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Practical Principles of Growing Godly Families

It is easy to expect the Church to train our kids in discipleship. But as parents, we need to take the discipleship of our children seriously. We need to be an example to our children. In this episode, Brody speaks to parents of little kids and parents who have teenagers/adult children. He walks through how we can trust the Lord with our children in all the stages of their lives.

We need to be investing in the spiritual development of our families. Let’s pray for our children and trust and believe that the Lord is going to change their hearts.

Transcript – Practical Principles of Growing Godly Families

I often have conversations with parents of teenage or adult children that where the parents are dealing with a lot of regret.

They’re sad that they didn’t do something, that they didn’t do more, or they did, they feel like they did something wrong, and they’ve lost their children or their children have rejected the faith. And no doubt, the greatest sort, I guess the most difficult thing that any parent would ever face if you’re a Christ follower would be for your son or your daughter to reject Christ. Now, whatever that manifests itself as, maybe they turn to same sex lifestyle, maybe they turn to transgenderism. Maybe they remain heterosexual. And it’s not a sexual rebellion. Maybe it’s a, or they remain heterosexual. And it’s a lifestyle where they choose to live outside of wedlock and live in sin.

Maybe sexual promiscuity. Maybe they marry and raise children. And I have had this often where someone raises a son, raises a daughter, and try to do that in the nurturing admonition of the Lord. They walk away from the Lord and they marry and get a job, go to school, raise a family, all those things. But they do it without pursuing the Lord. They reject the Gospel. Had a conversation this week with a guy that’s his story. He’s raised a pastor’s son. I’ve met the dad, awesome. Dad was, dad loves the Lord is an awesome man, a good brother. And he has, he’s broken hearted because this young man is, he married a woman and they have decided that they’re not gonna pursue relationship with Christ. And they’ve abandoned the fate and the man, they’re making good money.

And by the world’s standards, they’re successful. I don’t believe they have any children. But that dad’s dealing with a lot of questions. What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently? We all, no doubt, we’re all gonna wrestle with that. And I wanna encourage those parents that are dealing with that fear and the anxiousness that comes from that. You know, you’ve got a wayward son or daughter and you’re thinking, man, what did I do wrong? But more importantly, I think, what can I do now? There’s the frustration or the guilt of wrestling with what did I do wrong? And kind of beating yourself up. But there’s a greater energy that is usually spent in asking, what can I do? I wanna do something. How can I fix this? And the simple answer to that is you can’t fix it.

You know, you can’t fix something that the Lord alone can fix.

And so only God can fix what is broken in the heart and in the life of your son or daughter. For those of you that have young sons and young daughters, young children, whether they’re biological children or adopted children, there are principles that you must abide by if you’re gonna raise your sons and daughters in a way that will point them to Jesus, ultimately. Things like you cannot let them have their way when they demand it of you. You cannot let them exert their will in such a way that your will is defeated. You cannot let them be the boss. And I bring that up because just like the parent that may struggle with their wayward adult son or daughter, I see a lot of parents, they don’t struggle.

They don’t realize what’s happening right in front of them.

I was just the other day at Snowbird, I was in the, dining facility there, the metal building that a lot of you, a lot of our listeners will have been to. And I watched a, I watched a little boy a child I’m not gonna say how old he was, but he was young. And I watched him just defiantly talk to his mama like she was a dog, you know? And I watched the dad sort of address it. But I wanted to go over and say, Hey, man, can I help you out? But I don’t… It’s always, that’s always tricky. And I’ve learned you gotta be careful where you insert yourself especially if you don’t know somebody very well, or don’t know them at all.

And we’ve all had that situation where you’re in the grocery store line or a restaurant and some kid’s going crazy, losing their mind and taking control of the situation. And the parents don’t know what to do. And like, gosh, man, it’s out of control. And then I guess the other thing that jumps out at me is the difficulty of raising teenagers. I’m sure we have some listeners that are in the middle of raising teenagers, and that can be incredibly overwhelming. They’re being pulled and tugged on by society and culture and movements and social media is pulling in one direction, and the influences of the trash music and programming you know, on streaming platforms like Netflix and and Disney plus, and things that you can’t turn a blind eye to because they’re flying under the radar and poisoning your kids’ brain sometimes in terms of how they deconstruct family structure and what God has designed for sexuality.

