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Segregate or Assimilate

By Domenico Danesi

Segregate - to separate or set apart from others or from the general mass (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary)

Assimilate - to absorb into the culture or mores of a population or group (Merriam-Webster’s dictionary)

Have you seen the new slide in the sanctuary? “Children of all ages are welcome in the sanctuary.” Praise God, this means there is no more “kid patrol” near the sanctuary. Family worship is very important to God and it should be to us as well. Children were never intended to be looked at as “second class citizens”. The disciples already experienced how Jesus felt about not allowing children to come to him. “And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:13-14) “Let the little children come to Me”. My friends, Jesus desires your children and mine to be free to worship and learn about Him in the nursery, children’s church, and in the sanctuary. Restricting children because they are too loud, cry, or can be disruptive to a degree is nothing short of what happened in this passage in the gospel of Mark. 

According to research, children who worship with their families are more likely to attend church when they are adults.  

Take a look at this excerpt from the Patheos Christian Journal. Do you want to know (one of the reasons) why millennials aren’t attending your church? Here goes…Millennials aren’t attending your church because they’ve never had to attend your church. Think about it. From the time my generation was born we were thrown into nurseries with other babies. Then we went to children’s ministries to be entertained while our parents went to “big church.” Then we had middle school ministry. Then we had youth group. Then we went away to college and found a church with a stellar college ministry. It wasn’t until we graduated college that we were expected to be a part of the intergenerational community called “church.” We’d been segregated by age for the first 22 years. And you not only allowed this. You encouraged it. (www.sixseedspatheos.com).

This is not only concerning, but true. Now I will tell you that the Children’s Ministry of Koinonia Fellowship does not entertain, but rather instructs children in the ways of our Lord, but I get the point of this excerpt. Here are a couple more statistics from the article.

• Only 12% of youth have a regular dialog with their mother on faith and/or life issues.

• Only 5% of youth have a regular dialog with their father on faith and/or life issues.

Yet, the greatest faith shapers by large margins in the life of kids are Mom and Dad, followed by grandparents.

My friends, we must assimilate children and youth into the regular church culture. We must be intentional about it, and the younger the child, the better the results. Parents must be the primary Pastors in the lives of their children and according to these statistics it is not happening. We must seek the Lord and improve in this crucial area of discipleship.

Church is not a place for “parents to get a break from their kids”. Church is a place of worship; “My house shall be called a house of prayer” (Matthew 21:13). Segregation was never God’s heart biblically. Look at this passage in the book of Acts 21:5: “And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed.” There was a family prayer meeting to send Paul off after a 7-day stay in Syria. No children’s prayer-youth prayer-college prayer, etc.; all the wives and children knelt down with the men on the shore and prayed for Paul.

Your child is welcome any time to come to Children’s Church on Sunday morning, but when is the right time for them to worship with you in the sanctuary? Well my friend, I challenge you to consider this question in the very near future. God loves children, God loves families, and God desires that we worship Him together in spirit and in truth. We are praying for your family.

 

 

For Thine is the Kingdom

By Lynn Metier

Christians have often been known to pray, "Thy kingdom come", but just what is it that we're praying for? Jesus instructs us to seek first (or continually seek) God's kingdom (Matthew 6:33), but how do we know when we "find" it? What makes God's kingdom different from any other? What are some of its characteristics?

     About 2000 years ago John the Baptist preached a message of repentance, "for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 3:2) But Jesus has yet to bring about that reality in the physical realm, although the signs that He said would indicate His imminent return - deception and pseudo-Christs, "wars and rumors of wars", ethnic cleansings, famines and ‘natural’ disasters, persecutions and apostasy (Matthew 24:3-12) – are frequently the day's headline news. Was John's proclamation 2000 years off in its timing? No. The coming millennial reign of Christ from the throne of David in Jerusalem will only be the visible, physical manifestation of His kingdom. It will be the earthly culmination of His already existing kingdom. When the Pharisees questioned Jesus about the kingdom of God that He was proclaiming, He told them that physical observations were not signs of the true kingdom because, "the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20,21) When Pilate questioned Jesus about being the "King of the Jews", Jesus twice told him that, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). So if the kingdom of God is more than a form of government, what is it?

