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How to Get Your Kids to Ask More Questions About Their Faith

How to Get Your Kids to Ask More Questions About Their Faith

The most popular post on my blog is one I wrote last year called, The Number One Sign Your Kids are Just Borrowing Your Faith (and Not Developing Their Own).

That post has been read by more than 80,000 people and shared almost 14,000 times. Clearly it resonated deeply with people.

So what was the sign that your kids are just “borrowing” your faith?

They rarely, if ever, ask questions about it.

Many parents wrote to me and said the post made them realize that they were doing a lot of talking about God…but their kids weren’t doing a lot of talking back.

If your kids aren’t showing much proactive interest in talking about faith, I have a very easy and effective solution to share with you today: Start a questions night.

For the last several months, our family has set aside a night each week in order to simply sit and answer any questions our kids have about faith. They absolutely love it. And I can tell you that they weren’t asking these questions before we started the questions night. They knew they could always ask us questions, but that doesn’t mean they actually did. Setting aside a special time for questions opens the doors of communication in ways that don’t necessarily happen otherwise.

These question nights have facilitated some of the most important conversations we have ever had with our kids.

Here are 9 tips to help you get started with your own!

 

1. You don’t need to know how to answer all your kids’ questions before you launch your questions night.

Whenever I mention to someone that we have a questions night, the first response is always, “I don’t think I could answer my kids’ questions!”…followed by an uncomfortable laugh. If that’s what you’re thinking as you read this, please don’t let that concern stop you from doing it! You will never know how to answer all of your kids’ questions. No matter how prepared you are, they will ask questions you’re not sure how to answer…so there’s no point in waiting.

 

2. When you don’t know an answer, there’s no need to be embarrassed…just use it as a chance to teach your kids how you find answers yourself.

I’ll never forget one of the first questions my daughter asked: Why did Jesus have to be baptized if He wasn’t a sinner?

I have to admit I had never thought about that (if you’re interested in the answer,here’s a nice quick article). I laughed and told her that was a really great question that I hadn’t even thought about. Then I showed her how we could use my study Bible to find an answer.

Here’s the thing to remember: When your kids stump you, they’re proud of themselves…not ashamed of you. Praise them for asking a great question, then use it as an opportunity to demonstrate how to find the answers together. My kids lovethinking of questions so good we can’t answer. And we love it too.

 

3. Explicitly tell your kids that any question is OK.

If your kids are old enough that they may have doubts about their faith, they may not open up with those questions by default. Other kids might fear their questions are too basic and won’t want to admit they don’t understand something they feel they should. Be sure to explicitly tell your kids up front that all questions are welcome and you’ll never be disappointed by or angry about something they want to know.

 

4. If you think your kids might need time to warm up to the idea of asking questions, have some ready to go in advance.

If you’re not sure that your kids will hit the ground running with the new questions night, pick a couple of interesting questions in advance to throw out on their behalf. That way you won’t be sitting around awkwardly staring at each other in silence. If you need some ideas, check out my list of 65 questions every Christian parent should learn how to answer.

 

5. If you have more than one child, “open the floor” to questions but make sure everyone has the chance to ask something.

When we first started doing this, we went around in a circle, having each of our kids ask a question on their turn. The good side of doing it that way is that it encourages everyone to be thinking. The bad side is (1) that it can kill the momentum of the night if one kid is not feeling particularly thoughtful (everyone will be sitting around waiting for them to come up with something), and (2) that if your kids are competitive (as mine are), they’ll spend more time thinking up a good question for their impending turn than listening to the current discussion. We found the whole night flows better when you simply let everyone throw out questions as they have them. Just make sure that if someone didn’t ask something on their own, you give them the chance to.

 

6. Don’t assume young kids don’t have big questions to ask.

For a while, it was only my twins (age 6) asking questions. My 4-year-old rolled around on the floor, seemingly bored by the more “advanced” conversation going on around her. When I asked her each time if she had a question, she gave me an embarrassed look and said, “Nooo!” She was intimidated by the questions from her older siblings.

