The Reformation for You and Your Family.

Tuesday we celebrated the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. It was 500 years ago an Augustinian Monk named Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg Germany. It was a small protest against the corruption in the church that has had ripple effects that are still being felt today. Many people argue that what Luther started was not good because it has created disunity in the church but the more you read scripture, the more you read Luther, and the more you realize that the Reformation was a clarification of the gospel far more than a reputation of the church of Rome.

We needed reformation then and we certainly need reformation today. So I thought it would be helpful to tackle a few of Luther’s 95 Theses that have particular relevance for us as well as for the kids we teach.

  1. #1 When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said “Repent”, he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance. – This is fundamental and primary. Kids need to know what repentance is and how their lives should be marked by the daily practice of repentance. Kids that don’t understand their need for repentance will never experience the sufficiency of Christ in His lavish forgiveness. More than ever our kids need to see repentance modeled to them and need to be called regularly to repentance.
  2. #92 Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people “Peace, peace” and there is no peace. – Our culture and sadly many even within the church are preaching and prophesying that the highest goal of Christian life is peace and personal happiness. This is a pernicious cancer in the very fabric of Christian life. To seek joy is a very different thing than pursuing happiness. Joy is understood in scripture as being founded in the person of Christ. It is Incorruptible because it is found in Christ who is eternal. Happiness is a feeling, it is personal it is undefinable, it is easily lost because we are fickle and this life is fleeting.

How To Hear God’s Voice

Listening to Others

One of the things that many adults struggle with and most kids I’ve encountered, struggle with is the ability to hear God’s voice. Hearing God’s voice is not as easy as some simplistically explain and it’s not impossible as many believe.

Hearing God’s voice is made possible by a few basic practices;

  1. Listening to God starts with learning to listen to those you can see.
  2. Knowing God’s voice comes from knowing his word.
  3. Hearing God’s voice requires discernment.

Learning to listen is not a skill that is taught anywhere. It is a gift a few are born with, a skill most can learn, and is indispensable in our ability to hear God and love our fellow believers. The world we live in is crowded, loud, and chaotic. We are surrounded by digital noise that demands little focus from us. To truly listen to others is a difficult thing to do but is a practice we must grow in. To grow in our ability to listen we must understand the importance of it and must actively practice the discipline of it.

Why Listening matters so much.

  1. It is our primary duty as a Christian, loving our brother by listening to him. We have this insatiable urge to say the right thing when often times what people need most is someone who will truly listen to them.

    “The first service one owes to others in the community involves listening to them. Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for other Christians is learning to listen to them. God’s love for us is shown by the fact that God not only gives us God’s Word but also lends us God’s ear.”  – Bonhoeffer

  2. We must train ourselves to listen to our fellow believers or we will only know how to speak at people rather than listen to or converse with others. If we train ourselves to ignore our fellow man which we can see how will we ever listen to a God we can’t see.

    “Many people seek a sympathetic ear and do not find it among Christians because these Christians are talking even when they should be listening. But Christians who can no longer listen to one another will soon no longer be listening to God either; they will always be talking even in the presence of God.” – Bonhoeffer

Listening is something I think most people struggle with. It is something I have to consciously work on. In pastoral ministry, listening is something that you must learn. As a parent, if your kids want to hear God’s voice they need to learn how to listen to yours.

How do we grow in our ability to listen and teach our kids how to listen to others well.

  1. Listen with your face – don’t “Multitask” and believe you are doing your duty. You are not. In fact, you are not listening and you are also not focusing. Multitasking is a myth.
  2. Listen long and patiently – “Those who think their time is too precious to spend listening will never really have time for God and others, but only for themselves and for their own words and plans.” Bonhoeffer
  3. Fully listen, don’t think about a response while listening.
  4. Wait till the other person has finished before you begin to speak.
  5. Listening understands that our duty to our fellow believers is to hear their confession.

Few people have spoken out on our need to listen to others as clearly as Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his powerful book on the Christian fellowship. He offers this dire warning to those who won’t listen “The death of the spiritual life starts here, and in the end, there is nothing left but empty spiritual chatter and clerical condescension which chokes on pious words. Those who cannot listen long and patiently will always be talking past others, and finally no longer will even notice it.”

May we be as James says in his epistle  “Quick to listen and slow to speak.”

Resource Links from my Kidmin 2017 Precon

Hey just wanted to thank all of you who came out to my precon really enjoyed sharing with you and hearing from many of you. Here are the links to my prezi’s and some of the resources I referenced in our time together today.