And it’s coming at us from every side.

If you’re a parent to teens, it can be overwhelming. And at the same time, I talk to youth pastors oftentimes, who will say the biggest hurdle to their student pastor and, to their student ministry is parents. You know, I feel like I’ve got kids that will be discipled. They wanna grow, they wanna move forward. But the biggest hurdle is parents that don’t get on board and partnering. And so, what I wanna do I bring up all those different dynamics to say, we’re not gonna tackle any single one of those. We could do an episode, and we will in the future, and we have in the past, we’ll do an episode on child rearing, maybe in the early years, maybe, We’ll… We’ve never actually, I don’t think we’ve ever zeroed in on just child rearing, say from birth to eight, something like that.

And then maybe we go eight to 16 something like that. 15, 16. And then we go from, or maybe eight to 12, and we go through the teenage years, and then what it is to parent as an adult to adults. And maybe we’ll do that. But for today, what I wanna do is give you practical principles.

Practical principles for growing godly families.

Now, one thing I wanna say before I get into this, if you are already through the child rearing and you’re dealing with that regret, just listen. Just lay it before the Lord and be the best adult, parent and friend to your adult children that you can be and pray for them constantly. Pray for them without ceasing. And pray, but listen, pray, trusting and believing that the Lord is going to change the heart of your son or your daughter.

Pray, believing, pray constant. So, the two principles, and by the way, this is all gonna seem overly simple, but it’s because it is, but we just gotta do it. If you’re a parent of adult children, and particularly, adult children that have turned away from the Lord, pray constantly. Don’t stop praying, pray every day. Pray in and out of every day, and pray believing, hopeful that God will change them. And then don’t feel like the pressure’s on you to go talk to them and change them. In fact, usually if you’re in that situation, you know how that goes. That does not go good. So pray for them and trust that the Lord’s gonna, they’re gonna go through some life experiences where the choices that they’re making, when somebody rejects God’s plan and God’s design, it’s a matter of time until something’s gonna come crashing down.

So pray for them and pray believing and then just, just pray expectantly and show them kindness and love and believe that the Lord is gonna bring them back to the place of faithfulness. There’s a guy in early part of first Samuel, and he has this phenomenal ministry. I mean, as ministry resumes go, this guy’s, I mean, he’s the best of the best. His name is Eli, and he’s a priest, and he’s actually the guy that raises and disciples Samuel. He raises and disciples Samuel. Samuel becomes the prophet of God who leads the nation of Israel. Samuel’s, this guy who’s sort of, he’s got… It’s unique what he does, because he is one in one sense, he is the final judge. If you read through the period of the judges in Israel, Samuel’s a judge, but then he is also a prophet, and he becomes the prophet of God, who anoints the first two kings, Saul and David.

And Eli has… You wanna talk about like ministry qualifications, you know what I mean? You wanna talk about somebody that’s like that’s had incredible influence. This guy Eli, his legacy Samuel, is his legacy. Who becomes the guy that mentors King David, Samuel mentors King David. And Samuel is raised and discipled by Eli. They’re one of the most fruitful ministries in terms of influence. I mean, you, you can’t deny that. But Samuel has two sons, I’m sorry, Eli has two sons. I believe their names were Hophni And Phinehas, if you go back to First Samuel chapter two, and these guys were, man, they were priests who were sexually promiscuous. I mean, they were raised up in the priesthood under their dad, but they were not believers. And they used it for selfish gain and profit.

They stole from the church. They were sexually promiscuous with women in the church, and it’s a train wreck. And so as a result, God removed the priesthood from their house. He sent judgment by the mouth of a prophet. And those two sons, Hophni And Phinehas were killed because of their sin. And ultimately, as, and eventually Eli, the priest died as a result of all this kind of a cascaded and effect. And God, not only pronounced judgment on Eli, but it was public and the people under his ministry leadership were affected like drastically. So how do we learn from Eli? Especially that would especially be true for those of us that are in ministry. You know, if you’re a pastor, a youth pastor, if you’re someone who’s devoted to ministry. But I think we could take that also and just say, if you’re someone who’s living out your faith, what a catastrophic thing if you have a, an incredible ministry legacy with other people, I don’t wanna say catastrophic, but what a sad story if your own children reject the faith.

