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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

This week: Ground zero and Christ, homeschool blind spots, Pat Robertson’s lack of understanding of the gospel, and a good one on fathers and sons.

Ground Zero & the American Dream (by Makoto Fujimura, Curator)

“Ground Zero,” in Christ, can also mean a cancellation point, a new beginning where we can stand on the ashes of the Wasteland we see and still seek renewal and “genesis moments.”

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Homeschool Blindspots (by Reb Bradley via Joshua Harris’ Blog)

When I picked him up the second night of work, he got in the car with a big smile on his face and said "They like me!" As I dwelt on that comment, it suddenly came clear to me – my son had finally met someone who liked him for who he was. Few others in his entire life had shown him much acceptance, especially not his mother and I. It is no exaggeration – in our efforts to shape and improve him, all we did was find fault with everything he did.

Christ, the Church, and Pat Robertson (by Russell Moore)

A woman or a man with Alzheimer’s can’t do anything for you. There’s no romance, no sex, no partnership, not even companionship. That’s just the point. Because marriage is a Christ/church icon, a man loves his wife as his own flesh. He cannot sever her off from him simply because she isn’t “useful” anymore.

Fathers, Sons, and Fair Market Value (by David Browder, Mockingbird)

These two outlooks are on totally different planes. Who has the most rest? Who can actually play a game and enjoy it for what it is rather than having to increase their fair market value? Most of all, which one gives birth to a love that will be there long after the last pass is thrown?

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This week: Lots of encouraging words from TGC – not on purpose, it just turned out that way – on the gospel, manliness, and winning with our kids.

The Subjective Power Of An Objective Gospel (by David Zahl & Jacob Smith)

The Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:3-4) is good news, however, and good news for people with real problems. And it does tangibly address the subjective realities of suffering people – thank God – which is where most of us actually live. But it is helpful because it is true, not the other way around. One comes before the other. The Gospel is an objective word that has subjective power.

Play the Man (by Kevin DeYoung)

Driscoll’s mistake was not in taking the problem of effeminate men too seriously, but in making a flippant comment about something he knows to be a serious problem. In a day when certain men—from pirates to figure skaters to stand up comedians—wear eyeliner, and the typical sitcom dad is a henpecked oaf, we are overdue for some hard conversations about what manhood is supposed to look like.

Christ Died for the Sins of Christians Too (by Dr. Rod Rosenbladt)

The preaching was not, as it should have been, a proclamation of God’s grace to them because of the finished and atoning death of Christ-God’s grace for them as Christians. That emphasis is desperately needed. But the only way we can recover this message is by ceasing to read the Scriptures as a recipe book for Christian living, and instead find within the Scriptures Christ who died for us and who is the answer to our unchristian living. We must have that kind of renewal (a renewal, which not surprisingly, was important to the reformers, as well), and it can only come if we realize that the gospel is for Christians, too.

Why Youth Stay in Church When They Grow Up (by Jon Nielson)

The common thread that binds together almost every ministry-minded 20-something that I know is abundantly clear: a home where the gospel was not peripheral but absolutely central. The 20-somethings who are serving, leading, and driving the ministries at our church were kids whose parents made them go to church. They are kids whose parents punished them and held them accountable when they were rebellious. They are kids whose parents read the Bible around the dinner table every night. And they are kids whose parents were tough, but who ultimately operated from a framework of grace that held up the cross of Jesus as the basis for peace with God and forgiveness toward one another.

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This week: Harry Potter & Jesus, the most risky profession: pastor, the blessed trials of being a parent, and the calling of motherhood.

Harry Potter, Jesus, and Me

Harry Potter, Jesus, and Me (by Andrew Peterson, Rabbit Room)

As for the witchcraft debate, I heave a weary sigh. No, God doesn’t want us to practice witchcraft. Of course he doesn’t. I’ve read arguments on both sides of this, and believe we could spar for days without doing a lick of good. (By the way, no debate is raging over Glenda the Good Witch of the East in The Wizard of Oz. Most Americans have probably seen that film and/or read that book, and didn’t start conducting séances on the weekends—though the flying monkeys have crept me out for years. And Oz, when compared to Potter, is practically bereft of Christian meaning.)

The Most Risky Profession (by Mark Galli, CT)

That very name suggests that perhaps the church should not be about growth and efficiency, but care and concern, not so much an organization but a community, not something that mimics our high-tech culture but something that incarnates a high-touch fellowship. By God’s grace, there is a remnant of such churches alive and well today, with leaders who really are pastors.

