Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category
How long are we to be mere lumps of flesh? How long are we to be stooping to the earth? Let everything be secondary with us to the provident care we should take of our children, and to our “bringing them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord.” If from the very first he is taught to be a lover of true wisdom, then wealth greater than all wealth has he acquired and a more imposing name. (St. John Chrysostom)
Hat tip: Al Stout
Ted Tripp writes of repentance and faith as a way of life rather than an event:
Repentance and faith are not rites of initiation to Christianity. Repentance and faith are the way to relate to God. Repentance and faith are not acts performed one time to become a Christian. They are attitudes of the heart toward ourselves and our sin. Faith is not just the way to get saved; it is the life-line of Christian living.
Your children . . . need to know the cleansing and refreshing forgiveness of God, not just once to get saved, but daily. They must understand the Christian life not simply as living according to a biblical code, but as life in faith, commitment and fellowship with the living God. (Shepherding a Child’s Heart, 55)
Self-control is not opposed to self-expression.
Self-control is the very foundation that makes possible the most powerful and beautiful forms of self-expression.
Do not be afraid to teach your little ones to color in the lines and stay out of the street. It is preparing them for the day that they must draw their own lines, the day that they stand with you in the square.
Bob Kauflin interviewed Marty Machowski, the author of the Gospel Story for Kids Sunday-school curriculum, here. There’s a lot to appreciate about what Machowski has to say, but he makes a shocking statement:
Our children, meeting in classrooms during our Sunday worship services represent the largest group of gathered unbelievers across the world.
From time to time I hear parents expressing similar sentiments — “they’re all unregenerate [or heathens],” “we can’t expect that of him; he’s not saved,” or “her problem is just that she needs to be saved.” Overwhelmingly we speak of evangelizing our children rather than discipling them. We wring our hands over the possibility of giving them false assurance, but we are almost entirely unconcerned about the danger of creating millstones of false doubt.
God does not speak of or relate to our children in this way, and it is dangerous for us to do so. It is dangerous because it trains us and our children to doubt and test the promises of God rather than believing and acting upon them. This is how God speaks of our children:
- He addresses them with commands and encouragements as part of the body of his elect “saints” (e.g., Ex. 20:2, 12; Eph. 1:1, 6:1; Col. 1:2, 3:20)
- He requires their presence in worship (Ex. 10:8-11, Ps. 96:7) and feasts (Deut. 16:9-15). He receives their worship (Matt. 21:16) as a potent spiritual warfare to silence his enemies (Ps. 8:2).
- They trusted in him before they were born (Ps. 71:6) and as infants (Ps. 22:9)
- He is their God (Gen. 17:8, Ezek. 37:21-28, etc.)
- He has promised the Holy Spirit to them (Isa. 59:21)
- He regards them as holy (1 Cor. 7:14)
We ought to speak of and think about our children in the same way that God does. This will not leave us complacent, but will instead motivate us to go about the work of parenting rightly, with full confidence in God’s being already at work in them. Instead of leading our children to the way, we will train them in the way (Prov. 22:6). What we once called evangelism must become full-orbed discipleship. Our children need the gospel, but in just the same way we do — to be continually reminded of the promises and goodness and nearness of God and to be growing in repentance and faith.
In February, pastor Joost Nixon taught a parenting conference here in the Triangle: No greater joy: keeping our kids in the Christian faith.
We didn’t have a chance to attend, but are grateful for the recordings.
I’ve also enjoyed and profited from James Jordan’s lectures, Your child in God’s world.
I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. — Psalm 51:5
But he also rejoices:
Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. — Psalm 22:9
Upon you I have leaned from before my birth;
you are he who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you. — Psalm 71:6
Christian parenting embraces both of these truths. We cultivate both the fear of the Lord and the joy of the Lord: repentance and faith as a way of life.
We’ve found some fantastic Bible music for kids (and adults): the music of Jamie Soles. Jamie has a knack for conveying the essence of Biblical faith, righteousness, and world view in a memorable way. So far I’ve picked up the following albums:
- Up From Here. This is my favorite so far, although I have yet to really become familiar with the other albums. There’s a lot of great biblical worldview and storyline in here, oriented around the theme of the many exoduses in the Bible. Jamie’s portrayal of the creation mandate is wonderfully poetic, and we enjoy singing along to the apostles’ creed. Plus, the Mennonite joke cracks me up every time.
- Giants and Wanderers. This is Jamie’s latest album, delving into the histories of some lesser known Bible characters, both savory and unsavory.
- Fun and Prophets. Jamie tells the stories of many of God’s prophets, the men who speak God’s blessings and curses into being, who are invited into the counsel of God.
- Weight of Glory. Another collection of stories retold, treasures old and new (Matt. 13:52).
- Songs From the 40s/50s/60s. Psalms, that is — cries to God for help and deliverance.
- Memorials. Jamie recounts many of the things that God calls memorials — altars, offerings, even the Lord’s Supper, which is a memorial to God as much as it is a reminder to us.