14 rules for being a Godly employee

August 20, 2017 by admin  
Filed under Miscellaneous, newsletter-miscellaneous

One of the saddest statements I heard in college was during a job interview. The owner, a Christian himself said, “I usually don’t hire Christians, they have been some of the worst workers over the years”. Hopefully as I worked for him I didn’t encourage that sentiment.

Of course this isn’t universal. I have also worked for bosses who loved hiring Christians and were very thankful for the hard work they received.

As believers we know that our calling is higher. We do work for men, but ultimately it is God whom we serve. As we work hard we are ultimately declaring our belief in the Gospel, and our hope in eternity. Paul says in Ephesians 6:5-8,

Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.

Every once in a while I run into an old paper from college or seminary. Not too long ago I found a little article a professor shared with us that was written by an old pastor. He offered 14 rules that he tried to live by in order to be the best pastor possible. As I looked through his “rules” it was obvious that this didn’t just apply to pastors, but rather it could be applied to any job anywhere.

Rule #1 – Eagerly start the day’s main work

Rule #2 – Do not murmur at your busyness or the shortness of time but buy up the time all around.

Rule #3 – Never murmur when correspondence is brought in.

Rule #4 – Never exaggerate duties by seeming to suffer under the load, but treat all responsibilities as liberty and gladness.

Rule #5 – Never call attention to crowded work or trivial experiences.

Rule #6 – Before confrontation or censure, obtain from God a real love for the one at fault. Know the facts; be generous in your judgment. Otherwise, how ineffective, how unintelligible or perhaps provocative your well-intentioned censure may be.

Rule #7 – Do not believe everything you hear; do not spread gossip.

Rule #8 – Do not seek praise, gratitude, respect, or regard for past service.

Rule #9 – Avoid complaining when your advice or opinion is not consulted, or having been consulted, set aside.

Rule #10 – Never allow yourself to be placed in favorable contrast with anyone.

Rule #11 – Do not press conversation to your own needs and concerns.

Rule #12 – Seek no favors, nor sympathies, do not ask for tenderness, but receive what comes.

Rule #13 – Bear the blame; do not share or transfer it.

Rule #14 – Give thanks when credit for your own work or idea is given to another.

Although looking at a list like this can be overwhelming I believe that having a list like this printed out and placed in your office, or at home is a helpful resource to go back to time and time again. Being a hard-worker in this day and age can be very frustrating, especially when you feel like your boss is making all the money, and the people around you are cutting corners and will do anything to rise the ranks. But remembering the promise in Ephesians 6, that we ultimately work for Christ, and that He will reward us in heaven, will keep us from frustration and selfishness, and will free us to work hard with joy and humility, as for the Lord and not for men (Col 3:23).

- cross walk

What can we learn from our dreams?

August 18, 2017 by admin  
Filed under Miscellaneous, newsletter-miscellaneous

Dear Reader,

In my “Ask Roger” role, you might be surprised by how many angelic/demonic, Jesus/Satan dreams that people share with me—about one of every 20 emails!

The description of the dreams, as well as the dreamer, often sound strange. However, I’ve concluded that many dreamers are “normal” people who have simply experienced an unusual, confusing, or disturbing dream… you probably have too!

Dreamers usually ask me to help interpret their dream. I always politely decline. After all, I’m not Joseph or Daniel or another prophet.

You also need to know that I don’t believe that any of these dreams are supernatural in origin. But if we look in the right places, biblical insight and guidance are there to help.

So let me share one of my most recent dream emails with you today.

Hi Roger,

I just had a weird dream about God taking me by the hand and sending me into a building to call out Satan, who was a priest preaching to people.

When I opened my mouth to call out Satan, I was speaking words I didn’t—and still don’t understand. But when I spoke, everything around me was shaking.

Then a priest joined me, scared as can be. I spoke to him in the same language I didn’t understand. I heard God telling me to observe and be quiet. God spoke to this priest while He cut off his feet calmly and then ask me to look to the sky.

God instructed me to read Revelation. Then His voice became soft in the distance, and I heard him say, “Listen to the bells.” I woke up to the bell sound of my phone’s alarm.

Can you perhaps tell me what this means?

Regards, RBB

Dear RBB,

I’m sorry, but I cannot interpret your dream. Nevertheless, when I read your dream, I noticed several spiritual principles that may help.

First, a blessing is in store for all who long for the Second Coming.

Your dream, in some ways, pictures the Second Coming. Perhaps that’s because it’s on your heart or in your thoughts… and that’s a positive thing in God’s eyes.

“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Thessalonians 4:8).

Next, God promises a blessing to those who read and study the Book of Revelation.

I would encourage you to dive into the Book of Revelation starting today. There are several excellent Bible studies and commentaries that would supplement your study. And I know that you will be blessed by the truth!

“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.” (Revelation 22:7)

As believers, we have authority over Satan.

Your dream seems to show that you understand this principle and are not afraid to act according to it. That’s great, because I hope you cultivate that understanding, so that you recognize the acts of the Evil One and stand against them.

“Be Still And Know That I Am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

In the midst of spiritual battle, watch out for satanic deception.

Satan can be disguised with false religion and false teaching. After all, he is called the “angel of light.” Carefully watch, wait, and pray. Always.

“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3)

It’s always good to look to the heavens for help.

When you encounter frightening, discouraging, or uncertain situations, I always turn first to heaven. That includes fervent prayer, setting my mind on heavenly things through memorizing Bible verses, and focusing on His work in my life.

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence comes my help. My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)

Pray before sleeping, and ask the Holy Spirit to protect your mind and heart as you sleep.

It’s very easy to fill your mind with all kinds of worries, fears, and negative things before bed. Sometimes TV, social media, or other activities can get you worked up. I would recommend that you take a few minutes before bed to pray and read some Scripture. You will calm your mind and heart… and the Holy Spirit will protect you always.

“‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?’” (Job 1:9)

“Commune with your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.” (Psalm 4:4)

Dear Reader, when you think about it, maybe our dreams do have purpose… bringing our attention to biblical truth.

Sincerely, Roger

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What to do in the middle of a boring sermon

August 17, 2017 by admin  
Filed under Miscellaneous, newsletter-miscellaneous

We all preach boring sermons from time to time. The trick is not to make a habit of it.

I’m almost tempted to say a pastor should give his people a boring sermon once in awhile, if for no other reason than to help them appreciate the good ones when they come.

Bill Baker was pastor of Clinton, Mississippi’s First Baptist Church. He told me this one himself. At the Friday night high school football game, during halftime, the other team’s band marched onto the field and did their show. Right in the middle of their presentation, a group of students on the other side of the stadium called out, “B-O-R-I-N-G!” Real loud and very slow.

A 4-year-old girl was puzzled by that. “What are they doing, Mama?” she asked. Her mother explained that sometimes students will do that when they feel the other band is doing poor work. “It tells them they stink,” she laughed.

That’s why the very next Sunday, right in the middle of Pastor Baker’s sermon, this 4-year-old stood in church and did the same thing.

I’ve preached boring sermons. And I’ll bet you have too.

Often, a sermon is boring when we have not thought the subject through sufficiently. Or the subject is too much for us and we do not grasp it well enough to be able to convey it simply. Or, we are tired and not able to give this our all. Or something has distracted us from being able to give our best effort. Or we’re preaching something assigned to us but about which we do not feel strong convictions.

Which is to say: A sermon can be boring for a hundred reasons.

What to do when you are listening to a boring sermon:

People have written jokes about “10 things to do during a boring sermon.” Stuff like make your grocery bill, count the times the pastor says “uh” or “you know.” That sort of thing.

But seriously…

–When caught in the middle of a sermon that is lulling everyone to sleep, the best thing to do is simply make the most of it. Just get through it.

–Pray for the pastor. Pray for the people. Pray the preacher will do better next time.

–And watch what you say to him after the service ends. You are not allowed to say something like, “Another snoozer, Preacher” or “Not one of your better ones, Brother Tom.” Nope. Do not do it. The simple fact is he already knows this was not one of his better efforts. So don’t make matters worse.

–If you do speak to the pastor after the service, plan ahead of time what to say. I suggest something encouraging, like “You’re a wonderful pastor, Brother Ed.” Or “That was a fascinating subject today.” (Maybe the sermon wasn’t, but the subject may have been.) Or, say something off the subject, like “I’m looking forward to hearing your message tonight on (whatever is in the bulletin).”

But what if you are the pastor and in the middle of the sermon you realize it is b-o-r-i-n-g?

It happens to all of us from time to time.

–My first thought is to give yourself credit for knowing the difference in a sermon that is connecting and one that is deadening. Not all preachers seem to be able to tell when they are anesthetizing the congregation with the sermon.

–Pray. Yes, you’re preaching, but you can send up a panicky, “Father! Help!” Or, in the words of the apostle who found himself standing on water, “Lord, help! I’m sinking. Save me lest I drown!” Something like that.

–Recognize that you may be doing better than you think. All of us have had the experience of coming home from church and announcing to the family that “I didn’t have it today,” only to have the phone ring and someone say, “Pastor, thank you. That sermon was exactly what I needed today.” Sometimes we are not the best judges of our own preaching.

–So, if you are dead certain you have a message from God for today and this moment in time your job is to plow on through with this sermon, then give it your best shot. Go for the gold.

–Do something. Vary your timing, intensify your delivery (or slow it down and personalize it), or move around. If people are sleeping, it’s usually because your voice has become monotonous and the droning is lulling them off. So, put some variety in it.

–Stop and tell a story–if you have one that fits here. People love a story and will rouse from their stupor to hear one. That is, unless you constantly tell lots of stories in your sermons. In that case, another illustration probably won’t do the trick.

–Depending on what you are preaching, what the situation is today, what the needs of the congregation are, and how much courage you have, you could even shut the sermon down. I mean, just stop it. It’s been done by better preachers than you and me.

–How would you stop a sermon in the middle, once you realized you were not connecting? There’s probably not a perfect way. I’ve known a pastor to stop in the middle of the sermon and ask “Deacon Logan, would you please pray for me. I seem to be having difficulty preaching today.” That’ll wake up the folks, believe me. (Of course, someone might have to wake up Brother Logan to do the prayer!) When done sincerely, the congregation appreciates the pastor’s awareness of what is happening and will rally to his support.

I can think of a few more things to add here, but I can just hear someone reading this saying, “B-o-r-i-n-g!” So, I’ll shut it down at this point. (And as always, if something needs to be said more and I think of it later, I’ll return and add it. That’s one advantage to the blog over a sermon. I can always come back and tweak it.)

- cross walk

10 ways a wife makes her husband feel like a failure

August 16, 2017 by admin  
Filed under Miscellaneous, newsletter-miscellaneous

When I asked the married men in my life, “In what way does your wife make you feel like a failure?” I was met with a slew of responses. Some guys pushed-up their sleeves, like they couldn’t wait to tackle the issue. Others introspectively rubbed their scruffy chins and cleared their throats, pausing a good long while before raising a finger—“I got one.”

Feeling like a failure is complex. Sure there are times a man feels disrespected by his wife or, at the very least, a little sad when she uses the last of the A1 sauce. But when she makes her husband feel like a failure—intentionally or not—well, that’s different. Unlike failing, where a man is able to pick himself up by the bootstraps and try again, being a failure has a lastingness to it—and can become a label, a tag, an identity.

But here’s the good news: No woman can tell her husband who he is as a man. She does not pronounce the verdict on him. Only God can do that. And when a man feels anything but the leader of his tribe, he must turn to his Creator for validation, the One who “has crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:5b).

