Grace Baptist Church Decatur, IL




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Making Arrows out of Sticks

Ps. 127



Think w/ me:  Does the Lord build every house? (v. 1)

                        Are all parents happy? (v. 5)

The point here is not quantity, but quality.

        (Quantity depends upon the size of YOUR quiver)

This passage says that children are the heritage of the Lord…but, does it say that children are arrows?  Not necessarily!


Children are not born as straight arrows—they are born as crooked twigs!  (sin nature)

Ps. 51

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Rom. 5    (children of Adam)  By one man sin entered...and death passed upon all men.


And so, our mandate from God, is to take crooked twigs and to somehow form it and fashion it into a true, straight, polished arrow.


7 rules for making arrows out of sticks:


1.               Start early

v. 4  “of their youth”

Trust factor—put a toddler up on the cabinet, tell them to jump, and w/ no hesitation they will jump right into your arms.  This is the trust factor!  The older we get, the more cynical we get.  This is the time to instill trust.


Memory factor—much easier to memorize when young.  (are your kids like our oldest was and is: Able to recite back entire books you’ve read or videos they’ve watched?)

        Did you know there are certain chemicals that the brain releases only from age birth thru 5?  They will never, for the rest of your life be released again.  Science says they are extremely important in the learning of language.  Missionary kids pick up the language before their parents!

(scripture memorization easier than for adults, and will last longer)


I’m losing my memory already (Sr. moments:  some of you are even older than me!)

Joke—lady said to husband, I’m losing my mind/1/2 way up stairs, can’t remember if going up or down/1 foot in tub—getting’ in or out/he said, hope I never get like that, knock on wood, who’s at the door?!


Humility Factor—Jesus said you can only be saved w/ the faith of a child.  A child has not yet learned to be proud, or arrogant.  A child is humble.  And even an adult has to humble himself to be saved.

        A child is soft and moldable when young, but the longer you wait, the harder the clay gets.


Curiosity Factor—Children are so curious.  What is their #1 question they ask?  “Why!”

        “where are we going?”/Springfield/why?/that’s where Lincoln’s old house is/who’s Lincoln?/why did he live there?/ “he just did”/where’s springfield?/35 miles w. on 72/oh, ok…what’s 72?


We should strive to be patient w/ their curiosity, because soon they won’t be curious any more.


All human beings are born w/ an innate desire to answer 3 questions:

Where did I come from?

Why am I here?

Where am I going?


If we don’t answer the children’s questions, someone else will! (evolutionist will be happy to answer/secular humanist/cults)


1.               start early


2.               be creative

Deut. 6 says when to teach your children the Bible. “when you’re walking/standing/sitting/lying down”… “paste it to your forehead, and on the jam of each doorway they will walk thru!”


3.               work for character

the greatest needs in our society today are character and integrity.

Examine any walk of life: politicians, athletes, factory workers, health professionals, white collar, blue collar…no collar!…priests, ministers, evangelists:  it’s not hard to find people of low character in any walk of life.


We need to teach this next generation that what’s most important is not your achievement, but your character.  It's not the destination so much as the journey...the path you are on.  Our goal this year shouldn't be winning an election as much as winning the favor of God!


Ill.—I'd rather my child bring home a report card w/ honest C’s, than dishonest A’s…perhaps one day they’d make an honest dime, rather than a dishonest dollar!

Ill.—a little boy named James ran up to his dad and said, I’ve got an extra nickel!/where’d ya get it?/on the trolley, the driver forgot to take it, so I can ride tomorrow for free!…with great disappointment on his face, his father said, today, son, you traded your integrity for a nickel.


James never forgot it, and James Cash Penney went on to build a world empire in retail based on principles of character and integrity.


4.               Set limits

In the OT, Eli, the temple priest, had 2 evil sons.  They seduced women at the temple where he served.  They stole people’s sacrifices right off the altar, and would eat them!

And I Sam. 3 says,

his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.


Set limits!  Be the boss!  Restrain them!  Take charge!


I used to go to Wal-Mart, and see that spoiled brat in line, throwing his temper tantrum, and say, “I’d like to get a hold of that child for 5 minutes!”/now, “parents”!


Children need limits…it makes them feel secure, to know their boundaries.

“my children push the limits!”

Yes!  That’s right!  Now you get it.  They push and test the limits, hoping you’ll pass the test!  And when you pass, they gain a sense of security.  “dad is consistent”… “mom means what she says.”

        The same is true for your teenager.  If they have no limits placed on them, they feel unloved and unsecure (no matter what they say at the time).


To place no limitations on a child implies that they have been rejected, and that you don’t care.

Ill.—our kids would approach a nick-nack, when they were smaller, we'd say “no!”/several times, perhaps…and I noticed, if we didn’t say no, they’ll walk up to it, reach out their hand, and then look at us!  They’re waiting for our response!


5.               Assign responsibility

If you really want to make arrows out of sticks…don’t give them everything…teach them there’s a connection between work and reward…that life is not about gifts.

“too many people are itching for things they’re not willing to scratch for”


As a kid, I got $10 for mowing the lawn, but if I mowed ½ of the lawn, did I get $5?  Think again!  (we live in a nation of quitters)

Make sure your kids finish what they start.  Teach them to be independent.  "But, what if they move away?"  You might run them off yourself if they lose respect for you!

Ill.—at 15, I wanted to drive/ “dad, can I get my license and a car?”/sure/how do I pay for it?/I don’t know…etc.


6.               Have fun

Make home a happy place/let them see you laugh (even at yourself)/let them see you have joy, even in the hard times.


It's a riot at our house, and always has been.  When they were smaller the neighbors must've thought we were nuts, chasing them around in circles, since they were too short to be seen in the windows, it just looked like Kimberly and I were chasing each other around!


7.               Add God

Add Him to the family/teach children that He’s real, by making Him a part of the home/every activity, everything you do.

v. 1  except the Lord build the house…


Let them see you the same at home as at church.  Let them see you trusting Him to meet that financial need, not pulling out the plastic to solve the problem/work out marital differences kindly, orderly, quickly, maturely/turning to prayer in crisis, not retreating to the TV in silence/…and let them hear positive words about others, and nothing else (all negative behind closed doors)


Kimberly and I grew up in pastor’s homes believing the ministry is nothing less than 100% wonderful, all the time.  Now we know, that’s not the case.  May our children never learn about the nasty from us!



Pastor Mark McVeigh had 3 sons/baseball fans/Atlanta Braves/ (supposedly they were saved!)/they always said, if the Braves make the world series someday, we’re going!/that year it happened/excited!/let’s get tickets!/none left/drove to Atlanta, got hotel/planned to get up early and stand out front of stadium, and find someone who’s wanting to sell theirs/there’s always someone like that/saw in paper it’s illegal to sell a ticket for more than face value/oh, no/rationalized that law was that it’s wrong to sell ticket, not buy it/Bro. Mark struggled w/ that all night/next morning, shared his heart/…asked God for face value sale/never happens/man saw them/was upper mgmt./escorted to free seats/in player’s family section/gave souvenirs/Bro. Mark’s boys saw God working for real!



All Sermons and Slideshow Presentations Copyright Jerry Shirley and Grace Notes Ministries unless otherwise credited.