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Mothers Day Sermon Verse Proverbs 22 6 - From Programing to Preparation

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Mothers Day

Proverbs 22:6 (NRSV)
6 Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.

Add - If you can get your child to age 21 without using drugs or cigarettes you are virtually home free.

(High Society, Joe Califano book)

Today we celebrate Mothers and the life they gave to us.  May I have a moment of personal privilege and say thank you to my mom for being the greatest mom in the world.

Help me complete this saying:

If I told you once, I’ve told you….

The early bird gets …

Proverbs – advice for living

Parenting invites advice- wanted or not

But Parenting is a rather Tricky Business.

·       It is full of ups and downs, highs and lows.

·       It is full of risks—(and hopefully)—of rewards.

·       Success and Setbacks

What is the main Goal in raising Children? 

Exactly what is the job of parenting and What is the Right Way? 

Some parents would say:

·       To teach our children to be successful. 

Others would propose To make them productive.

·       Internet site:  To work yourself out of a job.

I really didn’t have to go to the internet.  There is an incredible wealth of knowledge right here in the congregation. 

Most of that knowledge is from personal experience and hard knocks

It means—No one gets it just right.  There is a lot of trial and error.  But we want to be helpful to each other so we share our wisdom.

This week I polled my Tuesday class on advice they had for current parents.  I gave them just five minutes to real off their advice.  I have to say they were excited.

Before I share their remarks, I caution you that they have permission to stand up and clap, our to call out if they hear one they contributed or if they just concur strongly.

Let’s see if they have the guts:

 

·       Communicate Unconditional Love

o  Footnote: Sometimes means it must be Tough Love

·       Always Keep Communications lines open

·       Be a parent first-- not a friend

·       Teach “Follow Through” (persistence) and manners

·       Be consistent

·       Teach Recovery from setbacks.  Failure is an opportunity for learning experience

·       Pray a lot

·       Most important values,

o  honesty, Admitting to mistakes

·       spend time.

·       Teach by example (they will copy you!)

Proverbs were written about 2500 years ago.  Some are attributed to Solomon, who was of course, the widom Guru.

It is advice for daily living that emerges from the community and not necessarily directly inspired by God.  It stands the test of time.

In advice that is The Bible puts it

6 Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.

So ‘Job One’ is to train up our children and youth with hope and expectation of a life long encounter with the living God.  In this way they never need to fear being lost or separated from God.

        Shema: Love God

Preparing our children for the future means equipping them for whatever life throws their way. 

We guide and instruct to give them the tools they need. 

This includes education, & skills but also values and purpose. 

Programming.

To raise kids in Orange County is to have access to very good programming. 

·       We have excellent schools public and private

·       Low crime rate

·       Virtually Unlimited opportunities to sports teams and elite training

·       Fantastic Music (at least here at church)

·       Good Youth groups

In short, everything you need to give your kids the best opportunity to succeed.  That is why a lot of people have moved here to raise kids.  That is why many go on to great opportunities.  There is a great Program! 

But programs alone – even Programs here at church is not enough.  Kids need to know what it looks like to live a life walking with God!

As someone said, “You don’t need to be a Christian to give them all these advantages.”

We really need to move from Programs to Preparation.

Parenting is like bike riding.

I got to thinking about our parenting experience and went back to our early years.  When our children were young we would ride our bikes as a family to the park, normally on Saturday. 

Depending on how old the kids were, they might start in a back pack, move to a seat behind me above the back wheel or when it got crowded, to a towing trailer that I would mostly pull.  Eventually they would get a bike with training wheels, the wheels would come off, and finally. 

Emily and My our job as parents was twofold.

·       To teach them how to ride

·       To get them to the park and back safely.

·       As the verse says:  Teach them in the right way so they arrived safely.

We equipped them with gear: helmets, reflectors horns

Taught teach the safe places to cross the street, avoid cars. 

At some point the training and safety training is ingrained enough and the kids try a solo trips off to friends or school. 

As we taught them we began to let go. 

Our hope always was they wouldn’t get lost, kidnapped or hit by a car.  Most other things we could probably handle.

But we still modeled, taught, listened and reviewed.

Every parent asks themselves, “How will I protect my kids from the world?   after I have done my job and they leave the protection of the nest or the watchful eye of the defender.

One well meaning mother was concerned about that very issue as her only son prepared to go off to college.  No doubt some of you are asking the same questions.

In an effort to protect him from harmful influences She wrote this letter to the college president:

"Dear Sir: My son has been accepted for admission to your college and soon he will be leaving me.

I am writing to ask that you give your personal attention to the selection of his roommate.

I want to be sure that his roommate is not the kind of person who uses foul language, or tells off-color jokes, smokes, drinks, or chases after girls. I hope you will understand why I am appealing to you directly.

You see, this is the first time my son will be away from home, … except for his three years in the Marine Corps."

We want to protect our kids from all harm by removing all bad influences.  But that is impossible.  

That is why Programming falls short.