And now, in no particular order and in no way comprehensive, here are 10 ways a wife makes her husband feel like a failure:

1. She’s not satisfied with their income.

When it comes to money, my husband and I are like most people: We always want more of it—maybe not to buy boats and hold season tickets, but to pay the electric bill, get our teeth cleaned, and eke out a vacation. And on days we skip the two dollar upcharge for avocado, it’s okay—we still carry on!

But lately I’ve been dangling my wish list over his head, telling him about my friends who get cleaning ladies and about the dream home I drove by twice that day. This can’t be good for our marriage. I mean, if I’m tempted to feel like a failure—not having these things—how is it making him feel, the one who’d give me the world if he could?

So instead of counting on money, a woman should count on her ability to be, according to a 17th century quote, “her husband’s best companion in prosperity and in adversity the surest friend.” But above all, she must count on the One who meets their needs “according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

2. She won’t let go of past failures.

Bringing up past failures works double-duty on the heart of a man. It’s already enough that he’s dealing with the inadequacies of today, let alone his wife swooping in to remind him of unrelated failures from yesterday. Besides, the past does a pretty good job of rearing its ugly head all on its own—without the help of a wife.

But for every woman who champions for her husband’s future, forgetting “those things which are behind” and reaching “forward to those things which are ahead” (Philippians 3:13), there’s a woman who won’t let her hubby of the hook. Such a woman might not fully understand the depths of God’s grace. Only then will she be able to extend grace in return.

3. She sets crazy-high expectations for the holidays.

When a woman expects her husband to turn into Prince Charming every holiday, she’s setting him up for failure. It’s one thing to want a hot stone massage on her birthday, but a hot stone massage year after year—in Hawaii—might be asking too much.

Lame gifts aren’t the only things women worry about. I once set unrealistic expectations regarding my husband’s level of participation on Christmas Eve. Last year he fell asleep before the kids, and fantasies of sipping hot cocoa together while placing the gifts “just so” under the tree were dashed. And I became the opposite of “slow to get angry” (James 1:19).

Yes, he should have stepped up his game. But within the context of our 22-year marriage, a marriage he’s shown himself to be a good man, why make him feel as if he’s failed me now—and on Christmas?

4. She makes excuses to avoid intimacy.

There are all sorts of reasons a woman makes excuses to avoid intimacy, some extremely valid and even biblical, others not so much. (“Sorry, ate too much cheese tonight” is always a popular one.) And when excuses pile-up for no apparent reason, a man might think he’s failed somehow: I used to drive her crazy! Why are my needs not a priority to her?

And if a woman avoids intimacy because she thinks it’s better to resolve marital issues before having sex, the experts disagree. In fact, the likelihood of settling issues is much higher when sex comes first. Clearly intimacy works: “Let no one split apart what God has joined together” (Mark 10:9).

5. She reminds him he’s supposed to be the spiritual leader.

What’s more annoying than a husband who reminds his wife she’s supposed to submit him? A wife who reminds her husband he’s supposed to be the spiritual leader of the home… and a servant leader at that. It’s patronizing, preachy, and condescending—especially if a “tone” is added for effect.

But a woman who is kind, humble, and wise has the power to win her husband over without saying a word (1 Peter 3:1). And when prayers for her husband replace the sassy comments that point out his failings, she is much more likely to see him turn into the man of her dreams.

6. She questions the way he fathers their children.

Whenever our kids act-up, we often joke, “They obviously got that from your side of the family.” And since we have wonderful family on both sides, it stays in the joke zone. But not all comments stay there—especially coming from me.

I am extremely guilty of correcting, speaking-over, and undermining my husband’s ability to father our children. I shoot him down with my nitpicking, “You were too hard on her… too easy on him… now go give her a hug,” which is ridiculous because he’s an incredible dad—he even does science project duty!

When a man fails at being a father, he’ll carry it his entire life. But if he succeeds, well, there’s no greater measure of success! So it’s imperative a woman comes alongside her husband (Genesis 2:18) as they together tackle the hardest job on earth—raising kids to become nice adults.

7. She compares him to other men.

This is a biggie for men. Starting in grade school, they had to find their way on the playground, positioning for their spot in the order of things. Fast-forward to today and not much has changed. But alas, there’s home! A place he can go, free from the comparison trap… or is it?

Nothing makes a guy feel like a failure more than when his wife says, “I wonder how much money Joel makes?”—“Did you see how Matt opened the door for her?”—“Why aren’t you more adventurous like Andrew?” Turns out she’s more interested in molding her husband into her ideal image, not God’s.

But what if change is in order? Then she must give God margin to work in his life. After all, change doesn’t happen overnight. Even Jesus himself, though perfect, matured over time, growing “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

8. She’s not proud of what he does.

For every woman who isn’t proud of her proctologist husband, there’s a woman who couldn’t be more proud. For every woman who loathes her husband’s vintage Corvette, there’s a woman who thinks it’s hot. And for every woman annoyed by her man’s fascination with the stock market, there’s a woman who joins right in.

It doesn’t matter if a man is a professional auctioneer, an Olympic swimmer, or a coin collector. If his wife doesn’t respect, admire, and support his career, hobbies, and interests, he’s sure to feel like a failure. And should she sense he has taken his passions too far, she can pray Proverbs 3:6 over her man: “Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success.”

9. She finds little joy in their life together.

Twelve years into our marriage, we moved from California to Alabama. Although I loved our amazing neighbors and the seasonal weather, I couldn’t kick my feelings of despair—and there was nothing my husband could do to fix it. He felt hopeless and discouraged, as if he failed at providing a joyous life for me.

There are millions of reasons why a woman might struggle to find joy. It could be because of her husband, or it could have nothing to do with him—either way, a joyless wife makes a man feel like a failure. The important thing is to keep the line of communication open, for it’s helpful to “carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

10. She corrects him in public.

When we first got married, we were friends with a certain husband and wife duo. More like husband and wife duel, for the wife constantly reprimanded her guy in front of us. She even talked about the “chore chart” she had made to keep him in line! It would’ve been less painful—for all of us—if she stamped “BIG FAIL” on his forehead and have that be the end of it.

