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The Big Four for Parents – pt 3 (of 4)

March 6, 2019

I’m a PK.  A Preacher’s Kid.  Among the many things this means, it means that I don’t have a recollection of a time in my life when my life didn’t revolve around the church.  If the doors were open, we were there.  The first to get there and the last to leave.  Our family life was organized around events at church.  If something happened on Wednesday night, I was out.  We were at church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, for revivals (sometimes 2 weeks long) and Vacation Bible School.  I could give you a long litany of all the hardships of growing up a PK.  But I won’t.

One of the good things about growing up a PK is that I also have no recollection of a time when Jesus wasn’t prayed to, talked about and included as an ever-present-though-invisible member of our family.  I was blessed to grow up knowing that Jesus was God’s Son, the Savior of the world, that He loved me and planned to save me.  God’s ways were the centerpiece of our family life.  We lived up to them imperfectly, but they were our constant rule and guide for life.

Although Jesus was a CK (Carpenter’s Kid), not a PK, at least in the earthly sense, I think He grew up a lot like I did.  I doubt He had any recollection of a time when the Law and the God of the Law weren’t the center of life in His home.

Dr. Luke gives us the only picture we have of Jesus’ childhood in the Gospels.  And really only a slice of it.  I’ve been writing about one sentence he penned in Luke 2:52.  And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

In that verse, there are the four basics of development all people experience.  In wisdom – the intellectual, mental.  In stature – the physical.  I’ve already written about these two.  And today, we come to “…in favor with God.”

This is the spiritual.  Interestingly, Luke writes that Jesus grew in these four things.  He grew in favor with God.  I believe we do, too.

We’re deeply loved and treasured by God.  So much so that He became one of us, lived as we do, and then died as the atoning sacrifice for us, paying the debt He didn’t owe.

You don’t earn God’s love.  No amount of good behavior or upright conduct can purchase it.  For several reasons.  But the most significant of these is the fact that you don’t buy what you already have.  There’s no need to earn what you have already been given.

Though you can’t earn or purchase it, you can grow in your understanding of it, your relationship to it, your interaction with it and all the unearned benefits to your life God’s grace grants.  God’s favor comes from His grace poured out to me.  My growth in that inexhaustible and unexplainable grace has been given to me as a gift.  God permits me to grow in this grace.  More than that, really.  He delights in my growth in His grace.

The Apostle Peter wrote, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18 NIV)

So how does a parent help their child grow in favor with God?  That’s a big question, and I won’t take the 300 pages it would take to do it justice.  Instead, I’ll offer some tips that you can adapt to your unique family and your unique kid(s).

First tip: GO TO CHURCH!  Duah.  It’s not the entire enchilada, but it’s huge in the development of your kids.  It’s not this legalistic thing where God’s keeping score on how many times you go or don’t go to church.  It’s about the unique community that the church offers.  It’s about the relationships your kids will develop with other kids and other adults who are putting themselves in a place where God can grow them.

There’s almost nothing a kid (or an adult) can learn at church that they can’t learn without going to church.  Almost nothing.  Almost is the operative word.  The community of believers, the family of faith, what the Apostle Paul called the household of faith comes together as the church.  The church, and you attending church with your kids is a way for you to expose your kids to values and practices and people.  If, that is, the church is healthy enough to hold biblical values, and practice them well in the context of broken people who are finding healing and wholeness in the grace Christ, as they extend that same grace to one another.

On another level, though, you don’t go to church.  You ARE the church.  So.

Second tip: MAKE THE BIBLE A CONSISTENT PART OF YOUR FAMILY LIFE.  There are so many ways to do this.  When you sit down for breakfast at the start of your day, read a verse out loud.  Or have one of the kids read it out loud.  My Mom and Dad used to have a little plastic case of Bible verses on little cards on the table.  It was called Daily Bread.  One of us pulled a card and read a verse every morning.  It didn’t give us a degree in Bible, but it was one of many ways Mom and Dad kept the Bible present and front and center in our home.

Spend some money and buy a good children’s Bible.  One of my favorite is Long Story Short – 10-minute devotions to draw your family to God. (You can find it here:  There are dozens of good children’s Bibles.  Pick one out and READ IT WITH YOUR KIDS.  Bedtime is a great time to do this.  You’ll be amazed at what 10 or 15 minutes of reading with your kids from a good children’s Bible will do.  Read to them, and read with them.  Let them read out loud to you.

Third tip: READ YOUR BIBLE IN THEIR PRESENCE.  Your kids will pick up on the fact that you’re reading the Bible.  You don’t have to be reading it out loud.  You don’t have to be preparing to teach a lesson or preach a sermon.  But when you read your Bible in your kids’ presence, you’re transferring values in a powerful way.  If you have a habit of daily Bible reading, they are much more likely to pick it up for themselves than if you tell them they should read the Bible every day.  I know this from my personal experience.

Fourth tip: LISTEN TO GREAT MUSIC.  Lots of Christian music is great music.  But so is Beethoven and Bach and Mozart.  Turn the TV off and listen to music.  How amazing is it that you don’t even have to go to the store and buy good music?  You can get it as a download to your phone or pad or computer for FREE!

Sometime maybe I’ll write more about why I think this is important in helping our kids grown in favor with God, but this has to do for now/

Fifth tip:  TALK BACK TO THE TV.  Choose what you’ll watch.  Don’t just watch whatever’s on , and don’t just keep it on because you don’t have the habit of turning it off when the good show you’ve chosen to watch is over.  But even when you choose your shows well, you’ll see and hear things that you need to call out.  Broken world-views show up in the most innocent of places.  In the dialogue and plot of good shows.  And in incessant advertisements that are constructed with the sole intent of making you want something you don’t need.  Look for these breaks with your value system, and when you see and hear them, TALK BACK TO THE TV.  I guarantee your kids will be watching and listening to you do that every bit as much as the show that’s on.  You don’t have to be mean-spirited or rude or hateful.  But when you talk back to the TV like this, you’re teaching your kids what matters to you.

Last tip (for this installment):  PRAY WITH YOUR KIDS.  Talk about what your kids want to pray about and then pray about it with them.  Not for them.  With them.  Listen to what’s in your kid’s heart and on their mind by taking their prayers seriously.  It’s a window into their soul like no other.  Be smart enough to look in.  It’s not a creepy peeping tom thing.  It’s getting the honor of walking on holy ground with your son and/or daughter.

That’s a lot of words to say look for ways to help your kids connect with God, but I think that’s the bottom line.

Don’t leave this to their Sunday School and Youth Group teachers and leaders.  Partner with them, but don’t delegate this to them as their responsibility.  If you do that, you’ll miss the opportunity of walking with your kids through the most incredible and intimate part of their life.

And don’t wait to get started with this until you think you’re more ready with more answers and a better Bible knowledge data base for yourself.  Start where you are. Start now!


From → Parenting

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