Model Christ for the Next Generation

What are Core Values?  

Core Values and Beliefs describe what God says are the most important priorities of our existence as a church and as individuals.  They are God’s Top Priorities!  Core values help us make ministry plans as a church and everyday decisions as individuals.

Core Value #2 – Model Christ for the Next Generation

There isn’t a Christian parent alive that does not hope their kids will grow up and live for God.  As parents we do our best; we make our mistakes; and yet we hope and pray that we gave our children the right start to succeed.  The apostle John writes, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”  When you think of what your kids will accomplish or achieve in life – is loving and serving God at the top of your list?  Unfortunately, by our interest and enthusiasm in other things we often communicate that we want our kids to be great athletes, successful businessmen, doctors, or lawyers.

A mom was asked by someone how OLD her 2 young sons were.
She said, “The doctor is 4 years old and the lawyer is 6.”

God commands us to teach His Word diligently to the next generation.  But why does every generation struggle with passing the baton of faith on to the next generation?

Thoughts on Faith and the Next Generation:

1.  Nobody grows up in a perfect home.

Family conflicts are everywhere.  Maybe your parents were too loose or too strict.  There is no perfect home, but we can have families filled with love and truth!

2.  Everybody is responsible for making their own spiritual choices.

Prov. 22:6 is a proverb, not a promise.  “Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  A proverb is a general truth of life – not true in every circumstance.

3.  Rules are not the problem; lack of relationship is the problem.

Parenting Principle: Rules without Relationship = Rebellion

Any strong relationship will have boundaries.  It’s that simple.  My marriage, to be strong, must have boundaries.  Nearly 200 couples have been married at our church and they make vows to one another.  Vows – Promises – Rules, if you will.  The boundaries are not standards of legalism, but a code of conduct that protect the relationship.  We want to keep our vows, not to keep a rule, but because we do not want to hurt the heart of the person we love most in this world. Oh, how we need a loving relationship with our children.

4.  Kids who grow up in the best of environments can still grow up and choose sin, reject God, and experience deep problems

We have to be careful of teaching the next generation to simply appear and act right? We need to focus on teaching them to LOVE God and know Him personally?  How do we model Christ to the next generation?

The Problem: What mistakes are these parents making?  I don’t claim to have an exhaustive list, but let’s consider 4 of the problems:

A.  No Discipline

Eli, I Sam. 3:11-13 (all 3 died in 1 day); “For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.”

B.  No Time=No love

Samuel – the only thing in Samuel’s life I see missing (I Sam. 7:15-17; 8:3-5) is that he was away from home way too much.  The typical teen logs more than seven hours a day and more than 50 hours a week in front of a TV, computer, or cell phone screen (Kaiser Family Foundation).

Teens need time with parents.  A 7 year study reported in the Journal Child Development stated that “teens benefit by spending more time with parents.  Encounters with dad boost self-worth and social skills.”  Dad, do you have time with your kids every week?  You need a family night every week. You need conversations over dinner, laughter, and uninterrupted time together.

C.  No Relationship

We must genuinely enjoy our kids and help them enjoy their Heavenly Father.  A Christian home should be close, loving, funny, enjoyable, memorable, and something a young person craves!  If you lack a relationship with your children, make changes today!

D.  Hypocrisy

Solomon started good, but then began to slide.  Rehoboam saw his lust for things grow.  He saw the multiplication of wives, horses, and material goods.  He saw the disobedience to the Word of God.  Solomon did not pass the baton of faith to Rehoboam because of the hypocrisy his son saw in his father.

The Prescription: Josh. 24:15

We can’t pretend with God and we can’t pretend with our children.
What is the answer?  Authentic Faith.   It’s imperative that every Christian be totally committed to Jesus Christ and His Word.  Decide to be an approachable parent.  We cannot model Christ to the next generation unless He is real in our lives.


Make Christ Known

What are Core Values?  

Core Values and Beliefs describe what God says are the most important priorities of our existence as a church and as individuals.  They are God’s Top Priorities!  Core values help us make ministry plans as a church and everyday decisions as individuals.

Core Value #1 – Make Christ Known to our Neighbors and Nations

What your testimony can do?

1.  Stir up a desire in others to know God.
Your testimony has the power to stir up a desire in the heart of people to want to know God. Jesus stirred the heart of the woman at the well when He explained that He could give her living water, John 4:10.

2.  Cause people to examine their life.
Our testimony has the power to cause people to examine their own life.  It’s human nature to relate what you hear to yourself.

3.  Reveal the presence of the Lord.
Our testimony has the power to reveal the presence of the Lord. They see God’s presence in us.  As we share the power of God in our life it will cause people to want God’s power in their life.

4. Prepare hearts to hear the Gospel.
Our testimony has the power to prepare people to hear the Gospel.  Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”  Matthew 5:16.  Gods Word is His Light.  Your word is your light.

