Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘Family’

4 Ways to Have a SWEET Year!

In Gospel Living on August 22, 2016 at 9:10 am

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Today was the first day of school for my kids.  As I look out across a new year and the masses of students, teachers, staff, and administrators I consider what kind of year will it be?  Will the friends they start with be there at the end?  Will the teachers they like still be like at the end?  Will the administration still be in tact at the end of the year?  What changes can we see?  What stability will we see?

As I read in Isaiah 5, God likened Israel to a vineyard that he had planted.  Once everything had been done, all waited in anticipation for the harvest.  What they expected were sweet grapes.  Bu they brought in bitter grapes.

Will this year be a year of sweet or bitter harvest?

According to Damon Smith of Oklahoma State University, bitter grapes can be a result of several things.  He offers a few suggestions as to how to avoid a bitter harvest and I think it applies to our lives as well.

  • Sanitation – this is so obvious, yet we can go or days or weeks without cleaning ourselves. We bathe daily, but do we sanitize our spiritual life that often?  The primary source of spores and infection results from the filth and dead fruit on us.  We have to be cleansed for us to remove the problem.
  • Proper pruning – there are some things and people we just need to prune from our lives. Removing the dead canes and parts can reduce the spores that create bitterness.  What is there in your life that needs pruning?  Is there that hateful “friend” that drags you into bitterness?  Is there a relationship that is souring you?  What are you bringing into your life through media outlets?  Is it causing rage, anger, resentment, hatred, or the like?  When they root, you will not be able to produce sweet fruit.
  • Increase airflow – when the leaves cannot dry, the wetness causes fungus that leads to greater and lasting problems. What is your schedule like?  Do you have every minute planned without the ability to breathe?  How about time with God, in the Word, or in worship with a church?  Do you have the time space to allow for freshness?  How about your money?  Are you so overspent that you couldn’t tithe, let alone give, even if you wanted.  There just isn’t any space.
  • Fungicide – chemical management allows for the fungus to be controlled and eliminated. Consider what outside agent you need to bring into your moment to allow the fungus of sin to be eliminated.

In your life and relationships, are you experiencing a bitter harvest?  Maybe it’s time to take action.  The joy of the Lord is our strength.  Joy comes from a vibrant, healthy relationship with God that produces a sweet harvest.

 

3 Actions That Save Your Family

In Uncategorized on May 14, 2015 at 7:39 am

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The family is the pivot point of culture.  When the family is strong our culture is strong.  When the family breaks down so does our culture.  From the moment God breathed the words, “It is not good for man to be alone”, the family has been at the center of a strong culture.  Families have always been under attack and today is no different.  In the just the first 12 chapters of the FIRST book of the Bible we see

  • Murder
  • Estrangement
  • Deception
  • Abandonment
  • Affairs
  • Idolatry

The family faces those and many more struggles today.  What’s a family to do?  How can we save our family?  3 actions can can put you on the offensive.

Pin-point your prayers as a family

These prayers have clarity, direction, and focus.  These prayers honor God and are the kind we need to be praying.  Pinpoint prayers are deeply rooted in God’s Word. They have authority because they flow right out of what God has already told us he is willing to do. There’s no guesswork in pinpoint praying. As a parent, you just take the world’s greatest prayer script (the Bible) and use it as your guide for what and how you pray for your kids.  There’s nothing vague about pinpoint prayers. They’re typically short, direct, and to the point. Consider Jesus’s petitions in the Lord’s Prayer. His requests for God’s name to be glorified and for God’s provision, protection, and forgiveness are all very specific and focused. There’s nothing broad or uncertain about them. Pinpoint praying requires you to think through what you want God to do, build the case for it biblically, and then say it in the most precise and deliberate way possible to God. No flowery language, no King James English, and no long or theologically loaded phrases are required with pinpoint prayers. Part of their power lies in their directness.  Pinpoint prayers don’t mess around. They don’t dance around an issue, hoping that God will get the hint and come through with a miracle without us really having to ask for one. Pinpoint prayers walk right up to God’s throne and plead for his best, for his kingdom, and for his favor in our lives and the lives of our children. This is not weak-willed praying. Can you think of any area where boldness, courage, and faith are more appropriate than in prayers for your family?

