Over the last month I have posted, under the category “Parents Concerns for Children,” seven articles designed as encouragement for believing parent’s concerns for the salvation of their children. These were theologically accurate depictions of the spiritual condition outside of Christ and doctrinally reformed in nature. I presume that most of my readers are reformed and covenantal so most of what I have said should come as no surprise. However I’m sure I struck a few nerves, and my guess is that if so this post will never see the light of day or the device screen of those whom I have offended. Sadly they will miss dessert. In the words of Pink Floyd, at the end of their song “Another Brick in the Wall,” in the dialog between the boarding school master and his oppressed students, “If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”
Well I hope you have not only eaten the meat of the last seven articles but have had time to digest. For if you are a follower of mine you probably have noticed that for me “pudding” is music. My treat to myself is to enjoy Rock and Roll. Therefore, my treat to you is to share a great story of God’s remarkable grace in the life of a rock and roll superstar.
If you were a child of the seventies, or if you are a retro-rocker today, the supergroup Kansas will ring true in your ears. Rising out of the turmoil of America’s morality revolt in the 1960’s, the British invasion of the music world, and the experimental and experiential psychedelic drug culture, came a young man with a different view on things. Kerry Livgren was born in Topeka, Kansas. Not a hotbed of musical invention, Topeka is not where you would look for a superstar to come from. However, Livgren, the founder and the primary songwriter for Kansas, grew up and set a path for greatness in the heartland of America.
What is most striking about Kerry’s story is not about his musical success, Kansas having had seven albums go gold and platinum with over 30 million sold, but rather his spiritual journey. Kerry grew up in a believing home. He was active in his Church as a youngster and was influenced by what he saw and heard. He was what we in the reformed community would have called a covenant child, but he was not regenerate. It would be years later after following all sorts of religious teachings, none of which even resembled Christianity, that God brought life to his dead heart. To better understand the story you can go to his book “Seeds of Change” or find him on the web.
Kerry’s story is what inspired me to write this series on the spiritual condition of our children. I had recently been interested in the music of Kansas as they were noted by some friends of ours, Samantha and Zeb Snyder of the Snyder Family Band, as being influential in there own writing style. Kerry is an exceptional guitarist and his arrangements, using an orchestral flare, are enchanting. For me however, not being a musician, I was drawn to the lyrics. The two songs most popular by far for Kansas were “Carry on Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind,” both written and arranged by Kerry. To hear the words, you would be safe to say that they were written during a time soon after his rebirth. Go look the lyrics up, and within them you can see flickers of light, and rumblings of the Gospel from the apostles and prophets. But no, Kerry was dead in trespasses and sins, under the law, broken and enslaved to the father of lies. It would be almost eight years before he was born again.
However, the seeds were there. Planted deep in the consciousness of a young boy were sown the truths of scripture. God chose rather late than never to germinate what was there. He would then gradually water and illumine Kerry’s growing faith. Kerry’s newfound freedom would play a critical role going forward as a Christian in an industry not accepting of him.
I could go on and on about how Kerry Livgren has been used by God for the purposes of the Kingdom. For my purposes here I will just make this observation. For God to save the soul of Kerry, and many others in the rock and roll industry, gives hope that every Christian parent needs. Wayward sons, prodigals, or rebelous youth are not final categories for your children. Whether you are Reformed and Covenantal or you have no idea what that means and are just simply trusting in God’s sovereign will to save your child as he has saved you, you must rely on the means by which he pours forth his grace. Pray for and with your child. Teach your child the bible. Don’t rely on VBS, Sunday School, youth group, or Christian school, which by the way, are none spoken of in the bible. Rather, per Deuteronomy 11:19, YOU shall teach them about God in your home, along the road (in the car on the way to where ever), when you lie down (sometimes when you are so tired you don’t feel like it), when you rise up, or when ever that teaching moment appears. Place your child, regardless of age, under the preaching of the Word, not in nursery or children’s church. Encourage your child to claim what is rightfully his, the inheritance in Christ. Do not discount the seeds that have been already planted, but rather look faithfully for their springing forth in season.