The Glory of Parenting

I’m not a parenting expert. No pastor or parent is. We are all still learning. But I am passionate about helping moms and dads figure out some of the difficult and glorious truths about parenting. Let’s just get this out in the open… parenting is difficult, but it is also glorious. Psalm 127:3-5 gives us a glimpse of the glory.

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court.

I want to focus in on one phrase from this passage. The psalmist writes that children are “from the Lord.” The Bible’s view of kids isn’t that they are like aliens invading your home. They are gifts from beyond us.

In 2004, my wife Cheryl and I went to our first ultrasound, and we found out we were having twins! Back then, the first ultrasound was at twenty weeks’ gestation. Our twins were born at twenty-five and a half weeks. Cheryl and I had just enough time to wrap our heads around the idea of twins and then they were here. We were both freaked out by the enormity of what being a parent meant. We saw it right away. Parenting is beyond us. We desperately need God’s help, and that means that we must be growing as his disciples daily.

One of the glories of parenting is that when we first start out, we have no idea what we are doing. When we admit this, we can look to God and others for help and encouragement—even with something personal like raising our kids. As we let others in, we get to see the gloriousness of what God is doing in them and through them. He’ll show his glory in our desperation and dependence.

Over the next several weeks, I’m going to be posting a series on the glory and responsibilities of parenting. Stay tuned and learn with me.

The Spirit-Filled Life on Mondays

Editor's Note: Jeremy Linneman is one of the best story tellers that I know. While serving as Pastor of Community Life at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, KY back in 2014, Jeremy preached a sermon entitled "Spirit-Filled Parenting." We've posted portions of that sermon here. Don't miss out on each section of this important message. In this second installment Jeremy tells the story of his spiritual upbringing and teaches us about how the Holy Spirit fills us for the mundane moments of life.

The Spirit-Filled Life on Mondays

At Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, we’ve spent the past few months teaching through the great book of Ephesians. In chapter five, Paul writes, “Do not be foolish… Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (5:17-18). So what does it look like to be filled with the Spirit?

Growing up, my family was part of a large, well-known church in Kansas City, MO—one of the leading charismatic mega churches of the 80’s and 90’s. An offshoot of the so-called “Kansas City Prophets,” these folks were the Midwest Campus of the 1960’s Jesus Movement.

It really was a great place to grow up: there was an incredible emphasis on worship and prayer for which I’m still deeply thankful. But there were also some… oddities. Often, worship songs would stretch out for 40+ minutes because the Spirit was a-blowin’. But because the next service had to start soon, they’d do a 3-minute sermon. (I’m not sure if the worship guy and preacher got along). Every message was about the end times and the return of Christ to get people really energetic and committed.

In fact, I remember one Easter—the church would do a lot of dramas, especially on big Sundays—a man in a long white robe and Birkenstocks came and sat next to me. He had long brown hair, a well-groomed beard, and dazzling blue eyes, and he just nodded at me as he took the empty chair. Jesus Christ!, I thought to myself. I leaned over to my little sister, “Do you see him too?”

You see, everything was directed at the emotional life. There was this subtle message: “The Spiritual life is about the Sunday experience.” I’m all for the Sunday experience and true, expressive worship of God with our emotions. But here’s the point I want to make: If we’re completely filled with the Holy Spirit, he will transform every aspect of our life, especially the most routine and mundane moments.

Have you ever noticed what Paul teaches on after exhorting the Ephesians to “be filled with the Spirit”? The apostle goes on for two chapters—not on expressive worship and prayer—on church membership, marriage, parenting and work (5:19-6:9). It’s a not-so-subtle way of reminding Christians for all ages that the test of your Christian life doesn’t come on Sunday, it comes on Monday—in the routine and mundane moments of life.

For Paul, a religion has no power on Sunday if it has no power on Monday. And Christian doctrine does us no good if it leaves parenting unaffected. 

If you're enjoying Jeremy's essay, leave him a comment below, and check out his personal website, The Fidelity Essayswhere he writes on leadership, spiritual formation, and sports.