But one night she finally spoke up and said she had a question.

“Mommy, why did God create soldiers who kill people?”

I was more than surprised that this was a question on my 4-year-old’s mind (I still don’t know where it came from).

If you have young kids, don’t assume they don’t have big questions. Kids as young as 3 or 4 can benefit from doing this! It might take time for them to speak up, but you just might be surprised how much they’re already thinking.

 

7. When your kids ask a question that the Bible doesn’t clearly answer, be honest about that and use it as a key teaching opportunity.

Quite often, I find myself answering a question with “the Bible doesn’t tell us for sure” or “the Bible doesn’t give us all of the details on that.” For example, my kids often ask questions about heaven—what it will be like, what we’ll be doing, etc. I tell them that the Bible doesn’t give us all the details, and that there are many things like that.

But I don’t like to leave it there. I think it’s an important time to teach them about the three points I described in my post, How to Handle Questions God Didn’t Answer: God’s revelation is not broken, we can trust that God has revealed all we need to know, and it should be our life’s work to understand the answers He hasgiven us.

 

8. When your kids ask a question that’s been a struggle for you personally, tell them as much.

This might sound counter-intuitive, but I actually love when the kids ask something that’s a difficulty in my own faith. As for many people, the problem of suffering in the world has always greatly troubled me. When the kids ask questions on this subject, we discuss free will and its implications, but I’m quick to tell them that this has always been hard for me (and many others) to understand. I explain to them that it’s easy to look at those things and see them as evidence against God. I’m very honest about it. But after I acknowledge that, I use it as a perfect opportunity to talk about how much evidence there is for God and why we are Christians despite those difficulties.

Getting real about your own faith challenges gives you credibility with your kids and helps give them a more realistic understanding of what a living, breathing faith looks like.

 

9. If you miss a week…or two…or three…don’t give up on it.

There was a period of about a month when we got busy and didn’t do our questions night. It would have been easy to let it go at that point. But when we told the kids one evening that it was time to do it again, they cheered and all ran into the living room to sit down. They started waving their hands in the air to be the first to ask something. And we literally couldn’t stop the questions from coming.

After just one month.

Again, they could have asked us those questions at any time. They didn’t need a “questions night.” But in the hustle and bustle of life, those questions often don’t naturally arise. So give it a try in your own family. It could completely transform your kids’ spiritual life.

 

One man’s story of porn addiction

sfasfg2I’m a recovering drug addict and have experienced firsthand the physical and mental damage it causes in one’s life. I feel lucky to be alive. Through my experiences, one thing has changed in me that probably not many people would associate with my past drug use. My perception of pornography has taken a very different turn. If you would have asked me five years ago, I would have never considered porn use to be an ‘addiction’ or a ‘drug.’ As a matter of fact, I probably would have laughed in your face. It wasn’t until I personally found out its effects and patterns to be almost identical to my issues with drugs.

Because of my past drug addiction that I felt I had beat, indulging in porn didn’t seem like a problem. After all, it was a ‘natural’ part of life, plus I wasn’t using drugs (or so I thought) anymore. I thought that porn was harmless. It’s not like pornography could kill me or hurt anyone around me, right? What I came to find out the hard way is that porn became a very real addiction with very real effects in my life. And some of these effects were almost identical to hard drugs. I wasn’t sticking needles in my arm, but I got to the point I couldn’t even look at an attractive women as a human being, but only saw her as an object to pursue or a trigger to act out on. I was no longer in control of myself and the more I indulged the more my appetite for porn increased.

However, I didn’t truly see porn addiction as similar to drug addiction until I tried to stop. One afternoon, I saw an attractive woman that set me off.  I found myself feeling anxious and like I had to watch some porn to get rid of the feeling. I was literally physically shaking as I hurried to a computer to log on to my favorite porn site. I didn’t care about anything else.  What I had just experienced was something almost identical to my past drug withdrawals. That was when I knew I had lost complete control over myself and was being consumed by this addiction to porn.

