Church Outside the Walls

If you're a parent, do you often wonder what in the world you did with all your time before you had kids? I wonder how I wasn't bored out of my mind or what we did when company came over. Now the kids provide all the entertainment. (That's a warning for those who could receive a future invitation to our house.) Seeing as it's been a little over a decade since my name changed to "Mommy," it's hard to remember life back then. I'm pretty sure our tv got a lot more use than it does now, though.

Like most moms, I wish I had the time to write down or capture on video all the funny things the kids say and do. The other night, Chris and I were having a conversation that had something to do with the difference between "non-profit" and "for profit" organizations. Jack had the "light bulb just went off" look and excitedly said, "I know! Non-profits don't love God and don't like hearing about him and for-profits love God." Which is so true, if you change the word to prophet. He was very proud of himself, and we didn't dare burst his bubble by answering his question: "Why are you both laughing?"

As parents, we spend a lot of time praying for our kids. I'm not sure you can ever spend enough time praying for your kids, but we do what we can. We know they're going to need it, because we know a little bit about sin and this stinky world...and we know who their parents are. They've got a mom and dad who have good intentions, but aren't anywhere close to perfect. They get to see the real us day in and day out, and it scares me!

Anyway, as we pray for them, we ask the Lord to give us the wisdom to teach them what it means to love him and follow him, and we ask him to help us to be good examples of living out our faith in front of them. Life is full of moments that seem pretty insignificant, but we pray that all those small moments are compiled over the years to leave a Godly impression on our kids.

Sometimes, though, the Lord provides a moment that seems a little more significant.

Sunday morning, Jack was on Day 5 of the lovely First Fall Bug sickness. I'm usually the one who ends up staying home from church with sick kids since Chris teaches a class, but this was his day off from teaching. So, I got to haul the other three to church and enjoy my morning with the Lord. Chris got to spend his morning at the doctor's office with Jack. I was thinking I got the better end of the deal, but now I'm not so sure.

That morning, my small group lesson was on one of my favorite Scriptures, from Deuteronomy 6:

4 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Our discussion in class mostly revolved around how we are to instill the truth of God's Word in our children's hearts as part of our daily talk and actions. What a privilege, but what a responsibility, as well.

The amazing part of all this is that, while I was "at church" reading, discussing, and learning about this, Chris and Jack were "being the church".

On the way back from the doctor, Jack and Chris saw a woman stuck in the road who seemed to be having car trouble. Since Jack was with him, Chris found it a little easier to stop and hoped it would make it easier for the lady to accept his help. After Chris helped the woman push her car off to the shoulder of the road, he offered her a ride. She asked to be taken to a nearby gas station, but figuring she was close to home, Chris insisted that he and Jack just take her to her house.

As they drove, they had just a little bit of time for some chit chat. In talking, Chris found out the lady had moved here from a nearby state three years earlier. He asked a logical follow-up question. "So, what brought you here?"

"I lost a baby and I just needed to get away."

Oh, how people around us can be hurting and we never even realize it.

Chris replied, "Oh, we lost a baby this summer."

"Mine was six."


As they arrived at her house, Chris offered to pray with her. She accepted the offer, and Chris, Jack, and their new friend, M, had church.

When I got home, Chris told me the story, but Jack wasn't around. A little while later, when we sat down for lunch, Jack thanked God for our food and prayed for M and her broken down car.

We love taking our kids to church. We want them to love the church and never give up gathering together with other believers to worship and learn. But, more than that, we want them to be the church. Church happens anywhere and everywhere that believers are. We are the church. And we have the only hope there is for a hurting and dying world.

I pray that Jack will remember that, though he wasn't able to go to church that day, he was able to be the church to someone who might have just needed a reminder that there is a God who loves her. He sees her and cares for her, and he's chosen his people, his church, to show her that love. And sometimes he'll even interrupt our good plans for his better plans in order to express that love.

Be ready, Church, to be Jesus. And show your kids how to do it, too, when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.


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