How do I share my testimony?  

1.  My life before receiving Christ.

2.  How I became a Christian.

3.  What Jesus means to me now that I m a Christian.

Write out a few notes to help you share your testimony in 3 minutes or less.  I shared this “how to share your testimony” on Sunday.  On Monday, one of our members took the opportunity to share his testimony with a co-worker.  That same afternoon the co-worker came back and said, “I want what you have.  Would you please pray with me and help me receive the Lord as my Savior.”  We can say with the blind man, “Once I was blind, now I see!  Jesus made me see!  Once I was burdened and guilty with sin.  Jesus forgave my sins!”

Sharing your testimony WORKS!

A Journey of Faith, Part 2

Reprinted from Baptist Voice, Part 2

Ministry Lessons

Philippians 4:19Missions!  “If we take care of God’s business He will take care of our business.”  God blesses a church that is committed to the Great Commission.  We began supporting missionaries before we even chartered the church.  God has honored His promise to meet the needs of a missionary supporting church.

Acts 4:31Prayer!  “And when they prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”  Beginning a prayer partner program was one of the best decisions I ever made as a pastor.  Men and women commit to praying with a prayer partner for one year.  Upon inaugurating this ministry, God blessed us with three consecutive years of either someone being saved, baptized or joining the church every Sunday.  All to God’s Glory!  He seemed to be placing His stamp of approval on a ministry bathed in prayer.

Matthew 6:33Holiness!  God First!  Early in ministry I was challenged by the “Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards.”  As a 19 year old man, Edwards wrote down the resolutions to order his life.  As a result, God used him to spark the Great Awakening, prepare the colonies to establish a government based on Biblical principles, and change the world.  With that inspiration, I wrote down 31 personal life goals and principles to live by.  You can jot down your own list.

Give glory to God by maintaining a daily walk with Christ, Matt. 6:33

Surrender my will to Christ and desire His likeness, Rm. 8:29, 12:1-2

Love my wife as Christ loved the church, Eph. 5:25

Raise my children to love God, Eph. 6:1-2; 3 John 4

Serve the Lord with excellence in our church family, Col. 3:23, I Tim. 1:12

Honor my parents, Eph. 6:2

Share my faith with the unsaved, Acts 1:8

Live with Integrity, I Thess. 2:3-10

Regularly commit Scripture to memory, II Tim. 2:15, Psalm 119:11

Keep my testimony above reproach (Be a Daniel), Dan. 6:3-4

Be a godly influence on my Christian friends, Jms. 2:8; Gal. 6:2

Be honest, Phil. 1:10

Be pure, I Thess. 4:3

Choose a positive and joyful attitude, Gal. 5:22-23; Phi. 4:4

Be loyal to my church family, Heb. 13:17

Commit to excellence, Col. 3:23

Trust God daily, Prov. 3:5-6

Tithe on all my income, Prov. 3:9-10

Manage my time well, Eph. 5:16

Develop personal discipline, I Cor. 9:24-27; Gal. 2:20

Be a leader (be an example), I Tim. 4:6,16

Serve others, Gal. 5:13

Maintain excellent health, I Tim. 4:8

Have regular family devotions, Deut. 6:4-7

Have regular family activities, Eph. 6:4

Read ½ hour a day for additional study, II Tim. 4:13

Be kind and forgiving, Eph. 4:32

Develop concentration of power, Col. 3:23

Develop orderliness, Prov. 24:30-31

Increase my giving to God yearly, II Cor. 9:6-8

Control family spending and live by a budget, Prov. 23:4-5

Ephesians 5:16-17Balance!  Effective and Spirit-filled ministry needs constant attention and care.  More time with the family; more time in counseling; more time in soulwinning.  Without balance in life, you will fall and fail.  If you lose your wife and children, you lose your ministry.  Satan is very effective at removing men from the ministry.  Some “foul out,” some “rust out,” and others “burn out.”  There is one thing they all have in common – They are OUT!

Nehemiah 6:3Focus!  “I am doing a great work for God, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it and come down to you?”  No one ever built a statue to a critic!  Today is the day to love and serve God!  Nehemiah refused to come down off the walls and “discuss” the petty objections of his critics.

John 21:22 – Accountability!  It is a great day when you discover that you will give an account to the Lord for your life.  Peter asked the Lord, “What’s going to happen to John?”  I love Jesus’ answer – “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?  Follow thou Me!”  Daniel Webster said, “My greatest thought is my accountability to God.”  I couldn’t agree more!

Serving Jesus Christ in the ministry with my family is the greatest joy of my life!!!