Unfortunately, that eye-opening experience was only the beginning. It took me many more years to pull out of my porn addiction than it did with my addiction to drugs. Remember before when I said that I thought to myself that me watching porn didn’t hurt anyone? Wow, was I wrong. The damage and hurt my porn addiction brought to my wife and kids was nearly irreparable. There were many times throughout the whole experience that I felt I’d be better off taking my own life because I probably would never have a normal life and healthy relationship.

So much for some “fun, harmless entertainment,” right?

Almost everyone knows that sticking a needle in your arm isn’t good for you.  But do they know that porn can be just as addictive and ruin relationships with the people they love? Knowing personally that pornography addiction was so much harder to kick than my drug addiction, my advice to anyone that wants a real satisfying life and relationship is to avoid porn at all costs. If you find you’re already stuck in it, get out and get help immediately. It will never satisfy you and it only gets worse.

As for me, being free from this, and everything else, has made my life, family, and marriage better than it has ever been. The struggle to free myself from this addiction has been much more worth it than I would have imagined.

Pastor Paul has seen this addition among Christian men in the church as well.  You are not alone. There is hope to overcome through Jesus Christ.  If you are struggling in this area, please contact Pastor Paul for a plan to change yourself and your family.

Family Matters – by Pastor Paul Carey

Join us as we start a new series entitled “Family Matters!” During this time of honoring Mothers and Fathers, planning family vacations, as summer approaches.. it is a great time to refresh ourselves on what the Bible teaches about this vital topic that affects our lives every day. Sunday’s teaching will be on “Marriage Matters!” If you look at the stats, you would conclude from our culture that marriage is going extinct… but is that God’s plan.. come and see.. Coffee fellowship 10 AM, Gathering at 10:30 AM11109702_10153302603282216_4785039705250259801_o

Armed and Dangerous – Heather Carey (Blush Network)

 “NO weapon formed against you shall prosper…this is the HERITAGE of the children of the Lord.”

I gripped the steering wheel, my arms shaking and my back rigid. I stared ahead at the expanse of Highway 80 East, my eyes glassed over. I began praying as my car sped toward another day at the high school where I taught. The tone and timbre of my voice shaky as I cried out to my God: “Lord, you MUST go before me today, because if You don’t, I have no idea how I’m going to survive. Take over my words as they come out of my mouth and use them as instruments of your grace, mercy, and love. Teach me how to love my students with Your love and not my own. You have to help me.” As I drove off the entrance ramp onto the highway, I saw a billowing cloud of smoke in the east and started crying. God was telling me that He was already there.

In the spring of 2014, I felt God moving me to Dallas, Texas from Lynchburg, Virginia. After living twelve comfortable years in the glorious beauty that is Virginia, I knew that I didn’t want the comfortable life to become my norm. So, I prayed about the move, sought Godly counsel, confirmed His call through Scripture, resigned my job, sold the majority of my stuff, and drove into Dallas on July 1, 2013. I was scheduled for an interview at a high school in the area on July 2; so, I prayed and PRAYED over that interview and got the job – the only job offer I had received in three months. I accepted, knowing that God wanted me there. I could not have imagined the opposition I would face daily as a result of that decision.

That school year of 2013-2014, I worked with sophomores and freshman whose life circumstances and stories could emotionally cripple most mature adults. One sixteen-year old student witnessed his thirty-three-year old mother’s murder by her ex-boyfriend and then the ex-boyfriend’s suicide. One set of twin boys had just discovered their biological father over the summer after their mother, who was a drug addict, admitted that they actually had a father after Child Protective Services intervened. The boys, after years of living in chaos, were thrown into a home with structure and struggled to make the appropriate emotional and behavioral adjustments.

These stories represent only two of the approximately one hundred students who filtered through my classroom every day. Students who were accustomed to adults flittering in and out of their lives, signifying their lack of worth and enhancing long-established fears of betrayal and abandonment.

