Friday, October 31, 2008

Expanding the View of Parenting Goals

Reynolda Church-view from our roomI am excited about our latest homework assignment. Allison and I talked the other night about setting goals for our parenting. I think we might ease into this as we only came up with one goals so far. I am amazed however how much of life corresponds to our own relationship with God. As we think through these goals, we cannot help think through goals we have for our own lives and what we want to get out of it. I have been reading Mike Bickle's "Passion for Jesus". So far it has been very enjoyable, but this week I hit this idea of setting our primary focus, which I thought tied in well with setting parenting goals. So here is some food for thought...

Christianity in America and much of the world is not God-Centered. It's centered on needs, success, wholeness, or spiritual gifts. Although all these issues are important, they are not to be our primary focus, but rather a by-product of genuine spirituality. Emotional, spiritual, and physical blessings are a sure overflow from God-centered Christianity.

The church, having neglected her diligent pursuit of the knowledge of God, sometimes referred to as intimacy with God, has lost her joy and affection and the consciousness of His divine presence. She has lost her spirit of worship and her sense of awe and adoration. She has replaced encountering God with ministry success and substituted activity for heartfelt relationship with God.
Last week we discussed unbiblical goals. I think this except describes the dangers of unbiblical goals well. It is not that these other things are bad; they just distract from the ulitmate goal of developing a heart for God.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Surfacing Unbiblical Goals of Parenting

unbiblical goals This week we went over Chapters 5-6 of Shepharding a Child's Heart, which were about Unbiblical Goals. We all have goals for our children even if we cannot fully articulate what they are. Generally these goals are whatever we define for success in our own lives. How do you know if you are successful? Do you need a lot of money, plenty of friends, a few diplomas on the wall? Our kids will pick up on this and more than likely pick up the same measures of success.

As Christians our ulitmate goal should be to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. God has created your children for a specific plan in His kingdom, so we need to prepare them for success in whatever God's role is.

The next couple weeks we have asked each couple to come up with a specific goal for their children. Allison mentioned possibly coming up with anacronym using your last name. Whatever you do, make it personalize for your family, and let's help our kids succeed for eternity.

Image courtesy of Despair, Inc.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child LogoChristmas is approaching quickly. Maybe I am just trying to get the focus off what other people are celebrating next week. :) But it is actually not to early to bring this up. One thing Allison and I do every year is put together an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox.

Christmas Child with presentOperation Christmas Child is an ministry of Samaritan's Purse where people put together shoeboxs full of presents for children who would proabably not get anything this year. You can select the age and gender of the child you put the box together for.

Our plan is to get our kids involved to give them a heart for kids who are in need.This year we put together boxes for girls Rachel's age so she could relate more to putting this together. It was a lot of fun walking through the store and whatching her think through it.
Christmas Child opening gifts

Images courtesy of Samaritan's Purse

What to Pray for Your Children

Last week we discussed verses we could pray for our children. Sara has scanned the pages that Anne Wright put together, which I will email to everyone. Here I have posted a sheet that Sara's mom put together. The great thing about praying through Scripture is that we can count on it being God's will for our kids.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever
we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. -- I John 5: 14-15

I understand the notes are small. The blog has a littled width allowed, but since it is a PDF you can save it to your computer or print the page to view easier.

If anyone not in the class would like a copy of Anne's notes, send me your email with a note about wanting the "What to Pray for Your Children" notes to our Submit a Question page.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

You're In Charge

Parenting Checklist For some parents this list is their only measure of success, but we need to remember we are called to a higher standard. God has given us authority to parent out children; He has placed us in charge. Because we are in charge we have a responsiblity under God to lead our children into holiness and righteousness for their own good. When we shirk our responsibility or discipline our children to make them more compliant to our desires we mismanage this most important resource God has given us for out joy and our own healing. Today we got in a great discussion not about how to discipline our kids, but about keeping our own attitudes as not to interfere with our children responding to God. I have posted the notes for You Are In Charge for those who may have missed the class.

Tedd Tripp in Winston Salem

Tedd Tripp Conference As I mentioned in class today, Tedd Tripp will be in Winston Salem this coming weekend, October 24th - 25th. He will be giving a conference a Twin City Baptist Church on Ebert Street off of Silas Creek Parkway. The conference costs $30 per person and $50 per couple. Friday evening will be going over the background of the book, and Saturday will talk about shepherding your child at different age stages. I am sure it will be good if you have time to go.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Upcoming Kid-Friendly Events

barbecue festival
Next weekend there are two events local to Winston Salem that both could be a lot of fun. The first is the Barbecue Festival in Lexington. Travel and Leisure magazine rates it as on the of the top 10 food festivals in the U.S. It will be all day Saturday, October 25th. They will have six different stages for entertainment and of course barbecue to be had. Go to their website at for more on directions and entertainment schedule.