And so let’s look at some practical principles for growing godly families. All right?

1. Be on mission as a family.

The first one is you gotta be on mission as an adult, as a family, be on mission, and then bring your children into that mission and ministry. Don’t separate them and isolate them from what you’re doing. Like be on mission as a family. Now, again, we can kind of divide this into, if you’re truly an in ministry my pastor Joseph Tucker, I think he, of a guy, he’s in full-time ministry raising two sons right now that might look different from someone who is not serving in any ministry capacity, but as a Christian businessman or woman, I think of a couple of moms in our church that are hardworking ladies.

They’re school teachers who see the platform of education as teachers. Like they see that as ministry opportunity. They’re single moms raising their kids, and a lot of hurdles there. But the thing that we can do is we bring our sons and daughters into the mission that God’s called us to. Anybody who’s a believer is on mission. So bring them into your ministry and your mission. If you’re trying to reach, you should ought to be trying to reach your neighbors, your friends, the people up and down your road or your street. Maybe we’ve talked in the past about going on, do a ministry vacation where like, instead of going to Dollywood or Orlando or Myrtle Beach something like that, instead of doing that, maybe do a vacation. And maybe you don’t replace your family vacation with this.

Maybe you do a separate trip, but go somewhere. Like my friend Hank, their family used to always, when they were raising their kids, they would go serve in an orphanage in Mexico every year for a week. Incredible, incredible experience for those kids. We did something similar. We raised our three oldest children going and serving every year in an orphanage in Central America. And so bring them into mission. Then also have people in your home single moms fostering kids, single moms, and then kids that are being fostered, having them over. You know, we have some kids that will come and stay and come spend time in our home who are from difficult family situations or from the foster community. And so our kids are on kind of taking part in that. Just reach out and be on ministry together, look for opportunities to bless other people.

Go do a service project. But don’t do this like, just every once in a while, like a part of your lifestyle is to serve others. Meet in the mornings or in the evenings together as a family or in car rides, and pray for people. Identify the needs of people and turn what might would become gossip. Especially, this is where it’s really good if you got teenage kids where you would easily turn into talking about other kids and other families, make it an opportunity to share burdens. And you gotta guide that as an adult and as a parent. Like, Hey, how is Maggie? How is this kid that you go to school with? McKenzie and Maggie, these two girls that are fighting or are in a same sex relationship? 

And how can we pray for them and how can you be better friend for them? And how do we identify maybe what’s going on with their families and how might we as a family minister to them? So you’re having these strategic conversations where you’re bringing your kids into ministry. Not just let’s homeschool close the door, send money off to missions, write missionary letters, pray for our missionaries. That’s good. That’s important. Do those things, and I’m not throwing off on homeschooling, but I’m saying, how do we engage, especially if you’re a homeschool family, how do you engage the community or the people around you? How do you get involved in ministry? And it’s hard, I know. ’cause I’ll be honest, if I had my way, we would homeschool all of our children. I think that would be, and I think if little had, or I mean, if we could do it, we would, it’s not a feasible plan for us.

But for people that can do it, I think it’s an awesome avenue. God has called us into a ministry platform where for this season that’s not feasible. And, but what we can do is we can invest in the spiritual development of our family and then also get everybody on mission together, because ultimately, our lives are gonna either legitimize the Gospel to our children or falsified. I’ll tell you a story. I went recently had my children, and for those of you that don’t know me or aren’t familiar with my family dynamic, I have three adult children and I have, my wife and I have three middle school aged children, 11, 13, 14. And those younger kids are growing up in a completely different atmosphere and environment than the three older ones. You know, think about how much this world has changed in the last five years.

Think where we were five years ago now, think where we were about eight years ago. It’s radically different, drastically different. And so I’m having to relearn and that’s another point we’ll make here in just a little bit. I’m having actually the next point that we’ll make, maybe two points down is having to relearn how to do it with these kids. It’s not always, parenting is not the same with every kid necessarily. You got to figure it out from kid to kid. But anyway, we went on a…

We went to get ice cream, I think. Yeah, it was ice cream. It was ice cream in coffee shop. And we went there and we planned on the front end, Hey guys, we’re gonna go in and whoever serves us and waits on us, we’re gonna give them $25 as a tip. Now, we knew our whole bill was gonna be about probably $10 to $15. I mean, the three kids were getting ice cream, and I was, I don’t think I got anything that day. And so we planned this like, okay, here’s how much money we’ve got. We brought $40 with us. This was an outing to go bless somebody. And so we go in and there ended up being two ladies, two gals that waited on us. So we went and got $25 more. We gave them $50 for, I think we spent $11 on our bill and gave $50 in tip.

Now you might think that is asinine. That’s crazy. What, what? But what we’re doing is we’re showing our kids, I’m showing the kids in that situation. We don’t do that all the time. I mean, that’s a, I’m not gonna, I couldn’t afford to do that all the time, but to bless others, and then to show them the love and kindness that we wanna show them as a believer. And these are people that we sort of know they’re local business. And so what’s the point of doing something like that? Well, the point is twofold. It’s to bless the person on the other side of the cash register behind the apron or whatever that is working in service, which nowadays is so hard to find people that’ll do that well. But then also as an example to our children, like, hey, when we go in and we sit down to have a meal at a restaurant, we’re still on mission.

We’re still doing ministry. And we might ask them, Hey, we’re gonna pray as a family, we’d like to pray for you. And I hear people say that like, ask the person that, is serving you how you might pray for them. And that’s good, but man at the end of it, why don’t it, why don’t we get into our pockets, a little bit? And bless them that way. And it meant, it really just, and I am telling you, I’m telling you, we’ve done this a lot, and it works. It changes people’s outlook. It blesses them. You can see their countenance lift. You don’t know if the person before you was a complete jerk to them. You just don’t know. And so bringing your children into your ministry, into your mission, and then thinking outside of the box that does, that might mean that what one thing it might mean is that we pray together as a family for missionary, a different missionary each night. And then maybe each morning we pray, or each night we pray for a neighbor or a classmate. Everybody identifies somebody they wanna pray for. We’re just having conversation where it’s a part of our daily flow of life. And then we’re, when we go to have a meal or eat at a restaurant or pull up to a drive through, we’re kind, we’re engaging with the people that serve us. And so you’re always having a ministry mindset.

2. Spend time together every week.

The next thing is have a have a plan for spending time together each week and guard that. Now, we are busy. You got travel ball. If you’re raising, middle school kids and high school kids, maybe you got, if you’re raising toddlers, you get moms, you get a group of moms that are, that have infants and toddlers around, and all they’re gonna talk about is motherhood. That’s all they’re gonna talk about. I see it happen all the time at church and at camp, at Snowbird, where all of the moms of young kids, their whole life revolves around those young children. And so, it’s just, you do, you spend time together because you’re taking care of those kids, right? And then even when you’re around other moms, people will, they have this term, they call it a play date. We’re gonna have a play date, which we never use that terminology, but I think it’s where like a couple moms are gonna get together and let their kids play and the moms are gonna talk and visit.

And that’s something that people will do. But inevitably when kids, are playing together, moms are hanging out. You got a couple of moms there with some nursing aged babies and then a couple toddlers and maybe some a little bit older, and they’re all just kind of running and playing and goofing off. And so at that, at that time of parenting, it’s easy to spend time together. It just, it’s natural. I should say. It’s sort of in the flow of your life. Now, if you’re a working mom and you drop your kid off at a grandparent’s house or daycare, it may be a little bit more difficult, but it’s still, you’re gonna pick them up and it’s gonna be in the, again, in the flow of your evening schedule, that child is gonna be much more dependent on you.

