sending out an album for sent reasons!!!

ABNORMAL by the Dukes Band

So excited to share with you about my son and daughter and their two older cousins releasing an album with 12 original songs. It is available on iTunes. All money from the sales will be given to the Belize Boys School with which FBC Booneville, MS partners (where Caleb and I went last May).

I think you will really dig it, whether jamming in the car or working out or dancing a jig, but of course I am a little biased.

Hope you enjoy!!!

CLICK HERE TO GET IT ON ITUNES.

great article about “2 lies that keep families from being missional” from the Verge Network

from STEW with the VERGE NETWORK:

When talking with parents of young children about the idea of being in a Missional Community, of joining a small group of believers who work together to declare and demonstrate the gospel, I usually get one of two excuses.

Click here to find out more.

Grace and Peace,
Michael “Stew” Stewart
Founding Director, Verge Network

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

We wish you a Merry Christmas!!! Hope these Christmas videos from various artists will encourage you as you gather together and remember Immanuel.

JOY with your kids because of Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE!!! Hope you can gather the kids around and enJOY Rend Collective’s song “JOY” as you celebrate Immanuel!

what to read with our kids, particularly younger ones

Recently, a friend asked what I would suggest they read with their kids, particularly their young kids (age 4 and up). Here’s what I suggested:

(1) The Jesus Storybook Bible – excellent for catching the BIG story of GOD.

(2) Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing – great little devo thoughts to talk about together.

(3) The Gospel Story Bible – more indepth than the Jesus Storybook Bible and a good follow up to it.

By the way – you will want to read these first three over and over again for a few years. Very engaging and steeped in Truth.

(4) John 1-3 – Like Peterson says in his translation of Deuteronomy 6, “Get the Word in you then get it in your kids.” There is no better section of Scripture for kids to begin learning than John 1-3. Tell them you want to memorize it with them together over the course of age 4 to 18. All three chapters. You will be surprised at how quickly kids picks it up if you take a relaxed approach reading a verse or two at a time. Reread from the beginning each time, asking kids to say the verse from verse one up to where you are. At age 3, one child was quoting the first 14 verses just from hearing her parents read it together with the older kids. This is “hiding the Word in their heart.”

(5) Depending on what age you want to read weightier content with kids, because if you read them early you will definitely want to read them again around age 11-13, all 6 Narnia books are amazing with lots to discuss. The 3 books from Andrew Peterson’s The WingFeather Saga are, too!

(6) Some short reads – The Giving Tree, The Three Trees, The Lord’s Prayer (Warren), Frog and Toad collection, Hermie collection.

Just remember that no matter what you read and at whatever age you read it, your focus and resulting conversation should always boast in the cross and revolve around the gospel of Jesus. We never quit needing to stand in and grow in and remember the gospel. Consider what Jonathan Dodson wrote in Gospel-Centered Discipleship:

“The gospel is for not-yet disciples and already disciples. The gospel people believe to be baptized is the same gospel people believe to be sanctified (through the work of the Holy Spirit). Followers of Jesus make and mature disciples by going with the gospel, baptizing disciples into gospel community, and teaching the gospel…Jesus is the ground of our going, the goal of our baptizing, and the gospel of our teaching. Making disciples is radically Jesus centered.”

May we remember this as we grow kids with grace and send kids with gospel.

a very encouraging, uplifting, gospel-centered word for moms, thanks to Verge Network.

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Thanks again to Verge Network for the equipping resources they so frequently provide. Here is a great word for moms – encouraging, truthful,, uplifting, gracious, gospel-centered. Hope it encourages you. Share it with someone to whom you think it would be meaningful. 

Click here to read “The Hope of Imperfect Moms.”  

PART 2: Does the Gospel change the way I parent? How should it?

Last Wednesday, we posted way 1 of 3 as to how the gospel should define and determine and shape the way we parent. In order to catch the intro, as well as read a short yet inadequate summary of the gospel, you can read last week’s post by clicking here. Meanwhile, here’s reason # 2.

The second way the gospel should change our parenting relates to WHY WE DISCIPLINE. To be blunt, most parents don’t even process WHY they do discipline or do not discipline. It is normally a default reason for parents who do – to correct a behavior. For those who don’t discipline, that thinking can be considered in another blog post. Anyway, to correct a behavior is not a gospel-influenced motivation for discipline, since the notion that a behavior can be corrected is not a gospel-centered thought.

“…for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died for nothing.”
-Galatians 2:21

SIDE NOTE: know before you read on that I am NOT advocating that anyone quit disciplining their children. Not at all. Jen and I do. But we are praying that Jesus will continue to wreck the default reason for discipline and reshape our motivation to be His. 

“…for the Lord disciplines the one He loves.”
-Hebrews 12:6

So, what should our motivation be? I would suggest:

  1. in order to demonstrate how destructive and hurtful selfishness (sinfulness) is. 
  2. in order to confront selfishness and have a moment for a prayer of confession and a recognition of forgiveness.
  3. in order to graciously restore relationship among those hurt by the selfish act. 

A behavioral choice that requires discipline also requires more than behavioral modification. It requires an exposure to the need for the help of a Savior who can save us from the destructive consequences of our selfishness. And that is a gospel-centered thought that leads to what I would suggest may be God’s favorite prayer that we pray – HELP. 

Discipline in a parental context is to most people synonymous with a spanking or a grounding. While those two forms of consequences may be used, “discipline” is not about a consequence as much as it is about learning. The word itself is a derivative of “disciple,” which means “learner.” So, discipline is more about a moment for learning to occur. Once again, however, it is not learning a new behavior, but rather learning Whom someone needs to call on for help because we cannot help ourselves and change what is causing us to behave in such a selfish way. 

Parents who discipline for behavioral correction will get just that – corrected behavior for a temporary modification without a contrite heart that is gratefully forgiven. Kids who are disciplined only for behavioral correction unfortunately too often do not learn the significance of repentance and confession and contriteness and gratefulness. They often end up treasuring being seen as “good” or struggle being seen as “bad.” This does not highlight the goodness of the God who came near to help us in our badness. Furthermore, the ultimate product of behavioral correction is a focus on more behavioral correction, in other words, a response to sin that involves trying harder resulting in shameful weariness rather than a response to sin that involves humble confession resulting in grateful restoration. 

Remember – we want to send our kids off to college one day knowing Who is good rather than thinking of themselves as good, knowing Who loves them no matter what rather than wondering if they are good enough to be loved. 

Thoughts???

May we discipline for kids who are growing in grace and being sent with gospel.