Monthly Archives: October 2017

D6 and the Shema

The Second Law – for those about to enter into the Promised Land finally; Moses gives them the reminder of the Law/Torah given to him on Mount Sinai some 40 years earlier. The Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 has been adopted by Dr. Ron Hunter at Random House publishing to develop a curriculum and ministry focus called D6. Our church has adopted the D6 philosophy of developing families into disciple-makers of their own homes. I am not sure of Dr. Hunters reasoning but ours came as a result of a year-long community and church evaluation and strategic plan process. We found that our community was lacking in “role models for boys and girls.” [Their words] In an effort to help our community and develop boys and girls into their God-designed gender role we shifted our ministry from AWANA to Royal Ambassadors/Girls In Action. Both of these programs are good at what they do – develop young people spiritually. Our switch came about because we felt the children need to have role models and hands on instruction on being a boy or a girl – AWANA didn’t give this to us; the children were all lumped together without any real identity. This shift in focus and ministry program has enabled the family to join together intentionally in devotions about the same bible study lesson taught on Sundays. THe RA’s/GA’s has brought together older men and women to teach our young kids some basic life skills like using tools, building things, cooking and sewing. While there may be some to think that this is stereotypical gender bias; we find that it is a return to God’s design for male and female.

In the Shema, the people are reminded to love the LORD God, the ONLY GOD, with all their strength, heart and might. This admonition is repeated in Matthew 22:37-38 by Jesus. Our first priority is loving the Lord with all that we are; Jesus extended the love in action command to love others as we love ourselves.

Ron Hunter and D6 have built their philosophy on returning parents with the responsibility to raise their children and teach them of God and spiritual life. D6 has a motto – 1/168 isn’t enough. The Church cannot do in one hour out of 168 for the week what is necessary for proper spiritual development.  The Shema continues in its command to Israel [and Parents] to TEACH YOUR CHILDREN – vs 6. Before we can teach, we must have these principles on our own heart – no more drop off religion Parents!!

Teach your sons and daughters [in specific situations]; when you sit down with them in the house; when you are walking together; when you lie down at night; when you get up in the morning. Parents have been commanded and challenged to disciple their own children. SO many years the Church has been seen as the spiritual mentors for our children – the church was meant to be an extension of the home and the home an extension of the Church. These two were meant to be complimentary, But in the last 25 years the Church and Home have been in competition with each other. Every Home a church and every church a home.

I am a fan of D6 and their philosophy of returning the obligation to the parents for raising spiritual young people. One thing about D6 and Ron Hunter, the responsibility isn’t just flung back on the parents with a guilt trip about not doing anything. There is a load of materials available to assist parents and churches get this right. The old saying “As the family goes, so goes the country; rings true more today that any other time in our society.

Heartland Baptist made the ministerial switch from doing church to be the church that families need. We are all about helping the families; but we are not about doing it all for them. This means as a church we have intentionally come along side parents to enable them to accomplish the task outlined in Deuteronomy 6. The Church Equips for ministry; moms and dads are the front line disciple makers. Our desire is to help them be successful.

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History 101

readings from Deuteronomy 1-5; Moses is talking to a New Generation of Israelites; the previous generation died in the wilderness because of their disobedience. These then are the children of those who failed to go into The Promised Land.  Think about for a minute – everyone above the age of 20 years old died in the Wilderness when they could have enjoyed forty years in the Promised Land! Needless to say, the children would “get in” where the parents refused to go. Moses plays the role of educator in these chapters. Moses begins with the journey to Mount Sinai not the deliverance from Egypt. Interesting since the focus of their parents was always to return to Egypt. Moses doesn’t spend a lot of time with the rebellious events of their parents, but quickly tells them [and repeatedly] about the statutes, commands,  judgments and ordinances. The Law is repeated, hence the name Deuteronomy = Second Law. While 40 years has passed, the desires and Laws of the Promised Land did not change. The Laws Moses stipulated were for the necessary conquest and success in the Promised Land. The New Israel were to be a people who observed the Law of God and served Him only. Moses even recounts to them why he is not going with them – his own disobedience for striking the rock.

Moses begins telling them of the conquests on the East side of Jordan. There are three tribes that decided to live on the wrong side of the river – Reubenites, Gadites and 1/2 tribe of Manasseh. This is interesting because we are reminded of the Gadarenes story of the Lunatic man with demons. The district of Decapolis  – sometimes called Gersanes. Anyway the area is on the Est side of the Sea of Galilee; when the demons were cast out of the man, they went into the herd of pigs – now how far had the tribe of Gad fallen, wrong side of the river, not in the Promise Land and herding pigs!

The victories over King of Sihon and King of Bashan are recalled, the need was for the nation of Israel to get into position for crossing over Jordan and occupying the Land. Moses reiterates the necessity to obey God and His Law – reminder of the statutes and Law are culminated in recounting the 10 Commandments. Moses was there, got the Law, and was passing on first hand that which Yahweh had written. I found it interesting that the Commands contain four verses about the keeping of the Sabbath. Great emphasis on Rest for all things, man, animals, slaves, fields etc.

Why the history lesson? As people we forget what happened in the past – and so we often times repeat the same errors. Here I think Moses was “charging up” the people to follow Joshua. He was giving them a pep rally of sorts. Being reminded of how their parents refused to go into the Land, should spur them on to take the Land God had already said was theirs.

I think of today with so many churches declining, dying or plateaued; could it be that they are a generation that will not move into the Promised Land of milk and honey that God had said was theirs for the taking? Do churches get comfortable? Yes, after a period of time, the urgency to evangelize and impact the community decreases because, the church has a building, people and money so the church becomes an end unto itself. While The Parents were anything but comfortable in the Wilderness, they tolerated the conditions of daily manna and quail over going and doing the Will of God.  Does a church have to lose a generation of people before they will finally do what the Lord told them to do in the first place? How many church stare “looking over Jordan” when they could be wading through the waters to the other side?

History – we all have one, most of them are not very favorable. I find that we can ether relive history or make a New Story; which do you want to do?

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