Archives For Family

Family Hiking

“It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the LORD, you are safe.” Proverbs 29:25 GNT

A ‘front’ by its definition can “cause the weather to change dramatically because it occurs along the boundary between two air masses with different densities and temperatures.”

I was thinking about the past false ‘fronts’ that I put up around people who did much of the same in my life. Even as a teenager, I could be whatever you wanted me to be as long as it made you and others happy.

People pleasing began to develop in my life as I tried to be all things to all people.  It caused nothing but storms in my life – even as I grew into an adult.  In my mind, I was the one trying to hold everything together. I was trying to keep the family at peace even though I was never specifically asked to do so.

Much like thunderstorms, my unhealthy ‘fronts’ and broken boundaries were all about making others happy at my expense. This caused my outlook on life to change dramatically, leaving me hopeless and unsatisfied with who I…

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Parent and Child

One of the most important things we can do for our children is to teach them that God loves them unconditionally.

It’s extremely important that we teach our kids that they are loved, not because they earned our love or are good enough to be loved, but that they’re loved because God put them into our families to be loved.

This is hard for many of us because we have had a hard time receiving God’s unconditional love ourselves. God wants us to spend some time with him, letting him love us, and in turn giving that unconditional love to our kids.

How can we show God’s unconditional love to our families? Here are two practical ways:

1. Forgive your kids as God forgives you.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ” (NCV).

I love that God forgives me, but I’m not always ready to give that same kind of forgiveness to other people. Parenting requires massive doses of forgiveness. You’re in a position all the time to forgive your kids for things that they do.

2. Never give up on your kids.

We’re told in 1 Corinthians 13:7a,…

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Kid with a BibleHi, my name is Sylvia, and I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with co-dependency and food issues. I came to Celebrate Recovery in a different way than most. I have led our Celebrate Recovery Kids Time program for eight years. The kids had fun and got to see Jesus each week. However, this was not helping improve their lives. I had a strong management background and knew how to take care of kids. I thought that was all I needed.

Although I was a Christian who had strong faith, I wasn’t actively seeking time with Christ to work on my stuff. I was not learning who he wanted me to be. I struggled with abandonment issues with my earthly father, and I didn’t want to search for a deeper relationship with God. I did my job and wanted the best for the kids. I did not focus on life-change for them because my life hadn’t changed yet. I didn’t understand what that really meant.

We started using the Celebration Place curriculum immediately after its release. We loved the lessons but hadn’t ever gone through Celebrate Recovery

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RebelAs a pastor, more than other people, I see the hurt and the heartbreak that happens in a family when a child makes rebellious and destructive decisions. And thankfully, there’s a story in the Bible that offers us a lot of insight.

What has often been called “the story of the prodigal son” is really a picture of how God shows his holiness, his goodness, and his kindness to his children — each son in this story was rebellious in his own way. Some of the insights we learn about parenting from this story might surprise you.

The story, found in Luke 15:11-32, unfolds in three stages.

Stage 1: Rebellion.

Beginning in verse 11, “Jesus said, `There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.'”

Stage one is rebellion. In every parent-child relationship, there’s going to be a struggle. It’s a struggle for control, a power struggle.

At birth, as a parent, you are…

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CherishAbout five centuries ago, Copernicus changed the way we think about our universe when he postulated that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of our universe. (We, of course, now know that it isn’t the center of the universe, but the Sun remains the center of our solar system.) Plato, Socrates, Augustine, and Aquinas all lived without understanding a basic truth that any educated person today takes for granted.

One hundred years later, just four centuries ago, Sir Isaac Newton discovered what we call gravity, something that even a contemporary fifth-grader could describe.

The relative youth of basic knowledge is rather stunning. For all his wisdom and brilliant insight, Aristotle knew less of hard science — astronomy, anatomy, and even physics — than the vast majority of Advanced Placement high school students do today. It’s remarkable to consider relatively recent advancements in intelligence and understanding.

A TV series like Mad Men, initially set just 60 years ago, seems like a ridiculous relic of an atrocious past — men treated women like that? People were that insensitive to race issues?

Just as intellect and social understanding have grown, so our love should grow, as…

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I am a perfect dad.

Just don’t ask any of my three kids. No need to trouble my wife either.

Okay so I am not a perfect dad. Not even close.

So then why do I still have it stuck in my head that if I could only find myself in the perfect situation…parenting would be such a snap? And I think you know what I mean by “perfect situation.” It’s the one where no one is rushed for time and every head is cool and every child’s heart is open for parental wisdom.  It’s the world where our kids approach us after they’ve just finished washing all the dishes from our family supper and earnestly beseech: “Father, teach us from thine Scriptures. Our hearts long for eternal truth over the trappings of these temporal video games.”

Again, not even close.

Fortunately, the picture of family life painted in the Old Testament is just as chaotic as our own, if not more.  Life was full of challenges for the people of God. Family life even more so.  Think of it this way: when the people of God were not held in captivity, they were wandering in the desert….

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I’m a sucker for vintage Disney stories. I have a collection of old Disney story books from my childhood and often read them to my boys. Tonight we chose The Aristocats, and I was moved by the final page. I’ve seen the movie and read the story dozens of times in my life, but I’ve never really stopped to take notice of the great story of redemption in O’Malley the alley cat’s life.

