Book Review: Gospel Powered Parenting.

Have you ever read a book and it’s like the author is reading your mind? Well, I am 40 pages into Gospel Powered Parenting and so far I keep calling my wife over and telling her to read whole sections. It has to be one of the best parenting books I have ever read.

“I am convinced that the gospel is sufficient to answer all our parenting questions.”

I found this quote on the first page of the introduction of William P. Farley’s Gospel Powered Parenting and was immediately captivated.

Really? All of them? A colicky newborn, a defiant preschooler, and a prodigal teenager?  The gospel has the answers I need as a parent to deal with all these situations and more?

Farley submits that it does, and he does not disappoint unpacking how in this fantastic book. Honestly, this is the book I’ve been waiting for as a kid’s pastor. A book that never leaves the foot of the cross, and sees there in the gospel the wisdom and power we need to parent our children.

If you’re looking for a how-to manual, an index of sorts of how to handle specific and unique situations, this is not your book.

In Farley’s own words, “The emphasis of this book differs from that of many other Christian books on parenting. Most emphasize techniques. By contrast, Gospel-Powered Parenting­ will emphasize the parents’ relationship with God, with each other, and with their children, in that order. The emphasis of this book is that parenting is not primarily about doing the right things. It is about having a right relationship with God – a relationship informed by the Gospel.” –p. 51

He adds to that same idea later, “Have you ever noticed most books on parenting – Christian and secular – emphasize technique? … This book will take another approach. I want to change your thinking, especially how you think about God and yourself. If I’m successful, the techniques will take care of themselves. That is because what we do is a by-product of how we think. People change their behavior as their understanding of God and man change.” –p.69

2 things I love about this book

#1 Gospel, Gospel, Gospel.
It’s in the title, it’s on every page.

For example, Farley says that the fight against the world’s influence on our children will be won or lost based on parents understanding of the Gospel.

He says, “We change their hearts by teaching the gospel, modeling the gospel, and centering our homes on the gospel. The Gospel, rightly understood and modeled, makes Christianity attractive. Effective parents make the gospel so attractive that the world cannot get a foothold on their children’s hearts.” –p. 24

#2 Mom and Dad, it’s on us.
“God is sovereign, but parents are responsible. –p.22

And Farley really focuses in on dads, their presence, and their love of the Gospel. “When men abdicate, their children suffer. When men assume their proper role, parenting thrives.” –p.126

He continues “God holds fathers accountable for parenting because he has given them inordinate influence over their children. The Bible presumes, in the language of the Puritans, that fathers are a mirror in which their children look to out on their spiritual dress.” –p.129

If you want to buy the book here is the amazon link.

The RNC the DNC and the Gospel.

DNC-and-RNC-570x313-29194_302x260

 

Every four years one of my favorite things takes place: the summer Olympics; and every four years one of my least favorite things takes place: the election of our new president.

Here is the thing. I used to believe that politics was the hope of the Christian world. I have since swung so far in the opposite direction that voting for me is done with much difficulty. For me, politics has created a massive division down the center of the country.   On both sides are politicians that seem to care only about the acquisition of power. Being a registered Independent, I find my passion for politics lessens the more the mud and name calling starts to fly.

Our country is in the worst state it has been in recent memory, and our politicians remain entrenched on important issues and squabble over non-essentials. Should Christians care more about the environment? Yes. Should Christians do all they can to protect all life? Yes. Here is my beef with Christians and politics. We think God is on our side. If you are a Republican, you think God is on your side. If you are a Democrat, he’s on your side. He’s not; He’s on His side.

In my recent reading of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life story, I love how the Gospel formed his political decisions. His first decision was whether or not to serve in the war. After much prayer and contemplation, he came to the decision that he was called to pacifism.  As a result, he did everything he could to avoid serving on the front lines. As the war progressed, it became clear to him, through much prayer and anguish, that he must do all he could to end the war and suffering of his fellow Christians and the Jewish people.

Dietrich did something I think so many Christians do not do. He continually subjected his decisions to the filter of the Gospel. He didn’t start first with a political party and work backwards to the Gospel. He asked, “What does God require of me?” As Christians, today more than ever, we have to focus on the power of the Gospel to transform our country. The more we cling to our political labels while ignoring the injustice of both parties, the longer we will have winter…but never Christmas.

As a Christian our hope must be in the finished work of Christ not a candidate. As gospel-centered believers we must continue to call each party to the center, the center of the Gospel, where everlasting hope and justice are found.

Why the stat stating 90% of kids leave their faith is dead wrong.

I am not a huge soap boxer but please indulge me this. I have heard for the past few years that 90% of Christian kids leave their faith when they leave their homes. This stat has never sat well with me. It still doesn’t. Upon hearing that stat for the first time I asked God to have mercy on our kids and began to think how I could turn the tide in our church.

