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God's Plan for the Family | Leading Your Child to Jesus Christ

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
April 3, 2023 3:00 am

God's Plan for the Family | Leading Your Child to Jesus Christ

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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April 3, 2023 3:00 am

The years of influence we have over our children are few, and they’re precious. We need to lead them in the ways of the Lord. Frederick Douglas said, “It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us chart a course for practical, biblical parenting. We’ll explore the Lord’s counsel to parents on how to rear our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. And for a replay of this study, go to

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at By going to the Lord ourselves, we need to set an example for them to follow. Listen, some things are caught and some things are taught. And what your children need to see is your faith in action.

So live a Godly life. The years of influence we have over our children are few, and they're precious. We need to lead them in the ways of the Lord.

Frederick Douglass said it's easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us chart a course for practical biblical parenting. We'll explore the Lord's counsel to parents on how to rear our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

And for a replay of this study, go to Here in Ephesians 6, verse 1, we read these words, Children, obey your parents and the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise, that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth. Honor your father and your mother. Now I know. Moms and dads are not always honorable people. But we should still honor them and offer respect to them.

And I'll tell you something. Kids need their parents. They need mom and dad.

And here's a thought. Kids don't need mom and dad to be their best friend. They need their mom and dad to be their parents. It's true.

It's sort of a popular trend today. Moms want to be best friends with their daughters. And sometimes you read about these young celebrity girls and mom goes out and parties with the daughter.

And that is so absurd. Be a parent. Be an example. Because friends come and go but parents are there for life. And you as a parent have a very important purpose in the life of your child. You are there to teach them right from wrong. You are there to provide for them.

You are there to protect them. And you are there to lay a foundation in their life. But most importantly your job is to lead your child to Jesus Christ. And what a gift children are. What a gift children are. You know Psalm 127 says, Children are a heritage from the Lord. Children are a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

The word heritage could be translated gift. So another way to say it is children are a gift from heaven. They are a gift to us from God. They are not ours to possess. They are not ours to mold.

They are ours to unfold and to nurture and point to Christ. And what a great privilege it is to have children. You know sometimes people will say, Well our kids are perfect. We have never had problems with our kids. And you know they have never rebelled.

They have never been disrespectful. And I will say, Well how old are your kids? Three and four. You don't know what you are talking about. You know nothing about parenting yet. Now talk to me after you have survived the teenage years and maybe I will listen to you. Reminds me of the advice of Mark Twain who said years ago, Things run along pretty smoothly until your kid reaches 13. That is the time you need to stick them in a barrel and hammer down the lid nice and snug and feed them to the knothole.

And then Twain writes about the time he turned 16, Plug up the knothole. That is not literal advice by the way in case someone thinks it is. So we need God's help to be moms. To be dads.

And just as we need help with our marriage. We need God's help as parents. Because we live in a culture that is largely hostile to the family. And it certainly does not support the role of mother and father.

In fact in many ways culture and by that I mean music, movies, television, and other things tend to undermine the role of the parent. But first of all Paul directs his remarks to children. He says, Obey your parents in the Lord.

Verse 1. Honor your father or mother. This is the commandment with promise.

It means to give weight to your parents. It is hard to be a parent today. This is why we read in the gospels that the mothers brought their children to Jesus. And if you are a smart mom you will keep bringing your child to Jesus. And I love that story because the moms see Jesus. They bring their kids to Him. And the disciples like push them back.

They are like doing security all of a sudden. You know. Don't bother the master right now. He is busy.

He is tired. And Jesus said, Hold on now. Let those little children come unto me and don't forbid them for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Let them come. And the kids came to Christ and loved Him and He loved them and the mothers. But in the original language it can be translated the mothers kept bringing their children to Jesus. I like the fact that even though they were rebutted by the disciples the moms were persistent.

No. We are bringing our kids to Christ. And you keep doing the same with your children as well. I will say a few words about having a prodigal child toward the end of the message if that is what you are dealing with right now.

