I'm an admitted techie-nerdy kind of guy. For the last three years I have wanted to purchase an iPhone but have held off. At the beginning it was because we have a contract with Verizon and Rita gets a significant discount on our Verizon service through her work. In February when the iPhone 4 became available on Verizon for the first time, I foolishly (or maybe not so foolishly) made myself a weight-loss goal that I said I wanted to meet before I got the phone.
As the fall approached and the pounds didn't go away, I shifted my tune just a bit. I decided that whether or not I hit my weight loss goal, I would take the iPhone plunge for my birthday. So when the phone became available just a couple days after my birthday, I decided that I would make the jump from my old, faithful Blackberry to the glitzy new iPhone. This now completes my transition to the all-Mac world with my technology – an iMac desktop at home, a Macbook for my work laptop, and now the iPhone 4s which is really slick and which has already made good on its promise of a personal assistant named Siri to help me remember things I might normally forget. I don't know if a phone can actually help me be more organized, but I definitely FEEL more organized, and that's half the battle, right?
On a more serious and substantive note…at New Life this weekend we kicked off what will be a four week series for us that we are calling "The Orange Family". The title comes from a book I read a couple years ago called Think Orange, by Reggie Joiner. The premise of the book is that churches and families should partner together to maximize their impact on the children they are hoping to lead into a growing relationship with God. Take the light of the church (yellow) and combine it with the love of the home (red) and you have a perfect recipe for great impact on those children who benefit from it.
In this week's message I really tried to lay the groundwork of the series. The church can't replace parents, and parents shouldn't want us to replace them either. As both a parent and a pastor I know that my greatest impact is on the children who live in my home, not the people who sit in my church every Sunday. The same can and should be true for every other parent. You are the person best equipped to lead your children into a growing relationship with Jesus. You are the person best equipped to model a growing relationship with God in front of them that is so compelling, so invigorating that they can't help but think: "That's what I want for my life!"
The church then comes alongside you in that work and begins to supplement what you are doing at home. We do that by creating the right environment where your children can hear about what it means to have a vibrant relationship with God, and where you as an adult can do the same. We're convinced that the best thing we can do for your children is not just put on a great Kid's Church lesson, but that if we can create the environment where Jesus can get your attention and change your life that you will want nothing more than to pass that down to your own kids.
I'm really looking forward to the rest of this series as we explore what shape this partnership between church and family should take. Next week's message is going to be on leading them to love the church, and I promise that if you've ever wondered about the value of the church in the life of your family, this is the message that you want to hear!