Parenting Well #753

Parenting Well #753 – Lessons learned along the journey, through mistakes (personal and observed), hardships, consequences, struggles, hard work, failing, getting back up, falling again and trying again. #ParentingWell#C2Parenting

INSTRUCTION WITHOUT APPLICATION, DISCIPLINE, ACCOUNTABILITY AND CORRECTION IS FUTILE.

Here are a few ideas:

1. Don’t be a hypocrite. “Do as I say not as I do” is a straight path to frustration and confusion…for you and your child.

2. Don’t talk about it…BE about it. Don’t just talk the talk. Walk the walk. The world is full of talkers and you see how that is working out. Be an example of the Biblical behaviors you want to instill.

3. Don’t threaten without consistent followthrough. If you’re going to count, make sure they know what’s at the end of “3”…and it better not be “4”. If you’re not going to give the consequences that you set, save your breath and your self-respect. There are times to administer grace and mercy to those who are repentant and show remorse. That’s not the same thing as being undisciplined and lazy.

4. Don’t be lazy. Let’s just be honest, corrective behavior is sometimes more consequential for the parent. Proactive parenting is hard work. When you ground your children from devices and/or media, it might mean that you get to spend more time having conversations that include your children. THIS IS NOT A BAD THING. Don’t use devices and media as a babysitter because you’re too tired to deal with your kids.

5. Teach and model honor, dignity, and respect for other people. Use Mr. and Mrs., Miss, Dr., Pastor, Sir, Ma’am, etc with your children. Don’t interrupt. Don’t hit. Temper tantrums aren’t going to be public spectacles. If you’re going to create drama, it is for your eyes only and when you’re done, you may join the rest of the family and our friends.

6. Teach and model boundaries. If it doesn’t belong to you, don’t touch it. Teach your children to respect what belongs to others. Teach them to respect mom and dad’s things, grandma and grandpa’s things, brother and sister’s things, etc. Teach them to respect God’s things.

7. Teach and model that God is the center of the universe…not you. Lots of drama comes from catering to our children’s every whim and whimper. it is not our job to entertain our children, to provide them a device to keep them quiet while we talk, to let them run wild as long as they’re not bothering me. Hard to believe that not too long ago, there were no play places at restaurants, no tunnel towns or soft play areas, no apps or gaming systems. Some of the most creative people and intelligent people that have ever walked the face of the earth had public parks, grassy areas, piles of dirt, a doll, a dump truck, and an imagination.

8. Teach them to be minimalists early. It is a parent’s role to provide shelter, food, clothing, and necessities. It is a parent’s role to provide for basic needs. It is not our role and can actually be quite detrimental when we try to provide everything our child wants, everything their friends have, and everything we didn’t have when we were growing up.

9. Enjoy what you have and who you have. It’s so easy to always be on the run and on the lookout for the next “thing”, the next “event” or the next “person”. Let your kids see you enjoying what God has already given you and teach them to do the same.

10. Parent according to God’s example, Biblical instructions, and Biblical examples. Don’t parent from a deficit. Don’t try to do the right thing by being the opposite of the wrong examples you grew up with. Go to the source, not the “reaction”.

Parenting Well #752

When you surrender yourself and your kids to the culture six days a week, what happens on Sunday morning in “your church” won’t really even register in your children’s value system, especially when they’re adults.

“We cannot continue to send our children to Caesar for their education and be surprised when they come home as Romans.”

This is not just in reference to the school classroom, though I’m a HUGE advocate of a good, consistently led homeschool education.

Caesar influences you and your kids on the ballfields and in the tournaments you play. Caesar rules on the playground and on playdates.

Caesar influences your family’s values through the media you watch and allows unmonitored on your kid’s devices.

Caesar influences your family’s values through the alternate reality in which they live through their gaming addictions.

If you are not deliberately intentional with sound doctrine, you will lose your children to Mordor and Sauron. Passive parenting yields to the enemy because the enemy (the world, the flesh, and the devil) is incredibly intentional through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. When sound doctrine is shelved and/or relegated to an hour on the Sundays “when it’s convenient” – our emotions, feelings, and impulses take over as reality. These “feelings” become the highest standard of our morals and ethics, rather than God’s Word and God’s Spirit.

