Why Don’t Your Children Behave?

Have you ever looked at other people’s children and wondered why they’re so well behaved, while your children aren’t? Can you take your children to a restaurant and make it through a meal without being frustrated? Can you have a conversation with another adult without being interrupted? We’ve all been there, we’ve all been frustrated with our kids and struggled with how to make them behave.

I’ll let you in on a little secret… Everyone’s children misbehave. The trick is to TRAIN them to obey. Obedient children don’t happen by magic or accident. I can’t promise that training will always work, but I guarantee you, that it WILL drastically improve your child’s obedience.
 
Before they can understand why they need to obey, children must be taught to have a heart for obedience. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”  In our home, our children love Jesus and they love being able to memorize bible verses.  One of the very first verses that they learned was Ephesians 6:1. We repeat it often; this is because they need to understand that God wants them to obey their parents, just as He wants all of us to obey Him.  Our obedience to God shows our love for Him.

 

Here are a few simple ideas to help you train your children to obey.

First, teach them HOW to LISTEN!

Children have to be able to LISTEN in order to obey. Have you ever heard of the concept of whole body listening?  No?  Me either, until a few years ago…  If you google, “whole body listening definition,” it explains how one gives different parts of the body a specific job. This enables one to focus on what is being said and really absorb it. It uses parts of the body that the speaker can see (ears, eyes, mouth, and hands), as well as, those the speaker cannot see (i.e. the brain and heart).  Basically, you are teaching your child how to focus themselves on what you want them to do.  I can easily incorporate whole body listening by asking my children to “Give Me 5.”  This teaches them what I expect from them to show they are actively listening.  This way, they’re not distracted, they can hear the words I say, AND actually comprehend the direction given.
 

Once they learn how to listen, they need to practice!  You want them to develop this skill well enough for it to become second nature.  My favorite way to do this, is through games.  We’ve all played Telephone before.  That’s a great way to start.  Another idea is to play the “Tell Me What I Said Game,” (directions: http://mosswoodconnections.com/activities/new-auditory-processing-activities/tell-me-what-i-said/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes)

Make it fun for them!  All kids love games!

 

Then Teach them HOW to OBEY!

Once children fully grasp how to listen, they need to be trained to obey. If your children do not come to you when you say to come, they aren’t fully obedient. Think about this, if you tell your child to come to you at home and they don’t, no biggie, right?  WRONG!  If you don’t train them to obey while you’re in the home, what will happen when you’re in a parking lot, or in front of a car, but they run the opposite direction? That’s a scenario that no one wants to be in.  So what’s the solution?  Training! Kids love fun and games.  So we train them to obey with fun and games! 

 

The most successful way I’ve seen this accomplished, is what I affectionately refer to as, “Puppy Training.”  Everyone knows you train a new puppy to obey with simple commands such as: sit, stay, and come.  Not everyone knows that this works well for little human babies too! Teach your child to obey your command by standing a few feet away, and telling them to come to you.  When the child obeys, make a huge deal by lavishing them with praise.  Repeat a few times and then back farther away.  Repeat.  And repeat.  And repeat…. As many times/days/weeks as it takes.  If your child learns, but then starts to forget, train them again!  The ultimate goal is that your child should come to you whenever you call to them without any questions or hesitations.

 
Here is a link to other games that work well for teaching obedience.https://www.triumphantlearning.com/teach-child-obey-games/
 
The biggest issue with my children’s obedience is when I have adult company over.  They want to join in on the conversation so badly they can’t stand it!  Someone once gave me some advice on how to handle that (obviously she could see I needed help!) and it has worked wonders for me!  Teach your child that while you’re speaking to another adult, and they need your attention, they should place their hand on your arm.  You will acknowledge them by placing your hand on top of theirs so they know you recognize their need.  When you get to a stopping place in your conversation, acknowledge their turn by asking, “What did you need to say?”  After practicing this a few times, my children got the hang of it!  Of course, we still need reminders every now and then, but their interrupting has gotten so much better!
 
Like I said, I can’t promise that your children will become perfect little angels, but I can promise you that these training tools have worked wonders for my little ones!


4 Ways to Honor Your Mom by Pastor Raymond Wicks

This Sunday we will give recognition to some of the most special people in our lives, our mothers.  My heart is filled with wonderful thoughts and memories of my mother; she passed away almost seven years ago.  The Bible clearly teaches us to honor our parents.  Exodus 20:12 “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”  As we approach Mother’s Day, here are a few practical tips to help us honor our moms.
 

1. Brag on her.

Your mom does something better than anyone else you know.  What is it?  For example, my mom made the best pineapple sauce for ham and pork chops!  My wife got the recipe and has now passed it on to our children.  Every time we use that recipe, memories flood back to those special meals with Mom.  Let others know about your mother’s amazing chocolate chip cookies or her sweet comforting smile or her incredibly soft hands.  Maybe she is the most faithful, hard-working person you know.  Maybe her selfless deeds for others should be recognized.  Take a few moments right now and think about ways you can brag on your mom. Give her some well-deserved accolades.
 

2. Listen to her.

Early on I realized that there are only a few people that genuinely love us and have our success in mind.  For many, that person is called “Mom.”  With that in mind she certainly deserves our attention when she tries to teach us, correct us, or guide us.  Don’t be too cool to listen to your mother. 
 
