Every so often, we will consolidate past entries from our GWN Parent and Teacher Newsletter to share here. If you have been following the blog, you will notice below some familiar thoughts—an essay out of which a later blog post blossomed. The two essays posted here hang together in my mind. They address what it means to engage the world as the Father intends for us to do as His children, inviting us to reflect and even feel out what it means to us emotionally as well as spiritually. I plan to return often to these ideas and practices in future posts. In the meantime, I am always interested in a dialog about these and other themes. What informs your own thinking and practices regarding discipling our children to engage the world? How do you synthesize the imperatives of scripture and seek to express them in our cultural context?
How can I come alongside of you as you do this vital work?
Blessing the World with Our Kids
I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread.
He is ever lending generously,
and his children become a blessing.
The stanzas above are taken from Psalm 37—a longish Psalm of David which feels more like a Proverb, written from a place of wisdom later in his life. If you can take the time to read it in its entirety, you will not be disappointed. Let David’s words wash over you. Consider reading it aloud with your family. Now: What do you notice regarding the Lord’s provision and promise? What do you see of His commands? Where do you see His curse? How does it hit you?
I’m sure you’re wondering why I am camping out here today. What does this have to do with the role of a “News Coach”? In short: Biblical literacy fuels news literacy—biblical truth equips cultural engagement.
Psalm 37 reminds us of the intention, process, struggle, and outcome of discipleship. Biblical discipleship not only focuses on imparting to our children the blessing of knowing the Father, but it also raises them to be a blessing to the world He has made.
Perhaps the most difficult thing for us to be generous with, and yet central to our calling as believers, is to fill the world and subdue it, to go out, go into it, make disciples of every nation (see Genesis 1:28 and Matthew 28:19-20). Again: We are to be generous towards the world by blessing it with our children.
As soon as I wrote the sentence above, I began to dissolve into tears. I mean ugly crying. I think of my three daughters and my instinct is to shrink back: How can this be? Sending our precious ones into the broken places seems akin to sacrificing them. How can we do this?
Through David’s fatherly voice, the Father reminds us of the depths of His divine provision for us, His children. He declares that the inheritance we have in Him is sure. He reminds us He is with us to the end of the age. He goes with us—and with our children. The righteous is assured: His steps do not slip. So, 1. Let’s instruct our children regarding divine provision.
While surrounding us with the indicatives of the gospel, our Father commands us to be about His business: righteousness, justice, generosity, mercy. 2. Let’s instruct our children regarding the Father’s calling on each of our lives as believers.
It gets even more practical: 3. Let’s teach them about the world in which they live, increasing their agency, then send them out into the world prepared do their own work which He has prepared in advance for them.
Discipling Children in a Time of War
I do not lighten the gravity of war when I say: of greater concern to me than physical wars which go and (mostly) come are the concerns of discipleship.
Of course we long for times of peace; we strive for peace; we even sometimes pretend that we have peace. Like Frodo in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, we wish “[war] need not have happened in our time”… but it is Gandalf’s words to which we must hearken: “… we have to decide what to do with the time that is given us.”
The apostle Peter exhorts believers living in Rome at a time of growing persecution to prepare their hearts and minds for action and to be ready to give reason for their hope. We are right to do the same. The prophet Jeremiah reminds us as he weeps over human sin and the devastation it brings: Part of our faithful response is to weep with those who weep. Declaring the Truth, discipling our children in it, gently modeling love and compassion and teaching our children to do the same—In the fiercest of times we are to be the softest of instruments.
Believer: You were united with Christ to be His hands and feet in such a time as this.
Your work of discipleship in this age is your act of war.
Let us continue to teach and affirm this to generations: Though the darkness may last for the night, joy comes in the morning. Therein lies our confidence and peace. May we rise to the call of discipleship with hearts and minds strengthened for the task. And may we look to the day we will receive the Bridegroom, expectantly, with lamps full, ready for His return.
Please drop me a line with a comment, question, or concern. Let’s dialogue – I’m listening! firstname.lastname@example.org