 

Clean Clear Through

By Lynn Metier

In the “old days”, the coming of Spring meant it was time for the annual ritual known to every housewife as “Spring Cleaning”. But do you realize that God is also in the “cleaning business”, especially when it comes to His church and children? By the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross 2000 years ago, He has cleansed His church. By the shedding of His blood, He fully paid the price for our redemption, meeting the requirements of the law in the payment for sin, and satisfying the justice of a holy God. But God is also engaged in the continuing work of sanctification; that is, "cleaning" the world out of His church. Paul explained that Christ "loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word." (Ephesians 5:25-26) Notice the past tense of the verb "cleansed". When Jesus said on the cross: "It is finished", He had completed the work of redemption the Father had sent Him to do. But when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the church at Pentecost, His work of sanctification was just beginning.  

      What is true in the corporate sense for the church is equally true in each individual person. When a person is "born again" he becomes a new creation and is given a clean heart, but usually he is not immediately taken out of this world. He is still affected and influenced, tempted and tainted by this sinful, fallen world and his old sin nature. This is explained by Jesus as he sought to wash Peter's feet (John 13:6-10). When Peter protested, Jesus replied: "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." But then, when Peter wanted a complete bath, Jesus explained: "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean." Therefore, even though a believer is cleansed at conversion - ALL his sins washed away by the blood of the Lamb – the process of cleaning the world out of him (sanctification, or "setting apart") has just begun and will continue until the Christian is taken home to glory.  

 

What’s in Your Mouth!?

Jordan Rowley 

What’s in your mouth!? No, I’m not asking how often you put your foot in your in there (because I’m already an expert on that). I’m not asking what your favorite flavor of gum is (you know, to cover up that yucky foot taste). I’m asking about the words that come out. If you’re anything like me, all too often you find your mouth filled with words of complaint or judgment or discouragement or worry or anger or some other variety of fleshly speech. 

One of my favorite Scriptures is Psalm 34:1-3, in which we find David declaring the following: 

“I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.”  

Amen! May this be our heart as well; to refrain from allowing anything that grieves God to pass over our lips and rather speak and sing the praises of God! David begins this Psalm, “I will bless the LORD at all times.” What a wonderful thing it is to know that you and I (small as we are) can actually bless the Lord. David’s desire is to bless the Lord, not just right this moment – but “at all times!” So often, we may “bless the LORD” when we’re on our spiritual mountain tops in special times of prayer, fasting or Bible study, but the very next hour we can once again allow those words of the flesh to proceed from our lips. Yet, here we see David declaring, “I will bless the LORD at all times!” How? David continues, because “His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Just as the Word should not depart from our eyes (Psalm 119:148), His love should not depart from our hearts (Revelation 2:4), and His works should not depart from our hands (1 Corinthians 15:58), so too His praise should not depart from our mouths! In doing so, there isn’t room for anything less.  

David goes on, “my soul shall make its boast in the LORD.” May we too, make our boast, our only boast, in the Lord. As we unceasingly speak forth His praises from our mouths and declare the glory of God, “the humble shall hear of it and be glad!” Undoubtedly, there will be humble (poor, downcast, afflicted) souls around us who hear our words and will be made glad. In other words, they will rejoice! Amen! I don’t know about you, but I want what’s in my mouth to be used by the Lord to encourage others to rejoice and be glad rather than being used by the enemy to discourage, divide, or distract from God’s goodness. 

At this point, David turns from sharing his heart’s desire and speaks to those with ears to hear. “Oh, magnify the LORD with me,” he sings, “and let us exalt His name together.” I can almost hear him pleading, “Oh, won’t you magnify the Lord with me!? Can’t we exalt the name of our great God together!? Will you join me in praising Him continually!? Will you make your boast in Him with me!? Then, the oppressed and distressed will hear and see and rejoice with us! Don’t let any situation or stress or person or problem hinder you from this!”

So, brothers and sisters, let each of us make this declaration now! May we say this prayer now! May we speak to our own souls and to those around us singing out: 

“I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.”  

 Amen! 

 

 

Walk for Life

 Save The Date:  Saturday, May 21st at the Highland Bowl

This month we have another exciting opportunity to take hold of the challenge as we, the body of Christ, rally to support the vision and mission of CompassCare, Erasing the Need for Abortion, by becoming a participating walker in their Annual Walk For Life. 

