Paul Tripp calls it “apple-stapling.”
Apple-stapling occurs when you obey the rules so that you will look good, but the fruit is fake.
Elyse Fitzpatrick says that, to her great regret, that without realizing it, apple-stapling is how she mothered. Her daughter won “Miss Christian Character” in elementary school — but she didn’t know the Lord.
Christianity, unlike the world religions, is organic. We belong to a living God who tells us if we abide in Him, we will bear much fruit.
I too can staple. I can go through the motions in my quiet time so I feel good about myself, yet I am not abiding. I can be in church and yet not be worshipping and receiving. I can act loving on the outside yet be seething on the inside.
How do we mother and mentor and personally live so that we and the next generation abides rather than staples?
My children are grown, and I too have regrets that I could have done so much better. I did teach them, and yet I often lacked grace, that great love of God flowing from me to them. This is what Steve had. I want to show you a video that Anne had made for her wedding reception, remembering her dad.
To explain a bit of what you are going to see, much of it is the day Anne came to us from an orphanage in Korea, flying in with many babies, to adoptive parents waiting in the Des Moines airport. I, with a bad perm, was so nervous. Steve was so focused on loving her — and we finally warmed her up in the hotel room when John (our teenage son) bonked her on the head with a stuffed rabbit and the game was on. You’ll see scenes from our family Sunday School class where Steve is singing with Anne and Sally the song “I am the body of Christ.” (He’s the heart.) You’ll also see scenes at our cabin when our eldest J. R., was making a silly “family work-out video” and Rita, the young wife from Nepal is on Sally’s back. (Rita died of cancer at 23) What I hope you catch all the way through is the love and the grace and the joy Steve had in the Lord — it was organic, flowing from Jesus to Steve to our children, to Rita (who trusted Christ before she died) to all who crossed his path. As Paul Tripp says, “the law never saved anyone, it is grace that is the key.”
There is a poignant new post from Rachel that I just saw this morning (Sunday) and approved that is on last week. I’m going to copy it and put it on this week so you can comment.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
Monday-Wednesday Bible Study
Before we can preach the gospel to the next generation, we need to preach it to ourselves. Sing or meditate on this hymn and then be prepared to preach the gospel to yourself.
2. How do you need His grace today?
Tim Keller quotes Ken Miller’s definition of the gospel:
We are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope — at the very same time.
3. Read The Song of Songs 1:5
A. How does she describe herself?
B. She says she is as dark as the weathered tents of Kedar. How is facing the darkness in our hearts helpful in being good repenters? When is the last time you repented? Be specific.
C. She says she is as lovely as the curtains of Solomon, the curtains that were so close to the presence of God. Are you confident in God’s love for you, in His seeing you as lovely? When is the last time you had a sense of HIs overwhelming love. Be specific.
4. Give an example from your own life of mothering or mentoring (or being mothered or mentored) where the gospel was used to help you overcome a sin or have confidence.
5. Read Ephesians 2:1-10
A. Describe the images of powerlessness you find in verses 1-3.
B. In the same way, your children are powerless, and you are powerless to save them. That is why the “but God” of verse 4 is so encouraging. How have you seen God work in the life of someone you love despite your worst mistakes?
C. What images of power do you find in verses 4-7?
D. What are we clearly told in verses 8-9?
E. Whose workmanship are we? How is this related to “I am the vine and you are the branches?”
6. I have always loved the first letter of John, just as I love John’s gospel. There is so much in this letter about how Christianity is organic, how if we abide we will be transformed. Read 1 John 2:28-3:3.
A. Why does John tell us to abide in 2:28?
B. What truth does he proclaim in 2:29?
C. 3:1 is an outburst — and overwhelming thought to John. This is the love of God that we should have confidence in, despite all our messes. And which our children should have too. Describe this outburst.
D. What great promises are we given in verses 3:2-3?
Thursday-Friday Watch this video and then comment.
7. Notes and Comments:
8. What is your take-a-way and why?