By Domenico Danesi
Have you ever thought about the adolescent years of Jesus? We often think of Jesus the man, but he too was a boy. You are probably familiar with this passage of scripture where Jesus was missing and Mary and Joseph were searching for him: and it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. (Luke 2:42-46). The doctors at the temple were amazed at the wisdom of Jesus; and all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers (Luke 2:47). Jesus the boy was growing like all children do. He was growing physically, mentally, and emotionally. He knew his mission and his purpose was clear; to be about his Father’s business (Luke 2:49).
Although Jesus had not “officially” begun his earthly ministry yet as a man, he was involved in the work as a child. The Bible tells us that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature; and Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). We must realize that a child who just sits in a pew will likely be an adult who just sits in a pew. Give children opportunities to serve in and outside of the body of Christ. Mobilize your children. This is one way they will grow like Jesus “in wisdom and stature”.
Have we “missed the boat” when it comes to training up our children (Proverbs 22:6)? Have we let American culture influence our thinking? Are we to believe that our children can be somewhat irresponsible and unaccountable and use the excuse, “they are just kids”? The tragedy of this mentality is that our children will indeed grow, but it will only be in physical stature, nothing else. We need to cultivate them spiritually. Model our faith, speak our faith, impress upon them at an early age that you as a parent are about your Heavenly Father’s business. Above all encourage them as children to follow Jesus in word and deed.
Koinonia Fellowship has so many opportunities to serve inside and outside of the church walls. Perhaps you could sign up for one of these outreaches as a family. You are the hands and feet of Jesus. Nothing replaces example. If your children see mom and dad serving, going out into the world, they are more likely to have a desire to do the same. I have had the privilege of taking my children to the Open Door Mission and The Father’s Heart. Nothing can replace this real-life experience. Once at the Open door mission my wife Leslee, my son Lorenzo (8), and my daughter Bria (10) made hygiene kits as the other Saints served the meal and the message; they loved it! Another opportunity came through the Father’s Heart. My daughters Bria (10) and Selah (6) served meals and handed out tracts to people on Hudson Avenue as I ministered the word of God. My girls absolutely loved it as did I! “Ministry is caught not taught”. A classroom lecture or parental talk will not cut it. Children must be involved in the work. I challenge you this Christmas season; take your children, go and preach the gospel in word and deed.
By Pat Tharp
The Christmas season is here, and the onslaught of media and advertisements has been pounding us since Black Friday. As Christians, we want to “Keep Christ in Christmas,” so we avoid the traditional Santa Claus and Reindeer themes that are everywhere. We’d say that that was “unbiblical.” But equally unbiblical is the tradition of the “3 wise men” coming to the Nativity scene after Jesus’ birth.
The only reference to these men in the four Gospels is in the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 2. Putting the Gospel narratives together we learn that these men, who are not numbered, came from afar to worship Jesus and offer him gifts. Wicked King Herod feeling threatened by another “King” tries to discover Jesus’ location to kill Him. The wise men actually meet Jesus and His mother “in a house,” (Matthew 2:11) and Jesus may have been as old as 2 years.
This reality is quite different from the Christmas cards and Nativity Scenes that we are used to in the celebration of Christ’s birth. But despite those inconsistencies between the cultural Christmas and the Biblical account, we still have much to learn from the wise men and from King Herod on what “real worship” is.
Reading Matthew Chapter 2 we see a great contrast between these 2 groups and very practical lessons for us as we consider if our corporate worship is “real” or “religious.”
Real worship takes time...like the wise men, who had to take a long trip and make specific and intentional preparations to worship, we must do the same. If worship is important to you, you will go to bed early to be physically ready in the morning; you will arrange your responsibilities to be “on time” because it is a priority, not an “option” because “the word is more important.” Worship is just as important.Read more...