Nothing sucks the life out of a man more than a wife who belittles him in public, and sometimes it’s just a roll of the eyes. Even if he deserves it, a wife will get more respect—from him and her friends—if she quiets herself in this regard and chooses to love her husband deeply, for “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

- cross walk

10 ways entitlement manifests itself in our kids

August 14, 2017 by admin  
Filed under Miscellaneous, newsletter-miscellaneous

I grew up in a small Kansas town that didn’t have a shopping mall. So, when we went to any city that had one, it was a BIG deal. One year in particular, we visited the mall just before Christmas. A new music store had just opened, and my 13-year-old self thought she was in heaven! Cassette tapes lined the shelves, Bon Jovi posters lined the walls, and it didn’t take me long to find something I really wanted—a piano book featuring the greatest hits from the 80s.

I wanted that book. I deserved that book. As a dutiful piano student, I was entitled to that book! Problem was, I didn’t have any money. So, I “pretty-pleased” my parents to death, until they finally lost patience and said it was time to go home—without the book. I wasn’t merely upset. I was mad! I threw a silent fit all the way home and held a grudge until Christmas morning, when one of the gifts I opened was that coveted piano book.

Entitlement has a sneaky way of getting the best of us. Kids, especially, find it easy to believe they are deserving of certain things or entitled to certain privileges. Here are 10 ways entitlement manifests itself in our kids.

1. Laziness

“I just want my kid to be a kid for as long as possible.”

Does that sound familiar? I get it. I want my kids to have happy, carefree childhoods as well. However, a good work ethic is one of the most important things we can cultivate in them. Entitlement has a way of stifling a kid’s drive to work hard and accept responsibility.

Preparing our kids for “real life” isn’t robbing them of a great childhood. Rather, it is equipping them with skills to be successful in college, career, marriage, and beyond. Let’s remind our children that working hard is a way of serving God and taking good care of what He’s given them.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24 NIV)

2. Lofty Expectations

Have you ever stopped to think about how we condition our kids to have unrealistic expectations? For example, we host extravagant birthday parties with jump houses, fancy cakes, and oodles of gifts. And while celebrating isn’t a bad thing, the lofty expectations we are creating can be. Last year’s party becomes “old hat” and we have to “up the ante” every year. Kids become conditioned, always expecting bigger and better.

Perhaps, we can scale back to simpler times, by cooking their favorite meal at home, making the birthday cake ourselves, and doing something memorable as a family. I would even venture to say that our kids will remember these types of celebrations more than the elaborate ones. It’s relationship building that will matter most in the long run.

“Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’” (Luke 12:15 NIV)

3. Self-Centeredness

The “me, myself, and I” mentality has exploded in recent years. And let’s face it, we all struggle with this issue from time to time. There truly is nothing new under the sun!

I’m reminded of Genesis, chapter 4, when Cain was jealous that his brother Abel’s sacrifice was more accepted than his. The Bible says that he was “very angry and his countenance fell.” Cain’s self-centered view of the situation clouded his vision of what was right, and he eventually killed his brother over the matter.

Now, I am not suggesting that self-centeredness leads to murder. I’m merely pointing out that kids who think only of themselves often suffer from entitlement that is expressed through anger and resentment. There is something called the I’m Third Principle that encourages our kids to put God first, others second, and self last. Here is a great story from history from which that principle originates.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…” (Philippians 2:3 NIV)

4. Inability to Empathize

Empathy is a huge character trait to instill in our children. This attribute helps our kids relate to others with kindness and compassion. Unfortunately, entitlement prevents our kids from being aware of the hardships others may be going through.

One of the best ways to combat this is to be empathetic ourselves; to include our children in community outreach. Taking homemade Christmas cards to a nursing home, serving food to the homeless on Thanksgiving, or passing out stuffed animals at a children’s hospital can be wonderful ways to build empathy. Here are even more ideas for cultivating empathy in our kids.

“But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16 NKJV)

5. Greed

When did we start feeling guilty about our kids not having the newest, biggest, and best of everything? From iPads to cell phones, toys and clothing, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to lavish our kids with everything their hearts desire. But that inner-sense of greed can get out of control when we give our kids too much of a good thing.

What if we allow our kids to wait longer for things? Save their own money? Do extra chores to earn what they want? Let’s encourage a heart of giving in our children and watch some of that entitlement disappear. Check out this article from World Vision on the Top 5 Ways to Raise a Generous Child at Any Age.

“The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” (Proverbs 22:9 NIV)

6. Prejudice

I thought twice about including this point, but felt a strong sense that it needed to be mentioned. Human prejudice has destroyed countless lives throughout history and continues to this day. I am heartsick over the terrible things that have happened to innocent people due to prejudice.

You may be wondering how entitlement relates to this topic, but it’s not hard to connect the dots. When kids feel superior, in any way, it can open the door to all kinds of unfair assumptions about others. Thoughts like “I am better than them,” or “Those people are beneath me,” are clear manifestations of entitlement and can lead to segregation, bullying, or worse.

Our own attitudes, comments, and opinions about others will have a big impact on our kids. When we make it clear that we have zero-tolerance for prejudice—and reinforce it—our kids are more likely to be loving and considerate of others.

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31 NIV)

7. Discontentment

Have you ever noticed that entitled kids seem to be the most miserable? Easily disappointed, often irritable, and frequently dissatisfied, children who battle entitlement are rarely happy with what they have. This can become a real problem if left unchecked.

Imparting a heart of gratefulness is one of the quickest remedies for discontentment. Getting our kids to recognize the blessings from God is a big first step. We can point out the ways God loves and cares for us. We can attribute our well-being to His grace and mercy. And above all, we can remind our kids that every good thing comes from the hand of God.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (Psalm 106:1 NIV)

8. Brattiness

I’m sure I don’t have to paint a picture of brattiness for you. We’ve all experienced fit throwing, outbursts, silent treatments, and a whole host of unpleasantries from our kids. (Remember my bratty “I-want-that-piano-book-now” example?)

