Posted on June 27, 2012 by Phil
Following is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Resolution for Men, by Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick, and Randy Alcorn. This book, and The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer, expand on the message of the Sherwood Pictures film Courageous, challenging Christian families to embrace the power and purpose of fatherhood.
God created fatherhood with an eternal purpose: to reveal and represent Himself. He did not simply realize that earthly fathers were like Him and then decide to call Himself our Father. On the contrary, He eternally existed as God the Father in heaven and intentionally created the role of fatherhood on earth to reveal who He is and to show us the nature of His relationship with His Son.
All fatherhood comes from Him (Ephesians 3:14-15). Every human father is called to be a daily, physical representation of God to his children, to introduce Him to the next generation. When a child looks at his earthly father, he should be able to see these qualities of God.
- a loving Provider
- a strong Protector
- a truthful Leader
- a respectable Authority
- an intimate Friend
This affects how a child thinks. “If my earthly father loves and cares for me, then my heavenly Father loves and cares for me. If my father means what he says, then God means what He says. If my father would die for me, God would die for me.” On the other hand, if a child’s earthly father is harsh or distant, what will the child think when someone says, “God is your Father”?
Naturally, all of us earthly fathers are unavoidably flawed. We are a long way from being like God. And yet it is part of children’s human nature to judge what they cannot see in God in light of what they can see in us.
Right now, this generation doesn’t know what true fatherhood looks like. They rarely see it modeled in the media or at home. And sadly, the result is another generation deeply struggling to understand what God is really like.
The word father means “founder, source, chief, or leader.” The father of a nation, an invention, a company, or a movement is the one who helped bring it into existence. As our heavenly Father, God is the source from which all other things come into being. In Scripture, God as Father is the first Person of the Trinity. Any time you hear the Godhead described, it is always God the Father first, then the Son, then the Holy Spirit. Jesus the Son willingly follows the leadership of the Father. And if you study the life of Christ, you discover that He always speaks the words, performs the works, and carries out the will of His heavenly Father. As God’s Son, Jesus came to reveal the Father to us. The Bible says that Jesus is the “fullness” of the Godhead “in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). So if you want to know what God is like, then just look at Jesus. He represents His Father perfectly.
How well are you representing your heavenly Father? To your son? To your daughter? That is your priceless purpose.
Both the Scriptures and statistics clearly communicate that there is no more influential person in the life of a child than his or her father. Whereas moms are priceless, irreplaceable, and needed beyond measure, they were never designed to be men or to fill the role of a dad. When the Bible states that “the glory of children is their father” (Proverbs 17:6 NKJV), it is revealing an important dynamic of how God has wired the hearts and minds of children.
They learn their identity from you.
When your kids are young, they don’t know who they are, what is right or wrong, or who God is. They don’t know how to live life. But kids naturally go to their dads for answers to their biggest questions: Who is God? Who am I? Am I loved? Am I a success? Do I have what it takes? What is my purpose in life? And if dads don’t teach their kids the truth about these things, then the world will teach them lies.
They learn their values from you.
Kids watch their dads to find what’s important. It’s a dad’s job to keep his children from having to learn the lessons of life the hard way. A father’s wise words and actions constantly reinforce the higher priorities and deeper truths of life. So if he is not there – or if he’s there but not intentional in his training and leadership – his kids will be walking through their most important decisions without the one person who should be loving and leading them the most.
They learn their worth from you.
When a child has a dad who says, “I love you, I’m proud of you, and I’m going to stand with you and always be there for you,” it changes the life of that child forever. Sons who have their dads in their lives do significantly better in school, have better social skills and self-esteem, and are more likely to say no to criminal behavior.
Similarly, when a daughter looks into the mirror, she needs to hear her father’s voice in her heart reminding her that she is beautiful and loved. As a result, girls with strong dads are much more likely to feel secure – and are much less likely to have eating disorders and identity issues or to become sexually active in their teen years. But in too many families, this is not what’s happening.
