Showing items filed under “Jason Hoke”
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     About a month ago I was traveling eastbound on I-70.  Ahead I could see the flashing lights of a car in the middle lane.  As I quickly approached, I could see that a car was stopped and in need of assistance.  I pulled off the highway and called the highway patrol.  They asked what the problem was and then asked my location.  I was able to tell them the mile marker and the direction of traffic.  Within minutes the safety vehicles were coming to the scene.   

    Milestones in life are like highway mile markers.  They are moments in time when we move from one stage in life to the next.  I still remember the ”ah ha” moment of tying my shoes for the first time.  I understood and did not have to go back to learn again.  This past winter my oldest child is about to hit the graduation milestone.  This is happening as my youngest just passed one of her own milestones, a driver’s permit.  With my youngest, I literally had to let go of the wheel and let her take control of the car.  Now the test begins.  Did I do enough to teach her what she needs to know to drive a car? 

    The same question should be asked of our children when it comes to their eternal life.  Did I teach her enough for her to understand salvation?  I cannot give anyone salvation.  However, I can provide a solid foundation and look for the milestones.  Yes, our spiritual life has milestones.   

    There are several questions that often arise when seeing the first markers.  They see others going forward in church and they want to as well, they begin to ask about baptism, or they feel left out of the Lord’s Supper.  These are not times to give in and let them participate without understanding.  This is a time to help them with answering questions.  What markers must they understand to have salvation? 

    Mile Marker  1:  They must understand that God is perfect. He made everything good, but man broke it when he disobeyed.  Children can see this early because there are a lot of things that make us sad or mad reminding us that we live in a broken world.  One bad egg in a large omelet destroys the whole.*  No matter how good we are we cannot be perfect if we have sinned.  God must be perfect and we are now separated from Him.     

    Mile Marker 2: They must understand they have sin and this keeps them from God.  Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.   I will ask the question, “If I say I will pay you to clean your room and you do it, what do you expect?”  They usually say the amount you told me.  But if you don’t clean the room what do you get?  “Nothing.”  That is what wages are.  You get paid for doing something.  In this case, we get paid for doing wrong.  The payment is separation from God.  All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23.  It is not just a problem with Adam and Eve. 

    I have to look for times when she is not only sorry for getting caught, but is she remorseful of sin and what it has done with her relationship with God and others?  It is at this time I ask her, what are sins that people do?  Then I ask for two examples of things she has done that are against what God has told us to do.  If she can name some we move on.  If she cannot, we wait for her.  If she understands I want to give her hope in Marker 3.   

    Mile Marker  3Jesus is God and came to earth as a man.  He lived a perfect life, died to save us from our sins, was buried and raised on the third day.  He alone can provide the gift of salvation.  Jesus came to teach us how to live and He came to be the sacrifice needed to have our sins forgiven.  To accept this gift, He said we must admit our sins, and ask for forgiveness.  We must believe that Jesus is God and He came as a man to live a perfect life.  He died for our sins, was buried, and rose to life again on the third day.  This is a gift presented to each person.  The question is, will we take it?  With a gift you have to take it and make it yours. You have to own it.  The only price is He must be accepted as Lord or boss of your whole life.  The Bible tells us that few will choose eternal life.  Most people want to be their own boss.  

    Mile Marker 4: Only you can make Jesus Lord and Savior.  This choice is between God and the child.  Our job is to get everyone to this mile marker and pray that the decision to accept is made.  We are to make sure the offer of this good news is given and an invitation is extended.  

    Mile Marker 5: Then for those who accept, the first command is to be baptized showing all that you have placed your trust in Jesus for your salvation.  It also demonstrates that you have been buried with Christ and are raised to walk in the newness of life. 

I use the” God’s Special Plan” booklet from the North American Mission Board for follow up. 

*Evangelism explosion illustrations 



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Foundation of Christian Life 

    A young couple is sitting on the front porch drinking iced tea and enjoying the evening breeze on a hot day in July.  A storm is approaching from the West and it promises relief from the heat for the next couple of hours.  As the radio played softly in the background, the wife leans over to her husband and gently says, honey I have some news I think you will want to hear.  Giving him long enough to set down the glass of tea she whispers, “We’re going to have a baby.”  With all the excitement he could muster he jumps in the air and shouts with glee.  “Are you sure?”  She nods her head in affirmation.  They begin hugging and kissing just as the rain begins to fall.    

    This couple will start asking all the great new parent questions.  Will we have a boy or girl?  Will he have hair Will she be healthy?  Will he play baseball in college?  Will she get good grades?  These are great question, but they all fall short of the ultimate question.  “Will my child live forever?”  Hang on just a minute.  Live forever?  That is not a question you will ask, or is it?   

    When does the conversation of salvation begin, and how can we do it with purpose?  It is always best to begin with what the Bible teaches.  Deuteronomy 6 tells us that it begins with whoever lives in the in the home.  All the family should be fully immersed in the teachings of God.  So, a new baby living in the home will begin with daily rituals that lead Him toward Christ.  When our children were young they were read or were told Bible story after Bible story.  When we put them down for the night we sang every hymn we could think of.  We are to instruct our children about God at every opportunity: at church, on the ball field, at dance class. We are to show them God in everything.   

    To help start the conversation we offer a parent-child dedication service on Mother’s Day.  In this service it is made clear that salvation does not happen for the child at this time, but rather we enter into an agreement with the parents as a church to do all we can to bring this child to an understanding of salvation, and when she decides to accept Christ we will be there to help her grow spiritually.    In this brief service, I read from 1 Samuel and Luke where it states that every child should grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.  The parents and congregation affirm their willingness to follow God in this way.    

    The church uses programs to help in starting, or keeping gospel conversations going.  For instance, it is in Sunday school where we learn the Bible stories.  Through song and story our children learn about every book of the Bible in age appropriate lessons.  They will learn to worship, pray and apply their lessons in life in Children’s Church and Kid’s Worship.  They will learn to use their God given talents to worship in our Worship Arts Ministry.  On Sunday nights, they will learn that everyone can be a missionary.  The church also offers basketball and soccer through Upward.  Two times a week we offer Christian Karate.  We have support groups for homeschoolers and their parents.  If you wanted to, we can help you almost every night of the week.  But these are not to be the end.  They are the starters of conversations that should continue in the home. 

    The real question though is what is being done in the home?  In a recent Lifeway study it suggests that regular Bible reading is the largest indicator of young adults owning their faith as adults.  This is followed by family prayer time.  All of the other indicators are well down the list.*  The Good News of Jesus and His gift of salvation starts in the home and should be centered on these two objectives.  It is through this that people gain a true relationship with Christ.  There will be a time where the child will have to own their own faith.  The child will have to understand sin and what that does to our relationship with God, but until that time comes we are to live our faith so they can clearly see the way when it comes.  In the next article we will look at what the introduction of the Gospel to children looks like, but first we are to bring up our Children in the Lord and introduce Him to our children when they are young.  Let us be faithful to the task.       

*”Nothing Less Study.” Lifeway: Nashville, 2017. 

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