The Best Fears of Our Lives (by Russell Moore, Touchstone)

According to the Sacramento Bee’s report,“Parents experience significantly higher levels of depression than grown-ups who don’t have children.”

I still thought I was okay, since I’m a reasonably happy man. That is, until I saw the definition of the problem. According to theBee:“The researchers suggest that worry is a lifelong cost of having children.” And don’t think it gets better when they leave the house: “Parents of grown children (whether they live at home or have moved out) and parents without custody of minor children exhibit more signs of depression than other parents.”

Motherhood Is a Calling (And Where Your Children Rank) (by Rachel Jankovic)

Everywhere you go, people want to talk about your children. Why you shouldn’t have had them, how you could have prevented them, and why they would never do what you have done. They want to make sure you know that you won’t be smiling anymore when they are teenagers. All this at the grocery store, in line, while your children listen.

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This week: excellent thoughts on parenting by Kevin DeYoung, some closing thoughts on the death of OBL by Doug Wilson, and 2 must read articles discussing the increasing effect of pornography, including Russell Moore giving some steps overcome it in our churches.

Parenting 001 (by Kevin DeYoung)

I worry that many young parents are a) too adamant about the particulars of their parenting or b) too sure that every decision will set their kids on an unalterable trajectory to heaven or hell. It’s like my secretary at the church once told me: “Most moms and dads think they are either the best or the worst parents in the world, and both are wrong.” Could it be we’ve made parenting too complicated? Isn’t the most important thing not what we do but who we are as parents? They will see our character before they remember our exact rules regarding television and twinkies.

Seven Thoughts on the Assassination of Bin Laden (by Doug Wilson)

As I have written before, we must not allow our awareness of our own sinfulness, and the fact that all of us die as a result of that sin, to flatten the distinctions between sins. There is such a thing as great evil, and to recognize the fact is not the equivalent of denying that you yourself have sinned.

Arousing Ourselves to Death (by Russell D. Moore)

An incarnational picture of sexuality, rooted in the mystery of the gospel, is the furthest thing possible from the utilitarian ugliness of pornography. Our first step must be to show why pornography leaves a person, and a culture, so numb and empty. Human sexuality is, as our colleague Robert George put it, more than “body parts rubbing against one another.”

Pride and Prejudice and Porn (by Mark Mitchell)

Admittedly, Austen’s world is idealized, yet consider this: who would you prefer your daughter to bring home? 1) a young man whose sexual imagination has been formed by Jane Austen along with Homer, Virgil, The Song of Solomon, Dante, and Shakespeare or 2) a young man who has spent the last ten years of his life fantasizing about women whose images he has objectified and consumed through pornography? Who will make a better husband? A better lover? A better father? That so many of our young men are being shaped by pornography does not bode well for our young ladies or for our society as a whole. If we are witnessing the passing of the gentlemen, there is much to lament. Although the path is difficult and the outcome uncertain, perhaps it’s time for the gentleman to stage a comeback.

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My childhood home was not perfect. Neither is the home I lead, nor any home I know of or have ever heard of. How good it is to know that perfection is not necessary – simply a desire, a plan, prayer, and a regular reliance on God to equip us with the grace and strength to be faithful. – Tad Thompson, Intentional Parenting

Thompson cover 364 px

A few weeks ago, I had about 6 hours to kill sitting in the Minneapolis airport with no free WiFi waiting to catch a flight home out of a snowstorm so I decided to dig into Intentional Parenting by Tad Thompson on my Kindle. I was not disappointed but was convicted and encouraged. Mr. Thompson is very straight to the point and is practical while not dwelling on methods or recipes. I even finished the book prior to boarding my flight home.

Some Key Points

Here a few key points that I drew from the book:

the goal of family discipleship is to raise children who treasure Jesus above all things.

1. Our goal as parents is to trust God to raise kids that treasure Him above all things. It is not to raise children who simply love me, or love themselves (as our society would lean). Our primary goal is also not to raise kids who are moral or successful. Moses hammers home his main points in Deuteronomy 6 on passing on our faith to our kids in the context of what verse? Deuteronomy 6:4-6:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. (Deuteronomy 6:4-6 ESV)

2. My kids will not treasure Jesus above all things if I do not. This was a huge encouragement to me as well as very convicting. I needed to hear this again. Am I really growing in my love for Jesus? Or am I falling into simple routine and habit, barely showing up in the morning to just check some boxes? Am I striving to impart this to my young children or just go through some spiritual motions with them? This is such a huge point that I need to hear over and over again. We can make parenting, as with life, so complex and get so overwhelmed but it really is that simple: treasure Jesus above all things and raise my kids to do the same. The details will come. Get that goal down first.

