Join for a Bible Study that Bro. Duke Jeyaraj leads for Modern Young Working Professionals, the Google Gen, from different companies, at his base in the Tirumalgiri area of Secunderabad, India, once a month, on a selected Sunday evening. Text +91-888-604-0-605 for details. The notes of this Bible Study are at www.freshbiblestudy.wordpress.com
Join for an evangelistic outreach to the Google Gen in Hyderabad once a month with Duke on a weekend. Call/text +91-888-604-0-605 for details. Ministry reports are at www.g-4mission.blogspot.com
Welcome to the official
website of Grabbing the Gadget Generation from Gehenna Mission (G 4 Mission)
– a ministry to modern youth founded by Duke Jeyaraj, a young Indian Engineer
turned Bible College Gold Medalist turned Youth Speaker.
What The Bible Teaches About Sex - Duke Jeyaraj
A message that Duke gave to Google Genners of NLAG Church in 2007
THE SINKING SHIP THAT ISN’T CALLED, “TITANIC!”
(An chapter that explains to youth as to how they can relate with their parents can be rocking!)
The movie Titanic is about a sinking ship, we pretty well know. In this article I would like to talk about another sinking ship — the ship called “relationship”! Not many of us have a rip-roaring, rollicking relationship with our parents, right? Not many of us have a smooth-as-butter association with them, correct?
Religion begins at home I have heard some kids say, “My relationship with God is glorious. It doesn’t matter if my relationship with my parents is punctured.” Sorry folks. Check out the Bible. It tells us religion begins at home. We should learn first of all to put our religion into practice by caring for our family our parents....for this is pleasing to God (I Tim 5: 4 NIV). In other words we should not for a moment forget, “religion begins at our own doorstep” (I Tim 5: 4 The Message). Howard Hendrix penned, “If your Christianity doesn’t work at home (read, ‘work with your parents’) it doesn’t work at all – don’t export it!” (Quoted as found in closertohome.com/quote.search.php? on 9 March). Barbara Bush, a former First Lady of the United States made this striking statement while speaking to a group of graduating young people: “Our success as a society depends not what happens in the White House but on what happens in your house!” (Quoted by Stephen R. Covey in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (USA: Simon and Schuster Co., 1997), page 3).
True, God is like the greatest dad (Read Deut 1:31 NIV). True again, God is unlike the worst possible mom in the world as the prophet Isaiah so touchingly put it (Read Isa 49:15 NIV). But if we can’t love and work at a genial relationship with our mom and dad whom we can see, what is the big deal in talking about loving the Unseen Mom and Dad – the LORD? This is the unbeatable, unassailable, cool logic of John the beloved disciple (1 Jn 4:19-20).
So how do we go about developing a resonant relationship with our parents? The key – I believe – lies is cultivating and growing the five qualities which I have garnered and gathered from the Bible, in our day-to-day lives as we relate to and rub shoulders with them: 1. Obedience
You must be stone blind if you haven’t noticed this candid command in the New Testament: “Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right” (Eph 6:1 The Message). Paul repeats the same command in Colossians 3:20. Did we who belong to this independence-loving, parent-defying generation hear it good?
In the book of Proverbs. King Solomon has a straight¬forward advice: “My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching” (6:20 NIV). He repeats the same advice time and again. “My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you,” he utters in 4:1. I picked out 19 references in which he touches on our relationship with our parents in the book of Proverbs! Why was this subject bothering him? Because he knew from experience what tragedy can befall when you bypass the good advice of parents and “wander off”.
When Solomon forgot his dad’s words He disobeyed his parents as a young king. His dad, David told him just before he died to keep all the Lord’s commands and requirements (I Ki 2:1-4). He remembered how after hours of counsel and advice they both would say in a chorus “Don’t forget one word! Don’t deviate an inch!” (Prov 4:6-7 The Message). But he continued to burn incense to idols (1 Ki 3: 3). Later Solomon married women who brainwashed him into worshipping their foreign gods (1 Ki 11: 5). Later in his older years, I guess, he came back to his senses and got down to write the book of Proverbs. Disobedience to his parents nearly put a full stop to his spiritual life.
