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Our Father Isn’t

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OurFather

Our Father Isn’t Passive and He Doesn’t Provoke Us

Happy Father’s Day! 

Thank you, fathers, for all that you do to lead your families, love your wives, and raise your children to serve God with a lasting faith!  There is literally no higher calling that we could aspire to.

On this special day, let’s remember how fortunate we are to have the Perfect Father.  He has been a Father for an eternity, and He fathers us perfectly.

If you’ve been a father very long you know that fathering is a hard job.  Some days we are too passive and don’t fight for their hearts.  Some days we are too harsh and we just provoke them.  Most of us tend towards one ditch or the other.  But our Father’s love is perfect, and He loves us just how we are!  He is kind and loving, and He is powerfully fighting for our hearts.  No matter what we have messed up He is right there, running out to meet us.  Whether we are the ungrateful prodigal son or the ungrateful judgmental son, this is true of Our Father’s love for us:

It chases me down, fights til I’m found, leave the 99.

I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still you give Yourself away.

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.

There’s no shadow you won’t light up, mountain you won’t climb up, coming after me.

There’s no wall you won’t kick down, lie you won’t tear down, coming after me.

He loves us and He is aggressively coming after us to rescue us and reconcile with us.  He desires a relationship with us like the relationship He has with His Son, our Brother and Friend.  He is truly a good, good Father!

Do you ever feel like you have to do this on your own?  Like you have to be a man when deep down you feel like a boy?  Do you wonder if you have what it takes?  You can rest in the kind, assertive, powerful, love of Your Father.

 

 

 

Starting A Lifelong Conversation With Our Teens to Equip Them For the New Culture

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Conversations

We have found a video that you have to watch tonight or tomorrow!

Our oldest is entering into the pre-teen phase and we are looking for backup.  How can we help her transition from childhood to adulthood?  We have stumbled upon something that we just had to share:  The Parenting Teens Summit.  Axis.org has assembled an all-star team of experts to cover a variety of issues that our teens will face:

  • Ravi Zacharias and Timothy Keller: Titans of theology in the real world
  • Kara Powell: The guru on instilling a lasting faith in our kids
  • Gary Chapman: Mr., sorry, “Dr. Five Love Languages”
  • John Eldredge: (Needs no introduction if you follow our blog)
  • And many more really smart people

Not convinced yet?  From their website:  “Join us for this online conference! Faithful Christian authors & thought leaders will provide practical talks to help you parent your teens.  Know their culture, develop their hearts, and connect the generations to build lifelong faith!”

Discipling Our Kids:  Our Culture Has Answers.  Do You?

We watched the first video last night and it was awesome.  The topic was our Culture and the speaker did a fabulous job of breaking it down to the essential questions:

  • What is my identity? Am I the image of God, fractured by sin, but restored through Christ?
  • What is the purpose of money, physical intimacy, college, and life itself? Do we know?  What does our Culture say?  Is that true?

For example, our culture has elevated affluence, safety, security, and instant gratification.  Our culture has normalized the idea that my happiness is the ultimate goal.  It has discarded old notions of truth, goodness, and beauty.  It has ignored character and the virtues and replaced these with personality.  Our culture tells us that what we feel and what we desire is more important than what is real and what is right.  It has normalized physical intimacy without relationship and magnification of the trivial.  This is our culture.  This is normal now.

What I liked about this video is that it is not a rant against our culture.  And it is not a celebration of the culture either.  It is practical training that equips us to begin a lifelong conversation with our kids.  As we have said before, we need to be students of our children.  This video series will help us become better students of our kids by helping us understand the culture that is shaping them.

We don’t need to be terrified or even discouraged about the culture around us.  We are the primary influence in our kids’ lives.  It is up to us to use that influence by talking with our kids about life’s questions.  It takes courage, but we can do it!

Details:

Here is the link:  https://parentingteenssummit.com/home

The event takes place June 1-15.  Each video is available for you to watch for free for 72 hours.   Sign up and enjoy the Vimeo –it’s as simple as that.
(If you want permanent access you can buy that also.)

