Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

What will you be known for?

February 7, 2011

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I can easily be hostage to hyperbole.  “Everyone always…”  “It had to be as big as a plane…”  “That was the worst xxx EVER!”  So, when I say that one of the most powerful testimonies I hear over and over again is the power of a child seeing their parent regularly spending time with God in the Bible and prayer… I don’t want you to hear blah, blah, blah.  Instead, in this case, know that I’m not hyperbolizing (I think I just made up a word :).

When it comes to those who have shared (mostly from the pulpit) one of the most searing memories of their dad, this one is almost always one of them (if it’s a positive memory)—“My dad (or mom) was constantly up in the morning, reading the Word of God and praying”.  That picture of a son or daughter getting up and seeing his dad or mom reading the Bible and spending time in prayer almost ALWAYS has a powerful impact.  I’m guessing that isn’t why mom or dad was doing it.  There’s probably a deeper purpose in spending time in God’s Word and communing with Him.  But, one of the most significant byproducts is the impact it makes on those around you.  There are cases where children see one thing but experience another.  However, if it is a life habit, it nearly always leaves a powerfully positive and lasting legacy in the minds and lives of children.

So, dad, are you cultivating a life of dependence on God?  Do your kids see that in order for you to care for them well, you need to be connected to the source of all help.  Time in the Word and in prayer not only strengthens you for today but reaches into the future to leave a powerful impression and example to your kids!  The good news is that it’s never to late to start.  Even if you’re kids are out of the house they WILL see the impact of a life led by God.  And, there’s always grandkids to teach ;).


Quotes & Notes: 3 Keys to Aiming Your Child Toward Success

April 25, 2010

Proverbs 22:6Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (ESV,Pr 22:6)

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How many times have you heard this verse used in the context of raising your children?  If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it 100 times.  This is one of the most common recited verses from the bible about child rearing.  However, if you’re a parent that currently has a child that’s rebelling, this verse loses it’s “punch”, and may make you wonder about other bible verses.  Let me take a few minutes to unpack this verse and then share three things that have helped my wife and I in our parenting that I think are important for you as a parent to keep in mind when you look at the totality of raising your children.

>  The word “train” actually has the connotation of “dedicating” as in the dedication of a house.  It also includes the idea of  setting aside or narrowing.  The Egyptian word that is closely aligned to the Hebrew word translated train in this passage carries the meaning of “setting up something for divine purposes”.  So, this word could be read, “Set aside your child by dedicating, preparing and training him in the ways of God”:

  • Key #1:  Remember that children are a gift from God and are really on loan to us as parents.

Our first responsibility is to model for them what it means to “dedicate ones life to God”.  First and foremost that means to pray for them, over them and with them as we dedicate them to God.  Dedication is an offering of something for divine purposes.  As such, our children our divinely meant to be aimed toward a lifetime of loving and knowing God.  It’s hard to give them something we don’t have.  If our lives aren’t characterized by an authentic searching and following after God (don’t read as living perfectly), it will be very challenging to aim them correctly from the start.  It doesn’t mean that all is lost if you are late in parenting from a biblical foundation, it simply means that the chances of having our children wander off course is greater than if they had been instructed in God’s Word from early on in their life.  Yet, even then, there are no guarantees of them following the path that has been laid out for them (see Key #3)

>  The phrase, “In the way he should go”, has been used in many different ways.  Some translate it to mean in the way they are skilled or where they have interest.  But the literal meaning of the word translated “way” seems to carry the notion or meaning of a path or journey.  “Should go” is literally, according to the mouth of, or in accordance with what a superior says.  So, one way to say this is that there is a path or journey a child is meant to take as the son of a father who’s following the Lord (it is written by Solomon).  There are right and wrong ways to turn in this life.  This word also carries the notion of “aiming” or “bending” the bow.

  • Key #2:  Setting an environment to aim your child in the instruction of the Lord.

When our children were young we listened to a lot of people who had children that were older than ours and whose children seemed to be heading the right direction in life (and were fairly normal :)).  We also listened to FamilyLife Today and Focus on the Family to get biblically grounded advice on raising children.  My wife and I are certain we haven’t done it perfectly.  And, we know that we’ve done things that are likely to mean counseling sessions for our kids at some point :).  But, one thing I can say with certainty and by God’s grace, we did raise them to seek after God and point them toward Him.  They are at ages now that require them to own that relationship and not rest on “mom and dads” faith relationship with God.

