Parenting on Mission | Marriage Session
Hank Parker Jr : Marriage Conference : Parenting on Mission : October 19 , 2018
We live in a different world. Every generation has had its own issues to deal with in parenting, but the root of all of these issues is sin. We are broken people living in a broken world. We can look at what we see around us and see the different contexts but we have to look at the root or cause of the issue to really understand how to lead our families well.
What does it mean to parent on Mission? The Bible has a lot to say about parenting and about the mission all believers have been called to. Because God saved us, rescued us from the domain of darkness, and adopted us into His family, everything we do, whether it’s work, marriage, relationships, or parenting, should be done in light of this new relationship.
We parent on mission because it is all about the glory of God and joy found in Christ. Satan is a thief who wants to defame God by robbing your family and lulling us to sleep while there is a world that is going to hell. God has won in Christ and He is saving a people for Himself and He has called us to this mission. May we raise kids who embrace this mission and impact the culture of their day for the glory of God.
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View Transcript: Parenting on Mission
Is everybody ready to go for the last round? Alright, you come up to the mountains at peak leaf and get two feet of rain. How’s that? It’s good times. Well, it does make everybody sit a lot longer, doesn’t it? Not everybody’s rushing up to go outside and just see the leaves and the good cool air, but I think the weather’s going to turn around tomorrow, so I know you guys are got to be excited about that. How many of you guys, sorry, have kids? I’ll say it that way. How many of you are parents here?
Pretty much everybody, and so… Alright, so I have been tasked with the topic of parenting on a mission. My name is Hank Parker Jr. I work here remotely at camp. I’m up here two days a week, and I help with the marketing and media here, and so I’ve been involved with camp for the last four or five years, and it’s just a huge blessing to be around these guys, even though I was just outside talking to Brody about some of his hunting stories. I think that guy, he’s pretty great, but my wife and I have been to quite a few of these marriage retreats, and it’s just always good information.
It’s a good time just to pull back and focus on your relationship and have some good conversation, so I’m looking forward to you guys being here and excited about what the Lord’s going to do through this weekend. And so, as I was preparing for this last week, I was at a volleyball game, my wife coaches volleyball, and I was going to watch my girls play ball, and there was a kid, a kid was sitting like three rows in front me, this boy, he looked like he was about 10 years old, and he’s like this… For a solid hour, this kids like this, and he’s got this thing about the size of my Bible hooked to his phone there, and it was an extra battery, so his phone wouldn’t go dead. And then, his daddy had to get up and leave and he’s like, “Hey son, hey son, I love you buddy. Bye, buddy. Hey son.” And he’s trying to pull the phone down from him, and the kid’s not even responding. He’s neck-deep in some video game, and I thought, that’s the culture we live in. That’s normal to what we see, at least, if not in your own home, we do see that around us, and so I think every generation has had its own set of issues and the way it works itself out.
This is ours. This is the issue that we face. And for us to have a conversation about parenting on a mission, we have to look at the root of the problem. And the root of the problem is, is just like God was saying, we’re broken people that live in a broken world, that sin has affected everything. And so, we’ve got to look at that to see where it is we begin, and the truth is, the truth is, sometimes it’s a lot easier just to say, “Hey, here you go,” and just veg out on the couch or chill out for a little bit, isn’t it? At least you get some quiet and that sort of thing.
So that can be an easy way out. But Ephesians 6 says, “Fathers… ” it tells us to raise our kids, sorry, I have it memorized in the King James version… “In the admonition of the Lord. In the training and instruction of the Lord.” And that is work. That takes work. And so, our goal is to raise these kids, to bring them into our family, to raise them, and then to send them out into the world that they’re physically mature and mentally mature, but also spiritually mature. And so that’s our goal. And as we do that, as we talk about what it means to parent on a mission, here’s what we got to keep in mind. It’s important, the Bible calls us as believers, that we are changing, He is changing us from one degree of glory to the next, that we are being shaped more and more into the image of Christ, that our pursuit of holiness undergirds everything of what it means to be a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. That we are to pursue the Lord, to make war on our sin, and to grow in holiness.