Here are some facts about the Walk For Life:

The Walk is on Saturday, May 21st from 9AM – 12PM at the Bowl in Highland Park, rain or shine. This is the largest walk in Rochester of its kind, with an estimated reach of 16,000-20,000 people.

Over 800 people participated in 2015, representing 72 Rochester area churches, and $204,000 was raised by hundreds of pledge-supported walkers. 120 babies were saved in 2015, and since 2002 1,037 lives have been saved from abortion through the programs at CompassCare. In 2015 24 women prayed to receive Christ. The Walk raises awareness and funds for the mission of erasing the need for abortion by transforming a woman’s fear into confidence. 

The challenge I wish to encourage us to take on this year is to increase the number of walkers that we recruit for this amazing ministry. That is how we can aim for the target of reaching more people. With every person that we talk to about sponsoring us, we are bringing the mission and vision of CompassCare to their knowledge. By encouraging those who have sponsored us in the past to become walkers themselves this year, and by their subsequent going out and getting sponsors, the numbers of people who become aware of CompassCare’s amazing work increases. This not only greatly multiplies the number of supporters, but it also puts the ministry in the forefront for those women who may find themselves in need of the care and support provided by the ministry. 

 

Relationship [Founded]

By Collin Zweigle

Every relationship is built on something. We make friends in lots of ways. We relate with people in lots of ways. Recently I’ve begun riding BMX again. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, BMX stands for Bicycle Motocross. It’s basically riding an undersized bike off oversized jumps and trying not to die. It's the kind of thing young people like me love doing; and yes, mothers in our congregation, I do wear a helmet. 

At the skate park I often meet other riders and see them semi-regularly. Through a mutual interest a friendship has begun. No, I’m not super tight with these people and I don’t share my deepest thoughts, hopes, and dreams with them, but I have a relationship with them. We talk about different tricks and how to do them, different bikes we like, secret spots that are awesome for riding, etc. This is a simple, surface-level relationship.

If our relationship with God is founded on Sunday morning church services and summer retreats it is similar to my relationship with my skate park friends. Church services and summer retreats, even Flower City Work Camp, are all experiences. They are awesome experiences. I genuinely believe that everyone in the world should experience these things, but in their simplest form that’s only what they are - experiences. A relationship simply founded on experiences does not have much of a foundation. 

Every relationship is built on something. The foundation of the relationship directly affects how long it lasts, what kind of influence it has on you, and how important it is to you. My relationship with my skate park friends is built on a shared experience that we enjoy, but that’s really it. I’m not going to sit on a porch smoking a pipe someday reminiscing about the good old days with those guys.

 

Parenting Tips for the Spring and Summer

by Pastor Domenico Danesi

As we are now in the spring season, we look forward to warmer weather, sunshine, and outdoor activities. Families look forward to the end of the school year and the summer months of June, July, and August. People adjust their lives in the summer, and as parents we must be flexible, but we cannot abandon our parental responsibilities in this warmer, more laid-back season.

Here are 5 tips for the spring and summer months that I pray will help you.

1. Have 4 or 5 things your child/children are personally responsible for every morning.

An example for each morning would be: 1. Make your bed; 2. Brush your teeth; 3. Get dressed; 4. Eat breakfast; 5. Read your Bible for 5-10 minutes. Ask your children if they did their “4 or 5 things” each morning. If they haven’t, then supervise them as they do them. This may irritate the child, but let them know that it is because they did not do what was required that you supervised them. This may be enough motivation for them to not be supervised again for a while.

2. Have 4 or 5 things they are responsible for doing in the evening.

For example: 1. Brush your teeth; 2. Take a shower or bath; 3. Put your clothes in the hamper; 4. Put your pajamas on; 5. Read a book or play quietly for 30 minutes. If they do not do 1 of these things, supervise them.

3. Make your child play outside each day (weather permitting, of course). 

This used to be the norm when I was growing up, but technology and lifestyle changes have made outdoor play something that children and parents must be intentional about now. Insist that they turn off all the gadgets and screens and play outside in the fresh air and sunshine!

 

Can We Talk?