In Proverbs 1:8 the Bible says “hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.”  Proverbs 15:20 continues “a foolish man despiseth his mother.” 
Listen to her.  She is trying to help you.  She probably has your best interest at stake. 
 

3. Stay out of trouble.

Proverbs 10:1 says “a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.”  Even as a young boy, I remember wanting to please my mom.  I wanted her to be happy with my decisions and my life.  One of the reasons I hired our current youth pastor is because he had a reputation of wanting to please his mother, even as a teen.  Spare your mother from a lot of heartaches and embarrassment by simply doing right. 
 

4. Be a success.

Give your mom a son or daughter she can be proud of.  Make her child-rearing efforts worthwhile.  My mom is now gone from this life, but she can look down from Heaven and see four successful children who owe a great amount of honor to a wonderful lady we called “Mom.”  She deserves honor. 
 
Happy Mother’s Day Mom!


10 Ways to Enjoy God When Life is Busy

 

 
Many of us have good intentions when it comes to spending time with God. However there is often a long list of other things that can push this priority to the bottom of the pile. Family, work, school, sports, and other commitments can fill our days leaving little margin for the spiritual activities that really feed our souls. By not making time for God, we often leave ourselves empty, vulnerable to temptation, and without direction.

D.L. Moody, the nineteenth century founder of Moody Church and Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, recognized his need for God and once said, “the only way to keep a broken vessel full is to keep the faucet running.” So how do we “keep the faucet running” in the middle of a hectic schedule?

Here are some practical suggestions:

 

Use travel time. The AAA Foundation recently conducted an extensive survey to better understand the characteristics of today’s American drivers. In this study they reported that the average driver spends over 290 hours driving every year. That is the equivalent of seven 40-hour work weeks! All of this time spent on the road can be an excellent opportunity for us to pray — with your eyes OPEN, of course! Storing prayer cards in the sun visor or console can provide some quick prompts to help you get started.

 

Multitask. If you can cook dinner while watching a Netflix show or helping one of your children review for a spelling test, then you can multitask. This means you should also be able to listen to worship music while getting ready in the morning or to pray while doing other projects which don’t require your full mental attention. You can look for natural connections to help you remember — like asking God to clean your heart while you are cleaning the kitchen or praying for a child to grow in God’s grace while you are doing an errand related to that child.

 

Rise and Shine. Although multitasking is great, ideally it is a good idea to prioritize some focused time with God each day. One way to accomplish this is by waking up a little earlier each morning to read the Bible and pray. The house is usually quiet then, and having the automatic brew cycle set the night before will allow you to wake up to the smell and the warmth of coffee. For most people, the key to getting up earlier is simple — going to bed earlier. It starts there — the night before. Nothing else compares to prioritizing and enjoying these regular blocks of focused time with Him!

 

Get some exercise. Look for ways to strengthen your heart while strengthening your body by filling your mind with truth while exercising. One way to do this is by listening to Christian podcasts or audiobooks while exercising. This is also a quiet time to talk with God in prayer.

 

Memorize and Meditate. Even in the busiest times, it is possible to use wait times to work on memorizing Scripture. A Scripture memory card can easily be stuffed in one’s pocket or bag so that it is available during down times throughout the day. This might be while waiting for a client, sitting in a doctor’s office, or passing time in the after school pick-up line. Memorization is more than simply recalling words; it is a great way to meditate on God’s Word! There are some great apps out there to help with Scripture memory.

 

In the Moment Prayers. God doesn’t care where you are or how noisy it is when you call out to Him. You can ask Him for wisdom and patience while in your favorite overstuffed chair in the early moments of the morning, while waiting in traffic, or while pushing a two-seater truck-cart down aisle 12 at Target. He is always present – always desiring to help and guide you.

 

Prioritize Church. Getting to church can be a challenge if it is not already built in to your schedule, but being with other believers and hearing the teaching of God’s Word is an important part of every believer’s life. Paul refers to the church as a “body” in which we all play an important role (1 Corinthians 12:27). By making this time a priority, you contribute your part to the body and to bringing glory to God.

 

Spend Quality Time with Other Believers. The Bible includes many admonitions directed at the things believers are to be doing for “one another.” These include encouraging, praying for, building up, serving, and more. We cannot be doing these well unless we are spending quality time investing in friendships with other Christians. This does not mean that Christians only spend time in deep, serious talk. Instead they share life and laughter together often making it easier and more natural to talk about the things that deeply matter.

 

Serve. Philippians 2 explains that Jesus Himself came to this world as a servant, and in the same way, every believer is instructed to use the gifts God has given to serve others (1 Peter 4:10). Serving can be little things like helping people throughout your day or it can be done in a more planned way by regularly serving in a certain ministry through your church. By humbly giving of yourself to bless others, you offer a gift of worship to the Lord (Ephesians 6:7).

 

Ending the Day. As the day comes to a close, it is good to take a few moments to reflect back over your day. This is a great time to confess any sin which God brings to your mind and thank Him for the many blessings He brought throughout the day. When areas of concern come to mind, give them to the Lord asking for His wisdom and strength.

 

If you are not already in a regular habit of spending time with God, choose one or two these suggestions and get started this week. You were made with a desire to relate to God built deep into your DNA, and by making time for this important priority, you will find great fulfillment in the love He desires to pour into your life.

