So every time we leave to go somewhere we usually have to take a moto taxi.  Brittany and Brayden ride on one, Sharles and I on the other.  I still remember the first time I took the kids on a motorcycle taxi.  Brittany had gone on a girls night, and I had both kids by myself.  Well, like a good Dad, I fed them good healthy dinner of greens and fruits and kept them safely in the house.  Actually, I did none of that. I took them to Pizza Hut.  We took a taxi there, and when we finished eating, Sharles said she wanted to ride the moto back home.  I was like “YES! Let’s do that”.  So with Brayden strapped to me and Sharles sitting in front of me we rode on the back of a motorcycle home.  I got my phone out and took a video while we rode.  So Brittany was sitting at dinner with a group of ladies, and I sent her a message that said “This just happened.” with the video.  She was a little shocked, but not mad.

I ultimately knew that she would not be mad, because we want to raise bold, fearless, courageous children.  I do not want my kids living a careful and cautious life.  I want them to be fearless.  I want them to take chances.  I want them to push the envelope.  I want them to have these characteristics not so they will be wild and crazy, but because I believe following Christ with your whole life takes these characteristics.  I want them to count the cost of following Jesus and then to shake it off and say he is worth it.  That is my dream.  One day my children will be on the front lines of the spiritual battle for the eternal lives of lost people.  Not that they can save them, only God saves, but I want to prepare them to be ready when God wants to use them as His tools.  This is my dream.  I do not dream about a safe and comfortable life for my kids.  That produces nothing in your soul…no joy, no fulfillment.  I want them to devote their lives to loving Jesus; devote their lives to following and serving Him no matter what it cost.

The cost of following Christ is only going to increase.  The persecution is only going to get worse.  Their will come a day when Christians in America will be the most persecuted religion.  Obviously, after the last few days, we can clearly see that America is moving towards an atheistic country. Soon they will be threatening jail time for Pastors who won’t marry homosexuals.  Soon their will be punishment for kids who wear crosses on their neck or have Jesus is my Homeboy shirts.  This is the near future.  I can only imagine what it will look like in twenty or thirty years.  So we as parents need to prepare our children that following Jesus isn’t free.  It isn’t a cheap grace, but as Bonhoeffer wrote a very costly grace that will cost you everything.  So we as parents need to disciple our children and get them ready.

We see the persecution here in Thailand too.  When Thais become Christians many times they are disowned by their families. They are cutoff from their heritage.  They in some ways are considered traitors of their country.  There is a chance they will lose their jobs.  They really have to count the cost of following Jesus.  Is he worth it?  Is gaining a relationship with Christ worth me losing my relationship with my family, friends and country?

So if persecution continues to increase, which it will, then what kind of Christians do we need to try to train up.  What is the spiritual warfare going to look like in the future?  Parents, we must be ready for this future.  We must prepare our children. I feel like America is raising up a generation of soft children.  Children who are given everything. Children who are coddled and babied.  I mean seriously, every kid gets an award in sports now.  Really? This is ultimately going to produce a generation of nominal, comfortable Christians.  Christians who are not willing to pick up their cross daily.  Christians who are going to say lost souls in the Middle East are not worth their own comfort and security.  No, we need to be raising up an army of missionaries and pastors.  People who will take Jesus to their families, workplace and across the World.

I want to encourage every parent out there to think about the kind of adult you want your child to become.  If you want a courageous, tough and bold adult who is willing to follow Jesus with every ounce of their being, then start parenting that way now.  Take the steps to toughen and embolden your children.  I understand its tough.  I want to protect my children and keep them safe also.  Everytime my kids do something courageous and fearless I am holding my breath, but I have to let them go on because they need these characteristics. We are parenting for a result.  We know the type of adult we want to produce for God.

So I want to encourage you guys to love and take care of your children, but start raising them to be disciples of Jesus.  To be able to take on the costs, whatever they may be, of following Jesus.  Start now and one day you might have the next great disciple of Christ-the next Billy Graham, the next Mother Teresa, the next Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the next Jim Elliot, the next Paul.  These are the types of people we need more of.  So start raising bold and courageous children for the sake of Jesus.

For His sake,

Josh