Jesus tells us that, “in the world you have tribulation, but TAKE COURAGE, I have overcome the world.” Paul, Peter, and James tell us that trials and tribulation hone our perseverance, develop our patience, and perfect our faith. That year, I would learn how those truths fit into and built my spiritual arsenal.

I could feel the spiritual oppression heavy over that town every day when I drove to work.   I could see it in the eyes of the children who had been told by Satan that their value was nothing through the actions and words of former teachers, who I represented. I could feel and see it in the dissension and apathy of the faculty and the chaos of the school environment. Satan had been allowed to thrive and the marks of his presence were everywhere.

But, “…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Jesus was using me as salt and light in an environment that desperately needed His peaceful touch. He needed me to love those children as He loved them, not as I did.

Every day, I prayed on the armor of God: the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the shield of faith, the sword of the Spirit, and, most importantly, the shoes of peace. I prayed that every place that the sole of my foot touched would be blessed with the peace of Jesus. I would have spiritually perished if not protected by the spiritual armor and the constant strength of the Holy Spirit.

Some days, I just showed up.   God spoke His words through my weak emotional and physical state to students who were hurting, scarred, and broken in ways that I could never fathom. I didn’t quit and therein lay some of the greatest victories. Scripture says, “ Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” I obeyed a principle of Scripture and watched as God turned their hearts toward him through His Spirit working through me. I conquered the evil that bred in the hallways and hearts of my students as I prayed over them, rebuking the demonic influence that was pervasive in the school IN THE NAME OF JESUS. I was armed in Jesus and threatened the enemy’s hold on my students. I was spiritually dangerous against the forces of darkness.

DO. NOT. QUIT. Though the battle is long and fierce, stand protected by the armor of God – the heritage of the children of the Lord. Though you tire, falter, and even fail, get up again and stand firm, knowing that Jesus has overcome the world. You will not be put to shame and you do not labor in vain. Attach those truths to your belt and stand in the power of God.

– Heather Carey

Kerry Patterson’s life was transformed – Sharon Carey

During my second bible study – Breaking Free, I did begin to break free of some strongholds in my life. Kerry Paterson shared this with me after our last ladies bible study. Her life was transformed forever! Sharon CareySharon 1

Not only was Kerry transformed, we ALL were!

I am so excited to begin a new study by Kay Arthur called – Covenant.  I have already begun my homework and God has spoken to my heart just this week.  I want you ladies to join me!

The study starts next Tuesday evening, September 9th, from 6-8pm in the Upper Room at New Life Community Church.  It is an eight week study so we will be finished well before the Thanksgiving holiday!

I can’t express to you how much we all grow and bond with each other!  It is a no miss for all of us.  I know… I know your  reasons not to attend I’m busy, I don’t have enough time, the ladies may think I’m dumb (as Kerry thought), I’ve never been in a ladies bible study before, I may not know anyoneand the list goes on.  Believe me; we ALL have thought the same things!  But every one of us, who have decided to attend have all said….I’m so glad I did!  You will feel the same!  Join us!

It will change your life just as it changed Kerry’s life forever.  You see she found Jesus as her Lord and Savior as a result of attending!

You will not want to miss her story below.  I pray God will use her testimony to encourage you to join us!  Kerry will be there.  How about you?

I have participated in 2 bible studies at New Life Community Church – Breaking Free by Beth Moore and A Woman’s Heart by Beth Moore.

  I was asked by a neighbor to come.  At first I was leery to attend but at the same time, I was looking for a good bible study.   My friend had no idea! I had the usual doubts: what if the ladies don’t like me, what if I look dumb.  All kinds of thoughts went through my mind. I immediately started to pray and I decided to go.

 In the first bible study, I actually started to develop my relationship with God.  It still amazes me looking back on that study! The ladies that attended were extremely loving, caring and encouraging.  I could feel the Holy Spirit there.

 During my second bible study – Breaking Free, I did begin to break free of some strongholds in my life. I forgave people for their wrongs against me.  I forgave myself and most importantly during that time I also attended the Blush Conference in Terre Haute.  It was during the conference that everything made complete sense.  It all became personal.  I accepted Jesus’s love for me and invited Him into my life that very day!  God used the two bible studies and the Blush Conference to help me find my relationship with Jesus!  Without both, I know I would not be where I am today.