We need to rediscover God’s original intention of what our homes are supposed to be like. Families should be havens of love and enjoyment. Homes should be places of peace and purpose. But great homes don’t just happen. They are gardens that need to be intentionally cultivated and guarded. A man must let truth, love, and wise discipline become constant ingredients to his fathering. He should carefully nurture his wife, his children, and his own attitude so that his home is a place where his marriage and the next generation can grow and thrive.
That’s why we need a game-changing Resolution.
And that’s what our times are calling for.
Posted on May 9, 2012 by Phil
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Jackie Kendall is a straight talker. She tells moms straight out, “Don’t let your daughter marry a Bozo!”
Kendall was one of the breakout conference leaders during the .Mom (pronounced Dot Mom) event, held Sept. 23-24 in Birmingham, Ala.
Speaking to a room full of women, Kendall didn’t hold back from telling them they have a great responsibility for keeping their girls safe from predatory guys.
“The greatest abuse is letting your [daughter] grow up thinking the world revolves around her,” she said. “The easiest way to make sure a girl is a Bozo-magnet is to teach her that everything is all about her.
“Is your girl growing in her love for Jesus?” Kendall asked. “Does she see that you are? Does she have a pattern of doing for others at home and at church?”
She cautioned that girls who aren’t helping other people are usually self-focused and will attract guys who are aware of this vulnerability.
“Do you know why older guys date younger girls?” she asked. “It’s because they are easier to seduce.”
She cautioned moms to step in if they see their freshman daughter dating a senior boy (in high school or college). “These guys see these younger girls as easy fruit. A girl will be all swooning and flattered that the older guy is interested in her, but you need to stop that relationship. He isn’t interested in her, just interested in using her.”
Kendall warned the women that in their roles as moms, Sunday school teachers, or any other where they are around girls regularly, they need to watch for signs of abuse in girls who are in relationships with guys.
“Remind them that sex will ruin a good relationship and sustain a bad one,” she said. “If you see a girl in a really bad, abusive (verbal, emotional or physical) relationship, there is sex involved. These precious girls get involved with these Bozo guys and get led around like dogs.”
She said girls need to be reminded that they need to require guys treat them with respect. “No sexual control before marriage means no sexual control after marriage. Fornication will lead to adultery.”
Kendall is author of several books, including Lady in Waiting: Becoming God’s Best While Waiting for Mr. Right; The Young Lady in Waiting: Developing the Heart of a Princess; and A Man Worth Waiting For: How to Avoid a Bozo.
“These girls have to know that waiting for Mr. Right is important,” she said. “What is worse than waiting? Wishing you had!”
Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged Camp Crestridge, Camp Ridgecrest, LifeWay Christian Resources, parent resourses, parenting girls, Parenting Teenagers, parents, Ridgecrest Summer Camps | Leave a reply
Posted on February 8, 2012 by Phil
Following is an excerpt from the Leader Kit of Honor Begins at Home: The Courageous Bible Study.
Jacob provides the most descriptive example in Scripture of a father blessing his children (see Heb. 11:21). Nearing death, he gathered his family together and blessed each of his sons and also his grandsons who were fathered by Joseph. In this time, men would bless others by prophesying over them concerning future blessings. This could include praying to God on behalf of the person being blessed.
Most of the time, the future blessing was given in regard to past behavior. Often, a faithful son received a promising blessing. An ungodly son received a dreadful blessing.
When a father gathered the family together to pronounce blessings, both positive and negative moments were relived. In the case of Jacob, he reminded Reuben of his sexual immorality and Simeon and Levi of their violent anger (see Gen. 49:3-4, 5-7). He praised Joseph for his fruitfulness and steadiness (see vv. 22-24). With such verbal blessings, a gift of land was often distributed. The weight of these blessings was felt deeply because the prophecy surpassed the son’s life, on to his descendants.
While biblical prophecy occasionally ventured into set days or events, the prophets usually presented messages similar to those a parent would deliver to a child. “If you continue to do this, your future will look like . . .” “If you don’t stop, I’m going to have to discipline you.” Prophecy usually addressed the natural progression of a person or people concerning their obedience or disobedience.
Apply that to Jacob’s blessing, and we understand more clearly. Simeon was a violent man. Jacob discerned that in his son and prophesied that violence was in Simeon’s future (see v. 7). From Jacob’s example, we learn that fathers are to bless children with appropriate words and gifts.
