I think that most people who have attended Southland for any amount of time understand what we mean when we talk about the need for personal spiritual renewal. In fact, people often find that once they realize their need for renewal, they realize they have been longing for it all along. I also think that most can understand that when a group of individuals work towards renewal in their personal lives, that the whole group experiences renewal. It has been so amazing, humbling and often fun to grow together in our real-time adventure with Jesus. And I do mean fun! It’s a horrible experience to be stuck in anger, sin, bitterness, self-loathing and anxiety. So while the process of beginning renewal, with its confession and repentance, may be difficult; it is amazing when we experience even the smallest glimmer of light in those dark times of our lives. Life with Jesus takes on new meaning when we experience spiritual renewal – it actually becomes fun to be a Christian.
Although we have so much more to learn (an eternity of renewal awaits us one day) we are actually getting pretty good at confession, studying God’s Word, listening prayer and the other renewal practices. So why is it necessary to have yet another place (this blog) to read and think about them? The answer is simple. Parents are meant to be the primary agents of spiritual renewal in their families and often they don’t know how to bring it into their home. What does it mean for a young child to have Jesus as his functional Lord? How do we teaching listening prayer to children? Are there any real life examples of families who have experience renewal or struggled to find it?
It’s one thing to go to a Set Free! Retreat and experience renewal, as an adult, for yourself, it is quite another thing to apply those principles at home. Enter “The Renewed Family” blog. As a staff we desperately want to have a place to share the things the Lord is showing us, as well as some of the amazing testimonies we get to hear (which few others get to), in small bite-size articles that you can do something with today.
This is different from a parenting seminar or message series where you will hopefully be inspired, but remember only a small percentage of it later. We want the articles here to help you to implement a strategy or ask the Lord a question as soon as you finish reading.
On the other hand we also want to help de-spiritualize some of the unrealistic spiritual expectations we hear about and lift the burden of performance off the backs of parents. There must be a way to teach your kids to do listening prayer without placing unworkable expectations on their shoulders! There are good healthy limits to what we can and can’t expect of our children and our desire is that renewal would be within the reach of any family who desires it.
Finally, the staff who will be contributing to the blog will be the first to say that we aren’t experts and we don’t have perfect families. (Oh my word! If I could only publish some of the things my kids have done!) However we do think about renewal a lot and hopefully some insights will spark new ideas for your family. And of course, we invite you right into the conversation on each and every post through the comments section.
Can you just imagine what might happen if Church Renewal took root in our homes? Oh what an amazing thing that would be!
“Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (HCSB)