Category Archives: Parenting

Family Basics

We all know the Bible talks about family.  That’s a given.  Today I just wanted to share with you a few passages that have stood out to me recently about family.  They are all found in the book of Psalms within less than 20 chapters of each other.

Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.” – Psalm 127

How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe. Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And there the LORD has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting.” – Psalm 133

May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace. May our barns be filled with crops of every kind. May the flocks in our fields multiply by the thousands, even tens of thousands, and may our oxen be loaded down with produce. May there be no enemy breaking through our walls, no going into captivity, no cries of alarm in our town squares. Yes, joyful are those who live like this! Joyful indeed are those whose God is the LORD.” – Psalm 144:12-15

As you can see, there are some powerful words that the Psalmists use about the how a family will flourish.  Simply put, your family will flourish if it is grounded in God.  I also bolded 3 key phrases – one from each passage.  There are certainly other points to be gleaned from these chapters, but these are the 3 I want you to remember.

1. Unless God is your family’s foundation, then everything you do is pointless.  This passage goes on to talk about the blessing of having children.  Most people today are cautious about not having too many kids because they can be such a handful.  Yes, they can be.  And I’m not saying I want to have 10 kids myself.  But children are God’s personal blessings!  No matter how many or how few children you do or will have, all your work may be in vain.  That is, unless you make God (the whole Trinity) the foundation and center of everything you do.  Any other way will not succeed in the long run.

2. Spend your time cultivating a close and healthy family.  Not every family will be picture-perfect like Swiss Family Robinson, the Brady Bunch, or Leave it to Beaver.  That’s not what I’m saying, and I seriously doubt that’s what the writer of Psalm 133 was trying to communicate.  The passage simply indicates that it is wonderful and pleasant when brothers are at peace.  This stands true for your whole family.  The thing is, such a family culture doesn’t come out of nowhere.  You have to work at it hard!  And you may not see fruits of this for years.  Even the best of parents can have kids that “go astray”.  Do the best you can to be intentional about cultivating such a culture, and let God take care of the rest.  Sometimes family is all you’ve got.

3. Pray for strong sons and beautiful daughters.  I don’t mean this physically.  Sure, physically strong sons and beautiful daughters are nice, but not all boys are built to be the next World’s Strongest Man and not all girls are going to be the next Top Model (I wouldn’t want my future daughter(s) to be a model to begin with.. modesty is too important!).  All that physical stuff is beside the point.  I mean to pray that your sons are spiritual rocks – powerful leaders – in their generation, and pray that your daughters be the epitome of the Proverbs 31 woman.  Pray that your children will grow up to be wise adults, not just good kids.  Pray that they will exceed your personal spiritual growth one day.  Pray that they do extraordinary things for God!  This certainly won’t be easy either.  In fact, the beginning of this chapter David is prayer for deliverance, and by the end he’s asking for peace for the next generation.  You will have to fight for your children to have a healthy environment in which to grow, especially given today’s culture.  Start by praying for them!

There are certainly countless principles, techniques, and ideas that could be offered up concerning godly families.   I truly believe that these three principles are foundational and will guide you in that direction.  What other Scriptural family principles are a must (comment below)?

-Alicia

Advertisements

The Best Things Take Time

From left to right: Aeropress, French Press, Clever Coffee Dripper, Kyocera Ceramic Burr Grinder, and Cuisnart Grind and Brew

I absolutely love coffee!  “According to research by the National Coffee Association, 56 percent of adults living in the United States drank coffee every day in 2006, about 112 million people (Source).”  However, there is a difference between loving coffee and simply drinking coffee.  For example, I refuse to drink Folgers, Maxwell House, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, or other such brands that people typically buy in the grocery store.  This may make me a little difficult to deal with at times but it’s a standard that I am unwilling to bend.  While I typically buy Starbucks, which is still not a great option, I prefer buying from roasters that I know such as Alabaster Coffee or Rosetta Coffee Company!

