This past weekend, we returned from the beach and then drove up to the ministry that my oldest son is serving in this summer. He is working in a youth center that is in a really bad neighborhood up North. He will spend two months investing in young people that are from very poor and broken families. His job is simply to spend time, teach, build relationships, and share the Gospel to kids in really rough situations. I am excited for him!
This is a really wonderful ministry, and it is also one that you can’t help but get your hands “dirty.” Please pray for his safety while he is up there.
Personally, I really value these kinds of experiences.
I think you have heard me talk about the story of the Road to Emmaus after Jesus’ Resurrection in Luke 24. I have talked about how that warmth and “burning of the heart” the disciples felt while Jesus opened the Scriptures to them is my goal as a parent. I want my kids to have that kind of an experience with Jesus.
To me, that is real!
I want to give you a little more context for why I say that.
For much of my teenage years, I was enamored with knowledge and intellectualism. I was drawn to the artists, philosophers, sociologists, and psychologists.
My grandfather is a well-known scholar on Herman Melville and the era of literature called the American Renaissance in the 19th-Century. He was a professor at Emory University for over 30 years in Atlanta, and I spent a ton of time with him.
When I came to know the Lord as my Savior at 24, I was a Masters student in Colonial American History at Georgia State University. I had an assistantship there and was basically being paid to get my graduate degrees there. I wanted to be a professor and the school was basically investing in me because they felt I had potential.
One of the things that I remember about this environment is how empowering but dry knowledge can be.
We used to argue moments and forces in history all the time in the offices there. But, all of this knowledge didn’t really make a difference.
The reason is because for all of our pontification and connections, our knowledge was separated from the reality of what humans were experiencing. Don’t get me wrong! I am not saying that history doesn’t matter because it does. What I am saying is that if your knowledge does not impact the current reality of what people are experiencing, it has no impact.
This is true not only in historical studies but also in our walk with Christ. We can spend all the time in the world studying our Bibles, listening to sermons, and reading commentaries. But, if we do not bring those truths into our daily experience, they are to no effect.
I guess what I am saying here is that many Christians today are roped off. We do not open our life to the burning of our heart and the hair standing up on our arms.
Yes, knowledge is powerful and should be pursued. But, don’t rope yourself off for the sake of security and fear from experiencing those moments when God warms the heart of another. Sure, things will get dirty! Ministry is always a little messy. A little uncomfortable. And, when you are being used you always feel stretched and even a little out of control.
The disciples on the Road to Emmaus were talking to the actual author of the words of the Law and Scriptures and Prophecy (John 1). That was definitely part of the reason they felt the burning in their heart. They were hearing the Truth from the author of the Truth.
But, the disciples also realized as they were talking to Jesus that they were not living in the midst of defeat but triumph. And, the proof of this truth was not just what Jesus taught but the experience of their heart burning within them. As in, the disciples did not just know the truth was real but they felt the truth was real.
Honestly, I can tell you that this is my main goal as a parent and influencer of my children. I see my role as being the main push in my children learning the knowledge they need and to put them in environments in which they will experience what it means to serve Christ. This is also my main goal in wanting to homeschool them.
If I am going to be the main influencer in this area for my kids, then I want them around me more and not less. I want to teach them but I also want to demonstrate and then encourage them to act it out on their own.
And, I will be honest with you about another thing. Starting Teach Them Diligently was actually part of that thrust in our home.
So, welcome to our classroom! 🙂