Healthy Homes play a vital role in producing spiritually healthy hearts. We could define Healthy Homes in many different ways. For this Mothers Day sermon I chose to encourage spiritual conversation within the home. Do your conversations bring God’s presence into the consciousness of others?
I’m going to break this week’s discussion into two posts. Today I ‘ll talk about unstructured conversations, and tomorrow I’ll delve into formal Biblical instruction in the home.
I am a big proponent of “spiritual conversations”. My church upbringing occurred in a very logical environment. Emotions and feelings were typically criticised as “pentecostal” and had little/no place in discussion of Scripture. I never heard questions like, “How is your relationship with God?” or statements like “This morning’s worship service was inspirational.” Too much risk that one might be crossing over to the dark [hand-raising] side.
Then one day my world was turned upside down by a simple question. I was probably about 13 and on a family holiday to visit my parents old friends. Mr Hogden was an unusual bloke. He ran his own sawmill for years until the suburbs surrounded it and then he retired. He’d not seen me since I was a toddler. That didn’t prevent him catching me alone at one point in our visit and asking, “Are you a Christian?” Of course, I gave him the textbook answer, “Yes, I was baptised a couple of years ago.” To which he responded with the question, “Great, but are you a Christian?”
“Great, but are you a Christian?”
WOW!! My mind was blown.
Mr Hogden could have warmed up to this 13 year old by asking about my favorite subject at school. He could have tried to find common ground by discussing sports. He could have shown interest in me as a person by asking about my home town and personal interests. Instead, he challenged the commitment I’d made to follow Jesus. My head exploded. I’ve never been able to get that question out of my head.
I wonder how many opportunities I’ve missed since then to bring God’s presence into people’s lives because I choose to talk about the weather, sports or even church life.
In a passage of the Hebrew Scriptures known to the Jews as the Shema (Hebrew for “hear”) God has just gone through the formal process of giving the Israelite nation his laws: The Ten Commandments, and [what Jesus called] The Greatest Command. He next instructs the Israelites how to make this covenant part of their DNA,
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
How can we pass on our faith to our children? Talk about it. Talk about what God means to you. Talk about what God wants for them. Discuss God’s presence in the world. Describe God’s likes and dislikes. Inspire them to make representing God one of their life priorities. Talk about Jesus when you sit at home. Talk about the Holy Spirit as you walk along the road. Talk about God at bedtime and over breakfast. Make God a natural part of their world.
The book of Proverbs provides a great demonstration of spiritual conversation. Sure, it contains sections of formal instruction. Proverbs also refers frequently to natural phenomena to reinforce godly wisdom. In chapter 30 a guy named Agur points to small animals that demonstrate wisdom (v24-28). He makes the point not to let size, or strength or the perceptions of others limit your accomplishments. He’s able to teach as he walks along the road because he observes his environment and seeks lessons that will benefit others.
I’ll close with a simple example of my own. I love the wind. I grew up on the coast and there’s always a breeze. I almost went crazy when I first moved from Australia to Memphis waiting for the wind to blow. So many days it’s just completely still. Interestingly, in the Greek and Hebrew languages the word for wind is the same as that for breath which is the same as that for spirit and Spirit. So often as I feel the wind blowing I like to think of the Spirit of God surrounding me, rustling my hair, pulling at my clothes. I breathe that Spirit into me and so God’s presence surrounds me and indwells me. I know tornadoes and hurricanes take the fuzzy edge off this imagery, but really they just open up another conversation: A Spiritual Conversation.
I also try to demonstrate a similar process starting with sports news and events over on this blog: www.GodMeetsBall.com.
I know these are broad questions, but that just gives you more scope to leave a comment. I value your contributions to this conversation.
- Have you ever been on the receiving end of spiritual “teachable moment”?
- What in nature, or in your daily walk inspires you to think on things of God?
- How do you pass on your faith to your children?