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Practice what you preach, minister admonishes parents

ATLANTA (BP)–Parents must structure their families around biblical principles if they expect to survive as family units, a minister, husband and father told 100 parents and youth leaders Feb. 14.
“The family’s ability to withstand the world’s destructive pressure is directly related to the position of authority Christ has in your household,” Pennon Lockhart said during a True Love Waits conference at Greenforest Community Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta. Lockhart, minister at New Life Church in College Park, Ga., referenced several books during his seminar, but his main text was the Bible.
The conference was held in conjunction with the annual True Love Waits Goes Campus campaign, sponsored by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Launched on Valentine’s Day 1997 and held again Feb. 13, the campaign gives teens who make a pledge to sexual abstinence the opportunity to display their commitment cards at school.
“We live in a world that destroys families,” Lockhart said, listing as family enemies materialism, divorce, homosexuality, humanism, media messages about what should be glorified, public education without biblical foundations and drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse.
Using Ephesians 4 as a text, Lockhart said parents need to be honest with their children, and honesty includes practicing what you preach.
“No matter how good the content of our verbal lessons, our children will learn primarily from the way we live. You say you drink, but you don’t want your children to drink. It doesn’t work that way,” Lockhart said.
“Your actions and lifestyles are really key,” including the parents’ example in their marriage relationship. “We’re taught that this (sexuality) is for husband and wife. God’s model is the only one that’s not flawed,” Lockhart said.
By demonstrating a faithful, loving commitment to each other, parents “illustrate the divine” for their children, he said.
Children will get false cues from the world and sometimes the church, Lockhart said, noting that one area where the church is at fault is asking a sports or television star who has recently confessed Christ as Savior to talk to youth. That person is a babe in Christ and needs to mature before he becomes a spokesperson for the gospel, Lockhart said. Children will look up to those superstars, but they need positive, daily examples from their parents, he added.
Youth also need reality checks when it comes to superstars.
“Of a million youth who want to be Michael Jordan, half won’t finish school,” Lockhart said.
Of the youth who graduate from high school and play basketball in college, only nine or 10 of that million will be professional players, and half of them won’t be starters.
“They have a better chance of being an aeronautical engineer,” Lockhart said.
The Ephesians passage also admonishes Christians to refrain from sinning in anger and to settle disputes quickly. “You can express displeasure with a given activity, but there are limits on how far you can go,” he said.
From verse 29, Lockhart said parents need to speak to their children with affirmation. “To condemn them creates a track in the child’s mind. It programs them” to think negatively about themselves, he said.
The biblical picture of family is built on love, Lockhart said.
“Love is something you do, and something you do consistently. When you make mistakes, go back and correct them. Love never fails. Love abides.”
Created in April 1993 by Sunday School Board officials, True Love Waits is an international campaign that challenges teenagers and college students to remain sexually abstinent until marriage.
On April 14, True Love Waits leaders are expected to deliver the results of the latest campaign effort, True Love Waits Goes Campus, to state and national government leaders. Officials are hoping to have two figures — those who participated in the latest campaign and those who have signed abstinence pledges since the movement was created in 1993. Individuals who have signed abstinence pledges in the past and schools, churches or clubs that participated in the Goes Campus event this year are asked to fax their reports to (615) 251-2830, send them via e-mail to [email protected], or issue them electronically through an on-line reporting mechanism at www.bssb.com/tlwbase.htm. For more information, call 1-800-LUV WAIT.

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  • Sarah Zimmerman