Follower Or Admirer?

A lot of people who profess to be followers of Jesus are really only admirers of Jesus. Jesus Christ didn’t call people to be admirers. He called us to be disciples…disciples who take up our symbol of death and follow Him in completely surrendered servitude. Sometimes, you may only be able to tell the difference between an admirer and a disciple when it comes time to suffer.

Nineteenth-century Christian philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, wrote, “The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Though in words, phrases, songs, he is inexhaustible about how highly he prizes Christ, he renounces nothing, will not reconstruct his life, and will not let his life express what it is he supposedly admires. Not so for the follower. No, no. The follower aspires with all his strength to be what he admires.”

Author Rod Dreher puts it this way: “Admirers love being associated with Jesus, but when trouble comes, they either turn on him or in some way try to put distance between themselves and the Lord. The admirer wants the comfort and advantage that comes with being a Christian, but when times change and Jesus becomes a scandal or worse, the admirer folds…the follower recognizes the cost of discipleship and is willing to pay it.”

Committed To the Journey

The church does not stand in condemnation of those within the body of Christ, His Bride. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be those “believers” who go rogue and offend God themselves by being judgmental, but their judgment is of no effect. It carries no weight.

However, when we become followers of Jesus we are added into the body of Christ…we become the church. The church is given a great amount of clear instruction in The Bible to walk in a covenant of accountability with one another, to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

We desire to be taught what exalts God above all else, to reflect on these things and apply these truths as we live out lives that we’ve surrendered to Him. We desire to walk with God, becoming more and more in every way like Jesus. We desire to be taught what offends God, to reflect on these things, and repent of those sins we find that still remain active in our flesh. Jesus asks MUCH of those of us who choose to follow Him and we strive to honor and adore Him through obedience.

Church, we’re not committed to being better than someone else…God’s Word tells us that comparing ourselves among ourselves makes us fools. What we are to compare ourselves to is Jesus and the teachings of His Word. And to that comparison, we all fall short.

So we’re on a journey together…we’ve made a covenant with God and with one another to be transformed by His Spirit…by the renewing of our minds (changing the way that we think)…a covenant to hunger and thirst for holiness, to chase after Jesus, to assist one another in becoming more and more in every way like Him.

What we ARE fully committed to, is this — keeping our gaze laser-focused on being conformed to His image and pursuing that with reckless abandon…TOGETHER.

We walk in this Blessed Hope TOGETHER…

in His Word TOGETHER…

in His Spirit TOGETHER…

for His Kingdom TOGETHER.

If you’re part of the church, you may not be “THERE” yet, but to be The Church, you MUST BE committed to the journey:

We’re not going to make excuses for our sins and shortcomings.

We’re not going to get sidetracked by the trappings of this world.

We’re not going to pursue lives of self-indulgence and self-gratification.

We’re not going to allow the Gospel-Centered Church of Jesus to be used as merely a religious practice, something used to make ourselves feel better about ourselves when it suits us.

We’re not going to allow the Gospel-Centered Church of Jesus to be used merely as a social circle because we feel alone.

We ARE going to learn to love one another…unconditionally.

We ARE going to serve God AND one another with the humble hearts of bondservants.

We ARE going to pursue covenant community, responsibility, and accountability.

We ARE going to declare God’s message of love and forgiveness to all who seek healing from the brokenness of this world.

We ARE going to be vessels of God’s Grace, Mercy, Love, and Hope to a broken and hopelessly lost world.

We ARE going to receive all who come to Jesus and repent of their part in this world’s brokenness.

We ARE going to be the image-bearers of Jesus’ reconciled, redeemed, and restored Creation to a world that God loves and wants to restore to Himself.

The church is the assembly of the Bride of Jesus Christ — those chosen, called, and set apart for God’s pleasure and purpose.

