Tuesday, April 30, 2013

3 things a Christian parent has going for them

 Parenting is one of the areas in life where people are the hardest on themselves.  This past weekend we had our first every Parenting Summit at Grace Church.  I was privileged to give a short talk to open the Summit. Here are some notes from my talk: 3 things every Christian parent has going for them:  

1. A God who is for you
  • If you follow sports- it’s always awkward to see athletes claiming that God helped their team win. We’re left wondering does God really take sides like that?
  • You can be sure of this – if you are a Christian and a parent – God takes your side. He wants you to succeed with your kids. God cares about your kids more than you do.
  • There have been so many nights after I have screwed something up with my kids; whether I said the wrong thing, lost my temper, stared at my phone too much, when I come to God in prayer. He always meets me, teaches me, rebukes me, encourages me. He is there to grow me through my failures as a parent. The greatest resource you have as a parent is a God who is for you.
  • Romans 8:31 says, If God is for us, who can be against us?
  • When Caleb was born it wasn't that beautiful birth scene that Kim and I had imagined.  In fact, people started to come in with equipment to get him breathing.  He was whisked off into ICU. I realized in that moment that his life and his existence were not under my control.  I remember God whispering, “Caleb is yours… but he’s not really yours.  You’re going to raise him – and you’re going to bring him to Me.”
  • Jesus said to a father who asked for his son to be healed “bring the boy to me.”  What if that defined your parenting?  I believe that is what God is calling us all to do as parents… bring the child to me. He said let the children come to me. God loves children – he loves your children. He is for you!
2. A role you are called to
  • It’s no accident that you’re a parent. Even if you had a "whoops" baby – it wasn't a "whoops" to God!
  • Psalm 127:3-5 says, Behold, children are a gift of the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.
  • The fact that your children are yours to care for was God’s idea. They are a gift given to you by God. He knew you could care for them – He knew that you had the exact raw materials, the right personality, the proper tools, to raise them from a state of complete dependence to complete independence and then release them back to God.
  • He could have given your kids to anyone to care for – but he chose you. It wasn't an accident – he didn't mess this up – they were entrusted to you. This role that you have is a calling from God. And you have a very important role to play.
  • What is the role? If kids are an arrow – the parent’s job is to aim them toward faith. (see Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
  • Family is the major vehicle through which God extends faith. Faith is not passed through institutions or empires or governments or even churches.
  • Which means your role is not just to put a roof over their heads, or teach them how to ride a bike, or to give them good education, or to help them succeed in sports. All those things are good and fine. Your role is to point them toward faith in the God of the Bible.
  • If you're an accountant or engineer or line worker or teacher or welder, they could replace you tomorrow. But you are the only one who can be a parent to your kid, and God knew that.  He planned it that way. Parenting is a high and holy calling.
  • You’re the one with the greatest shot at influencing their faith.
3. A community to support you
  • Hebrews 10:24-25 says And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
  • One of the things parents struggle with is feeling alone.
  • I've been with some parents who when we get on the topic of kids will only talk in hushed tones. It is as if they have never admitted to anyone that their kids might have a single problem. They've been so busy keeping up the image that it forced them into isolation.
  • As part of a church like Grace - we get to be more of an open book – there are others who care about our kids. There are adult role models that we can point our kids toward. There are other parents that we can talk to and events like this help to carry on the conversation.
  • More than ever our church is committed to partnering with parents. Getting resources in their hands, providing environments for growth. You don’t have to do this alone.
  • Reggie Joyner said, “There are two powerful influences on the planet – the church and the home. They need each other. Too much is at stake for either one to fail.” 
  • We are trying to provide more and more resources to parents.  Things like the weekly Parent Cue, toolboxes, 936 Newlsetter, etc.  We also have a great Facebook page devoted to parents
  • That’s what today is all about! Creating an environment where you can come and take it in and meet other people, so that you know you have a community that's here to support you.
  • Our dream is that you would say, “yes I have this sacred calling called 'parenting,' yes I have a God who loves me and is for me, but I also have some people in the flesh who are here to love me and support me and encourage me and cheer me on and provide me with resources to help me do this better.

I was rock climbing on a youth trip some years ago.  Let me just tell you personally that it is scary to be caught in a situation where you’re climbing, and you realize that you're on your own because all the equipment that is supposed to be supporting you comes off. It's terrible when you don’t have a functioning support system. It's very scary.  Compare that to rock climbing while having all the right equipment.  It still might be scary –but it’s more of a 'thrill' kind of scary than a death-wish! The same is true for parenting, it makes a huge difference knowing that you have the right support system in place: a harness (a community to support you), a karabiner and rope (a role you've been called to) and most importantly a person anchored to the ground (a God who is for you) – so that if you fall and when you fall – it won’t be a fatal blow. These three things will work together to catch you and give you another shot. 


Heather Braoudakis said...

I have a fantastic resource I'd like to suggest. I've been reading a gray new book by Dr. Tony Evans called, "Raising Kingdom Kids: Giving Your Child a Living Faith." He further says, "It's far easier to SHAPE A CHILD than to REPAIR AN ADULT. Raising kids who recognize and retain their identity as children of the King launches healthy adults who have the capacity to stand strong in their faith." It's not just a book about how to parent and what to do, but part of his goal is to actually help the parent themselves to grow in confidence and discover your worth as a parent based on God's Word. Equipping and guiding our children starts with us. This is the most solid, thorough, inspirational and affirming parent book I've ever read! I love it and HIGHLY recommend it for all parents. www.raisingkingdomkids.com

Derek said...

Good stuff Heather - thanks for this.