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Discerning Between Discipline and Accidents

Discerning Between Discipline and Accidents

One of the difficulties of parenting is the art of discernment. Distinguishing between acts of disobedience and accidents is fundamental to avoid crushing our children’s spirit. Accidents are not reasons for discipline, they are opportunities for productive conversations. When a child spills his water, rarely is it related to an act of willful disobedience. They are children. Children and accidents are almost synonymous. We should expect them and we should, in turn, prepare to deal with them rightly. I confess this is no easy task, but one we should be aware and prepared. Confusing accidents with disobedience can crush their day-to-day experience and joy. Further, they can begin to hide accidents for fear that they may be interpreted as sinful actions.

Disciplining Children with a Purpose

Disciplining Children with a Purpose

It’s not that we are self-consciously crushing our children’s spirit, it’s that we have made a habit of doing so and deceived ourselves into thinking it’s good parenting. We may call it “tough parenting” to make it more justifiable. But it’s wrong on many levels. An example of this takes place in the midst of discipline. Discipline is a crucial moment in the relationship between child/parent. When we think that discipline, for example, is a one-dimensional exercise, we’ve forgotten how our Father in heaven deals with us (Heb. 12:6). All discipline is characterized by dialogue. When we discipline without engaging, we are acting as if we are unapproachable precisely when our children need to approach us the most.

(After discipline, hugging the child): “Son, I love you and want the best for you. What you did was wrong, and it’s my responsibility to protect you from loving the wrong. Do you understand what daddy is saying?”

What parents don’t want to do at this stage is act like discipline has no purpose. When we fall constantly into this temptation we are crushing our child’s spirit by communicating that wrong-doing is irredeemable and requires no relationship.

The Micro-Managing Paradigm of Parenting

The Micro-Managing Paradigm of Parenting

I am grateful to Classical Conversations for publishing my article. They have an exposure of over 60 thousand readers and it will open some doors for my writing. Here is the article.

Repenting as Parents

Repenting as Parents

I’ve seen parents of two children lose their cool and parents of eight losing their cool. We’re descendants of Adam, which is why the concept of repentance should always be in the background of parenting. Parents are to be repenters daily. In fact, in much of the background of children who rebel stands proud and unrepentant parents. So, I begin with this point: we are crushing our children’s spirit when we don’t repent and confess our sins after yelling, disciplining in anger, belittling them in front of others, failing to console them, weeping with them when they weep, and so on. If we as parents act as if asking our children’s forgiveness for our foolish actions is beneath us, we will crush their spirits.

Five Ways to Apply Community

Five Ways to Apply Community

“Yes, I am convinced of the necessity of community. What do I do now?” If you’ve been aloof to the idea and are now prepared to engage this new world, you need to begin thinking carefully about incorporating community into your calendar. To do so, you need to budget your time. Community is intentional, which means you have to pursue it.

Here are five ideas to begin in the journey and joy of community:

a) Reserve a day each week for hospitality. Invite someone over for coffee/dessert or a meal. Pencil it in your calendar. Make it a priority.
b) If you are single/college student, invite someone from the church for coffee/drink. You may wish to invite an older saint in the church. We have a misguided idea that youth only spend time with youth. In a community, we are all one. The idea is to make an art of knowing others in the body and casual settings provide the right environment to hear others’ stories
c) If your church provides alternative gatherings (Bible studies, etc.) outside Sunday morning, be faithful to at least 50% of them. These activities provide opportunities to bond with fellow members. When people complain that they just don’t seem to fit in a church, it’s probably because they neglect these gatherings.
d) The Church is called to be faithful and your active engagement in her faithfulness makes her beautiful to the world. Every church has its own culture. What are you adding to make her a pleasing aroma in the eyes of non-church goers? How are you representing your community? Ponder these questions regularly.
e) Finally, be a force for peace in the community. It takes minutes to ruin communities, but a lifetime to preserve its peace. Be the ambassador of peace in whatever church community you are. Seek the well-being of the body by giving thanks to our Lord for incorporating you into His own body.