Pastor Ben Hiwale

Our culture is hostile to Christian faith. We no longer live in a time or a place where what we believe constitutes the norm, or even an accepted point of view. What we believe flies in the face of the cherished principles of religious relativism, tolerance, and philosophical pluralism. We are considered "untrained and uneducated" men and women from whom our culture needs to be protected. We are the modern version of Peter and John standing before a Sanhedrin armed with television and radio stations, colleges and universities, newspapers and books, all being leveraged against "the faith that was once for all handed down to the saints." (Jude 1:3) Struggle is inevitable. Conflict is at hand. Will we bow before the god of culture? Or will we plant our feet, square our shoulders, lift our heads, and give an account to all those who ask us not just what we believe but why? 

Imagine finding yourself sitting on a sports field - soccer, baseball, football, or lacrosse - with one or more of your children in a tournament game. It is a beautiful morning, the sun is shining, and you are enjoying the latest blend of mocha or exotic coffee, and yet experiencing great frustration and conflict. You are frustrated because you feel a void. It is Sunday! As you begin to comprehend this void, you realize that you are seeing some other families on the other fields that you know are Christian. You are conflicted as you reflect on how you got into this situation. You know the value of church family; you know that consistency is very important for your family to build relationships within the church family and to grow as disciples of Christ. You have made many decisions over the years to say “no” to other things in order to say “yes” to church. And, yet, here you are on a sports field or at an event or something that is not Church on a Sunday morning.

It is possible the coach gathered the parents around and presented this amazing opportunity for the tournament that would land on a Saturday and Sunday. Everyone was so excited, and you felt like you had no choice but to participate. The team wouldn’t be able to play in the tournament unless everyone chose to play. If you said no, you would be letting down all the other kids. One of your close family friends presented an opportunity to socialize, and it all started great, but suddenly all the events occur on Saturdays and Sundays and you feel obligated to participate, and yet you are feeling this tension.

So here you are, sitting on the sidelines contemplating the predicament of so many families. Many families I’ve talked to about this feel like they have no choice for a variety of reasons. Maybe it’s a sport that the kids love, maybe it is a business opportunity, social relationship, belonging to something. These are opportunities that would be missed if you pulled your kids out. Maybe you feel an obligation to a team, club, or friend circle; maybe there’s real potential that may never be recognized. There are many reasons for the decisions we come to that keep our families away from church. I completely understand how we get there – but I also know the long term effect that missing church will take on our families. And that’s the predicament that has been tormenting you.

 

UNCOMMON

By Collin Zweigle

On Easter Sunday we gathered together and we read this passage from Acts chapter 2: “‘In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants—men and women alike— and they will prophesy. And I will cause wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below— blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and glorious day of the LORD arrives. But everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.’” (Acts 2:18-21 - NLT)

These things that Joel prophesied are very UNCOMMON. None of them happen very often. I can't recall the last time I saw the sun blacked out and the moon turned into actual blood. 

UNCOMMON was the theme at Flower City Work Camp (FCWC) this year. And just as Joel prophesied unusual occurrences would happen, God did uncommon things. First of all the concept of giving up your Spring Break to go work on a house that belongs to someone that you don’t even know is completely ridiculous. Seriously, for a 13 year old, I’m pretty sure there’s a new Pokémon game that just came out that they would rather be playing, but hundreds of them (700 students) left their gaming systems at home and spent their week ministering in the name of Jesus. This is very uncommon, my friends. At FCWC I saw young people lifting their hands in worship night after night, praying over each other, listening to each other, and living out Jesus’ command to love each other. This is a natural thing at Flower City. It’s a shame, but many weeks out of the year we don’t do this quite as well. More than 36 adults from our church right here at Koinonia Fellowship gave of their time (much of it vacation time) to minister in the name of Jesus during FCWC. This is also quite extraordinary. We are just beginning to see the after effects of that week. Those of you who participated deserve a standing ovation, and to those of you who didn’t participate, I hope you feel very left out. I hope that you feel like you missed out on something spectacular, and I hope that you will be challenged and encouraged, maybe even with some healthy peer pressure, to get involved in one of the things that makes being a part of the body of Christ so wonderful. 

If you look back on your life you'll see uncommon things that Jesus did. You’ll see moments, miracles, provisions, things that simply shouldn’t have happened, but did, because God was on your side. He is always for us and never against us.

For us it's not the norm to gather together as an entire congregation on a Sunday morning. It was beautiful to do so on Easter, and I realized, this is uncommon. 