 

We hope that in your busy schedule, you’ll take a “day of rest” as God did. A great thing to do is make that day Sunday and make worship part of that time. We hope you’ll take some time to join us for a service. We would love to have you.

 



Forgiveness – The Gift You May Still Need to Give

Gift of Forgiveness The bows and paper have been tossed by now. The clothes that didn’t fit have been returned. Perhaps you are satisfied with all the gifts you gave and received. We hope so.  We all love the satisfaction and joy of knowing that the recipient likes what we gave them. But maybe some of us forgot a very important gift. This gift would benefit the recipient in immeasurable ways, while also liberating the giver from increasing bondage, providing vivid testimony to the gospel, and showcasing Christ-like love to the unsaved world. What gift could do all this? It’s the gift of forgiveness.

In his book Unpacking Forgiveness, Chris Brauns helps us understand that forgiveness is not only right (in that it glorifies God by obeying His will), but it is also best. God, as the standard of holiness and goodness, will only require of His people those things which are best for them. Our joy is completely full only when we live in submission to God’s design for our lives. And part of God’s good design for us is forgiveness to those who’ve sinned against us. Forgiveness is not a bitter pill to swallow; it is the doorway to maximum joy and peace.
 
Our ability to forgive others is a result of God’s forgiveness of us, and our desire to forgive others is based entirely on His forgiveness of us (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13). Brauns highlights three ways in which our forgiveness must mirror God’s forgiveness of all those who’ve been redeemed:
 
1. Forgiveness is gracious (Eph. 2:8,9; 2:4; I John 4:10).God’s forgiveness toward us is a gift motivated by His love for us (Eph. 2:4). But though this gift is graciously offered to all, this gift wasn’t free: God paid for it with the blood of His Son’s death (I John 4:10). In the same way, our forgiveness of others must be freely offered even though it is costly. There is nothing that we have done or ever could do to receive God’s forgiveness; He graciously offers it because He is gracious. Our offer of forgiveness toward others must not be dependent upon their efforts, their remorse, or anything else we want them to do, feel, or say. And it will be costly. We will need to die to ourselves, our desire for revenge, and our pride.

2. Forgiveness is conditional.God’s forgiveness is graciously offered to all, but it’s only given to those who repent and believe (Acts 20:21). God’s forgiveness is dependent; it is conditional. Like any present, God’s gift of forgiveness in Christ must be accepted, or “opened.” As we graciously offer forgiveness to those who have legitimately wronged us, we pray and plead that they will accept it by humble repentance, just as God pleads with all to accept His forgiveness by repentance. Forgiveness is conditional in that both parties involved must be committed to the new life together. Forgiveness is not possible where humility is not present.

3. Forgiveness is a commitment. When God’s gracious offer of forgiveness (that is motivated by His love and costs the death of His Son) is accepted through repentance and faith, God justifies that person. He commits that He will no longer hold that person’s sin against them. There is a legal transaction that frees that person from the condemnation and punishment that was deserved. When we forgive another individual, we make a similar commitment. We enter into an agreement that, though wrong was done, we will no longer hold that sin against that person. Our forgiveness has freed them from the debt that they had accrued.

And this commitment is not temporary or insignificant. True forgiveness means that we are committing to never bring up the offense again – not to that person, not to another person, not to God, and not to ourselves. This is the commitment that God makes to us in Christ. He commits to remove our sin “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). What tremendous hope is found in this truth! “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.” (Psalm 130:3,4)

Of course, forgiveness does not mean that all consequences of wrongdoing are immediately eliminated. Because sin affects others, consequences of sin must sometimes be carried out. And it is in this very process where forgiveness can be most sweetly displayed: Those who are truly repentant and have been forgiven are most ready to accept the consequences of their sin.

Forgiveness frees us from the captivity of revenge
. This world tells us that revenge is our right, and that we ought to get even with those who’ve wronged us. But this is in direct contrast to God’s Word. See, in God’s economy, those who forgive others are carrying out the very essence of the gospel. Those who have been forgiven are to be the ones who forgive, and they are to forgive in the very same way they’ve been forgiven. As a result, joy and peace will flood into our lives.

So, what is forgiveness? As author Chris Brauns has said, it is “a commitment by the offended to pardon graciously the repentant from moral liability and to be reconciled to that person, although not all consequences are necessarily eliminated.” If you forgot to give this important gift, consider giving that gift to some family members, coworkers, neighbors, and friends right away this year. You just might be the greatest benefactor of the gift you give another.
 
If we can be of help to you as you struggle with your hurt, please do not hesitate to get in touch. 


Take Some Time to Start Right – Some Biblical Advice

Bible Advice for a New Year

 

It is here. A new year is a fresh start. It provides a clean slate to write your story. Here are some biblical ways of doing so to consider as you begin.  Of highest importance is knowing for sure you have a vital real relationship with Jesus Christ through the simple plan of the Gospel.  If you are unsure of your relationship with God, we would invite you to contact us to talk in person. In the meantime, click here to help understand more about your relationship with God.

Here are 7 practical ways to begin this new year of life in a biblical way.

1.       Begin With an Over-all  Renewed Commitment to the Priority of God in Your Life

Some things to think about as you consider the place of priority God has held in your life and how you might improve.

