Lee Harder, senior pastor at the Red Roof Church in Bulverde, Texas, wishing you God’s blessings as we meet for this week’s vlog. The great folks at St. Paul would love to have you join us for worship this Sunday at 8:30 and 10:45 AM. We promise that our fellowship of believers is where God’s Word is heard every week right from the heart of Scripture.
School here in San Antonio is now back in session. Spring break is over and the kids are back in school. That means our Christian Day School is also back in session for the week as well. I can’t wait. It means tomorrow (I’m writing this vlog on Monday the 18th.) and Wednesday I have chapel with them. I love sharing the stories of the Bible with the kids. They’re so eager and receptive. They want to be there.
I can’t tell you how important I think it is for children to know the pastor and as more than that strange guy in front of church. Besides, the payoff is huge. We have a few of our Christian Day School families who are disciples of the congregation. There is something gloriously magical and uplifting to have a young child run up to you before worship, face beaming, to hug your leg or hear them call out to their parents in the grocery store, “That’s my pastor!” Some of my most cherished possessions are a tree painted on a canvas with thumb prints for leaves in various colors of the children of the Day School and a hot pad (for the pastor chef) with prints from the kids (different year, similar idea).
The same contact is important when children get older and enter into more formal Christian education. I can’t fathom why a pastor wouldn’t want to be the primary teacher for understanding the basics of what we believe and why. I believe it’s a big part of the pastor’s responsibility and promised obligation when one becomes a pastor.
Our role as pastor is to preach and teach the good news of Jesus Christ. That means to all levels and ages. Connected to that is our commitment to equip the saints (including the young) to be true disciples of Christ so they can share their faith in the world. Despite rumors to the contrary, that is the work of the pastor (and administering the sacraments). This idea of “Let the pastor do it” is neither scriptural nor practical. No pastor can do it all and Jesus in the Great Commission never intended it to be that way.
We are a priesthood of believers who are all responsible to proclaim Christ and share our faith with the world. That’s our call as Christians. Yes, we need someone who can effectively help us develop the tools and confidence to go out into the world which is the challenge and role of the pastor.
I have another reason for teaching the children and youth. I want them to feel comfortable around the pastor. I want them to know they can trust me so if they need to talk or have fears and concerns, they can come to me confident that I will try to help.
Yet, a pastor can’t do it alone, even with a congregation willing to provide all the necessary resources. It takes the parents to make the commitment to encourage and demand their children of all ages receive sound Christian education. It is here I fear we are letting our children down. Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, confirmation or its equivalent are falling by the wayside. That might be okay if it is time for these approaches to evolve into something else more effective. The problem is, they are not evolving. They are just slowly dying as fewer and fewer parents are having their children attend to learn and grow.
I remember as a kid growing up and especially as a teenager going to confirmation, Christian education wasn’t always a high priority or great love for me. There were many Sundays I didn’t want to go. Thankfully, my parents didn’t give me a choice. I went. They made sure I went even if it was inconvenient for them. They knew it was important and acted accordingly.
I suspect this might be where some of the problem rests. Our children are doing more and more running of the parents’ lives instead of the reverse. I’m sure the ever greater influence and demands of the schools, especially in athletics, have added pressures of their own. Still, since when did children get to vote in decisions or dictate what they will or will not do? When did children get to be adults? Aren’t we as parents, the adults, supposed to show them by our example how to grow up to be responsible adults? Maybe I missed something in my childhood. Yes, my parents taught us to think and express an opinion, but they made the decisions, not me or my siblings.
I know, there are tremendous pressures on a family from the outside. The school places demands on family time. Sports & club sports place even more demands. Added to that are demands from the workplace and, if possible, the chance to play. The family in church, worshiping, sharing, growing and playing together in a Christian atmosphere is becoming a relic of the past. In my heart I believe that as it suffers because of a distracted lack of interest, so the family suffers because of a lack for the spiritual bond that gives the family meaning and holds it together.
My word of encouragement to parents is, “Take a time out!” However, make it a time out for the family to come closer to a God who loves them and cares for them and died for them.
And those are my thoughts.
Greetings from the fellowship of believers at the Red Roof Church in Bulverde, Texas. I’m Lee Harder, the senior pastor at St. Paul, wishing you God’s blessings and an invitation to join us as we worship our Lord, Jesus Christ. Our fellowship gathers for worship every Sunday morning at 8:30 AM for a more traditional style of worship and at 10:45 AM for a contemporary flavor. We’d love to have you join our family. Check out our website at redroofchurch.org and learn more about us.
I may have to give up looking at the news headlines and Facebook because they are beginning to depress me. Oh, I don’t mean the “bad news” because there’s always some of that and there’s good news, too. No, I’m thinking of the reports that keep popping up about what our younger generation is and isn’t doing.
Thanks to my own grandchildren, I am painfully aware that our children are not being taught cursive in our learning institutions (we called it “writing” when I was in school as opposed to “printing”). Further evidence was provided by my wife when she informed me that the students in her 5th & 6th grade church school class couldn’t “write” their names. They could only print them out.
