As my sister-in-law Rosanna shared last week in her “Seven Key Take-Aways” post, we met up in Omaha last week to attend the last Teach Them Diligently Convention of this summer — and we both walked away with a message that had a much wider scope than homeschooling.
For me, the biggest take-away after three days of hearing speakers address the most pressing family issues of our day is that THE BATTLE IS ON, Christ followers! If you love the God of the Bible and believe that Jesus is your Savior, then you are on the front lines of attack, and the deceived in our society are actively working against you. As Christian parents, we stand in the way of the enemy’s lies and lures making a direct hit at the hearts and minds of our children — but are we on vigilant alert for these attacks?
I’ll be the first to admit that I have a tendency to avoid what’s going on in the news. I try to keep my mind positive throughout the day, and to me, the news is mostly downright depressing — so why go there, right? However, thanks to speakers such as Ken Ham, Heidi St. John, Norm Wakefield, Rachael Carman, Elyse Fitzpatrick and Pam Tebow — who shared compelling facts & figures, powerful testimonies, and a biblically based call to action — I am now wide awake to the situation.
Here are a few revealing facts that I hadn’t heard before:
- Approximately 80% of Christian young people today walk away from the church by college age — and 40% have already walked away by high school.
- Almost 50% of youth question the validity of the Bible by middle school.
- Of people who identify as Christians but rarely attend church, 60 percent have been divorced. Of those who attend church regularly, 38 percent have been divorced.
- Approximately 4,000 Christian churches are closing their doors every year.
Here are a few quotes from influential Americans that say a lot about current affairs:
- “We are no longer a Christian nation — at least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, and a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, an a Hindu nation, and a nation of non-believers.” — President Barack Obama
- “Saying you’re going to hell is worse than teaching creationism… In my mind, withholding anything from your children that … puts them at a disadvantage compared to others, especially as they grow into adulthood, is child abuse.” — Lawrence Krauss, director of Arizona State University’s Origins Project, author of “A Universe From Nothing,” and former member of President Obama’s presidential campaign science policy committee, in an interview on The David Pakman Show
- “We have to break through this kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.” — MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry
If you aren’t yet familiar with the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of The Child, then ParentalRights.Org should be on your radar. When you hear comments like these in the general news media, and put them in context with government actions that threaten parental rights and are currently in play, it’s no longer a far stretch to imagine that in the near future, homeschooling could be on the chopping block.
This may or may not be news to you. But for me, it was like a bucket of cold water waking me from a peaceful sleep. I’m aware that we live in a fallen world and that we are daily engaging in a spiritual battle, but I was becoming a little too comfortable in my homeschooling environment, where it’s not very hard to find support and agreement.
Like Rosanna said in her post, preparation for this battle starts with us: Doing everything we can to put God first in our own lives, to seek Him with all of our hearts. It starts with understanding God’s love so we can love our families and reach out to others with that love. Filling our minds with God’s word of truth, the living water that will strengthen us for battle.
As we draw closer to God and seek His wisdom regarding our families, we should also avoid becoming fearful about the impending “doom and gloom.” Fear is another tactic the enemy will use to distract us from becoming the prepared, strengthened spiritual warriors that we need to be. We have to actively combat these fears with our faith in Christ’s promises.
“Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” — John 16:32-33
Our next step is recognizing that to “teach them diligently,” as God instructs in Deuteronomy 6:5-7, we need to become more aware of the details of the battle and teach our children accordingly. As Ken Ham calls it, today’s battle is a “Genesis 3 attack” — it is an authority issue. Satan tempted Eve by asking her, “Did God really say… ?” The battle is between God’s word and man’s word, and everywhere you look in our culture today you can find attacks on the authority of the Bible — even in the church.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.” — Psalm 127:3-5
Arrows are designed for battle. Are you sharpening the “arrows” in your home for the battle they will face? Are you focused on preparing them for college, or for the great commission? Are you also fighting your own battles — the battle for your marriage, the battle for your mind — by standing on the authority of God’s word?
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” — 1 Peter 5:8
I am so thankful for the many Teach Them Diligently speakers who shook me out of my comfort zone last week. Like my sister-in-law, I received an unexpected but clear message — reigniting my passion for homeschooling and my calling as a parent to train my daughters “in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6). This is the message God knew I needed to hear at this point in our homeschooling journey.
What is God showing you in this season of your homeschooling? If you attended any homeschooling conventions, what are your key take-aways? Does this message resonate with you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Check out the earlier posts in our series on Homeschool Conventions 2013: