Where Was This When We Were Raising Kids?

We start a new round of Equipping Hour classes this Sunday. I’m excited about all four offerings.

I get to teach another newcomers class. You can read my blog post about that here.

James Harvey will tackle the church history elective. I expect that will be a rich journey through the ages of God’s work among His people.

Pastor Mike and Ben Hamilton will lead the evangelism and mercy ministry class, always a gospel-shaped, practical treatment of our calling to bend the gospel outwards as followers of Jesus.

For our parents, we have Chuck and Pam Mitchell facilitating the Paul Tripp DVD curriculum entitled Getting to the Heart of Parenting. I was moved by the video promo shown on Sunday and included it at the top of this post for any who missed it. May I strongly encourage our Dads and Moms to take advantage of this unique teaching content? How I wish I had thought and acted in these categories when Nancy and I were bringing up our sons.

Hope to see as many of you as possible this Sunday, April 26, at 9:30 AM!

Employing Basic Familial Liturgies

I realize that’s not your average post title.

I borrow heavily from R. C. Sproul, Jr. in a recent issue of Tabletalk magazine.

It struck me as significant as I have been reading Proverbs 4 throughout this fourth month of the year. There the writer exhorts his son in the first four verses:

Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction,
and be attentive, that you may gain insight,
2 for I give you good precepts;
do not forsake my teaching.
3 When I was a son with my father,
tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
4 he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
keep my commandments, and live.

Of course that begs the question, “What words?” No more important a concept may be conveyed to our children than that of their identity in Christ as followers of the Lord. Here’s where I thought Dr. Sproul Jr. hit the ball out of the park:

When my oldest children were still young, my wife and I labored to be certain that their identity was in Christ, in our shared identity as a house that, like that of Joshua before us, would serve the Lord. I instilled this in my children partly through some rather basic familial liturgies. While Hollywood and Madison Avenue were seeking to get my daughter to see herself in terms of her demographic, I wanted her to see herself in light of her Savior. So I taught her, when I asked her name, this call and response: Me—“Darby, what are Sprouls?” Darby— “Sprouls are free.” Me—“And whom do Sprouls serve?” Darby—“Sprouls serve King Jesus.” Me—“Whom do Sprouls fear?” Darby—“Sprouls fear no man; Sprouls fear God.”

May I suggest that you employ such a liturgy in your teaching of your children? May they keep His commandments and live.

Gospel-Powered Parenting

Frankly, I want gospel-powered everything.

After all, the gospel and only the gospel, is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16-17).

However, every parent feels the stakes higher in the area of how they shape their children’s lives than in perhaps any other sphere of their existence. As a pastor, that makes me on the lookout for any resource that will help dads and moms look to the gospel of Christ for the basis from which they parent their children.

William Farley gets pretty good reviews in this regard with his book Gospel-Powered Parenting. I confess I haven’t read it yet, but it is on my short list. I suppose that’s because I keep having conversations with parents wrestling with the challenges of bringing up their children, particularly in their teen years, in ways that glorify God.

Tim Challies, in an interview with the author, shares this sentiment from Farley, a sentiment that further intrigues me:

The gospel also protects parents from “moralism,” the idea that well-behaved children are the main thing. New Birth is the main thing. The morality of Christ imputed to your children is the main thing. It is not what our children do for Christ but what Christ has done for our children that is the main thing. Ironically, without aiming at it, gospel centered parents get godly behavior from their children.

I want to be gospel-centered in everything I do as a pastor, including shepherding the parents of OGC effectively into gospel-powered parenting.

If you read this resource, or have read it, let me know what you think.

12 Ways to Love Your Wayward Child

Back before Father’s Day when I was preparing the sermon on Proverbs 23:12-28, someone sent me a blog post by Abraham Piper from Desiring God about ways to move in redemptively to the life of a prodigal son or daughter. I’ve meant to post it on our blog as a follow up to my message on the best gift you can give your parents, but until now have not had the opportunity.

Mr. Piper explains his intent this way:

Many parents are brokenhearted and completely baffled by their unbelieving son or daughter. They have no clue why the child they raised well is making such awful, destructive decisions. I’ve never been one of these parents, but I have been one of these sons. Reflecting back on that experience, I offer these suggestions to help you reach out to your wayward child.

He covers ideas like point them to Christ, welcome them home, plead with them more than you rebuke them, take an interest in their pursuits, point them to Christ and more. It’s worth the read, especially if you have wayward children that you pray for and long for to come to faith.

You can read the entire post here.