They Wept With Us

Christian Living, Ministry, Parenting, The Church

weepingAs a young pastor, I sometimes have to preach and counsel about areas of life that I simply haven’t lived long enough to experience on my own. On some level, all pastors inevitably deal with areas of life in which we are not personally familiar, but nevertheless we can turn to the Scriptures and apply God’s Word, perhaps with the assistance of other Christians who have walked in the shoes we’re trying to lace up. By God’s gracious providence, my life has been mostly void of the pain of personal loss. I have lost family members to disease and old age, and had friends who were killed in combat, but their deaths weren’t shocking, and while sad, felt as normal as they truly are in the cycle of daily life in a fallen world. However, back in March my wife and I experienced the most shocking loss we’ve encountered to date, and the weeping, mourning, and pain that I’ve preached about and counseled others through came to rest in my own home for the first time.

In January of this year, my wife and I were delighted to learn that she was pregnant with our third child. We have two little girls, and were so excited to see if they would get a brother or a sister – was I going to have some masculine assistance around the house, or is it my lot to continue solely in the world of princess dresses, pink bows, and strange bouts of crying (All of which I am now quite fond of and capable of handling)?! Having girls has changed me – even I sometimes feel like I might just need a good cry, and what’s not wonderful about being nose to nose and laughing about nothing? Simply stated, I love my children in a very special way, and the thought of a house full of them is exciting! However, this year it wasn’t God’s plan. After the 11 week mark of pregnancy, the heart beat had stopped – our baby had died, and we were stunned.

Prior to experiencing the miscarriage of my own child, I had talked with many women and their husbands who had experienced the miscarriage of theirs. Having been in several of those situations, it was easy for me to assume that it’s a normal part of pregnancy, and that it wouldn’t be overly difficult to deal with. Likewise, my wife is a Physician’s Assistant and spends her days dealing with all kinds of medical issues that change people’s lives forever – this never seemed to be one that would land on us the way it did. Ignorance is bliss.

The days that followed were painful, and full of intermittent and intense emotions that seemed like they would never end. We spent time thinking through God’s Word and being reminded of His promises to never leave or forsake us, to comfort us in our affliction, and to bring beauty from the ashes. And that’s just what He did, in a very unsuspecting way. I’ve preached quite a few sermons on the topic of suffering as well as many others on the importance of the local church for every child of God. Little did I know, the two would come together in a dramatic and powerful way that has for me, forever highlighted the importance of a solid foundation of both in the Christian life.

One of the most striking moments in my pastoral experience thus far was standing in front of the people of Ephesus Church and saying, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). It was in that moment that all the preaching, all the Sunday school lessons, all the private conversations, all the books I had read about the importance of the body of Christ had come to rest in a dramatic and important way – God’s people began to weep with us (Romans 12:15). Through the tears in my eyes, I saw the tears in theirs. Part of the body was hurt, injured, afflicted, and so the rest of the body was likewise burdened with the pain and shared in the grief (1 Corinthians 12:26). Soon after we had made it known, we heard from many other couples who have experienced the same pain, and were encouraged by their words and actions, full of overwhelming love and support. Never had we felt like we needed the church as much as we did in those days, and all of God’s promises about the church proved to be gloriously true. We were the recipients of the love of God’s people who love us because Christ first loved them. And while I feel completely inadequate to do what I’m called to do as a pastor each day, I am indebted to Ephesus Church and, Lord willing, desire to give the remainder of my life to serving her. I was once told by a well meaning, older pastor who had spent 30 years moving around to different churches that it was important to not let too much of my life be on display before God’s people – in essence, I was told to resign to the fact that my life wasn’t intermingled with the lives of everyone else in the church, so I would be lonely and detached. I am glad the Scriptures taught me otherwise. I need the church, I need them to know my life, and I need them to know of my joys and sorrows – I can’t rightly respond to life without them.

Undoubtedly, in this fallen world we will endure a tremendous amounts of sorrow, but the more sorrow we bear the more we learn of the Lord’s compassion provided in both the means of grace and His people. He alone has the power and the authority to cause us to persevere, He has bore our griefs and sorrows, and He knows our pain. In the midst of the hurt and pain, it may not seem like it, but it truly is for our greatest good and for His greatest glory. He will bring his mercy and compassion to bear on the points of pain and sorrow in our lives. He will bring healing. He will bring life. And I am all the more convinced that without the body of Christ, without the church, there really is no healing. Yes, Jesus is enough, but I cannot love Jesus and despise, shut out, or ignore His bride. Ephesus Church has loved us well, and I will never forget that when the clouds rolled in, they wept with us, and the truth of God’s Word was on display. Soli deo Gloria.

(By: Nick Kennicott)

A Mother’s Day Testimony

Christian Living, Devotional, Parenting, The Gospel

This testimony deals with some intense themes and seemingly hopeless situations, but in the end points us to the only hope which never fails: the faithfulness of God to save sinners who cry out to him.  It is also a powerful witness to the faithfulness of mothers to pray for their children.


Talking to Your Kids About Sex

Christian Living, Parenting

**This was originally an article I wrote for the members of Ephesus Church when I was preaching through 1 Corinthians 7.

“Daddy, what is fornication?”

Oh no! What do I say? Are they old enough? How do I explain it in a way they’ll understand? Do I really want them thinking about these things? Do I want them to understand it at all?

One of the most difficult things parents talk to their kids about is sex and sexuality. But it doesn’t have to be. It is, to be sure, one of the most important things we will discuss with our kids. We don’t want to mess it up. We don’t want to rush into it, but we don’t want to wait too long. What is a parent to do? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Breathe

Nothing is too difficult for God. What He intends to do, he accomplishes (Genesis 18:14). His word is never void of power (Isaiah 55:11). His prophecies always come to pass (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). Everything that happens in the world comes from Him. He is the one who sends the thunder and lightning (Psalm 65:9-11; 135:6-7; 147:15-18). The smallest details of nature are under his control: the falling of a sparrow, the hairs on your head (Matthew 6:26-30; 10:29-30).

So, breathe. The questions from your children aren’t just by chance. God is in them. And you can’t avoid their inevitability. Proverbs 16:33 tells us, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” God is in control, not us. And with the strength and wisdom he supplies, these conversations can be filled with joy and delight in a good and gracious God.

2. Don’t Make Taboo What God Has Not

Sex is good – God made it that way. “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…” (Genesis 1:28); “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25). God’s command was essentially, “Have sex and make babies” and when Adam and Eve saw each other naked, they were not ashamed – it was good that they were naked together. Trevin Wax writes, “Throughout church history, some Christians have downplayed the sacredness of sexuality. Informed and influenced by an unhealthy Greek asceticism, some early church fathers believed that all (or most) sexual activity was inherently sinful. By the time of the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church had decided that there were 183 holy days in a year in which sexual activity was forbidden! The Reformers began to reclaim the goodness of sexuality by celebrating it within the covenant of marriage” (Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals 103-4).

Song of Solomon paints a beautiful picture of the goodness of sexuality within the bounds of the marriage covenant:

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine; your anointing oils are fragrant… Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil… How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice! Your lips drip nectar, my bride; honey and milk are under your tongue… A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a spring locked, a fountain sealed… My beloved has gone down to his garden to the beds of spices, to graze in the gardens and to gather lilies (Song 1:2-3; 4:1, 10-12; 6:2).

One’s imagination need not go far to get a good idea of what these two young lovers are describing, and the Bible celebrates it! Sex indeed is a good gift from God, within the proper restraints. Unfortunately, in an attempt to keep young people from engaging in sexual activity prior to marriage, many evangelicals have made sex taboo and describe it as something that seems only marginally better than climbing into a sewer. There is no question about our need to speak frankly and frequently with children about the perversion of God’s gift of sex in fornication, pornography, media, etc. But we must be wise as to not make sex the enemy. God gave it as a gift, and within its proper confines, it must be celebrated as such.

3. Err on Early

The vast majority of children now see their first pornographic image before the age of 8. Often, we want to look at our children at this stage of life with innocence and possibility. However, our children are vulnerable, and the perversion of sex is everywhere. At early ages of life, most children are not intentionally searching for sexually explicit media, but the reality in 21st century America is that it’s everywhere. Television, movies, newspapers, magazines, billboards, catalogs – you name it, there’s a good chance sex is involved. So, while our tendency is to want to wait as long as possible before we have any discussions with our children about sex and sexuality, there’s a very real possibility that they will see inappropriate images and have questions about sexuality before we have the “talk”. The average preschooler watches twenty-eight hours of television during any given week, and the average teenager, twenty-one. Do you think it’s possible for a preschooler to watch 112 hours of television in a month and not be exposed to sexual images and innuendos? Additionally, wise as it is, even if one is vigorously screening television content, one will still do battle against the culture as one’s children hear about sex in  conversations with friends, quotations in books, and in their own minds as they develop into young men and women.

And don’t assume your child is not susceptible and that their sinful flesh will not fuel a desire to dig a little deeper. You may have “good” kids with “good” intentions to do the right thing, but the advertising slogan that “sex sells” is unfortunately true. The Apostle Paul reminds us that sexual sin attaches itself to us in a way that other sins do not (1 Corinthians 6:18). It’s sneaky, appealing, seductive, and alluring. When navigating a world of sexual temptation, one misstep can lead headlong into the abyss  of perversion. The sooner you are able to address it, the better – if we’re going to err, it’s best to err on early. Don’t allow time for their understanding of sex to be formed by the deception of Satan in the false view of the world.

4. Don’t Limit Yourself to One Conversation

Talk about sex needs to be an ongoing conversation, not a onetime “birds and the bees” powwow (and besides, what do birds and bees have to do with all of this anyway? What a strange mixing of species!). But take heart, our talks about sex do not need to conform to the world’s version of graphic content and biological illustrations, especially with younger children. Keep it simple and conceptual:

“Sex is something special that God created for married people. It is a way for moms and dads to be close and special with one another. Sex is a blessing because it is designed to help husbands and wives know each other and bring joy to each other. Sex is also how God makes babies grow inside of mommies. But, sometimes people who aren’t married want to be close like that, and that’s not God’s design. What does it mean when we do something that God has not designed to be done that way?”

Lead them to talk about sin when we move away from God’s intentions and designs. Initially, this is probably going to be enough for most children. Additionally, a look at Proverbs 7 will be a helpful tool to help children understand God’s perspective. But teaching your children that fornication and sexual perversion are wrong isn’t enough. It’s also important to teach them how to guard against temptations that are sure to assault them.

As children progress in age, the more frequent and frank these conversations need to be. Issues like prostitution, homosexuality, sodomy, bestiality, and others will enter the discussion. These are all topics that God addresses in the Scriptures as perversions of His good gift. Who do you want explaining these issues to your children? You have daily opportunities to talk about sex, just like the wise father Solomon in Proverbs 7. Indeed, it is your duty as a parent (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Ephesians 6:4).

5. Remind Them That it Doesn’t Seem Wrong Until it’s Too Late

One quick glance from atop the roof was enough for King David to walk straight into a string of sin (2 Samuel 11). Surely, David had convinced himself that the alluring beauty of a naked Bathsheba was his for the taking. A look turned into an inquiry. An inquiry turned into sex. Sex turned into a pregnancy. A pregnancy turned into deception. Deception turned into murder. And it all, in the end, “displeased the Lord” (2 Samuel 11:27). Are we or our children any more godly than David, the man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22)? Like it or not, lust and sensuality are part of our everyday lives.  Sex, by the world’s standards,  feels natural and pleasurable in the moment.   However, when the sexual experience is over, the conscience screams, “Guilty!”  Our children need to visualize the scene of Proverbs 7 long before temptation presents itself so they can recognize the deceptive trap when they see it. Proverbs, a book designed for the instruction of the young in the ways of God, graphically describes the power of sexual allurement and sin. Do you dare give your children any less warning than what God provides?

