on the radio…radio

Today I was on an online radio broadcast that focused on parenting teens.  They sent me their questions in advance so I thought I’d embed the broadcast on my blog so you can listen to it at your pleasure.

Here are my notes from the broadcast today:

What are the top 2 mistakes you think most parents make and how can we fix them?

-They are afraid of their children and subsequently don’t take leadership over their family.

-They want to be friends with their kids…Stick to your guns, establish rules and keep them

If our teen is a Christian and is growing in their faith and relationship with Jesus, what can we do to help encourage them?

Model for them how to live

Ask them to teach you what they’ve been learning…

Look for the Gifts that God has uniquely given them and encourage them to peruse using their gifts

In a time of their lives when they know “everything” and parents know nothing~ how can we lead a teen who isn’t interested in Jesus or Church to the Lord?

You don’t.  Hopefully you built a strong enough foundation with your kid that they will trust you.  You don’t give up on them and your pray for them

What motivates teens?

Doing big things: Someone seeing their potential and putting it to use…Feeling important

What are your top tips for teaching teens responsibility?
Sound system example…They have to really own their life and they can’t take it lightly

When our teen REALLY screws up, beyond responding and not just reacting, what are your best recommendations for us to help them learn a lesson from this situation?
Help them feel the weight of what they did….DON’T fix it for them,,, allow them to suffer the consequences.

If its clear that they learned their lesson, don’t bring it up again.

What are your recommendations for guiding teens not to have sex? What should we do if we find our teen is engaged in this behavior?
We do want to teach our kids that sex is a great thing in the confines of marriage…

I think the best way to help keep your kids pure is to lay out your expectation and be bold to talk about it.  Help them to understand the gift of their virginity to their future spouse…

If you do find your teen engaged in this behavior, Take them to get an AIDS test, take them to get an STD test.  Have their doctor tell them the consequences…An OBGYN will show girls pictures of STD’s and a doctor will probably do the same with guys.  Chances are your teen won’t fully get the metaphor of marriage as God and the church but they will understand that God calls us to be pure

What are your recommendations for guiding teens not to drink alcohol or take drugs? What should we do if we find our teen is engaged in this behavior?

You should freak out a little but don’t freak out:  Obviously it depends how bad the usage is.

I think Teenagers are looking somewhere for a great story.  They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves…when parents don’t write that story, other friends will…So as a parent you have to be on the forefront, you have to be the chief story teller

For teens of divorced parents, in your opinion, what can the parents/step-parents do to make the most of the situation?

If they really care about the child then they need to put their differences aside and set times to do joint activities.

Think about Christmas and the constant shoveling around that a child with 4 or six sets of grand parents have to do…it is crazy there is no consistency…

A lot of parents need to swallow their pride and sacrifice for the best life for their kid…

Divorce can be cyclical in many families and I don’t think any parent wants that for their child so they need to give them the best chance to break that cycle

How can we get our teen to clean their room?
Tell them what you want, what are the consequences if they do…be consistent…The closer the family is the easier it will be to enforce the rule

What do teens want most from their parents?

Love. Your teen needs to come back to you and that is built on a foundation of love.

A good story…something they can be proud of and take on themselves…

Links:

Elevate Radio

Adam Kimber

Neighborhood Christian Fellowship

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dream facilitators

A few weeks ago I was pushing Emma on a swing in the park and I was casually eavesdropping on a few junior high girls on the swings next to us.  This is how their conversation went. 

Girl 1: “Oh my gosh you are such an amazing singer”

Girl 2: “Really? I was thinking I might try to get on American Idol.”

Girl 1: “You should totally do that and if that doesn’t work out you could always get on The Voice.”

Girl 2: “You could totally do that”

My first thought, I’d love to meet these girls’ parents.  Admittedly, I was listening to this conversation in awe of the innocence of childhood, in remembrance of some dreams that I have left behind. However, I love that these girls have the freedom to dream. What they were saying is so ridiculous to a world of adults with nine to five jobs raising kids who are barley getting by.  They are clearly shooting high.

I hope my girls have conversations like this.  I hope they plot their lives out, and then realize that’s not really what they want at all.  I hope they dream huge and aspire to big things.  Even when they get a job that might not be their thing, I hope they never let go of their passion, imagination and ambition.

