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 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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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
 
 


Back-to-School Survival Tips

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This article was originally published on foxnews.com.

1. Be a savvy user of technology and ensure your child knows the electronics usage policy at the school.

Technology is moving at lightning speed and the school policies change frequently to keep up. Know what the rules are for phones, texting, going on the Internet, school laptops, iPads, iPods, etc..

And for your child’s own electronics, label everything; in fact scratch their name on the device if you own it so it will get returned if lost.

Today, information coming home in paper format is more and more limited. Don’t be the parent who doesn’t read e-mail so the teacher/school has to base the communication process on you.