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Helping Your Kids Know God Better

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
July 8, 2022 6:00 am

Helping Your Kids Know God Better

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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July 8, 2022 6:00 am

Chap Bettis encourages parents to be more intentional about sharing the Gospel with their children. Chap also addresses “pharisee parenting” where moms and dads need to be sure their own walk with the Lord is solid before preaching to their kids.

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Finger go for me would be for them to have good character. My biggest cocaine please fit into Gothic good friends that they really find what they're passionate about doing, whether that's being a mechanic or engineer, whatever that might be and that they would be able just to pursue that and enjoy that as a career and really see some purpose in doing that as well. What goals do you have for your children. What we just heard sound like some good ideas about what about the spiritual growth of your kids what you aiming for, this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and examine the process of faith training for discipleship and how you can effectively do that your kids thanks for joining us I'm John from John we don't often hear the word discipleship these days, but thousands of years ago. This approach of education or to education was quite normal teacher would gather a group of followers or disciples to instruct them, and the goal of the disciples not only to learn from their teacher, but to imitate their way of life and become like them.

I think that red mandolin for those that know the series that the world may know this is something he really teaches that the disciples were really asked to follow the steps of Jesus and literally and I had the privilege of going to the Middle East with Ray and Jean and I both and that was the main point. You do what the rabbi says to do when you walked away.

He walks in.

That's really emphasized in Jewish tradition. I think that's why Jesus spent three years pouring into those 12 men and why he calls us his disciples today and hear something our guests shared that I found fascinating. The word Christian only appears three times in the New Testament.

Did you know that I did not, and will add the word disciple appears to hundred and 69 time so there's obviously something of value, we can all learn about discipleship today and this is something that is so critical, passing on our faith to the next generation is one of the biggest needs that we hear about from parents these days Jim that they call us to contact us here at focusing how do I do this better yet that's the that's the big question parenting and we want to help you with that. That's why we've invited Chet Bettis to join us.

He was a pastor for 25 years before starting a ministry called the disciple making parent good title. He's an author and speaker, and he has a passion to help us do this job of discipling our children better and I was a welcome chapel. Thank you. It's a little late. I got 21 and 19 but I guess I could still is right.

It's never too late. That's it will chapters written a great book.

This can be the foundation for our conversation today, the disciple making parent.

We've got copies of that here the ministry stop by the episode notes for details at chap you believe many Christian parents are confused about this idea of discipling their own children. In fact, you say it's kind of a countercultural thing. Why is it countercultural well I think every parent wants to give the kids the best yet the question is what is the best. Okay what is it well were surrounded by people who say the best is sports the best physics education.

The best is a number of experiences I want to give my kids lots of experiences but I what I want to do is ask. From the perspective of 10,000 years what is best and the answer that if we are Christians is the gospel and really I think sometimes in one side of our brain. We have our parenting philosophy and then we have what we know about the Bible. On the other side and I want to bring those together and say God hasn't just given you a baby.

He's given you an eternal soul to to influence.

Is it a matter of degrees. Though I mean I think it's reasonable for a parent to say I hope my son or daughter grows up to do so in the blank I mean and and if you see that interest is eight, nine, 10-year-old you gonna try one of the reasons kids are in summary, sports programs, right because I have the next NFL quarterback write my own family or whatever it might be but maybe it's a question of emphasis and so you want to develop them vocationally with their interest, but same time, the more important thing you're saying is make sure that they're developing spiritually right night.

Absolutely those are all things that I think were called to develop our children and I got certainly I got a great education try to get my own kids. A great education involved in lots of activities but there John four John says I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth and so to me it's what is the first priority.

What is the Northstar that I'm aiming at. And all these other things will add in and will have a good time but what is that what is that Northstar hopefully will unfold that over the next half hour or so, let's let's kind of progress through this, though you address the problem of child centric families. I think I understand where you go on this would be where parents do almost anything for the sake of their kids. I think the show for mom or dad is probably benign example of that.

But you told your children all die for you but I won't live for you. What did that mean you know that every parent will a good parent will will sacrifice for their children. But having said that, I think as we develop them in all these activities they can get the feeling that they are the center of our universe. And that's a very heavyweight for a child like that they're not called to be the center of the universe. Jesus Christ is the center of the universe, and therefore he's the one. First, I live for, and of course my kids are welcome members of the family and and yes we make huge sacrifices, but I want them to know that I'm I'm living for something bigger than them. That might my joy is is not totally tied up with them first to serve the Lord and I love my wife also involved in the church and yes along the way we do some sports things we do some educational thanks again so often in parenting, I mean it's kind of like a dimmer switch.