Duchess and her kittens are abandoned by the house butler, Edgar, and left to die in the French countryside. Along comes the loner, O’Malley, who has no interest in taking responsibility for the lives of others. But through the crisis of their lostness, O’Malley’s heart breaks and he becomes the hero, guiding them safely back home. At the end of the story, Edgar gets fired and sent away and the Madame of the house adopts O’Malley into her family of felines. And the final page says,

Madame said she needed a cat who was smart and brave.

So O’Malley decided to stay.

He was a very good father.

“How did we ever get along without you?” asked Duchess.

O’Malley just smiled.

The end.

I’m a Pastor, so in my line of…

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If you’re a parent, then our guess is that you’ve thought about what it’s going to be like when your child eventually leaves home one day. You’ve probably also wondered, what kind of person is my child going to become someday? And have I been a good parent or have I just been the inspiration for my child’s future psychotherapy?

All kidding aside, perhaps this is leading you to wonder: Is how I’m parenting right now really the best I have to offer my kids?

Let’s face it. Raising kids in today’s crazy culture is an incredible challenge! If parents were ever given an owner’s manual with instructions on how to raise kids, it would be so much easier, wouldn’t it?

As ministry leaders, we’ve spent the last 30 years working with thousands of kids. During this time, we’ve talked to many parents who said they desire to help their kids thrive and be successful, yet they don’t feel confident as parents.

The problem is that most parents don’t have a plan when it comes to raising their kids.

Without a plan, most parents default to what we call, Quick-Fix Parenting. This is the reactive, spontaneous, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants parenting….

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Kids Bible

There is an art to children’s ministry. A balance must be struck between two opposing forces: fun and growth. Honestly, it’s a challenge, and no church strikes it just right. But we will keep trying and adjusting and improving, and with God’s help, a new generation will rise up to worship him.

When families visit your church they may verbally express a desire for their kids to grow spiritually (an honest plea from their hearts) but what they often don’t say that is also highly important to them is . . . they want their kids to have fun while at church. I know it is a crazy idea, but . . . kids like to have fun. And hopefully, your children’s ministry volunteers and leaders like to have fun as well.

So let’s do it! Let’s make children’s ministry a fun environment that kids look forward to. Churches are working toward this and achieving it. You see children’s ministry areas with huge slides, chalkboard walls, building blocks, goofy stage games, leaders jumping up and down and singing. But here comes the hard part . . . how do you keep that excitement and transform it into an opportunity to…

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Girl CelebratingWe’ve all read the scary statistics of teenagers who evacuate their Christian faith after they graduate from high school. I’ve read statistics as high as 85 percent and some as low as 50 percent. But regardless of the actual number, all of us can agree that any is too many! We want as many of our teenagers’ faith as possible to not just survive but thrive long after they leave high school!

So what can we do to help teens keep the faith after they graduate? Here are four practical ideas that may help you:

1.  Pray, pray and pray some more!

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11NIV).

When Paul planted a church he consistently supported it in prayer. In the same way we must support our teenagers in relentless prayer. We must pray for them…

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Radio Shack Ad

How many gadgets featured in this 1991 Radio Shack ad does your smartphone outperform today?

  • Mobile cellular phone with memory speed-dial & answering machine – Check.
  • All weather personal stereo, AM/FM clock radio, and calculator – Seriously?
  • Tandy 1000 computer – My 3-year-old Keurig is more complex.
  • Handheld recorder, desktop scanner – There’s an App for that.
  • VHS camcorder – Remember when your dad had one the size of a small piano?

Is it any wonder then, why we’re so attached to technology? It practically puts the whole world in our hands!

Studies show most people check their phone over 110 times a day. Americans also consume over 34GB worth of information every single day. That’s more than 10 hours of TV or 40,000 Facebook posts. Every. Single. Day.

A simple walk around the block means our devices stream data from a myriad of sources unbeknownst to us. And even at bedside, our TVs and tablets have access to more information and images than folks of a few generations prior had in their entire lifespan.

Neil Postman, author of Amusing Ourselves to Death & Technology: The Surrender of Culture to Technology put it this…

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If you’re a parent, most likely you joined the parenting ranks with good intentions and excitement. But then somewhere along the way, you lost your confidence. If this describes you — don’t worry — you’re not alone. Every parent struggles at some point because the truth is, parenting is difficult! After all, our children didn’t arrive wrapped in a how-to instruction manual.

So it makes sense that most of us wind up relying on something we refer to as Quick-Fix Parenting, which is exactly like what it sounds — a quick fix to a problem. It’s not necessarily a good fix or a healthy fix or an empowering fix, and it’s definitely not an effective long-term strategy.

At its foundation, Quick-Fix Parenting becomes about stopping your children’s behavior or the agony connected to it — which is often your pain. It focuses on fixing your kid’s problem behavior, usually through verbal reprimands (often out of anger or frustration), negative instruction, and discipline for the sake of compliance.

But using these quick fixes to solve problems does not help kids grow up to become healthy and independent young adults.

So why do we resort to Quick-Fix Parenting?

Most parents…

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