A Journey of Faith, Part 1

Reprinted from The Baptist Voice, Part 1

On a hot summer day in 1975, God answered my mom’s prayers and my dad was wonderfully saved from a life of alcohol addiction.  At a service station, my parents picked up a church tract which resulted in our family attending Fairfax Baptist Temple.  After hearing Pastor Bud Calvert preach the gospel, I received the Lord as my Savior.  Under his preaching, I surrendered my life to do whatever God would have me to do.  Instead of becoming a pilot, I became a preacher!  At this time in my life, my two biggest fears were snakes and public speaking.  Snakes could easily be avoided, but not public speaking.  Many preaching opportunities brought on the affects similar to panic attacks.  It was through these hundreds of experiences that I discovered that God is greater than my weakness.

Pioneering Valley Forge Baptist Temple

Following Bible college and an internship, my home church sent me to the Philadelphia area to begin Valley Forge Baptist Temple in 1984.  My wife and I came to the area not knowing a soul.  After six months we organized with 21 people while meeting in a public school.  After 5 years we had grown to an average attendance of 90.  Our first of four buildings was constructed in 1989.  God blessed the growth of VFBT in an unusual way, doubling the attendance the first year in the new building.  We currently average just over 1,000 in attendance in double services.

Deep Waters for a Young Pastor

God showed Himself faithful to our family through our deepest trial.  My first wife passed away of cancer in 1993.  As a single father of two young boys, I found myself receiving much help from a very loving church family.  Through the deep waters God continued to bless the growth of the church.  I learned three powerful lessons about God during this time…

  • God’s way is perfect and He makes no mistakes.
  • God loves us with an everlasting love.
  • God is all-powerful to fulfill His love in our lives.

This is true of the Lord, no matter what the trial.  Then the Lord brought “a princess from Canada” into my life to become my new bride – Jodie Friesen, a pastor’s daughter.  We were married in 1996 in Ontario, Canada.  God has blessed our family with a total of five children – Matthew, Jeremy, Megan, Scotty, and Amber.

Many Hooks in the Sea

The Lord Jesus called us to “fish for men” not “guard the pond.”  As the church family matures in their faith, they become witnesses wherever they are.  To that end, we have many of the usual outreach ministries – bus ministry, VBS, camps, Reformers Unanimous, etc.  But we also have some “unusual ministries” – Chosen 300 (a ministry to preach the gospel and feed the homeless); Community Outreach days, and even a Rugby Team.  The Valley Forge Baptist Patriots are the first church rugby team in America registered with USA Rugby.  The main purpose of having a Rugby team is outreach – to share the Gospel.

The two foundational pillars of our church are:

The Glory of God, I Corinthians 10:31 & The Great Commission, Mark 16:15

These verses are etched in granite in the first two cornerstones of our church building to be a constant remind of the reason for our existence.

“A Church Crazy about Missions”

At our 2013 mission’s conference, Jeremy Pinero from Vanuatu said that “Valley Forge Baptist Temple is a church crazy about missions.”  I learned from my pastor that the Great Commission is for every church.  The Lord Jesus said that we are to be witnesses “BOTH in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  The command is to reach BOTH our local community and the world – at the very same time!  This can only be accomplished by partnering with missionaries who will go to the ends of the earth.  I believe one of the many reasons the Lord continues to bless our church family is our commitment to supporting missionaries.  Currently we support 180 missionary families and projects.

Why I Love My Church

There are literally millions of people in the world who can genuinely say, “I Love My Church!”  These people have experienced the blessing of a church family that loves God, exalts Jesus Christ, and shows love and forgiveness to one another.  It is this kind of a church family that people come to know the Lord as their personal Savior and they begin to develop a spiritual walk with God.  The results are amazing:  peace in their life and joy in their hearts.   Unfortunately, there are too many who have had negative experiences at church – sometimes it is their fault, but all too many times it is the fault of another.   One Sunday morning, a mother went in to wake her son and tell him it was time to get ready for church, to which he replied, “I’m not going.”  “Why not?” she asked. “I’ll give you two good reasons,” he said.  “First of all, they don’t like me, and secondly, I don’t like them.”  His mother replied, “I’ll give YOU two good reasons why YOU SHOULD go to church. First of all, you’re 59 years old, and secondly, you’re the pastor!”  That is a sad situation when the pastor is not thrilled about attending his own church.  My experience has just been the opposite.  After pastoring the same church for 29 years, I am thrilled to say, “I Still Love my Church!”  I agree with the many in our church who have shared their reasons with me about Valley Forge Baptist – The Caring Church!

The have said to me…

I Love My Church Because…

God is at Work Here!

We are a Family!

I Learn How to Grow Closer to God! Jesus Christ is Exalted!

We Feed the Hungry and Give them the Gospel!    

I Love the Music!    

The People!  

Do you have a church you can call “Home”?  If not, come experience what some of your neighbors have experienced at the corner of Black Rock Road and Rt. 113 –  People who love God and others.  If the greatest desire of the human heart is to love and be loved, then you will only find that desire met in a church where Jesus Christ is worshipped!