Your eyes will be plucked-out when…. That’s why he passionately issues some of the most dark, somber warnings ever found in the Scriptures to parent-defying guys: “If a man curses his father or mother, his lamp will he snuffed out in pitch darkness” (Pro 20:20 NIV). “An eye that disdains a father and despises a mother (“scorns obedience to a mother” in the NIV) – that eye will be plucked out by wild vultures and consumed by young eagles” (Pro 30: 17 The Message). Ask Samson. He will tell you that it actually happened to him. His eyes were plucked out (Jdg 16:21). Remember how he gave his parents the finger when they advised him against marrying a Philistine woman who did not worship Jehovah (I Sam 15:1-3)?
Sreesanth and Glen McGrath Why does the Bible make such a hue and cry about this issue of obeying our parents? Simple: they have at least a minimum of 25 years’ experience above us. They have trodden the paths we tread today. They know. They have been where we are headed to. When they advise us on something, they know what they are talking about. It makes perfect sense for a new, raw, young and inexperienced fast bowler like Sreesanth to take advice from an older, accomplished, mature and refined bowler like Glen McGrath, right? But suppose if Sreesanth told McGrath when he offered a word of advice to him on how to bowl in a tight situation, “Mind your business, man. I know how to do it,” won’t Sreesanth be branded a perfect fool (This illustration was written on 9 March 2007)? Now do you understand why the Bible tells us, “Intelligent children listen to their parents; foolish children do their own thing” (Prov 13:1 Peterson Version)? In a popular song by Boyzone the father tells the son: “You’re still young, that’s your fault; There’s so much you have to know.” True, rightful and legitimate words!
Just do it! When your parents tell you to do something, don’t question them. Follow the Nike philosophy: Just Do It. And hey, come on, they won’t tell us impractical, tortuous or tormenting things to do, will they? Assuredly they won’t tell you to lie among firewood in order to be chopped to pieces, like Abraham perhaps told his son Isaac to do (Gen 22:9)! Of course, our parents won’t ask us to get ready to be burnt as an offering to the LORD, like Jephthah, the Israelite Judge, told his young daughter to do (Jud 11:30-39)! Yet in both those cases the kids obeyed their parents without raising questions. What a challenge for us!
They dream big about you! When Moses was born, his parents had a dream for him. His parents braved Pharaoh’s decree that newborn babies should be killed by hiding him because “they saw he was no ordinary child” (Heb 11:23 NIV). When they stared at his angelic eyes, they perhaps dreamed that this child would go on to be the deliverer of the Israelites from their Egyptian bondage. Our Parents too have dreams about us – truckloads of them. Dreams that one-day we will become a John Wesley, a Billy Graham, an Amy Carmichael, a C. T. Studd, an Ida Scudder. Our parents dream that we will do well in our studies and land a well-paying job with the Government or with a multinational company, living as a witness for the LORD there. And why not, your parents may dream that one day you will become a Tendulkar, or a Pele or a Federer, bringing laurels for your country of birth, even while you testify that you did all because of Jesus’ favor! For those dreams to become a reality and not stay as pipe-dreams we kids have to roll up our sleeves and work hard. It was the high hopes my parents had for me which egged me on to work hard to wrap up my B. Tech. degree successfully. Do I have to tell you that, “Lazy students embarrass their parents”? (Pro 15:20 The Message).
It is when we lazy in our studies and work we are actually inviting our parents to get strict with us. A favorite number sung by rock group Coasters in the 1950s painted perfectly the picture of a lazy teen nagged by parents: “Take out the papers and the trash or you don’t get no spending cash/If you don’t scrub the kitchen floor you isn’t gonna rock and roll any more/ Just finish cleaning up your room; let’s see that dust fly with that broom! / Get all that garbage out of sight, or you don’t go out Friday night! / Don’t give me no dirty looks – your father’s hip, he knows what cooks!/ Just tell your hoodlum friends outside, you isn’t got time to take a ride” (Quoted as found in www.stlyrics.com/lyrics on 9 March 2007. First quoted in Solid Answers by Dr. James Dobson) Think! If you bend over and work hard believe me your parents won’t bug you but instead they will brag about their “diligent son /daughter” –you!