And so, if we’re going to be changed into the image of Christ… What did Christ come to do? He came to seek and save that which was lost. Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. And of the Great Commission, go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” And so, we have to be, we have to understand what the mission is, and the mission is quite simple. God is ransoming, for himself, a people from every tribe and tongue. That His mission is to saturate this Earth… The world with the Gospel. And so, quite simply, for you and me, we need to be focused on where we live, work, and play, that people around us hear and have the opportunity to respond to the gospel multiple times, while at the same time being involved in supporting the mission abroad. And so, you can be engaged in evangelism there in your community, in your workplace, and your home, while at the same time supporting the missions that are going on over across the ocean, across the world, somewhere that you maybe have never even heard of. We can be involved in that, but at the same time, practical on the ground. We should never attempt to go over there if we’re not doing that here where God has placed us.
And so that’s what when I say, to parent on a mission, we have to be on task of what God’s mission is, the spread of the Gospel. And it starts with us. If we’re going to parent on a mission, it’s got to start right here. And here’s what fuels this. If you have your Bibles, I’ll look at a quick verse. I’m going to be practical tonight, and I’m just going to look at one section of the text, and it’s in Second Corinthians Chapter Five. I was listening to a message. If you’re ever feeling a little stressed out or anything, just listen to John Piper. So, I was listening to John Piper, and he was talking about a text that God used in your life to come to faith in Christ in 2 Corinthians 5, which is a text that God used to help me see and understand the Gospel. But I want to start in verse 17. It says this. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ. God making his appeal through us, we implore you, on behalf of Christ, to be reconciled to God. For our sake, he made him be sin who knew no sin so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God.”
What’s going to fuel you to parent on mission is this, that we understand that because somebody, God used somebody to share the Gospel with you, and he redeemed you and saved you and brought you out of the domain of darkness and transferred you into the kingdom of his son. That’s good, isn’t it? I mean, think about that. Think about the track and the trajectory your life was on, and yet, God in his goodness and his grace said, “That one’s mine.” Somebody in your life to share the Gospel with you. Listen, I grew up in church and ran as far away from the church as I possibly could and was neck-deep trying to make a career in racing. And this simple country boy comes up to me and starts sharing the Gospel with me over about two or three years, and I’d heard it and heard it and heard it, but I’d never heard it.
In this text right here, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin so that I could be the righteousness of God because I place my faith in Christ.” That is good. That is good. He’s not saying, “You’ve got to go do this, this, this and this, and you get your life on track, and boom, you can join the team.” He’s saying, “I see you in your brokenness, and I’m going to save you and adopt you into my family.” And that’s just beautiful. So, we’ve been moved into God’s family. And so, as we do that, God has entrusted to you and me one of the greatest gifts, with children. I love ‘me. I love kids. My wife and I have four children. And by the grace of God, I don’t know how much I can say, but we are in the process of adopting our… This will be the first child we’ve adopted. This will be our fifth child from the country of Haiti. And so, in the next few weeks, we should be over there, and we are pumped. I am so excited. Just seeing and having this communication and talking to the agency and seeing this kid. I mean, the first thing I want to do, is just started tickling her and see if she laughs. We have been entrusted with a great gift as parents.
And so, I don’t have all the answers. I’ll start with that. I see some of you guys look a whole lot older than I am. All of you do. No, I’m just kidding. But some of you probably have kids older than I… Then I do. I have… My oldest daughter is 15 years old. And so, my youngest one at home right now is seven. And so, what I want to do is I just practically think about some things that, what it means to parent on a mission. I just want to share 10 things that have been very helpful for me. 10 things that some of them I’ve learned here at marriage retreats and men’s retreats, and some of ‘me I’ve just learned along the way through people in the church and friends. But I want to share that with you.
And the very first thing I want to share is this. Be a student of the Bible. Mom and daddy, be a student of the Bible. Anything that I say here, test it to the Word of God, and if doesn’t… If it’s not clear in the Word of God, mark it out. Be a student of the Bible. And knowing that people can give us good, practical advice, and a lot of people can tell us a lot of different things, but measure that against God’s word. You may have been through experiences I haven’t been through, and you may have advice and things that you could certainly give to me. But the one thing that I would say for all of us is that number one, be a student of the Bible. And the second thing I would say is, to teach your kids what the mission is. Teach your kids what the mission is. Ask your kids, what is the Gospel? What is the Gospel? You know how like… So, I’ve been teaching a junior high Bible study for about the past four… Three or four years. And it’s… Junior high kids are something, right? They will humble you fast. And so, we walked through… We walked through the book of Colossians. And so, for the next four weeks, every week we’re together, I’m asking ‘me like, okay “Hey, can you tell me what the Gospel is?” And they’re like, “Uh… Yeah. The Bible? God, Jesus?” They’re giving you all these funny answers.