Watch the video and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Learn more about OPL’s take on parenting by clicking on the Family – Parenting menu.  And don’t forget to follow us by email by putting your email address in the Subscribe box on the right.  One step and you’re done!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

Not Perfect but REAL!

Who Am I?

Parents As Teachers

A Frozen Conversation

Would You Rather?

 

Passover and Easter Recap

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EasterRecap

God invented holidays as a way to remember, teach, and pause.  Easter is the richest week of the year, and we have compiled all of our posts that discuss how you can make this season come alive for you and your family.

Don’t try to do all of these things this year (goodness knows we don’t have time to do that either!), but let God lead you to pick one or two that are just exactly what you need.

Remember – He is Risen! 

Palm Sunday – Mighty and Meek

Palm Sunday – The revelation of our humble king, full of power and peace.  Mighty, yet meek.

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Holiest Week With Your Kids

When you talk about Who He is, what He has done for you, who we are in Him, and what we can do as a response, that makes it holy. Every week is holy, if you are purposeful.  Here are some ideas for celebrating the Holiest Week with your family.

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Passover With Your Kids – Simplified

Passover can be confusing if you aren’t familiar with it.  Here is a straightforward way to understand the deep roots of the Easter season.

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Passover and Easter Fun

Calling all parents, grandparents, Sunday school teachers, boys, and girls!  Here are some fun Easter activities that we’ve found, but we want to know what cool ideas you’ve had.  Please share these with your friends, and share your ideas with all of us.

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Passover:  Deep Meaning and Tradition

Passover:  Deep meaning behind the tradition.  Click here to learn about the Yeast, the Lamb, and the Cup.

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Passover Meal How-To: How-To Guide for having your own Passover celebration.

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Passover: The 4 Cups

For thousands of years before the tiny Communion cup there were the 4 #Passover cups!

The key symbolic pieces of the Passover meal are eating of the Matzah bread, the Seder plate and the drinking of four glasses of wine. Today we are going to talk about the four glasses of wine. These are drank throughout the meal and each has a specific and deep meaning.

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Countdown to Passover

Easter and Passover are coming up soon, so it’s time to begin preparing ourselves for this meaningful time.

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Passover:  From Moses to Me

Countdown to Easter/Passover…

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Passover:  The Seder Plate

Do you know what the Seder Plate is?  Do you know what it means and what it can teach you and your kids?  Find out here:

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Uncomfortable, Stinky, Beautiful, Servant Leadership

In between the triumph of Palm Sunday and the tragedy of Good Friday, we find a perfect example of servant leadership in action.

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Good Friday:  Not Fair

As we approach Passover/Easter, we want to highlight some of the lessons from Jesus’ last week.

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Good Friday:  I Thirst

The thirst we feel is a spiritual thirst!  This thirst is no less real than our physical thirst.

God put a thirst for Himself inside every heart – a longing that has been unquenched since Eden.

The next time you are thirsty or hungry or lustful or restless, don’t turn to Facebook or calories.  Turn your face to heaven and say “Abba, I thirst! I am thirsty, and only you can satisfy me!”  God has not forsaken you, and in him you will find the comfort that you seek.

Remember friends, your suffering is real.  Your longing is real.  Your thirst is real.  Without your spiritual thirst, you would be as good as dead!  But do not be deceived – you thirst for God!  Reach out to Him, and in Him you will find what you need.

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Countdown to Pentecost:

Whew, Lent, Passover, Last Supper, Good Friday, Bad Saturday, Easter Sunday are past.  Not it’s 7 weeks until Pentecost.  Let the countdown begin!

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No Matter What

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No-Matter-What

“God is Victorious! He is with you no matter what happens. Keep going, He has your back. I love you! -Hannah”

As I rolled over in bed one morning, I felt something in my bed. It was a notecard. In fact, it was a note left on my pillow the night before from my oldest. As I read it, tears came to my eyes. It was so humbling to read my oldest daughter’s sweet, gentle, yet wise words of advice.

