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Why you shouldn’t raise your kids in church.

Alright, I’ll admit it: The title is for shock value. But “Why the way churches currently do kids ministries is bad and will probably be a stumbling block to both their present and future walk with the Lord and is also unbiblical” isn’t quite as catchy. That is essentially the thesis of this post, though: Kids ministries are killing us.

Not just kids ministries, either: Youth groups, young adult groups, seniors groups. Jesus prayed that we be unified, and you can hear a sermon about it as soon as you separate yourself into the right age group. I can’t seem to find that ministry model anywhere in the New Testament. The Church that I see comes together and the older men and women instruct the younger men and women (Titus 2). The only age-segregation then would be in who is instructing and who is instructed. This is not the case in most churches.

But beyond the simple division that this kind of age-determined schism produces—beyond the non-biblical distinctions we’ve drawn into our church in an attempt to make it more palatable for the unconverted—I think this kind of ministry model damages a child personal conception of God. Take, for instance, the typical “kids church” message about the parable of the sower: The ultimate moral of the story is that we should be good soil! But how does this fit into the broad themes of scripture? “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil” (Jer. 13:23, ESV). So how can I change what kind of soil I am? And yet that is exactly what many kids church sermons urge children to do: Be good soil. Don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t chew, stay away from those who do. Most children-oriented sermons do not present the Gospel—I could contend this is because the church that these ministries are a part of do not present the Gospel, but that’s another post—and thus these children become inoculated against “church,” without ever having been a part of it. You wonder why we have such a high rate of abandonment amongst teens and young-adults?

Let’s keep going: What happens when you tell a kid to be good soil? Well, either he (and I’m going to imperialize and assume this child is a he, because I am, and this post is semi-autobiographical) will be good soil in his eyes, in which case you’ll raise a pharisee (guilty), or he’ll get tired of failing to be good soil by God’s standard, and wonder why he can’t cut it, and if it’s all maybe some big pie-in-the-sky scheme being perpetrated, and leave the church (also guilty). So the church you’re left with, what few children make it through the gauntlet of ministries before they’re considered legitimate members, is a whole lot of moralists with no understanding of the Gospel or what it means to be a part of the Church, and you’ve got a hell of a problem on your hands. And just to prove my point, a whole lot of you got angry because I used the word hell as an adjective instead of a noun.

So this unbiblical ministry model gives rise to an unbiblical church, and the whole world is going to hell desperate for a Savior, and this mewling, crippled “body of Christ” screams that they can save themselves if they just try hard enough. Americana Christianity. Moralism, and nothing more.

Age-based ministries ultimately fail because they’re focused on meeting the perceived needs of those being ministered to. We already know what the need is, though: They’re a sinner. Sure, let’s get a boys group together for some fellowship, I’m all for that. But let’s not pretend like the problem that these boys are facing is something external and specific to their situation; it’s their wicked little hearts that need correcting, and only Jesus can do that. Preach the Gospel to all ages. That is what they need.

In Christ,

Johnny.

I would like to thank my parents for always making it their own personal responsibility to share the Gospel with me. I have come to disagree with some of what I learned growing up, but so has my father, and I thank him for always seeking to lead me into truth.



Prepping for the study tonight, writing killer blog posts, and dying in this heat. #esv #scripture #tanktop  (Taken with Instagram)

Prepping for the study tonight, writing killer blog posts, and dying in this heat. #esv #scripture #tanktop (Taken with Instagram)



Isaiah 53:5

Things Jesus didn’t die for:
  • Your space in heaven.
  • Your nifty Christian t-shirt.
  • Your right to vote Republican. Or Democrat. Or to vote in general. (He was more concerned with the Kingdom of Heaven than the kingdom of America.)
  • Your Cadillac.
  • Your billfold.
  • Your big house.
  • Your purpose-driven life.
  • Your feelings.
  • Your family life.

Things Jesus did die for:

  • Your total depravity.
  • Your inability to control your lust.
  • Your insatiable desire to cut yourself.
  • Your propensity to hate others.
  • Your propensity to hate Him.
  • Your obsessive devotion to any part of creation rather than a single thought of the Creator.
  • Your sin.
  • You.

But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.



Eaten alive.

(Source: houseboatslove)



The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Acts 1:8, ESV.

Too often, people are desperate for some religious experience in which the Spirit of God shakes them up. Others want that power that Christ promised, but do not understand the proper application of that power. Do not misunderstand me: I am not discounting the personal reaction that some have to the presence of God, or saying that it is somehow invalid. I’m simply exhorting the Body that the experience or power, in and of itself, is not why the Holy Spirit was sent to us. 

Read More

(Source: johnnyis)



Click here to follow along with notes!

This is the sermon I delivered tonight at Faith Assembly of God’s young adult ministry. I pray that God speaks to you from His word as you listen. Follow along in James 2:14-26. 

In Christ,

Jonathan.

(Source: johnnyis / johnnyis)



This is John Piper’s practical exposition on dealing with lust.  It is effective.  