But walk through with your kids, what is the Gospel? And break it down in a way they can understand. It’s the story of God stepping into humanity, sending his Son, born of a virgin, who lived a sinless, perfect life, who died on our behalf, and that by faith, of putting our trust in him, His resurrection proves that God accepted His gift, that His sacrifice on our behalf, and that He’s coming again. The simplicity of the Gospel is that we are broken and that we can’t fix ourselves, that we must cling to Christ, that it’s only His blood that can cleanse us and save us. I was having a conversation with a friend, a very… Just a one-off conversation. And she said, “Oh, this guy, he’s a Christian,” and I know this guy. And I’m like, “Oh? Is he? How do you know that? Did you have a good conversation with you?” So yeah, he said he doesn’t believe in having tattoos.
I’m like, “Oh, okay.” That’s not the gospel. So, help your kids understand the gospel, the implications, the weight of it, and it’s hard, it’s hard to help your kids understand. Hey that neighbor those lives right down the street, good dude he helped daddy fix his truck last week. He doesn’t believe in Jesus. This is what it looks like. Apart from him coming to faith in Jesus, He will spend eternity in hell. Disconnected from any kind of hope. Helping kids understand that age-appropriately but help them understand the Gospel and the implications of that. Number three, your kids need to see you pursuing Christ. Your kids need to see that. I love it when you get up and you’re reading your Bible and you’re praying and…
I like to… I’ve got a picnic table that sits outside and like a screen and porch and I like to sit there and that’s where I like to read my Bible, as long as it’s not in April because I can’t pay attention in April if I hear a turkey gobble or something, I have to stop. So sometimes I’m inside, but I love it when my kids like sneak out there and my youngest want to come to sit on my lap, like towards the end, and we would just read the text that I’ve been reading and just give them just a seven-year-old summary, but let them see that.
And here are some of the things that because I have sat in that seat that you’re sitting in a lot, like the first night of all men’s retreat I’ve been to, I’m like down there at the tents pacing because I’m feeling so convicted about something, listen, you’re going to blow it. You’re going to have mess-ups. You’re going to get mad. You’re going to lose your cool. Things are going to happen. Look, I ask for forgiveness. Confess it, say, I’m sorry. And walk your kids through that, your life does not have to be perfect for them to believe you’re a Christian. When you fail and you confess that Jesus is your hope that Jesus is your righteousness, and that you ask for forgiveness in front of them that can help foster them to understand the clarity of what it means to trust Christ.
And so let your kids see that. Number four, you cannot be on a mission together as parents if you’re not on the same page together. In our Bible study, we have a lot of different families. Their kids come, any time you’ve got junior high kids together, sometimes girls come because of boys and boys come because of girls and all of that stuff, and we try to navigate that as best we can. But sometimes that happens, and so we have this very diverse set of families, and the number one conversation of parents that are not connected to the church at all that I’ve had inside of our study is this, well, we can’t agree on the church. We can’t agree on discipline, we can’t agree on big issues. Listen, you’re here together this weekend, if you’ve got conflict in your marriage about your kid’s dating, what denomination or what kind of church do you need to go to. How to discipline your kids. Here’s what I would say, get together and get some biblical counsel while you’re here, get someone to help you, and you both get on the same page and you pursue what God calls you to do based according to His revealed word, and get on board together because if mama wants one thing and daddy wants another thing, you’re going to end up with some really confused kids. Our marriages…
And you’re going to hear a lot of this stuff repetitive, but our marriages should reflect Christ and His church, sacrifice, and devotion. Daddies, you need to be sacrificing for your wife and wives, you need to be supporting your husbands, and you need to be both together, pointing your children to the Gospel. And daddies as protectors of your home. Last time… At the last marriage conference, I kind of shared this story about it, it’s easy to kind of pick up on a story about where it’s like somebody crosses you and somebody pushes your kid out of the way and you’re going to step in and protect them and be the man. Right. The number one place in the world that I live in, in this Bible setting, the kids that I’ve worked with, the number one area where I see daddies need to protect their kids are these things right here. These are dangerous, dangerous. Letting your little boy, because you trust him or your little girl, every issue that we’ve dealt with pornography in kids has been girls so far, every… If you trust your kids, that’s awesome, that’s good, but you need to put some kind of safeguards on their telephone, letting your kid run wild with the Internet is just…
Danger waiting to happen. Guard them. Help guard their hearts. Guard their eyes and daddy guard your eyes. Guard yourself. Number five help your kids learn it’s not all about them, because it’s not all about you, help them see that our culture says, it’s all about you, it’s about your enjoyment, but the Gospel carries so much more weight and meaning than that, doesn’t it? The gospel displays what it means to be sacrificial, the Gospel has implications, which means I need to sacrifice on behalf of that.
