Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The 10/40 Window...Or is it the 4 - 14 Window?

It's sad to admit, but until recently I'd never heard of the 10/40 window. As a Christian, this grieves me because frankly, I should have. What is it, you ask? The 10/40 Window is an area of the world that contains the largest population of non-Christians in the world. The area extends from 10 degrees to 40 degrees North of the equator, and stretches from North Africa across to China.

Upon learning more about his region, my heart has been burdened for this part of the world. The Perspectives Course that Reid and I are completing next week has postured our hearts for our lives to be more and more about God's missional work.

One of the speakers pointed out, "The Bible is not the basis for missions, but missions is the basis of the Bible because our God is a missional God...sending his own son for us!" (Little did I know that even our adoption t-shirt would be a reminder of this!)

The speaker last night, Mike Pollard, delivered a challenging talk and even went so far as to say, "If people don't love missions, it's a spiritual problem!" After listing the reasons not to love missions - selfishness, ignorance, materialism, inconvenience, etc... I had to agree. Ouch!

Then Mr. Pollard listed the four different ways we could involve ourselves with missions -
1.) Going - short-term or long-term
2.) Sending - offering financial support to make it happen
3.) Welcoming - caring for missionaries on the field and upon returning home
4.) Mobilizing - multiplying the missionaries for Christ

He quoted John Piper to say, ""Go, send, or disobey." To which I would add another John Piper quote, "Missions is the overflow of our delight in God because missions is the overflow of God's delight in being God."

When Mike spoke of Mobilizing, he said the most important people to mobilize are our children! THE 4-14 WINDOW! Between the ages of 4 - 14 is when most people choose to live for Christ. This is the most valuable time to teach our children about the God of the universe - only 10 short years! It is this same age range where many determine their choice to live missional lives for Him as well! What a short amount of time! Reid and I realized that THIS IS WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO WITH OUR BOYS! Mobilizing them for Christ! Parents - RISE UP! Train your children by living it out yourselves! Children need to see that it is important to you, and not simply something that is discussed on Sunday mornings!

Whenever I read Mason's blog, I am awe-struck that he "gets it!" As a 13 year old! Whoa! Oh, how I wish I'd understood at his age. Here I am, nearly 41 years old, finally clearly recognizing the purpose for my short breath of life! Forgive me Lord for the wasted time! My life is a vapor!

God has been sweet to let me also clearly recognize that Reid and I have intentionally exposed our children to each of these four aspects for missionary hearts:
1.) Going - taking them on our first Family Mission trip last summer to Club 180, and going again in a few months! Driving downtown for the Water Angels service to the homeless! Going doesn't have to be far from home!
2.) Sending - just this week, supporting Uncle Adam in his 100 mile bike ride for Blood Water Missions where each of the boys gave their own money. Supporting and praying for missionaries as we read their newsletters at our kitchen table during dinner.
3.) Welcoming - creating care-packages and mailing them to missionaries overseas. We have been privileged that relationships have sprouted from this effort of encouragement. Having the boys write letters to missionaries or others needing encouragement.
4.)Mobilizing - finally recognizing that all of the above is multiplying missionaries for Christ! How often our boys challenge Reid and me in our complacency! They live for Christ NOW!

This sense of urgency is unshakable. I must live it all and give it all for the one who gave it all for me! Everything.

The verse Reid and I have prayed for our boys has been Psalm 144:12, "Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants, And our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace." (Perhaps a daughter will come through this adoption, who knows? Actually, God knows, but we are still unclear.)

A few weeks ago, my friend Kristie posted the following on her blog. She copied it from another blog, but it's a challenge for us as parents to mobilize our children. Kristie also challenged the women of our church with this at our women's retreat this past weekend.

I'm seeing our prayer lived out as we are beginning to see our sons in their youth to be as grown up plants. I pray as you read, The Greenhouse Effect, you will have the same vision to mobilize your own "4-14 Window" children.
In a greenhouse, a seed is planted.It is nurtured under the right temperature.It's given the correct amount of light, until a seed cover pops off and a tiny plant emerges....Healthy, strong and growing under the influence of the house it is in.The only problem is the greenhouse has not prepared the plant for adversity.In our community I see so many kids, my own included, that are raised in the greenhouse conditions.Perfect amount of schooling. Perfect amount of socializing. Perfect amount of church. Perfect amount of friends and only "like minded friends".We pay for our kids to go to the best violin teachers, voice teachers, piano teachers.Then they will, Lord willing, get married to someone who has been raised in a greenhouse right down the road under the same perfect conditions.They start their own greenhouse and are happy.Of course, they're happy. Their whole life has been about being comfortable in their greenhouse.My heart breaks when I think about all the trouble we go through raising our kids in the right conditions, teaching them Bible verses, making sure they know all the right truths. BUT...They never feel inclined to make a difference in the world.Sometimes it is lack of passion.Sometimes it is lack of knowledge that there is a lost and dying world right outside their greenhouse. But more often, it is our fault as parents. We are passing down our laziness. We struggle to LIVE out our faith so our kids will struggle. Yes, they will thrive in our greenhouse and most of them will pass on a great greenhouse life to their children, but we have to pass on a love for ALL of God's people. We have to be willing to stand with our children and help a lost world. We have to pass down a passion for the orphans of this world, the homeless and the widows.Yes, we have to grow strong plants for the next generation but we cannot forget the passion of Christ. Teaching our children to love and be keepers of the home is what I am about, but I also want them to be about the orphans and the needy that are NOT growing in a greenhouse. I can only teach that when I come out of the greenhouse and go with my children into the battlefield. It is all in vain if we raise up an army and our army is never sent to the battlefield but only to the greenhouse next door.

1 comment:

reid said...

What a beautiful and well stated post. I love you Robin.
How interesting that you thought of Psa 144, God reminded me of the same thing yesterday. Read it here.