Although these stages are common, bratty behaviors shouldn’t be ignored. Kids need to learn boundaries and respect for authority in order to grow up as thriving adults. Too many times, children have been allowed to continue in their brattiness, and they struggle with entitlement well into adulthood.

Let’s consider the wealth of wisdom found in the book of Proverbs. God has given us the perfect game-plan for raising kids who are loved, disciplined, and equipped for real life. Here are a few verses to get you started. (Proverbs 13:24,19:18, 22:6, 22:15, 23:13-15, 29:17)

9. Lack of Appreciation

It used to be that children would pitch in however they could to help the family unit thrive. Kids worked hard on the farm, had paper routes, and did whatever it took to support themselves and their parents.

I’m afraid modern culture has fueled a severe lack of appreciation in our kids. When things come too easy, they take things for granted, not realizing the hours of work that goes into providing for them.

One idea is to have an open discussion with our children about what it takes to pay for the necessities they take for granted. For example, by pointing out that it takes X amount of hard-working hours to pay the electric bill each month, we may get our kids to think outside of their entitlement bubble. By teaching them the value of things, we can foster a heart of appreciation for what they have.

“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 9:10 NIV)

10. Lack of Humility

The Bible says that pride comes before a fall. Without humility, kids will struggle in school, in friendships, and eventually in their relationship with God. Entitlement doesn’t leave much room for humility. In fact, it stands against any thoughts of being humble and exerts itself as self-righteousness.

We can teach our kids humility by turning to Jesus, the only One who is righteous, who bore our sin and shame on the cross. Nothing dispels entitlement quicker than remembering Jesus’ unmerited sacrifice for us. “I deserve it” attitudes turn to meekness when there is a clear understanding of God’s mercy through the death and resurrection of His son.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV)

- cross walk

How to create sacred spaces in your life

August 13, 2017 by admin  
Filed under Miscellaneous, newsletter-miscellaneous

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

-Exodus 3:1-5 NIV

Exodus chapter 3 gives us a picture of Moses in the far side of the wilderness. When Moses saw a bush on fire (what we call the “burning bush”) he desired to approach it, because he recognized something different about it (it burned, but was not consumed).

Imagine the scene of Moses approaching the burning bush. God instructed him not to come any closer, not because He didn’t want Moses to be close to Him, but because He wanted Moses to recognize He is holy. Wherever God is, His holiness resides—whether it is a temple, a church, or even the far side of the wilderness. Wherever God is, that place is made sacred or holy. It’s not made holy because we are there, but because God is there. The scene of Moses taking his shoes off is essential for us. It helps us understand what it means to approach a holy God. A first step of spiritual transformation is comprehending the holiness of the God whom we pursue. Of course, we know our finite minds could never fully understand the infinite God but we seek to know Him, and His holiness, in the fullest sense possible.

Even in the far side of the wilderness the holiness of God was so powerful a common wilderness was transformed and made holy. This was an unbelievable opportunity for Moses to understand the God with whom he would be interacting was a holy God. It is also a wonderful opportunity for us to see the importance of recognizing the holiness of God. Our issue today is not taking off our shoes to approach this holy God but examining the condition of our hearts as we do. God encounters us; God still speaks to us. This is something we should hold dear—something we should consider sacred. Being with God, and being encountered by Him, should not be considered ordinary. What an unbelievable opportunity we have to experience and encounter this holy God! We will need to be intentional about how we encounter God and how we are being encountered by Him. The sacredness of our approach is also preparation for our encounter with Him. Are we giving space in our lives for an encounter with God?

God desires to do a transformational work in and through each of us. I’d like to share a practice with you that I’ve been doing for a while. For me, the issue has never been God’s desire to transform me, but my availability to allow him to do so. Therefore, I have worked to create what I call, “sacred spaces” in my life. These sacred spaces are places (not physical) I’ve carved out in my day in order to encounter God. I give Him the opportunity to speak to me through his Word and by his Spirit.

We live in such a busy and frantic time, creating sacred spaces has become a critical practice for me in my journey to know Jesus. Most people believe they don’t have enough have time to experience the fullness of God. They say, “I wish I had time to pray and encounter God, but I have a 40 hour a week job (or more). With everything I have to do I just don’t have time to be spiritual.” This is why Christians create ranks of spiritual life. Some have been ranked as “super Christians,” those who have time to pray and seek God. We think those super Christians are the ones God is really working in and through. Others have been ranked as “common Christians.” Those designated in this lower rank are just hoping to make it to heaven. I don’t like ranking Christians into levels, because I believe knowing God deeply is not reserved for a few special people. God desires to encounter each of us in a transformational way and if we can create some sacred spaces in our daily lives He will do just that.

Your sacred space can be in your car, or on a busy bus, train, or plane. It can be in your school, on your job, or taking a walk. You don’t have to be completely alone to find a sacred space with God. What makes a space sacred is the same thing that made the far side of the wilderness Holy Ground, God’s presence. God is always with us. Our need is to sense His presence and interact with Him. We can recognize how He is speaking, receive what He is imparting, and respond to his leading.

I’m not really a super-hero fan but as a child I loved reading comic books about Superman. He was my favorite super-hero. In the story of Superman, an average newspaper reporter named Clark Kent was transformed into a cape-wearing super-hero name SUPERMAN. If you have read or watched the story of Superman you remember after Clark Kent would receive some type of distress call from someone in need he would step into a phone-booth, in order to be transformed into Superman. He entered the phone booth as an average person and while inside he was transformed into SUPERMAN! He could now fly, was super strong, and even had x-ray vision. What does that have to do with sacred spaces? If superman needed a phone-booth to be transformed, we need sacred spaces in our lives in order to meet with God for spiritual transformation.

These sacred spaces are not physical spaces as much as they are spiritual moments that can be found throughout our day. In these sacred spaces, we allow God opportunity to reveal himself to us and reveal to us the truth about hearts. In these sacred spaces we are encountered by a holy God.

Moses found himself on the backside of the dessert when God encountered him. The presence of God there made that place holy. The presence of God enables us to create our own sacred spaces for transformation, even in the midst of our chaos. If we desire to encounter a holy God, creating space for Him to minister to us will be essential in our spiritual transformation. Where are the sacred spaces you have created for an encounter with a God who loves you?

- cross walk

5 ways to leave the supermarket without overspending

August 11, 2017 by admin  
Filed under Miscellaneous, newsletter-miscellaneous

Don’t go in hungry

You believe that you can simply dash in to pick up the infamous few things. But if you’re starving, you’re a dead aim for a couple of steaks and a load of snacks. You know what I’m talking about. This is because of Rule #1: Anything can happen when you are hungry.

Don’t try to remember

Sure, playing Brain Age on your kid’s Game Boy has revitalized your dead brain cells, rendering you the mental acuity of a youngster—but don’t push it.

Without a list of the exact items you’ve come to purchase who knows what could happen? It’s normal for our brains to slip into neutral in the face of fabulous food. A written list is the crutch you need desperately to make sure you do not slip and fall, so to speak.

Don’t go in with plastic or checkbook

Cash—currency, clams, folding money, smackers, greenbacks—this is how you should be paying for your supermarket purchases. What? Not convenient, you say? Well, of course not, silly. That’s the point. Convenience is the reason you’ve been dropping the equivalent of a mortgage payment for food every month. Making the process a bit less convenient is an easy to way to slow that mindless drain on your income.

Don’t grab a shopping cart

Most of them have wobbly wheels anyway, so just walk on by when all you need are those few items. Surely you can carry the “few things” you need. Or get one of the hand-held baskets. The point here is that you won’t be buying more than you can carry.

Don’t dawdle

This is not the place you want to hang out just to soak in all the great sights and smells from the bakery, deli and rotisserie chickens. If you weren’t hungry when you arrived, you will be soon. Get what you need and get out of there. For every ten minutes you delay, plan on spending about another $40.

- cross

10 point Godly spouse checklist for men

August 10, 2017 by admin  
Filed under Miscellaneous, newsletter-miscellaneous

I recently took my car into the shop for an oil change and tire rotation. In the midst of the mechanic’s “30-point inspection,” he, of course, found a couple more things that he recommended I take care of. Doesn’t that seem to happen every time? As a part of routine maintenance, our vehicles need to be inspected. Someone, whether it’s you or the mechanic, should be going over these checklists. Sometimes everything checks out okay. Other times, a problem could be discovered that would spell disaster down the road.

In the same way, our marriages regularly need service. A tune-up from time to time can help us prepare for the journey ahead. Our “owner’s manual” (God’s Word) has a lot for us to grab onto to help us be godly husbands. I believe that if our lives are right, our marriages stand a better chance. One of my favorite tests of whether or not we are living a godly life is the passage in Galatians 5 about the fruits of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians‬ 5:22-23‬)‬‬

When we can see these fruits of the Spirit in our lives, I’m convinced we will thrive the way God intended. As a results, we’ll be the godly men – and husbands – God has called us to be. Men, here’s a 10-point checklist for us to ensure we are being a godly spouse.

1. Walk by the Spirit.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians‬ 5:16‬)

This is what it’s all about! We were created to bring glory to God. We were designed to live in fellowship with Him. When our lives are fully surrendered to God, we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit. (See Romans 8:14.) There’s a constant battle raging between Spirit and flesh, and we must choose to surrender to the Spirit and allow Him to control our actions.

This isn’t just a marriage conversation, this is a life conversation. We won’t have the marriage God intended unless we are right in our relationship with Him first. You may have heard this said at a wedding ceremony: “It takes three to make a marriage: God, husband, and wife.” Start with your relationship with God, and He’ll help with your relationship with your wife.

2. Be loving.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1)

The love chapter in the Bible (1 Corinthians 13) is often read at wedding ceremonies. It makes sense; love is in the air. It’s easy to talk about love on your wedding day. But, what about during the days and the years ahead? The love chapter goes on to give a roadmap for love (verses 4-7). In other words, it shows us how to go about it, not just talk about it.

One of my favorite verses about love comes the recorded words of Jesus found in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” For me, that really hits home. It points to the one thing I, and likely many of us, need to lose in our marriages: ourselves. If we are really loving our spouses well, we are laying down ourselves – our own wishes, wants, needs and desires. Every successful marriage needs two selfless people, each valuing the needs of their spouse above their own. That’s true love.

3. Be joyful, and be a joy-filler.

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)

Have you ever been around a really joyful person? It’s contagious. Joy is the antidote to depression. Joy is not mere happiness. Happiness is a mood. Joy is a mode. I love Kay Warren’s definition of joy: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”

So, where does our joy come from? It comes the hope found in a relationship with Christ. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13) When we are filled with hope and joy, it’s easy for it to spill over into our marriages. And, when we are joy-filled, it’s easier for our spouses to be also.

4. Be a peacemaker.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

So many of us have become uninterested in examining an opposing viewpoint. We live in a world of social media hot takes. People scream at each other on cable news shows and talk radio. Today, our main goal, it seems, is to be heard, not to listen. Men, we are called to be leaders in our homes. And, there’s something to be said of being steadfast in our beliefs and principles. But, God doesn’t call us to be jerks. When our “boldness” is interpreted as “coldness,” we aren’t doing it right.

