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Health Is Not Contagious… – Friends

Previously when we were in a church with separate Sunday School and children’s activities, we had to limit the interaction of our children with others due to the poor example set by the other children.  I know that is mighty judgmental of us and we should be “ashamed” for putting what is best for our children above other children, blah, blah, blah….  I’ve heard the arguments all before.

I have also been told that we should be more willing to have our children socialize in the loose children’s groups such as can be found in many churches.  You know the average class of one teacher and 10 plus students of varying backgrounds and family life.  We’ve been told “That these children need to be around obedient children so they can set a good example for them.”  That sounds well and good except that is not how life works.  It actually works in reverse, the obedient children learn from the more disobedient children more often than not.

Now don’t get me wrong, believe me I know how truly disobedient and sinfully selfish my children are.  We work on that daily.  But in the overall scheme they are more obedient than the average child even though we have a long way to go.  This also doesn’t mean my children can only be around “perfect” children – like those actually exist!  But the goal is for a parent to be available to supervise the children’s interaction with others so that problems can be dealt with immediately.  If you know my children you would realize they aren’t lacking for socialization nor are they shy and withdrawn.  But I do strive to supervise their interactions with others especially foolish children.

Proverbs 13:20 (ESV) Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

I like the warning J.C. Ryle gives young men about friends.  We as parents need to heed whom we allow our children to befriend.

Never make an intimate friend of anyone who is not a friend of God.

Understand me, I do not speak of acquaintances.  I do not mean that you ought to have nothing to do with anyone but true Christians.  To take such a line is neither possible nor desirable in this world.  Christianity requires no man to be discourteous.

But I do advise you to be very careful in your choice of friends.  Do not open all your heart to a man merely because he is clever, agreeable, good-natured, and kind.  These things are all very well in their way, but they are not everything.  Never be satisfied with the friendship of any one who will not be useful to your soul.

Believe me, the importance of this advice cannot be overrated.  There is no telling the harm that is done by associating with godless companions and friends.  The devil has few better helps in ruining a man’s soul.   Grant him this help, and he cares little for all the armor with which you may be armed against him.  Good education, early habits of morality, sermons, books, all, he knows well, will avail you little, if you will only cling to ungodly friends.  You may resist many open temptations, refuse many plain snares; but once you take up a bad companion, and he is content.  That awful chapter which describes Amnon’s wicked conduct about Tamar, almost begins with these words, “Now Amnon had a friend, a very shrewd man” (2 Samuel 13:3).

You must remember, we are all creatures of imitation: precept may teach us, but it is example that draws us.  There is that in us all, that we are always disposed to catch the ways of those with whom we live; and the more we like them, the stronger does the disposition grow.  Without our being aware of it, they influence our tastes and opinions; we gradually give up what they dislike, and take up what they like, in order to become closer friends with them.  And, worst of all, we catch their ways in things that are wrong far quicker than in things that are right.  Health, unhappily, is not contagious, but disease is.  It is far more easy to catch a chill than to impart a warmth; and to make each other’s religion dwindle away, than grow and prosper.

Young men, I ask you to take these things to heart.  Before you let any one become your constant companion, before you get into the habit of telling him everything, and going to him with all your troubles and all your pleasures–before you do this, just think of what I have been saying; ask yourself, “Will this be a useful friendship to me or not?”

“Bad company” does indeed “corrupt good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).  I wish that text were written in the hearts of all young men.  Good friends are among our greatest blessings; they may keep us away from much evil, remind us of our course, speak an appropriate word at the right time, draw us upward, and draw us on.  But a bad friend is a burden, a weight continually dragging, us down, and chaining us to earth.  Keep company with an unsaved man, and it is more than probable you will in the end become like him.  That is the general consequence of all such friendships.  The good go down to the bad, and the bad do not come up to the good.  The world’s proverb is only too correct: “Clothes and company tell true tales about character.”  “Show me who a man lives with and I will show you what he is.”

