Over the next 8 weeks we will be offering a discipleship class at Open for parents that are seeking to better understand their role in parenting and the responsibility that God has given them to rightly raise their kids in the Lord.  We will also be addressing God’s role in our parenting as well as the role of the child to respond rightly to God.  Below is a short critique of this book by one of our parents.

As a parent this book is invaluable. If your children are toddlers or teens or anywhere in between this book will help you understand your role in your child’s life and God’s grace in the midst of your many imperfections and failures. Three seasoned parents who themselves have walked through various trials with their children bring God’s word to help and give hope to the rest of us. If you are currently struggling with a child/teen/young adult that is making bad choices please know you are not alone in this struggle and God is in the midst of this time in your life.”
—written by parents of young adults

http://www.amazon.com/Elyse-Fitzpatrick/e/B001ILM7OC/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

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Having read Shepherding a Child’s Heart I think it is a “must read” for any parent and especially those who are just getting started at this parenting thing. Tripp is biblical in his applications and gives great insight and help for parents, like me, who didn’t know what they were doing at first. He gives many helps for teaching and parenting kids from infants to teenagers.  Now, also available in Spanish.

–Reviewed by a young dad

Any parent that is seeking to better understand their role that God has given them should not only read this book, but begin practicing the biblical truths that permeate these pages.  I personally would encourage every parent within our student ministry to have a copy of this book that they reread often to remind themselves of the truths that we should be practicing daily as parents.  You can buy this book at Open Door’s bookstore.

A parent in our student ministry forwarded me an interesting article today titled On the Demise of Fatherhood.  Parents living and raising children in this culture need more than ever a Father who rightly lives out his gospel centered convictions and is physically, mentally, and spiritually present in the lives of his family.  Below are a couple of quotes from this article that I found encouraging.  If you have the time to read this you will benefit greatly from Andrew Peach’s thoughts and research within this article.

“Most fathers-to-be suppose that their old ego-centered lives will continue more or less unabated after the child arrives. With the exception of a few more obstacles and demands on their time, their involvement with their children is envisioned as being something manageable and marginal. Nothing like a complete transformation—an abrupt end to their former life—really enters men’s minds.”

“But then the onslaught begins, and a man begins to realize that these people, his wife and children, are literally and perhaps even intentionally killing his old self. All around him everything is changing, without any signs of ever reverting back to the way they used to be. Into the indefinite future, nearly every hour of his days threatens to be filled with activities that, as a single-person or even a childless husband, he never would have chosen. Due to the continual interruptions of sleep, he is always mildly fatigued; due to long-term financial concerns, he is cautious in spending, forsaking old consumer habits and personal indulgences; he finds his wife equally exhausted and preoccupied with the children; connections with former friends start to slip away; traveling with his children is like traveling third class in Bulgaria, to quote H.L. Mencken; and the changes go on and on. In short, he discovers, in a terrifying realization, what Dostoevsky proclaimed long ago: “[A]ctive love is a harsh and fearful reality compared with love in dreams.” Fatherhood is just not what he bargained for.”

“Yet, through the exhaustion, financial stress, screaming, and general chaos, there enters in at times, mysteriously and unexpectedly, deep contentment and gratitude. It is not the pleasure or amusement of high school or college but rather the honor and nobility of sacrifice and commitment, like that felt by a soldier. What happens to his children now happens to him; his life, though awhirl with the trivial concerns of children, is more serious than it ever was before. Everything he does, from bringing home a paycheck to painting a bedroom, has a new end and, hence, a greater significance. The joys and sorrows of his children are now his joys and sorrows; the stakes of his life have risen. And if he is faithful to his calling, he might come to find that, against nearly all prior expectations, he never wants to return to the way things used to be.”