We will unashamedly and unrelentingly walk in that mission —so others may hear…AND live!

Crushing Idols

The Almighty God, who knew us BEFORE He formed us in our mother’s wombs, He designed us for a purpose, even before the creation of the world, and though in His Just and Righteous character, His wrath is kindled against sin (direct offenses to His very character and nature), He loved us so much that He paid the ransom to redeem us, His very own creation, from the clutches of an evil thief, to cleanse us and reconcile us back to Him and restore us to His Plan for us.

It is incomprehensible how easily we settle for so little intimate knowledge and communion with the One who knows more about us and is more intimate with us than any other person or being. Out of the 168 hours per week given to us BY OUR CREATOR, there are sooooo few spent with Him in His Word and with His people walking in His Spirit. And what’s even worse, what little many of us DO know about Him is an invention of our own minds, not substantiated in Scripture.

This is called idolatry, worship of a god of man’s making. Idolatry is bringing God to man’s level and forming an image that looks more like us, rather than us becoming more like Him.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their reasonings, and their senseless hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible mankind, of birds, four-footed animals, and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them up to vile impurity in the lusts of their hearts, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for falsehood, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Romans 1:18-25

It is not only our DESIRE to know God intimately that destroys idols. It is the actual pursuit of knowing Him intimately through His Word, through fellowship with others whom He indwells, His Bride (the church). Intimacy comes through crucifying the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life and allowing His Holy Spirit that indwells us to conform us to His image.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

1 John 2:16

Crush the idols of your heart and lift up the one true God.

Your Children And The Church

Parenting Well #750 – It’s not enough to just take our children to church faithfully, but it’s a start. Discipleship of our children absolutely begins at home for followers of Jesus. Discipleship is getting into The Word together with them, both literally AND practically, by teaching them what God loves and who God loves through every facet of life – how we prepare for our day; how we prepare, serve and eat meals; how we watch TV and play games; how we take care of the home, furnishings, and vehicles God has given to us; how we decide to spend money on the things we need; how we rest in Him, etc.

But our children discover how we value God’s Word by how we put it into practice…and a piece of that, most of the New Testament, is how we engage and interact with the local body of Christ – The Church.

  1. Attend the Gatherings of a local church body faithfully – if we’re in town and we’re not dying, we’re with the body. Don’t send your children confused messages about your priorities or about what theirs should be. The church is not a PLACE where you GO – it’s a PEOPLE who you ARE. But if you do not GO, you will not BE.
  2. Join yourself to the local body in a Covenant of Partnership. It’s a family of commitment, not a distant relative that you catch up with when you have time or are in the area.
  3. Build loving relationships with people that you can learn from and that you can also pour into. Invest. Invest. Invest.
  4. Serve the body. Be observant. Look for emotional, spiritual and physical needs that God can use you to meet.
  5. Serve with the body. Get involved in ministry…serve in KidzMin, become a Greeter or Usher, make coffee and serve it, clean a portion of the building or grounds regularly, etc. There’s so many needs for FAITHFUL volunteers in every church. There’s plenty of people that will do it “when it’s convenient” for them.
  6. Participate in the Worship Gathering. It’s great to serve, but not at the expense of never being in the Worship Gathering. There is something supernatural and transcendent that happens when the people of God come together to worship Him. Don’t miss that. Don’t hang in the lobby with the other men. Don’t slip into the Nursery to chat with a friend. Sing your heart out, take notes from the sermon, go to the altar to pray, say amen, shout hallelujah, hug your brothers and sisters, pray over them…out loud and in person.
  7. Talk to your children about your experience as well as their experience at the Worship Gathering that day. Dig for the lessons learned from the Bible not just what people were wearing or what Sally said to Betty.
  8. Invite people from the body into your life and accept invitations into their lives. Have meals together, play together, serve together. Use your home as a center for ministry.
  9. Read through the Announcements together and talk about why it’s so important to participate in the mission of the church. At our church, a community becomes family — helping people find AND follow Jesus! We do what we do so that others may HEAR the glorious gospel of Jesus…and LIVE!
  10. Teach your children to support the mission of the church with their time, talents and treasures. Teach them how to give generously from their birthday money, allowances, lawn mowing jobs, etc. Model generosity with your own time, talents and treasures. Let your children see you giving of who you are and what you’ve been given.