Blessing a child with appropriate words means telling the truth. “Whoever speaks the truth declares what is right, but a false witness, deceit” (Prov. 12:17). Fathers are not to enable children for continual disobedience.
If your children are walking down a path that leads to destruction, the best blessing you can give them is to tell them of looming danger. Conversely, if your children are walking faithfully in the Lord tell them of the great joy they give you (see Prov. 10:1).
Jacob played favorites with his sons. While his extreme favoritism with Joseph caused family drama (see Gen. 37:3-4), Jacob still resolved to give gifts of land to his sons in a way he deemed appropriate. Normally, the more trustworthy the son, the more generous the gift. Jacob had experienced so much of God’s gracious provision that he did not want to see it thrown away by unreliable sons.
The blessing on Jesus
The idea of a father’s blessing is not as prominent in the New Testament due to the church’s functioning as the people of God. In these pages the best example of a father blessing his son is evident in Jesus’ baptism.
Within the pages of Scripture, biblical blessings happened at pivotal moments (near a father’s death, baptism, etc.). God chose to bless His Son at a pivotal time. Coinciding with His inauguration into ministry, Jesus traveled to the Jordan River so John the Baptist, His cousin, could baptize Him (see Matt. 3:13). “After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. And there came a voice from heaven: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!” (Matt. 3:16-17). At the transfiguration, the disciples heard the Father say, “This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him. Listen to Him!” (Matt. 17:5).
Through the Father’s words, we see how a father should bless his child in three specific ways.
Acceptance – The Father wanted listeners to know that Jesus was His Son. Fathers show their acceptance by addressing children according to who they really are, not who they desire them to be.
Adoration – God had no problem telling the world that He adored Jesus. As a beloved Son, Jesus knew that His Father was crazy about Him and didn’t care who knew it. Fathers should express the type of love that treasures their children and delights in them.
Approval – Not only did God tell people that He accepted and adored Jesus, He also wanted all to know that He approved of Him. He told the disciples to listen to what His Son had to say. When a father tells a child that he is good at something and everyone should know and benefit from it, few compliments in this life will ever surpass this one.
Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged Camp Crestridge, Camp Ridgecrest, courageous, Devotions, LifeWay Christian Resources, parent resourses, Parenting Teenagers, Talking to your kids, Weekly Devotions | Leave a reply
Posted on October 12, 2011 by Phil
by Beth Moore
God created every life to be fruitful and multiply, but this God-given dream represents more than physical offspring. I believe our dreams to have babies represent a desire to have fruitful lives, to invest ourselves in something that matters and makes a difference.
In the Old Testament, God promised great numbers of physical descendants. In the New Testament, His emphasis is clearly on spiritual offspring. God calls us to be fruitful and to multiply until He calls us home. Potential for spiritual offspring is virtually limitless. God desires to empower you to bear spiritual offspring. God created you to bear much fruit. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a mommy more than anything in the world. Now my children are almost grown. Recently my older daughter and I were enjoying a time of rich fellowship together when she paused and asked, “Mom, when Melissa and I grow up and perhaps even move far away from you and Daddy, will you be OK?”
A lump welled in my throat, but I still answered confidently: “Yes, darling. Most people just need to feel useful. As long as I have Jesus, I will always feel useful — even if I occasionally feel lonely.”
I have tried my hardest to keep my children from growing up, but all my efforts have failed. Sometimes I think: “What will I ever do? I was born to be a mommy!” Then I remember God has called me primarily to women’s ministry, and I will always have the opportunity to “mother” a few spiritual offspring as long as I am willing to invest myself.
In fact, one of my spiritual daughters has a particularly dry and delightful wit. She is a gifted Bible teacher at only 27 years of age and hardly ever misses an opportunity to affectionately rib me about my age. I introduced her once as a spiritual daughter, and later she said, “Since you led the person to the Lord, who in turn, led me to the Lord, wouldn’t that really make you my spiritual grand-mother?” After that I called her a smart aleck, we had a great laugh, and every card or gift that I have sent to her since that remark have all been signed, “Love, Granny.”