>  The Proverb shares that if we do the first two things that our children won’t depart from that when they are old.  Yet, I’ve known more couples than I would ever have imagined who raised their children in this way, and their children are not in a close relationship with God.  If this is a biblical principle, how come it doesn’t work all the time?:

  • Key #3:  This is a Proverb of wisdom, not a promise that it will always be the result.

From “The Bible Knowledge Commentary”, A proverb is a literary device whereby a general truth is brought to bear on a specific situation. Many of the proverbs are not absolute guarantees for they express truths that are necessarily conditioned by prevailing circumstances. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (1:953).   When I first heard this, it really helped free me from the pressure of the result to focus on the things that I as a parent could do.  I can do the first things in the Proverb.  First, I looked at my foundation as a follower of Christ.  (remember–you can’t give what you don’t have).  Second, we made time to share God with our kids through memorizing scripture (trying to make it fun) and reading them stories and discussing them with practical applications to their lives.  We were also careful about what we allowed them to watch on TV,  but did spend time explaining things from different perspectives so they weren’t “sheltered” from the world completely.

Bottom Line:  Parenting is a challenging endeavor in the best of circumstances.  Unfortunately, we are almost never given those kinds of circumstances.  There are things we can do as parents and then, most of the rest is out of our hands.  In fact, even what we can do is from God.  Remember, it’s never too early or too late to pray, love and lead your children in an appropriate way according to their age.

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Connecting With Your Kids Series: #3- Non-Negotiables

March 25, 2010

I don’t know how many times I heard Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, speak, but I do remember he only had a few messages. Keep Christ as your first love. Help fulfill the Great Commission. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. And as he got older, he also added in prayer and fasting. That’s it.

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Bill Bright knew who he was and what God had called him to do. That allowed him to focus on the non-negotiables. There’s tremendous power in that.

When it comes to connecting with your kids, here are a couple non-negotiables and another that’s working for me. Maybe it’ll work for you, too.

1. Grow in your relationship with God. Make this your #1 priority. Ultimately, you want to not only connect with your kids, but you want to help them connect with God. If you aren’t growing in Him, you can’t do this. You don’t need to be a Bible scholar. You just need to be seeking Him. Are you?

2. Grow in your relationship with your wife. After your relationship with the Lord, your marriage is your highest priority. Not your kids. Not your job. Not golf. Not hunting. It’s your wife. How does this help connect with your kids? Well, take your marriage to the opposite extreme: divorce. Connecting with your kids becomes a lot tougher when you don’t live with their mother. Do your kids know your wife is your highest priority after God? Does your wife know?

3. Spend money to connect. My oldest daughter is visiting us this week from southern California. Her husband is a Marine and she’s taking online courses toward her college degree. They live in a small, but expensive apartment. In other words, money is tight. Of course, my wife and I are both in ministry, so money has always been a little tight for us, too.

And yet, I purchased the plane ticket for Rachel to visit us. Was it in our budget? No. Did it make things a little tighter? Yeah. Could I have used that money to reduce some debt. Sure. But I suspect in twenty years, I won’t regret whatever money I spent that allowed me to connect with my kids. Actually, I don’t even regret it now.

Bottom line: don’t worry so much about how to connect with your kids. Focus instead on being someone they’d actually want to connect with.

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Heroic Fatherhood and Merry Christmas

December 25, 2009

I love a great hero. Most of my favorite movies have a valient hero as it’s central character. I think it’s part of being a man. And, as a dad, I have visions of being my childrens hero. So, when I see or hear of a heroic father I pay attention- to join the brotherhood of fathers and rise up to say “way to go” and to take a note for personal use.

Today the Christian world celebrates Christmas. Amidst the flurry of exchanging gifts, token church visits and uniting with family, we are celebrating one of the most amazing acts of Fatherhood heroism in all of history. The Creator of the universes and of all breathing and living things sent His Son to be with us as one of us (yet still maintaining the attributes of God).

Whenever I think of this story I look at my son ( who is NOT God 😉 ) and wonder if I could do that to him? Could I send him into a place to take on a different form to eventually be murdered so I could then raise him from the dead to save mankind. I guess if I was God, I could. But I’m not. This is an act only THE most Heroic Father could perform. I’m left to applaud His great sacrifice on behalf of mankind as a believer in Him, as part of the fraternity of fathers and look to see how it can make me a better dad.

If you haven’t studied this God as a model for great fathering, maybe you’ll spend some time today thinking about Christmas in a new and life changing way: From one Heroic Father to a wannabe hero.

On behalf of my author-partners here at the Dadpad, we pray that you and your family have a blessed and meaningful Christmas.