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Weekend Finds: "Bait and Switching" Jesus

HT: The Pastor's Study

My secretary told me something that astounded me today...they actually make ice cream treats for dogs.  Little 'Rascal' had to take some medicine, so she bought ice cream treats--made especially for dogs--and she put Rascal's medicine into the ice cream and (wouldn't you know) he ate it all up.

Parents do that to their children, too.  Put the medicine in some applesauce...or yogurt...it's the old "bait and switch" trick.  Get the child to think they're getting something yummy (bait) and give them the nasty old medicine in the process (switch).  But when the kids get older, you can't pull that one past them.  We know that as parents when it comes to giving our kids medicine.  And yet, we still try the same old trick in different ways.

Take Vacation Bible School curriculum for example.  Whether it's panda bears, nature walks, rocket ships, or pirate adventures, we "bait" our kids with one thing and then pull the old "switch" on them.  Ah!  Now it's about pandas AND Jesus! 

But kids get wise to that trick...and yet we still try to pull it off on them.  We throw everything at them: pizza parties, rock concerts, movie nights, amusement park trips, paintball, lock-ins, camping trips, sledding, skiing, snow tubing, fishing, football, softball, basketball, badminton, jai alai (okay, no one's tried that).  And maybe--just MAYBE--in the middle of all of that we can sneak in some Jesus.

Last summer, USA Today had an article about the decline of youth groups across our country.  I don't know how reliable USA Today's polling is, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear that the numbers are fairly accurate.  We adults often forget that kids are smarter than we give them credit for.  You can't feed a 14-year old Tylenol in a spoonful of ice cream.  Why do you think would you be able to get away with feeding them a bit of Jesus in a heaping plate of laser tag?  In the Facebook world of today, young people don't need the Church to be their social network.  They've found that somewhere else.  

This Sunday, those churches using the three-year lectionary will hear the Parable of the Sower from Matthew 13, as well as the Old Testament Reading from Isaiah 55.  The theme that runs through our propers this week is the power of God's Word to produce fruit in the life of God's people.  Moms and dads, do you want your children to value the Word of God?  Let them see that you value the Word of God.  Repent of all the rocks and thorns that you have allowed to get in the way in your own life.  Then go eat the body of Christ and drink his blood.  Do that often.  Go to Bible study.  Hear the Gospel.  Hear of Christ and his work for you.  Let that Word dwell in your own life richly and watch what happens.  The Word produces fruit.  God promises it will.

By all means, play sports with your kids...take them to movies...have fun with them.  But let nothing--and I mean nothing--ever come across as being more important in your child's life than the Word of God...than the gifts of God in Jesus Christ that the Word reveals.  There will be fruit.  God says so.  If you think you need something more, that's not treasuring the Word of Christ.  That's called unbelief.  That's failure to believe that the Word of God will do what it says.  On the contrary, God is faithful--he will work through his Word.  He's done so since the very beginning...when he first spoke the Gospel to Adam and Eve...that the seed of the woman would crush the serpent's head.  He kept that promise, and he will keep this one as well.

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