Wise advice from C.J. Mahaney to a concerned dad who fears that that the way in which he insists his kids obey him in the Lord could lead them to think of God the Father apart from love and grace:
* You have the privilege of introducing them to God the Father and describing the ways in which he is different from you, different from all sinful fathers, and how in any way you are like him it’s only because of grace that you reflect him. See Luke 11:11–13.
* Your honest confession of your sin to your children will protect them from having hard thoughts about you or God.
* Communicating your affection for them—and joy when you are with them—promotes both good and accurate thoughts about God.
* Initiate time with them at both planned and spontaneous times. Don’t leave them with the impression that they get most of your attention when they disobey. Let them know you are so grateful for them and love being with them as much as possible.
* Bless your children with many gifts in many forms! See Luke 11 again. Study your children in order to discern what gifts would genuinely bless them and then purpose to surprise them as often as possible.
* Requiring appropriate obedience does not promote hard thoughts about God. This only happens when we do so in self-righteousness or anger. See point 2 again.
* Frequently preach the gospel to them (and not at them). Reveal to your children just how far God has gone to show his love for sinners like us.
See the whole post for a link to his two-part sermon on Jude where he touches on this theme.
HT: Justin Taylor
Do you want to teach your kids the Christian message behind St. Patrick’s Day? Then try this short video from Veggie Tales. It originally appeared on their DVD titled “The Sumo of the Opera.” The clip is also available on the new DVD “Lessons from the Sock Drawer” from Big Idea. It does a great job of telling the story of Saint Patrick in a way that children can appreciate.
The video is about 8:32 minutes long, which may push the attention span of younger children. Most kids will really enjoy the story and love learning about Saint Patrick from this video clip. It is presented in 2D storyboard animation, but has very engaging narration. The story ends with this pronouncement, he was “a great man who loved Ireland and loved God.” This story could easily lead into a talk about missions or loving our enemies.
The people at Veggie Tales did a good job of telling the story of Patrick in a way that all Christian groups could embrace. He is recognized as several Christian traditions. The Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, and Lutherans all esteem him officially. Other protestant groups often appreciate him as a missionary pioneer from the early church.
HT: Tony Kummer
Tedd Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart, (Shepherd Press, 1995), 211 pages.
I’ve learned at least two things while in school:
1. You can have a lot of practical expertise and not know anything.
2. You can know a lot and not be able to do anything.
Tedd Tripp writes a book that gives us both. He gives you the theology behind good parenting, and he gives you very practical follow-through to apply this theology.
What I love about this book: (the above paragraph), I love his humility (he and his wife do not have it all together), and his accomplishment of the task at hand – instructing parents how to not only target their children’s actions, but how to reach their hearts – to shepherd their hearts. He follows through on the intentions for this book. He does not leave you wondering what should be the main goal in parenting: shepherding your child’s heart toward the Gospel. “Your concern is to unmask your child’s sin, helping him to understand how it reflects a heart that has strayed. That leads to the cross of Christ. It underscores the need for a Savior.” (p 6) Continue Reading…
Kings sit on thrones in palaces. Kings wear royal clothes and crowns, and enjoy the best things the world has to offer. Kings make laws and command kingdoms. Kings don’t live and work among their people. The Gospel of Matthew is about a king, but he is a different sort of king. His family tree is traced back to the great king David, but he is born to an unknown young couple. Rather than a palace, he has nowhere to call home. He wears a crown, but it is made of thorns. He commands obedience, but loving obedience that comes from the heart. Matthew’s king doesn’t sit on a throne surrounded by a royal court; he spends time with sinners and outcasts. Matthew wants his readers to know one thing above all: Jesus is the King. He is the king who guides his people like a shepherd into his kingdom. He forgives them, offers rest to their souls, and promises never to leave them. Though he calls his people to follow him in suffering and the cross, he promises that this is the way to eternal life. Matthew also shows that Jesus is King through his actions. Storms are silenced by his voice. Evil spirits are cast out with a word. The sick are healed by his touch. The day is coming when he’ll return revealed in all his power and glory—the reigning and ruling, eternal King. Matthew wants his readers to know, follow, and be like the King. Continue Reading…
“Children who have learned to worship at home will not find it difficult to worship in the church. Children from worship-less homes cannot be led easily to appreciate the meaning and the value of church worship. A mark of the decadence of our civilization is the decline of family worship. Its revival would be one of the most significant signs of spiritual recovery. The use of one of the popular aids to family devotions, with suggestions for daily Bible readings and prayer, would prove of inestimable value in the promotion of worship in the home, where the best of all training in worship may be received.”
Gaines Dobbins’s, The Churchbook: A treasury of materials and methods, (Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1951), p. 157