Beyond just drinking coffee, my wife and I love creating quality crafted cups of coffee.  We are now the proud owners of an Aerobie Aeropress, a French Press, a Clever Coffee Dripper, a Keyocera Cermaic Burr Grinder, and a Cuisinart Grind and Brew (a Chemex is next on our list). Alicia and I are even getting ready to start roasting our own coffee at home! I love our Grind and Brew, but when we have time (or make time), I love to play with our other coffee brewers.  There is something about controlling all the elements that make a phenomenal cup of coffee.  The fact is, the best cup of coffee I can drink is not going to come from the drip coffee pot in my office.

The best cup of coffee takes time.  If I have 10 minutes I would much rather have a cup of coffee from my Clever (this is currently my personal favorite).  If you want flavor profiles you are not going to grab that bright red Folgers can, scoop a few scoops of coffee in a filter, and wait anxiously for a delicious hot cup of coffee (if you’re like me, that statement may have just made you cringe).  Flavors take time to develop, to steep, to draw the best flavors out of the beans you’ve purchased.

In much the same way, drawing the best out of students takes time.  Granted, you could take Joe High Schooler, give him a task, and he could successfully complete that task.  However, is that student growing and developing, or are they simply getting the job done?  If you simply want the task of getting your caffeine fix, then Folgers can accomplish your task.  However, what if you took your time investing in Joe High Schooler?  What if once a week you started pouring into your kid and doing a weekly devotion and accountability with them?  What would Joe’s impact look like if you took the time to pour into them?  I would dare say that the task would not only get done, but Joe would walk away a better student, person, and Christ follower.

Student ministry both in the home and in the church takes time, but then again all of the best things do.  The question to all of you parents and leaders out there is, are you willing to take the time or are you willing to settle for less?

-Jason

Investment Reading

How many of you remember a time when you were little when your parents would have you pick out a book and read it with you before bed?  You know, when you were decked out in footie pajamas, and could hardly see over the kitchen counter.  My family didn’t have a designated reading time when I was little, but those times that we did sit down with a book were so special to me.  I remember one book in particular.  It was a small blue hardback book, covered in some type of cloth.  I have no idea where this book has gone or where I could find another.  But I remember flipping through the pages and reading the nursery rhymes as I grew older in age.  I also remember special times of having my dad read to me even when I was in middle school (I had a hard time reading the unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo, and it was one of my dad’s favorites).  That time we shared together was very special and brought us closer than we already were.  I also remember spending the night at a close friends house one time and sitting down with them during a family devotional time.

Parents, I beg you to spend such precious time with your kids!  Jason and I both are very adamant that God’s Word should change your life, and that’s Biblical too.  And it does just that if you are constantly reading it and learning to apply it to your every day life.  Like with anything else, the more you repeat something, the more learned or the more of a habit it becomes.  That’s why little kids do number drills in school, or math uses flash cards over and over, and teachers often say “repeat after me”.  Studies have even proven the fact that the more you repeat something, the more you retain that knowledge.  It becomes “second nature”.

If anything should be second nature in our lives, it should be God’s Word.  It doesn’t just happen.  In fact, it takes lots of work if you really want to know the Word well.  If you haven’t started to really know the Bible yet, start with small steps first.  If you’re too ambitious, you may never even complete your goal.  Did you know that you only have to read 3-4 chapters a day to read the Bible through in a year?  That’s only 10-15 minutes a day, depending on how fast you read.

So why not make this a habit with your whole family?  No time is too early to start reading the Bible to your children.  In fact, it’s commanded in Scripture!  Deuteronomy 11:19 says, “Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”  God’s Word should permeate every part of your lives!  So whether your children haven’t even been born, they’re newborns, toddlers, young children, preteens, or teens, read God’s Word together.  It is the only true foundation to any family and any life.

As parents and future parents, we should be in the business of raising wise, godly adults, not  merely “good kids”.  Following Christ has nothing to do with good behavior.  If it did, then Jesus did not set a good example, because He had a habit of breaking the rules (for a guy who’s not supposed to do anything on the Sabbath, He sure did a lot of it!).  Following Christ has everything to do with surrendering your life to Christ and allowing the Spirit of God, Who dwells inside of you, to rule in your life.  How can we live such lives if we don’t even know anything about God?  Child rearing trends and fads will go in and out of style, but God’s Word is timeless and true.  If there’s one thing that you should do as a parent, this is definitely it!

Find out some general benefits of reading to your kids from an experienced parent here.

Alicia

%d bloggers like this: