Thursday, 1 May 2014

You Want to Change the World? Start By Cleaning Your Room! (And Other Lessons from Kevin Swanson)

If you're not familiar with Kevin Swanson of Generations With Vision Radio - you should correct that right now! :)   He is one of the most dynamic speakers I know (it's almost an athletic activity for him) and he is spreading a counter-cultural, biblical vision for the family that we so need here in North America.  He has an annual Family Economics Conference in the US, but we were blessed to attend a mini-conference up here in Canada recently.  I wanted to share some of the encouragement we received there with you!

(photo credit)
  1. To begin, the statistics are depressing: 3/10 parents consider the salvation of their children an important parental emphasis, 1/20 have ever tried family worship - and we wonder why young people are leaving the church in droves.  I know - family worship can be intimidating and even seem weird if you've never done it or weren't raised that way, but there are lots of great resources out there - and really all you have to do is open up the Bible, read a bit as a family and then talk about it!
  2. We need to look for "islands of freedom".  In 1 Corinthians 7:21, Paul tells slaves that if they can be free, they should be.  These days the American and Canadian governments are encroaching more and more on the freedoms of their citizens, and we would do well to seek out areas where we have more freedom.  Homeschooling is one of these. Christian Medical Sharing is another (especially relevant to those in the USA).  Having a family, home based business can be one.  The internet (obviously this is used for bad, but it can also be used for good - like Kevin's radio show, Matt Walsh's blog, the Drudge Report - and many others who are working to speak truth).

  3. We aren't going to fix our culture in this generation.  And we probably won't do it in the next either.  We stand on the shoulders of our parents and we need to pass on our vision to our children.  Kevin used the analogy of being in a spacecraft which isn't going to get to it's destination in your lifetime - so you need to make sure your children know what they are trying to get to and how to get there - and THEY need to be ready to pass that on to their children.

  4. One way our governments are destroying families is through major taxation on inheritance and property.  It makes it almost impossible for parents to leave a good inheritance for their children, let alone their grandchildren! (Proverbs 13:22).  An island of freedom in this circumstance is the opportunity to pass on your "inheritance" to your children before you die as gifts - which are not taxed up to a certain amount.  This is what Kevin Swanson is doing with his children.

  5. If you are given the opportunity to disciple three people for 100,000 hours OR speak to a stadium full of 100,000 people for 3 hours - what would you choose?  If you understand how Jesus modeled his ministry - it would be the former.  Training up your children to fear the Lord and giving them a vision for godly family life, government, culture, etc - will not be glamorous and you probably wont get much praise from men.  Instead you will be teaching the same thing over and over and over for years and years - but that is the model of discipleship and that is what Jesus did.  It isn't the elections which are going to change the course of our nations - but hundreds of thousands of dads and moms making millions of choices about how they spend their time with their children.  You want to change the world? Go clean your room!  (That is - start in your own home! Start in your own heart!)

  6. When everything collapses (our culture, our economy, our governments) we need to be like Job, who said "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord".  We won't despair because our hope wasn't in money or material things, it is in the Lord.  And we know that everything we need to know to build a godly culture can be found in the Bible (Kevin spoke specifically of the book of Proverbs).

  7. You'll often hear parents saying that they want their daughters to grow up to be independent.  Maybe that's why they are sending them off to University, or encouraging them to travel alone, or don't want them to be in any hurry to marry.  However, what is it you want them to learn to be independent of? And does the Bible teach that independence a virtue?  The only place the word "independent" is used in the Bible  is 1 Corinthians 11:11 "Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman".  Ironic, isn't it?  Throughout scripture a woman is either under the authority of her father or her husband (with the exception of widows, who are encouraged to marry again if they are younger).  Nowadays most parents are happy to have their daughters dependent on the state - and those same parents sure don't want their daughters depending on their parents for too long!

  8.  If you had to choose to send your children to public school or popular media - you'd be better off sending them to public school.  If your children are more influenced by movies, music, and celebrities (even Christian pop culture), than they are by their parents (and last week's sermon) you should be concerned.  Homeschooling is not a guarantee that you will have their hearts - you need to invest both quality time AND quantity time in them.

  9. You don't need to know when your children "became Christians".  Your job is to be a faithful farmer: plant the seed, water the seed, water the seed, water the seed....  Regeneration is what happens under the soil by the Holy Spirit.  Knowing they once "prayed the prayer and asked Jesus into their heart" is in no way a scriptural assurance of salvation.

  10. The very essence of education (as defined by the book of Proverbs) is faith and character - these should be our emphasis throughout all our children's education.  All teaching should have three parts: 1. knowledge (book learning) 2. life application 3. worship (fear of god, confession of sin, accountability).

  11. In a survey of 722 very successful American men - they ranked the characteristics which most contributed to their success thus: 1. tell the truth 2. hard work 3. self discipline 4. getting along with others   5. supportive spouse All of these can be found as virtues in the book of Proverbs.  (academics was like #26)
So there ya have it - I hope there was something there to encourage or inspire you to a greater vision of godliness for your family!  Remember, don't take our word for it (or Kevin Swanson's for that matter), instead search out the Bible for your own answers!

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