6. Teach Chastity, Not Abstinence

While a noble effort, the goal of most abstinence training seems to be to discourage young people from  having premarital sex.  Through various means such as pictures,  descriptions of various sexually transmitted diseases,  or stories of how difficult it is to raise a child – especially as an unwed teenager – Abstinence training is about behavior rather than the heart.  As Trevin Wax points out, “Telling our young people that they should not have sex because of all the bad things that could happen to them actually perpetuates a self-centered view of sexuality. The teenagers who engage in sexual activity are having sex in order to please themselves. The teenagers who do not engage in sexual activity are not having sex in order to protect themselves. But the common root in both of these mind-sets is self-centeredness” (Ibid., 109). A result of this type of teaching, with no help from our culture, has been the complete redefinition of sex. This can be heard in questions like, “How far is too far? Where’s the line? What can I do with my boyfriend/girlfriend before it’s considered sin?” All of these questions stem from two major problems:  a wrong view of the gospel and a distorted view of the purpose of sexual intercourse.

The religion of moralism teaches that one must be good and do good in order to please God. Thus, God is waiting for us to do wrong so he can either punish us, or take note of our bad deeds to put in a scale at the end of our life to see if the good outweighs the bad. Certainly, most churched people would verbally deny this teaching and mindset, but the reality of the questions we ask and the things we do determine whether or not we understand what the gospel actually teaches. Asking “How far is too far?” is a question that is based on an assumption that God is pleased with certain behaviors, and dislikes others, but the reality is that God is only honored in behaviors that are aimed at glorifying Him. When the motive is to find the line, the line has already been crossed because one’s foundation is wrong. Instead of asking, “Is it lawful?”, one must first ask, “Is it profitable, and am I enslaved to it?” Outside of marriage, sexual intercourse is not lawful.  Perhaps what should be  more compelling is that sexual intercourse outside of marriage  is not profitable.  Simply,  the “I have to do it” attitude is one of our culture’s means of bondage.

The gospel, on the other hand, sets us free to walk in the newness of life that transforms the way we look at all things, including sex. As God sanctifies us, our focus turns from “What can I get out of this?” to “How can I best satisfy and serve my spouse (which, in turn, is honoring God)?” So, the gospel response is, “How, in this relationship, can I best honor the person to whom I am not yet married?” Answer: remember one’s future spouse  is first one’s  brother/sister in Christ, and he or she doesn’t belong to you yet. Until then, hands (and lips) off.

The goal is not to get to the wedding vows as a virgin – what a low standard! The goal is to get to the wedding vows completely pure and undefiled by sexual sin because the foundational, motivating question all along was, “How can I glorify God the most?” Don’t defile the gift of sex with such self-preserving motives – honor and promote sex as a gift from God to be cherished within marriage, and speak of the sweet gift it is to give oneself to their spouse without the blemish of sexual sin.

7. Christianity Is For Those Who Have Blown It

I recall listening to John Piper preach about George Verwer, the head of a missions organization called Operation Mobilization, who once stated in a missions conference that he saw a tragic number of young people who were once willing to lay their lives down, sacrificing themselves to advance the gospel to the nations, only to eventually fade away into the normalcy of modern American life. Why? Because of the deep sense of guilt and unworthiness felt as the result of sexual failure. George Verwer thought it tragic that so many found themselves worthless because they were never taught how to deal with the guilt associated with sexual failure.

The Bible is filled with examples of sexual sin. When Christians fail to maintain purity in sexuality, we need look no further than Scriptures to remind us that we’re not alone.  While we need not expect sexual sin to happen in the lives of our children, we most certainly must submit to the fact that it might. And if it does, it is crucial that we point to the cross and the atoning work of Jesus Christ on behalf of His people. As devastating as it is for an individual and their future relationships, and for parents who have children who fall into sexual immorality, the greatest tragedy is not the act itself.  Often, the sinner does not appropriately deal with the guilt that accompanies this particular sin, and then he or she  tragically believes he or she is unfit for  much  meaningful, gospel-advancing, fruitful service. Sexual immorality is sin, and sin in the life of a true believer will cause sorrow and shame, thus driving us to hate our sin and eventually turn from it (Psalm 38:18; Ezekiel 43:10; Ezra 9:6). Therefore,  the solution to the problem of guilt is that the sin is turned from, it is repented of, and a dependence upon Christ’s reconciliatory work on the cross is restored. “Blushing is the colour of virtue. When the heart has been made black with sin, grace makes the face red with blushing…repentance causes a holy bashfulness” (Thomas Watson, The Doctrine of Repentance, 39). The fight against sexual sin is won in the work of repentance because Christ has borne the wrath of the Father, on behalf of the Christian, and we are free to plead his blood as our payment.

At times, the temptation for Christian parents is to emphasize God’s law without emphasizing His grace. While each man sins against God in varying ways, his  response must always be the same: Jesus. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8); “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Sexual immorality is devastating on multiple levels, but the grace of God in Christ Jesus is far greater. The shed blood of Jesus is both our motivation for purity and obedience, and our sure hope for eternal life. No man will approach Jesus pure and undefiled, and praise be to God that this is not His requirement. In the gospel accounts of the Bible, Jesus’ encounters with those who were sexually deviant were not guilt increasing, but hope restoring (John 4, 8). May it be said of Christian parents that we too, like Jesus, are clear and direct, yet gracious and compassionate as we address sin, especially sexual sin, in the lives of our children.

8. Set A Time and Do It!

What are you waiting for? Now is a great time to get the conversation started. Spend some time in prayer asking the Lord to give you wisdom and courage, and make it happen. I think you will be surprised how natural it is to have these conversations with your children, and in the end, you’ll be very happy you did. Here are a few resources to consider along the way:

Sex, Dating, and Relationships by Gerald Hiestand and Jay Thomas

With One Voice: Singleness, Dating, & Marriage To The Glory of God by Alex and Marni Chediak

Everyday Talk by John Younts

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

Instructing a Child’s Heart by Tedd and Margy Tripp

Age of Opportunity by Paul Tripp

What’s the Difference? Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible by  John Piper

(By: Nick Kennicott)

Psalm 19: A Blueprint for Instilling the Wonder of God in the Hearts of our Children

Devotional, Parenting, The Gospel, Worship

My wife and I had the great privilege of recently attending a Paul Tripp parenting conference in Seattle. I love how Paul (I’m using his first name because we sat in the front row and chatted with him a few times. I think that qualifies us as homeboys.) emphasizes the family as a “theological community,” a place where the realities of the God in whom we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28) are constantly at the forefront of conversation, activities, and decisions.  Parents are to actively seek to impart  the knowledge of God to their children (Ephesians 6:4) rather than passively hoping that the Spirit will move within them apart from external means.  Some of the sweetest moments of parenting I have enjoyed with my three children have been moments wherein I have sought to be faithful to this command, moments where I have taken one of my sons or my daughter up in my arms and wondered together with that small child at the glory of our big God.  In these moments, the passage of Scripture I have continually returned to with them is Psalm 19.  In this post, I’d like to take a few minutes to show how this Psalm functions as a blueprint for instilling the wonder of God in the hearts of our children.

Let’s start with the text:

The heavens declare the glory of God,

and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

Day to day pours out speech,

and night to night reveals knowledge.

There is no speech, nor are there words,

whose voice is not heard.

Their voice goes out through all the earth,

and their words to the end of the world.

In them he has set a tent for the sun,

which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,

and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.

Its rising is from the end of the heavens,

and its circuit to the end of them,

and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect,

reviving the soul;

the testimony of the Lord is sure,

making wise the simple;

the precepts of the Lord are right,

rejoicing the heart;

the commandment of the Lord is pure,

enlightening the eyes;

the fear of the Lord is clean,

enduring forever;

the rules of the Lord are true,

and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold,

even much fine gold;

sweeter also than honey

and drippings of the honeycomb.

Moreover, by them is your servant warned;

in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can discern his errors?

Declare me innocent from hidden faults.

Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;

let them not have dominion over me!

Then I shall be blameless,

and innocent of great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

be acceptable in your sight,

O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

 Two Types of Revelation

Psalm 19 is considered a classic text for making the theological distinction between two types of revelation.  Notice that while the whole Psalm deals with God revealing Himself to man, there is an interesting thematic divide between verses six and seven.  The first part of the Psalm deals with God revealing Himself through  His creation, while the second part deals with God revealing Himself through His Word.  These two types of revelation are usually referred to “general” and “special” revelation.

According to Psalm 19, we receive this general revelation when we soak in the beauty of the created world around us.  The language actually used is that the created world is pouring out speech.  And the speech it is pouring out is not just general good vibrations or Gaia Momma voodoo, it is declaring the very glory of God.  It is therefore impossible to live in this world without the knowledge of the true and living God.  The revelation of Him is all around us, and as creatures made in His image we are ourselves a part of that revelation as well.  Every breath we breathe and every thought we think testify to us that God is and that God is glorious.

While it is extremely important to give proper due to general revelation, it is also extremely important to recognize its limitations.  While verses 1-6 of Psalm 19 are full of the revealed glory of God in creation, it is crucial to note that they are utterly devoid of anything redemptive.  Yes, it is impossible to live in this world without the knowledge of the true and living God, but Romans 1:18 tells us that we all suppress this truth in unrighteousness.  Left on our own we will simply deny and ignore the God and the glory that the heavens declare to us.

The remedy to this sad situation is found in verses 7-11.  Here we find redemption, not through the general revelation of creation, but through the special revelation of the Word.  It is the law, the precepts, the testimony, it is the Word of God which the Spirit uses to seal redemption within us- reviving the soul, enlightening the eyes, rejoicing the heart!  Notice even the very name of God used changes in verse seven to the covenant name- the LORD Yahweh.  This is the name usually used in the Bible in redemptive moments of direct relation between God and man.

Parenting and Psalm 19

But this is supposed to be a post about parenting.  Specifically, it is supposed to be about using Psalm 19 to instill the wonder of God in the hearts of our children.

Our youngest children cannot understand all of the Biblical concepts involved in the gospel.  They can, however, understand the glory of God in His world.  In fact, they were created to receive this revelation.  How sweet it is to hear little children singing

This is my Father’s world, 

and to my listening ears 

all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres. 

This is my Father’s world: 

I rest me in the thought 

of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; his hand the wonders wrought.

Even the littlest  ones the Lord had entrusted us with can begin to learn the themes of this song.  Just yesterday I took my three year old in my arms and we looked out over the frost covered baseball fields and the snow capped mountains we can see from our kitchen table and I whispered into his ear God did this.  God made this world.  God made this beautiful.  Loving, structured, Biblical parenting can teach them that this is not their world, nor even their parent’s world, this is their Father’s world.

As our children grow in knowledge and understanding our progress through the Psalm can grow as well.  Having instilled into them the wonder of God in his created world we can bring them to the wonder of God in his written Word.  We can show them that the same God who created the rocks and trees and skies and seas, wrote them a whole book.  We can open that book and teach them those central gospel truths; the character and attributes of this perfect creator God, the depths and destruction that disobedience and sin has wrought, and that God loved sinners like us so much that he became a man to save men- that by virtue of the perfect life, the sin canceling death, and the grave conquering resurrection of Jesus we can be with our God forever in heaven.

This is the trajectory which the Psalm itself follows.  After considering the glory of God revealed in creation, and then moving on to the redemptive message of the written Word, the psalmist is turned inward.  He is convicted of sin and cries out to God.  He ends his song in humble reliance on the LORD his rock and redeemer for salvation.  Notice again these themes in the last three verses of Psalm 19:

Who can discern his errors? 

Declare me innocent from hidden faults. 

Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; 

let them not have dominion over me! 

Then I shall be blameless, 

and innocent of great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart 

be acceptable in your sight, 

O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

And all we who have been entrusted with the care of precious little ones cry out as well- let the words of our children’s mouths and the meditations of their hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord.  Be their rock and their redeemer.  May our children be overwhelmed with Your glory displayed in Your creation, may that sense of wonder carry them to treasure your Word, and may they cry out to You as the psalmist did.  May the cross of Jesus be their only hope.  May they find in you true deliverance from the dominion of sin and true blamelessness on account of Him- the joys of being found in Christ.  We pray these things in His name, Amen.

(by: Nicolas Alford)