You know it's not on or off your kind of living in this know this degree of life. So what are some of the practical things that should alert you that your creating a child centric family having taken them to school is a good thing that doesn't fall that box but give us some examples of what if you were to do a self-assessment in mind. Okay, I might be creating child centric home. Well, let's go back to you.

Did you really have a son who you thought was good to be an NFL quarterback.

I had to okay well there's only they didn't know that there is only 70 NFL quarterbacks and so is that even as I try and develop them.

I need to ask what is the sake of eternity. So in other words, for me, I guess in that situation. I'm thinking is this helping them grow and flourish and become a man of God or at some point and we moved from Jesus being the idle the center to to sport so I think countercultural things like being committed to a local church to evaluate those warts advance in light of is this developing them as a person every coaches can ask you for more time or money right Buddha nights are true and I think for the sports dad, that's one thing you got a real and really quickly and not you know, love the pressure under your son or daughter that they need to play something right. It's it's a good experience, but if they don't have the interest they're not doing the wind sprints right right so describe time and I think we share this in common to pry many moms and dads. I think it leans toward dad's having this experience when you first hold that firstborn and lots of emotion run through your mind at that time are not to be a good enough father to you know I don't want to break this little fragile thing, and all those thoughts.

What was your experience like I'm getting teared up.

Even as I think about it now.

I can remember. May 24, 1991 like it was yesterday and you know I think for dad's assistance, theoretical concept, we can have a baby and then this person shows up she so helpless he so dependent upon us, but I think what struck me is as I drove home from the hospital and I just really I remember breaking down in tears was combining again combining my experience of seeing my daughter for the very first time with what I know about the Bible and saying God is not just entrusted a little girl. To me this is a soul that's going to forever and I have the ability privilege. My wife and I have the privilege of influencing her towards the Lord Jesus and and so I remember crying out on the way home just in tears saying, Lord, show us, show us how to do this it in Matthew, the great commission. You've kind of suggested you strongly in the book that that starts with your parenting. I don't think a lot of people will apply that scripture to your parenting assignment, but I see the analogy to explain it further while due in Matthew 28 Jesus gives us called the great commission, which were to make disciples of all nations and churches rightly send people across the oceans and go across the street so that the there will be followers of Jesus, but I'm suggesting we also need to go across the dining room table because when you disciple someone in the church you get them for maybe a year, maybe it maybe two years but God gives you these little people that you get the influence and they start imitating you and you get to teach them and shape them for good or for bad and you know it's quite a privilege, but yet I would suggest that Matthew 28 make disciples actually applies to us as parents, and I think it's good and a good way to look at that we as parents we want our kids to be a good reflection of of our values. I think we tend to lean toward behavioral measures and no work.

Our kids are telling the truth or making their beds are doing everything right there getting a sticker for the right things. I understand you had an experience with your daughter when she was pretty young and and I think she kind of misinterpreted something so what was that's you know you think.

Examples of very powerful teacher right so you're just so my four-year-old daughter and were taking her to church and singing hymns and reading of the Bible and and I so one day I she's upstairs in her room and I hear her singing, holy, holy, holy, the great him and I'm like I was such a good father is what is the problem with these of you just doing it right hollowly all these for thoughts that come into your head.

But I so I wanted and I will sneak up to get a closer view, and sure enough she's in her bedroom.

She's got her mother's high heels and she's pretending to be on stage and but when I get up there pure around the corner in her hands.

She has fistfuls of play money and she's not singing, holy, holy, holy. She singing my knee minding my money. So here's a full throated worship of money in my little four-year-old which courses Larry S and a four-year-old right. She didn't understand the concept of notes. It was hilarious and how she doing today.

She's he lopping a lot more. He still loves to sing and she loves the Lord. That's excellent. God is put us into family so that we can learn important lessons about conflict forgiveness and getting along with each other. I mean I think that's one of the great benefits of family and the structure family. That's where you learn who you are and how to relate to others you paraphrase the familiar Bible verse I think John 13 in terms of parenting.

So explain why that verse mean something to you and your parenting journey. While Jesus in John 13 on his final night. He says all men will know you're my disciples, if you love one another. So there it certainly there's a case in my own testimony case for apologetics. The ultimate apologetic is a loving church brothers and sisters, loving each other and so in a similar way, you know the church are sorry the family is a is a small unit in God's family, and so to see family members, loving each other now. That means overcoming conflict doesn't conflict free but loving each other, having joy, reflecting the Trinity.

That's attractive that's attractive to our young people who see other families that are broken and is attractive to the world. Yeah, you know the one difficulty I think when you're looking at that parenting issue. You know, start there and reflect the character of God. It's hard for human beings to be perfect. Have you noticed only today having nobody sees that clearer than your spouse and your children because they're living with you all the time. You know when you drop the can on your toe and you don't usually go how that was an amazing experience.

