March 04, 2011

Biggest step toward manhood

Kayla is out of town on a well deserved retreat, so just it's me and the boys.

Today at breakfast Bright looked at Zion and began to explain, "G*d has three jobs."  We had never talked about this before, so I was curious about what he would say next.  "The first one is to make the earth.  The second one is to come and take our sin.  The third one is to come live in us and help us make good decisions."  I was really impressed and we kept talking about it.  After a little discussion, we decided that G*d's fourth job was to make a new earth and bring it to us someday. We all seemed satisfied and I thought that was the end of it.

Yesterday, when we told them Kayla was going out of town for four days, I reassured them by saying that I wasn't going to work so I could be home with them the whole time.  Bright's first response was, "How will we make money then?"  He likes to think of people's jobs, their purpose, what they do.

After breakfast I didn't think about it much and the day went really well.  Then in the bathtub before bed tonight he started having the toughest time.  Really just having a bad attitude.  I told him, "Bright you're the one who's gonna decide if you get to stay in the bath or not.  If you don't change you're attitude, you won't get to stay in the bath."  Usually, that would do it, but tonight he was especially cranky...  Soon he was wrapped in a red and white dragon towel on the bean bags in his room while Zion enjoyed a nice long bath.

A little later, when I was getting their pajamas on Bright said, "This is so hard, I can't do this!"

"Do what?" I said.

"I can't make the right decisions for the rest of my life.  J*sus was the only man who could do that."  He said, in a very defeated tone.

The culture of our family, our roles here, and how we do life means that our kids are constantly hearing about the B*ble and G*d.  Obviously I think that's a good thing, but I also want to minimize any pressure they might feel from us about the decision they will ultimately have to make.  So, I decided a while ago that whenever one of them is ready to put their trust in Him I wanted it to be their decision as much as possible and not coerced by me whatsoever.  In many conversations we've come very close but I've always just let him kind of take the lead.  I fee like my job has been to explain to him as much as he's really wanting to hear.

So tonight after the bathtub incident my main goal was to get him to think about both his consequences and the conversation we had earlier at breakfast.  "Bright, you remember G*d's jobs don't you?"  Of course he did, and judging by the look on his face he may have even been a little perturbed that I was asking him a seemingly unrelated question during his moment of great distress.  "Do you remember His third job?"  I went on.

"To help you live life, and make good decisions."  Bright said.  And there it was, he didn't just spit it back at me, but really took it in as he said it.

He definitely saw his need, saw the answer, and wanted it for himself.  So we talked more about that.  While I still didn't want to force anything, I also don't want to hold back exactly what he needs and what he's asking for.  We talked about how scripture says to believe with your heart and confess with your mouth that J*sus is Lord.  He said that he wanted to, but was going to do it in secret and we could talk about it later.  That was fine with me.  Though I knew he was genuine, I half thought he might not talk about it again for months - he does that kind of thing all the time with stuff.

Half an hour later, after stories and getting tucked in, he looked at me through the guard rails on his top bunk.  He leaned in and whispered.  "I'm ready to ask J*sus into my heart."  Before I could respond, he folded his hand and prayed, "J*sus, will you come into my heart?  Amen." 

Knowing that he is shy about stuff like this, but also knowing that I had to make a big deal about it because it was a big deal - I asked him if it would be ok for me to bring in three of my friends who just happened to be waiting in the living room to do a B*ble study with me.  I explained to him that when men like Paul, or Silas, were getting ready to do something very important for G*d that all the men would come and lay hands on them and pr*y.  Bright's been listening to the NT over and over on mp3's during his quiet times so he knows those guys.  He and I often play a little game where we list out heroes of the B*ble to each other and they always make the list.  Now, he was going to be like them.  That's a big deal.  

So, Chad, Justin, Zack, and I laid hands on Bright Eugene Rupp right around 8pm, far east time, on March the 4th, 2011 and he became a child of G*d.

Before I finally shut the door for him to go to sleep I gave him a fist bump and said, "You just took the biggest step toward manhood.  That's a big deal Bright."  To which he responded, "What's the second step?  I'll need to practice that tomorrow..."

Bright will be 6 in a little over a month.  You might think that's pretty young, but I was 7 when I responded to an altar call given by Johnny Clayton at a little white ch*rch on Rena Road in Van Buren.  I still remember that day, and I very clearly remember my baptism a couple of weeks later.  I know him, he will never forget this. 

Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture on the big day - but I did take this video over dinner.