Dec 11, 2007

Our Mission, KIDS!

I recently Preached a sermon in my churches on the topic of training our kids with a Christian World View. Here's the handout:

Click here to listen to this Sermon

A family learns a new culture and language to share Jesus with other lands, we call them missionaries. A group of young people travels abroad to build churches and lead out in VBSs, we call them missionaries. A doctor leaves her successful American practice to extend the healing touch of Jesus through free medical help to those in need of it, we call her a missionary. A translator gives of his time and abilities to make sure people around him have God's Word in their own tongue, we call him a missionary. A teacher gets up in front of an American classroom and teaches the Three R's and so much more through a Christian Worldview, we call him/her a missionary—or at least we should! Our kids are the most fertile mission field on the planet!

Mark 10:13-16—Although kids are often overlooked when it comes to Spiritual things, this is not the attitude that Jesus showed. Over and over He said that the kingdom of heaven is for kids and people who have faith like them. Childhood is when kids are learning to understand life and making lifelong decisions.

Proverbs 1:1-7—We're not just after raising kids who will show up in church once a week. God's concern is for the whole character, which is shaped by worldview. Worldview is the lens through which we view everything that happens in the world. I believe that one of the greatest reasons why we loose our youth is because we allow the public school system, media and society to decide our kid's worldview. The good news is that there are many tools at our disposal for helping our kids gain a healthier, Christian worldview that encompasses every aspect of their life.

Church Schools
Psalm 111:10—Many people see education and their faith as two different things. In their view each has its place, but neither should interfere with the other. But these things cannot really be separated. To be truly wise you must understand the spiritual framework in which our world is made. Public schools teach a secular worldview (framework) that doesn't include God. But church and home schools can give kids true wisdom by giving them a Christian worldview.

Proverbs 9:10—
Education is more than the transference of knowledge, it is learning how to learn. The secular education system teaches that all things must be explained without using any force outside of our understandable dimensions, ie, without God. But the Bible teaches that knowledge of the Holy one is understanding. Christian education takes all the best of earthly science, math, social studies, etc. and uses an understanding of the Creating, loving, redeeming and sustaining God as a catalyst to make it all make sense and create upright, Godly citizens.
Just as we support mission outreaches such as frontier missions, Bible translation, medical missions and youth mission trips that don't directly benefit us, we should also support Adventist education even when we don't have a child going to the school—because it's mission work.

Church Programs
1 John 2:12, 13—In this list we see a place for kids in the church. They are the ones who keep the focus on the simplicity of the Gospel. The church can become a very powerful tool for reaching kids when it uses Sabbath Schools and other church kids ministries to support parent's efforts, help mold worldview, provide for Christian relationships and make a safe place for kids to grow and learn about serving God and others.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7—Some people think that they can leave it up to the "professionals" at church to reach their kids for Christ. This is neither Biblical nor realistic—this job belongs to parents. Barna Research Group1 did a study and found out that even with all the other powerful influences that are out today, parents still rank number 1 in having the most influence on their kids. A church's best function is assisting parents in discipling their kids as needed. This is a day in and day out thing. When you're at home or in town, when you get up and when you go to bed, your influence is shaping the worldview of your kids!

At the beginning stages of our church movement God showed us the necessity of reaching out to our kids. This led to Sabbath Schools in nearly every church that has even one kid. It has led us to have the largest educational system of any evangelical church. And it led us to promote family values that are sometimes countercultural. Let's not drop the ball now. Let's see this mission work thrive in our time.

Oct 30, 2007

Understanding Your Kid's Internet Lingo

So your kid has been chatting with friends on the internet and, as a good and conscientious parent, you go over to check and see that every thing's ok. When you look on the screen you see that the most recent thing your kid typed is "POS". "What does that mean?" you wonder but everything looks ok and you trust your kid, so you just walk away. Did you do the right thing?