Prioritize your needs as a family

Our calendars can be our dictator.  We run from event to event and are exhausted by the end of the week.  One reason families are not making it to church is exhaustion.  There is a sense of need for being together, having a slower morning, or just sleeping!  Of course, that is not to mention the event schedule that happens later!  In an tempt to provide for our families, especially the kids, opportunities we never had, we are going to extremes.  Focus on what is truly important more than the urgent screams of your calendar.  Items like shelter, nutrition and protection rank at the top and are hardly worth mentioning.  Did you know that the amount of sleep of child needs actually increases as they hit adolescence?  Your JH or HS child actually needs close to the same amount of sleep that a toddler needs.  Unfortunately, during these years we are too busy to worry about sleep!  Yet one thing looms but goes unnoticed.  The spiritual development of the family is crucial to tackling the issues of our day.  If we are not grounded in solid Bible study, spiritual challenge, and accountability families run an extreme risk of breakage during the trying times.

Present the Gospel through your family

We have been called to be salt and light.  This works as a family also!  You may have distinct concern for your kids to know God and trust in Jesus.  Did you know that there is more to do?  Salvation comes by faith alone.  But our mission to reach others too.  We have been crafted by God for good works.  Living out your mission as a person and as a family unit makes the difference.  God, who is already at work, invites your family to join in this work to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  God’s love and grace propels us to such destiny.

 

May we leverage our lives and families for God’s glory through prayer, priorities, and presentation.  Live on mission where you are right now.  Intersect the culture with the Gospel!

3 Questions You Should Always Ask

In Family, Leadership on January 14, 2015 at 8:36 am

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Cameron walked home as he did every day, entered the house, and turned on the Xbox One he got for his birthday.  That was a great day!  His friends were all treated to a day at the water park.  Now, the cold of the winter makes it seem like such a long time ago.  Sara, his mom, went back to work ever since the divorce.  Now he comes home to an empty house, except for his sister Kayla who drives him crazy.  He eats a snack while taking out the enemy in the newest Call of Duty.  His Mom was really feeling bad the other day since she had to work another double at the hospital.  He played it just right and now it’s on!

One more day gone.

Tonight was supposed to be ” family supper”, which is something new they were going to try.  Of course, that was 15 minutes ago.  The door flies open and she rushes in with take-out…again!  She is stressed and throws the food on the table and says she needed a bath and candles.  They could feed themselves.  Kayla is sexting. Cameron is wasted.

One more day gone.

How many days do we have?  Only God really knows the exact answer.  The point is that we believe there will always be another day.  Never once have I heard someone say they wish they had spent less time.  My workaholic tendencies have come into controversy as I look at my son, nearly eye to eye, and think where has the time gone?  Wasn’t he just born?  Didn’t he just start school?  13 years down and 6 to go before he is off to college.

One more day gone.

For years, I have attempted to develop my listening skills.  A speaker by nature and a fixer by gender, listening is not always the easiest thing.  Thus, I have tried to ask questions.  Here are 3 questions you should always ask.  Questions open people up.  Questions allow you to hear their heart.  Questions provide opportunities.

1.  What did you love about today?  Ken Blanchard in The One Minute Manager teaches to start with a positive.  Asking someone what they loved about today gets you off to a good start.  There is always something to love about each day, right?  Even if it seems like a negative statement, take what you can get!  Help them see the good in each day; to count their blessings; to consider it all joy when we face trials.  What was good about today?

2.  What did you learn today? With kids this is easy.  Once everyone gets home you can ask this easily.  Hopefully they will give you an educational answer.  As my kids age, I am finding that I get social answers as often as anything!  Susie did this.  Kiah said that.  You will never guess was Joshua did today.  Whichever answer you receive, be glad to receive one.

3.  What needs to be left behind?  God is the great forgiver…and forgetter.  Paul reminds us to press forward, look ahead, and leave behind the past.  Helping our family and friends identify what has hurt, harmed, or offended helps them in this process.  Holding on to grudges does not hurt the other person, it hurts you.