What do you most love? Community or Self?

What do you most love? Community or Self?

When we lose our love for the body, we replace it with ideological or technological addictions. For example, men who in their 20’s & 30’s engage in long cycles of gaming or gambling are substituting the community for a self-created reality. This engagement leads to aloneness which is a consequence of neglecting the gathered assembly (Heb. 10:24-25). The hard part is being involved in a divine community; the easy part is to find alternative realities to substitute God’s Church. And the evangelicals (my people) are happy to swim in their own reality.

Put 20 evangelical men from the ages of 18-30 in a room and ask them, “What do you most love to do?” What would their answers be? I seriously doubt they would bask in the glories of God’s redeemed community, the Church. They would probably alternate between a love of sports, gaming, political ideologies, etc. Yet, nothing is more beautiful to King Jesus than Zion (Ps. 87:2); of her, glorious things are spoken. Community is life. Choose you this day.

Father Famine

There is a hunger out there. It is not a hunger for food, money, power; it is a hunger for fathers. This is what Douglas Wilson referred to as Father Hunger. Sons and daughters are craving for them.

Where are these fathers today? They are nowhere to be found. We can find their shell in their homes, but we can’t detect their fatherly souls. This is tragic. And we do want to emphasize the important roles that fathers play in the home. But in order to do so, they must be present.

So to fathers who are present, what we want to do is to encourage you to be servants in the home; lovers of truth, carriers of joy, and examples of repentance and faith. Our children will mirror our worst traits, and this is frightening indeed. But God has not left us hopeless. He has provided Himself as an example of true fatherhood. Even those without a father today know that you have a heavenly father; One who does not leave the orphan or widow, but who cares and proves his perfect fatherhood each day.

Fathers, I urge you to take dominion over your role. You only have one shot at it, but remember that no circumstance is too late or too far gone. Every prodigal is within reach. Every prodigal still would prefer dad’s table to the table of doom. Be encouraged and hopeful.

Fathers, you are what you worship, and your children will worship joyfully the God you worship most joyfully. So worship most joyfully the God of your Father Abraham. Do not idolize your children, but teach them to crush idols. Do not serve mammon, but teach them to use mammon wisely.

This is the charge to fathers in this congregation. It is a noble and mighty charge: to love your children and to conquer their hearts before others conquer them. Learn early and often that you are a servant of your heavenly father. If you do not serve him alone, you will be another absent father in our culture. May it never be! May God grant you strength and wisdom as you lead your families, and may He lead you to your knees, beautify your words with truth and grace, strengthen your faith with biblical conviction, and renew you daily. Amen.

Jubilate Deo Summer Camp in Monroe, LA

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I will be involved with this fine work in Monroe in a week or so. Check them out!

Community Messiness

Community Messiness

Community life is messy. Doing life together can be a challenge. There are people who have never tasted of a healthy community and so the very idea of being and existing with a group of people with whom you are united in Christ may sound daunting. But yet, it’s our role and duty and the Bible makes it a command. So, the first step to engaging your community is to affirm its necessity and your role in it. If you are prone to complaining about the lack of community, perhaps the problem is staring right at you. The tried and tested way to find the community you want is to exemplify the community you need.

Community and Isolation

Community and Isolation

Our tendency to isolate ourselves is grounded in several factors, but one reason we usually avoid the company of fellow brothers and sisters stems from a stream of endless hypothetical situations about what might happen should I actively pursue community. “But what if they see me as I really am?” “What if they perceive me to not be as strong as they envisioned?” You see, fear leads to over-protectiveness/preservation of one’s aloneness, which means pursuing life together is crushed by the tyranny of the unknown. And God wants you to jump into the sea of uncertainty when it comes to church life. It is good and right to allow yourself to be known.