The other event is the Carolina Balloon Fest in Statesville. They will have over 50 hot air balloons with mass ascensions and a kid's fun zone. This one does have a cost as it is $8 per person but kids 5 and under go free.

hot air balloon fest
child at balloon fest

Images courtesy of each event's website.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Exploring the Hidden Questions of Our Hearts

Here is another daily reading from John Eldredge. This one speaks to the last blog post perfectly by phrasing God's calling from our hearts in another way.

Ransomed Heart

Exploring The Hidden Questions Of Our Heart

It is possible to recover the lost life of our heart and with it the intimacy, beauty, and adventure of life with God. To do so we must leave what is familiar and comfortable—perhaps even parts of the religion in which we have come to trust—and take a journey. This journey first takes us on a search for the lost life of our heart, and for the voice that once called us in those secret places; those places and times when our heart was still with us. The pilgrimage of the heart leads us to remember together what it was that first engaged us in deep ways as children: “. . . anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it,” said Jesus (Mark 10:15).

Our journey will take us to explore the hidden questions of our heart, born out of the stories of our lives. It is only by leaving home and taking a pilgrimage that we will begin to see how our own stories are interwoven with the great Romance God has been telling since before the dawn of time. It is on this pilgrimage that we begin to see that each of us has a part in the cosmic love affair that was created specifically with us in mind. Last, this pilgrimage brings us to the destination, set within all of our hearts, which in some way we have known, longed for, and been haunted by since we were children.

...Our journey begins by asking questions, putting words to the movements of the heart. “What is this restlessness and emptiness I feel, sometimes long years into my Christian journey? What does the spiritual life have to do with the rest of my life? What is it that is set so deeply in my heart, experienced as a longing for adventure and romance, that simply will not leave me alone? Does it have anything to do with God? What is it that he wants from me? Has he been speaking to me through my heart all along? When did I stop listening? When did his voice first call to me?”

Building Anticipation for Next Class

I'm guessing due to Tony's comment last week, everybody stayed home to catch up on reading Shepherding a Child's Heart. Yeah, it was a strange week, but I am hoping nobody had the stomach bug that was in our family last week. Blah.

So class entailed the Sauls and us. Here are some comments from our time together...

"I never knew this room echoed. Hello!" - Kevin

"Seriously, if I eat another bagel, I'll explode. You'll just have to take them home." - Justin

"So then, tell me about your life." - Allison

cross in mothering Colleen Cahill Photography

Suffice it to say, we skipped the lesson for the week, but we do have the notes for Chapter 4: You're In Charge posted if you want to get a head start for next week.

One thing we did talk about was how Shepherding a Child's heart speaks to our relationship with God. The whole idea about the importance of our children's hearts are just as important about our own heart.

God is in love with you. He wants your heart just as much as He wants your kids. Our behavior is an overflow of our heart. Therefore whatever we do, even sin, it is all an invitation to explore our hearts to give more of it to God. The more we understand our hearts, the more we can coonect with God. "Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart" Psalm 37:4

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pumpkin Patches

pumpkin patch winston salem For those who haven't gotten there pumpkins for the Fall, here are some local places to go. Pumpkin Patches in Winston Salem and Advance make great pictures with your kids. We have been taking Rachel for three years now and we love the pictures we get.

Fairy Tales and Princesses

Lori sent along an email yesterday relating to our Princess discussion Sunday. Thanks for passing it along.

I want to share something that will relate to our princess conversation on Sunday morning. These words are from a sermon from Pastor Alan and I heard them this summer. These are portions of a sermon from The Inheritance series and the real point is that bad things happen so that we will see and embrace the good things. I transposed this myself so please forgive any mistakes. These words have stayed with me and maybe I have not forgotten them so that I can share them now......
"I Have Good News, Bad News"
Part 6--The Inheritance
Alan Wright
July 13, 2008

Cinderella Image"If I came to tell you a story today and I said we are just going to read a story...and I said once upon a time, there was a princess named Cinderella and Cinderella lived with a happy prince in a happy palace and she lived happily all the time and she lived happily ever after. Nothing ever went wrong so the coming chapters would be about how she redecorated the palace and how she would sometimes welcome people for sumptuous dinner parties and the next party was as good or better than the one previous to it... and how she and her prince liked to dance together and all they did was enjoy each other and they never had an argument and they never had sickness and they never had a falling out. Everyone was happy and they stayed happy and they were happy forever after.