I hate this because of it’s inaccuracies.  Let’s examine them, shall we?

Noah was a drunk.

Noah’s drunkenness arose later in his life, after God had used him.  In fact, the Genesis account describes Noah as a righteous man, “blameless in his generation[, who] walked with God” (Gen. 6:11, ESV).  It wasn’t until after the flood had abated that Noah planted a vineyard and became drunk (Gen. 9.)  I’m not saying God won’t use drunks:  I’m saying that this poster took Scripture out of context.

Abraham was too old.

Yes, Abraham was too old to have children, but that’s all that the context of Genesis 17 implies (v. 17).  To simply state that Abraham was too old is to miss the point of the passage.

Isaac was a daydreamer.

First of all, daydreaming is by no means a bad thing.  Why is it bad to sit and think about the past, present, or future?  From the past, we learn wisdom.  In the present, we reflect on our lives.  In the future, we have a chance to apply wisdom, as well as to discern the will of God.  Nothing about daydreaming is necessarily a bad trait. 
My second problem with this statement, is where does scripture say that?  I’ve just read Genesis 22-25, which deal with the life of Isaac, and the only possible place that I can see this idea being drawn from is Genesis 24:63, which states that Isaac went out in the field to meditate (לָשׂ֥וּחַ).  Granted, Strongs Concordance states that the word “suach” is of uncertain origin, and probably means “to muse pensively,” but there is nothing that implies any sort of immoral or improper action on Isaac’s part (7742).  Also, this was not something that Isaac is reported as consistently taking part in.  In Genesis 23, Isaac’s mother Sarah dies and is buried.  In context, Genesis 24 is talking about the marriage of Isaac, and how his wife Rebekah then comforted him after his mother’s death.  Therefore, in context, the verse is speaking of a specific instance in which Isaac went out and was musing, most likely in reflection about his mother and her life.

Leah was ugly.

No, Leah had weak, tender, soft, or delicate eyes, depending on which translation of the word you favor (Gen. 29:17, Strongs 7390).  Her vision was bad, which was not a desirable trait—how can a woman keep a house she can’t see?

Samson had long hair and was a womanizer.

The second part is true enough but the first part makes no sense.  Of course Samson had long hair.  He was a “Nazarite to God from the womb” (Jud. 13:5).  Therefore Samson’s hair was to be kept long, as part of the vow to God.  No razor was to be used on his head (ibid).  It’s illogical to state that something which God specifically commanded Samson to do might be something that would keep God from using Samson.  In fact, it is when Samson’s hair is cut that he loses his supernatural strength, and Scripture makes a point of specifying that Samson’s hair began to grow again (Jud. 16:22).

Elijah was suicidal.

No.  Absolutely not.  Suicidal people try to take their own lives.  Elijah was fed up with unfaithful Israel, and he asked that the Lord take him because he had not been any more able to change their hearts than his fathers had—despite the miracles that God performed through him (1 Kings 19:4).  This was an utter despair at the lack of repentance of the people of Israel.  Elijah was so fed up with their hearts of stone that he would rather have died then continue to be belittled for his fervor and zeal for the Lord.

 Isaiah preached naked.

Like the example of Samson, we see here a blatant lack of understanding of Scripture.  Isaiah did not preach naked out of his own will, but at the command of Almighty God.  “At that time the LORD spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your waist and take off your sandals from your feet,” and he did so, walking naked and barefoot” (Isa. 20:2).  In the following verses, God describes how this nakedness is a portent of the judgement that would come to pass on Egypt and Cush.

Job went bankrupt.

Whoever put this poster together must have gone to the Rob Bell school of exegesis and Biblical studies.  In the book of Job, God allows Satan to attack Job, thereby demonstrating the righteousness of Job’s heart (Job 1).  Job only went bankrupt because God allowed it.  God knew that Job’s zeal for God was not rooted in his belongings, or even in his family.  That is why God allowed Job to fall from his place of high estate.  And at the end of Job?  ”And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10).  Job was blessed more in the end of his life than at the beginning, because he remained faithful to God (Job 42:12).

Zaccheus [sic] was too small.

Zacchaeus was a small guy, sure, but there is nothing in scripture that said that he was too small for anything other than seeing over the rest of the crowd (Lk. 19:3).  Zacchaeus’ is an example of a rich man truly repentant, in contrast with the rich young ruler of the previous chapter (Lk. 18:18-30).  When Zacchaeus sees and responds to Jesus, he does so by giving half of everything he owns to the poor, and repaying anyone he cheated by 4 times the amount he took from them (Lk. 19:8).

Paul was too religious.

This may be a small side rant, but why has the term “religious” become derogatory in nature?  Who gets to decide when someone is too religious, and what standard are they using to make that judgement?  
Rather than write an entire rebuttal, I’ll leave this last one as homework.  Take some time and read up on the life of Paul as revealed in Scripture.  Start with Acts 9 and Philippians 3. 
Biblical literacy:  It really is important.

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness.
1 Timothy 4:7

I hate this because of it’s inaccuracies.  Let’s examine them, shall we?

