parenting

I recently spent some time studying what the Bible says about parenting. For 2 reasons:

  1. I need all the help I can get in parenting. I have 3 sons age two and under, and I am beginning to realize that I may not know what all I have gotten myself into.
  2. The Bible is the authority. So if it has something to say about parenting, I need to know it. God is the best father there has ever been and ever will be.

Growing up I had great parents. My mother and father did an awesome job of raising me. As I continue to grow up and become more and more like my parents, I am amazed at how much better at parenting my parents were than I seem to be. So I thank God for their example that I continue look to and learn from.

Here is one of the many stories of my mothers parenting:

When I was a young boy (maybe 5 years old) I was out playing in the neighborhood with other friends when my mom over heard me saying something that I should not say. I do not think it was a bad cuss word, but perhaps just something that isn’t nice. She did not yell at me to ‘not talk like that.’ Instead, she came over to me, grabbed me by the arm or ear, and walked me all the way back through our yard, through the door, into the house, down the hall, into the bathroom of my parents bedroom, reached under the sink, pulled a bar of Dial soap, tore the wrapper off, and proceeded to stuff the entire bar of soap in my mouth. She was washing my filthy mouth out with soap! After that disgusted me for a few minutes or so, she then calmly taught me that I will not talk like that. And anytime I ever do it again, I will eat the soap again. To this day, some 25 years later, I remember it clearly, and I have never desired to speak with filth. It worked. And I am thankful for my mom’s parenting in that regard.

Now to what the Bible says about parenting children (my desire is for God to use what He tells me along with what my parents modeled for me). I want to focus on 2 points of Scripture: 1) Do not hinder them (Matt. 19:14) and 2) bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).

All of parenting is doing either of these two things. We are either helping them see the ways of the Lord or we are causing them to not know His ways.

It is often well-intended but unfortunate when parents say their goal in parenting is to raise their kids into good adults who know how to handle lives on their own and not get in trouble. That is good, but that is certainly not the end. I sure hope not. For several reasons, 1) God is the point of life. He is the answer, the key, and the goal. 2) True joy comes from Him, not other things. 3) Anything that doesn’t have Him at the forefront is sin. Good, responsible, polite, successful adults who don’t follow Christ are in sin. 4) No Christ leads to judgement and hell. No parent should be ok with leading their child to hell as long as they were good adults.

So, we desire to be parents who are conscious of and focused on not hindering our children in living lives toward Jesus, but instead we want to diligently with much patience and concentration bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

All this means that our primary goal in parenting is to be sure that our children are learning what God is like (the discipline and instruction of the Lord) by the way we lead and love them. In everything we do, they should be learning more and more about God. And we have to make sure of this. Anything other than that is hindering them. Its leading them in the wrong direction. My fatherhood to my children should reflect the Fatherhood of God to His people. The more inconsistent my parenting is with the way God is the more they are misled.

For example, Parents give their teenagers a curfew. Lets say it is 11pm. On several occasions, I have seen teenagers come home after 11pm, ignoring the parents rule, almost laughing while saying “it will be fine, my parents won’t do anything.” And then the teenager gets home late. Thats disobedience. Well, this parenting is hindering the children. Because God is NOT like this. God does not make rules for us and then not care whether we obey them.

God’s instruction is good for us. He knows what is best for us. His law is intended for our good. And He will not be mocked. He will not be pushed around. He will discipline.

So in this small simple example, as far as the parents are inconsistent with the way God is, their children are hindered from knowing the instruction and discipline of the Lord. But as far as the parents are consistent with the way God is, their children are brought up in it. Its awesome!

Now its a lot easier said than done. And it is a big task. Parenting is a HUGE responsibility. I am only saying what I know God teaches. Mine are still young, and I will have a much better perspective 15 years from now.

Finally, we should all consider ourselves blessed beyond measure that God would allow us to have children. It is wonderful to know that God uses us to show Himself to our children. Parenting for God is overwhelming, but it is sweet and magnificent and glorious.

I have seen families that are so impressive because of how well the children seem to know and understand God, and that is because of the parents devotion to making sure that is what their parenting points them to.

May God give us grace to parent this way! Here are some Bible passages that will help.

Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.”

2 Timothy 3:14-15 “But as for you continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Proverbs 29:15 “the rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Proverbs 13:24, 22:6, 23:13-14, 24

church sign is on

I have been in Fairdale for nearly 8 years, and I have never seen our church sign turned on. Its a big nice sign but it does not light up. It should, but it didn’t. Well, today with the hard work of several good men in the church, the church sign was fixed.  8 brand new ultra bright bulbs! It is so bright and so nice. Heres a pic. May it further our ability to make God’s Glory shine bright!

“All… were safe in the ark”

While reading some Charles Spurgeon today, I found myself so thrilled and delighted to know that I am owned by Jesus.

While commenting on Matthew 24:39 “and they were unaware until the flood came, and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man.” (the early chapters of Genesis and the theological themes that go along with it are some of my most favorite Biblical subjects), Spurgeon says,

“All, blessed be God, were safe in the ark; no ruin entered there. From the huge elephant down to the tiny mouse all were safe. The timid hare was equally secure with the courageous lion, the helpless lamb as safe as the laborious ox. All are safe in Jesus. My soul, are you in Him”

extreme makeover in fairdale

Extreme Makeover Home Edition has been in Fairdale (our town) all this past week. It has been so exciting for our town. We are thankful for the family who is getting the new home. I took this picture on my phone right before the bus went to film the unveiling.