With each tick on the clock, we draw closer to one more day gone.  Let us not waste the time we have with those we love or lead.  Take the time you don’t think you have and ask a few questions.

Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.  Ephesians 5:16

7 Ways to a Better Break

In Christmas, Family on December 27, 2014 at 11:23 am

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High Expectations.

I come into Christmas break with high expectations each year.  Here is a time of love, laughter, presents, food, family, and fighting.  I wanted to say fun, I really did.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Christmas break, but sometimes the bickering drives me insane.  The problem of having two high functioning alpha dogs as kids is that nature only allows one alpha dog in the pack…and that’s me!  It is rather fascinating to watch the downward spiral as sugar and time take effect.  I expect family to get along and learn to discuss, even debate, but keep a civil tone.  Unfortunately that does not always happen.

How do we learn to get along with family that might drive us nuts?  Here are a few tips to make it through week two of Christmas break.

1.  Sleep more.  In pragmatic terms, this keeps distance and reduces time.  The more sleep over night and later into the morning reduces the amount of opportunity to fight.  Also, it gives our bodies a chance to recuperate from the day.  Family time is needed in all of our lives, but we live so independent that coming together can wear us out.  Sleep allows your body to reset itself.  Instead of pulling all-nighters playing games, watching movies, etc, sleep more.

2.  Eat Better.  The high sugar content of this season gets us out of whack.  We run to family and eat quick on the way.  We run to the after Christmas sales and eat on the go.  Most of us sit down and eat one good meal with family and call it Christmas dinner.  That night is usually the best because we all ate properly.  Take time to eat fruit more than fruitcake and eggs more than egg nog.

3.  Listen first. If we would listen to the other person first before reacting it would help.  Learning to listen is a part of maturity, but is also a hard lesson to learn.  Listening takes strength and courage.  Lashing out with words is the easy reaction that anyone can do.  Withholding words and setting your mind to hear and listen to others takes energy.  If we do not someone will kill someone else before the week is out, or everyone runs screaming to their rooms and slams doors.  Where is the “peace on earth” in those moments?

4.  Think of others.  This one is risky because the other may not think of you.  When deciding on pretty much anything, stop and consider what the other person might want to do, play, eat, or buy.  When doing this you are taking the high road.  Thinking of others before yourself is selfless and sacrificial.  Now, you cannot play the martyr here and beg for your wishes later.  Thinking of others is civilized and we are, right?

5.  Take turns. Who picked last time?  OK, then someone else picks this time.  Sounds easy, right?  Not so fast!  However, if you instill this from the beginning it makes life easier down the road.  Taking turns is critical to lasting through the breaks.  We made a sign one year that had the names of our two one on each side.  After they chose a game, the card was flipped over.  Next time, even a day later it was easy to see whose turn it was and this reduced the number of fights about the next game to play.

6.  Read and Rest.  This is not sleep time.  This is a time when everyone takes a break and does something on their own in their own space.  We encourage reading.  The days have long passed since naps would be taken, except for one of us who is unnamed!  The rest take some downtime and read.  This does not have to be all day, but an hour or 2 in the afternoon will help ease the transitions.  Each can have the pleasure of doing their own thing, which will allow for the ability to think of others more later.

7.  Remember what  is important.  What will be remembered 20 years from now?  30 years?  Family.  The important part of these breaks is family.  Family outweighs the presents, choices, fights, and more.  Family spending time together is difficult and will be what is remembered later.  Those funny moments.  As you guide yours through this break remember what is important.  God and family.  Raise these up and let them shine for all to see.

We each enter the breaks with high expectations.  We want that perfect family picture; that greatest gift/game; that fightless week.  These rarely happen and, in our mind, the day/break is shot.  When we come into these breaks with “movie level” expectations we are setting ourselves up for failure.  Lower them to a realistic level and watch your joy increase.  Nobody is perfect.  No present will wash away all of the pain.  No time will fix everything.  Yet, we can come to these moments and walk away with joy in our soul if we just be real with the time and people involved.