It's good if you can trust your kids, but when they're on the internet you never know if you can trust the person on the other side. Many good kids slip into trouble online without really trying too. That's where you come in.

Nebraska Attorney General , Jon Bruning has made some magnets designed to help parents stay on top of the often confusing internet lingo. If you can understand what they're acronyms are saying the you'll be able to keep a better watch out to make sure your kids are ok.

Here's a list of some common internet lingo and what it means:

Internet Lingo key for parents


Lets meet in real life


One to one


Nosy Parent


Want to go private?


On-line love


Age, Sex, Location?


Parent alert


Where are you from?


Parents are listening


Works for me


Parents are nearby


Siblings are watching


Private message


Teacher over shoulder


Parents over shoulder


Do I know you?


You'll be sorry




Wouldn't it be nice if?


Teachers are watching

For more on Online Lingo check out

You may also find his Safe Kids site of use. It's about protecting your kids on the internet.

Oct 25, 2007

Bad Theology Is Spreading among Kids like Wildfire!

Hey Friends,
One of the media Ministries for which I have the most respect is "Paws and Tales" a ministry of Insight for Living. Their creative Director David Carl wrote an insightful article on teaching theology to kids. I've obtained permission from them to post that here on the site (Thanks Dave!). It's rather long but well worth your time.

--Uncle Steve

Bad Theology Is Spreading among Kids like Wildfire!
By David Carl

Theology is a great word. Over the years, however, we have allowed it to become a word that’s only used by theologians who wear wool sweaters and socks that don’t match. We’ve come to believe that theology is something foreign and impractical like medieval poetry—fine for odd little men who work at a university, but the rest of us have reports to complete, clothes to wash, and jobs that leave us exhausted and numb at the end of the day. Therefore we feel that because we live in the “real world” we have other, more important things to grapple with than theology. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Theology is like oxygen—it’s all around us whether we think about it or not. It’s actually impossible not to have some sort of theology. What you think about God is your theology. You may be a Protestant, a practicing witch, or someone just “making it up as you go”—but you do have a theology. Even the staunchest atheist who believes that there is nothing spiritual to believe in has a theology.

In recent years, an “open-minded” school of thought has become prevalent, in which parents wait for their kids to grow up and then allow them to choose a religion for themselves. This concept assumes that these children will operate through their formative years without developing a theology, but this is impossible. This well-meaning, though misguided, method indeed teaches theology very loudly and decisively. Through it, parents teach their children that religion is of very little importance and that all religions are equally irrelevant. And bad theology passes from one generation to the next.

We don’t allow our kids to grow up and then tell us whether or not they want to eat vegetables, learn to read, or take childhood vaccinations. These things are too important! We might give kids the choice of which Happy Meal they want or which toy they would like for their birthdays, but for the truly important things in life, we choose for them. By doing so, we teach them exactly how important these things are.

As a third-grader watches the clouds go by, he’ll ponder the world around him. Unfortunately, most of the answers to life’s questions are out of reach for his young mind. On his own he won’t come up with the notion of photosynthesis, or gravity, or the aerodynamics that allow a bird to fly. Were the child to grapple with these things alone, he would come up with wrong answers. His answers might be creative, even clever, but they would be wrong. That’s why we send him to school. Most of the answers to life’s spiritual questions are also out of reach. “Why do people suffer?” “Why do others have more than me?” “Where did the world come from?” “What will happen when I die?” And I guarantee you a healthy, honest mind will, at one time or another, struggle with the question, “Why would an all-powerful God not answer my prayer?” If a child is left to grapple with these questions alone, he will come up with the wrong answers. They may be creative and clever, but they will be wrong. He may decide: God must not care about what I need. He must be busy with more important things. I must not have used the right words. I must not have gotten His attention. Maybe I need to do something especially good before He’ll give me what I want. Left without good, biblical instruction, the child will arrive at answers to these great questions which will likely result in his disappointment in and perhaps even anger at God. And more bad theology is formed—bad theology that is spreading like wildfire.

