These past few weeks I have been burdened to review and bring more quality and control to the child protection policies at our church. In light of all the recent news about the goings-on at Penn State it should serve as a stern warning to all institutions that child safety must be a top priority.
It is easy to get discouraged about a lot of things going on in society with regards to:
- Chick-fil-a haters (who knew?)
- homosexual marriage
- and on and on
BUT the thing that I am thankful for, right now in our great country, is the hard-line stance it has taken when it comes to protecting our children. I’m thankful that we live in a society that protects our children and takes every measure to prosecute those who seek to harm our children.
With that said, let me encourage PARENTS to talk to their children about evil and the fac that there are adults out there who are dangerous and want to harm them. Don’t scare your children but warn them and encourage them to tell you when an adult asks them to do something strange or if they witness something unusual. Also, check your state’s sex offender registry and know who is living around you!
For CHURCHES, make sure your church has a comprehensive child protection policy that includes screening and training volunteers and staff. I highly recommend MinistrySafe as resource to help you and your ministry. You might also want to check with you insurance carrier for resources.
Let me know if I can help.
It’s been a while … forgive me. Here are some things that I have found good lately….
Read, Read, Read, to Your Children – I appreciate this article by Marty Machowski author of The Gospel Story Bible. I’m so thankful for my wife, the mother of our children, because God convicted her before we had children to cultivate this habit in our home. Our children would rather have their parents read to them on most days rather than watch a TV show. I highly recommend the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis.
Recently I had the privilege to preach on the 5th commandment. I believe this commandment has an important word for parents, not just children. I invite you to listen here.
I love children’s books that teach a solid, biblical lesson – there aren’t many out there. There are plenty of books that teach “moral” lessons but not many that teach biblical lessons. Halfway Herbert is one of those children’s books that teaches a solid biblical lesson to children. Francis Chan has done an excellent job of communicating solid, biblical truth in a way that children can relate. My wife and I have enjoyed this book and have referred to it often when trying to teach our children the biblical principle of loving God with your whole heart. At $0.99 for the Kindle edition this is a steel! You might want to also checkout The Big Red Tractor.
How to Read the Bible Book by Book is an excellent resource that I have used through the years to help me navigate through the 66 different books of the Bible. For only $3.99 this is a great deal for this Kindle book!
Give Up the Gimmicks, Youth Pastors! Very interesting book that I’m looking forward to reading. I appreciate a youth pastor who is willing to tackle this subject head-on!
Children in Worship – Let’s Bring It Back. I appreciated this article. My wife and I have recently started to bring our 5-year-old to worship. It has been tricky business for us since I’m a pastor. Several of the points the author makes has turned out to be true in our case – our son really is seeing the means of grace.
The Wisdom of Jerry Bridges emailed to you every day! Jerry Bridges is my favorite author and I have been blessed tremendously through the years by his writing ministry. His book Holiness Day by Day is a compilation of many of his works put together in short, one page daily readings. Sign up for this and you will be blessed!
Happy St. Patrick Day! One of the things about St. Patrick that we can appreciate from church history is his recorded prayers. This is one that I like….
As I arise today,
may the strength of God pilot me,
the power of God uphold me,
the wisdom of God guide me.
May the eye of God look before me,
the ear of God hear me,
the word of God speak for me.
May the hand of God protect me,
the way of God lie before me,
the shield of God defend me,
the host of God save me.
May Christ shield me today.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit,
Christ when I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I cannot recommend CovenantEyes enough for parents who are looking to protect their children online. Please check out there great resource page for parents that will give you some helpful and eye-opening tips for protecting your family online (not just teens but smaller children too!). This company (and ministry) is my number one recommendation for internet filtering and monitoring.
Are you into movies? Please check out my friend John Perritt’s blog called Reel Thinking. This site is a great resource for thinking biblically about film and faith.
Watch Your Conjunctions in Parenting – I really enjoyed and was challenged by this article. The author writes in regards towatching our conjunctions, “This is how parents can be grace-based while insisting on obedience.”
Pastors and folks who have a heart for ministering/counseling in the context of the local church will really enjoy the recently re-release Journal of Biblical Counseling. This is an excellent resource that you can read online for free!
Teach Children the Bible is Not About Them. Sally Lloyd-Jones does an excellent job in this article to help parents read and teach the Bible to their children. She makes an important point that readying and teaching Bible stories to children is not for the purpose of helping them learn some moral lesson but to help them see Jesus!
If you own a Kindle or iPad with Kindle app I highly recommend these cheap works from Shepherd Press for only $3.99! I have read and love Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Time for the Talk, and When Sinners Say I Do.
Don’t Waste Your Sports is an excellent short read, or video, or podcast that I highly recommend to parents who desire “to let a right knowledge of God shape the way we practice and play sports.”
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/15878358 w=400&h=300]
Don’t Waste Your Sports from Sovereign Grace Ministries on Vimeo.