I wonder why God put me through that not usually our response, but in that context. How do we avoid hypocrisy notes our kids can truly see the spirit of God in our lives consistently, maybe not hundred percent.

And how do we talk to our children about that when we blow it live I think it's understanding that the first place and the hardest place, but the first place I live out the gospel is in my home.

So the way I treat my spouse the way I treat my children is really the real me. And so to hold myself to a high standard to say that that I actually need to love them no matter what happens, and then of course, inevitably, we fail and to be able to confess it to the Lord to apologize to her to our kids as well use the term Pharisee parenting which I appreciate them in. That's now knowing the law, knowing the rules, but not having the heart for someone. I think a lot of children growing up in Christian homes can identify with that they they never can be perfect so they always feel like the failing at something they made to be doing well and other things but if they're not pleasing their parents with certain behavior and they can get the hammer and so how do you manage that is apparent not to be the Pharisee parent all I think.

To me hypocrisy is not saying one thing and doing another. It saying one thing and doing another and not caring so as a Pharisee parent. I want to be growing myself and then I want is Erica's lighting to be a not a Pharisee parent to be growing. Myself, I will be able to see my own sin and then I want to put able to put my arm around them literally or figuratively, and say we're going to defeat this behavior together. So it's not like you're a sinner and I'm not.

It's weird. We're both I'm a I am called to a position of authority, but I would put my arm around you literally or figuratively, and say let's let's defeat this together.

Okay, so Japon thinking of parents who like myself might have experienced a kind of an epiphany of oh I am actually a Pharisee parent and I think I think the Lord gave us six children because I need a lot of sanctification. I can't remember which child but I suddenly realized as I was calling them to the superhigh standard that when I was their age. I was just like them and it really caught me by surprise because I thought well I was I was projecting perfection.

Okay, I was holding them to a higher standard than I could possibly attain so talk to the parent who's feeling like okay there touching on something. What do I do. Is it too late.

I don't I don't think it's too late. I think the parenting paradoxes we expect them to obey because God commands it.

We expect them to disobey because their children and so in a similar way, how do I do I strive and encourage my child to be his best, and I certainly do that with my children, my wife as well and yet also say were all going to fail and home is the place where you can come and you can talk about how you feel like you.

You failed were on your side no matter what chap in the book you mention three common myths moms and dads have about discipling their children what are the while the first is that the perfect environment will guarantee the perfect result and that's the unit were raising kids were not.

This is not a cookbook but going back to you, just trying to have the perfect environment and that's simply not true. Kids come with the with sin on the hard drive but how do we as parents. I mean we do believe in formulas. Unfortunately, A+ B equals C with human beings.

I'm sure the Lord when he created Adam and Eve had an idea of the way things would go. Although he had all knowledge, so that's a little bit more of a benefit but you know they rebelled against God and kids are going to do that to even if you're the most loving parent they could have. You can't control them, and that's the difficulty. I think parents of prodigal's need to hear that yeah because because children God gives all of us the ability to choose, and I think what surprises us is when they're young. We are able to control them, but later as teens. As adults we cannot nor should not and so their they're making their own choices and it's not I would say were not called to be successful per se but to be faithful and I like the word predictive because that's what it is. If you do these things in your children learn these things. It's predictive that they'll do well spiritually in every other way in life.

What are the other two myths of the other two is that the ultimate goal is to have my have my kids follow the Lord and we talked about that a little bit already, but my first priority is my own walk with the Lord and then my spouse and then and then also perhaps serving in the church so children are welcome members, but they can't control my joy my joy is in the Lord even though the ups and downs. Of course, and the third myth is that it's all up to me and that's not that's not true.

I don't believe we would say that as a parent I don't think that would be's may be so bold, but we do it we may not think you acted but we act like that like it's all up to you and sometimes it's it's pride. I don't want to share with other people in the church was going on. I don't want to say what would you do in the situation were struggling with this right now. I think one of the things to is our eagerness as parents to get our kids to the altar to make a profession of faith and do everything correctly their baptism, etc. but you really is apparent.

You have to know let your kids emerge in that understanding of the faith. They explain why you believe discipleship is that ongoing process with our children, especially during their teen years when they've got so many cultural influences, pulling at them as well. I think there's a battle for our kids but I think this is so important and this is what I don't think it is understood, we find in Scripture.

Paul said to Timothy, as for you Timothy continue and what you have learned and become convinced of some Timothy grew up in a home where a unbelieving dad so hope there for every single mom but a mother and a grandmother whose the faith lived in them, but he seemed to of learned faith and become convinced that fits my own story and then went out to eat, and seminars. I'll ask Allstate if you grew up in a gospel preaching home church.