·         What do I spend my time doing each week? Remember, time is life and life is time. How you spend your time is how you are spending your life.  Sure there is time to relax, watch the game

·         What do I look forward to doing most in a week?  Does your answer have much to do with God or your service to him?

o   Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…(Matthew 6:33)

o   If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (Col 3:1-2)

o   Create and pray for the opportunities to serve in ways you enjoy.  The way you serve him will be according to the spiritual gifts and opportunities he has given you.

2.       Begin with a Renewed Commitment to the Priority of Prayer

It is interesting how large a portion of Sacred Writ is occupied with the subject of prayer, either in furnishing examples, enforcing precepts, or pronouncing promises. We scarcely open the Bible before we read, “Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord;” and just as we are about to close the volume, the “Amen” of an earnest supplication meets our ear. Instances are plentiful. Here we find a wrestling Jacob-there a Daniel who prayed three times a day-and a David who with all his heart called upon his God. On the mountain we see Elias; in the dungeon Paul and Silas. We have multitudes of commands, and myriads of promises. What does this teach us, but the sacred importance and necessity of prayer? – Charles Spurgeon

 “God’s acquaintance is not made hurriedly.  He does not bestow his gifts on the casual or hasty comer and goer.  To be MUCH alone with God is the secret of knowing Him and of having influence with Him.” E.M. Bounds

 “We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power.  We have a great deal of activity but we accomplish little; many services but few conversions; much machinery but few results.  The power of God is lacking in our lives and in our work.  We have not because we ask not.  It was a master stroke of the Devil when he got the church and the ministry so generally to lay aside the mighty weapon of prayer/ The Devil is not afraid of machinery, he is only afraid of God, and machinery without prayer is machinery without God. When due to lack of teaching or spiritual insight, we trust in our own diligence and effort to influence the world and the flesh, and work more than pray, the presence and power of God are not seen in our work as we wish.” R. A. Torrey

3.       Begin with A Renewed Commitment to the Word of God, The Bible.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Col 3:16)

 “Sanctify them through Thy Word, Thy Word is Truth.” (John 17:17)

Whatsoever things be TRUE….THINK on these things… (Phil. 4:8)

We ARE what we THINK on a regular basis. Meditate on the Bible every day.

·  Read the Word – Don’t get discouraged if you miss a day or a week or a month….

· Listen to the Word preached – take notes, MP3, online sermons….  www.oneplace.com

·  Memorize the Word

·  Consider it in daily actions – remember that as a Christian it is “written on your heart.” What does that mean to you?

4.       Begin Without the Nagging Paralyzing Effect of Fear, Dread and Worry

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isa 41:10)

Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ… Peter 1:13

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2Co 10:5)

Remember:

Great Faith is not an irrational leap. It is a reasonable trust in the revealed truth about God. It is a process of thinking. John MacArthur

Faith is primarily thinking.  The trouble with a man of “little faith” is that he doesn’t think.  He allows circumstances to beat him up.  Faith is not purely mystical.  Christian faith is essentially thinking (by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit) on the truths of God’s Word. “Look at the bird, the grass, the lilies, –consider them…think about it and draw your deductions based on logic.  Faith is a man determined to think on truth when circumstances tell him not to. Lloyd-Jones

The essence of “little faith” is that a man’s thoughts are controlled by circumstance and not by the man girding up the loins of his mind and bringing them captive to the truth.  The man of “little faith” is the man who is not allowing the Spirit to fill him with the truth of the Word of God, but is being filled with his own thoughts of fear, worry and suspicion based on circumstances.  He then does not think, but goes round and round in circles.   Worry is not “thinking too much” it is not thinking enough about the Biblical truth that you know.  It is not letting the Word of Christ “dwell in you richly” and being “filled with the Word of God by the Holy Spirit” Faith is not optimism, wishful thinking, or dreaming.  It is a reasoned response to the revealed truth of the Bible with or without emotion.  Lloyd-Jones

5.       Begin Without Conviction from Sins of the Past Which You Have Confessed and Forsaken.

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. (Pro 28:13)  If you haven’t confessed and forsaken your sin.  Do so today. Would you rather have a year of failure or a year of mercy?

6.       Begin with A Renewed Commitment to Spiritual Disciplines in the Pursuit of Godliness.

God makes us Godly!!!    We “put ourselves in the way.”  Remember:

·         Discipline brings Freedom to reach your goals

·         Discipline is based on principle and commitment -not feeling

·         Discipline without direction is drudgery. – Donald Whitney

 Examples of areas to develop disciplined routines for godliness.

A great resource for ideas in the book, Spiritual Discipline by Donald Whitney.

·         Bible intake          

·         Service

·         Confession to God

·         Prayer

·         Searching/solitude

·         Praise

·         Devotions

·         Accountability

·         Evangelism

7.       Begin with The End in Mind.

It may be hard to do, but think about how you want this new year to end next December.  What will you want the year to have been like?  What do you want to have accomplished, how to you want to be better? Different? This means you’ll need to set and accomplish goals.  Here are some ideas on how to do so.

Quick steps to getting where you want to go…

·         Review your roles (What roles do you play?  Mom, Dad, Employee, Christian, Husband, Wife…?

·         Realistic reflection in each area of how you can and should improve.

·         Righteous reach forward (God ordained Goals).  Set goals for each role.