You see, at the beginning of this year I was gifted with a couple months off after I had stopped working. This is a true gift as I have so desired to just spend time in the presence of God and work through different things going on in my life. For the first two and half months of this year our youngest continued to go to preschool, so I had a few hours each of those days to just sit and read my Bible and pray. I have had some conversations with God that were great, but some conversations, well…let’s say they have been hard. Continue reading

Would You Rather?

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WouldYouRather

I’ve never liked the game “Would You Rather.”  It’s a childhood game that may bring back good memories for many of you, but for me it brings up feelings of fear. For some reason, this type of game always makes me afraid of getting embarrassed.  What if I didn’t know what one of the things is? What if both options were terrible and I couldn’t fathom doing either one, what would I do then?  So, when hanging out with friends I usually tried to avoid this type of game.  

Fast forward 25 years and I am at a children’s ministry leaders meeting and the emcee starts the lunch with an unexpected “Would You Rather” game. WHAT?? Surely there is an age limit to this game, right?! I was pretty much trapped with no place to go.  But much to my relief, this version had an unconventional twist to it. It was “Would You Rather…Bible Edition.” Continue reading

Pumpkin Fun

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Do your kids think that pumpkins come from Walmart?  If so, a trip to the pumpkin patch might be a good activity this fall.

We live in an entertainment-rich culture.  From tablets to bounce houses, the world is a playground.  But sometimes it is nice to do a simple activity as a family.  One of our fall traditions is a trip to the pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkins.  We have done this for years, and it is something we all look forward to.  As a farm boy who is transplanted into the city, I love to get my kids out to experience agriculture.  I want them to understand where food is grown, and I want them to enjoy vigorous activity that sometimes involves mud or dust.

What kind of memories do you enjoy making with your family?  How do you connect them to nature and our agrarian heritage?  What are your favorite fall activities?

Enjoy pumpkins?  Here is our post from a few years ago:

100_6111

Here is our post about shining Christ’s light at Halloween.

 

 

 

 

Back to School Blessing

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PrayerApp

Another summer has flown by, and school has started again.  As you settle into your routine, it is a great opportunity to reestablish faith in God as the center of your daily lives.  Despite the busy-ness, we can be grounded if we are purposeful.

In this printable we have a Back to School Blessing that you can speak over your kids, some Back to School Scriptures that may speak life into the challenges and opportunities that come from a new school year, and a Daily School Prayer that your family can use every day as they get ready for school or drive to school.  Prayer is powerful, and it is even more powerful when you model a God-centered life for your kids.

Enjoy!

Printable: | PDF_Picture  Back to School Blessing |

 

Here are a couple more posts about back to school.

School Time Is Here

First Day of School Prayer

Learn more about OPL’s take on parenting by clicking on the Family – Parenting menu.  And don’t forget to follow us by email by putting your email address in the Subscribe box on the right.  One step and you’re finished!

When Tragedy Strikes

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Tragedy

In the life of a child, sometimes tragedy strikes.

It struck our home a few weeks ago when our oldest was unable to find her shoes for the first day of school after Christmas break.

What, is that less tragic than you were expecting?

Before you laugh at her, remember that many of your own ‘tragedies’ are of no greater importance.  I don’t know about you, but I almost lose my mind when I lose something that’s important to me. I can’t think of anything else. Even if the thing I’m looking for is not all that important, just the fact that I’ve lost it drives me crazy! I’m a 35-year-old man, so I have a different way of reacting to this frustration than a 10-year-old girl, but her reaction (tears ) is just as natural as mine is.

But we are called to be supernatural, aren’t we!

Continue reading

I Love You 100!?!?

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100

“I love you!”

“No, I love you!”

“I love you more.”

“No, I love you more.”

“Well, I love you infinity!”

“Well then, I love you double infinity!”

 

Has this never ending conversation ever gone on at your house? I know it has at mine. That is until we put a stop to it. Continue reading

Not Perfect but REAL!

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RealParent

My kids don’t need me to be a perfect parent.  They need me to be a REAL parent.

