I was listening to Tim Tebow field questions from reporters after their decisive victory at the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day. He made it very clear that he is a follower of Christ, a Godly young man, and I found myself thinking, "I hope I can raise a Godly young man, a true follower of Christ." We are Pastors, and the last thing I would want is to raise children who know how to play the church game but who do not really know Jesus in their hearts.
I needed to think this through. That meant pray. My thinking and my praying are often one and the same. Soon, some thoughts from the Lord began to course through my mind, one of them being a quote I had read from William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, many years ago. He said that you must come to the conclusion that you yourself are what you want your children to become. Eventually, your children will do and say and be what you truly are. Don't expect your children to put the things of God first in their lives if you do not, and this means both parents, as the children will often excuse their own sinfulness by comparing themselves to the less obedient parent. It is most important that your walk with God and obedience to Him be sincere, complete, and withholding nothing.
Do your children see you reading your Bible? Do they hear you singing worship songs to the Lord? Do they hear you telling white lies over a phone conversation? Or do they see genuine faith and obedience in you?
Don't expect your youth pastor to get your children saved. It is your job to lead them to Christ. It is Father and Mother's job to train them in and teach to them the things of God, with Father leading the way. Feel inadequate? Good! You can rely on the grace of God, and most importantly, you can allow your children to see that you yourself are being diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
Read a children's story bible with them. Ask questions about the story. Probe their hearts, and yours. Be genuine in your walk with Jesus. Let them see you read, pray, and repent.
Be sure that what you hide, they will see, and if they see any hypocrisy in you, they will despise the Lord you are hoping they will serve. You are their key. Make sure you open the door and walk in with them.
Two good story bibles that my husband and I have learned much from as we have read with our children:
Egermeier's Bible Story Book, Standard Edition with Bible Study Questions, The Warner Press. We purchased at sonlight.com. Especially good for the younger children, but we are enjoying it immensely!
The Child's Story Bible, Catherine F. Vos, Eerdmans Publishing. We purchased at veritaspress.com
who says about this book: "Originally published in 1943, this is a classic story Bible. Mrs. Vos' husband was a professor of theology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids. After years of telling these stories to her children, as they were told to her while a child, she decided to write them down. This is the most accurate children's story Bible you will find." We found it appealing for middle school and even high school age as it avoids cutesy wording and gets right to the spiritual point of things.