And so, invite your kids in to see that. One of the things that I like to do, and maybe you guys could find other ways to do this, but as we like to pick something out, we like to find something…
That we can give to and say, Okay, we’re not going to do this, or we’re not going to go on this trip, or whatever it may be, we’re not going to do this, we’re going to set this money aside to be able to give to this mission, and as we do this, we’re going to be praying that the Lord would be at work in this, and then we’re going to watch and see what the Lord does. And I’m not… Listen, I’m not saying all of a sudden like, you’re going to give $20 and start praying and everybody… And some town’s going to come to faith in Jesus, I’m just saying, seeing God work in little ways so you sacrifice, seeing the time that you may give or things like that, help them to understand, because there is a world of radio and TV out there that’s going to tell you need to live your best life now, get all your stuff that you can, cause it’s all about you, and God doesn’t ever want you to be sick, God doesn’t ever want you to be upset, and God doesn’t want you to ever be stressed out, and God doesn’t want you to ever have any kind of issue in your life, and the gospel is calling us to a world that is lost and dying apart from the saving faith of Jesus Christ. So, help them see that.
Number six, God hit on this prioritize time with your family, prioritize that. That has been a struggle for me in my life that… I’m a very driven person, I like to go. And there’s always this dichotomy of thought of quality and quantity, and it’s both, spend time with your kids, spend quality time with your kids, spend time with your family because you are the most influential people to your kids than anybody else.
It’s amazing, I take my little girls on dates, one daughter loves to go drink coffee at lunch, and another daughter loves to get up at 5 a.m. to go eat breakfast, and we may not talk about a whole lot of deep things, but just the response that you can see in the way that it fills their bucket, spend time with them. Spend time with mama. We’ve got limited time, and as my daughter’s 15, I’m starting to realize that. And we cannot save our kids, we can’t, as much as I would love that. Know for a fact that it’s all going to work out, all my kids are going to trust and follow Jesus, but here’s what we can do, we can stack as much firewood around them as we possibly can with the word, with truth, and just pray for the Holy Spirit to light that flame. And that’s what we’re to do. Our goal is to raise kids who are not just moral conformists to the culture around them but to raise disciples who make disciples.
Number seven, when you discipline your kids, talk about root issues, I got a buddy that… He’s got a young son that’s just like wide open, and he has a couple of things he recorded on his phone with a son, like pray and after some disciplines are kind of finished working through and he’s like, praying, Lord, forgive me. But help your kids see that the root of the issue is there are consequences for your actions, help them submit to authority now because when they’re 20 and they don’t know how to submit to authority, that’s going to be a problem. That’s going to be a big problem. So, help them see that, but help them to see that they are broken inside, they’re sinners and they’re lost and they need redemption. So, discipline is a great time to walk them through that, what are the… I asked my kids, my wife asked one of my kids, we were at the dinner table when she asked she asked one of my daughters, what’s the best memory you can think of from last summer or something, some crazy random question like that, my little girl, raised her hand she said, I did something I wasn’t supposed to, I can’t remember what it was. And daddy was going to give me a whooping, but he said he’s going to show me what grace was, and he didn’t give me something I deserved, so it was just an opportunity to kind of walk through that. Use those opportunities.
