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What Kind of World Will Your Child Grow Up In?

What Kind of World Will Your Child Grow Up In?

Luke 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.  41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.  42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.  43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.  44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.   45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.   46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.   47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.   48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.   49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?  50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.  51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.  52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

All of us who are observers of the passing scene get more nervous each day.  I’m sure you have remarked at one time or another that you are afraid of the world into which parents are bringing their children.   It is said that we are saddling our children with a $50 trillion debt!  And that’s a conservative estimate.  Our government now owes more money than all of us in the country put together possess. We now owe nearly $57 trillion while our net worth is $56.5 trillion.

We are worried about the steady dismantling of standards of decency and morality in our society.   This culture that shows such profound disrespect for life and liberty cannot hold much good for future generations.


The world Jesus grew up in.

This is the only glimpse we have into the childhood of Jesus.  Doctor Luke gives it to us, probably after talking with Mary, the mother of Jesus.  In my imagination, I can hear Luke asking Mary about some outstanding event when Jesus was growing up. 

“Well,” she said, “I’ll never forget the scare he gave us when he was about twelve years old!” She then proceeds to tell this story.  The “three days” mentioned refers to one day traveling back home, one day returning to Jerusalem, and finding Jesus in the temple the third day.

There is great significance to where they eventually found Jesus and what he was doing, but my focus today is part of the story where Jesus was missing.  It seems strange to us that he was gone for three days and there is no mention of reporting him to the authorities.  We are not told that Mary and Joseph were panicked.  Before we judge them too harshly, this incident tells us much about the age in which Jesus was raised.

Society’s values were different.  Throughout Israel, families were not just respected, the family unit was stronger than any government agency.  People were honored.  Children were considered a heritage of the Lord.  Divorce was rare, crime was low and people had self-control. 

The kind of world that I grew up in.

Left home in the morning, played all day, came home for supper.  Went back out after supper, played some more, came home at dark.  Played baseball, football, basketball in neighborhoods three or four blocks away. 

Many days, rode bike two to five miles away.  No helmut, no knee pads, no elbow pads.   Ate in other people’s houses w/o my parents knowing it.  Didn’t have an expensive navigator, waterproof watch.  Didn’t have cell phones to keep track of each other.  Our communication was mom or dad standing out on the back porch shouting my name. 

No one ever thought anything about it.  If I didn’t behave, there was something called a switch.  Young people think a switch is the little lever you flip to turn the lights on or off. 

It was a simpler time.  There was little danger for children in middle America.  People looked out for each other.  It was a time when you could bite into this thing called freedom and let the juices run out of the corners of your mouth.  We didn’t know how good we had it.

Today’s world

Fast forward to 2009.  We live in a much different day.  Drugs, abuse, crime, perversion and other evils have so wrecked our society that we wouldn’t dare allow the kind of free activity for our children that was once so common.  Here are a few terms that have become familiar to us:


            Amber Alert

The AMBER Alert System is an early warning program designed to help quickly locate abducted children in local communities. It works like this: following an abduction, law enforcement notifies broadcasters and transportation officials, who interrupt transmissions to get the word out. AMBER stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response and was created in Texas as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped and killed in 1996. Today, all 50 states have AMBER plans. For details, see the federal government’s AMBER Alert website.  In some communities, the new digital billboards are flashing Amber Alerts as well.

            Missing children

The U.S. Department of Justice reports 797,500 children (younger than 18) were reported missing in a one-year period of time studied resulting in an average of 2,185 children being reported missing each day.

203,900 children were the victims of family abductions.

58,200 children were the victims of non-family abductions.

115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. (These crimes involve someone the child does not know or someone of slight acquaintance, who holds the child overnight, transports the child 50 miles or more, kills the child, demands ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently.)

Online predators:

A new CCRC study finds dramatic growth nationwide in arrests of online predators who solicited law enforcement investigators posing online as juveniles, the numbers nearly quintupling from 644 in 2000 to 3,100 in 2006.

During the same period, arrests of individuals for soliciting juveniles themselves grew 21%,  from an estimated 508 arrests in 2000 to an estimated 615 in 2006.  Arrests of online predators in 2006 constituted about 1 percent of all arrests for sex crimes committed against children and youth.

            Megan’s Law (Reporting of Sex Offenders)

Alicia’s Law (Increased power to track down and punish online predators)

            Child Online Protection Act (Pending)

Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act

Keeping Children and Families Safe Act

None of these laws were on the books when I was a child.  When society  breaks down on the outside it’s because society has broken down on the inside!  We heading toward a world in which we will be afraid to go to the store, go to the bank or put our children on the school bus!

It’s not likely to get much better.  Paul wrote to Timothy about these times: 

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

This is  convenient time for me to remind you that Jesus is coming soon.  I have never been so focused on the world scene as I have been in the last few months.  There is something different today about the political climate, the international turmoil and the radical nature of conflict between persons and nations.  Jesus warned us about these times.

Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

You cannot control the world around you.  Here’s what you can do:

  • ·        

John Schmidt in his series “The Parenting Challenge” says:  “The first responsibility in parenting is to model what it means to have a God-centered life; to model it even before we speak it. This is a reality check. You know, no amount of talking, no amount of bringing people to church, no amount of paying high tuition to send your kids to good school is going to make up for the fact that you don’t model what it means to be a Christian family. Now, we can look at some obvious things, you know the parents who drive up to church and drop their kids off to go to Sunday school and to church and then they go over to Starbucks. They are modeling something. They are modeling the fact that church and religious things are for kids and when they grow up this is what they will be doing. Now, I can’t preach to those people because they are at Starbucks right now.”

  • ·        

Do you have a children’s bible in your house?  If not, get one.  They cost about third less than a Cedar Point ticket and two/thirds less than a pair of toddlers Nike Little Cortez sneakers.

They cost much less than an 52” HDTV, and X-Box 360, A Wii, a Playstation 3, or a GameCube.  They cost much less than an iPhone or and iPod. 

  • ·        

I thank God for the children we have been baptizing lately and those who have received the Holy Ghost.  But it is the parents who make it possible.  You are the ones who can make it easier or harder for your children. 

Let me say this at the expense of upsetting some people.  If you brought a child into this world, you must shoulder the main responsibility for raising him or her.  In my opinion, your own childhood is over when you have a child.  Some parents say, “Well my life isn’t over just because I have a baby.”  No, but it is different.  You are not the most important person to consider in this new life.  You are not on the top of the priority list. 

When you make sure your child is cared for—not just physically with food, clothing and shelter—but also spiritually, you will reap benefits later on in your life that can come no other way. 

Of the woman whose price is far above rubies in Proverbs 31 the bible says: “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.  28  Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also , and he praiseth her.”  The rising of her children are a direct result of the way she raised them!

  • ·        

The prayer of dedication is not just for your child.  You must also dedicate yourselves to be the godly kind of parent that your role and responsibility calls for.  Your child will have many instructors, but only one mother and one father.  This is a sacred moment. 

(Prayer of dedication)


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