I was reading a short article today titled, Spritual Leader or Spiritual Provider?, and it got me thinking about the importance of providing the spiritual heritage that God itended for husbands to provide to their families.  One of the discipleship classes that are being taught right now is “How to lead Family Worship” and my wife and I are benifitting greatly from it.  One of the biggest tools God has given the family is a faithful husband and father that is willing to be the spiritual leader and provider in the home.  I would encourage every father to ask the question, are you a spiritual leader or a spiritual provider?  Every father is a spiritual leader whether they know they are or not.  Your lack of spiritual leadership is still  the example that your family is receiving, even if the example is somewhat lowsy.  The spiritual provider is one who takes his responsibility of parenting seriously and invests personally in the gospel in order that he can lead his family in worship by his lifestyle, teaching, and shepherding.  This is the life of a spiritual provider.  May fathers and husbands strive daily to personally invest themselves into the gospel, or rather have the gospel invest itself into the father/husband, and then faithfully cultivate that heritage into the lives of those that God has entrusted to him, his family.  If your family is not spending time in worship together throughout the week then I would encourage you to find time to open up God’s word and seek to encourage your family in God’s grace this week.

A great article was recommended to me this week on modesty and I believe this would benefit all parents to read as they seek to help shepherd their daughters in how to respond with a heart that desires to please the Lord not only in how they dress, but also in building a Godly demeanor amongst our ladies.  When the weather begins getting warmer it is often times the pattern of many of our young ladies to wear less clothes as well as more revealing ones.  In the short time that I have with our students througout the week I cannot  address every issue that needs to be dealt with, especially with our ladies.  Modesty is an issue that could probably get spoken on every week, and if we did many of our students would not only become annoyed, but would turn us off before we could really get started.  I want to encourage each parent to realize what is going on in the hearts of our young ladies when they seek to dress with less rather than wear clothes that honor the Lord and those who they are around.  As  your church we desire to come alongside of you and your family and encourage your daughters in the area of modesty as you are leading the way at home.  Thank you parents for your willingness to love your  family by shepherding them in this fashion, as well as the young men that are seeking to remain pure in their  lives.

http://www.thisisnext.org/webzine#article1

If your child has a cell phone then please take the time to read this and look over this website.  Our youth today often spend more time texting on their cell phone then talking on it.  With all the technology that has been made available on the cell phone our children can use it to call their parents, surf the web, online chatting, taking pictures, and much much more.  I am all in favor of technology, but I do want our children to use it to glorify God rather than falling into all types of sin.  Parents I would like to encourage you to find out more about My Mobile Watchdog in order to hold your child accountable with their use on the cell phone.

My Mobile Watchdog safeguards your child while using cell phones and immediately alerts you if he or she receives unapproved email, text messages or phone calls.

My Mobile Watchdog provides you complete text messages (sent and received from your child’s phone) along with corresponding phone numbers and records them on the website where you can review them at home and print reports for authorities.

Stay connected with your child – set appointments, list tasks… all from the Internet.

http://www.mymobilewatchdog.com/

I just had a chance to read through a great article by the two men that are listed above.  Although this article is lengthy there is much spiritual food that needs to be consumed.  There are few subjects that excite me as much as the thought of our families in our church thriving in Family Worship.  When families recognize the importance of exalting and worshiping Christ together and often in the homes then spiritual growth and commitment to Christ is the outcome.  I pray that worshiping our Savior in our homes would be the bedrock of our life.  I have attached some quotes from this article in order to stir your interest.  Please take the time to read through this.  I guarantee you will be challenged, encouraged, and blessed.

“Our goal in evangelical churches ought to be (1) for every family unit to become a discipleship group; (2) for every husband and father to become an active, self-denying, spiritual leader in his home; (3) for our congregations to have as many families functioning as “family-based growth groups” as there are families; and (4) for family religion to be the fountain of healthy, robust, corporate worship, as well as worship in all of life.”

“We ought to give serious consideration to the spiritual condition and spiritual needs of our children. Do we care more for their bodies than their souls? Do we think about how they look, whether they are physically healthy, what their career ought to be, whether they are running with the “first and best,” how popular they are-and neglect a concern to see Christ formed in them, to see them denying themselves and taking up the cross?”

“A Call to Family Worship”