·         Reinvented routine. Determine to change your life’s routines in order to reach your goals.

·         Revitalized rigor. Get excited and motivated by envisioning how your life and the lives of those around you will improve as you reach your goals.

If you do not have a church you feel at home in or that teaches the Bible in a truthful practical way, we invite you to visit us some Sunday. 

Here is more you may find helpful on our site.


10 Suggestions to Help Stop the Yelling

yellingHave you ever been yelled at as an adult?  Maybe it was in traffic or when you accidentally spilled something on the big mean guy in front of you at a ball game. Whatever the situation, how did it make you feel?  Did you feel your face get red? Were you embarrassed or angry?  After the fact, even hours later, did you feel vengeful or keep thinking of things you could have or should have yelled back at the person? Now, rewind to the last time you yelled at your child.  Do you think they feel much differently? Do you think raising your voice or using harsh words helps or hurts the relationship with young people?

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:29-32, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

 There is powerful truth in this passage regarding communication in general especially at home, but let’s focus for now on the word “clamor” in verse 21.  The word comes from a word that means to croak (as a raven) or scream, that is, shriek, cry (out).  This unfortunately describes most every one of us as parents at one time or another in the way we speak to our kids. We lose control because we had a long day, our kids get under our skin, they disobey or disrespect one too many times and instead of responding firmly in love, we respond firmly in anger, clamor and evil speaking.  Instead of solving the problem, we makes it worse.

Here are 10 suggestions for dealing with yelling and/or its aftermath.

 
1.    If you’re guilty, make it right. If you know you’ve been wrong in this area, let your child know you were wrong, you feel badly about it and you are going to take steps to correct this issue.  This may be difficult, but it will help you and your child.  Make sure you also go to the Lord and ask for forgiveness and help as well. He will not only forgive us but strengthen us to overcome our sin. (I John 1:9)

2. In addition to making it right, communicate with your child about the situation. Tell them in a way that fits their age and understanding that you struggle with anger and yelling at times. Let them know you are praying for victory and ask for their help.  Let them know what actions on their part can cause you to struggle more.  Don’t blame them or make them feel your sin is their fault (it’s not) but communicate that their actions do make a difference.

3.    Give advance warning when possible to avoid the yelling.  Let your child know that their actions are elevating your emotions in a negative way and that you feel like you’re going to explode.  Let them know when possible that you both need to work to defuse the situation immediately. Let them know that you may need to walk away and cool down. Tell them that if you do that, it is your way of preventing a yelling episode. 

4.    Pray. Ask God right there in the heat of the moment to give you strength to control your words and voice.  Step away and cool down if possible.

5.    Envision a stage.  God sees your actions, but imagine that a group of your peers or co-workers are watching you and your child on a stage. Would your yelling embarrass you in front of them?  Perhaps it will help to envision them as being there.

6.    Remember you are the parent. Yelling and sparring with words reduces your level of authority and respectability.  You are the adult.  Remember to act like one.  When you yell, it makes it easier for your child to yell back because you seem more like a sibling or peer.

7.    Memorize a passage of Scripture together with your child.  Agree that it is wrong for both of you to participate in these sins of words and voice. A joint memorizing project will help with accountability and relationship building. Ps. 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. You can simply “Google” “Bible verses on controlling your words” or “Bible verses on controlling the tongue” for some good suggestions.

8.    Have your husband or wife help. Be accountable to someone regarding your words and voice.  A husband or wife is perfect. If that doesn’t fit in your particular situation, ask your pastor, pastor’s wife or a close friend to keep tabs on you and ask how you’re doing weekly. Ask them to pray with you about the struggle.

9.    Thank the Lord your child is safe and healthy. There have been times I felt myself becoming irritated with my child and feeling like exploding.  It helped to envision them sick or hurting and thank the Lord that they were actually ok, safe and well.  This filled me with more compassion and thankfulness which helped defuse the anger and tone down the situation. 

10.  Read a good book on Words.  A new book is currently available by Paul Tripp called “War of Words.”  You can order it here and watch a short helpful video here.

So is there ever a reason to yell?  Sure.  Perhaps to get attention, to create urgency or emphasis, but yelling with sinful anger is never good. Like any sin, it always makes things worse.

We would love to help minister to your family at First Baptist Church. We have a very active children’s and teen program and we have seasoned parents who would be happy to be involved with praying for you and listening. Our pastor preaches messages from God’s word, the Bible, in a practical way that applies biblical principles to your life. It is systematic and right from the text of God’s word.  Join us.

 



How to Help Your Kids Defeat Summer Boredom

Help Your Kids Beat Summer Boredom5 Bible Based Ideas (2)
 
Every parent knows that with the much anticipated breaks from school also come the much dreaded words we all hear from the kids. 
“I’m bored. There is nothing to do around here.” 
As most parents have experienced, if boredom is not dealt with strategically and successfully, it can quickly turn into a problem. Sibling arguments, laziness, watching TV for hours and hours and so on are issues that arrive and that are issues no parent enjoys facing.
Here are Five suggestions to consider as you navigate the break this year.
 