Straying sons High Priest Eli’s sons learnt the fear of the Lord from their mother’s knee. So did High Priest Aaron’s sons. As they grew up slowly there cropped up a familiarity with the things of God. With it came a loss of reverence towards the things of God. Eli’s sons freaked out with the women who served in their Tent-Church. Aaron’s sons thought it was cool to go about some fire rituals on their own, perfectly knowing it was exclusively their dad’s privilege. The result: a violent and disgraceful death for both the kids of the High Priests! (Read Lev 10:1-2 & I Sam 2:12.22; 4:11). Contrast them with young Timothy who “took in the sacred Scriptures with his mother’s milk!” Even after he grew up he stuck on to what he learnt and never let it go (II Tim 3:14-15 The Message). The result: a certificate from Mr. Christian – Paul — that there was “no one else quite like him” (Phil 2:20, Peterson Version). Here’s wishing that our story would read a lot like Timothy’s — marked by consistent faithfulness to what we have learnt from our Christ-following parents — and not like Eli’s or Aaron’s sons.
Scarf around your neck From our youngest years we have probably been hearing admonitions and instructions from our dads and moms. None of our parents want us to be loafers or misfits in society. Sticking to Biblical principles and Scriptural standards of conduct taught us by our parents are so immensely important that our very life depends on it! “Keep my commands and you will live ...guard it well for it is your life,” the concerned dad urges his youthful son (Prov 4:4,13 NIV). Our parents too remind us of the need to cling on to those traditional timeless teachings from the Bible. This has been emphasized was eloquently brought about by Eugene Peterson in his translation of Proverbs 6:20-23 in his translation of the Bible: “Good friend, follow your father’s good advice; don’t wander off from your mother’s teachings. Wrap yourself in them from head to foot, wear them like a scarf around your neck. Wherever you walk, they will guide you; wherever you rest, they’ll guard you; when you wake up, they will tell you what’s next. For sound advice is a beacon, good teaching is a light, moral discipline is a life path.”
The outrageously obvious “generation gap” between parents and children is no laughing matter — it has played spoilsport in our relationship with them. As years roll by this gulf is widening further, no doubt. It may be that we sometimes would like to think in utter exasperation and irritation that we kids are from planet Venus while all our parents are from planet Mars!
How Jesus handled “generation” gap! Jesus – I am sure — felt some ‘‘gap” between him and his earthly parents. As a kid Jesus too obeyed his parents and accepted them: “Jesus went back to Nazareth with them and lived obediently with them” (Lk 2:51 The Message). Let your imagination run wild: Joseph , his carpenter-dad asks him to fetch the wood and bring it into his carpentry shed. Jesus does it without raising a question. His dad tells him to saw off the rough edges of the wooden piece. He obeys quietly. He never answered back saying, “Whom are you telling what to do? Don’t you know I am the Son of God whose very voice is good enough to crack the rugged Cedar wood?” (cf. Psa 29:4). His mom tells him to milk the cows in their farm. He never shot back, “Mom don’t you know that cattle on thousand hills belong to me? I’m supposed to be ‘the owner’ — not ‘the milker’!” (cf. Psa 50:10). You think that obedience came easy and naturally? No way. That obedience was “learnt”: “Though He was God’s Son, He learnt trusting obedience by what he suffered.” (Heb 5:8 The Message). That obedience flowered because of a conscious effort he took to accept his parents just as they were and to bridge the gap between him and them.
Jesus’ own parents and family called him “crazy” (Mk 3:21, CEV). But he never blew his lid in protest. He never got into long-drawn out theological arguments with his mom and dad to prove that He was the Son of God. He accepted them as they were. The result: His mom came to know Him later as Saviour and Lord. She was among the 120 “disciples” who were waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room (Acts 1:14).
“Marry that unbeliever!” When our parents ask us to things that are plainly unscriptural – “Marry an unbeliever”, “Give a bribe and get yourself a good job” etc – we are not obliged to obey them. Prophet Ezekiel warned the children of Israel not to follow in their parents’ footsteps in defiling themselves with idols (Ezk 20:18). But we have to be careful to resist the temptation to go for a debate competition with our parents on those issues of tension between them and us. The spirit of Peter’s counsel to believing wives that unsaved husbands “should be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives when they see the purity and reverence of your lives” applies to us youngsters too as we go about relating to our parents negotiating and tackling the generation gap (I Pet 3:1-2 NIV). And when we do have to talk about what the Bible says on a particular issue of friction between them and us we must not sound “preachy.” We rather must be polite. Jonathan’s shining example is before us in this regard: Jonathan questioned his father, the jealous and envious Saul, who was bent on making him King instead of David, the man God chose for the throne. But he was courteous. He wasn’t rude. Hear for yourself the words that Jonathan spoke to his father in support of his bosom buddy David: “Please don’t sin against David. He’s never done anything to harm you. He has always helped you in any way he could. Have you forgotten about the time he risked his life to kill the Philistine giant and how the Lord brought a great victory to Israel as a result?” (I Sam 19:4-5 NLT). Notice Jonathan uses the word, “Please!” Would you please use the word “please” especially when you disagree with your parents, following Jonathan’s example?
