Dads, Are You the Head of a Christian Home? – Part 4

(To read the previous articles in the series, please see this link.) I am amazed at all of the fantastic, fun things there are on this earth for our pleasure. I loved the challenge and sensations of flying small planes. I loved the wind and salt spray in my face as I would tack a small sailboat into the wind. I loved the rush of acceleration and breeze as the motorcycle gained speed on the highway. I loved canoeing down a spring rain-swollen stream with the sound of rushing water in my ears. It has been many years since I enjoyed those activities, because I know how easily my heart is drawn into them. Are any of those things sin? Most would say, “No, of course not! God gave us this world to enjoy.”

Am I saying that these things are bad? No, they are not inherently bad. I know many missionaries rely on small planes for supplies and might use canoes or motorcycles in their travels. However, they are not good if they are getting in the way of something better the Lord has to offer. You see, I know my own heart, how easily it is distracted from my Lord Jesus and what He has called me to do. Fun activities of self-indulgence get in the way of raising godly children and serving our Lord by stealing away the time God would want me to use for His work. So, what is the point of all of this?

As we continue our discussion on God’s blueprint for a Christian home, we see another aspect of God’s earthly home, the temple; it was a place of sacrifice. It was where a vivid picture of our Lord Jesus’ final sacrifice was presented repeatedly before the eyes of those present. I say final because His life was a sacrifice day by day and ended with the greatest sacrifice on the cross. The priests were involved in the bloody, messy work of daily sacrificing in the temple. Have you ever wondered why God chose to make blood red? He could have made it so that it didn’t stain the clothes of those involved in the sacrifice. However, because it was red, everyone knew who was involved in the sacrifice.

I see a wonderful picture for us dads in all of this. The Lord Jesus calls dads of Christian homes to a life of sacrifice. There are so many wonderfully fun things in this world to spend our time, attention, and money on. However, if we do, we can be sure we will create the same passions in the lives of our children. So, instead of raising children with a zeal for the Lord Jesus and serving Him with their whole heart, body, soul, and strength, we will have produced children with a love for the fun and entertaining things of this world. On the other hand, when our desire is to sacrifice our lives for our Lord, we demonstrate the spirit of God’s design for the father of a Christian home, and thereby reproduce children of like mind and heart.

God gives us good gifts so we can give them back to Him. Our family, our time, and our money are all to be laid on the altar for His glory. I desire to lay it all down before my Lord. I truly want God’s best for my life. I know that if I give it back to Him, He will make the best of it. If I give Him my right to recreation and having “time for myself,” I know that He will pour out such blessings as I cannot imagine. I look at the lives of true men of God such as Hudson Taylor and George Mueller. They wanted God’s best and abandoned their own interests. I see them as men filled with joy and a passion for their Lord.

Sadly, I believe that is what makes the distinction between a Christian home and one of the world’s. A worldly home is where the father has his attention on the fun things the world has to offer because he knows he has to “get all the gusto” he can now. The attitude that we can do whatever we want as long as we don’t “cross the line of sin” is wrong. The father of a Christian home is working here now, with the anticipation of eternity with his Lord.

Jesus did and said only what His Father told Him to. “. . . The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). As we read about Jesus’ life, we see no mention of His having His own time for fun. His was a life of sacrifice!

I’m humbled when I look at my Lord’s life and feel that I’m still holding on to so much of my own pleasures. I pray God would continue to work in my life as He reveals the joy of sacrifice. May we dads never settle for anything less than God’s best.

A New School Year– Introducing the Maxwell Family

Another school year is about to begin! The August Mom’s Corner is the time I traditionally take to introduce my family to those of you who are new to our mailing list since last year at this time.

The Maxwell Family consists of Dad (Steve), Mom (Teri), Nathan (22), Christopher (20), Sarah (17), Joseph (10), John (8), Anna (6), Jesse (4), and Mary (2). We are beginning our fifteenth year of homeschooling, with two of our children already having graduated from our “non-accredited private school,” Flowing Streams Christian School.

The Lord, two years ago, fulfilled a vision Steve has had for a long time. Steve is now working full time with Christopher in our fledgling family business, Communications Concepts, Inc. They are distributors for printed materials (letterhead, business cards, forms, etc.) and specialty items, write software manuals, and offer one-on-one software training. Nathan is doing contract computer network administration for Western Auto’s corporate headquarters in Kansas City.

Sarah is in the twelfth grade, Joseph in fifth, John in third, Anna in first, and Jesse and Mary in our home preschool. We use Bob Jones University Press for high school curriculum, and ABEKA/Rod and Staff for elementary. Each year brings challenges and excitement to our home and school.

God has given us a vision for our children regarding their preparation to be self-supporting in life. We see the importance, even as young adults, of their remaining in our home where they have the counsel and guidance of their parents until they are ready for marriage. While they are living at home, working, studying, and maturing, they are saving a large portion of their earnings with the hope of being able to purchase a home debt free. We are also greatly enjoying the pleasure of having these years to enjoy our adult children as we spend our evenings and weekends together. We are constantly, as a family, seeking God’s direction as they pursue a course for their future that is very non-traditional.

Ministry-wise, the children, from Anna on up, help Steve with a twice-monthly church service at the Leavenworth County Infirmary (nursing home). In addition, Steve, Christopher, Joseph, and John team up with Nathan, who has recently taken on a monthly Saturday service at the City Union Mission in downtown Kansas City. Nathan also volunteers there one night a week, leads a young men’s early morning Bible study, attends our pastor’s preaching class, and is head usher at our church. Christopher plans and coordinates the children’s programs for our homeschool support group meetings, is the Sunday night pianist at our church, and attends Nathan’s Bible study and the preaching class. Sarah helps Christopher with the children’s programs for the group, edits the homeschool newsletter, and helps greatly with the workload that Managers of Their Homes has generated (including keeping up the Dad’s and Mom’s Corners e-mail list).

For many years our family had a heart’s desire to be near our extended family. In 1990 God opened doors allowing us to move to Leavenworth, Kansas, where we purchased the house next door to my parents the following year. We have loved the relationships that we have been able to watch grow, develop, and change between the various members of the family: parents, daughter, son-in-law, grandparents, and grandchildren.

1999/2000 will be the tenth year Steve, with the help of the children and me, have been leading our local homeschool support group.

We know that many of you have felt God’s leading to homeschool your children. Most of you would tell me you feel inadequate for the task. May we encourage each other in the thought that in our own strength we are inadequate. But whom God calls He also enables. His strength is made perfect in weakness. He wants our hearts to be turned toward Him. He wants us to be truly humble. Then He can work with us and mold us as the vessels of clay we are.

Our children will learn academics this year. We will too. But, in the face of eternity, more important education will be taking place. Rough edges will rub against each other. Can I patiently instruct and train as needed? Can I admit my shortcomings to my children and seek their forgiveness? Am I willing to be consistent in working with them? Will I give and give and give of myself? It is my desire that I will. Is it your desire? Is it the constant prayer of your heart?

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