Pastor Ben Hiwale
Our culture is hostile to Christian faith. We no longer live in a time or a place where what we believe constitutes the norm, or even an accepted point of view. What we believe flies in the face of the cherished principles of religious relativism, tolerance, and philosophical pluralism. We are considered "untrained and uneducated" men and women from whom our culture needs to be protected. We are the modern version of Peter and John standing before a Sanhedrin armed with television and radio stations, colleges and universities, newspapers and books, all being leveraged against "the faith that was once for all handed down to the saints." (Jude 1:3) Struggle is inevitable. Conflict is at hand. Will we bow before the god of culture? Or will we plant our feet, square our shoulders, lift our heads, and give an account to all those who ask us not just what we believe but why?
Imagine finding yourself sitting on a sports field - soccer, baseball, football, or lacrosse - with one or more of your children in a tournament game. It is a beautiful morning, the sun is shining, and you are enjoying the latest blend of mocha or exotic coffee, and yet experiencing great frustration and conflict. You are frustrated because you feel a void. It is Sunday! As you begin to comprehend this void, you realize that you are seeing some other families on the other fields that you know are Christian. You are conflicted as you reflect on how you got into this situation. You know the value of church family; you know that consistency is very important for your family to build relationships within the church family and to grow as disciples of Christ. You have made many decisions over the years to say “no” to other things in order to say “yes” to church. And, yet, here you are on a sports field or at an event or something that is not Church on a Sunday morning.
It is possible the coach gathered the parents around and presented this amazing opportunity for the tournament that would land on a Saturday and Sunday. Everyone was so excited, and you felt like you had no choice but to participate. The team wouldn’t be able to play in the tournament unless everyone chose to play. If you said no, you would be letting down all the other kids. One of your close family friends presented an opportunity to socialize, and it all started great, but suddenly all the events occur on Saturdays and Sundays and you feel obligated to participate, and yet you are feeling this tension.
So here you are, sitting on the sidelines contemplating the predicament of so many families. Many families I’ve talked to about this feel like they have no choice for a variety of reasons. Maybe it’s a sport that the kids love, maybe it is a business opportunity, social relationship, belonging to something. These are opportunities that would be missed if you pulled your kids out. Maybe you feel an obligation to a team, club, or friend circle; maybe there’s real potential that may never be recognized. There are many reasons for the decisions we come to that keep our families away from church. I completely understand how we get there – but I also know the long term effect that missing church will take on our families. And that’s the predicament that has been tormenting you.Read more ...
When do you start having that conversation with your child about the birds and the bees? This is a topic that many parents do not know how to face so they totally avoid it. Parents may feel awkward, uncomfortable, and unequipped to address their children about sex.
The physical maturation of your child is inevitable and needs to be approached with sensitivity and wisdom. According to Darkness to Light (an organizational leader in the prevention of child sexual abuse), 8 is the age at which we as parents should begin discussions with our children about their “private parts” and “touch”.
Look at some of these startling facts and then prayerfully consider starting these conversations with your children at the age of 8.
1. 1 in 10 children are sexually abused before the age of 18.
2. Youth are 2.5 times more likely to get raped than adults.
3. 35% of child sexual abuse victims are age 11 and under.
4. 9% of all 10-17 year olds receive unwanted sexual requests while on the internet.
5. About 85% of child pornography victims are living at home when they are photographed. Parents are often responsible.
These statistics from Darkness to Light are sobering and should motivate us to address these topics. We need to be proactive as parents in educating our children in the areas of touch and intimacy the way God intended between a husband and a wife. Using terms like “cookie” and “pickle” to address anatomical parts could unintentionally harm our children if a child-predator attempts to manipulate them. If we do not educate and inform our children about their bodies, dating, marriage, and sexual intimacy, there is a good chance someone else will. This is 2016 and we are facing more challenges in the sexual arena than ever before. We must take every step necessary to protect our families.
What does God word say about this topic?
1. Genesis 2:21-25 speaks of Adam’s helpmeet being made from his rib. They were both naked and not ashamed. Explain to your children why they were not ashamed of being naked.
2. Explain biblical terms like fornication, harlot, the undefiled bed, etc.
3. For all the land which thou see, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever (Genesis 13:15). A seed is used to grow something (a plant, a fruit, a tree, a human life). Explain that a seed is used to start the growth of a human life in a mother’s womb (not a stork).
4. Teach modesty and purity (Titus 2:3-5). This generation of young people often rebel against the thought of modesty and purity. Teach your children to be “counter-cultural” in this area.
5. God desires the Titus 2 model in both young men and women. The older men and women of God should be modeling in word and deed what modesty and purity look like in the life of a Christian.
If a child is sexually abused in any way it will cause damage that is very difficult to repair. Be proactive, seek the Lord, and have the “birds and bees” discussion with your children.