Prezi’s

What Is Family Ministry

What The Gospel Demonstrates to Leaders

What The Gospel Demands of Parents

Family Minstry 101: Basics of Family Ministry

Family Ministry 201: Advanced intergration


First Step Next Step Cards

Here is a blog Post that discribes our first step next steps cards. – http://samluce.com/2017/04/answering-questions-parents-asking/ 

Here is where you can find all the expanded “Next Step” PDF’s. If you want me to send you the templates for the cards shoot me an email – [email protected]


Books every kids pastor should read their first year in kids ministry.

Books You Should Read Your First Year in Kidmin


Here are are the examples of one of the Reformer of the Month Papers we give our leders and one we give our kids.
Zwingli Leader Page
Zwingli Take Home


Here are a couple of family ministry posts you may also enjoy.

A Family Ministry Manifesto.

Rabbit Starvation and Missional Youth Ministry

The next revolution in family ministry

Help! I Got My Kid a Cell Phone. Now What?

It seems that kids younger and younger are getting cell phones these days. There are many good reasons to get your kids a cell phone and there are equally as many reasons to delay as long as possible. The question I hear from parents is how do I keep my kids safe online and yet let them enjoy the freedom of a cell phone. The balance of safety and security is not easy to maintain.

I used to be an advocate of waiting until kids are much older to get a cell phone. I have changed my mind, with the pervasiveness of technology and the easy access of porn you have to teach your kids at a young age how to use technology without being ruled by it. If you just hand your kids a cell phone without teaching them how to use it or placing safeguards around it you are crazy. I love you but you are crazy. Here are a few things we have done and are putting into practice with our oldest as he joins the millions of kids who are connected around the world. These are a work in progress.

Book Review: Gospel Powered Parenting.

Have you ever read a book and it’s like the author is reading your mind? Well, I am 40 pages into Gospel Powered Parenting and so far I keep calling my wife over and telling her to read whole sections. It has to be one of the best parenting books I have ever read.

“I am convinced that the gospel is sufficient to answer all our parenting questions.”

I found this quote on the first page of the introduction of William P. Farley’s Gospel Powered Parenting and was immediately captivated.

Really? All of them? A colicky newborn, a defiant preschooler, and a prodigal teenager?  The gospel has the answers I need as a parent to deal with all these situations and more?

Farley submits that it does, and he does not disappoint unpacking how in this fantastic book. Honestly, this is the book I’ve been waiting for as a kid’s pastor. A book that never leaves the foot of the cross, and sees there in the gospel the wisdom and power we need to parent our children.

If you’re looking for a how-to manual, an index of sorts of how to handle specific and unique situations, this is not your book.

In Farley’s own words, “The emphasis of this book differs from that of many other Christian books on parenting. Most emphasize techniques. By contrast, Gospel-Powered Parenting­ will emphasize the parents’ relationship with God, with each other, and with their children, in that order. The emphasis of this book is that parenting is not primarily about doing the right things. It is about having a right relationship with God – a relationship informed by the Gospel.” –p. 51

He adds to that same idea later, “Have you ever noticed most books on parenting – Christian and secular – emphasize technique? … This book will take another approach. I want to change your thinking, especially how you think about God and yourself. If I’m successful, the techniques will take care of themselves. That is because what we do is a by-product of how we think. People change their behavior as their understanding of God and man change.” –p.69

2 things I love about this book

#1 Gospel, Gospel, Gospel.
It’s in the title, it’s on every page.

For example, Farley says that the fight against the world’s influence on our children will be won or lost based on parents understanding of the Gospel.

He says, “We change their hearts by teaching the gospel, modeling the gospel, and centering our homes on the gospel. The Gospel, rightly understood and modeled, makes Christianity attractive. Effective parents make the gospel so attractive that the world cannot get a foothold on their children’s hearts.” –p. 24

#2 Mom and Dad, it’s on us.
“God is sovereign, but parents are responsible. –p.22

And Farley really focuses in on dads, their presence, and their love of the Gospel. “When men abdicate, their children suffer. When men assume their proper role, parenting thrives.” –p.126

He continues “God holds fathers accountable for parenting because he has given them inordinate influence over their children. The Bible presumes, in the language of the Puritans, that fathers are a mirror in which their children look to out on their spiritual dress.” –p.129

If you want to buy the book here is the amazon link.