If God chose for you to have physical children, prepare yourself! They will grow up! Then it is time to enlarge your tent and invest in spiritual children! If God chooses for you never to have physical children, He is calling you to a bigger family! God purposely placed the dream of fruitful lives in our hearts. Oh, how I love the paradoxical ways our glorious heavenly Father works. Only He can bring gain from loss. Only He can make us more fruitful in our barrenness!
One final thought. Undoubtedly one of the reasons I wanted children was to bear offspring who were the image of my husband. I wanted little Keiths and Keithettes! I did not want them to look like me. I have always thought Keith was far more beautiful than I. You see, the same is true of our spiritual offspring. Once we fall in love with Christ, we are so taken with His beauty, we want children to look just like Him. That is spiritual parenting in a nutshell; raising spiritual sons and daughters to look just like their Father in Heaven. What could be more important?
This article was adapted from Breaking Free © 2000 (Broadman and Holman). Used by permission.
Posted on September 28, 2011 by Phil
You’ve seen TV shows where a makeover is done on a house or a person. Well, you can now do a parenting “character makeover!” After all, we serve a God of fresh starts, second chances, and rebirths. Anytime is a great time to let Him remake us into the parents He wants us to be!
Prideful parents need humility
We’ve all seen prideful parents. They take all the credit for how amazing their kids are turning out! They may also push their kids to perform so they can live out their dreams through their kids’ accomplishments.
Pride leaves us delusional. We think we are the reason our kids are capable, attractive, popular, or successful. At the same time, we are oblivious to the reality that everything our kids are is from God. We, as parents, are simply stewards of His treasure!
In contrast, humility focuses on God. To get rid of pride, it’s as simple as applying John 3:30: He must increase, but I must decrease. Focus more on God. Look for Him, thank Him, give Him credit, and praise Him. As you do, your prideful self-focus will naturally decrease.
Insecure parents need confidence
An insecure parent second-guesses her decisions, feels inferior to her kids or to other parents, or needs constant reassurance that she’s doing the right thing.
Confidence is that inner self-assurance that lets us interact effectively with others-even our teens! Usually we think of “self-confidence” as believing in ourselves, but it’s really “God-confidence” because your confidence is only as strong as the One in whom you trust.
To start building God-confidence, try doing a Scripture study of what God thinks of you. You can start with passages like Ephesians 1:4: For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight.
Fearful parents need courage
Raising teens can fill us with fear. Between worries about peer pressure, drunk drivers, social networking, and driver’s ed, anxiety can be crippling. It not only keeps you on high-alert, but it also causes you to hold your teen way too tightly.
Courage means being filled with God’s strength, which frees you to take risks, endure difficulty, or withstand fear. Parental courage is not an absence of fear, but it trusts God and keeps going.
Second Timothy 1:7 says that God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and sound thinking. If you are haunted by a spirit of fear, it’s not from God! Ask Him to release you from it. To practice courage, say yes to an experience that you would normally avoid, such as taking your teen out for driving practice!
Stressed parents need self-control
I (Katie) have a confession: As a stressed-out, single mom in the late 80’s, I was a rageaholic. Anything could send me flying into a verbal rampage. One minute I’d be sweet and kind and charming. The next minute-well, you know the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde drill.
Self-control is what I needed: Self-Under-God’s-Control! It draws on God’s power to exercise restraint and to avoid overindulgence, over-reactions, or even laziness (Prov. 25:28).
To move toward more self-control in your life, take a Sabbath. Clear some commitments and devote one day a week to God and rest.
Impatient parents need patience
Parenting teens is a breeding ground for impatience. Cluttered rooms, words mumbled under their breath, disrespect, forgetfulness, unkindness, and mood swings work in harmony to push us past a point of no return. But patience is about selflessness since love does not demand its own way (1 Cor. 13:5).
You can increase your patience by practicing flexibility, listening, and seeking first to understand rather than to be understood. In other words, don’t rigidly demand things be done your way. Instead, try listening more than you speak. And before you tell them what you think, get to know what’s going on with them first.
