I have the privilege of being one of the preaching and teaching pastors at Highlands Presbyterian Church. I love it! I sometimes can’t believe I get to do this for a living.  One of the teaching opportunities that I get to have is the privilege of equipping parents to disciple their children according to the principles laid out in Deuteronomy 6:4-9.  This Fall I will be teaching a six-week class called PARENT UNIVERSITY.  Please don’t be wowed by the name because I borrowed it from my dear friends at Perimeter Presbyterian Church in Atlanta.

This class is designed for parents of teens and pre-teens. During our time together we will learn to help navigate your teen in today’s culture through this six-week class.  We will deal biblically and intentionally with topics like:

  • Should I let my child date?
  • How do I know if my child is a Christian?
  • How do I parent in this “high-tech” world?
  • Am I doing everything to protect my child from pornography?
  • And other challenges that parents face during the teen years.

I believe, as my friend Paul David Tripp wrote, that the teenage years are not years for parents to just survive – but to thrive. The teenage years are an age of opportunity.  Please join me.

Lying, Deceit, and Teenagers

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.

Five Barriers to Healthy Communication with Your Teen

I’ve had the privilege and blessing of teaching a class on Wednesday evenings to parents of teenagers called Just Tell Me What to Do!  I know, I know, I set myself up for failure with a title like that.  Anyways, last week we looked at healthy communication with teenagers.  I think these tips can be helpful for both parents and youth workers.  Here are the barriers:

  1. Failure to realize you (the parent) are in charge (see Eph. 6:1).  My favorite illustration of this came from an ESPN analyst on Twitter after the PSU students rioted when Paterno was fired.  His wise words, “This is the reason why there are adults in charge of this world.”  Teens need authority.  That is the Creator’s design.
  2. Busyness!  Your business and your child’s business (sports, activities, etc…) can be a huge barrier to quality time and heathy communication.  As parents we have got to quit killing ourselves and learn to say “no” somethings (probably a lot of things).
  3. Lack of understanding/knowledge of teen culture.  As parents, we have to be on our game when it comes to social media, technology, hormones, etc…We’ve got to study and learn their world so we can reach them.
  4. Unwholesome talk (see Eph. 4:29, 6:4).  Your tone, your mood, your language, are all important factors when talking with a teenager learning to become an adult.  Are you demeaning your child in front of siblings & friends?  All of these facets are important.
  5. Lack of Affirmation.  Are you constantly negative with your child?  Is there any honesty and a sense of building-up when talking with you child?  Practice daily compliments with your teenager.  Seek to build them up!  My friend shared a great illustration of this from a Desiring God interview with Sam Crabree.  Please go to 16:40 – 19:10 on the video.  Click here!

Youth Pastors Perspective: Keeping Youth in the Church When They “Grow Up”

I love this article and this youth pastor’s assessment of what it takes to keep youth in the church when they become adults. His assessment is practical, Biblical, and strikes right at the heart of the relationship that the Church and the Home must have to reach the next generation.

Read it here!