A Godly spouse has the ability to listen earnestly. Decisions in the household are made together, peaceably. You can’t control how your wife responds. But, you can control the example you set in your home. Paul encourages us in this: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:18)

5. Show patience.

“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.” (Proverbs 15:18)

Patience is not my strong suit. Sometimes, I’m easily frustrated by small things like traffic jams, slowly loading computer screens or repeatedly inquisitive children. A lack of patience, at its core, is simply selfishness. It is regarding one’s self as more important than another. Our own time is more valuable than someone else’s. And, selfishness, when it’s present in a marriage, is a disease. When it infiltrates a relationship, the only possible result is decay. Where “selfish ambition exists, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” (James 3:16)

On the other hand, patience is showing complete selflessness. Your wishes and wants no longer take top priority. In a marriage, patience sometimes means you relinquish the role of the headliner, in lieu of becoming a supporting cast member.

6. Be kind.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-31)

I’m showing my age a bit here, but I still remember going to the video store on Friday nights. And, who can forget the signs reading, “Be Kind, Please Rewind?” Kindness, in general, is just being friendly, courteous, and considerate. It’s thinking about someone else.

Of course, we love our wives and families. But, are we kind to them? Do we use kind words? Do we show small acts of kindness on a regular basis? You can say you love someone, and still be lacking in this area. But, if that’s the case, perhaps we need to reexamine ourselves. After all, we know from 1 Corinthians 13 that “love is kind.”

7. Do what is good and honorable.

“Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give u.” (Galatians 6:9)

This should come easy to a Godly husband. We won’t always get it right, but we should strive to be men of honor and integrity. “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching,” C.S. Lewis said.

We should not only be good, we should do good to others and particularly to our spouses. In your marriage, how can you do good to your spouse? As you grow closer, you will know what they like, want and need. Then pray for God to provide opportunities for you to do good to her.

8. Be faithful.

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Loyal, constant, true, devoted, staunch – these are words I think about when considering the word “faithful.” It’s easy to be faithful in the early going. But, the zeal can fade if you don’t tend to your marriage like a gardener tends to his crops.

Most wedding vows contain some set of declarative statements about always being faithful or always being by your spouse’s side. It’s easy to say “I do” to that. But, do our actions years down the road continue to say “I do?” Faithfulness is a central component of any healthy marriage. But, we have to be vigilant and “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22)

9. Act gently.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)

Gentleness can be a hard thing for many men. The caricature of gentleness is weakness. But, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Jesus was gentle: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29) There’s no better role model for us.

But, what does gentleness look like in a marriage, beyond just being nice and kind to your spouse? Think about this: how do you respond to criticism? Are you teachable, or do you bristle when your wife offers you feedback? Like Otis Redding sang, we could all “try a little tenderness.”

10. Show self-control.

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28)

Children have a hard time controlling themselves. We had issues with my daughter a couple years ago. She has a sweet tooth (which she comes by honestly). We would wake up in the morning to find dozens of candy wrappers in the trash can. She would sneak downstairs in the middle of the night and satisfy her craving.

Self-control is a sign of maturity. If we want to practice self-control, we need to take inventory of our lives and where we have weaknesses in these areas. Most of us immediately think of lust and pornography, but we can also lack self-control when it comes to working, eating, exercising (or not), our thought lives and more. We need to identify and confess the problem, then allow the Holy Spirit to work on us and empower us to overcome.

- cross walk

Why “Anything goes” is dangerous

August 9, 2017 by admin  
Filed under Miscellaneous, newsletter-miscellaneous

Having an “Anything Goes” viewpoint is dangerous. Why? Because it allows people to live with the illusion that they can do whatever they want without consequences. That they solely determine what is right and wrong…good or evil. In short, that they have the power to create spiritual and moral reality.

According to Philosopher John Ladd, the idea of “I’ll do what’s right for me and you do what’s right for you “is the doctrine that the moral rightness and wrongness of actions varies from society to society and that there are no absolute moral standards binding on all men at all times. Accordingly, it holds that whether or not it’s right for an individual to act in a certain way, depends on or is relative to, the society to which he belongs.”

Everyday People On Morality

When we asked everyday people their views on morality for our new Explore Truth study, here’s just a few of the responses we received:

  • “We choose what’s right and wrong.”
  • “I feel like the rights and the wrongs kind of come from society.”
  • “What’s right or wrong depends on a person to person basis really.”
  • “Everyone creates their own standard for themselves.”
  • “I’d say if you have ten people and nine out of ten agree that something was wrong, that’s going to be wrong, even if that one person doesn’t agree.”

While believing that everything should be fair and we should decide what’s right and wrong has the appearance of sounding sophisticated and tolerant, the reality on the ground is that it is hurting a lot of people and we need to have the courage to say so.

If someone thinks they create what is right and wrong based on what they believe—then they have a rude awakening coming. Why? Because the reality is what we run into when we are wrong.

And contrary to the sound bites and slogans we constantly hear in pop culture, there is a moral and spiritual reality out there whether we believe it or not. Either it’s wrong to be cruel to another human being or it is not. Either it’s a virtue to be kind or it is not.

If our moral map tells us that we can do whatever we want as long as it feels good then that will lead us into a dead end. If the bridge is out on that road and we keep running full speed ahead along that path—that is a very painful lesson to learn.

Exposing the Lie

So how do you expose the lie of this “Anything Goes” viewpoint? You “Reality-Test” it with people. In other words when you try to live this idea out, what does that look like? If you get it out of the laboratory of your mind and into real life situations that affect real people, does it still seem like a good idea?

To take just one of many examples, approaching life this way removes our ability to praise good and condemn evil. It leaves us in the frustrating position of not being able to say that there’s a moral difference between Adolf Hitler and Mother Teresa. The only way to do so would be to appeal to an external and objective standard of morality.

Yet this is precisely what it denies. But surely such a conclusion is absurd. Mother Teresa lived to serve and save lives, Hitler lived to destroy them. If ”Anything Goes” were true, then we would not be able to universally condemn the holocaust, rape or genocide as evil and we would not be able to universally say that self-sacrifice is superior to self-centeredness.

