good– helpful and kind, obedient, listens in Sunday school, really, every teacher’s dream child– he needs to know that without salvation, he is breaking God’s most important command. I want to communicate that being good might assuage our guilty feelings, but it isn’t salvation. I also wanted to balance the command, with an understanding of God’s love and mercy. That’s why we read Psalm 103.
(Btw, I had a good followup conversation in private. I really want salvation conversations to be serious and pleasant, but not oppressive. We are on the same team with our children!)
I have a feeling I’ll be asked to have another silly putty conversation today.
Way to go Michelle! I’m stealing this! We don’t have as much time as we used to to do this kind of stuff so I’m going to be real intentional about it. I’ve been feeling rather “out of ideas” for how to be more intentional at driving my kids back to the Bible when “issues” arise. The best I’ve had recently was to ask my oldest “how might you say that if you were saying it to Jesus”? Not sure if that is even helpful, but he did say it nicer and that was the goal. Please keep posting your ideas on sharing the gospel with our kids. I heard a pastor on the radio the other day saying when we keep demanding our unbelieving friends (and I inserted kids) to “be better” we lead them to moralism or legalism instead we should take that opportunity to emphasize that they CAN’T be better unless they are regenerated and that’s where we share the gospel. I realized there are so many times I tell my unregenerated son to “do better”, not just make better choices, but really I’m saying STOP SINNING SO MUCH but I’m neglecting to share the wonderfulness of the gospel and God’s grace and forgiveness. It was convicting. I’m way off topic. Sorry about that. 🙂
Laura, Glad you were encouraged, and I’d like to hear some of your ideas on this topic, too. I know the feeling of being at a loss for what to say. The biggest problem is that the children who have a profession of faith apparently sin just as much as the children who don’t. They actually CAN be better, at least in my household. 🙁 So I’m uncomfortable sounding that note loudly. I don’t know what to say. Still thinking on it.
P.S. Maybe I can sneak out of the house for a quick coffee at Koffee Klatch in a few weeks. Email me!