Envious parents need contentment
Benjamin Franklin wisely said: “Contentment makes poor men rich; discontentment makes rich men poor.” In order to be content, we need to rid our hearts of envy. We also need to stop comparing our kids to anyone else’s. Comparisons ignite envy, insecurity, and pride.
Contentment rests in thankfulness (Eph. 5:20). To tackle envy, keep a “Thankful List,” looking for things in your teens for which you can be grateful: their health, their disposition, their kindness, their intelligence, their abilities, and the areas where they take after you!
Greedy parents need generosity
I (Shelley) am a food hoarder. I never shared my candy as a child; and to this day, I hide secret stashes of my favorite chips and cookies from my kids. I’ll make my special tuna with boiled eggs, pickles, and onions, only to get frustrated when my kids have the nerve to eat it!
Generosity means being able to hold your time, your house, your personal space-even your tuna-loosely. Paul told Timothy that believers need to be rich in good deeds and always ready to share (1 Tim. 6:18). Watch what you hoard as a parent.
One great way to be generous is allowing yourself to be interruptible. To help remind yourself of this commitment, use the slogan: stop, drop, and roll. In other words, stop to really listen to what your teenager is saying, drop what you’re doing to give him your full attention, and roll with whatever your teen needs.
‘Quitters’ need perseverance
One of the most challenging aspects of parenting teens is seeing things through. It can get be difficult to follow through on consequences or to stick with your teen and believe in them when they disappoint you.
Perseverance is all about persistence and diligence. James 1:4 tells us to let perseverance run its course, so we can be all God wants us to be. Develop perseverance by igniting your heart for your kids. Ask God to restore your passion to see them grow up right, and use that to persevere when you feel like quitting.
Your parenting character traits are like windows into your life. Your teens can look into them and see what Christ is like. Partner with the Spirit to complete a makeover on your character. Start fresh today by admitting the truth about the strongholds in your life. Only then can you truly develop and strengthen your character.
by Shelley Leith and Katie Brazelton on Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Posted on September 14, 2011 by Phil
1. Teach Christian values. As parents we need to identify, live, and communicate our values. If we value truth and honesty, we must be honest and adhere to biblical standards. We need to believe and teach our teens that the only truth in the world that matters is in the Scriptures. You are deceived, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God (Matt. 22:29).
2. Express love and acceptance of our children. Even when their behavior disappoints us, we must continue to let them know that we love them. Genuine love for our children will grow out of our awareness that we are genuinely loved by God. It’s not always easy, but unconditional love is necessary. We also need to teach our children about God’s love. God’s love is solid and secure. He adopted us into His family, and He knows our needs and will provide them. Your teens need to know and accept these truths.
3. Be consistent with discipline. Our goal is that our children will ultimately become self-disciplined and self-controlled. If discipline does not eventually become internal, no amount of outside pressure to conform will make a teenager a spiritually healthy person.
4. Pray continually for and about our children. God is more concerned for them than we possibly can be, so He welcomes our conversations with Him about them. With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints (Eph. 6:18).
5. Worship together as a family. Participating in regular worship, both corporately and personally, will move us all toward spiritual health. Again, I cannot hope that my child will grow to be a faithful worshiper of the Lord if I refuse to do so myself. Let worship become a lifestyle for you, and your teens will likely catch it from you. Also, remember that personal and family worship are important as well.
6. Be active participants in the work of the church. Remember to balance your time with your family and in your church activities; but, again, if you want your youth to participate in church activities, you must do the same. Dropping them off at youth activities will not teach them to be faithful church members.
7. Participate in ministries that are designed for you as a parent. Not every church does this, but when a seminar or class is offered to help parents be better at their jobs, be sure to go. It will communicate volumes to your teen when they see that you are trying to improve in your parenting skills.
by Chuck Gartman
Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged Camp Crestridge, Camp Moms, Camp Ridgecrest, Chuck Gartman, LifeWay Christian Resources, parent resourses, Parenting Teenagers, Ridgcecrest Summer Camps | Leave a reply
Posted on August 31, 2011 by Phil
It really depends upon what you are aiming for. Like most parents you long for your children to “succeed” in life. But what does that mean? Is it merely getting into the right schools, having the right grades, the right friends and the right skills so that they can get the right job?