Alright, and number eight. Involve your kids in personal evangelism and take ownership in spreading the gospel where you live, work, and play. Let them be a part of that. One of the things we try to do is use the dinner table, invite neighbors over, have people over-invest in their lives, and we’re not sending the kids up to another room, they’re right there with us. We go get involved and go into a neighbor’s house and spend maybe, helping them. I had a buddy who lived down the road and had some problems with this truck, so I go over there and helped him work on it, looking for a gospel opportunity to share the gospel to tangibly help this guy and to talk about life. My little boy sitting right there, involve them in that. You don’t have to step away from your family to be involved in the mission, bring them with you, help them see that, let them be a part of that, and never prioritize the mission outside of your house over the mission inside your house, we have been entrusted with these little ones, and we are to make disciples.
Alright, number nine. Alright, find older Christian friends who are pursuing the Lord who have kids, listen and watch, ask them questions and listen. I’ve got some older friends that are here, here I can’t have older kids than we do, and they have been a wealth of help for us, and they’ve gone through some hard times at different times, and it’s easy when somebody else is going through hard times like my wife is a registered dietitian and loves to work out and eat right and all that stuff. And when she was pregnant, with our first kid, she said, my kids will never eat a hot dog, right. [chuckle] Yeah, we eat them about four times a week now, you know. I’ve been a bad influence, but we can do that with life too, we can do that, we could see other people with kids a little bit older than us, and I was like, Yeah, I’m not kidding, they’re not going to struggle like that one, cause they didn’t do something right, cause we always told to justify what we’re doing, and we’re always wanting to say, well, then maybe they didn’t do this right, and if I do this right… Listen, there are no guarantees kids, they’re…
They’re their individuals. They’re going to do stuff. So, listen and watch, and let them help you. Titus is a great book on how older men and older women should help the younger, and so if you’re at an age where your kids are grown, help some younger families, because they need it. They need it. It’s good to have that help. Alright, number 10, about to wrap it up. Take your kids… If the opportunity arises, and you have the opportunity, take your kids on short-term missions’ trips. If you can, and that opportunity comes up… Listen, there’s a lot of talks, I’ve read several articles about…
Should you just send money, or should you go on short-term missions trips? And here’s the thing that I hold fast too, is if money… If just sending money would fix problems, how many families would still be together? Money doesn’t fix problems. Disciples, making disciples is God’s plan, and so you want to do it the right way. I’m certain some people go on short-term missions’ trips, which are a vacation. But find a place where you can plugin and you can go support and you can help, and you can go love on people and you can share the Gospel. My wife and I are adopting a child because of a short-term mission’s trip. We took our kids… Or we went first to a little town in Mexico, fell in love with a little boy, and wanted to adopt this little boy and we just couldn’t. We kept working on it, kept working on it. So, we just started going down there every year, started taking our kids and we had a member of our family who was just like… When we took our 6-year-old son, they were thinking, “This is not real smart”, cause there’s some kind of political turmoil and just a bunch of crazy stuff going on in that town.
But if you sit back and you look at the risks, think about this… I mean, I could take my kids to Mexico, they might drink the water, they might get bacteria, they might get sick, they might be sick for the rest of their lives with their stomachs. But I would rather them be sick on their stomach for the rest of their lives than grow up being comfortable, cultural Christians, who never engaged in God’s mission and don’t understand the depravity and the lost-ness of this world. Think about those risks. So, God’s called us to parent on a mission, and so as I lay all this out before you, and you may be thinking, “That’s just another list, that’s another 10 commandments, another list of rules”, I’m just laying out some things I feel like have been helpful for me. All of this is fueled by the very fact that you guys are sitting here. All of this is fueled by the fact that God saw you in your brokenness and your lost-ness and saved you. It is for the glory of God and our good that we’re raising the next generation who do not have their blinders on, to remove their cell phones out of their face, and help them to see there is a world in dire need of the Gospel. I’m going to pray for us, and we’ll wrap it up. Lord Jesus, love you, thank you. Thank you for the awesome responsibility that you would call us to be ambassadors for Christ, that you are making your appeal be reconciled to God through broken sinners such as us. And in that Lord, you would not only call us to a lost and dying world, but you have entrusted to us children to raise to be disciples who trust you and follow you and engage in this mission. So, Lord, strengthen us, give us your grace. God help us not to fall asleep at the wheel. It is a tiring job, so grant us, your grace. Help us to be engaged, help us to prioritize what is important, and let the other things go. Help us to love well, and to lead our families well. It’s in the strong name of Jesus I pray. Amen. Thank you, guys.
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