  1. Implement a strategy where your child can earn points. Points turn into cash, material items, trips and other things that individually motivate your child. It works for children and I’ve even seen teens up to 18 get excited about it if the incentives are right. It works something like this. There are two lists of jobs. One list is a daily/weekly list of regular routine chores that need to be done around the house.  Each week chores are successfully completed earns them 300 points. You can give partial points for less than 100% completion. A second list has items that can be done for extra points. This list is one that you build off your own “to-do” list from around the house, around the widow’s house next door, grandma’s house etc. It can include all kinds of items from cleaning out the junk drawer to trimming the hedges to weeding the garden. You decide a fair number of points for each job. Your child can choose which he’d like to do and when he’d like to do them. If you have jobs that arise or that need to be done at a certain time, negotiate points for the job with him like you would a contractor. In all cases, make the points worth it for him. As the weekly and extra points add up, he can trade them in at various levels for smaller rewards or save them for something bigger. Give some extra incentive for when he reaches certain levels. At 2500, he gets to have a friend over. At 4000, bowling with some buddies. These extra incentives don’t have to subtract from the totals. It is a great way to keep him busy and also reward his hard work. (Hint- Points can also be taken away for negative behavior, but use this option sparingly.) 
  2. Consider vacation Bible school at local churches.At our Bible school (see below) there are outdoor activities, crafts, fun with friends and the blessing of learning about the Bible.  Your kids and teens will have a blast at First Baptist this summer. You can check with other local churches to learn about other Bible school opportunities during the summer. Make sure though that what is being taught is truly from the Bible. Check websites for the doctrinal statements of the church and what they will be learning that week during the Bible school time. You can read our doctrine statement here and more about our summer youth programs here. 
  3. Communicate. Make sure you are taking advantage of the extra time with your child. Take them to lunch, take a weekend trip together or binge watch some wholesome Netflix shows from your childhood era. Conversation Starters for Good Communication with Your Teens and Children
  4. Stay involved in a church. Most churches provide some great family activities in the summer. We do here at First Baptist. Check it out here.  Get involved with a good Bible-believing church that will not only provide great worship opportunities for your family, but a great teen program for your teens. Talk to the youth pastor or children’s ministry director if you’re concerned about your child.
  5. Give them time to relax and refresh. School can be hard and students need some time off. Don’t be overly concerned with some sleeping in, video gaming and tv watching. Kids are only young once and most will work the rest of their lives. While a good work ethic is needed, don’t forget to let them be a kid while they can.

 

Breaks from school don’t have to be as stressful as it may seem. Plan ahead, talk it over with your child and create breaks from school that end up as pleasant memories for everyone involved.
 
 
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Wrapping the Awkward Gift of Advice

awkward gift of adviceConfrontation and giving advice. When we know our friends may be struggling with a problem, sin, or even an addiction, it’s never easy to offer helpful correction or give input.  In fact, it is like trying to gift wrap a huge, awkwardly-shaped gift that our friend may not even appreciate at the time. You know they will benefit from it, but how do you make it presentable so they will gladly accept it? Even with examples laid out before us in Scripture, it is still difficult at times to know exactly what to do and say to get our friends or family to listen and really hear truth.

In the end, we know we can’t force a gift on anyone. No matter how valuable the gift of advice or confrontation, no matter how perfectly wrapped or perfectly timed, it still has to be received. We know that, according to Scripture, wise people accept this gift of advice and confrontation. We can see that even some marginally wise folks will accept it, although more care must be taken in the giving of it. We also know that the Bible says that a mark of a foolish person is that he will not accept advice (Proverbs 23:9).

A few preliminary thoughts first.

Silence means approval (Proverbs 17:15-17).  Remember that you, as a friend or family member, must attempt to give this gift.  You can’t stay silent and just hope things get better. You can’t be the buddy or friend and not be a godly friend. 

Remember that advice and confrontation bring results (Proverbs 28:23).  It may not be the immediate results you want; but if they accept, you have “gained a brother” (Matthew 18:15) and strengthened the relationship.  If the result is rejection, you can begin to follow the advice God gives on dealing with those who are foolish.     

So how do we wrap this gift of advice, wisdom, and / or confrontation?

There are some great “wrapping” instructions in the story of the prophet Nathan confronting David after his sin with Bathsheba.  This story can be found in 1 Samuel 12:1-15.

1. Wrap your advice in a friendship of encouragement. If you are not careful about picking the battle you choose with your friends who are struggling, you’ll find yourself nagging instead of advising. What’s the difference? Nagging occurs when you find yourself constantly irritated with your friend and badgering them almost every time you’re with them. Advising happens when you pick your battles, letting some (maybe many) issues go while focusing on the biggest issues or the ones the Holy Spirit prompts you about first. Spend your time and energy trying to find the things you can praise in your friend’s life on a regular basis. He’ll be more open to the purposeful, planned confrontation if it is wrapped in a day-to-day flow of encouragement. 

2. Wrap your advice in brotherly love and not harsh judgment. In other words, wrap it in humility, mercy, and grace, remembering your own journey, struggles, and failures along the way. Remember God’s mercy to you. Soft words turn away anger. Meditate on Proverbs 15:1. Learn to ask questions and not make accusations. Study 1 Corinthians 13 before confronting. Love hopes, love endures, is patient, kind, thinks the best whenever possible, and so on. If you are looking forward to pointing the finger and confronting, or if you are angry and frustrated, then wait. 