Noah was a drunk.

Noah’s drunkenness arose later in his life, after God had used him.  In fact, the Genesis account describes Noah as a righteous man, “blameless in his generation[, who] walked with God” (Gen. 6:11, ESV).  It wasn’t until after the flood had abated that Noah planted a vineyard and became drunk (Gen. 9.)  I’m not saying God won’t use drunks:  I’m saying that this poster took Scripture out of context.

Abraham was too old.

Yes, Abraham was too old to have children, but that’s all that the context of Genesis 17 implies (v. 17).  To simply state that Abraham was too old is to miss the point of the passage.

Isaac was a daydreamer.

First of all, daydreaming is by no means a bad thing.  Why is it bad to sit and think about the past, present, or future?  From the past, we learn wisdom.  In the present, we reflect on our lives.  In the future, we have a chance to apply wisdom, as well as to discern the will of God.  Nothing about daydreaming is necessarily a bad trait. 

My second problem with this statement, is where does scripture say that?  I’ve just read Genesis 22-25, which deal with the life of Isaac, and the only possible place that I can see this idea being drawn from is Genesis 24:63, which states that Isaac went out in the field to meditate (לָשׂ֥וּחַ).  Granted, Strongs Concordance states that the word “suach” is of uncertain origin, and probably means “to muse pensively,” but there is nothing that implies any sort of immoral or improper action on Isaac’s part (7742).  Also, this was not something that Isaac is reported as consistently taking part in.  In Genesis 23, Isaac’s mother Sarah dies and is buried.  In context, Genesis 24 is talking about the marriage of Isaac, and how his wife Rebekah then comforted him after his mother’s death.  Therefore, in context, the verse is speaking of a specific instance in which Isaac went out and was musing, most likely in reflection about his mother and her life.

Leah was ugly.

No, Leah had weak, tender, soft, or delicate eyes, depending on which translation of the word you favor (Gen. 29:17, Strongs 7390).  Her vision was bad, which was not a desirable trait—how can a woman keep a house she can’t see?

Samson had long hair and was a womanizer.

The second part is true enough but the first part makes no sense.  Of course Samson had long hair.  He was a “Nazarite to God from the womb” (Jud. 13:5).  Therefore Samson’s hair was to be kept long, as part of the vow to God.  No razor was to be used on his head (ibid).  It’s illogical to state that something which God specifically commanded Samson to do might be something that would keep God from using Samson.  In fact, it is when Samson’s hair is cut that he loses his supernatural strength, and Scripture makes a point of specifying that Samson’s hair began to grow again (Jud. 16:22).

Elijah was suicidal.

No.  Absolutely not.  Suicidal people try to take their own lives.  Elijah was fed up with unfaithful Israel, and he asked that the Lord take him because he had not been any more able to change their hearts than his fathers had—despite the miracles that God performed through him (1 Kings 19:4).  This was an utter despair at the lack of repentance of the people of Israel.  Elijah was so fed up with their hearts of stone that he would rather have died then continue to be belittled for his fervor and zeal for the Lord.

 Isaiah preached naked.

Like the example of Samson, we see here a blatant lack of understanding of Scripture.  Isaiah did not preach naked out of his own will, but at the command of Almighty God.  “At that time the LORD spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your waist and take off your sandals from your feet,” and he did so, walking naked and barefoot” (Isa. 20:2).  In the following verses, God describes how this nakedness is a portent of the judgement that would come to pass on Egypt and Cush.

Job went bankrupt.

Whoever put this poster together must have gone to the Rob Bell school of exegesis and Biblical studies.  In the book of Job, God allows Satan to attack Job, thereby demonstrating the righteousness of Job’s heart (Job 1).  Job only went bankrupt because God allowed it.  God knew that Job’s zeal for God was not rooted in his belongings, or even in his family.  That is why God allowed Job to fall from his place of high estate.  And at the end of Job?  ”And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10).  Job was blessed more in the end of his life than at the beginning, because he remained faithful to God (Job 42:12).

Zaccheus [sic] was too small.

Zacchaeus was a small guy, sure, but there is nothing in scripture that said that he was too small for anything other than seeing over the rest of the crowd (Lk. 19:3).  Zacchaeus’ is an example of a rich man truly repentant, in contrast with the rich young ruler of the previous chapter (Lk. 18:18-30).  When Zacchaeus sees and responds to Jesus, he does so by giving half of everything he owns to the poor, and repaying anyone he cheated by 4 times the amount he took from them (Lk. 19:8).

Paul was too religious.

This may be a small side rant, but why has the term “religious” become derogatory in nature?  Who gets to decide when someone is too religious, and what standard are they using to make that judgement?  

Rather than write an entire rebuttal, I’ll leave this last one as homework.  Take some time and read up on the life of Paul as revealed in Scripture.  Start with Acts 9 and Philippians 3

Biblical literacy:  It really is important.

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness.

1 Timothy 4:7

(Source: johnnyis, via worship-)