Q: How did the idea from this book come about?
A: Well, the Lord put it on our hearts. At first I thought, "Really? Another parenting book? Aren't there enough of them already out there?" But then He showed me that my son and I were to jointly write it, sharing our perspectives in the different seasons of our lives—with pictures.
That's when I began to see the uniqueness of the book, and that it would be different than most parenting books. It's a story about a father and a son much like the gospels are the story of our heavenly Father and His Son. It's a journey of a father's relationship with his son from the womb to the time of his young adulthood and departure from home.
Q. What are some of the key themes in the book?
A: I think the one critical point that is woven throughout the book is the importance of your children having their own relationship with the Lord. Their parents' God has to become their own. And there are some key factors that contribute to that. One is to cultivate your children's spiritual appetite from a very young age when they are most susceptible and receptive, and help establish them in the fear of the Lord.
I believe the fear of the Lord to be the key ingredient that separates church-wise kids from those who have a passion for the Lord. There's a prophetic Scripture in the Old Testament that refers to Jesus learning the fear of the Lord when He began to eat cheese/butter and honey (Is. 7:14-16). In other words, by the time a child is a toddler he is able to eat these things, so that must mean Jesus learned the fear of the Lord at a very tender age. So we need to start shaping the spirits of our children when they are very young.
Q: What kind of contributions does your son make in the book?
A: He shares from his own perspective of how he processed the example and training we gave him, as well as how he overcame some critical moments when his faith was challenged. For example, after being home schooled and then being in a Christian school for most of his childhood years, our son Daniel shares his public high school experience and how he dealt with the awkwardness of relating to other teens without God—being in the world but not of it, which frankly is the greatest challenge for Christian children.
My personal favorite chapter in the whole book is, "Into The Lion's Den," where Daniel shares these things.
Q: What would you say to parents who are guilt-ridden and have regrets about falling short in raising their children in the ways of the Lord?
A: I'm glad you asked that question. In the book I include two chapters on that very thing. King David failed as a father but because of his love for God and the covenant he had with God, mercy prevailed in the lives of David's sons. They suffered consequences for their sin and disobedience, but for David's sake, God never abandoned them.
Scripture teaches us that one righteous generation can store up mercy for the ensuing generations to come.
One chapter in the book includes testimonies from four different couples who share hope-filled stories of their wayward children and how they dealt with difficult moments in their lives. A couple of them are still in the fight and have yet to see the manifestation of their faith, but they share candidly how they are dealing with it.
I mean, what do you say to godly Christian parents whose son comes home from college as a homosexual, or a daughter who is pregnant out of wedlock, or a son who is on drugs? These were some of the circumstances these parents found themselves in, and they bare their souls in sharing their experiences to help encourage other parents who may find themselves in the same situation.
Q: We know that we are living in a time of great darkness and there are so many temptations out there for young people today, especially teenagers. What are you seeing in the church world today in regards to raising our children in God's ways? Are parents and pastors of churches succeeding or failing?
A: Well, I believe we're getting mixed results. Thank God for all the on-fire Christian kids we see in families and in many of our churches and youth groups today. But my concern is with the lukewarmness we are also seeing in many of them. They've learned to be church-wise without possessing a real intimate knowledge of the Lord. But the same thing could be said about adults. If the parents are that way, then of course, their children by sheer example and association will become that way also. So it starts with the parents.
Both parents' and pastors' radical faith will communicate more to our children than a multitude of sermons and nice talks. Our message and lifestyle need to communicate much more than a faith that is simply nice, does good, and ruffles no feathers. So many church teens only possess a nebulous belief in God, and yet recent statistics show an increase in youth passion to really make a difference in the world. We have to make sure that the brand of Christianity that we are passing on to our children inspires passion in them.
When Jesus becomes real to them, everything will change.
Q: What would you say to young Christian parents out there who worry about their kids falling away from the faith?
A: They don't have to. If we as parents want our children to walk with God, modeling our own relationship with God is an absolute must. We can pray for our children to know God, but how we live our own lives as parents is a part of God's plan and His answering that prayer. Our kids need to see and experience Christ in their midst. And how will they? God's plan is that they would see Christ in their parents, in much the same way that the disciples of Jesus saw the heavenly Father in Him.
That is the reason I can say with utmost confidence that the greatest act of love we can offer our children is to walk with God and put Him first in our lives. There is no greater gift we can give our children.
Bert Farias and his wife, Carolyn, graduated from Rhema Bible Training Center and are the founders of Holy Fire Ministries, a ministry committed to carrying the spirit of revival to the church and the nations. Before founding this ministry, they served as missionaries in West Africa for nearly a decade with an organization called Living Word Missions. For more information or to order the book, visit their website, holy-fire.org.