 

The Birds and the Bees are a Serious Matter

Domenico Danesi

When do you start having that conversation with your child about the birds and the bees? This is a topic that many parents do not know how to face so they totally avoid it. Parents may feel awkward, uncomfortable, and unequipped to address their children about sex. 

The physical maturation of your child is inevitable and needs to be approached with sensitivity and wisdom. According to Darkness to Light (an organizational leader in the prevention of child sexual abuse), 8 is the age at which we as parents should begin discussions with our children about their “private parts” and “touch”.  

Look at some of these startling facts and then prayerfully consider starting these conversations with your children at the age of 8.

1. 1 in 10 children are sexually abused before the age of 18.

2. Youth are 2.5 times more likely to get raped than adults.

3. 35% of child sexual abuse victims are age 11 and under.

4. 9% of all 10-17 year olds receive unwanted sexual requests while on the internet.

5. About 85% of child pornography victims are living at home when they are photographed. Parents are often responsible.

These statistics from Darkness to Light are sobering and should motivate us to address these topics. We need to be proactive as parents in educating our children in the areas of touch and intimacy the way God intended between a husband and a wife.  Using terms like “cookie” and “pickle” to address anatomical parts could unintentionally harm our children if a child-predator attempts to manipulate them. If we do not educate and inform our children about their bodies, dating, marriage, and sexual intimacy, there is a good chance someone else will. This is 2016 and we are facing more challenges in the sexual arena than ever before. We must take every step necessary to protect our families. 

What does God word say about this topic?

1. Genesis 2:21-25 speaks of Adam’s helpmeet being made from his rib. They were both naked and not ashamed. Explain to your children why they were not ashamed of being naked. 

2. Explain biblical terms like fornication, harlot, the undefiled bed, etc.

3. For all the land which thou see, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever (Genesis 13:15). A seed is used to grow something (a plant, a fruit, a tree, a human life). Explain that a seed is used to start the growth of a human life in a mother’s womb (not a stork).

4. Teach modesty and purity (Titus 2:3-5). This generation of young people often rebel against the thought of modesty and purity. Teach your children to be “counter-cultural” in this area. 

5. God desires the Titus 2 model in both young men and women. The older men and women of God should be modeling in word and deed what modesty and purity look like in the life of a Christian.

If a child is sexually abused in any way it will cause damage that is very difficult to repair. Be proactive, seek the Lord, and have the “birds and bees” discussion with your children.

 

 

Relentless

By Collin Zweigle

A few years ago a song by Hillsong United came out called “Relentless.” The chorus goes like this:

“Your love is relentless.
Your love is relentless.
Your love is relentless.
Your love is relentless.”

Over and over that chorus is repeated. The same words are sung. I know it’s easy to find praise choruses repetitive a lot of times, but I encourage you to think about the significance of repetition. In scripture when Jesus says, “Verily, verily I say unto you…” we take that as meaning, “This is super important! Don’t miss this! Write this one down!” I believe that’s something that the writers of our modern worship anthems think about as they write. “Your love is relentless.” Hey, let’s say that a whole bunch of times so we can actually think about it and get it ingrained in our minds. Repetition was literally how we learned to read when we were 3 years old, and it is still an effective teaching tool for us as adults and students today!

Recently I have been reminded of the love of our great God through stories of Christians caught in sin being restored through God’s relentless love. These stories have been hugely impactful to my heart and to my faith. In relation to this, at youth group recently we were talking about the Vine and the branches in John 15. I was marked by the analogy that uses and the truth that a branch is literally part of the plant which it stems from. Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches. We are His branches, a growth out of Him, a part of Him. He is saying that to cut off one of His branches would be like losing a part of Himself.

 

One day

By Jordan Rowley

One day, over two-thousand years ago, God sent His only begotten Son to this world that He so loved. Jesus was sent to seek and to save the hungry, the hurting, the struggling, the suffering, the bound, the blind, the addicted and the abused. He came as a physician for the sick and as a restorer for the broken. Our Lord Jesus came as a rescuer for the ensnared and a redeemer for the enslaved. And one day, a little over 30 years after Jesus was born into this world, after 3 years of selfless ministry, He died a brutal death on a horrible cross to pay the price of our sins with His own precious blood. He willingly did that so you and I could be saved from death and born anew into everlasting life. Three days later He rose from the tomb as the firstfruits of the resurrection, leading the way for all who would follow Him. 