The irony of this is that while on the one hand that is the kind of story I would like to have of my own life, it is not the kind of story that you would want to read. It is kind of boring. No one is going to make a movie like that. If you are going to have something of interest, you have to have something in there....Cinderella was married to the prince and it turned out that the prince was no good and she was trapped in her room and it took a rescue from a knight to come deliver her from danger or maybe the Prince and Princess had to fight valiantly against invaders that had come in storming the palace and you are not sure that they are going to make it...this is the stuff we put into our stories...stories have to do with the bad and then the good news...the good news makes sense when it comes out of it...

...if you were reading the story from the outside what you would see was that it wasn't Cinderella married to a prince and she lived happily ever started with Cinderella scrubbing the floors in her tattered clothes being mocked by her stepsisters and mistreated by the stepmother and then came a moment of grace....and what makes this story a story of good news is that she is plucked up out of that place of bondage and she is wed to a princeand had it not been that it was just almost a moment too late and that the pumpkin made carriage was expiring so you had to dash off so that you left in haste and you left a'd have never met the prince...
The reason that we come up with fairy tales like that is because throughout the history of the world people have been looking for a way to tell the story of the gospel whether they know it or not...because it does make sense that though life has much evil in it and though bad things happen, the Glory of the Gospel is that the goodness of God has shown forth in the midst of a dark world.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Godward Orientation

Mother Sheltering Baby Giraffe Just as this is baby giraffe is aware of his mother's presence and protection, we want our children to be aware of God's. Every child is going to worship something, whether it is us as parents, themselves, princesses, toy trains, or God. Our goal is to point them to know their ultimate source of protection and life.

We do this by the shaping influences we put in their lives (going to church, teaching songs, praying before bed), and we do this by modeling it in our own lives, which technically is still a shaping influence. We are not going to be able to make this happen for our children, but through prayer, consistency, and God, our children will gain a deep love of God.

You might have thought that I tipped Pastor Alan in order to get his sermons to coincide with the last couple classes. Today's sermon was perfectly aligned to today's class. When our children have a correct Godward Orientation they will know that they are blessed. When they know they are blessed, they are free to be who they were created to be. When the live out of who God created them to be, they will be successful. If you missed today's sermon, go to "The Secret of a Fruitful Life" (removed - go to Reynolda Church's online sermons for most recent sermons). My guess is that next week's sermon will not follow the chapter as closely as we start to dive into discipline.

We had some great discussion and examples about how this can play out. While we might not all lead our children to take fishing trips with Jesus, this is a wonderful example of bringing a relationship with Jesus to your child's life. They get to experience that Jesus is not just a character in a story, but He is available all the time. Here are the notes for this chapter's class: Godward Orientation.

Here are each week's notes:

Chili Gala A Success

Chili Baby source unknown
The Chili Gala was a glowing success. Thank you to Mike and Lisa for having everyone over to their home. There was plenty of food to be had and lots of room for the kids to play.

adult table

kids table

We even had some inter-family friendships budding. I wanted to say romances, but since one of the girls is my daughter, I have to say she is much too young.

a guy with a car always gets the women

Please say yes

For all the parents who were there, here is a little collage of the beautiful children.

kid collage

Friday, October 3, 2008

Dixie Classic Fair

Dixie Classic FairThe Dixie Classic Fair is Here!
Now some of you might not be from around here, but the Dixie Classic Fair is a perfect local activity for you and your kids. We love to go to event the fried Snickers, community charities bar-b-que, and elephant ears. We also like to take Rachel to see all of the animals - sheep coraling and pig racing. Dixie Classic Fair LambsThis will be Elizabeth's first trip to the fair, but we are looking forward to it.

The fair is generally opened from 11:00am - 10:30pm each day from 10/3 - 10/12. It costs $8 for adults (over 12) and $4 for children (6 - 11). If you park in the lot, it will cost $7. Dixie Classic Fair Calves

The are different days with savings, as weekdays before 1:00 it costs $3 to get in. Wednesday 11/8 you can get in with 5 cans of food from Lowe's Food. And, next weekend (11th & 12th) kids under 7 can read all rides for just $7 from open to 5pm. There are directions to the fair on their site.