Being in the same church church for 14 years is very sobering. It’s sobering because I get to see the end result of my theories about ministry as well as the theories of others. I remember a couple of years ago I started looking back over a decade of ministry what had me and my team done well where had we failed? There were lots of good things we could point to, one of the biggest things we saw that was lacking was a clear explanation of what the Gospel. In kids ministry, and youth ministry we love concreate truth to a fault. We proclaim how to behave forgetting to explain our purpose for being. We need to clearly articulate the Gospel to the kids in our churches. What does this have to do with kids leaving their faith, you say? Everything! My contention is that because we those kids attended services but did not understand the truth of the gospel. They were a church attender but they never really left the faith because they truly understood the power and simplicity of the gospel.

Simply put these kids never left their faith because they never fully had it in the first place. My contention is with the walking away, it’s that they never truly entered a life giving relationship with Jesus Christ. When you understand the power of the Gospel it changes you. You don’t leave it. Attending your mom and dad’s church on the other hand is very easy to leave.

So while the problem is largely the same the how to fix it is drastically different. One requires a change in methods the other in our methodology all together.

Here is another blogpost talking about this very thing. What say you?

 

 

Homeschool, Public School, Christian School: Conclusion

Before I went to the Orange conference I wrote a series of blog posts talking about why I think you should and should not send your kids to Christian, Public or Home School. I know a few people were offended by some of my posts, I never intended to be offensive in any way, my goal was to throw out the pro’s and con’s of each option. I wanted to close out the series with a few of my own conclusions.

1. Pray – Sounds simple but sometimes we forget to pray about the simple everyday things.

2. “Every Kid – Every Year” – Take the educational process one kid at a time one year at a time. Every option has it’s pluses and it’s minuses you have to know your kid and know what God has for each of them.

3. Don’t be blind to the positives or the negatives of each option. – Forgetting this one will be a huge detriment to the welfare of your kids. Because you get so focused on defending your position that it’s the only position that you will be able to see. When you no longer see the negatives you don’t take the steps to counteract them.

4. Why you do what you do matters – The reasons that you do something is as important as what you do. If you are trying to protect your kids from pain and from the evil influences in their life I think you are doing them a huge disservice trying to teach kids about the evils of Santa, the Easter bunny and Halloween doesn’t teach them about how to live the power of the gospel every day. Do I want my kids to experience pain, no, but I realize that sheltering them from pain does not give me the opportunity to walk them through it and to ultimately point them to Christ.

5. Never assume what you are doing is the ONLY way.  We send our kids to public school I don’t think it’s the only right way. I am totally open to either Home Schooling or sending them to Christian school. We want our kids to grow up being examples to the wold of what a Gospel centered kid looks like and I know you do to.

Through this whole series my motives have been pure I really want to help parents make the right decision for them. I simply tried to point out the pro’s and con’s of each system as I see them. It’s unfortunate that a few homeschool advocates felt that I was attacking them. I do want to thank everyone who left a comment, talking through things and offering your perspective has been valuable to me and to the community as a whole thanks.

4 reasons I WOULD send my kid to Christian School

Here are my reasons to send your kids to Christian School

1. Other Godly examples – One of the things I remember best from my years in Christian School was the teachers that taught me. Most Christian schools don’t pay their teachers a lot as a result the people who do teach are very passionate about what they do and the passion reaches the kids. I remember many of the Godly teachers that influenced my life. That is priceless to see another adult telling you the same thing your parents are is invaluable.

2. Christian Perspective – History from the view point of our christian faith is never going to be taught in a public school setting. I know that some of the curriculum Public schools choice is less than desirable from a faith perspective. Sending your kids to a school where they learn that History is “His story” (what a good christian school child I am, I still remember History is “His Story”). Having that base of knowledge is so important especially in the PC world we now live in. Truth is truth it’s not always pretty but if we try to change history to sound more sanitary we will never learn from it.

3. Smaller Pond – In Christian school I was a pretty good basketball player in public school I was number 235 and was you guessed it cut the second week of practice. The reality is that most kids will not play sports outside of High school. Going to a christian school your son or daughter with average talent will benefit from the ability to take part in team sports. Some kids need a smaller environment for their star to shine. I went to Christian school of 150 and a public school of 3,000 so I saw this whole principle play out first hand.

4. Lots of kids who believe the same thing – I agree with Reggie Joiner. Every kid needs another kid who believes the same thing they believe. I believe every Christian kid’s best friend should also be a Christ follower and as much as I want my kids to be friends with kids who haven’t crossed the line of faith I want their best friends to be Christ followers. Every kid need another kid, they can call, tweet or text “Am I crazy for….” and I will know that the answer will be based out of God’s word and not out of the random pile of teenage emotion. Having your kids in a Christian environment can be unrealistic but it could also be life giving it’s up to you.