I suppose not knowing how to write (cursive) isn’t the end of the world. However, as I recall, most of our historical documents (locally, state, nationally & internationally) were written out, you know, in cursive. If you can’t write or read it, doesn’t that imply the potential loss of history for posterity, besides one can’t “sign” (usually requiring cursive) a legal document. Although I imagine this fits in with today’s trend in re-writing (probably re-printing) history.
Truth isn’t nearly as important as making history socially correct, which also means condemning the past based on today’s moral and social standards. For now, I’ll refrain from commenting on the apparent inability to write (in this case print) the king’s English, you know, stuff like punctuation, sentence structure, and grammar.
Yet, the real killer is what our learning institutions (schools) are doing to math. I saw it with my own kids decades ago when they brought home “new math.” Back then there was a lot to do with “guessing” or “estimating” the answer, not to mention some puzzling methods of getting to an answer. Apparently, the answer (pardon me, the right answer) didn’t matter as much as following the new way of arriving at an answer, sometimes called a guesstimate. Close was good enough. I don’t recall the teachers of my day allowing a “close” answer as satisfactory.
However, this week I saw on Facebook a comparison of our old fashioned math (adding, subtracting, multiplying & dividing) with the new math as taught in common core. It almost defies description. In the comparison, they solve a simple multiplication problem. The old way was to rely on the multiplication tables we learned as kids by memorizing until we could say them in our sleep. Today’s equivalent involved diagrams. The old way was done, coffee was brewed & a dog taken out for its duty while the new way plodded on. There was an argument that it was a training session for kids versus an adult doing the problem. True. I will not deny. However, if this is the way these kids as adults are going to have to solve the problems of math, the world is in for a rude awakening. It was the most ridiculous and time consuming method I have even been privileged to witness. This is what our children are learning.
When one adds to that the new, revised and sanitized history, world and American, which portrays our founding fathers as evil and vile while the sources of socialism, totalitarianism, and communism in governments and empires as desirable, we got problems. Nor should we forget the lack of English literature in the classics which provide a solid grounding in speech and language, again I repeat, we got problems.
And just so we don’t leave the church out, we no longer feel the need to have our children and youth possess a knowledge of what we believe as Christians (according to the Bible as opposed to some politically correct agenda) and why.
I’m not blaming the kids either. I’m blaming us for relaxing our standards to the point where we have none of much value. Apparently, it isn’t important that we can talk and write correctly (it’s called communication) and use our minds to actually think, so long as we use the right emoji. So pound sign (#) and hash tag that for what it’s worth.
But those are just my thoughts.
God bless and have a great week.
Greetings from St. Paul Lutheran Church of Bulverde, Texas. I’m Lee Harder, the senior pastor, wishing you peace from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If you’re searching for a spiritual home that serves a feast of God’s Word over entertainment, then I invite you to check out our website at redroofchurch.org and watch one of our worship celebrations. Better yet, if you’re in our neighborhood right off 281 and FM 1863, stop by. We worship at 8:30 and 10:45 AM every Sunday and at 7:00PM on Wednesday evenings during the Lenten season. I promise, you’ll hear God’s Word and not a social agenda. You might even be entertained, but you will be inspired.
I hope you had a good beginning to the season of Lent which began this past Wednesday, March 6th, Ash Wednesday. I’ve noticed mid-week Lenten worship doesn’t have the same desire of involvement it previously possessed at many churches. I saw a story on the internet about a 4th grader who came from worship to school marked with the sign of the cross on his forehead in ash only to be told by his teacher to remove it. Apparently, the teacher was unfamiliar with Christian tradition (at least in the liturgical churches like Roman Catholic and Lutheran, for example) of the imposition of the ashes on Ash Wednesday.
Surprisingly, I am not shocked. Lent, a time of thoughtful self-examination and penitential preparation to journey with Jesus to the cross of Good Friday is seemingly being replaced by a more secular desire for self-improvement. You know — Eat more Kale — Cut out Krispy creams — Exercise more — Detox.
I never was a big fan of the traditional “Give up something for Lent” crowd with the premise that we’ll suffer with Christ. I don’t recall Jesus denying Himself chocolate [did He even have chocolate to give up?] or give up sex don’t even think I’m touching that one]. I’ve also been an advocate of doing something FOR Lent of a more Christ-like nature rather than giving up something I shouldn’t over indulge in anyway.
However, the decline of Lent and its purposeful meaning has hit a new low with drive-thru ashes offered at a city church. Don’t worry about that depressing confession and absolution stuff. Repentance — that’s old school. Today’s modern Christian wants sin without regret and God on demand.
Can’t wait for Easter and drive-thru communion [yes, that’s been done too]. Just serve up that chilled wine and designer wafer and get me back on the road to that leg of lamb or roast turkey or baked ham at grandma’s nestled in a bed of green plastic grass surrounded by chocolate bunnies [after all Lent will be over] and jelly bean droppings.
Am I missing anything. If this is what your Lent and Easter has been or is, I’m guessing with a fair degree of confidence you are — Christ.
But those are just my thoughts as we begin our Lenten journey.
God bless and be sure you know what you see in the mirror staring back at you.
Pastor Lee R. Harder