The greatest blessing you can give your children is to treasure Jesus above all things, even above them. Is this is a reality in your home? If it’s not, you can confess your sins to Christ. You can flee to him. He is your advocate.

3. Early on in parenting your young children and in discipline, a key sub goal is helping reveal to them a need for a Savior. Yes, you want them to obey but you know they won’t be perfect. Does that mean you lower the standard of obedience? No! My little ones do not need to be exasperated but they need to be directed to Jesus out of a sense of their own sin and need for a savior. Discipline of your children is not about punishment but about correction and helping them understand the gospel: that they are sinners who have no hope apart from the death of Jesus on the Cross, that God loves and delights in them and made a way for them to know Him personally.

Not Just Another Book on Parenting

As a father, it is so easy for me to get derailed and on the path of simply raising moral kids or kids that respect me. I need to read books like this. I need refreshment in these truths. Mr. Thompson is not wordy, not condemning nor enabling, but does such an excellent job of communicating the basics of parenting in light of gospel. I appreciate the grace he communicates and yet how he does not let me off the hook in my weaknesses. I have 5 kids ages 6 and under and I felt like the truths shared here were very accessible and relevant. I highly recommend it and it may be the first book I now recommend to new parents. Shepherding Your Child’s Heart is the classic in my church along with Premeditated Parenting and Romancing Your Child’s Heart (and Teach Them Diligently which my wife and I love) but I appreciated Intentional Parenting because of Mr. Thompson’s simplicity in applying the gospel to parenting.

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This week: parenting thoughts from Doug Wilson, thoughts on living in a post-feminist world, the sexualization of our kids (big props to TV and public schools!), and the desperate need for actual discipleship from Matt Perman.

Parenting Young People I and Parenting Young People II (by Douglas Wilson)

The hallmark of whether or not a father is experimenting on his kids, as opposed to bringing them up in obedience, is how open he is to the idea of someone else actually measuring what he is doing. How open is he to true accountability?

The Church in a Post-Feminist World: An Interview with Mary Kassian (by Paula Hendricks)

Feminism, as a cultural movement, is over. This is not to say that feminism has ended. On the contrary. The only reason the feminist movement is over is that it has been so wildly successful. Feminism has transitioned from being a movement to being the prevailing mindset of the masses.

The Sexualisation of Britain’s Youth (by Robin Phillips, Telegraph)

In treating sexuality as common, we end up neutralizing its potency, turning it into something tame, benign and trivial. But in doing that, we put our children at risk. When Camille Paglia argued that if rape is a totally devastating psychological experience for a woman, then she doesn’t have a proper attitude about sex (because rape is just like getting beaten up and “Men get beat up all the time”), she was merely following the itinerary of desensitization to its final destination.

The Cape Town Commitment on the Need for Developing Godly Leaders (by Matt Perman)

Arguably the scale of un-Christlike and worldly leadership in the global Church today is glaring evidence of generations of reductionist evangelism, neglected discipling and shallow growth. The answer to leadership failure is not just more leadership training but better discipleship training. Leaders must first be disciples of Christ himself.

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Parenting: The Joyful Impossibility (By Paul Tripp)

It hit me that If I were ever to be the tool of transforming grace in the lives of my children, I needed to be daily rescued, not from them, but from me! That’s why Jesus came, so that I would have every resource that I need to be what he has chosen me to be and do what he has called me to do. In his life, death, and resurrection I had already been given all that I needed to be his tool of rescuing, forgiving, and transforming grace.

Parenting: It’s Never an Interruption (by Paul Tripp)

But my problem is that there are moments when I tend to love my little kingdom of one more than I love his. So I’m impatient, discouraged, or irritated not because my children have broken the laws of God’s kingdom, but the laws of mine. In my kingdom there shall be no parenting on family vacation days, or when I am reading the paper on my iPad, or after ten o’clock at night, or during a good meal, or . . . I could go on.

The Tucson Tragedy and God’s Gift of Moral Language (by Kevin DeYoung)

The world, and to a large extent the church, has lost the ability to speak in moral categories. We have preferences instead of character. We have values instead of virtue. We have no God of holiness, and we have no Satan.  We have break-downs, crack-ups, psychoses, maladjustments, and inner turmoil.  But we do not have repugnant evil as the Bible has it. And this loss makes the world a more dangerous place. For the words may disappear, but the reality does not.

Living Life or Documenting Insignificance (by Randy Alcorn)

The problem isn’t just what we are doing with our time; it’s what we are NOT doing with it. Where does all the time spent on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube and television and radio actually come from?

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