Kids Matter - Spiritual Champions
Written by Ken
I’m so thankful for the pattern set for me by my parents so many years ago when we together and weekly attended church as a family. It set a rhythm and practice that remained with me in my teen and young adult years, and still through to today. We continued that practice as we raised our children, who are now adults. And yet I am reminded, with their “periodic” church attendance, that each generation must continue to set their hope in God and not forget His works (Ps 78:7), so that the lineage of faith will continue. And my responsibility to call them to remain faithful must continue even as they begin their families. We never stop being parents, and must continue to be a spiritual voice and guide to our children.
If you, now as a parent, did not receive spiritual guidance from your father and mother, you can create a new legacy of faith to pass down to your children, encouraging them even through their adult years to keep this precious “thread of life” continuing to the next generation.
This is something that we as members of Trinity must also do: helping children and young people grow in their relationship with God by taking the time to care and communicate.
Heavenly Father, give me the wisdom and words to say so that I can influence my children, and the children of Trinity, to walk a life of following Jesus. Amen.
Written by George
Psalm 78:5 -6
I recently uncovered a startling letter from my great -grandfather William. Born in Germany, he came to America in 1880, married my great - grandmother Johanna, and moved to Lemont to become a stonecutter in a quarry that provided the building blocks for Chicago. William and Johanna were founding members of St. Matthews Lutheran Church in Lemont where they passed on the Law and Gospel of Christ to their children. After Johanna died, William wrote this letter to his children and grandchildren.
“I am Wm. Ott, born Jan. 1, 1858 at Hohenfelde Kreis, Hinterpommern. From my 7th to 14th year, I attended the township school, and my confirmation was held on March 23, 1872. I participated in Holy Communion for the first time in the Evangelical Lutheran Church at Varchmin. When I was 23 years old, I migrated to America, and in my 24th year, 1881, May 15th , I married Johanna Reimer. Out of our very happy marriage we had 6 children: Karl, Ludwig, Wilhelm, Louisa, and Anna. Anna and a boy died in very early childhood. My promise to be faithful to you to my last day I have fulfilled with the help of God. May God help that my successors are doing the same.” Wm. Ott
Thank you Great Grandpa for passing on God’s Law and Gospel! Heavenly Father, lead me to serve Christ in passing my faith on to my children, to those you send my way, even to those yet unborn. Amen
Written by Eric
GOD, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name. Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you; toddlers shout the songs that drown out enemy talk, and silence atheist babble. (MSG)
My daughter is two. She knows only a few songs by heart, but three of them are Jesus Loves Me This I Know, I Got The Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down In My Heart and My God Is So Great. Being two, she has no hesitations about gleefully bellowing out these tunes in the middle of the supermarket or the nursery at our gym.
This got me thinking, how many other kids (and adults!) have heard her express the love we have from God in Christ Jesus? How many people has she come in contact with already in her short life? Now multiply that number over the course of her whole life. The potential number of people she will meet in life is staggering. The Psalmist prays for the “children yet to be born,” so stop and ponder that a moment. Think about your children or grandchildren, perhaps those yet to be born, and about how many lives they will have a chance to touch. Is it any wonder Scripture puts such a premium of raising our children in the faith? The reach of the Gospel from just one life is incredible.
Heavenly Father, you have gifted us with children that will know you. We pray then Lord for the ministry that will be their lives, and for those whose hearts will be touched in the years to come by the faith of these little ones. In your Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Written by Marge
2 Timothy 1:1-7
When Paul crossed this family’s path he certainly had an impact on young Timothy. He became Paul’s apprentice and companion. Later Timothy headed the church in Ephesus. Reading Paul’s letters to Timothy (and Titus) we get to eavesdrop on how Paul mentored spiritual champions.
I’m reminded of my mother. Even when we were very young, she had in mind that my sisters and I would serve in God’s Kingdom in some way and pointed us in that direction. But that vision didn’t stop with us. She was “Auntie Lauri” to 15, and god-mother to many more. She always took seriously her role in sharing her faith and growing theirs.
After her death, I found a newspaper clipping from her hometown newspaper, a cartoon drawing of children with a caption about how much they would be missing their Sunday School teacher when she married next month and moved away. She maintained contact with many of those children for years after.
All through my life Mom had a big network with other moms through her Bible study groups and that connected her into the lives of more kids. She clearly saw her faith community as a family community, and she exercised all her rights and privileges to grow countless spiritual champions.
Heavenly Father, open my eyes to see the big generational circle in my faith family. Grow in me the Spirit’s gifts of power, love and selfcontrol so that I can influence the next generation of your people. Amen
Written by Liz
God our creator cares for us and is present with us even before birth! He crafts each one of us according to his will.
Fifteen years ago I was blessed to be in the delivery room with my daughter and son-in law. We were all excited about the little boy we were about to meet. Shortly after his birth we were told that it was likely that he had Down Syndrome. What a message to receive! All our expectations about this little life were totally changed in an instant. To this day I can remember our son-in-law quietly saying, “But I have so many plans for him.” But the Lord had others. Yes, the diagnosis was devastating and there was a certain amount of mourning, but I was amazed that our children took only about 24 hours to process all that had happened. What a testimony to their faith and reliance on God. They embraced this child as a blessing and began planning for his future. Throughout the years their faith in God’s will for their son seemed unwavering. And how did they raise this special gift – Jacob? Like any of their three other children using faith, love, and discipline as their touch stones.
Today Jacob is a warm loving exacting hard working young man who loves Jesus completely as witnessed at his recent confirmation. He is adored by his family, very active in his high school as a member of 5 different Special Olympic teams, a cast member in the school play, and a known friend to many. At church he vigorously worships, distributes communion, ushers and is a part of SHINE.
God designed Jake according to His special plan. He is God’s shining star and a witness to many. Praise the One who designs all children!
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