Whereas when they get a little bit older, like, I’ve got, that middle school age, this is one of the things I notice that’s important, that they wanna spend a night somewhere or have somebody come over or they wanna sit with somebody else at church or always, they never wanna just hang out as a family. And so you gotta be a little more intentional with that. So I want my kids to be able to go and play and have fun and go over to someone else’s house and get outta the house and go goof off, ride bikes, whatever. For us, it’s always worked good to, on Sundays to have a block of time that as we sabbath together as a family. And I think that would, that, that’s what the next principle that kind of piggybacks off of this one is, guard some time where you’re gonna maybe pray together, study the Scripture together.

So we have a big Sunday lunch followed by, sitting around talking about the Scripture and having a devotional family time. And when that’s over, we either go for a walk or a bike ride. If it’s a rainy day, we go do an indoor activity, either play games there at the kitchen table, or we’ll go over to the indoor basketball hoops and play some basketball or gaga ball or something like that. But it’s block off a time each week where you and guard that time. When I say guard it, I mean you’re gonna easily talk yourself outta sticking to it. And again, we’re not just talking about, not just talking about parents of toddlers. In fact, I’m not talking to parents of toddlers and babies. That’s easy. You’re already gonna be spending time together. But as they get older, they’re gonna be less and less interested in family time unless you cultivate it. So cultivate it, which, in that next point is kind of a sub point, which is, actively practice celebrating the Sabbath.

3. Practice celebrating the Sabbath.

So once a week, shut everything down other than going to church, just shut it down. Like, man, I will tell you, and I did an episode a year or two ago on our sons and daughters and sports and athletics. And I’m gonna tell you, if you have to take your kid three out of four weekends a month to play in some basketball tournament at a, you’re flustered, they ain’t gonna go play division one ball.

If you gotta do that to get them there. They’re not. They are not. If they’re good enough, they’re gonna make it with minimal disruption to the flow of your Sundays. Can I say that again? If they’re good enough, first off, God’s gonna bless it, he’s gonna honor it. But what does it profit a person if they get their kid to a division two or division three or NAA school to play volleyball and not even on a scholarship, but you sacrificed two or three weekends a month to put them in tournaments and wear them out and yeah, it was fun and yeah, they loved it and you loved it and, but what’s gonna give them strength for the journey of the next four decades? Carve out the Sabbath. We did it. And I talked about it in that episode that we did on raising kids in sports.

We committed that, I remember our oldest son Tucker, playing in some, some high level basketball stuff. And we committed that he would only play on Saturdays. He will not be there on Sundays. And man, in 2024 Europe, people are gonna look at you like you’re crazy if you do that. And you’re like, well then what’s use? I can’t play if we’re gonna do that. Well, I’m just telling you, I’m just telling you, having raised children and being on the other side of child rearing, there’s nothing more valuable and more important than Sabbath together, worshiping fellowship and having food, a meal, being at home, going to church and being in that setting with God’s people. Man, it’s invaluable. Doesn’t mean you’re not gonna miss a Sunday here and there. Okay? I’m not, don’t, this is not a letter of the law, but whether it’s travel sports or going to the lake or whatever your summer is where you can, you convince yourself that you need to miss Church one, say one Sunday turns to two or three. It’s not about going to church as a rule or a point of legalism. It’s about being involved in the local body together as a family. Because it’s another discipleship tool in the life of your children.

So take that serious, enjoy the Sabbath together. That’s all I’ll say about that. I could, that could be its own episode, I know.

4. Take responsibility to train up your child.

The next thing is, as a parent, it is your responsibility to “train up a child.”

The Word of God is very clear that as a parent, the primary growth and discipleship of my children rests on me. Man, it’s, look read over there in Deuteronomy 6, where Moses is writing and he’s like, Hey, when you guys are up and about and you’re moving around in and out of your day-to-day life, just be constantly talking about the things of the Lord. Proverbs 22:6, it says, train up a child that, train up it. And it has to do with education and discipline and teaching him work ethic and make it fun. My dad always, I will say this, I have, I do not begrudge my dad for the way he raised me when it comes to chores and work ethic.

