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You Can’t Bad-Attitude Someone into a Good Attitude

Great post here from Rick Holland. Here’s an excerpt:

If you are a parent who longs to see your children walk with God or a someone who wants to influence your friends and family, there is a helpful pattern for us to follow in Romans 2:4. Paul writes:

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

The second chapter of Romans begins with a confrontation regarding being more ready to judge others, including God, before oneself. In verse 4 Paul asks if judgmental spirit has cloaked our understanding of and experience with the gospel. God has demonstrated kindness, tolerance, and patience toward us. And here in the second part of the verse we meet a remarkable principle.

It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. Notice that it is God’s attitude, His disposition, which motivates us to change. God motivates us with kindness.

Think of the implications of imitating this attribute of God as we parent our children and try to influence others. Another way to say it is, “You can’t bad-attitude someone into a good attitude.”

January 24 2012 | Blog | Comments Off on You Can’t Bad-Attitude Someone into a Good Attitude

Vehicle, Obstacle, or Passenger?

Barnabas Piper:

I find myself tempted to put the burden of my happiness on the shoulders of my children every day, and I know this is the case by how often I react to their failures and sins as if they have stopped me from achieving happiness. My aim needs to be to help them learn where real happiness lies by carrying them there. That is, I must model the easy yoke and light burden of Jesus and take my children to Him as the source of happiness.

HT: Vitamin Z

January 18 2012 | Blog | 1 Comment »

Spiritual Protection for Your Growing Child

CCEF

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Continue in what you have learned and become convinced of” (2 Timothy 3:14) because he knew some who had not continued.

We share his concerns. We share them especially for our children as they become increasingly independent. Statistics vary widely but one thing is clear, many children who were raised in Christian homes leave the faith they once professed.

We can’t make our children continue in the faith, but we aren’t left anxious and passive. We can give our children the privilege of being in a family where they are taught about, participate in, and witness life with Jesus.

Things you can do…

Here is a possible check-list for parents. No doubt, conversations with like-minded parents would add more.

  • Enjoy your children. Followers of Jesus Christ enjoy the Lord and enjoy one another. You can enjoy your children by always scanning for the good—the ways they reflect something of their Creator.
  • Look for opportunities to show humility, especially as children get older. “Will you forgive me?” continues to be one of the most powerful evidences that Jesus is alive and the Spirit has been given.
  • Identify the essentials of the faith. For example, everything that is important comes out of Christ and him crucified. Talk about this: “What’s the big deal with the death and resurrection of Jesus?” We want to answer that in our own words, and we want to answer it so our neighbor could understand it.
  • Follow the apostles’ strategy for biblical interpretation—everything is about Jesus. Not only was Jesus the focus of all their understanding of Scripture, he was also the way of change—all true change goes through him. Over the course of a few months in your home, would a bystander observe that you are talking about a person or talking about rules that seem unrelated to a person?
  • Discuss our curious historical moment. Jesus has come and his promises are certain, yet suffering and shame persist. We can know joy and peace, yet, since we follow the Suffering Servant, we expect to face lots of difficulties (more on this below).
  • Go big. Scripture is a story in cosmic terms with allegiances, powers, rescues, all on a huge scale. “Accept Jesus in your heart” is much too tame. The King of creation has spoken to us in Jesus. Once you know him you will want to say, “Jesus, I am with you. You are my Lord.”

Remember too, to teach about sin…and suffering

To these I would add—teach about sin; it’s very important. Do we all have a clear understanding of the human heart, and with it, a growing knowledge of sin? Sin, after all, is our biggest problem, and only a growing awareness of sin can lead us into humility before our King. And this is important too: conversations about sin must aim to be sweet. Though sin is not a good thing, we are greatly blessed when we are able to see it more clearly in our lives, are led away from it, and can enjoy forgiveness of sins.

And prepare them for suffering. A world filled with sinners leads to much suffering and many leave the faith because of it. They think God isn’t fair because he allows so much misery. The best preparation for the hard things we all face is the confession that we are sinners who have been rescued by his grace alone. This may seem like an odd way to prepare but when we humbly bow before the will of the Suffering Servant and trust him with gratitude, we will come to know that suffering will not have the final word.

My observation is that many people leave the faith because (1) they are angry that God brought misery into their lives or the life of a loved one, or (2) they simply want to do things that Scripture forbids, which often has something to do with sex, and it is too hard to simultaneously persist in sin and learn about Jesus.

The gospel of Jesus Christ reaches both of these.

Lord God, allow us to continue in the great grace we have received.

