Parents, this is so helpful! The first 5 minutes alone encouraged my heart greatly.
- How do you talk to your children about the gospel?
- Families who are together stay together
- Simple Gospel Habits in the Home
- 10 Teachable Moments as Parents
I'm excited about Why Easter? a new resource that helps children understand and celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Tedd Tripp, author of Shepherding a Child's Heart, gives his endorsement:
Since most Evangelicals do not follow the church calendar, Easter often catches us unprepared. Barbara Reaoch comes to our aid with a four-week series of devotions for parents and children that will increase our joy at Easter. These devotionals are well-crafted, theologically sound, and doable. They could be used year after year as a wonderful family tradition.
You can click here to download a sample of the first 3 lessons.
Over the last decade, I've been highly involved in ministry to families. During those years, I've learned that discipleship has got to start in the home and then spread outward. That's why I'm excited about D6 Days - a way to experience the D6 Conference from your computer, iPad, or tablet for FREE at D6Conference.com/D6Days. The D6 Conference aims to equip church leaders by addressing what's ahead for the church as we disciple the next generation for Christ. There are three different D6 Days in 2012: February 21, April 17, and July 24. D6 Days content will be available for up to two weeks after the listed dates.
The folks from D6 graciously gave me a couple books that I look forward to reading in the coming days. They are:
You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving the Church ... And Rethinking Faith by David Kinnaman. I read Kinnaman's book called, unChristian, awhile back and appreciated his insights.
The Legacy Path: Discovering Intentional Spiritual Parenting by Brian Haynes. Haynes provides a clear path to influence the faith of the next generation by helping parents become the spiritual leaders for their families. Highly recommend it.
- When Your Kids Can’t Sleep
- When Your Kids Want Control
- When Your Kids Keep Whining
- When Your Kids Get Sick
- When Your Kids Scratch the Neighbor’s Car
- When Your Kids Disobey You (Again!)
- When Your Kids Have a Meltdown in Public
- When Your Kids Get Overly Emotional
- When Your Kids Ask About Death
- When Your Kids Ask About Earthquakes
- When You’re Stuck in the Basement
- When You’re Just There.
Jared Kennedy gives some helpful financial principles and devotions to walk through with your kids. These devotions would be a great supplement to a church-wide series on stewardship.
I just got a copy of the ESV GROW! Bible from a friend of mine. I love it! It's designed specifically for children ages 8-12. One of the coolest features is the "Cross Connections" boxes that are scattered throughout to help kids understand the centrality of the cross in all the Scriptures. Another feature called "4U" is great for explaining the text and how to apply it to a child's life. I can't wait to read it with my 7 and 9 year old girls.
Click on the Bible to the right to view the text.
Brian Croft gives a good reminder for pastors to take their children with them when they visit the elderly. He brings out three points:
- Never underestimate the impact of children in the lives of others.
- It is good for a child to learn to love, grieve, and let go.
- It will cause the young and old to see the value of the other.
Parenting starts with my own heart. Every attempt I make to guide and direct my child's heart is directly connected to the state of my own heart. My words provide the greatest witness. In the midst of a conflict with my child, I often bring my own junk to the table - my desire for comfort and control and need for appreciation and respect. All of these idols come out in these times of confrontation. And yet God has ordained these moments precisely for my sanctification!
I'm learning that parenting is not just about my kids. It's about me. It reveals what's inside of me. It shows me my sin and how well I really get the gospel and rely on his grace. So I need to start with an examination of my own heart. For there I will find my continual need for a Savior who promises to shepherd me as I shepherd my children.
If applying the gospel can be overdone, these authors do it proudly: “We’ve encouraged you to dazzle [your children] with the message of Christ’s love and welcome, and then when you think that surely they must be tiring of it, go back and drench them with it again.”
The only problem with this is that when we apply the gospel to every event in life, and especially when we use it to correct, children will tire of it. Not every moment needs to be a “teachable moment.” Do we need to bring up Jesus’ agony on the cross every time our child acts like a child?
The authors give an example of how we might apply the gospel to a child who pouts after losing a baseball game: “Yes, losing is difficult….Jesus Christ understands losing because he lost relationship with his father on the cross….He’s using this suffering in your life to make us both look up and see his love.”
Besides the superficial view of suffering in the above quote, this loose way of applying the gospel, especially when often repeated, takes the power out of the message and can weary the children. Something sadder than a child growing up never hearing the good news is a child who grows up hoping to never hear it again.
I'm curious. What are your thoughts? I encourage you to read Bird's entire review of the book as he ends on this note:
Still, the most important things to be said about this book are that it leaves room for failure, emphasizes the superiority of the gospel over the law, and is primarily about imperfect parents glorifying a perfect God (rather than themselves or their children). These things put Give Them Grace above many other Christian parenting books.
Parents of LaGrange Baptist Church: Do you feel the pressures of home life? Come join us for Parent Chat on Sept. 7, at 6:45 PM, as we hear how God's grace frees us in the midst of these pressures. We'll have an assortment of desserts and coffee as Pastor Tony leads us. If you have a child in SEEDS (1st - 6th grade) we encourage you to start the evening with your child in the SEEDS room and we'll dismiss you to Parent Chat at 6:45. Mark your calendars. Invite your friends!
Here's a simple outline to follow in balancing the law and the gospel in our parenting:
- Give them God's law - You must do it.
- Remind them they're sinners - You can't do it.
- Point them to Christ - He has done it.
- Tell them as believers - In Christ, you can do it.
Step 1: Give them God's Law - You must do it.
For example, let's say your daughter whines and refuses to help serve you in the kitchen because she'd rather watch T.V. You come to her and say, "You need to stop whining and obey your daddy by serving cheerfully right now. You must do it."
Step 2: Remind them they're sinners - You can't do it.
Your daughter looks away from you and whines even louder, "I don't want to." So, you tell her, "I know that you don't want to and I also know that you can't serve cheerfully and think of others first on your own. You're just like me, you're a sinner. You can't do it."
Step 3: Point them to Christ - He has done it.
Your daughter gives you a strange look. So you sit down beside her and say, "You know what, I'm so glad that God has mercy on sinners like you and me. That's why he sent Jesus. Jesus lived a perfect life and died on the cross in our place to take our sin and give us his righteousness if we would simply trust in him. Jesus never whined and always obeyed his Father cheerfully. He has done it."
Step 4: Tell them as believers - In Christ you can do it.
Finally, you look at your daughter and tell her that as believers in Christ we have been made new. We are clothed in his goodness because of his grace. Therefore, we have a heart that wants to serve and think of others first. It's in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. In Christ you can do it.
Realistically, you won't be able to delve into this deep of discussion every time, but this is the heart (and basic outline) behind how to approach these situations. Note: If you're child is not yet a believer in Christ, the Last Step is an opportunity to help him or her respond to God's grace offered to them in Christ - pointing them away from their performance to Christ's performance on their behalf. Remind them that Christ took our filthy rags, he took our failed test of obedience, and in exchange he gave us his white robe of goodness and his perfect score of obedience. We receive it all by faith in what Christ has done for us, not what we must do for him.