Have a great second week!!!

James 4:1-3 NLT

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

Fulfillment, Family, and the Multi-Tasker

In Family on September 12, 2014 at 8:28 am

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One of the joys of being a kid is singular focus.  When I was a kid, I don’t remember having to worry about juggling responsibilities.  As an adult, I have various responsibiities that demand attention.  Such responsibilities include: Husband, father, pastor, preacher, son, son-in-law, friend.  Involved in each of these responisbilities are vows/promises that have been made.  Some of these are not issue, some require time and attention, and others are downright difficult at times.

Husband – at our wedding 20 years ago, I vowed several things that will continue until death parts us.  Such things include love and honor.  However, unwritten promises also include provision of food, shelter, clothing, and shoes.  I promised to listen.  I promised to fill the gas and mow the yard.  I promised to take care of Dulcie and her needs.  Every spouse has the vocal and unwritten promises

Father – every father has made promises simply by being a parent.  We have promised to feed, clothe, and nurture them.  For someone with a teenage boy that ets all the time and grows constantly that can be difficult to maintain.  We have promised to listen, love, and learn with them.

Pastor/Preacher – I combine these here, but there are differences.  The preacher has to get sermons and presentations ready.  The pastor must shepherd.  Whatever your vocation, you have promised to fulfill duties, have integrity, work hard, be on time, and more!

Son/Son-in-law – Regardless of being in my 40’s, I am still the child of my parents and my wife of hers.  We have promised to h is more thaonor and respect.  We also have promised to call, help with computer needs, cell phones, end of life discussions for will and testiments, and other as needed items. 

Friend – everyone has friends.  We want to connect, communicate, and spend time with them.  We Facebook, Instagram, and more to stay in touch.

Most of you will have all of these same types of responsibilities in your life, written and unwritten.  How we go about fulfilling these promises is important.  The Psalmist writes,

Then I will sing praises to your name forever as I fulfill my vows each day.

Did you realize that as you go through your day fulfilling your vows that you are praising God?  Did you know that you are worshipping God as you do this?  Worship is more than the 75 minutes we spend in the sanctuary on Sunday.  In fact, that time should be “game time” for all of the practice you have done through the week as you have worshipped God by obedience.  Let us consider that what we do in church is not to fill the tank for the week, but to perform for God in the best way possible.

You will play no better than you practice.  Practice hard today!!

Romance is More than Sex and Passion

In love on August 13, 2014 at 10:22 am

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As I get older, it cracks me up to see the next generation of those learning to love and failing at it.  What I am finding is that what used to be High School is now in Junior High and Upper Elementary age kids.  It appears that the “lover” crowd is getting younger!  My children are in this age-bracket and I fear for what they are faced with concerning dating pressure.  Why must we push our children to be adults before it is time?  Why must we see elementary-aged children on “dates”?  I don’t mean play dates either.

Maybe I am old.

Maybe I am right.

We are hurrying our children to become something they are unprepared by God to be yet.  Just because our hormone-filled foods are creating premature adolescence does not mean that they are ready.  Our culture is broken.  In fact, we cannot actually agree on what is even sexy.  The Gap is presenting too-thin and Sports Illustrated (Not suitable for children…or men) presents too naked.

Where is the romance?

I fear we need to understand the definition of romance before we can actually discuss it.  However, Webster and I do not agree.  Romance, as defined today, deals either with something old and fantastical or new, fresh, and short-lived with hot passion!  My sarcasm is really screaming right now that romance has gone the way of my youth and energy. Yet, I feel that romance in its pure form comes out of a developing relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  The reason we have it all messed up is because we have removed God from the dating, marriage, passion, sex equation.  When we are out of touch with God, temptations become very strong.

The exclusive dating is killing our kids since our culture has promised joy and happiness if we would just follow what our bodies are telling us.  I know too many youth who now live with regrets and pain as a result of the fluttering nature of young love.  Yet, so many see the revolving door that is their parent’s bedroom and simply follow suit.

Romance begins with God.  As we develop a loving lasting relationship with Him we become equipped to do so with someone else for life.  Starter marriages and Trial Marriages through cohabitation are not fulfilling.  Romance does not have to be only the hot passion of youth but also the gentle smooth dance of two people whose lives have become intertwined.  The severing of this kind of couple happens when one, or both, have moved away from God.  How do we get it back?

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.  For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.  And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.   1 John 2:15-17

…and so will romance!

3 Reasons Why I Spank My Kids

In Parenting on July 7, 2014 at 11:52 am

Family Fighting

I was asked to weigh in the other day amid a group of religious leaders on the issue of discipline.  The concept up for discussion was the phrase “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”  Does it mean:

1.  If you do not discipline your child you will spoil him/her.

2.  Spoil the child with love so you can spare the rod.

The scripture that best suits this discussion is found in Proverbs 13:24

Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.

Because this is in Proverbs it is hard to find context as you would with other passages.  Proverbs is written as wise statements to be taken on their own merit and value.  With that said, this has two statements which relate to each other.  Discipline is designed to be a loving, caring, guiding principle for raising our children.  If we do not discipline our children the Bible is clear that it is as if we hated them.  In the same vein, if we love our children we care enough to provide the necessary discipline.

When it comes to discipline I believe there are a few considerations to make.

1.  Love – We should never discipline out of hate and anger.  Especially if you choose to use physical discipline.  I have chosen to use this with my children.  The caution we must take as parents is to do so without the angry energy.  Our patience runs thin.  Our coping mechanism fail us too.  However, if we punish from hate and anger then we are not helping our children see the love.  This does not, however, mean it cannot hurt.  While I do not use the phrase “This hurts me more than you”, I do tell them that while I do not like to punish them, I must because the boundaries must be established.

Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.  Col 3:21

2.  Redemption – The reason we use discipline is to achieve redemption.  Because we love our children, we seek to keep them safe.  The rules we establish are there to teach them where the line is of obedience/disobedience as well as reward/punishment.  Both are of equal value.  If nothing ever happens with regard to a child’s behavior then there is no development of respect for authority or understanding of boundaries.  They will believe anything is OK because nothing was ever done to them.  In essence, we discipline in order to bring them back into right standing with us and with the rules established.  God established this process in Leviticus through blessing/cursing and the sacrificial system.  Something had to be done with the sin in order to maintain a right relationship with God.  Disciplining our children actually helps to express the Gospel and provide understanding later.  If we never discipline, then another generation will grow up not understanding the need for Jesus.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  Rom 6:23

3.  Relationship – Know your children well enough to understand the type of discipline to which they will respond.  One child might need a swat on the behind.  Another child will need a stern talk.  Another child needs restrictions.  Each child is different in their triggers.  Additionally, as the child develops a different style might be necessary.  There is no one style fits all rule about discipline.  As parents, we must understand our children enough to know what works at the age/stage they are in life.  Discipline out of the relationship you have.

In some ways to spank or not to spank is the question.  However whether to discipline or not is a moot point.  We must discipline.  Howe we go about it is the real question.  What have you found that works with your children?

Ending the Winter in Your Family

In Family, Life and Culture on March 26, 2014 at 8:24 am

winter-to-spring
With the recent release of Frozen on DVD and the current weather battle for spring to emerge, I have considered how we can thaw out in our family relationships. Like so many others, we bought the DVD of Frozen, though we had not seen it in the theater. We sat down over a school break and watched it. It is an amazing film filled with wonderful animation and catchy songs. While I enjoyed the movie, I was disturbed with the treatment of Elsa, as I am sure I was supposed to be. How often do we, unintentionally and with good reasons, treat our family the way she was treated? The royal parents had a difficult time on their hands to be sure. Elsa was different from others. She often found herself in uncontrollable situations, such as the one that got her imprisoned in her room. In order to end winter in your family her are a few key terms to remember.

