Sunday, November 23, 2008

Disciplining Children

We finally broke ground on the contraversial topic of disciplining your kids. We need to be aware that there is more to play with bad behavior then mere obedience. There is a battle for our kids's souls, and the wages of sin is death. We must address it. The Scriptures say that he who withholds discipline, hates their child. It must be done!

When? How? These are the real questions. We need to remember the context of the whole book. We are shepherding our children, and most of it takes place in the context of communication. Whatever methods you decide on with regards to disciplining, you need to keep this in mind. Does your kid know what he/she did wrong? Are they brought back into relationship with you immediately? You goal is not to increase the distance between you, but to bring them back in line with the blessings and protection God has set up. Parenting would be a blast if were not for the sin in our children's lives (or in our lives for that matter). We have the notes for Disciplining Children up for your reference.

childish behavior image coutesy of Energizer

Friday, November 21, 2008

Invite Jesus In

I have been holding this for about a week to make sure I had permission to post. Mandy provided these comments from a Ransomed Heart reading that we have referred to many times already in this blog. This one is from November 11th (at bottom). The class she is referring to is the Goals of Parenting Communication Part 1 about Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman.
I just had some thoughts about today's reading and wanted to share them. I've not read 'Captivating' yet (it's half price this week at Family Christian and I picked it up while waiting for Michael at the doctor, but haven't gotten to it yet), but reading this passage made me think about how most people have that one room in their house that when company comes, they quickly run and shut the door. Do you know what I mean? Like a 'catch all' kind of room that you keep meaning to clean out, but can never find the time or the things in the room just don't have a home and are hard to find a home for? I was just thinking that if our hearts were our homes and we invite Jesus in, but then shut off that one place, that room, where we've been hurt too badly, are we taking full advantage of the gift our houseguest has brought to us. And then I got to thinking about the passage of scripture we discussed Sunday in POPs about the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus allowed her the opportunity to invite him in, and hinted at 'hey, what's behind that closed door' with the comment to bring her husband. She quickly dismissed him saying, 'nothing', and yet He still knew what was there and let her know that He knew and that it was still okay. I hope this makes some sense. It just got me thinking that Jesus already knows what's in that bad place in our heart and He still loves us. It's our choice to let Him come in and help us clean it up. It's His gift to us that we should take full advantage of.

Ransomed HeartInvite Him In
There is a famous passage of Scripture which many people have heard in the context of an invitation to know Christ as Savior. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…” (Rev 3:20). He does not force himself upon us. He knocks, and waits for us to ask him in. There is an initial step, the first step of this which we call salvation. We hear Christ knocking and we open our hearts to him as Savior. It is the first turning. But the principle of this “knocking and waiting for permission to come in” remains true well into our Christian life.

You see, we all pretty much handle our brokenness in the same way – we mishandle it. It hurts too much to go there. So we shut the door to that room in our heart and we throw away the key – much like Lord Craven locks the Secret Garden upon the death of his wife, and buries the key. But that does not bring healing. Not at all. It might bring relief – for awhile. But never healing. Usually it orphans the little girl in that room, leaves her to fend for herself. The best thing we can do is to let Jesus come in, open the door and invite him in to find us in those hurting places.

It might come as a surprise that Christ asks our permission to come in and heal, but he is kind, and the door is shut from the inside, and healing never comes against our will. In order to experience his healing we must also give him permission to come in to the places we have so long shut to anyone. Will you let me heal you? He knocks through our loneliness. He knocks through our sorrows. He knocks through events that feel too close to what happened to us when we were young – a betrayal, a rejection, a word is spoken, a relationship is lost. He knocks through many things, waiting for us to give him permission to enter in.

(Captivating, 99-100)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Recent Winston Salem Tradition - Tanglewood Lights

Tanglewood Festival of Lights EntrancePhoto courtesy of Forsyth County website.

I call this a recent Winston Salem tradition because it started after most of us were no longer kids. I had originally wanted to say after most of us had graduated high school but had to recalculate when "most" of us did. Tony and Mike skew the math some.

Chick-fil-A's Festival of Lights at Tanglewood Park is the cause of much traffic near our exit this time of year as lines of people come drive through an imaginary world of lights just outside Winston Salem. This is not Disney, but it is a family favorite. WBFJ has typically played Christmas music for you to listen as you complete your magical drive through lighted deer, candles, bells, candy canes, and motion lights.

Rachel has lately taken to playing with a flashlight and turning out all of the lights in the house. She loves spinning it around, bumping into things, and turing it off and on. (I am not sure Elizabeth is crazy about this.) I am sure Rachel would love a trip.

The entrance fee is $10 per car M-TH and $14 per car F-Sun. It is a bit pricey, and the lines can get very long the closer you get to Christmas. Having said that, it is want the locals do at Christmas, so join the fun!

