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LAUNCHING YOUR KIDS FOR LIFE
By BOB RECCORD CHERYL RECCORD
W Publishing GroupCopyright © 2007 Bob and Cheryl Reccord
All right reserved.
Imagine this: suddenly, you're not a reader of this book, but someone who's been affected by a reader of this book. In other words, you've met someone who bought this book-someone who got specific ideas for how to instill the value of living an on mission lifestyle into his or her kids. Here's what that experience might be like ...
Since we're reinventing you anyway, let's say you don't follow Christ, but you're good friends with a family named the Pucketts. Maybe you live in their neighborhood, play a sport with a member of the family, or do business with Steve's firm. Maybe you know Beth from a club or one of their kids from Scouts or Little League.
You know they "go to church"-whatever that means-so when they invite you to one of their kids' baptisms, followed by lunch on their deck, you figure, Why not go? It would be rude not to; the Pucketts know your Sunday mornings are pretty much wide open. Besides, it would be a great way to meet some new people. The Pucketts are nice; their friends might be nice too.
So you show up. You have a general idea what church is about-baby in a manger, man on a cross-but you're not sure what a "baptism" is or why it's such a big deal. So you take a seat and wait for the show to begin.
Funny thing, a show really does begin-pretty impressive production too. Wow, when did they start putting all this video equipment in churches, anyway? Up on a huge screen appears the Pucketts' son Mitchell. He's talking into the camera. It's like a documentary with bits of home movies spliced in. Some baby shots. There's Steve when his hair was a little less gray. Beth looking fit as always, though younger. Hmmm. Now Mitchell is older. Doing family stuff, school stuff, this and that. Now the scenes shift a bit, and you see some church activity. Seems as if church is more than Christmas and Easter for the Pucketts. Well, you knew as much. Then the camera goes back to Mitchell today. He looks just as you know him, yet he seems different somehow-more serious. As if what he's saying is more important than telling about his science project. It's coming from his gut. He's really into it.
He's talking about "knowing Christ," "making a commitment," "trusting the Lord." This makes you vaguely uncomfortable, yet you're intrigued ... glued to the image, in fact, of this boy you've known, growing up in this family you've known, talking with such maturity about his faith!
Finally, they dunk him. You knew that was coming too, although you weren't sure just how they would accomplish it, this "baptism."
Suddenly, a mood that was quiet is joyous. You feel swept up by that happiness too. You know the boy has done something important, and you know the parents are proud and thrilled.
You go to the luncheon and chat up the friends. Nice baptism, nice church, yadda, yadda. "Wasn't his testimony wonderful?" someone asks you. Testimony? You're not sure how to respond. Oh, that video ... sure, it was great, just great. You smile inwardly, imagining your friends' kid on a witness stand giving a testimony in a court of law. But come to think of it, that's not too far off, based on what the boy said about what he knows ...
Suddenly the party changes. Beth shows up with some balloons, really colorful ones. She's making it into a game. "Who knows what the colors mean?" she asks. Hmmm. They're primary colors, some of them. Okay, I get it: Jesus is Mitchell's primary man! You start to make that guess when you realize how foolish it will sound if you're wrong. Besides, it's more of a kids' game. In fact, kids are giving answers, and Beth is nodding her head. Now Steve is beside her, getting into the act. This colored balloon thing is turning out to be a big deal too.
This Puckett family is incredible. They're talking about some very heavy stuff by using these colored balloons: God, man, sin, separation from God, Christ as a bridge. Wow! You're not sure you understand it all, but you're getting their drift. And you're getting another message-loud and clear. This Puckett family talks about God out loud. They talk about God as if He's a party guest, as if He's someone they know. And the kids talk about God like that, not just Beth and Steve. Oh, sure, they're kids, so they cut up a bit. But they talk about God and about talking to God ... well, like talking to me!
Okay, Back to Reality, Reader
You're you, not this mythical guest at the Puckett family baptism and luncheon. But for a few paragraphs, you could almost relate to him or her, couldn't you? That's because the Pucketts, a real family we know and love, not only serve the Lord by telling others about Him but teach their kids to live their faith out loud too. They have made living an on mission lifestyle a priority teaching in their home.
In practice, what does this mean? It means they have intentionally and deliberately taught their kids to put God first and to demonstrate to others that this is how they live. They live to honor God, because He sent His Son to die for their sins. And, yes, they find ways to weave this into their day-to-day lives.
For example, Steve and Beth really did make a video for each child's baptism. That's well and good. It's a keepsake, and it helps to mark a rite of passage that all Christian parents hope their kids achieve. But how did they also make the experience specifically on mission? How did they model the behavior they hope their kids adopt when they grow up, settle down, and start families of their own?
They invited nonbelieving friends to the event. And then they punched it up a notch with the balloons. So instead of just colorful decorations, the balloons gave them an opportunity to explain the gospel using colors (black for sin, red for blood, etc.). In other words, when the Pucketts planned the event, they added some details to the checklist. In addition to where their guests would park and what food they would serve, the Pucketts thought, What can we use to tell the gospel that fits in with a party atmosphere? And what people do we need to make sure are there so they can hear it?
Voilà! Enter stage left our fictitious guest-or maybe not so fictitious after all, since the Pucketts make it a point to spend time with nonbelievers. And that's part of being on mission too. In fact, it's an essential part if you're going to reach people for Christ and teach your children to do the same.
Is that what you want to do? To have a family life so in tune with God that non-Christian friends and family can sense it, can experience it, can grow toward a relationship with Christ from it-without thinking you're loony? To raise children so comfortable with their faith they can articulate it to grumpy Uncle Harry, to your clueless friend from the office who comes over for coffee, or to the messed-up teenager next door? To launch kids who, after discovering God's missions for their lives, soar off confidently with wings of their own?
These are worthy goals for a parent. But to accomplish them, we believe you must make a special effort. Not necessarily a difficult effort, but an effort that you consider, plan, and put into action. And that's why we wrote this book: to give you specific ideas, such as the Pucketts' baptism party and one family's motto, "Go mad!" To give you a tool our family uses called life defining milestones to celebrate an important moment and make it even more meaningful with a plaque you personalize for your family (we'll share more about that later). To give you a biblical basis for your role and responsibility as a mom or dad. And to encourage you with advice from parents who have been in the trenches and pass along their wisdom with incredible candor.
For this journey, all you need is a willingness to get out of your safe, familiar bubble, to take a risk, a very big risk, leaving your comfort zone ... maybe even the stratosphere!
Excerpted from LAUNCHING YOUR KIDS FOR LIFE by BOB RECCORD CHERYL RECCORD Copyright © 2007 by Bob and Cheryl Reccord. Excerpted by permission.
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