Man, I’m so thankful he made me work my butt off. My dad made me, I mean, work my tail off. I worked so hard at a young age and I’m thankful, I would not change that. It instilled things in me, with my kids, one thing that I, each generation we ought to tweak it and do it a little bit better. My kids should be better parents than I was, right? And I’m good with that. But one thing that I think is so cool is to work together. So yesterday as I’m recording this, yesterday’s real cold here. It’s probably, I think the house was probably in the, maybe the 40 degree range. But once that sun got down, it was real quick dipping down, close to freezing. So we’ll say, let’s say it’s 40 degrees, so that’s chilly. I’m sure if you live up north, it’s not.

But down here it is, it’s southern Appalachia, the cold is damp. It’s just, it’s a damp coldness. And we worked firewood for, I don’t know, hour and a half together. And it was the whole family, Little was out there. I was teaching juju how to drive the stick. Well, I’m teaching her that right now in general. But during that, so she was driving the truck up and down the driveway like from where we were loading firewood up to where we’re stacking it at the house. And so, it’s taken us forever to get up the driveway ’cause she’s stalling it out and popping the clutch and then Little’s yelling and cheering her on. And it’s just fun. And, but it was legitimate. We’re working together as a family and they’re learning, responsibility, but we’re all doing it together. And then, maybe after supper, y’all take part in kitchen cleanup and, but the point being, training up a child is teaching them how to work. It’s discipline when they fail, it’s going to the school to talk to teachers or coaches, but not in the heat of an emotional moment. But strategically setting up meetings with teachers and counselors so that you might have a good partnership.

If you’re homeschooling, it’s gonna come a little easier in that regard. I do think that more times than not, homeschooling is an incredible option if it works for you, but for most of us it doesn’t. It worked for us with our older children when they were in elementary school. But it doesn’t work for us now. But if it does work, I think that’s awesome. It’s a little bit easier to implement certain things when you are their educational influence all day. But even, the point of this one is it’s my responsibility as a dad and my wife’s responsibility as a mom to train these, to train up a child. It’s not the responsibility of the state or the school or the church. Let me say it again. It’s not the responsibility first and foremost of the state, the school or the church.

I say that because a lot of people will say, well, the state’s the worst parent, the public school system is this or that. And people will tend to get kinda, a lot of times people that are Christians will get, will be negative towards government institutions. And some of that may be rightfully so. But there’s some godly people in the schools. There’s some godly people in government. And the reality is, I think it’s easy to expect the church to train up our children in terms of discipleship. And the truth is, we need to train our kids up, teach them how to work, teach them how to read God’s word. Teach them how to love God’s word. Doesn’t mean it’s gonna stick, doesn’t mean they’re gonna stick with it, but doing it the best you can. Next, my children need to feel like they are my most enjoyable and rewarding asset.

I think it’s probably, especially when they’re in those formative years, when they’re young, they’re little, they don’t feel like they’re a burden to you. They don’t think like that. But as they get older, make sure they feel like, man, I love being your dad. I love being your mom. You are my most enjoyable. The greatest, most rewarding and enjoyable ministry of my life is discipling you, is teaching you how to be a man, teaching you how to be a woman. We wanna raise you up and teach you. It’s not just here’s the rules, follow them. It’s not just, this is what we do, ’cause the Bible says, so it’s teaching what the Scripture says and teaches and showing them and then walking it out and doing it joyfully and really ordering our lives around the authority and the practical application of Scripture.

Don’t just go to church on Sunday and call it good.

Don’t just go to church a couple Sundays a month because the other two Sundays you’re at the travel tournament for baseball or basketball or volleyball, whatever it is. And then, but the other two Sundays we go to church and we check the box and we spend our hour and 15 at church and don’t, and then call it good. Nope. Deep dive into their discipleship. Deep dive into their discipleship. They are the most rewarding ministry you have. I can tell you this right now. Even if they succeed at a high level in athletics, it’s gonna be over by the time they’re in their 20s. And what if they live to be 60 and you live into your 80s and you’re, that relationship is gonna be so different when sports and child rearing are all over. I keep gravitating towards sports ’cause we’re a sports family. You could plug in anything there. We could, don’t get me started on video games and gaming. That’s like a plague at my house. ‘Cause my boys love it. They love it so much. My children should feel like as a family, we’re all part of ministering to the needs of people around us. That kind of goes with what I said earlier. That was a little bit redundant. Let me go to the next one.