Tanglewood Lights Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tools of Communication in Parenting

talking to your kids picture courtesy of Mike Mebane

Communication is one of the best skills we can give our children. Through communication children can express their emotions, desires, and fears. Without developed communication skills, children tend to get frustrated not getting want they want or need because they are not able to relay that information on to others. Many adults are deficient in this skill as well even though it is desperately needed in every relationship (marital, workal?, social, and parental).

We are also teaching our children how to understand the desires of their hearts and help them understand what is going on inside of them. This will help them know how God made them, understand their giftings, and be aware of things to ask God for in prayer.

Finally, through communication we are building a lasting relationship with our children. They learn that they can discuss issues with us and will be willing to continue to bring things to us later in life when a majority of children isolate themselves from their parents. This obviously developes our children's view of God, as a Heavenly Father who longs to be in communication with His children.

Here are the notes for the second part of Parenting Communication.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Goals of Communication in Parenting

The Andy Griffith ShowFirst of all, I should mention the choice of image since I did not bring it up in class. To me this is a classic image of parent-child quality time. Unlike Michael, I do not have nice memories of fishing. And, unlike the Becks, I do not live in Mayberry. Still I appreciate the image of father and son spending the day together. Developing communication with our children will take time and effort. We will need to give them undivided attention at times, so they can get to the level of opening up to us.

This week we started on what Tripp describes as the biblical methods of parenting (notes to parenting communication). Communication is very important to parenting because it opens the door to the relationship involved. This where the child learns the unconditional love and where lies and shame can be dealt with as we address bad behavior. Tripp laid out some great questions to consider when we identify areas of correction in our children.

Questions to think through in correction:
I. What is the specific content of the abundance of the heart in this circumstance?
II. What was the temptation?
III. What was my child trying to accomplish?
IV. What was his/her response to that temptation?
On a side note, since Pastor Alan decided to build upon our class from last week, he also answered the question about how to raise children of promise. Some parents try to raise their children to achieve their goals their own way. Christians generally tend to try to raise children to achieve God's goals their own way. But in order to raise children of the promise, we should strive to achieve God's goals, God's way. Easy enough. :)

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Friday, November 7, 2008

Jesus Wants To Heal Your Heart

Here is another daily reading from John Eldredge. If you like these posts, I would encourage you to subscribe to his Ransomed Heart emails. Today's email is an invitation from our Lord for our healing. As we shepherd our children's hearts, we must remember that the sin we find their can be healed by the love of Jesus. He wants to heals all the fears, insecurities, trauma, misunderstandings, etc., that lead to sinful behavior.

Ransomed HeartJesus Wants To Heal Your Heart

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in
green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
(Psalm 23:1-3).

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their
wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved,
for you are the one I praise. (Jeremiah 17:14)

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. (Malachi 4:2)

He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing. (Luke 9:11)

For some reason this has been lost in the recent offerings of the church. Perhaps it has been our pride, which has kept us from admitting that we are broken. Lord knows I’ve done that for years – probably am still doing it now. Perhaps it is our fear of getting our hopes up; it seems too good to be true. Perhaps it's been the church’s almost total focus on sin and the cross. But the Scripture is abundant and clear: Christ came not only to pardon us, but to heal us. He wants the glory restored. So, put the book down for just a moment, and let this sink in: Jesus can, and wants, to heal your heart. What does that rouse in you?

(Waking the Dead , 134-136)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Goals for the Class

As I was thinking about our assignment for this week to generate goals for parenting our children, I put together my goal for the class. I ran it by Allison to see if she agreed with my assessment of what our goals really are. We have had these goals unwritten in our minds since the beginning, but in appreciation of the class assignment, I guess now was time to put it on paper. Since it affects each of you in the class, we will share it.

We want people to know that marriage and parenting are wonderful and they show us the intensity of God's love for us.

There is an enemy that intends for us to miss every blessing God want us to have.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Defining Unbiblical Parenting Methods

grounding your childThis week we went over Chapters 7 of Shepharding a Child's Heart, which was about Unbiblical Parenting Methods. I found this was a great discussion of how we resort to the methods of the world around us to help us parent our children in the ways of God. The key to the chapter is the same as the last discussion in that the methods listed are not in themselves bad; it is just that they are not the sole methods. If we are trying to get at our children's hearts, then we will need nethods that address the heart.

So, how do we raise children of promise? How do we shepherd a child's heart? We will need God's direction in order to draw it out. Allow God to direct us to which method to use when. The next four chapters will elaborate on some helpful tools - great tools. But, ultimately we will need God to direct our parenting. Thankfully He loves us and our children enough to gladly help!

Image courtesy of Dennis the Menace