When accepting our parents becomes easy Accepting our parents as they are becomes easier the moment we grasp the fact that the parents we have are given to us by the Lord as per His good plan for us and that they are the Number One parents in the world! Jesus knew that Joseph and Mary were specially chosen by God the Father to be his parents — and that His Father never makes a mistake and that his Father could not have made a better choice. After all, though we can choose which person to marry we can never choose which set of parents we want to be born to! That is God’s choice and you can be confident and convinced of this: he never selects wrongly! So the smartest thing you can do is to accept your parents —just as they are! Here is a poem I wrote for my dad to make him feel special on his birthday. It was written during a time when my relationship with him was stormy. I wrote this poem keeping in mind the above point I have just talked about:
It’s your dad, dad I’m the first son, you ever had You loved me the way I was, even though I was real bad You provided for me, even though I’ve made you sad You have always wanted life’s best for me, after all I am your lad I’ll make you, after God, always glad I pray that God will, to your great life, many more years, add!
Your parents love you! The Bible tells us that “the son is the first sign of his father’s strength” (Deut 2 1:17). It is rare to find a father on this planet who does not love his children with all his strength and want the very best for them. Even for a rebellious son, the love of the father can be huge and titanic. Think of the words that David uttered when his rebel son Absalom died: “0 my son Absalom! My son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you — 0 Absalom, my son, my son!” (II Sam 18:33 NLT). Our relationship with our parents would be revolutionized the moment we come to grips with this soothing revelation: no matter what we have done or who we are our parents love us. And every action they take for us is spurred by nothing but love. That means we must look out for little ways to reciprocate that love.
Appreciate them, Applaud them! One way to pay them back is to let them know that we are proud of what they are doing. Let us say they are missionaries. We should never feel ashamed of them. Lift your collar, for your parents are serving in the army of the King of kings! “Children take pride in your parents” (Prov 17:6 NLT). May that verse be true of us! Never hang your head and merely mutter, “Yuck. My parents are missionaries.” Our parents have said ‘Yes’ to a High Calling from heaven! They are I.A S. officers. Puzzled? They are In Almighty’s Service!
Rahab, the woman who housed the spies of Israel in Jericho, was so concerned about her parents that she made the spies swear that they would spare them when Israel overturned Jericho (Josh 2). Call that concern — genuine concern! We too can show our concern for our parents. There are plenty of ways: We can write to them every week from our hostels. We can send them a card or give them a phone call on their birthdays. While at home, we sure enough can lend a helping hand in their household chores. When we spend sensibly the money they painstakingly save and send us month after month — that’s a huge help. Don’t be stingy with your superlatives for them. We children once gave a card to our dad that said ‘if there was something called a ‘dadometer’ then it will show that you are the best dad in the world!’ Dedicate the project you’ve got to do in your college or school to them.
Stingy sons! Tight-fisted daughters! Jesus had some nasty things to say to those religious leaders of his day who would tell their aged parents, “ ‘Gift! What I owed to you, I’ve given as a gift to God,’ thus relieving themselves of obligation to father or mother” (Mk 7: 11-12 The Message). He called this audacious act of being stingy in helping parents financially, under the cloak of being generous to God, as “nullifying God’s Law” (Mk 7: 13, NIV). Remember, when we grow old, get a job, settle down, we should never ever forget to look after our parents and support them!
By doing these five things I have described here we would “honour our parents. Do you know that this command to honour our parents boomerangs at us a stunning eight times from the Bible (Ex 12: 2: Duet 5:16; Mt 15:4; 19:19: Mk 7:10; 10:19; Lk 18:20; Eph 6:2)? This is one command we dare not ignore, overlook, slight. And mind you, this is the only command of the 10 Commandments clubbed with a promise – the promise of long life (Eph 6:2,3)! The next time you have a close brush with death think hard. It may be that you haven’t honored your parents as the Lord wanted. Just maybe. The question posed to us, both by our earthly and our ethereal (that is, heavenly) Father penetrates the heart: “If I am a father where is the honor due me?” (Mal 1:6 NIV).