5. The Word of God must be the center of conversation at home.

Let’s constantly be talking. It goes back to Deuteronomy 6:6-9.

We bring the Word of God to light and to life in our children. We instruct them from the Scripture. As a dad or a mom, it’s a great opportunity for you to become a better student of the word. To learn how to teach a biblical principle. I’ll tell you a story that happened to us recently. We were doing our Sunday family devotion. And it was super simple. The devotion was on generosity. Let’s learn how to be generous. Let’s be generous, let’s be givers. And our kids were, responding to it, listening to it. And we get to the end of the devotion and I say, okay, what’s something that you’ve done that was generous? Have you, and we’re struggling. I’m like, have you ever given something to somebody? 

And a couple of the kids could not come up with a time where they had given someone something out of generosity. I was like, I want you to pray about, think about how you change that. And it was cool ’cause this came on the heels of the story I told earlier about the tip where I’d tip this lady or these two girls. And so, it was cool. One of my boys came up to me that night and said, or that next night, that was on our Sunday devotion and on Monday night he said, Hey, can we buy some cookies? You wanna buy a tub of, the cookie dough that comes in a tub and make a big batch of cookies? I wanna put them in Ziploc bags and give them to people at school this week.

And so we did it that night we cooked, or we, we baked cookies and then we put three to a Ziploc bag and he made a list of folks he wanted to give them to. And he took them, wonderful opportunity to just learn about generosity. No deep spiritual thing was happening there. It was just showing hospitality and generosity in a simple way. It’s not rocket science. We can figure this out. Just be intentional. And I think the final word to dads is that as a dad you need to lead. You need to lead. Listen to this. I wanna give you a statistic. Dads, I wanna give you a statistic. Recent study on conversion in the family. When a child is the first convert to Christ in a family, 3.5% of families will follow suit.

So if 100 families are not Christian and one of the kids becomes a Christ follower, this is a kid that’s still living in the home, I think then three to four of those families will follow suit out of 100 families. If mom is the first to trust Christ, then 17% of those families, so 17 of the 100 will then become a Christian family. They’ll follow mom’s influence. But when dad, out of 100 families, when Dad is the first one to convert, 93 of those 100 families become Christian families. And you could apply those numbers to discipleship. And I would say to pastors, this word, youth pastors, missionaries, as a minister of the Gospel, I do not get a pass when it comes to ministry to my family. Now the reality is, I have a raised bar when it comes to my family. I need to be faithful. I need to watch the kids that I raise, I need to help them to develop a biblical worldview, a love for the Gospel, an understanding of their own value in Christ, an unquenchable desire to lead their own family in that way one day. I need to teach them how to love people well, how to love ministry and not be resentful for it.

Or to it. And if the Gospel’s gonna be our legacy, if we’re as pastors and ministers of the Gospel, it needs to be from the home first, not from the church, the pulpit, the mission field. And then the, so that’s the last thing I wanna say to dad specifically, that sort of add that to dad specifically. And to pastors and missionaries specifically, and that’d be men and women, people that are in ministry. But then if you, let me just say that if you feel overwhelmed right now, parenting, just take a breath, take a step back and know the Lord’s gonna take care of you. He’s gonna guide you, be willing to get uncomfortable and to have hard conversations. The last few weeks we talked about pornography last week we listened to the message that I shared with y’all, that I had shared with the boys that are here in holy, that those two episodes on pornography and then the previous episodes on the spirit of Babylon, recognize that you’re raising, we are raising sons and daughters.

And if you’re at the point where you’re about to send them into adulthood, you’re sending them out into the wolves. Because we are in a hostile world right now. It’s always been hostile, but right now it’s outta control. It is so heightened. And so send them into the world as equipped as you possibly can and be willing to make mistakes and admit when you’re wrong. Another thing that I would say is when you mess up, okay, perfect example. This happened to me yesterday, that I said something to one of my children, and I felt convicted that it was in the wrong tone of voice, but I didn’t think that the kid even knew it. But I knew my heart had been, I’d been snarky or like sarcastic. And what I’d said, it wasn’t loving, it wasn’t tender, it wasn’t shaping them. It was harsh.

