Notes from Fred
Our Third Annual Campout was fantastic – food, fun, fellowship, and faith – the embodiment of Christ’s Vision for our Family: Coming together to be transformed by Christ’s love!
And on Sunday in Worship, the transforming love of Jesus was everywhere – from Mike Sileo’s heart touching songs, to the baptism of Alex Ricci, to the grace of Jesus figuratively and literally overflowing at the Communion Table, to breaking bread together, all while surrounded by the beautiful day and place that God made…!
Trust In God - With Our Children
On Sunday, we began a new Series for the Summer, led by Moses, whose life was led by trusting in God – Beginning with the beginning of his life, by his parents trusting in God, showing us how to trust our children to God by: defying the demands of the society; trusting their lives into God’s hands and entrusting God’s Word into their lives; trusting that they are special to God, to be used by Him for changing the world in some special way. (Exodus 2:1-11)
- God offers us blessings and life, as He created us to live, through the life of Moses, who offers us blessings and life through trust in God. His life began and was saved by his parents trusting his life to God. The Pharaoh of Egypt was attempting to decrease the number of Hebrews in Egypt by driving them into slavery and hard labor. When their numbers continued to increase, he ordered that every new born baby boy of the Hebrews be thrown into the Nile to drown, to be eaten by the crocodiles.
- Moses’ parents offered blessings and life to their son, by defying the ways, the ways of death, of the society – and trusting the ways of life of God! “By faith, they hid their son.” They did so at great risk. If they had been found out, their entire family would have been put to death.
- We face the same choice for our children – to choose the way of death of our society or the way of life of God: Bitterness and getting even v. Forgiveness and reconciliation; Greed is good, get what you can v. Be generous and give so others will have enough; Focus on yourself v. Be a servant of others; Lie and cheat to get ahead v. Tell the truth, your integrity is worth more than your bank account or your GPA…. Will you trust in God enough to say “No,” when the society is saying “Yes”? Which way of life will you choose for your child?
- We will know which way we have chosen by seeing how Moses’ parents chose: They trusted in God by sending him out into the world, trusting his life to God, and entrusting God’s Word into him! The Scripture says that they acted in faith. They relied on God to protect Moses. It had to have been God who gave them their bizarre plan. We know this by the Hebrew word used for Moses’ basket, “tebah,” which is used in only one other place in the Bible – for Noah’s ark. Just as God promised to save Noah and his family if they got into the ark in faith, so He promises that He will protect our child if we put them into His hands in faith…
- Moses’ parents also entrusted God’s Word into his life. By God’s hand, Jacobed was able to raise her son for several years. During that time, in the midst of the evil around her, she taught Moses that he was a Hebrew; they trusted in one God, Yahweh; Yahweh promised that if they would worship and trust only in Him, they would be blessed and be a blessing. When Moses “was grown,” God’s Word led him “by faith” to see and help his own people; and “by faith he refused to be the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, to live by Pharaoh’s ways of sin” – to live, instead, by God’s ways. How did Moses know his people and God’s ways? Only from his parents, who trusted in God by entrusting God’s Word into his life.
- Holly and Dan Ricci made a promise on Sunday to live the Christian faith and teach it to Alex. We made that promise on behalf of our own baptized children, and as members of the church for all children entrusted to us. We make that promise so that, when our children go out into the world, they will be in God’s hands and be guided by God’s ways.
- Someday we will know if we have entrusted God’s Word into our children’s lives. I pray that you will never have the experience of the parents who called Tony Campolo to meet them at the jail, where their daughter had been arrested on drug charges. They yelled at their daughter, “How could you do this to us, after all that we have done for you – the best education, a new car, the top of the line computer…” Tony thought to himself, “But have you given her what she really needs, trust in God to be with her, guidance by God’s Word, to protect her when evil comes.” It is amazing how many parents believe that great education and great stuff will protect our children from evil, and guide them to be good…
- Someday we will know for our child, as Moses’ parents did. There are no guarantees. We can offer God’s Word, and it does not “take;” someone may steer our child away. But I do guarantee this: Trusting our child’s life to God and entrusting God’s Word into our child, is the best chance we have for our children.
- And the truth is, trusting in God with our children is the best chance that we have to change the world! Moses’ parents saw something special in their son; and Moses turned out to be special to God – who used Moses to do something special to change the world for Him. Like Moses’ parents, I urge you to trust in God that your child is special – not only to you, but to God. If your children, because of you, come to trust in God, He will use what is special in them to change the world, some piece of the world, for Him.
- That is what Ben Hooper learned. His story is too long to repeat here. In summary, Ben was the child of an unwed mother. People in his small Tennessee town taunted him with, “Who is your Daddy?” He was so ashamed of himself that his life was headed nowhere – Until a new preacher at his church, asked him (not knowing the background), “Who is your Daddy?” Sensing from the reaction of the church members that there was a problem, he suddenly exclaimed: “Wait, I know who you are. You look just like Him. You are a child of God. Go and claim your great inheritance!” These words changed Ben’s life. He became the Governor of Tennessee, and, during his term, passed Tennessee’s first child labor laws and laws enabling every child to go to school…
- It turns out that Moses was also a child of God. The Hebrew Scripture give him a Hebrew name, “Mosha”, which “sounds like” the word that means “drawn out.” But scholars now believe that Pharaoh’s daughter gave Moses an Egyptian name, “Mose,” which means “son of.” The Egyptians would add the name of the father (eg., Tutmose). Pharaoh’s daughter never filled in the blank for Moses. But now we know his father. It is God – Moses was a special child of God!12.
- I pray that you will trust in God to know that your child, every child, is a special child of God. If we trust in God with our child, entrusting God’s Word into them, they will come to trust in God – And God will use your child of God, as He did Moses, to change the world in some special way for Him!
Connection for the Week. Spend time this week talking with your spouse, or a friend, about whether you are saying “no” to the ways of the world for yourself and your child (or some child entrusted to you), saying “yes” to God’s ways, entrusting God’s Word into their life by your example and by your words; talk about how your child is special to you and to God; and set aside time every day to share with your child God’s Word, God’s ways, how special they are to you and to God, and how God can do something special in their lives for Him.