Express

During a play time, Elsa unfortunately hurt her sister trying to help her sister. The parents reacted poorly and isolated her from that moment. She was not allowed to be who she was designed to be. There are four basic ways a child will learn to express themselves in school: Academics, Arts, Athletics, and Agriculture. Your child will excel in one of these areas and possibly show interest in others. If we are going to train up our children to be all God made them to be then we need to allow for expression to come naturally. If we isolate them in one area because it is the most comfortable for us then we lose out on the full potential in our relationship with each other.

Embrace

Elsa felt all alone. She had parents. She had a sister. Yet, she felt alone and unloved. Critically, she also felt unlovable. This can happen in our family too. Every person is wired by God in a unique way. Gary Chapman has made a career out of developing 5 Love Languages for every possible situation. Every family member will have a stronger need for one over the others. If you try to love them all the same then you will fail. Each person is different. Siblings have the same genetic code but will need different ways of feeling loved and supported.

Expand

Elsa was put away because the parents did not know how to deal with the reality of their daughter. Instead of taking an interest in what she could do, they locked her up. Expanding our horizons is healthy. Involve them and yourself in a variety of options, even the ones you may not enjoy. During the process, watch to see you finds their niche. Sometimes no one will, but the process of learning together builds the bonds of family.

You might be experiencing an eternal winter in your family right now. Everyone is on edge and grumpy. Maybe there are broken relationships. Honest and sincere love will melt the ice that surrounds the hearts and minds of those who have been hurt. One action is a fairy tale for sure, but consistent acts of love will allow spring to bloom in your family again!

The Greatest Family in America?

In Life and Culture on January 14, 2014 at 3:04 pm

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Jonathan and Sarah were married on a hot day in June.  They honeymooned in New England and soon returned home.  Both had good jobs and there were few cares in the world.  Their families were close, but not too close.  They found a church that felt comfortable and they developed friends.  Life was good.  You could find them at church nearly every Sunday, just like when they grew up.  It wasn’t long before Sarah was pregnant and they had their first child, a daughter named Anna Sue.  She was named after both parents’ grandmothers, which just felt right.  She was precious and became the princess of the house. 

A few weeks later, they went to church and everyone was excited to see them and the baby!  It had been a few weeks since they had come.  The doctor, of course, suggested 3-4 weeks at home or until everyone was prepared for possible sickness.  Then Anna got a cold and Jonathan was worried about the two of them.  Then Sarah didn’t feel well and Jonathan took care of Anna.  Anyway, everyone was glad to be together and the church family was so happy for them.

After her maternity leave was over, Sarah went back to work and Anna went to a babysitter.  Jonathan and Sarah both worked hard and this was going to be a challenge for them.  How things used to be would now be different.  Whoever got off work first would go get Anna.  She was so happy to see them.  When everyone got home and supper was finished, they just played until both Dad and Daughter were asleep on the couch! 

“Mom wants to see Anna”, Sarah told Jonathan.

“We have a special project on work and you have that girl’s thing on Saturday right?”, Jonathan asked.

“That’s right!  We will go Sunday, it’s just one Sunday.”

Sarah’s mom had not seen Anna for a few weeks and was excited for her to arrive.  After getting up and around, they finally made it over by lunch time.  Her folks had just walked in from church when they arrived.  Lunch and the afternoon rushed by and soon they all had to go home.  Her mom expressed a desire to see Anna more. Sarah felt guilty that she had not, but work and life were busy right now.  Learning to be a mom and be at work was tough.  There just didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day…or days in the week!

Over the next few months, Jonathan and Sarah would find that life, work, health, exhaustion, and extended family would take its effect!  They got a call one day from someone in their Bible group.  There was a new study starting and a party they were having.  They replied with an obligatory “We’ll try” and marked their calendars.  They soon scratched it off because of a family event that had come up last-minute.  Besides, it was only one Sunday. 

Anna was crawling everywhere and had a new class that Sunday.  She wasn’t sure about this new person or room.  She clung to Jonathan and cried.  She did not want to go in.  Sarah felt so guilty about leaving Anna crying that she couldn’t enjoy the group.  The worker assured her that Anna was just needing more time and a few more visits and all would be well.  Between birthday parties, anniversaries, vacation, and other things, They only made it back about once or twice a month!