Now, one other day, when God’s perfect kingdom comes and when His perfect will is done in a new heaven and on a new earth, there will be an end to all hurt, all hardship, and all heart-ache for all of humanity. We will see Death and Hades once and for all thrown into the lake of fire. From that day on there will be no more destruction of human life, not by disasters or disease or depravity. There will be no more people lacking food and starving to death. There will be no more people lacking medical treatment and suffering from preventable or curable diseases. There will be no more people thrust into destruction and desperation by earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, or other “natural disasters”. There will no more people forced to endure persecution or oppression. The former things will have passed away and, behold, He will have made all things new! (Revelation 21:4,5)

As Christians, our hearts long for heaven and deeply desire to be in the presence of God. It will be there, in His courts, where our faith will finally become sight and where our hope will fully be realized. Doesn’t your heart burn and yearn for that day when there will be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more pain, no more sin, no more death (and the list goes on!)? And in addition to all of these “no mores” that we’ll be blessed to embrace in heaven, there will be many more “forever mores” we’ll taste as well. We’ll experience joy forevermore and embrace love forevermore! We’ll partake of freedom from sin and death forevermore. We’ll worship and simply be with the Lord forevermore! In Psalm 84:2, the sons of Korah sang it like this: “My soul longs, yes even faints for the courts of the LORD. My heart and my flesh cry out for the Living God.” Amen! Doesn’t your heart long, yes, even faint, for the courts of the Lord? The Good News (pun intended) is that soon and very soon we who have placed our hope in Jesus will in fact be in His courts!

So with all that said, one day, this day, may we worship Him all the more fully in praise for all He’s done and in anticipation for all that is yet to be. May you and I bow our hearts before Him as we raise our voices in humble thanks singing the heavenly song, “blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne and to Lamb, forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13b)

 

 

Who Is St. Patrick?

By Domenico Danesi

Once again March has arrived. Spring is on the horizon and on March 17th many will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The color green will be plastered around school and work. Shamrock shakes (must admit I like them a lot) will be available at McDonalds. Bars will be filled to capacity as people drink away! What would St. Pat think about all this? Who was this man? Did he drink? What is the meaning of the shamrock? Perhaps your children have questions similar to these.

What is known about St. Patrick is that he was born in England to wealthy parents near the end of the 4th century. At age 15, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates from his parents' estate in the Roman province of Britain, and sold into slavery in Ireland, where he spent six years in captivity, according to Freeman. After his escape, Patrick wrote in a letter of an "angel" speaking to him in a dream, telling him to become a missionary in Ireland, according to History.com.

St. Patrick was a missionary to Ireland. What does alcohol and missions have to do with each other? Nothing. St. Patrick spent his life praying, fasting, and seeking to convert people to God. Rev. Sean Brady concludes: "He was a man who came to face and help his former enemies who had enslaved him. He came back to help them and to do them a great favor – the greatest favor he possibly could."

Rev. Earnes concurs: "I honestly feel that what Patrick taught Ireland was that there is a cost to discipleship, but it's a cost worth paying. And I believe, to bring this right up to date, the church of St. Patrick must be constantly saying to people, 'Discipleship demands of you, but it's a cost that Christ will help you to pay.'" (CBN.com) St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity – an illustration that is still used today. St. Patrick was a man of God who had a tremendous impact in the evangelization of Ireland.

Training up a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6) involves revealing truth to them. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)

We must lay solid foundations in our children. Use March 17th as a springboard for the gospel. St. Patrick is a good example of forgiveness, sacrifice, and missions. We are responsible for explaining to our children what the truth is behind all the traditions man has made. Over time this man, who was a valuable missionary to Ireland, has now become associated with drunkenness and debauchery. This is nothing less than the ploy of the enemy. Ignorance is a tool that works against you as a parent. Educate and inform your children about who this man was, what he did, and what he stood for. Answer your children’s questions as best you can, and if you do not have all the answers simply say, “I do not know but I will do my best to find out and then inform you.” St. Patrick’s Day has some valuable meaning. Take the opportunity as a family to learn and grow together during the month of March.



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