Ask yourself this question, “Am I helping my kids develop the ‘right stuff’ from a Biblical perspective?” Are you, like an archer, carefully aiming your parenting to produce Godly children who will not only have a vital relationship with Jesus Christ, but embody God’s Kingdom values in the way they live their lives?
What can you do to help your kids develop spiritually? Merely sending them to church activities isn’t enough. Studies show that 90% of youth who have heavily participated in church drop out after 2 years in college. For many youth, the checking out begins as early as the age of 16. They find packaged religion to be irrelevant to the real world. What can you do to counter this trend?
1. Embrace God’s Kingdom agenda.
Whether you know it or not, you are now teaching them values that either conform to or conflict with God’s Kingdom. When you decide to participate in an activity that regularly interferes with spiritual responsibilities (church attendance, Bible study, spiritual service) you have taught them that personal fulfillment is more important than obedience to and fellowship with God. You are on display to them 24/7. They watch your every move, how you spend your time, how you spend your money. They listen to what you talk about. Do they see in you generosity, compassion, and a love of God and His Word? Do they see you ordering your life around God’s priorities? You are the first Bible they have read and they started reading right after birth. What have they learned?
2. Create the environment.
How does the environment of your home aesthetically and socially reflect God’s Kingdom agenda? Children swim in the environment of the home. Things dear to God’s heart can be reflected even in the way you decorate your home. Have you as carefully thought about the “value environment” in your home as you have how you have selected its decor? Think of how you celebrate holidays… what can you do to turn them into “teaching moments” that zero in on what God values?
3. Teach by using experience.
Jesus taught people by taking them places and exposing them to real life. The world and all its activity became a textbook of illustrations Jesus used to drive home Biblical truth. The quickest and easiest way to do this is to begin to serve Christ as a family. Go on family mission trips together. Serve in your local area together. God has placed gifts and abilities in your family and He expects you to use them.
The book, Mission As Life: Making the Kingdom of God Your Family’s Passion provides valuable insights and resources designed to help you raise kids to have the “right stuff” from God’s perspective. Your family is a microcosm of God’s church. God has gifted you and your children for serving Him. Doesn’t it make sense that you do that together as a family? Visit Mission As Life for family mission trip ideas and also get a copy of the book Mission As Life.
This article is a paid promotion from a LifeWay.com advertiser.
Posted on August 17, 2011 by Phil
by Rachel Lovingood
Alarming statistics remind us that, as parents, we need to work hard to keep our tweenagers from making mistakes that can affect them for the rest of their lives. This is especially true regarding sexual issues. Tweens are developing socially, and that inevitably means interest in the opposite sex. We must equip our tweens to make godly choices, and thereby to resist the influences they constantly receive from the world around them.
The culture of middle schoolers is very sexual – from their music, to the television shows they watch, to their hallway conversations. If you’ve resisted talking with your tweens about sex and dating, then you’re already behind. It’s vital that you keep communication lines open so you recognize when issues need to be addressed. If you’re reluctant to speak openly with your tweens about sex, the world is more than willing to speak on your behalf, and you may not like its message.
If you aren’t sure what messages your middle schoolers have received, watch the television shows that capture their attention, read lyrics to their favorite songs, and check out the websites they surf. You may be stunned.
Posted on July 27, 2011 by Phil
On Tuesday, July 26, 2011, a man was arrested on the grounds of Ridgecrest Conference Center in Ridgecrest, N.C., for an alleged incident that happened prior to arriving at Ridgecrest.
The Cumberland Country Sheriff’s Department reports that police were at Ridgecrest and arrested the man upon his arrival.
The arresting officer’s police report inaccurately identified the location of the arrest as Ridgecrest Boys Camp.
This man was not a counselor nor staff member of Camp Ridgecrest for Boys, CentriKid Camps, Ridgecrest Conference Center, or LifeWay Christian Resources.
LifeWay takes great precaution to assure that all staff are carefully interviewed and screened before beginning their employment.