  There are so many things that I could tell you that led me to the bible studies – things that happened and things that continue to happen to reassure me of God’s love for me.

  One last thing – after the night of the last bible study, I started having doubts.  Yes, I said doubts. The ending had to do with a rope, bungee cord type attachment indicating that I have a direct line to Jesus. I can’t remember all the details. The very next day my Dad came home with a bracelet that was made from a soldiers parachute in Iraq.  Every time I see or wear that bracelet, I think of that example in the bible study.  I can pray and talk to God at any point and he hears me.  Jesus is my direct line to heaven!

  I would recommend the bible studies to anyone who is doubting, believers and anyone who thinks it might be for them.  Don’t miss out on finding God’s love.  He’s waiting for you to grab on.

 Kerry Paterson

Boundaries and the Temptation to Break Them by Amanda Carey

Temptation1 One of the more “tempting” times in my life has been the time I was dating the man who is now my husband.  We were getting to know each other, falling in love, extremely attracted to one another, spending a LOT of time together, and simply could not get enough of each other.  The physical aspect of the relationship was quickly escalating and we both knew if we truly wanted to honor God in our relationship, certain things had to change.  We established boundaries right away. Things like, “I’ll never stay past midnight”, “We won’t be alone together at your place”, and, “Let’s set an alarm so we don’t ‘accidentally’ stay up too late when everyone else is asleep.”  Even with those in place, we failed.  I’ll never forget the first time we crossed the “physical boundary” we had established.  I felt an immediate “pit” in my stomach.  It was as if a wall was built between myself and God.  I felt nervous, guilty, ashamed, bad, sad, and angry with myself…I even found it hard to pray.  I could see so clearly the consequences of my actions went into effect immediately and I felt an almost tangible strain on my relationship with God.  I found myself coming up with excuses like, “Everyone else has had sex and we haven’t , so we’re definitely okay,” or, “Nobody is perfect”.  I tried to convince myself that really it was okay, but all the while the Holy Spirit within me was convicting me—just as I had asked Him to do!  My falling into temptation was not David’s fault, it was not his roommate’s fault for leaving while I was over or for falling asleep early—it was MY FAULT.  As a Christian I had to accept responsibility for MY OWN FALLING INTO TEMPTATION and ask God to forgive me. 

James 1:13-15 “When tempted, no one should say “God is tempting me”.  For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.”

God does not tempt us, but rather he tests us.  Earlier in James it states in chapter 1 verse 3  “…because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”  God does not place us in situations where we are forced to give into temptation. In my experience I found that I put MYSELF in situations where I make up an excuse to explain my reason for falling to temptation.  Though I TEMPTED myself, the situation allowed God to TEST me.  His testing, my repentance and newly found dependence on Him has truly refined my faith.  I had to turn to God to find my complete strength, peace, and hope in overcoming my specific temptation.  Had we tried this on our own, we surely would have failed.  

The two of us knew we had messed up and knew we didn’t want that to happen again.  We got together and prayed.  David said from day one of our relationship that he wanted to lead me spiritually, and that was his chance.  We began to hold each other accountable, we started praying together, and we found accountability in our friends whom we trusted the most.  We went on to get engaged and eventually married.  We BOTH had waited until we were married to have sex and let me tell you- THIS was THE BEST gift either one of us could have given to each other.  I only wish I could explain to you what this meant. Amanda and David sunflowers

If you are dating someone now and debating whether or not sex is okay, look at what God’s word says: 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 “For this is the will of God; your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God”.

 I can only speak from my experience but I can tell you that God has immensely blessed us for honoring His word and doing our best to honor Him in our dating relationship.  Yes, of course we messed up numerous times and were never perfect, but we sought harder and harder after God and continued to draw our strength from him when we found ourselves in times of temptation.  We prayed for conviction and He more than gave it to us. 