I dwell upon this point, because it has more to do with your prospects in life than first appears.  If you ever marry, it is more than probable you will choose a wife from among your circle of friends or their acquaintances.  If Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram had not formed a friendship with Ahab’s family, he would most likely not have married Ahab’s daughter.  And who can estimate the importance of a right choice in marriage?  It is a step which, according, to the old saying, “either makes a man or ruins him.”  Your happiness in both lives may depend on it.  Your wife must either help your soul or harm it.  She will either fan the flame of Christianity in your heart, or throw cold water upon it, and make it burn low.  She will either be, wings or handcuffs, an encouragement or an hindrance to your Christianity, according to her character.  He that finds a good wife does indeed “finds a good thing;” so if you have the desire to find one, be very careful how you choose your friends.

Do you ask me what kind of friends you should choose?   Choose friends who will benefit your soul, friends whom you can really respect, friends whom you would like to have near you on your deathbed, friends who love the Bible, and are not afraid to speak to you about it, friends that you would not be ashamed of having at the coming of Christ, and the day of judgment.  Follow the example that David sets for you: he says, “I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts” (Psalm 119:63).  Remember the words of Solomon: “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20).  But depend on it, bad company in this life,  is the sure way to procure worse company in the life to come.

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J.C. Ryle – Thoughts for Young Men



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Churches and Families

This whole article is worth reading whether or not you have children.  Here is just a portion of the article.

View church ministry through ‘family lens,’ conference speakers urge

…  Lance Crowell, an SBTC church ministries associate, shares Ross’s conviction that at least a generation has grown up largely seeing the church ministers as the experts. Crowell said, “One thing has to happen. We have to answer the questions, ‘Are people really growing in the Word, and is that happening in the home? Are students growing up in the Word? Or are parents lost as to what to do to help that?” 

Three resulting ‘disconnects’

More and more vocational staffers and ministry specialists have in many churches led to one type of disconnect—extensive segregation, according to Waylan Owens, dean of the Terry School of Church and Family Ministries at Southwestern Seminary. While Owens agrees that some segregation is useful, he also cautions that dividing all ministries according to age or life situation or preference serves to dishonor parents, dishonor the senior citizens, and dishonor the children and what they can add to the faith experience of adults. 

Speaking to the conference, Owens said, “Many times I go to churches and it seems there is always someone who wants to take my children from me. They take them to Sunday School, then to children’s church. The youth have their own Sunday School, their own worship, and their own Sunday night thing. I have gotten in trouble for wanting to keep my children with me.”

In a breakout session on home-based student ministry, Ken Lasater, Crowell’s colleague at the SBTC whose job title includes student ministry, noted a second disconnect: “Our students are not developing lifelong connections to the church.”

In recent years, research has indicated that between 70-90 percent of churched students leave the church after high school. While LifeWay Research numbers from 2007 indicated a minority of young adults who leave the church eventually return to their faith roots, Lasater said that the most recent statistics indicate that about 90 percent are leaving, not to return.

According to Lasater, their reasons for leaving vary and they seldom go away in anger. Without responsibilities to fulfill at their church or someone expecting them to be there, they stay away, and eventually fade away lacking any deep connection. Lasater said it’s important to note that most of these students are good kids from all socio-economic levels, achieving great things academically, and that their absence is not due to some great rebellion.

“Some have suggested that churches fail to do little more than entertain them, until they are tired of the entertainment. Others suggest that the current church model is entirely wrong, due to not having parents as the singular leadership role for students, and that this has been the sole cause of the falling away of the student population,” Lasater explained.

Another disconnect comes as parents of each successive generation generally become less and less grounded in their beliefs, thus lacking in passion and devotion as well.

Crowell encourages churches to think about how their families would answer these questions: “How equipped do you feel? Do you feel that you can go home and have spiritual conversations? Would your children ask questions that you don’t feel comfortable answering? Parents, are you growing in maturity at home and becoming more like Christ?”

“Muscles that are not used quickly atrophy,” Ross told the TEXAN.

He added, “Parents who depend on the church for the spiritual development of their children tend to atrophy as well. Our churches are packed with parents who are just ‘good ol’ Baptists,’ but are not deeply in love with Christ, do not adore him at the beginning of the day, and who think little about his kingdom purposes as they move through life. That never was God’s plan. When one generation always is focused on spiritually leading the next, both stay more spiritually alive.”  …

Here are a few ways my church is trying to address this issue.

1)  Families worship together.