3. Wrap your advice in facts. Nathan knew the facts when he confronted David. Don’t rely on hearsay,  possibly false assumptions, or speculations. Trust your friend enough to believe the best and think no evil until the facts are evident. This doesn’t mean that you believe lies and don’t investigate, but make sure he knows you’ve given him the benefit of the doubt. Again, ask questions of your friend first before you simply make accusations. Even if you know the facts, give him the option to share them with you first. Remember, Proverbs says that there are often two sides to a story, and a wise person gets all the facts. 

4. Give your gift with a wise sense of timing. The occasion must be God’s prompting, not your own angry outburst. Wait and pray for the right time. Here are a few thoughts: Talk privately; this type of gift is not best received in front of other family or friends. Honor his agenda if possible; if you are interrupting a ball game on TV or planned time with other friends, your gift of advice or confrontation takes a hit. Consider scheduling a time with them: “Hey, I have some things to talk with you about. When is a good time for you later today?” Along with this goes bathing the whole situation in prayer. Part of timing is giving the Holy Spirit time to work in your friend’s heart ahead of time, as well as yours (Proverbs18:13).

5. Wrap your gift with a healthy dose of Biblical Truth and Love. 

I encourage you to use Scripture itself in your advising and confronting. Stay away from your opinions and feelings, and take them back to Bible principles that they have violated. Prepare ahead of time to do this well. As an example, if a friend has been publicly rude to his wife, don’t say: 

 

“I’m tired of the way you’ve been treating your wife! I just about popped you the other day when you yelled at her at the restaurant. That better never happen again when I’m around. God will deal with people like you. I promise you!”

Instead, try something like:

“I’m concerned for you because the Bible says you should honor your wife; it gives promises for God’s grace in doing so. The Bible says in Ephesians that guys should love their wives like Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.  How do you think you’ve been doing in that area lately? I know it is an area that I’ve had to be careful in myself.”

Biblically, the key to solving strife (relational conflict) is humility and truth. This is well stated in Ephesians 4:15 as truth wrapped in love. Wrapping truth in love provokes thoughts of our heart motivations, because when we act in humility and love, we take attacking and offending out of the picture. We can then join with them in the discussion of truth. Biblical truth becomes the light in the situation and does the work of revealing the heart. With this approach, as a friend, you let the power of God’s Word, “sharper than any two edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12) do its work. You are then more freed up to love and help them as they learn how to implement truth in their actions.

6. Wrap advice and confrontation with the wide red ribbon of forgiveness. Be ready to forgive before you confront if the offense was against you. After the confrontation and advising, forgive. Don’t keep bringing up the problem. Move on. If the offense was against someone else or against God alone, assure a repentant friend of God’s love and forgiveness as well. Make sure that during the confrontation, you don’t bring up past forgiven sins unless they are very pertinent to the current situation. If the advice is rejected, you as a friend can still keep a spirit of sweetness and readiness to forgive when your friend is brought to a place of repentance by God’s work in his life. This helps guard your own heart from getting vengeful and bitter and your conversations from being harsh and sarcastic. 

7. Wrap the gift of confrontation or advice as well as the presentation of the gift in lots of love. Samuel affirmed love (II Samuel 12:25). Remember we referred to 1 Corinthians 13 earlier? Study this passage over and over when dealing with struggling friends or family. Love goes deeper than feelings and beyond feelings. You may not feel like loving him in any sort of way right now, but you can still act in love towards him according to the principles in 1 Corinthians 13. Assure your friend that you love him no matter what he does. You may not approve, you may have to even separate from him for a while, but let him never doubt your or God’s love for him. 

We hope that these helpful truths will benefit you. If we can be of help to you now or in the future, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 
 
Click below to read other articles and information about our church.
 
 
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How to Biblically Deal with Depression
Capture


5 Power Phrases to Boost Your Relationships

5 Simple Short Phrases to Boost the Love in Any Relationship (1)Need a boost to your relationships today?  Here are 5 phrases that are sure to make a difference in any relationship you have even if it has been struggling lately. Simple yet amazingly effective.  Try one out today!

1. “I love you.”  If you love someone, let them know it.  Tell them and show them often.  You may think they know it, and they might, but it is always nice to say it.  I Corinthians 13 reminds us that we can be smart, sacrificial and sound wonderful in our speech, but if we don’t have love, we are nothing. Tell your wife, your son or daughter, call your mom and dad.  Even in the struggles, an “I love you” sure can’t hurt. 

2. “I was wrong, forgive me.” One of my professors in college encouraged us to substitute this phrase for “I’m sorry.”  In saying, “I was wrong” there is no doubt in the offended and hurt person’s mind that you know you hurt them and desire their forgiveness and restoration of the relationship. We cannot be rightly related to God if we have broken and torn relationships with others. Perhaps you need to use this phrase with someone today. Don’t wait for them even if they were wrong too. 

3. “Thank you.”  In Luke 17 we read about those with leprosy who Jesus healed.  He literally changed the rest of their lives. Things were different because of His intervention.  Only one returned to say thank you.  There certainly have been people who have made a difference in your life.  People whose intervention changed things for the better. Do they know you are thankful?  What about old friends, parents, your children, their teachers, a coach or former pastor.  Make sure they know you are thankful.  “Thank you” is never said too late or too much.  