Raise your hand and then let me ask you this how many of you keep it raised. If you would say there was another time your faith became your own and 98% of the hands stay out.

So in that regard is apparent what you're really doing is creating the the right soil right letting that child's heart become obedient to the word of God. And that's that's an art of parenting so that they don't become against it did not set against it through your parenting, but that their hearts are open to what God claims.

I think with my boys. I recognize that I'm information. The goal was do they have the basics do they understand those things and can they embrace them in God's going to do the rest. I've had those discussions with the boys they're not always make the right decisions.

Like you said John they're not 50-year-old well it's a 60-year-old Christians that are in their 19 and 21 and they're going to make decisions of the 19 and 21 and you gotta be able to do that but you know that's part of it is making sure they understand what the Lord's heart would be for them in that situation that environment to continue the conversation as well. Analyzing that that there still absolutely resting there.

It's really important you have talked in the book about this idea of mind reading your children.

I love that I think I think I am guilty of that. Let me tell you what you think and how does it work well in a part of how we connect to the heart.

We connect to the heart through communication and were actually don't realize how poor communicators. We are sometimes so some of us over talk. Some of us under talk and yes my kids called me out for reading their minds, which is not giving them time to respond to a question, but telling them I knew exactly what they were thinking and a and that was helpful enough to think you're right. You're right.

I'm not communicating well yeah I think check when you get down to it, the parent that's hearing us describe this maybe isn't feeling like they've done what they need to do with their 1214 17-year-old and I want to give them something to change tonight when there with that person.

That young person in their home, their child, what can they do to kind of re-restart the relationships pray with do it if you're feeling that much guilt that the Holy Spirit is really penetrating your heart right now and you're going how and I have blown this I've set all those expectations I have measured behavior. I haven't done enough to invest in the heart uncritical.

We can all be that way at times. What can they do differently what you note, the glory of children as their parents. They love us and they are very forgiving and it we just and if we you know, confess to them can confess to the Lord and really change not just manipulable.

He confesses if we really change. There is connection to my own wife's huge impact on her when when her father change from a high corporate job to start his own business for the sake of the gospel self there very forgiving self. If we will if we can confess that to them and change it back in the book. He even mentioned a parable or story were you talk about carrying a jar of acid, it's probably a good place to land because it's a powerful story of what to do and what not to do while he goes back to the idea that the first place to live at the Gospels in my home and the kids shine a floodlight on my soul.

So I want to change no matter what and the start of the analogy, which is not original from the think I got it from the late Dr. David Polson is the imagine carrying a cup of acid through a crowded room. Someone bumps into you and you still acid on the person and and the person says.

Why do you spell that and I would like say because I got bumped. That's why spell yes it was the other person to yeah it's the other person's fault. Both the truth that is the reason I spelled acid is because there's acid in the cup if there'd been no acid in the cup when I got bumped the no acid would come out and so energy is that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. When Jesus was reviled when he was bumped.

He did not revile in return. And so I'm responsible for my actions and my reactions and I can grow in forbearance will have with others, and so if I if I see that that's what God's trying to do a lot of things, but one of the things he's trying to very practically make me more mature and chapped. That's exactly why we wanted to have the honor talk about your book, the disciple making parent because when I hear you saying that last comment.

Always be willing to grow, especially as a parent because it will make you a better person and diminish the amount of acid and income hopefully to the point where there is an and that's the goal of every Christian right to model what Jesus is done for us and so if you're in that spot.

If you're that parent that you feel like while I may have too much acid in my cup, get a hold of us today and make a gift of any amount if you can become a monthly sponsor that's wonderful one-time gift is terrific as well and it will be our way of saying thank you for being part of the ministry will send the book along to you is that thank you. Get in touch today.

Donate. As you can know that were here for you have lots of great resources including this book, the disciple making parent are numbers 800 K in the word family or check the episode notes for all the details Again. It's been great to have you. Thanks for being with us. My pleasure joy and once again if there's anything we can do to help you along the journey. Just give us a call 800-232-6459 and let me invite you and your family to visit our headquarters here in Colorado Springs you can see a broadcast connection maybe and visit our adventures in Odyssey play area with your kids, there's always a lot of great outdoor activities here in Colorado as well and in the meantime, we hope you have a great weekend with family and friends with your church family as well and be sure to join us on Monday for an important conversation with Virginia's Lieut. Gov. Winsome seekers there. Sometimes I'm ready to deliver speeds and I'm starting to get nervous and you sent me and I just have to speak to you and as long as I speak the truth, then I'll be all right in behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back once again help you and your family. Thriving.

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