2)  Children and youth are active participants in the church.  This is not the typical occasional participation in a special service or in a youth group, but every Sunday with the congregation.  Children and youth are encouraged to use their talents by playing hymns or special music.  The young men are encouraged to help with tables and garbage.  The young ladies are encouraged to help with the meal preparation, serving and cleaning.  Sound, projection, website design, bulletins, videoing, etc. can be delegated to the young men.  When they don’t know how to do these things we can be willing to teach them and not worry about perfect services.

3)  The bulletin includes some Baptist Catechism questions and a hymn of the month for families to work thorough with their children at home.  Who knows, parents may learn a thing or two, also, as they help their children.


Is your church losing their youth once they begin to drive or else when they graduate? 

Do the adults stop coming as often once the children are grown?

Do you even notice the trends in your church or denomination?



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Separation in the Church

“We have much the same problem in the Church…Mom goes off to her Women in the church…circle.  Dad heads off to his Promise Keepers meeting.  Princess is at her youth group meeting, while Junior is watching videos of vegetables in children’s church….the truth is we are failing miserably, even when we think we are succeeding.  We’re allowing our families to be torn apart because we are allowing our families to be molded by the wisdom of the world.”

R.C. Sproul, in Bound for Glory

The home in the New Testament was the center of spiritual activity. Even a casual reading of the New Testament reveals that the home was a haven for prayer, healing, Biblical teaching, breaking of bread, hospitality, ministry to the sick, and happy, genuine relationships. In short, it was a place to display the truth, justice, mercy, and goodness of God.

Scott Brown, from the National Center for Family- Integrated Churches

Which describes your home and church life?



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Nursery Use In The Church

Several Months ago I listened to Jeff Noblit’s sermon about why their church encourages nursery use. This is unusual to me when taken in the context of the rest of the sermons that I have listened to of Noblit’s. We also don’t use the nursery personally so I was curious as to why he encouraged nursery use. (We had already been to his church with our children.)

Upon listening to his sermon I had a few specific thoughts.

1) It was based on one verse and didn’t explain other verses that stated the opposite such as:

Deut 31:12-13
12 Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law,
13 and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, A as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess
.” ESV

Ezra 10:1 While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children, gathered to him out of Israel, for the people wept bitterly. ESV

2) I also felt that he had not had much association with homeschooled / well behaved children. The characterizations seemed to be in relation to the typical parent / child interaction that you see in public areas.

3)  When is the “age of understanding” reached?  Sometimes I am amazed at how much children understand what you think would go right over their heads.  So how do you decide who can understand enough?

What are your thoughts after listening to this?

Why We Encourage Using the Nursery Until Your Children Are Able to Listen With Understanding
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 8
Jeff Noblit
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Then I read Voddie Baucham’s post:

Nehemiah’s Nursery: Part 1

If you’ve walked into a church service lately with a baby in your arms, chances are you are well aware of the new anti-child atmosphere that dominates much of the modern American church. There are smiling men and women stationed at every door ready to “guide” you to the nursery where your child “will have a very enjoyable experience” and be cared for by the best childcare staff in the history of the universe.

Rebuff these helpful people and their smiles will soon be replaced with determined glares. Things escalate slowly at first, but eventually the truth comes out. These people are not here to help you and your child; they are here to protect the sanctity of the sanitized worship environment. Their job is to see that you –and people like you—don’t ruin the service for everyone else. They’ve been warned about people like you. You just don’t get it. For millennia Christians have been denied the privilege of enjoying worship the way God intended it (sans children); now we’ve finally arrived, and you want to mess it up by bring in your squawking baby! How selfish, inconsiderate, and unspiritual can you be?

Nehemiah’s Nursery: Part 2

Another major problem with the Nehemiah’s Nursery argument is that it is inconsistent with what we see in other Old Testament passages. For example, Deuteronomy 31 paints quite a different picture than the one suggested by nursery advocates:

Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”” (Deuteronomy 31:12-13 ESV)

Remember, we do not have explicit instructions in Nehemiah 8 regarding the absence of children. This is an assumption read into the text. If children being absent from the worship of God’s people were to be understood as normative, one would expect to see the same pattern during assemblies in Moses’ day.


After listen to Jeff Noblit’s sermon and then reading Voddie Baucham’s post I have to say that my initial thoughts are still the same. I think that the normal Biblical worship, Old and New Testament, included the children.

What do you think?

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