Like Proverbs says, Our best and only lasting defense is to Train them well.  Not just with skills, but with Purpose

{Preparation and training give them the skills to figure it out.

When they face danger, they will not stray and lose their way.} 

The Training is a Four Step Process:

·       Starts with modeling.  They watch how we do things like hawks.

·       Step two is talking and explaining.  We set expectations.

·       Then we listen.  Communication must be two way. 

·       Let Go  (It is good that they experience both consequences)

Last week in worship we heard 16 extraordinary statements of faith from our Youth as a sermon.  Many of those youth shared how they were touched by the mission trips they had made to the inner city.  These kids are off to a great start.  Parents are proud.    

But I want to issue a word of caution as well. 

And the word is to Both the parents and to rest of us as a community of faith.  Our job is not done.  We have a great start

It is time to model the things that they have started in their own lives.

Parenting is a form of Stewardship

When I think about our jobs as parents in a Biblical context, in my mind, it fits under theological banner of stewardship.

God has given to us gifts, like Time, Talent and Treasure. 

One of those gifts is the time we get with our children. 

Unfortunately for those who missed it, the bulk of that gift gets exercised in those in those first few years.  And we miss a lot

They force us to put to work for good, but ultimately they belong to God and will return to God. 

No matter how good we are at being Hovering Parents, if we are going to work ourselves out of a job, or get promoted to Grand parents, we must let them go and let them experience results.

We can enjoy, improve, but control and we can’t hold on.

I recommend two books for those who are willing to learn a little about parenting:  If you haven’t seen them, take a look.  Not just Parenting: Good basic concepts of what every human needs.  Good tips for the ones you missed growing up.

The first book is The Blessing: by two Christian psychologists: Gary Smally and John Trent

It teaches how love is passed to us by our parents

Has a way to repair those painful parts that we missed.

(Five Main Points:)

The second Book: by Tim Kimmel “Raising Kids for True Greatness”

He defines True greatness as :

Having a passionate love for God that demonstrates itself in an unquenchable love and concern for others.

He talks first of helping our kids a mission, a purpose in life.

This is a big problem.  Many of our kids are bored.  They don’t see where they will make a difference in life. 

{Then Kimmel lists four traits:

·       Humility

o  Proverbs 15:33

·       Gratefulness

o   

·       Generosity

o   

·       Servant attitude}

In his final chapter Kimmel leave a challenge to the parents who have dared to read the whole book.  That is that they must be models for the very same values we want to see in our kids.

It is the same word that my Tuesday group says when say:

Be a good example -- and a consistent one.

This word is not just for parents either.  Certainly the kids will see this behavior close up.  But we as a community of Christians also

As we close I want to bring by bicycle experience in again and apply it to the church.

I have told you about my bicycle Bible Study and some of our week long trips down the CA coast. 

We start out with many ages from out of shape Middle age men to young lads. 

Many levels of rider experience.  Goal was to move together as a Group. 

Draft Lines:  cut down on wind resistance.  Take turns in front.

When we Got to hills different problem.

Some of the young kids had trouble keeping up.  Hadn’t built the muscles.

Some of the older guys, weren’t in shape.

For those we invented the turbo boost. 

With permission & warning, Some of the Stronger Riders Gently came along side of those dropping off. 

For a few moments, peddle hard and give a temporary surge of energy to slingshot them back with the group.

The Christian faith is a lot like those trips. 

We as a group represent a wide variety of experience. 

Our Programing gives us the skills

Our Training prepares us to handle the problems.

We know we will have flats and even crashes along the road.

As long as we don’t bolt from the pack and get run over by the trucks, out helmets and the pack will sustain us.

Life is not about finishing first it is about Knowing our Creator and then Finding our purpose.   

·       It is about using the Gifts God has entrusted to you for growing the Kingdom of God.

·       It is about finishing together with the community of Faith focused on God. 

It is about being prepared to face the life God has given to you.

Communion:

Along the road we need replenishment.  We take food and drink to renew us.  Otherwise the muscles fatigue and cramp. 

We get fuzzy and lose our way.   That is why we come to the table on a regular basis. 

1. Meaningful touch.

communicates love and personal acceptance. 

Hugs, a firm, prolonged handshake, walking down the street arm in arm,

2. A spoken message.

Our kids desperately need to hear from us, and not just nagging. They need to hear why we believe in them and what we value.

Too often kids get silence or distraction from us.

Children interpret silence to mean they are unworthy of attention, that something’s wrong with them.

It can set them on a lifelong search for approval.

3. Attaching high value to the one being blessed.

Speak about one of your child’s specific positive traits. For example,

·       "You bring light and joy with you wherever you go." or

·       "You keep your integrity even when others pressure you to cave in."

Remember: Each child (yours or someone elses) is a work in progress, with mighty potential for good.

4. Picturing a special future for the one being blessed.

"I can see that your gift for music is going to bring the world a lot of joy."

5. An active commitment

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