Perhaps there is no greater threat to this generation of young people than gender identity. This issue is compounded by a variety of factors. Here in the South (my context) you are considered a man if you hunt, drive a truck, have a pretty girl on your arm, and go to football games on the weekend. In the South to be a man means you don’t pray out loud, don’t sing in church, and you darn sure better not cry!
Pop-psychology has taken its toll as well on manhood in our culture. Raising children has become all about making sure you don’t hurt the self-esteem of a child. Furthermore, you are a successful parent if you child literally does not get physically hurt.
Furthermore, worldliness has had its say in the matter. Men are told not to be “too manly” because they might offend someone. Worldliness, is in effect, emasculating our sons.
John Piper says, “The tendency today is to stress the equality of men and women by minimizing the unique significance of our maleness or femaleness. But this deprecation of male and female personhood is a great loss. It is taking a tremendous toll on generations of young men and women who do not know what it means to be a man or woman. Confusion over the meaning of sexual personhood today is epidemic. The consequence of this confusion is not free and happy harmony among gender-free persons relating on the basis of abstract competencies. The consequence rather is more divorce, more homosexuality, more sexual abuse, more promiscuity, more social awkwardness, and more emotional distress and suicide that come with the loss of God-given identity.”
How do we encourage healthy, biblical masculinity in our sons? Here is some biblical and practical advice.
- Model manhood. Randy Stinson says that, “Manhood is not forced – it’s forged! What are some things you can start doing to build manhood in your son? Camping, serving, building, how to treat women are some ideas. Invite your sons to do the things that you do.
- Encourage masculinity. Show your sons what men do. Show them how to build something, how to shave, how to grill, how to sing in church, etc… Give him responsibility. Teach him to be a leader and a protector.
- Use warfare language when describing the Christian life. Particularly waging war on sexual immorality. Battle-language is built into the DNA of a boy – exploit that when teaching him about godly living.
- Teach biblical manhood. Start in Genesis and teach your son how God created Adam to work, to provide, to protect, to lead.
I highly recommend this short book: A Guide to Biblical Manhood by Randy Stinson and Dan Dumas. They have helped me tremendously in this arena.
Practical and Biblical Tips for Parenting and Discipling Teens Through Lying
The teenager years are a challenging yet opportunistic times. It is also a time when young men and women start to develop a certain craft and technique for telling “half-truths.” The following are some practical ways for parents and mentors to shepherd teens through lying and deceit.
- Practice trust-worthiness and honesty. Do you tell the kids the truth? Are you a trust-worthy example to those who you minister to? We are always teaching our children so it is important that we model trust-worthiness and honesty.
- Pray with and for children about lying. Point them toward God in Christ who is merciful. Pray that if they lie they will get caught! If they are caught lying pray with them through repentance.
- Point them to the truth of Scripture. Dennis Rainey states, “As we shape our children’s convictions about deceit we need to be careful to give them God’s perspective of lies, false appearances, and misrepresentations of the truth.” God is clear on the matter in His Word:
- No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes. (Psalm 101:7 ESV)
- O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue… (Psalm 15:1-3 ESV)
- Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight. (Proverbs 12:22 ESV)
- We need to be careful of a judgmental attitude when presenting the truths of Scripture on this subject. We should not give God’s perspective with a “high and mighty” attitude but must do so humbly, pleading with our children, showing them grace. Take time to carefully think about this and what your tactics will be.
- Help your teen understand that lying is a spiritual battle! The Bible teaches that there are unseen forces at work in our hearts and minds – there is a real enemy who wants control of their hearts – sin and temptation are real and must be fought (Ephesians 6). Teach them that they must do war against the temptation to show anything less than godly integrity.
- Teach them that lying and deceit is idolatry. Point them to the idolatry that manifests itself in lying and deceit. Are they telling half-truths because of appearance, possessions, or acceptance? Go after their heart! Paul Tripp says this is the hardest work a human being could ever do – cultivate a heart of a child.
I hope this helps as you parent and as you minister to young men and women whom God has placed under your care.
I’m beginning a new feature on my site that I hope to publish every Monday morning called Wilson’s Weekly. This feature will include things from around the web and other stuff that interest me from the past week. I hope you enjoy!
Simplify-Family-Worship – Donald Whitney has written a very short and sweet article on how family worship does not have to be complicated. Check out this great little nugget of wisdom on what family worship in the home should look like.
While working on a bathroom repair job this week I listened to a great talk by Randy Stinson called, How to Raise Masculine Sons and Feminine Daughters. This is a great talk to encourage dads. I’m teaching a 6-week class at my church on Biblical manhood called Show Yourself a Man – How Father’s Train Their Sons to Be Men of God.
My wife and I had the opportunity to attend a John Rosemond parenting conference at Christ United Methodist in Jackson, MS this past week. It was excellent! The topic was Parenting With Love and Leadership. I have not been too familiar with Rosemond until this past year. After hearing him in person I now love this guy! He is very practical and witty. I must warn you that he is not a Bible teacher although I do believe many of his principles are Biblically informed. Check him out at www.rosemond.com. I plan to purchase Parenting By the Book and The Well-Behaved Child.