November 16 2011 | Blog | 1 Comment »

“I Need My Stuff…”

cameraroll-1311714047.088795The other day I heard my middle child, Cody, say something that I hadn’t heard him say before. As he was sitting down on the couch, he said “Daddy, I need my stuff.” Somewhat bewildered I looked at my wife inquisitively as she proceeded to give him his blanket, two Barbie dolls (yes that kills me, but he does love these silly dolls), a stuffed bear, a stuffed dog, a small sword and a glass of apple juice. Not quite knowing what to think, I turned back to my iPad and let the moment pass me by.

I hadn’t really thought about this again, until last night when Cody and I had a horrible argument about his “stuff.” Amy was gone and it was just me and the boys at home. So, like any good Dad I decided to put on a movie. Just as Curious George 2 was getting started Cody began to grumble and complain that he didn’t have his “stuff.” Sensing where this was going, I began assembling what I could remember of the “stuff” that Amy had given him, but unfortunately I was too late and I quickly had a full fledged tantrum on my hands. Again, as any good Dad I followed my instincts and sent him up to his room…but then I started thinking about what was really going on in his heart and decided to give it one more try.

I made my way up the stairs, opened his door and in between sobs I asked him to come sit in my lap. When he finally calmed down I told him, “Cody, you know that Daddy loves you don’t you? Daddy loves you and that’s why Daddy is so worried that you love your stuff so much. I think that you love your stuff more than you love your Daddy, but I want you to love me more than you love your stuff.” Now, I’m not sure how much of that actually got through to him, but as I sit here tonight reflecting on this little incident I know that I’m feeling freshly convicted that I need to love my Heavenly Father far more than I love the “stuff” that He gives to me.

October 19 2011 | Devotional | 2 Comments »

Second Hand Stress

Kevin DeYoung points out an extraordinary quote on parenting:

Most parents worry about the dangers of secondhand smoke. But few consider the dangers of secondhand stress. If you make yourself miserable to do a special favor for your child, he might enjoy it. But if he senses your negative feelings, he might come to share them.

Secondhand stress is one of kids’ leading grievances. In the Ask the Children survey, researched Ellen Galinsky interviewed over 1,000 kids in grades three to twelve and asked parents to guess how kids would respond. One key question: “If you were granted one wish to change the way your mother’s/father’s work affects your life, what would that wish be?” Kids answers were striking. They rarely wished for extra face time with their parents. They were much more likely to wish their parents would be less tired and stressed. The parents were simply out of touch. Virtually no one guessed that kids would use their one wish to give their parents a better attitude.

Galinsky also asked kids to grade their parents’ performance on a dozen dimensions. Overall, parents did pretty well. Moms had an overall GPA of 3.14, versus 2.98 for dads. A majority of moms and dads got As for “appreciating me for who I am,” “making me feel important and loved,” and “being able to attend important events in my life.” Anger management was parents’ Achilles’ heel. More than 40 percent of kids gave their moms and dads a C, D, or F for “controlling his/her temper when I do something that makes him/her angry”—the very worst marks on their report card. (Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun, 32-33)

October 19 2011 | Blog | 1 Comment »

“I trust Daddy…”

cameraroll-1316898581.493784I think we’ve crossed something of a parenting mile-stone with our oldest son Micah. For the longest time we worried, struggled, and labored on Micah’s speech delay and while he’s still making progress on that front he is now able to speak enough that there are times that we have to ask him to stop Smile.

Micah, like most 5 years olds, is very curious about everything that our family does. It seems that whenever we get ready to go somewhere he has to know exactly what we’re doing and why. Now that wouldn’t be so bad, except for the fact that he has developed opinions about our comings and goings and like to voice those opinions to the powers that be. It’s not uncommon to find us driving down the road with Micah arguing that he wants to go to Target (where they sell his favorite sugar cookie), while we insist on going to Home Depot to pick up supplies for the house.

On one occasion I looked at Micah and out of desperation said, “Micah, I want you to repeat something after me.” Eventually, he looked up at me through his tears and nodded his little head. I said, “I trust Daddy,” to which he replied, “I trust daddy.” Now, it’s a rare day that this strategy actually changes my sons heart but what I’m trying to do is to teach him the discipline of trusting me so that when he grows older and the stakes are much higher than a sugar cookie, he will be able to trust his Heavenly Father to take care of his needs as I take care of his needs today.

It’s funny how the Lord uses our children to teach us about ourselves. When I look at Micah, I have to realize that he and I are very much alike. I too want to argue with my Father and demand my own way, yet in the Lord’s kindness he tenderly takes my hand and asks me to trust Him because that is where I find rest.

