spiritual training at the Balvin's

I take the exhortations in the Bible (Deut. 6:6-9; Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6:4) that parents are responsible to train up their children in the ways of the Lord pretty seriously. Because of that I try as often as possible to tell Jacob and Isabelle stories from Scripture. But not just the nice happy ones all the time. We also talk about sin and death and hell. In fact, Jacob and I have a little mantra that we do that goes like this...

Me: Jacob, what happens when you die?
Jacob: You go into a box.
Me: Where do you do if you are friends with Jesus?
Jacob: You go to heaven.
Me: And what is heaven like?
Jacob: Like a party.
Me: That's right. And where do you go if you're not friends with Jesus?
Jacob: You go into the fire.
Me: That's right. That's called hell.
Jacob: Yeah, hell.

I get some strange looks from people when Jacob repeats this stuff. The feeling I get is that they think it weird that my 3 year old knows that unrepentant sinners go to hell.

Recently I have been starting to explain to my kids that they are sinners and that without Jesus they are in big trouble with God. I will look for examples of bad behaviour and tell them that they are sinning (e.g. - by disobeying their parents or treating one another unkindly). Then I will explain to them that sinning makes God both mad and sad, and that they need to apologize to one another and Him. Next I say, "That's why we need Jesus, because we all sin." At night we pray and thank Jesus for dieing for us and taking our place because we are sinners.

Parents, it is a big job and it is your job. It is not the job of kid's church, AWANA or Youth Ministry. As a parent I don't want some other adult praying with my kids to receive Jesus. And if I am not the primary person doing it, I don't want someone else reciting verses with them or teaching them theology either.

Casey subtly reminded me of this point and I want to make it clear - the role churches play in partnering with parents and teaching our kids about Jesus is HUGE. I value and hold in such high esteem those people who give their Sunday mornings to teach, lead, play, sing with, and love on my kids. YOU MATTER and I am exceedingly grateful for you.

But it still comes down to the fact that kids are at church a maximum in most cases of 3 hours a week and they are with their parents the rest. So moms and dads, it is imperative that we know our Bibles and know theology and most importantly, that we know Jesus both experientially and personally, so that our kids will grow up knowing, loving, submitting, serving and treasuring Him as well.