4. “I will .”  We must say “I will” to God as he speaks to us about things he wants us to do or change, but we also need to say it to others.  Jesus showed us in John 13 his willingness to wash his disciple’s feet. He then commanded us to do the same.  Look for needs you can meet, and then when you see it, say, “I will.” Try it with your husband or wife, your neighbor, your pastor, your children or your mom and dad.  You’ll be amazed at how serving others builds the relationship and encourages your own heart at the same time.

5. “I can

.” Have you hit some brick wall in your Christian life?  Do you feel defeated because of a sinful habit, or lack of prayer. Perhaps there is some difficult trial you and your teen or you and a spouse or friend are going through.  In any instance, it is easy to say, “I can’t make it.”  Paul reminds us that we CAN do all things THROUGH CHRIST who will strengthen us. A great lesson we must learn is that in myself I can’t, but in Him, I can.  Try saying “I can” to yourself. Say it to others who you may be struggling with.  Acknowledging that you can build your relationship by saying something like this can make a huge difference.  “I can make this work with God’s help.”  “I can react in forgiveness with God’s help.” “I can be patient and work through this by God’s grace.”

 

If we can be of help or encouragement to you in building your relationship with God, biblically repairing your relationship with others or  just listening to your heartache, please get in touch.
 
 

 

 

 



Christmas Cheer or Christmas Jeer? – Handling Family Strife during the Holidays

Avoiding Family Conflicts During Christmas with the Relatives(1)

“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house were tensions and frustrations. What a rouse!The hurts and offenses from long long ago seemed just under the surface. Things were ready to blow.”

Does this, in some measure, describe your family Christmas each year?  Are you concerned about the gatherings over the next few weeks?  You are not alone. It isn’t just your family. In fact even in the Bible we see family conflict from the first family (Cain murdered his brother Abel) right on to the family of Jesus himself. If you study the families of historical heroes in the faith, missionaries and even pastors, you’ll find conflict to one degree or another. Why? We are all sinners. We irritate each other at the very best and “bite, devour and destroy one another” (Galatians 5:15) at worst.

So how do we handle tough family situations during the Holidays when it is supposed to be a time of love, joy and peace?  A time to cherish the memories of each other’s company, yet it is filled with strife?  Certainly there are an infinite number of situations. This post is not intended as a “cure-all” article nor do we want to minimize your family’s needs by trying to tackle them in a short blog post. However, we want to offer some basic Bible principles and a few practical ideas that may be of help.

1.       Love your family.  Jesus said that our love for family must be secondary to our love and devotion to him.  He also said to love our enemies and those who spitefully hurt us.  In order to love Jesus and honor him, we must love our families.  What does this love look like though in practical terms? Does it mean we open ourselves or our children up to physical or spiritual harm? No! However, It does mean that we love biblically.  Study 1 Corinthians 13 for a refresher on what this means. We suggest you seek wise biblical counsel from a pastor or godly friend for help in your particular situation especially if it is involves an abusive situation.

2.       Pray. Pray for yourself. Pray that you will show grace, love, patience, mercy and reflect Christ and his actions toward those who hurt him.  Pray also for the family members who cause problems. Seek God’s help diligently about the whole situation through serious prayer.

3.       Open neutral lines of communication.  The Christmas visit probably isn’t the best time to confront or rebuke. Instead, perhaps you could make an actual list of topics you can chat about which you know will be neutral.  Try crafts or hunting and fishing. What about new apps you’ve found for your phone? Recipes, pets, new restaurants… the list could go on, but think ahead about it and write it down.  Maybe write it in a note on your smartphone so you can discreetly refer to it when needed in the middle of the room or in the car.

4.       Don’t preach. Again, this probably isn’t the time to correct, advise or rebuke. If frustrating topics arise, do your best to suggest postponing the conversation. Have a plan of action for politely walking away. (I have to email a friend for Christmas, wrap a gift, check on the kids…) Do your part to avoid tense subjects especially if you’re prone to being a confronting type person.

5.       Limit the time. Plan ahead to limit your time together.  Don’t over-stay.  Planning ahead allows you to politely  let them know you’ll only be staying for a few hours or just for a meal.  If family is coming to your house, plan something ahead that you’ll be involved in after the family visits. Invite others over at a certain time so the family members in question will need to leave etc. This is not being rude. It is planning to avoid conflict.

6.       Plan activities. Perhaps you can visit a local landmark together. Go to dinner at a neutral place in public. You can plan crafts with the kids, outdoor or indoor games or watch a Christmas movie. Avoid down time where people are bored, restless or have opportunity for negative conversation and/or arguments. Keep the flow of activity moving with things that give options to keep minds and talk active with positive subjects.

7.       Create Space.  If possible, plan ahead for times of space for yourself and/or your family while still visiting. Maybe you’ll take the kids for some last minute shopping or to a McDonald’s Play Place. Plan a walk or run each day.  Plan to call a friend for Christmas which takes you away into a private room for a short time.  Bring a project to work on with the kids – a model or craft. Whatever it is, plan ahead to create some space so tensions can ease. Space allows you and them time throughout the visit cool down.

We fully realize that these few suggestions could seem trite depending on how difficult things are for you.  We hope not, but we do want you to know that we realize that the Christmas and New Year’s holidays are not always “the most wonderful time of year” and we care.   If we can be of help to you or your family, please join us for services and talk with us.  We care and we believe the Bible can bring hope to your situation