One of Satan’s tactics is to get us to think we are failures. One mistake and you have failed. One wrong decision and you are disqualified. Have you ever thought if you don’t get your act together you are going to ruin your kid? I know I have.  It is a relief to find out that your kids don’t need perfection; they need REAL.

Here are five ways we can be R.E.A.L. parents:

Remember your responsibility.

Have you ever seen an opportunity to instruct or train your child but you were just too lazy to get off the couch and do it? How about hearing the kids bicker in the other room and it starts to escalate and you go to another area of the house in hopes that it will just blow over and you can just ignore it? I know I have been guilty of both. But REAL parents don’t ignore the problem or situation and use as many opportunities as possible to train their kids how to handle life. Our kids will not be able to correctly handle situations that are thrown at them unless we teach them how to look at it and how to respond.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (NLT)

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again 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. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

 

Recognize attitudes and emotions

(I know there is 2 for the R-we couldn’t decide which one to do)

A lot of times the issue is really not the issue. One time we were praising one of our children for doing well in math, for working hard and for actually being a little ahead of her grade in ability. As supper continued an older child began to get snippy and short with us and their siblings. After reminding the child of the proper way to talk to others, it dawned on us what was going on in their head. Come to find out because of our praise, this child was feeling insecure and a failure because they were older and had some difficulty in this particular area. So we took that child aside, we explained to them that just because we praise one child doesn’t mean we are displeased with them. We also talked about how God gifts us differently and that is not bad, just different. If we would have continued to discipline that child for the incorrect tone we would have missed the chance to disarm a lie that Satan was trying to plant in that child’s life. As you teach and train your child ask God to give you wisdom and discernment to know what is going on in your child’s heart that is causing their attitudes and emotions to express themselves in this way.

Luke 6:45 (NLT)

 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

 

Examine your example

Kids are emotionally in tune with those around them, even more so than most adults! Having kids around is like having little mirrors. They mimic you. Have you ever heard the saying, “do as I say not as I do”? Kids have way of proving how ineffective this saying is in reality. Before you discipline your child for the 20th time for the same exact offense, examine your own life. Where were they modeled that example? Kids are influenced by those they love and look up to. They see how you handle stress and irritation and will do the same. Make sure your example is worth repeating.

Titus 2:7 (NLT)

And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind.

Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.

Admit your mistakes

Kids are not dumb-they know when we have messed up or misbehaved. When we do not admit our mistakes and instead hide them or act like it doesn’t matter we send them mixed signals. No one likes to be told they have to follow a stricter set of rules than those who are imposing the rules. When we own up to our mistakes and are humble enough to admit them and ask for forgiveness we are allowing the relationship with our children to be repaired and strengthened. It can also come as a relief to our children to know that they do not have to be perfect, just like we are not perfect. We give them opportunities to see forgiveness and grace played out so that they will have a deeper understanding of how God’s forgiveness and grace works in each of our lives.

James 4:6 (NLT)

And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

James 5:16 (NLT)

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Love unconditionally

It is so important that your children know that your love is unconditional. That it won’t change based off of what they do or don’t do, or what they say or don’t say. Conditional love breeds fear and doubt and causes a child anxiety and frustration.  It isn’t real agape love at all. It is so important that each day you allow your child to start with a clean, fresh slate. Yesterday was yesterday and today is a new day. Along with that try your hardest to not label your kid, such as they are “just crazy,” or they “have an anger problem,” or they “just can’t get it together.” When we do that we cause ourselves to see our child only through that lens and they will become that, and continue to stay in that mold. Instead, recognize your child’s natural tendencies and then use that knowledge to train them and help them to use it for good and become all God created them to be. If at times your love is conditional based on their performance or behavior spend some time with the Lord reminding yourself of all that He has forgiven you for and it will help you do the same for your child.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Ephesians 3:18-19 (NLT)

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Parenting is hard, but remember that your kids don’t need a perfect parent.  They need a R.E.A.L parent.  Today is a great day to show them what that means.