The Prophet Isaiah put it this way, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (5:20)

If individuals and cultures come to praise what is evil and ridicule what is good that has devastating consequences for all of us.

As Long As You Don’t Hurt Anyone….

Another myth about morality that needs to be exposed is that “People should be free to believe and live however they want as long as they don’t hurt anybody.” There is a lot going on here, but the main issue is that this slogan assumes that someone can’t hurt himself or herself by living according to these beliefs. This slogan is also naïve because other people are almost always impacted in some way by the beliefs we hold and the choices we make.

So while the idea of ”Anything Goes” sounds inclusive and tolerant, don’t believe that for a second. When people embrace the idea that they create their own morality that ends up hurting everyone because truth itself is lost.

- cross walk

How can I help my child grow as a Christian?

August 8, 2017 by admin  
Filed under Miscellaneous, newsletter-miscellaneous

By God’s grace, we have seen one of our daughters come to faith in Jesus and will be baptizing her in a few weeks. For the first nine years of her life, the major question in how we raised her has been how we can help her see her need for Jesus. Now, the question is changing into how we can help her grow in her walk with Christ. While she is in a church full of people who love her and who are teaching her faithfully, we recognize that the primary burden for her discipleship in these early years falls on us.

Last year I wrote a post to help parents assess whether their child may have come to faith in Christ. In this post, I want to address what we need to do when we are convinced that they have.

Remind Your Child of His New Identity

One of the greatest mistakes that we make with new Christians is that we stop talking to them about grace and start telling them all of the things that they need to do. The New Testament does not seem to operate this way. The New Testament is filled with commands for believers to obey, but they are often anchored in the way that God has dealt with us in Christ and on the basis of who we are in Christ.

For example, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) Here Paul tells Christians how they are to treat each other but notice that he roots this command in the truth that God has forgiven us in Christ. Furthermore, before Paul started telling the Ephesian Christians what they were to do, he spent over half of the first chapter enumerating the spiritual blessings that they have because of the work of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

In order to help your child understand how to follow Christ, you need to show her the beautiful reality of her new identity in Christ. This means that you need to teach her about truths like justification, adoption, reconciliation, union with Christ, and regeneration. These are not esoteric discussions, but concrete truths about who she now is through faith in God’s Son. Knowing that she is a Spirit-filled, justified, and forgiven child of the living God will help her to begin living a life that brings glory to Jesus.

Teach Your Child How to Read Scripture

Our temptation is to tell new Christians that they need to read the Bible without giving them guidance for how to do so. We do this because after years of following Jesus we forget how overwhelming the Bible can be when you first start reading it.

We need to teach our children how to read and think about Scripture themselves. There are two ways to go about this and we should devote ourselves to both of them. The first is that we keep reading the Bible to our children on a regular basis. Make sure to take some time at the end and explain what you read to them. Also, give them the opportunity to ask any questions that they may have. When answering questions, show them how you arrived at your answer so they can start making these discoveries on their own.

Also, start helping him to read the Bible personally. Give him a Bible reading plan or guide him to read a particular book of the Bible. Encourage him to write down both his observations from what he read and also any questions that he may have. Take the time to sit down and help him think through the answers to his questions. Again, giving him this kind of focused time will help set him up for a lifetime of reading and understanding God’s word.

Teach Your Child How to Pray

If your child has trusted in Christ, he is now a son of the living God and knows him personally. He needs to learn how to pray. He should do this so he can present his own requests before the Lord, confess his sins, and cast his anxieties on him.

As with reading the Bible, there are several ways that we can teach our children how to pray. One of them is for them to hear us pray on a regular basis. When you do this, your prayers should be formed by what you read with your family in Scripture and you should pray specific prayers for your children. As he hears what you pray on a day in day out basis, it will help him learn how to pray as well.

You can also turn him loose to start praying on his own. Remind him of things he should pray for and encourage him to start praying in the morning, at night, and during the day. From time to time, ask how it is going. Help him work through his doubts and uncertainties about prayer. Help him remember that God hears him when he prays because he loves him.

Teach Your Child the Importance of the Local Church

If your family has been involved in a local church, your child probably did not come to Christ through your influence only. Other faithful Christians have loved her, taught the Bible to her, and prayed for her. Since the local church played such an important role in her conversion, it is important for her to understand the crucial role the local church will play in her continued growth.

For example, your Christian child now gets the privilege of living out the one another passages. She can encourage other Christians and be encouraged by them. She can pray for other believers and look for ways to serve them. When another believer wrongs or offends her, help her understand how to forgive so she can walk in fellowship with the other person again.

In addition, your child needs to know the importance of giving herself to gathered worship each week. She should grow in understanding of the role that hearing God’s word, singing God’s praises, praying with God’s people, and receiving communion will play her continuing sanctification. Model for her how a family prioritizes gathered worship by not scheduling other activities on Sunday mornings and by starting to prepare for worship on Saturday night.

Don’t Use “You’re a Christian” as a Manipulative Tool

Though your child has faith in Christ, there will still be plenty of ways in which he disobeys you. Depending on the level of disobedience and how short your patience is running that day, you will grow increasingly desperate to find a way to make him obey. Shouting “I thought that you had become a Christian” is not an acceptable way to do this.

In one sense, we should expect a new level of obedience from our child who has trusted in Jesus. If he has a new heart and the Holy Spirit, there will be changes in his behavior. But, just as we often disobey Jesus in many ways, he will still disobey Jesus by disobeying his parents.

The key for us is to not teach him a guilt-based way of growing in Christ. If we pull out the Jesus card only when he disobeys, he will start focusing on sin-avoidance and not on growing in Christ. We need to talk about Jesus when there has been disobedience, but the focus needs to be on the new life he calls us to and on the forgiveness that he offers. In this way, you will point their child to the need to grow, but you will be doing so in a way that is in keeping with the truth of the Gospel. What we are after in the growth of our children is sanctification, not the mere modification of their behavior.

- cross walk

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