My apologies for the lapse in posting. I hate making excuses, but there simply has not been enough time and energy to get to everything that is currently sitting in front of me. As most of you know I am a pastor in Charleston, South Carolina, as well as the director of the Bonhoeffer Institute and the Field Director of The Alliance (A network of pastors and Christian leaders in South Carolina engaging the civic arena). I am also trying to carve out some time to complete a book I am in the midst of writing (more to come on that front). That means my life can be busy and my hands are full, especially as of late as my church (Legacy Church) is experiencing some really positive momentum and forward movement in the ministry. I’m not complaining. I’ve had some challenging days on several fronts and to now experience some blessing and a sense of favor is a sweet wave that I will ride for as long as God sees fit to make it available. That disclaimer said, it has also been a season to remind me of a great foundational principle to rebuild the Christian family which I fear has been forgotten. The principle of sacrifice.
I have been a pastor for over 33 years and for a short period of that time I was also the overseer for a large Christian school (K4-12). There is no better environment to evaluate the state of the Christian family than to be in the middle of hundreds of students who are growing up in supposedly Christian homes. The requirements for the school included the usual student testimony with regards to their Christian experience as well as verification that the family of the student was attending a Bible-believing church. The school was committed to a biblical worldview and in as much as it is possible to discern, the students and family participating needed to be committed to that philosophy. Some of the expectations included on-campus behavior as well as off-campus behavior. Of course, everyone who enrolled read these clearly articulated expectations and then signed the document affirming their agreement.
I have found that most 21st century Christian families were highly influenced (as are most families) by the culture and environment which they themselves grew up in. Our parents, for better or worse, become the template by which we lead our families. Almost unconsciously, we create our family environment according to one of two predominant ways:
1. We react negatively to how we were raised and in turn lead our families in the exact opposite direction of our template.
2. We implement our template uncritically and perpetuate the environment which we experienced for years.
Here’s the challenge…
In the last post, I mentioned the crucial role of parents in protecting their children’s and family destiny. One of the realities of Christian parenting in an adverse and hostile culture is the reality that the word “no” seems to be said exponentially more than the word “yes”. I wish it were not so, but the sad reality is that our adversary, the devil, is relentless in seeking to detour and destroy the destiny and purpose of God’s people. That being said, anytime we can say “yes”, especially to the Will of God, is all the more important and critical. We protect our family’s future, as well as facilitate the purposes and callings of God.
Americans love their independence and a sense of democracy, but have an interesting curiosity and romanticism with monarchies. We love to follow “the Royals” and ponder what life must be like living as a Queen, Prince, or a King-to-be. We intuitively understand that life would be different on numerous levels. The wealth, perks and benefits would be incredible. The fame and adoration would be intoxicating to many people. This aspect of royalty undoubtedly consumes the majority of people’s thinking. However, to be a part of the royal family there are also standards and expectations. The perks come with a price and that price is how one is expected to conduct themselves as a part of this famous family. There are things that Royals can and cannot do. There are rules that apply to them which may not apply to the average citizen of the kingdom. Some have called this, “fish-bowl” existence and I suspect to some extent that is true. Their royal status demands a decorum and a walk that is circumscribed to their family’s destiny. To be a “Royal” is no average existence. It has family convictions and standards which all embrace. Now, it is possible to abdicate your royalty and status should you desire, but in so doing you also lose some sense of your destiny. Fair or not, that is a part of being in the family tree of kings.