family life

Some Parenting Tips Pastor Dan has learned from almost 30 years of Parenting

By: Dan Seale

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What does it say that after 27 years of parenting, I attended a parenting seminar a couple of weeks ago?  It says, “I am still learning as a parent and I am not an expert nor will I ever be.”  Each parent, each child, and each family system are unique, and there is no one size fits all formula or method.  Above all else, I want my children to know and follow Jesus. I have prayed that  Psalm. 73:26 would be the cry of my children’s hearts.   Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  I offer my parenting tips with the hope that they help water and fertilize the soil of our children’s hearts so that God’s Spirit will make this prayer become a reality.

1)     Parent out of hope not fear.

Yes, the world can be a scary, dangerous place.  When we parent out of fear, we tend to try to control circumstances and our children.  This rarely works out well in the long run.  As they get older, you realize you have less and less control over them and their environment.  So usually, instead of trusting God, you only grip tighter and tighter. 

Accept you are not in control, but God is; so quit trying to control your child and his/her/their world.

Our confidence in parenting must be in the promises and presence of God.  God is at work accomplishing His purposes. (Romans 8:28-29).  He is our Creator, King and Savior (Colossians 1). He alone can change the hearts of people, including our children.   Therefore, we should not fear.  Too often our minds are consumed by what could happen and worst-case scenarios. In those moments, we must cling to the promises of God – that He is with his people, for his people (Matthew 28:18; Hebrews 13:5).  In the midst of some of our hardest challenges as parents, Debbi and I would constantly remind one another, The story isn’t over.  This isn’t the last chapter.  God is at work.  We can trust him with our lives and with our children’s lives.

 

2)     Parent out of weakness not strength.

The best thing I can do for my children is show them my sin and weakness and my need to be rescued and strengthened by Jesus.  That means I should ask their forgiveness when I sin against them or in front of them. I need to admit that what I did was wrong and not excuse my sin.   Also, parenting out of weakness means that I recognize I can’t parent my children to Jesus or to success in this life.  Therefore, I need to pray to the living God to work in the lives of my children.  It is easy to only pray when circumstances are bad, and we clearly see what is always true – we are not in control.

 

3)     Parent in community not in isolation.

We are not meant to live the Christian life alone, and we are not meant to parent alone.  We need to take advantage of God’s gift, the church, to help us in parenting.  Surround your children with other adults who love Jesus and who will love them.  I am thankful for the many adults who have befriended my daughters.  They have served and some continue to serve as confidants.  My daughters felt free to ask them questions they may have struggled to ask us and share struggles. Yes, I know many of you want the type of relationship that your child will tell you everything and ask you anything.  That may happen for a few. However, even if that does happen, you want other adults speaking the same truth into their lives.  This will ultimately strengthen their faith because it’s not just mom and dad talking about Jesus.  They will see that others believe these same life-changing truths and love Jesus.  These relationships won’t form themselves.  We intentionally invited people into our home to share meals and play games with us and our children so they had time to build connections.  Additional connections were built with their Sunday School teachers and youth group small group leaders.  Let your children be influenced by other godly followers of Jesus. Invite someone over to dinner this week.

 

4)     Parent by example not merely by words.

If you want your child to pursue Jesus, then you must pursue Jesus.

If you want your child to love and value the people of God, the church, then you must model that love and commitment. 

If you want your child to love and respect their mom or dad, then you should model loving your spouse. 

If you want your child to be a helper and servant, then model sacrifice and servanthood.

What are you modeling to your children that you love and live for?

Your actions teach your children far more than your words.  One of my great sorrows in life is when I see my sin reflected in my children. I never intentionally said to follow my sin, but they caught what I modeled, positive and negative.

 

Bottom line – the best things you can do for your children as a parent are …

  • Love Jesus and pursue spiritual growth among the people of God, the church.

  • Love your spouse and model forgiveness and sacrifice in daily life.

This is assuming you are not a single parent.  If you are divorced, then how you treat your ex can model the Gospel in powerful ways.

 

I will pray for you and I hope you will pray for me that we will increasingly parent not by fear but by faith in the power and presence of God as we actively pursue Him.

There are countless good books out there and some bad ones.  Here are two books and some audios that if you synthesize them, will give you a solid biblical foundation for parenting.

 

Parenting by Faith not by Formula by Julie Lowe

Shepherding A Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

Big Picture Parenting or Just Good enough Parenting by John Cox

Grace for Parenting and All of Life's Callings

By: Brad Rogers

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Parenting can be a daunting task to say the least.  Every time one of our children has a birthday, Rachel and I look at each other and say, “Well, we did it, we kept her (or him) alive another year.”  If you are a follower Christ, sometimes parenting can feel like an added burden.  You can feel the pressure of the call to grow and nurture your child in the admonition of the Lord.  You want your child to follow Jesus, and yet, you don’t want to control them either (at least not in your good moments).  You know you have responsibilities to help them know Jesus, but you can feel like you can’t even help them tie their shoe, eat all their food (or eat the right food), get them to bed on time, or engage them in a decent conversation much less point them to Jesus in all of life. This is where we must remember grace.  Specifically, we need to be aware of God’s empowering and equipping grace.  Parents, I invite you to watch this to 2-minute video from Paul Tripp for some encouragement regarding the grace that enables us to fulfill our role as parents faithfully.  While this video is particularly geared toward parents, the grace spoken of in the video is the same grace God grants all Christ-followers in each and every God-given calling we have. 

Click here to watch the video

Bringing God into Everyday Conversation with Your Children

By: Brad Rogers

If you are a follower of Jesus with children in your home, you may find it difficult to bring the reality of who God is into everyday conversations with your children. I know I struggle in this area.  Sometimes, it is because I don’t want to force a conversation or say the wrong thing (yes, even as a minister I have this fear).  We can also fear the eye rolls and irritated disinterest our children may have.  However, on the flip side if we neglect to do this, we may unwittingly show our youngsters that following Jesus has very little impact in our daily life.  Not only may this lead to our children feeling God is irrelevant, it could also make it easier for them to believe that this God who they have never seen is a fantastical figment of our imaginations as they grow older.   In “Make ‘God talk’ an Everyday Part of Family Life,” Julie Melilli gives some ideas on how to bring the reality of God into everyday conversation with your children.  Admittedly, there are some aspects of her exact words that I think might feel like you are throwing God in your child’s face.  We do always need to be careful not to be overbearing and so exasperate our children.  We certainly don’t want to give them the felt impression that God commands us to be overbearing with our children, which we can do if we are sinfully disrespectful of their personhood (possibly without meaning to or realizing it) while telling them God commands us to be this way.  However, the idea of what she communicates is important.  A fear of being overbearing should not silence Christian parents all together on a topic we claim is of utmost importance in our lives.  As parents this is an important enough matter that we should be willing to be a little unnatural or awkward in bringing God into our conversations with our children until we become more natural.  Julie Melilli’s article could be the kickstart and encouragement you need.  If you are a Christian parent with children in your home, it is a fairly quick read that is worthy of your time.

Read the article here.