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FAITH: God will never give up on you

Brad McKenzie

Being a parent is truly one of the greatest honors, blessings, and joyous privileges I have in my life! Like most parents, my wife and I feel our two children are some of the most incredible children to ever grace a family! I must admit so much of the wonderful existence of our kids comes at the amazing job my wife does in being their mother. In spite of me, and from the faithfulness of God and my amazing wife, our kids are blessed and are a blessing to others.

“Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.” Psalm 127:1, 3-4 NLT

Many have stated something I fully support, “The young are not our future; they are our present!”

We are more influenced by young people today than ever before.  Children and youth have voices because of our modern technology, and many find early in life causes they are passionate about and use their energy for good.

Sadly though, still there are many children and youth who have no voice, no passions, and no hope for the future.

For the last seven years, I have been blessed to be part of an organization called Kiwanis International.  Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time.

The motto of Kiwanis is, “Serving the Children of the World.”

Our vision statement is, “Kiwanis will be a positive influence in communities worldwide, so that one day, all children will wake up in communities that believe in them, nurture them, and provide the support they need to thrive!”

I do not want this column today to be a commercial for Kiwanis, although Orange has two wonderful Kiwanis clubs working to serve children.  What I hope to express is a celebration of children and the responsibility we must be intentional about giving our children the opportunity to thrive both now and in the days ahead.

I often say, “being a parent is not for the weak!”  Parenting is a full-on commitment requiring adults to be adults and communities to expect adults to take care of their kids.

Care is not just food, clothing, and shelter; it is also caring for the whole person, considering the need for mentoring, discipline, and emotional health.  No parent is perfect, but every parent is responsible for the children the Lord has put into their care.

Our kids are more resilient than we realize, they will accept our faults more quickly than we accept theirs.  The key to parenting is to seek the Lord for guidance, help, and foundation and to NEVER give up!

This weekend, we are celebrating the birth of our oldest child.  She has grown to be an extremely talented, compassionate, and passionate leader, friend, daughter, and follower of Christ.

My wife and I discuss so often of our greatest desire for our kids is they grow up and leave us knowing and following Jesus Christ.  As well we want them to always remember we are proud of them, we believe in them, we love them and there is nothing they can do to change these facts!

I would like to wish my amazing baby girl a very happy birthday, mom, your bother, and I love you very much and are so glad you are in our lives!  Our kids need us more than ever.  We must never give up and we must continue to fulfill our responsibility, even if the world around us does not!

God will never give up on you, and His love for you is a love that desires to see you THRIVE!

That is Good News!

Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.