Noah’s Lullaby

When JJ was born (January 2, 2008), I wrote him a lullaby.  I have memorized it, and I sing it now to all of our sons. I had thought that I would be able to write each of them a lullaby, but I have just adapted this one to fit them. It is pretty much the same lullaby. Either way, it expresses my heart in life and fatherhood.

**NOAH’S LULLABY**

Hush little Noah don’t you cry

Daddy’s gonna sing you a lullaby

I hate to see you crying red-faced with tears

Let me tell you ‘bout us in the coming years

The joy of rearing you can make this grown man weap

Right here in my arms you can fall asleep

& I’ll stare at your face & kiss your chubby cheeks

Watch you start to grow in the coming weeks

God gave you a great mother who takes care of you

In love together we will teach you what’s true

two big brothers J & E you can look up to

You become like them, yes I hope you do

It’s a simple lullaby about what matters in life

Like trusting in God & faithfully loving your wife

Like serving other people & devotion to the sword

The Word of Jesus Christ our Savior & Lord

Son, I wanna teach you to throw and catch a ball

& I can hardly wait until you learn to crawl

We can walk to the park & I can push you on the swings

Raise you up right so you’ll appreciate things

I wanna teach you about pets like cats and dogs

And how to catch lizards, turtles, & frogs

I’ll show ya how to catch fish & how to bait a hook

And how to treat a girl and how to read a book

And how to play with kids and not be weak

Playing outdoor games like hide and seek

I wanna teach you about bruises, scars, and scabs

And how to play wrestle and throw left-hand jabs

I’ll teach how to ride a bike & how to climb trees

I‘ll teach you about caterpillars, birds, & bees

I wanna pick you up when you fall & scrape your knees

Teach you how to pray, and say “yes ma’am” & “Please”

& we can walk to the creek, I’ll show you how to skip a rock

I’ll show you how to play sports & how to wear a jock

I wanna teach you how to not get upset by jokes

& how to be grateful & respect your folks

Noah, I wanna teach you how to love your mom

& how to read the Bible, a daily Proverb & Psalm

It’s a simple lullaby about what matters in life

Like trusting in God & faithfully loving your wife

Like serving other people & devotion to the sword

The Word of Jesus Christ our Savior & Lord

Son, I wanna teach you how to be a man

How to look ‘em in the eye & firmly shake their hand

How to keep your word & always work real hard

How to pay your bills on time & how to mow the yard

I’ll teach you how to keep a job & not be lazy

How to speak the truth in love and not be hazy

I wanna show you how to love & how to be a friend

And when to compromise and when to take a stand

And how to apologize and also how to forgive

Son, these are simple lessons on how to live

And life is not easy, it can be quite hard

Keep your eyes on Christ & don’t be caught off guard

It’s a simple lullaby about what matters in life

Like trusting in God & faithfully loving your wife

Like serving other people & devotion to the sword

The Word of Jesus Christ our Savior & Lord

God is enough

Lecrae came out with a new CD recently. Its called Rehab. It is one of my favorite CDs of all time. It is so good. I am learning and growing so much in my life with Christ from this new solid Biblical hip-hop music. (I plan to write a post soon on why I think you should consider listening to this music too.)

His music teaches me so much. Real quickly, all of us know the power of the preached Word in our lives. Preaching the Word is so mighty in our lives. Well the amount of lyrics in a rap song is so many that it is like a sermon. So when I listen to even 10 minutes of Lecrae or Trip Lee or Flame, I am loaded with Truth. It has honestly been life changing to me over the last few years.

One of the songs on the new CD is called “God is enough”.

Here are some of the lyrics that impacted me today:

“Used to want a lot of things, all the stuff thats on TV
Education, cars, and clothes, Fashion lights and jewelry,
(Focused on the wrong stuff) now I got my eyes on You and now I know that
God is enough/ (3x) You are enough/ Never too much/ more than enough/
God is enough/ You are enough for me”

That is only the chorus. The lyrics to these songs are so loaded with Bible, Jesus, Cross, redemption, and life.

truth comforts

The last day and a half have been a little difficult for us here in our home.  Because of that our bedtime routines with the boys have been altered somewhat. With JJ that means it has been challenging, but with Eli it has been sweet.

The last 2 nights I have simply taken him to his bed, held him in my arms, laid his head on my shoulder, prayed with him and then sang to him.

After those five minutes or so, I lay him down and he goes to sleep. It is rewarding to be a dad.

But here is where truth comforts, both nights I sang to him this song (The Solid Rock).

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

While singing this old classic hymn to my son and hoping it will settle him down and put him to sleep, God reminded me of this great truth. And I was comforted by it.

All my hope in life lies completely in the finished work of Jesus on the cross.

football team dinners

Every AWAY game this season for the Fairdale High School football team, our church fed them a pre-game meal at our church. It is awesome! On those Fridays, once they are out of school, all the players and coaches walk down to the church. Our church folks serve them, love them, and then I speak to them. We love supporting the school and the team. We are hoping they do well in the playoffs.

Here is a picture of the whole team, the coaches, and our church people who help serve them.