And so I called that kid over at bedtime last night. I said, Hey, come here. I wanna talk to you just a second. And I just said, I don’t know if you called it or not, but when I said that today, this evening when I said this thing, what I said to you? It was a little bit sharp and harsh, and I’m sorry. I wanna ask you to forgive me for that. And that I don’t wanna have that kind of tone with you. And I’m sorry. And this kid was like, I didn’t even notice it, but thanks, and I love you. But anyway, just be willing to admit when you’re wrong and, and confess that you’ve done something wrong, but at the same time, have the nerve and the audacity and the tenacity and strength to lead, because sometimes you’re wrong.

But a lot of times parents apologize when they shouldn’t. Don’t apologize for not letting your kid have social media. Don’t apologize for not letting your daughter get on Snapchat. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be so strict. No, you should, you should protect them from that. There’s certain things you should do. So be willing to be bold and know that if you’re bold as a parent, but you temper that boldness with kindness and gentleness, that there are gonna be times where you have to repent and ask for forgiveness. And that’s okay. They’ll grow from that. And then the last thing that I mentioned real early in the episode that I wanted to say is sometimes you’re gonna make mistakes in raising them, but sometimes you’re gonna have to raise one child differently than you did another one. And it’s easy to feel like, okay, I’m a hypocrite.

‘Cause let’s say you’ve got one son and then another son, five years younger, and that first son, you raised him and maybe you spanked him over X, Y, and Z. And then this five year younger son, you realize I can’t spank him. He doesn’t respond well to that. You’re not being inconsistent if you discipline him in a different manner. If it’s, if the goal of discipline is to, we’ve talked about the goal, we’re gonna do, by the way, in 2024, I don’t remember when it slated, but we have a parenting episode on discipline that we’re gonna roll out, just discipline kids. But the goal of discipline is to restore fellowship and to bring reconciliation between parent and child, maybe between child and child, and parenting. So if that’s my goal is to restore fellowship, then the method of discipline might change from child to child or situation to situation.

Just don’t get locked in ruts. Just be thinking, how do I do this? I can think back to my childhood and a few times when my dad, when my folks were still together and my dad, he whooped me and whooped me and whooped me. And I would think, I look back and I think there some of those whoopings I needed, I needed to be absolute, absolutely wore out. But there’s others that was like, probably, that probably wasn’t the best thing. It’d probably been better if instead we would’ve done this other thing. And so just, just be okay changing it up. And then educate yourself. If you foster or adopt, you have to come up with a different set of principles and guidelines. Same, maybe, same principles, but the way you’re gonna apply them gonna be different. I promise you, if you adopt, it is not Little Annie or Little Orphan Annie on the stoop waiting on Daddy Warbucks to come by and she’s, don’t romanticize it.

It is the one of the hardest things. And you’re, even if you adopt a small infant, there’s gonna be tough. There’s gonna be hurdles you have, but if you adopt, a lot of our listeners have adopted older kids. And man, it’s so difficult. It’s not as simple as raising a biological child that mom carried in the womb, and then, you imprinted and it’s different. So be willing to flex and bend within the parameters of the principles of Scripture to raise up a child in the way he should go. And the nurture and the admonition of the Lord trust in. And here’s the last word for parents that are struggling right now because your adult kids have walked away, when he is old, he will not depart from it. That mom or that dad that’s listening right now, that grandmother, grandfather, and that 22, 26, 30-year-old son or daughter that’s turned away from the Lord.

There is a promise in Scripture that I believe that child will return to the Lord.

And you may not live to see it, and you gotta be okay with that. But I will tell you this, I’ve seen it happen so often that I believe that it happens more times than not when parents are faithful to pray for their sons and daughters. And yeah, maybe they turned away because of your foul ups and your screw ups. Maybe you messed up and you blew their childhood and they’re the casualty, they’re the victim. But now you’re trying to walk with the Lord, give it to the Lord and let him bring healing. And he’ll do it. I promise, it’ll just take time maybe, but he’ll do it. And, so just trust him and believe.

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2024 Marriage Conference

October 2024

February 26, 2024

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