Good news arrived one evening in the form of a + on a stick.  They called to tell everyone the good news.  The family had a celebration that Sunday.  Family is so important.  Besides, it was just one week.  Steven James came 9 months later to the joy and pleasure of the family.  No one from church even knew because they forget to tell anyone. 

Jonathan, Sarah, Anna, and Steven are a loving, caring family.  They love God.  They believe in God.  Sunday is just so busy that it is hard to find time for church.  Anna graduates High School and Steven gets his license this year.  They are very active in school and sports.  Anna leads the cheerleaders and Steven is QB1 and the Ace pitcher.  Everyone in town would say they are a solid family with great kids.  They go to church when they can, but that is usually only a couple of times a year.  All those “just one Sundays” have added up to “most Sundays in a year”.

Jonathan and Sarah grew up in church.  They made decisions of faith in Jesus in their childhood.  Anna and Steven did not have that opportunity.  Somehow, Jonathan and Sarah just never thought about it with their kids.  Life was busy.  Work was hard.  Family was critical.  Without the regular influence of Biblical teaching and spiritual support, it is easy to lose your way.  The best family and the greatest kids still need Jesus, the Bible, and Church.

Anna and Steven are eternally hopeless because they have not heard.  They have not had the chance to be influenced toward Christ.  It all happened just one week at a time.  From birth, kids are able to learn.  What are yours learning?  What are the influences you allow?

See you Sunday?

Raising Kids Like a Boss

In Life and Culture, Uncategorized on November 12, 2013 at 7:37 am

dad-and-baby

Raising kids today is one of the most difficult challenges any adult must face.  Everyone likes to joke about the first year of marriage being so hard, but it pales in comparison to raising children.  Every generation of parents will say the same thing.  Kids have harder choices now than when we were kids.  I agree with this assessment in part, but every one has temptation to sin.  The options for sin just adjust over time.  In this culture today, how can we make sure that our toddlers, tweens, teens, and 20-somethings will navigate the choppy cultural waters?

Raising kids like a boss takes courage, commitment, and a cultural awareness. We must have the courage to love, not legalize, our kids into a better way of living.  I am NOT suggesting that consequences be extracted.  My wife and I have boundaries, expectations, and consequences.  What I am saying is that if, as a parent, my only interaction with them is about rules and regulations, then I am going to lose them to a culture that has tolerance as its high priority.  I must love them into a better way of behaving.  Let your relationship with them be the driving force when they are away from you.

Raising kids like a boss takes commitment.  You and your spouse must be committed to God, to each other, and to training for the long haul.  Kids can sniff out lack of authenticity like a lion tracking its prey.  They will spot it and pounce on it.  We, as parents, cannot be on and off depending on our mood.  This only creates confusion.  It does not matter if I am tired, or cranky, or angry.  There will never be a time that they are not your kids.  They will likely not be a time when they do not want/need your input.  So, this is a 40-60 year commitment.  Be prepared.

Raising kids like a boss takes cultural awareness.  We must be aware of what is going on in their lives.  We must take the lead and limit their internet activity because they are not ready for what is out there yet.  I would suggest that most of us adults are not ready either and should take precautions.  Knowing your kids passwords and activity is not an invasion of privacy like they will argue.  Last time I checked, they are not paying the rent, buying the groceries, or providing basic needs.  I am.  I want access.  The onslaught of immoral and unhealthy choices is everywhere.  Commercials, ads, and music all are killing us.  With 1 in 5 people now stating they have no religious affiliation, the hope of my children having a relationship with Christ lies with me and my wife.  States are legalizing same-sex marriage and marijuana usage.  Sex is being sold by the minute on television and internet ads.

Because you have the courage to love them you have the chance to be in their lives.  Because of your commitments they will see a consistency and find comfort.  Because of your cultural awareness, you can converse with them about options and choices.  Raising kids like a boss has less to do with where you go to church and more to do with your relationship with God and each other.  Church attendance is important, but only takes a fraction of your week.  School a large portion.  There is still a huge chunk of time in which you can make strides and impact their lives.  Come back tomorrow and find the conclusion to this discussion.

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