Let the children come to Jesus

Sixty-two college students, 48 inner-city Chicago kids and I went to camp in Michigan. At the Big Brother Big Sister program camp, the opportunities to share Jesus with kids are worth losing sleep and getting dirty for. At camp, the Lord Jesus taught me, by full immersion, more of what it looks like to parent.


At camp when 10-year-old Jumar had to sit out from game time, I opened a window to teach about God’s mercy. Sitting on the sidelines, I asked him, “Jumar, do you know what mercy means?” He shook his head no. “When we give our lives to Jesus, God doesn’t give us what we deserve. For breaking His Law, we deserve Hell. Instead, He gives us life with Jesus here on earth and forever—that’s mercy.” I let Jumar get back in the game five minutes early. With eyes aglow, Jumar said, “That’s mercy.”

According to 1 Thessalonians 5:6 and 1 Peter 5:8, we’re not to remain spiritual babes but to become self-controlled and alert. Yet Jesus commands us in Matthew 18:1-5 to be like children in the simplicity and unwavering nature of our faith. When you explain the Gospel to a child, you’re privileged to boil it down to its most basic truth. Jumar left me reveling anew in the marvelous beauty of the Gospel of God’s mercy toward us. Let the children come to Jesus. Be their guide to Him.

As you’re learning to parent, remember kids don’t need the company of another goofball who’s just like them. They need the companionship of Jesus. Don’t descend all the way to a childish level. Call children up to a higher level. Teach, train, and equip them. Make the most of every opportunity with them. For instance, during the camp scavenger hunt, big and little siblings paired up and walked around the grounds, and I talked with Jumar about his relationship with Jesus, what he believes, and what he’s living for.

At camp, I didn’t bounce off the walls, but I did compliment the children, encouraged their strengths, caught them doing right, urged them to be polite, disciplined them when disobedient, and talked about Jesus constantly. When camp buses dropped us back at Moody, one of the younger boys, named Robert, called, “I want Marcus to walk me home. He’s fun!”

I thought, “No, pal, Marcus isn’t particularly fun. He’s tired, but he is learning to love you from the deepest part of his heart with love that he’s first received from his Savior.” In teaching me to practice unconditional love, Jesus was showing me the heart of parenting.

I’ve been reminded that if you enter a romantic relationship, you must be prepared to become married. Acknowledge also that marriage usually produces children. It’s the Lord’s design. If God’s will for you includes a family, you may be a parent sooner than you think. If His will for you includes no biological kids, you’re in the company of men like Paul and Jesus (1 Th. 2:7; Jn. 13:33). Raise and nurture spiritual children by parenting those younger in the faith as evidenced in 1 Timothy 1:2 and Titus 1:4. Let’s ready ourselves now by studying biblical parenting and sharing the Gospel with children.

Five reasons we’re committed to purity

We wait for acceptance letters, job postings, and a baby’s first word. I’ve been waiting and trusting Jesus for a life partner. It was when I learned to rest that He brought me my Eve (Gn. 2:21-22). 


As we prepare for marriage, she and I have established physical boundaries for our purity. We want to share five reasons that we’re committed to upholding these. No matter where you find yourself in this journey of life and love, we pray these underpinning principles will help you.

First, the marriage covenant is the divinely designed context for sexual intimacy. The Lord Jesus created sex to deeply unite husband and wife and to produce children (Jn. 1:3). Children are a reward from the LORD (Ps. 127:3). The lifelong commitment of marriage liberates a couple to be utterly intimate and to make babies. Wedding vows promise future offspring the protection of a father and mother. Jesus commands we wait. His way is the best way.

Second, we are here on this earth to minister the Gospel to unbelievers. The Lord Jesus left His followers with a clear commission to make Him known. His pure Gospel flows most freely from a clean vessel. We preach in the open air that Jesus considers lust adultery in the heart (Mt. 5:28). We share in witnessing conversations that we must repent and trust Christ. Hence, we must also live unadulterated lives of repentance.

Third, our lifestyle sets an example for believers (1 Tim. 4:12). Over the course of our life together, we will influence multitudes. Some look up to us. I’m the oldest sibling of four. My sisters and brother expect me to model Biblical dating for them. Others just notice in passing. We want our example of pure love to point onlookers to Jesus.

Fourth, we refuse to show disdain for God’s grace and mercy. When we least expected it, Jesus graciously bound our hearts together. He’s mercifully protected us thus far. He has poured boundless favor on us through our relationship. He’s revealed to me afresh the passion He has for His Bride—His sacrificial love for the Church. Refusing to wait for intimacy would spit in the face of what He is doing.

Fifth, we honor one another’s convictions. We prayed and fasted together. We drafted physical boundaries separately. When we met to share, whoever had the higher standard set the bar. Guarding each other’s hearts and consciences is an utmost priority. We must be unhindered as we run this race (Heb. 12:1).

Before you enlist to hold us accountable, allow me to issue a challenge. As you wait upon the LORD, consider your personal standards. Have you defined what you will and won’t do? Do you know what foundation your convictions rest upon? Remember it is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Gal. 5:1). If we’ve been freed from sin, we live in it no longer (Rom. 6). I pray our reasons will embolden you in your pursuit of purity. Holiness is His way. As we surrender to Jesus, His Spirit empowers us to walk as He did.