In his classic book, The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer tells us, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Our theology—good or bad—will steer our every thought and decision. If we listen to the worldview of the secular, mainstream media, we will conclude that if God exists at all, He’s either indifferent or He’s angry. Either is disastrous. If we believe, for the sake of discussion, that God’s chief characteristic is anger, any reasonable person will want only minimal contact with Him. We will want to stay off the heavenly radar screen until we really, really need help. But how do you convince an always angry God to actually render aid? We might, on occasion, need to perform a kindly act—like giving a five dollar bill to a homeless person. Because of this “selfless act” (actually rather selfish act), we might assume that God would be less angry with us and a bit more inclined to help when we’re in a fix. Sadly, this line of bad theology may be the predominant religious belief system in America today. If we allow our children to think wrongly about God, it will negatively affect the rest of their lives. Nothing is more important than good theology!

How, then, do we go about teaching our third-graders theology? Though not the only way, I believe storytelling is the most effective means. Jesus rarely taught without telling a story. The hard truth is that Christianity is complicated, and most of it is counter-intuitive. To be first, we must be last; to live, we must die. We must learn to resist natural impulses and foster supernatural impulses that we don’t even know we have yet. We won’t come up with this stuff on our own. Some of it is difficult, and much of it is mysterious.

Again, the best way to communicate the deep and the mysterious is through a well-crafted story. Jonah and the fish is an amazingly deep and rich story that you could study for years. Certainly it tells us about a stubborn and narrow-minded prophet, but more importantly, it tells us volumes about God. God wanted to save the wicked city of Nineveh. God cared enough about Jonah to send a storm to swallow him and a fish to save him. God then had the fish deliver Jonah to the very shores of Nineveh. Jonah repented, and the people of Nineveh repented, too. God forgave Jonah and the people of Nineveh—neither of whom deserved forgiveness. This is real insight into the loving, forgiving character of God, and as such, this story communicates really good theology.

We can tell our kids that God is not always angry and that He loves them deeply, but our words will likely bounce right off their armor. To get past their defenses, it’s better to tell them the Old Testament story of the Jews wandering through the desert. It’s difficult to hear this story and not grow angry with the nation of Israel as they are saved from Pharaoh’s army, eat miraculous manna, and follow a cloud and a pillar of fire, only to rebel against God because they miss the yummy food they ate while suffering abject slavery in Egypt. This story will better communicate God’s patient and long-suffering character than any list of well-written propositions. Bad theology is spreading like wildfire, but good theology must be carefully taught, tended, and nurtured over a long period of time.

This is the very reason Insight for Living launched the children’s radio ministry of Paws & Tales. Through the use of story, we teach the kind of good, solid, biblical theology kids need when they are young and will benefit from it the most. We often deal with deep questions like “How does prayer work?” in the episode titled, “The Princess;” and “Is there really spiritual evil?” in the episode titled, “Powers and Principalities.” We’ve even created a wonderful, three-part musical retelling called The Story of Esther that teaches kids about suffering, the loss of hope, the importance of remaining faithful when all seems lost, the final price of wickedness, and best of all, the amazing love and faithfulness of God. At Paws & Tales we are dedicated to using drama, humor, and music to teach kids good theology so that they will know the truth about God. With this as their foundation, they can then begin to grow to love God with all of their hearts, souls, and minds and, then, to love their neighbors as themselves (Matthew 22:37–39). And that’s the power of good theology.

Written by David Carl, Creative director of Paws and Tales radio broadcast for kids. Posted by permission. Origionally printed in "The Old School House Magazine".

Oct 24, 2007

Welcome Children's Ministers (and other interested parties)

Hey fellow kid's ministry workers!

From time to time I come up with (what I think is) a good idea I'd like to share with the world about leading kids to Jesus. Other times I'm amazed at the insight God gave someone else on this topic. So I thought I'd start a blog to pull all this together.

I hope you like it!

--Uncle Steve