What are you tempted by?  Sex?  Cheating?  Stealing?  Lying? Remember that even Jesus was tempted (Matthew 4:1-11)!  Draw your strength to fight temptation from the Word of God.  Don’t look to yourself for help… invest your time, energy, thoughts, and heart into the Word of God.  Jesus has already overcome this battle. Surrender to His aid.

-Amanda Carey – The Blush Network

This was written by my sweet daughter-in-law talking about her relationship with David, my son, before they were married.  Pastor Paul and I are so proud of them both and respect the fact that Amanda is willing to share their story to help others.  I think this blog will be helpful for all of our parents of teens and all of our teens at New Life.  Sharon Carey

A Man and His Traps – A New Series for Men

 

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Scott Gerger – Men’s Ministry Coordinator

Good morning Men!  It’s time that we stop trying to be islands of independence and start linking arms to take on the challenges we all face in our lives:  family, work, chores, bills, work, bills, church, work, bills, (did I already say, bills?) and TRAPS!  That’s right, Traps.  Our enemy is prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  The best way to fight back is to do it together!

I just wanted to wet your whistle with regard to the next volume of the 33 Series that we will begin right after the movie.  Here is a description of “A Man and His Traps:”

Have you seen the move, “Courageous?”  If you haven’t, even if you have, keep your eyes open for an opportunity to Get Together – that’s right, we’re going to get together, not sit at home, isolated and alone, on our little private islands — and watch this compelling movie about what it takes to fight the good fight of faith and family.   Let’s kick off the fall season with a resounding, “I WILL!”

I will be coming to you, man-to-man, to invite you to the kick-off event, and then to the launch of “33 The Series – A Man and His Traps.”  You can’t run, you can’t hide, I will find you and make sure you know you are welcome, invited, and most importantly needed.   Our Lord Jesus is calling us as men to take back the territory that has been lost in our families, churches, communities, and country.  And we can’t do that alone.  We can only do that together in the power of the Holy Spirit, under the forgiveness offered by Jesus Christ, because of the grace and mercy of God.   Stay connected to the New Life Community Church website and other social media outlets for details.

In His Majesty’s Service,

Scott Gerger, Men’s Connection Leader

 

Frank and Beth Sabelhaus Join New Life Team as Worship Leaders

Frank Sabelhaus Family Photo
New Life Community Church is pleased and blessed to announce that Frank Sabelhaus has accepted our call to serve as our Worship Leader. He along with his wife Beth are a great couple who love the Lord and each other and have as their passion bringing the church into worship!! We also welcome their wonderful children Annabelle, Joey and Jay Jay to our church family. Frank and Beth come to New Life with a wealth of education and experience. Frank and Beth are both music majors at Indiana State and Frank holds a Masters in Evangelism and church planting from Liberty University. In addition the Sabelhaus’ have served in various church planting and worship opportunities in the Wabash Valley. Come join us as we celebrate God’s leadership!! His first official Sunday leading will be July 6th.

 

SuperDad or SuperSad??

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I had a great Father’s Day!!! I have to say it was incredible! I got calls and cards from all the grandkids, got some great barbeque at a local church cook off, had a western omelet for breakfast, and then Sharon went to see Godzilla with me (now that’s love!!) while smuggling in Raisinettes into the theatre (don’t tell anyone!) Afterwards we went over to some friends house for steaks.  See, I told you it was awesome!!

I had a great Dad and missed him greatly on Father’s day. Even though he’s been in heaven 23 years now he affects my life every day!! What are the qualities of such great men?

Pastor Paul Carey

Pastor Paul Carey

Luke 15 records for us the story of the prodigal son. But I think the real hero in that story is the Dad!  He exhibited the qualities that God (as our Father) exhibits when we go elsewhere for things we think will satisfy us. And when the party’s over He accepts us back.  Over and over again! Now this is a real familiar story but I will touch the highlights and mention a few points that make this Dad really stand out.