October 10 2011 | Devotional | 1 Comment »

The Six Ways You’ll See Your Dad

There’s a lot of truth to this:

October 07 2011 | Blog | Comments Off on The Six Ways You’ll See Your Dad

It was Not Wicked for the Lord to Take Our Son

This post has been making it’s way around the internet lately, it gives a powerful testimony to God’s grace in the midst of tremendous suffering. Here’s an excerpt:

Haddon struggled through severe anemia and a virus, and his sweet daddy visited him nearly every hour, loving his little son who looked almost identical to him. For 40 hours we were with him, hearing a roller coaster of good news and bad news. On April 2, the Lord took our sweet boy to be with him. Just before he passed, we were able to sing to him. Ernie sang “It Is Well” and I hummed “A Mighty Fortress” the best I could. I held him for the first time, telling him we’d see him soon. I passed him to Ernie, and when the time came to take all the machines off, Ernie quoted Numbers 6:24-26 as the last words Haddon could hear:

The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make his face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up his countenance on you,
And give you peace.

You can read the rest here.

May 18 2011 | Blog | Comments Off on It was Not Wicked for the Lord to Take Our Son

Update on Micah

I’ve been falling behind a little bit here at the blog lately. Honestly, life has just been kind of insane these last few weeks. Two weeks ago we moved into the church’s parsonage, which has been a tremendous blessing! We spent the last 5 months fixing the place up by painting, installing new hardware, light fixtures, inspecting the electrical, cleaning, etc. I hope to put up a video of our new home soon, so stay tuned for that.

Easter came and went with a bang. We had nearly 300 people attend Easter Sunday and afterwards we had over 20 people over for Easter Lunch. It was great!

This last weekend Amy went down to Bakersfield (God’s Country) to throw my future sister-in-law a shower, while I stayed behind and finished things up at our old rental and worked on a few more projects around the house.

All that to say, it’s been pretty nutty around here!

I thought that I’d take a moment and update everyone on how Micah is doing. I’ve written quite a bit in the past on Micah’s speech delay starting with a series on Waiting, and most recently in a series on Learning to Grieve. The last few months have held some massive changes for Micah and all for the good. He is beginning to use speech in a very natural way, asking questions and giving responses. He’s even learned to spell his name verbally and in writing!!!

Of all the things that I’m thankful for with Micah’s progress, I think the one thing that brings tears to my eyes is the fact that he is learning how to pray. We’ve prayed with Micah since he was very little, but within the last few days he’s begun to take the lead and pray. While we can’t understand everything that he’s praying for, we have caught both of his teachers name and a lot of Amens Smile.

I still don’t know what the future holds for this little boy, but I know that right now I am very much enjoying the present.

May 02 2011 | Blog | 2 Comments »

5 Ways to Make Your Kids Hate Church

This is an outstanding post from Thomas Weaver on how to make your kids hate church.

hate-church1. Make sure your faith is only something you live out in public

Go to church… at least most of the time. Make sure you agree with what you hear the preacher say, and affirm on the way home what was said especially when it has to do with your kids obeying, but let it stop there. Don’t read your Bible at home. The pastor will say everything you need to hear on Sundays. Don’t engage your children in questions they have concerning Jesus and God. Live like you want to live during the week so that your kids can see that duplicity is ok.

2. Pray only in front of people

The only times you need to pray are when your family is over, holiday meals, when someone is sick, and when you want something. Besides that, don’t bother. Your kids will see you pray when other people are watching, no need to do it with them in private.

3. Focus on your morals

Make sure you insist your kids be honest with you. Let them know it is the right thing for them to do, but then feel free to lie in your own life and disregard the need to tell them and others the truth. Get very angry with your children when they say words that are “naughty” and “bad,” but post, read, watch, and say whatever you want on TV, Facebook, and Twitter. Make sure you focus on being a good person. Be ambiguous about what this means.

4. Give financially as long as it doesn’t impede your needs

Make a big deal out of giving at church. Stress to your children the value of tithing, while not giving sacrificially yourself. Allow them to see you spend a ton of money on what you want, while negating your command from Scripture to give sacrificially.

5. Make church community a priority… as long as there is nothing else you want to do

Hey, you are a church-going family, right? I mean, that’s what you tell your friends and family anyways. Make sure you attend on Sundays. As long as you didn’t stay up too late Saturday night. Or your family isn’t having a big barbeque. Or the big game isn’t on. Or this week you just don’t feel like it. Or… I mean, you’re a church-going family, so what’s the big deal?

April 20 2011 | Blog | 2 Comments »

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