“If you think Jesus should be allowed back in schools, click “Like” and Share!”
“New Law in Kentucky allows Bible to be taught in school. Do you Agree or Disagree?”
“God was kicked out of schools! It’s time we let Him back in!”
For some reason, memes and posts like this have started showing back up in my various social media streams. It seems like this particular melody gets sung every 6-12 months by some Christians and the chorus of “likes” and “shares” and “I agree” comments fill to social media outlets.
But I do not join the chorus. And I don’t think it is advantageous for any of us to do so.
“Why? Don’t you think God should be allowed in public schools? Don’t you believe in the Bible? Don’t you think that prayer should be present in our educational system?”
Even typing those words made me cringe on the inside. Because laden within them and within the memes and posts above is this underlying assumption: God isn’t there. That somehow a law or a custom or a man-made institution is capable of retraining or inhibiting our God, our King of Kings, our Emmanuel.
We are getting ready to enter into one of the most joyous and anticipated seasons in the Christian calendar; the season of Advent, leading to Christmas. In this season, we spend days focusing on one thing – the birth of Christ. And throughout the season we remind each other that we have a God that is not far off in some distant place waiting for us to come to Him. No! We serve a God who came to us, wrapped in our frail flesh, and walked among us, promising to be our Emmanuel – God WITH us – forever and ever.
During this season we marvel at the miracle of our Savior’s birth, foretold by prophets and angels, and witnessed by shepherds and kings.
We tell our children that because of this, they can rest assured that God is always with them, always present, always showing Himself strong on their behalf.
We even think ahead to the next big celebration of Easter and we explain that through Christ’s birth and death as fully man and fully God, we have been given a Way into eternity ourselves and we will never be separated from God, ever, for all time.
And then… we post memes that say we kicked Him out. We bemoan the lack of His presence in our classrooms. We act as though our Immanuel is not “God with us” but “God with us when we say it’s okay.”
How sad for us and how confusing for our children. That in one moment we speak with such faith and confidence and in the next we mourn as though we have been left abandoned.
Oh friends, wouldn’t it be much better to acknowledge the truth? That God CANNOT be “kicked out” of this world, no matter how hard humanity might try to do so? That our God thrives in places where men and women have tried to push Him out and silence His church? That our God isn’t just present in our schools, but in prisons, concentration camps, Roman amphitheaters and arenas, in the darkest persecutions and even in the greatest prosperity. God can’t be banned from earth. That battle was fought and won thousands of years ago. He is here to stay. He is Immanuel. He is God WITH us!
And that is what we need to tell our children.
We need to tell them the truth, that God IS in the public schools. That God IS in their classrooms and at their lunch tables and in their college dorm rooms and in their high school locker rooms.
God is there, fully present and fully able to sustain them as they live for Him.
The Bible isn’t banned; they carry the Word of God within them and they can speak words of truth and life anywhere they want to. Prayer isn’t prohibited; they can pray for themselves, for friends, for teachers, for anyone, anywhere at anytime and God will hear and will answer.
Friends, our children need to hear that God isn’t quivering in a corner, afraid or tied down. Our God, the God that took on flesh and came to us as a baby, is coming back as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He is not fearful; He is triumphant.
If we continue to act as though this world somehow regulates that truth, we make our God too small and if anything, the next generation needs to know how big and how loving and how present our God is. We can’t proclaim that in church on Sunday and then lament His weakness the rest of the week.
How much better to send them off to school or work or play with these words, “God is with you, everywhere you go. He is before you and behind you. He is on every side. You are not alone. You are NEVER alone. Know that you are loved so that you can love God and love others. Be WHO you are, all the time, everywhere, because God is present.”
God is in the public schools. I’ve seen Him.
God never got kicked out. He never removed His presence or His grace. No rule, regulation, law, or anything is strong enough for that. So let’s stop living a life of fear and regret. Let’s show our children that as long as we are His, He is here, present and active and ready to be Emmanuel to everyone who desires Him.
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- Kids in Worship
- Determining which Type of Family Ministry model works best for your church
- Discipleship in Intergenerational community
- Encouraging the continued conversation through Practical Discipleship at Home
- Seminars, Workshops, Coaching
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About this Blog
Refocus Ministry was started by Christina Embree, wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and church planter at Plowshares BIC. With years of experience in family ministry and children’s ministry, she is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. She recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in Ministry focusing on Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family, ChurchLeaders.com, and Seedbed
This is a wonderful and powerful message, and I see the Holy Spirit at its source! I’ll be preaching this important message from my pulpit, certainly!
So very true! And yes, Jared, a powerful message! I really appreciate how you have reminded us all who God truly is and put the world’s limited power in its place. The best thing about this approach is that our children can walk confidently in this world not giving their hearts to fear because God, the One who chooses to be with us is greater than he who is in this world.