I've been criticized before for posting about parenting - while sitting on the sidelines...but let me just give you guys a little preface before I even get started:
No, I don't have children.
Yes, I believe strongly about aspects of parenting.
Yes, I know that given individual circumstances - parenting involves flexibility.
No, these are not my ideas.
Yes, this sermon was written by our Pastor who has 4 wonderful kids - and it is completely based on Biblical principles.
I was more than a little moved sitting in our church service this week - because the sermon spoke to me. As if it was a little whisper coming from Jesus telling me to listen up because I'm going to need this information in the future. At the same time, I was saddened that our Pastor had to start off by telling us that some people in the room were going to dismiss these ideas as being wrong before ever getting through the entire message... but John and I found ourselves in total agreement with him through the whole thing.
Let me also preface this by saying - you have to take these ideas and make them your own - every child and family is different, and you need to make this work for you. I truly believe the most important thing is consistency and follow-through. If you tell the child about a consequence coming from an action - you have to follow-through with it... otherwise it becomes an empty threat that the child knows is really nothing more than a joke.
Alright - enough about those things... on with the meat of the message. I am going to give you the full text of our outline this week because the scripture references are just that good. I HIGHLY recommend you clicking through to hear the actual message as it was given by Kevin, our pastor, on Sunday.
Raising Kids God's Way (Additional thoughts added by me in parenthesis)
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV) "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
God's ways are not Man's Ways.
Man's way of raising kids is not God's way.
God's way of raising kids is in the Bible.
Deuteronomy 6:1-6 (NIV) These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.
(I kept reading more of this chapter when I was getting this reference for you guys... there is a LOT of powerful information in there... so if you are so inclined - don't stop reading there at verse 6... keep going!)
Four step process for spiritual formation:
1) The foundation is fear. (Don't stop reading... this isn't a bad thing!) - Fear of God - An attitude that seeks a "right" relationship with God - A healthy fear of consequences from actions - Kevin reminded us that every time you hear in the Bible about someone seeing a physical presence of God... they have a reaction of fear.
(You know the healthy fear that he's talking about - or at least I always did - I can vividly remember not doing things that my friends were doing because I KNEW how much trouble I would have gotten in. Sort of like the type of thought process that your teenager would be sitting in a social setting, and "Just Say No" because he/she hears your voice in their head telling them all the consequences of that action. This is a gradual process that starts young... anyway... keep reading.)
Deuteronomy 6:1-2 (NIV) These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live...
Psalms 111:10 (NIV) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. ( Precepts = laws)
Proverbs 1:7 (NIV) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs 9:10 (NIV) The dear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
2) Fear leads to obedience.
Exodus 20:18-20 (NIV) When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die." Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning."
3) Obedience leads to blessings.
Deuteronomy 6:2-3 (NIV) so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you.
Isaiah 1:18-20 (NIV) "Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall by like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
4) Blessings lead to a growing love relationship.
Deuteronomy 6:4-6 (NIV) Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.
1 John 4:18 (NIV) There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
4 part plan for raising kids:
1) Commit to God's way. 2) Consistent, age appropriate discipline.
* Rod - ages 2-8 - Spanking - For rebellion not for mistakes or immaturity
Proverbs 22:15 (NIV) Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.
Proverbs 13:24 (NIV) He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
*Reproof - ages 6-12 - Fear induced rebuke - Stern look from a mother (aka "Hairy Eyeball")
Proverbs 29:15 (NIV) The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.
*Removal of freedom - ages 10+
* Responsibility - ages 15-18 - Extra chores - A job
3) Consequences allowed, not prevented. - No swooping in to save the day - Let the consequences teach the lesson when warranted
4) Communicated unconditional love.
Zero tolerance for: * Discipline in anger. "The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God." * Physical injury of any kind. * Comments that belittle or shame. * Actions that do not affirm and build up your kids.
That concludes the sermon notes.
Can I just say that this message was wonderful? I mean what parent doesn't need to hear that - or have someone in their life that they can pass the message on to?
I know that John and I won't be perfect parents by any stretch of the imagination, but I believe that after hearing this message - if we put these things in practice, we will be better parents. In the end, that is all you can hope and pray for... to be the best parents to YOUR children that you possibly can. (I stress "YOUR" because every child is different, and you have to do what is best for the children that God has gifted to your family.)