A man had two sons. The younger Son demanded that the Father GIVE him his part of the inheritance. The Father gave it to him and the son left and went far away and squandered the money on partying! When the money was gone, a famine arose and  he got hungry and ended up feeding the pigs of that locality with the garbage of the city. He got so hungry the garbage looked good to him and he almost ate it until he realized that his Father was rich and had servants that ate better than this slop. So he rehearsed his lines that he would say to Dad. “Dad I had really blown it, your money is gone and I’ve disgraced your name and sinned against you and God, just let me be one of the hired servants and dress the fields with them, that’s all I deserve.” But as he approached the homeplace , the Father ran out to him kissed him and put a robe and ring on him, and made ready for a great party!! He stated My Son was Dead, but now He is Alive!!

Now the Older Brother got really mad at this and wouldn’t come to the party for his brother. The Father went out and pleaded with him and said, “Look Son, all I have it yours, but your brother has come home He was dead but now is alive.

Now all us prodigals know that we don’t deserve the accolades of the Father. We feel like dirt for betraying the values entrusted to us and would just as soon be a servant. But the Father sees our heart of humility and congratulates us for finally coming around to maturity and making sense of our life. You see this Father was great because:

The Father Knew the Hearts of His Sons

The Father knew the younger son would be worthless until he learned not to be selfish and sensual. The back story of this parable is obvious to me. The younger son was a pill to live with, coped an attitude about everything and moped around with a huge chip on his shoulder and always thought the grass was greener somewhere else!! The Father saw his heart and gave him his request with the hope that he would learn from his immature carousing, the true meaning of real riches.  It worked and he gained his son back with the humility that is takes to see life in its proper prospective.    Godliness with Contentment is Great Gain!!

The Father also knew the judgmental proud attitude of his older son. He confronted him with the truth and tried to help him overcome the simple minded envy of his superiority complex. We don’t know the outcome of his attitude, we only hope he changed, but sometimes Pharisees rarely do!

The Father Was always ready to restore the prodigal

We can always harp on something our kids aren’t doing right. That doesn’t take much character. What really takes character is being always ready to encourage our children when we see their efforts to do things right.  Often we hit them with an “It’s about time” or some other damaging cliché. We don’t need to ignore irresponsibility, but we do need to encourage and recognize the good as well as the bad. Proverbs says “He that diligently seeks good, finds favor.” We don’t need to be the grumpy ole’ bear that is impossible to please, but we also need to give the hand of favor and blessing when deserved. We find here that the Father had stockpiles blessing for the children (ring, robe, fatted calf, the inheritance) and also was a Fun Dad (began to be merry).  Come down off your kingly thrones and play ball and dance and make a tent with the kids. Who knows you actually might have fun also!!!

The Father settled the Justice Issues with Truth

How many children and family disputes go unresolved because Dad won’t take the time and effort to set everyone down and work things out.  We find this Father “PLEADED” with the elder son, speaking truth to him to get him to realize the priorities that matter and to get him to rethink his attitude.  Today we also need such Dads, willing to set down in a calm spirit and reason with truth to settle the disputes of the home. We also need Moms that will let them do it. And as such we can sense the security and love that Father’s bring to homes.

At New Life on Sunday we followed this message with an open invitation to our Dads to be men of integrity and sign the Courageous Resolution.  12 Men responded. We give God glory for our men, our Dads, granddads, and the influence they have on our lives now and into the future.

  

Godly Grandparenting

Connecting The Next Generation_wide_t

The Babyboomer Generation is aging and as a result have entered the wonderful adventure of grandparenting.

When our kids Graduate from college, get married or move out is our job of parenting over?

Is it too late to influence our children after they move out? (some people think, my job is done and I don’t need to try to “interfere” with my kids’ lives!!)

We Can Have a Generational Influence

“The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, “keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 34:6,7

We need to warn our children and grandchildren of generational sins and propensities to sin.. Even though we all choose to sin, there can be some bents to certain sins that affect families.  For instance, alcoholism and anxiety are the besetting sins of our family. I’ve seen it in my parents and grandparents and it could show up in our family if we don’t stand guard in our lives and warn our children and grandchildren.  By doing this we can encourage our generations to live Godly lives and avoid these generational sins and subsequent consequences.

Asking Forgiveness of Generational Sin…Nehemiah asks forgiveness of Generational Sin even when he personally wasn’t responsible for the sinning.   Nehemiah 1:5-7  Daniel’s  acknowledgement of Israel’s Sins of Idolatry in  Daniel 9:1-20,  shows us that we can go to God and ask forgiveness for sins of past generations and ask God to break the cycle and downward spiral and invoke His blessing.

Ps 103:17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children,

Genuine Generational Faith

2Ti 1:5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.

We can by our example, show that genuine faith sustains us from the Womb to the Tomb! Oftentimes after the kids leave we see middle aged dropouts in church!! This shouldn’t be we should show that the truth and grace of God can sustain us throughout our lives.  Long after our kids forget what we said, they will remember what we did!!

Generational Accountability of the Inheritance

Pr 13:22 ¶ A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,

The inheritance (money) was vital to the ancient economies.  There were no pensions or government programs to assist the elderly. Money was passed from generation to generation by means of the inheritance.

Today, one of the legacies that grandparents leave to their children is their inheritance.  Every person should have a WILL!!  This outlines how the inheritance will be distributed based on your wishes. But I don’t think the Bible states that people should be paid just for being alive or being born! The Bible makes much of be responsible for what God has entrusted to us.

The parables of the talents (Matthew 25) and other parables given by Christ, give us guidelines that the inheritance should be distributed to responsible people. Perhaps a small part of that could be given to make sure the funds aren’t “blown” on worthless living. (Like the prodigal in Luke 15) Then distribution of the inheritance should be according to the integrity of how the funds were handled in the small part.  This also gives an opportunity to learn and grow and be taught responsibility and accountability while the heir is still alive and warning that if lifestyles don’t change the inheritance will go elsewhere.  Heirlooms  of particular value should be marked before death to make sure family squabbles are kept to a minimum.

Having Fun without Time Restrictions

Pr 17:6 ¶ Children’s children are the crown of old men, And the glory of children is their father.

Grandparenting also give an opportunity to have fun with the grandkids without time restrictions.  Often the parents are very busy and miss out on the innocents and wonder of their children. But grandparents can take the time to do a puzzle, or read a book, or take a talking walk and bond deeply with those children to the point of making an influence and teaching values at the most productive time to do so. This is one of the great joys of grandparenting.  Taking time to spend time but also to teach the timeless values of life lessons is so vital.  While playing a game of catch you not only can teach skills, but you can teach life lessons of practice and diligence.  These lessons are rarely forgotten and bend those lives in the direction of unseen character rather than fleeting talent.

Adult Children and their Sinning???

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. And seven sons and three daughters were born to him.

Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East.

And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly. Job 1:1-5

Job spent time interceding and confronting his kids!  He would pray for them lest they had sinned in their parties!  No doubt he spent time instructing and confronting when necessary to help his kids live godly lives. Job was rich and as such his kids did not do without. They would have birthday parties and such and sometimes I’m thinking things may have gotten out of hand.  Job would rise early and offer sacrifices for his kids lest they had sinned or cursed God.  By the way this counted and confirmed Job’s righteousness and showed his love and concern by example, but had little salvatory effect for the kids.  If we have wayward children, we can intercede for them as Job did. Praying daily they would follow the Lord in all their pursuits.  But we also can confront lovingly when the task requires such.  Don’t miss the opportunity to share the wisdom God has given you with your children and grandchildren.  They are listening, even if they don’t appear to be.  Today may be the day the prodigal returns, and it may be what you said to them that spurs that action.

The Safe Place of Truth and Love!!

In All kids and grandkids need to know that:

They can always come home… Luke 15:22They will always be loved at home…

They will always hear the truth at home… Deut 6:8,11:18

Blessings on all in the great adventure of Grandparenting!!