I want to be the kind of parent who encourages ridiculous dreams.  I want to be the kind of parent who invests in passions that only last a week. I want to be the kind of dad that teaches his kids to trust their imagination and to really know what they want so that they will one-day chase it down.  I want to be the kind of dad that teaches his girls that persistence and optimism is key to fulfilling your dreams no matter how crazy they might be.

Ever since I’ve had kids my new dream has been for them to be great.  I feel like I finally have a glimpse of how God loves his children.  I’ve always understood forgiveness but what I don’t think I ever understood before is the deep desire for good things for others.  I just want my kids to leave a mark and change this world.  I guess that makes Desiree and I, dream facilitators.

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he who has an ear

The summer of my 10th grade year my brother and I went to spend a few weeks with my Aunt and Uncle and cousins in Colorado.  While we were there I met my Aunt’s sister, Dasa, who is an especially interesting woman.   She is the kind of person who could tell stories for hours and you’d never get bored listening to.  I remember this one story she told so clearly because it was amazing to me how God still speaks to his people.

Dasa tells the story that she was in a church service and she felt God impressing on her that she should go comfort the person in front of her and tell them, “everything is going to be alright.”  Like most people, Dasa thought she was going crazy and she stayed where she was.  She kept getting this urge to comfort the person when suddenly a man who she didn’t know, came from across the room and put his arm around the person and whispered something into that person’s ear.  A second later the man turned and walked up to Dasa and said, “it’s okay I took care of it,” and walked away.

That story kind of freaked me out.  I have always heard people say that God calls people to do His work and if they don’t then He’ll raise someone else up.  This story makes that idea pretty clear.

But have you every consciously tuned someone out?  Maybe in a staff meeting or at home, you just consciously started thinking about something else and you stopped listening?  I think if we stop listening long enough then we will become selectively deaf.  My Aunt’s sister Dasa got a huge reminder to listen to God and these days she doesn’t get around much and listening is what she spends most of here time doing.  I was reading the Sermon on the Mount the other day and Jesus said not to go on babbling like the pagans do but to go to a quiet place and pray.  Many scholars think that Jesus was referencing to this line in the Torah when he said that, “when you address the Holy One, Blessed be he, let your words be few.” (B’arkhot 61a). The story is a reminder to allow you to hear God.

My question is, if we stop listening, are we then setting our selves up to become deaf to a God who whispers in silence?   When you think about it, that guy you tune out when your wife is talking but the TV seems to be louder, or when you simply faze someone out, we are training ourselves to become deaf.

There are many useful classes and skills that you can find on listening.  Many lecture and write books, articles and blogs about listening, but what are the consequences if we stop listening?

Who have you made the effort to stop listening to?  When was the last time you listened to God?  When was the last time your words were few?  I wonder if this is why Jesus always walked around saying, “he who has an ear, let him hear.”

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redemptive violence

So many times in the church we talk about worship.  We talk about living your beliefs out as a form of worshiping God.  If that’s true, then sometimes I wonder which god we worship.  Let me tell you a story of the creation of the world, according to ancient the Babylonians. 

Apsu was the father god and Timat the mother.  These two gods gave birth to all the other god’s. Their children created so much noise that Apsu and Timat couldn’t sleep so in retaliation for the noise they plotted the death of all their children.

The children god’s found out about the plot and they killed their father, Apsu.  Timat (who is the dragon of chaos) was so overcome with rage that she plotted her revenge, which was the death of all her children.

Timat terrified all of the gods so they turn to the youngest son named Marduk for salvation.  Marduk negotiated with his siblings and the deal was that if he won the battle with his mother then he would become the head of all the other god’s.

Marduk eventually captured Timat in a big net, caused an evil wind to go into her belly, an arrow pierced her heart and he spread her corpse out to make the cosmos, from the cadaver of Timat the world was created.  To go even further since Marduke created mankind he also set up a solution for law and order.  Kings and queens were authorized to use force and violence as a means to restore order.  The highest value in this Babylonian creation narrative is restoring order over chaos.[1]

Now I bet none of us would really agree that this is the way the world was created.  However, creation narratives often have an ethic that is lived out by the followers of that God.  For example the ethic in the Christian creation narrative is that God love his people so much, he hides his image within them and walks in the garden with them.

In this Babylonian creation story we learn that order comes to a society through violence.  We learn that violence can actually be redemptive because it restored order to a society.