Not an exhaustive list by any means…there’s so many more. Hey, here’s a thought. Maybe talk to your kids about this list, share it with them, and see if you can add any more.#ParentingWell #C2Parenting

Not A Fan of Normal

I saw this meme the other day. “Normal isn’t coming back. Jesus is.” The latter is a very, very true statement. This is the blessed hope of every follower of Jesus. I don’t know that I can say the former with any authority. I don’t know if normal is coming back, but I sure hope not. I gotta be honest, I wasn’t too fond of normal before it left.

  • I loved that families had to sit down and eat at home, creating conversations together because they had nowhere else to go to be distracted or hide from authenticity and intimacy.
  • I loved that there were no concerts or sporting events to obsess over and/or distract toward idolatry.
  • I loved that there were no “good movies” to see.
  • I loved that people were spending their money on what was valuable, meaningful and crucial rather than on entertaining and/or numbing themselves instead of investing themselves.
  • I loved that people were getting creative to deepen real relationships and enjoy themselves.
  • I loved that people were fighting to get their churches reopened and found what they did at church to be more meaningful once they had been deprived of it for a few weeks.
  • I loved that people started thinking about what AUTHENTIC community looked like…REAL people meeting REAL needs for the RIGHT reasons in the RIGHT ways.

I quite honestly think too much of it returned for too many people.

Nothing Can Distract Me

When my eyes are fixed on what they should be on, there is NOTHING around me that can distract me – no political or social event, no attraction, no relationship, no virus, no mandate, no argument, no party, no person in the office, no sin or sinner, no other goal…this one thing.

Philippians 3:13-16 ESV
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, [14] I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. [15] Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. [16] Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, [2] looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Philippians 1:20-21 ESV
as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. [21] For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Do You Know YOUR Jesus?

In light of recent cultural disruptions and debates, I hear and see a lot of people wax both eloquent AND ignorant about “What Jesus would do” if he were here right now. Whether it’s a response to covid, masks, mandates, systemic racism, gender equality, gender identity, sexual identity, identity politics, political parties, etc., most of the times that I hear or see people say, “Jesus would ____________”, they prooftext a passage and build straw man arguments of what Jesus did with one person or one audience. What they also do is completely ignore three-fourths of what Jesus did and said throughout the rest of the Gospels with other people and other audiences. Jesus knew His audience and we do not.

If you’re going to tell people how Jesus would behave in a certain situation, how He would comply with certain expectations, what He would say to a certain scenario or how he would treat a certain demographic, you’d better know more about everything that He did while interacting with ALL people groups, sins, and scenarios. Know who you are talking to. Know what you’re talking about. Most importantly, if you’re going to speak for Jesus, Know Him.

To do so without knowledge is to ignore God’s indicting Words to those who add to or take away from God’s Word, the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us.

Thank You Jesus! #SoliDeoGloria

Evil Makes A Promise It Cannot Keep

The enemy called Evil (the world, the flesh and the devil) makes this promise: “you can define what is good and what is evil on your own terms and put yourselves in God’s place.” Believing in this promise results in brokenness, corruption and violence. It brings to surface the “need” of self-protection, self-preservation, self-gratification and self-elevation.

Jesus let evil exhaust all of its power on Him using its only real weapon, Death. Jesus knew that the love and life of God was more powerful than Evil and He overcame death through His resurrection, opening a way to escape the death-grip of Evil’s deceptive promise and discover New Life through His Promise.

We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. No follower of Jesus ever need be defeated by evil, doomed by the curse of sin or enslaved to the hurts, habits and hangups brought about by the broken promise of evil. This war has already been won.

Romans 8:31-39 ESV
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? [32] He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? [33] Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. [34] Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. [35] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? [36] As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” [37] No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. [38] For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, [39] nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.