Whenever do I cry during a flight? When I am reading a book by Steve Wright - ok, this book by Steve Wright.
Over the last 2 1/2 years I've gotten to know Steve and his wife, Tina, who minister at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He came and taught one of my youth ministry classes during my time at Seminary, but I'd never gotten to know him and his family and ministry.
This book is good on its own. My boss has it on his reading list for his class at Southern. Another one of our profs uses it as well.
But, this book gets better when you know the person who wrote it. When you know they live out the joys, sorrows, prayers, worship, ministry, heart of this book. That is what makes it so good. So, yes...I cried, laughed (aloud on a flight), prayed, longed for, remembered times that I didn't have growing up. So, must read? Yes. Right up there with Instructing a Child's Heart.
Here are some of my fave quotes - hopefully I'll get the opportunity to use them one day. (I think this book actually made me want to be a parent...)
"You have an apparent privilege, the most exciting of you life, right in front of you - to be a touch of grace on your children's souls." (17)
"If the cross of Christ is the center of history, then it must also be the center of our lives as well as the center of our communication with our children." (29)
"We must continually show our children what it means to be a biblical woman and a biblical man." (40)
'God gave parents the primary discipleship role." (54) - Did I mention this guy is a youth minister at a church? He is not thinking he is going to lose his job with this statement.
"We must take hold of the privilege to share a theology of family with our children. They need to hear from us first because they are already hearing from so many others." (59)
"Biblical parenting is more than keeping our kids from having sex, using drugs, or going to jail. It is fostering an awe of God in our children." (62)
"Yes, we are recipients of the limitless blessings of marriage, but marriage isn't primarily about us. Christian marriages point to God and therefore must be protected and valued." (66)
"We must understand a healthy marriage is the foundation of healthy parenting that enables God's glory to be seen by our children and others." (68)
"Your parenting affects more than your child's here and now. It affects generations to come and their eternity." (94) My boss spoke on this topic at Wright's conference, ReThink 2009. I remember him saying that we don't parent and do ministry just for our children, but for our children's children, and their children, and their children. Think future. Think eternity.
This next statement came just for me: it was very clear that this paragraph was written just for me: "The responsibility to teach our children the incredible truths of God may seem overwhelming, but the Bride of Christ is there to help. She will teach you how to teach. She will train you how to train. You cannot do it alone." (109) This was one of the cry points in this book for me.
Steve does a great job of pulling together many statistics from youth ministry, Scriptural support for all of his points. He does the research for you (as well as in his other book, ReThink).
So, here is a good ending point. Go buy this book. If you are a parent, go get it. If you know someone having a baby - get it for them. Buy the youth pastor at your church this book. Tell him to read it. Just read it. Then live it and practice it. By God's grace and for His glory. For eternity.