According to the two creation narratives what god does our society serve?  Almost any movie, TV show or video game will tell you the way to restore order in a society.  The story of good conquering evil through violence is actually a religious belief.  In the ultimate reversal, Jesus conquered evil through an act of violence done to him!

So when we shout for revenge, who is it that we serve.  When we come to the conclusion that violence can restore order to a society, did we just stumble into the ultimate lie?  If you study your history you would see link to wars that started in 1618 (the thirty years war) to the war in Iraq.

Does violence do the trick?  We obviously can sit idly by and watch a Hitler destroy a people group, but would there have been a Hitler if there were a different solution other than violence?  We clearly can’t stand by and allow Osama Bin Laden to operate a terrorist group that will result in the deaths of thousands.  Loving our neighbor demands that we protect them, but how do we protect our neighbor without engaging in a violent act?  How do we worship Jesus and protect?

For those who believe that the only way is violence, I would suggest that the ethic of the ancient god Marduke is hard to shake.  In fact I would suggest what we live out shows who we worship.

I am strongly aware that our society has been conditioned to believe that violence is redemptive, but this is simply a well-crafted lie.  Violence does not restore order; it begets more violence and chaos.

Don’t buy into the lie.

May you let the love of Christ conquer the desire to live out redemptive violence.


[1] This story can be found in Walter Wink’s, “The Powers that Be”

 

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jesus loves terrorists

I think God mourns the death of Osama Bin Laden for one reason, because He loves him.  I do agree that the man was evil and assuming that he did not make a decision to follow Jesus then I think we could say that he is living in separation from God. I do agree that he is a murder and I abhor all that he has done.  However, this is the main challenge of Christianity, How can God love a murdering terrorist? This is a problem for a lot of people and it was for the early church too.  The apostle Paul wasn’t always an apostle; he was the Pharisee Saul who breathed out murderous threats against followers of Jesus.  In fact he was present at the murder of Stephen and was on his way to kill others in Damascus when God supernaturally changed his course.  He was a terrorist until Jesus intervened in his life, now we look at his writings as profound and sacred.  Bin Laden was an evil man, it does not change the fact that Jesus loves him.

A few years back a friend, Holland Prior was teaching at a worship service where I serve as a Pastor.  She taught on the violence in the bible and what she had to say was very relevant to this topic.  She talked God’s wrath being played out over the course of history.  First with Noah and the flood, second with some nations, then with some people groups and finally, God’s wrath on mankind was satisfied in one person, his Son. If you accept this reading of the Bible then it affects the way that we would look at the death of Bin Laden today.  If the death of Jesus satisfied the wrath of God, then we couldn’t really say that God killed Bin Laden, or that this is God’s justice. God’s wrath was satisfied in his son, and that is great news for us.

I believe God has a lot of compassion for those who do not love him.  I think He want’s all people to be with him but is way too loving to force anyone to choose.  These two verses show God’s love and patience for those who do not love him in return.

Ezekiel 33:10-11 God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked but he would rather that they be saved

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

So how do we respond to the death of an international terrorist who had murdered thousands of innocent men women and children?  I believe we remember those who died from the USS Cole, 9/11 and other attacks.   Those who have lost family and friends will miss them long after Bin Laden fades from the American memory.   I think we look at this man and ask questions that will force us to remember honestly.  Why did Bin Laden so hate the western world?  How do we create more allies rather than enemies?

As Americans we must face the harsh reality that there is an entire world out there that hates America. However, If our enemies stay enemies, how many more 9/11’s, USS Cole, Madrid bombings and shoe bombers will we see in our lifetime?  If we accept the reality that these people are our enemies and there is nothing that we can do about it, then they will always be our enemies.  But what if all that changed? What if we showed the rest of the world that Americans don’t want to be enemies with the rest of the world

 

 

***I want to clarify that when I say “God”  this is who I mean.  I believe God is one made up of three eternal expressions of the Father, The Son (Jesus who is God revealed), and the Holy Spirit.  I believe that the Bible reveals this God to humanity.  I believe the contents of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments contain all that is necessary for salvation.  It is extremely important that my readers know this while reading.  First, many people do not agree with what I just wrote and serve a god that sounds similar but is all together different.  Two when you say God, which can mean a lot of things to people with different cultural and religious upbringings.

 

 

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