I remember during one of these riots a while back. The story of this mother that came and drug her boy home. This mom turns on the TV. She sees her boy out in some riot in the streets. She runs in.

They are filming this. This woman's name is Toya Graham. She grabs her son. Drags him home.

Now listen. She used some vulgarity. Some profanity that we do not endorse. But you got to love what she did. She drug that boy home.

What are you doing? That is not the way I raised you. We expect mothers to do that. We expect moms to step up to the plate. We depend on moms to do that. Oh my goodness if mom just took a day off collectively from the responsibilities it seems like our culture would collapse overnight. But unfortunately men are not stepping up to the plate like mothers usually do.

There are exceptions. There are wayward moms that are horribly neglectful. But by and large mothers are there for the children.

We expect them to be there. But a lot of dads well they are missing in action. So as we read these scriptures here today they are not just directed to women.

They are directed to men. Because right now in our culture we are losing fathers at an unprecedented rate. One expert said we are in danger of becoming a fatherless society. Look at verse 4. You fathers don't provoke your children to wrath.

Bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Now of course this statement is assuming that the father is there. It was unheard of in first century culture for a father to abandon his responsibilities in his home.

Nowadays it seems to be almost the norm. I know a little about this. I was raised in a fatherless home. And to be completely candid I was raised in effect in a motherless home. My mom didn't really raise me at all.

I was just sort of left here and left there and mostly left to myself. And so this can be a problem for many people today. But here is why a dad is so important.

I know this is putting a lot of pressure on you guys but this is the truth. To a large degree a child's view of God is based on their view of their father. You are an earthly representative of God. Oh boy I am not going there. That is too much pressure.

Sorry. But you will see a lot of times people will sort of transfer their relationship with their earthly father to their heavenly father. So if their earthly father was mean and harsh and maybe even abusive they view God that way. If their earthly father was aloof and distant and uncommunicative then they think God is that way. Of course we need to know God isn't like that at all. God is loving. God is caring. God is nurturing.

But God at the same time is just and righteous and holy. But you are a representative of God to your kids. That is why your role is so vital in the home. It is funny how kids view their dads with the passing of time. I read a magazine article that sort of showed how a child views their father. When a child is four years old they say, My daddy can do anything. When the child is seven they say, My daddy knows a lot.

A whole lot. When the child is eight they say, Well my father doesn't know everything. When the child is 12, well naturally dad doesn't know about that either. At 14, oh man dad is so old school.

He doesn't know that either. At 21, dad is so lame. At 25, you know dad knows a little about that.

But not that much. At 30, let's find out what dad thinks about that. At 35 years before we decide let's get dad's idea first. At 50, what would dad have thought about that. At 60, you know what my dad knew literally everything.

At 65, I wish I could talk it over with dad one more time. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of today's study in just a moment. We're thrilled when we hear from listeners that join us from all across the country. Pastor Greg, I'm from New Jersey and your messages are the reason I have balance in my life. For years I've listened to your daily podcast.

I start every day reading the Bible and journaling. I'm proud to be a Harvest Partner and provide monthly support to your ministry. I appreciate you Pastor Greg. It's a privilege to bring these studies your way. And we're thankful for our Harvest Partners who make them possible. Would you consider partnering with us so they can continue? Make a donation online at

That's Well today Pastor Greg is reinforcing the important role we have as parents to train up our children in the ways of the Lord in a message called God's Plan for the Family. Here's what we're to do and not to do as parents. Verse 4, don't provoke your children to wrath. The word provoke means to anger them. In fact the word provoke means a repeated pattern of treatment that causes a child to have anger and resentment that boils over to outright hostility. Again the word provoke means a repeated pattern of treatment that causes a child to have anger and resentment that boils over to outright hostility. How would we provoke our children? One way we anger our children or provoke them is by showing favoritism to one child over another. Experts say the effects of parental favoritism left unchecked can be long lasting. But it was done that found siblings who since their mom consistently favored or rejected one child over another were far more likely to exhibit depression in middle age. The less favored kids also had ill will toward their parent or favored sibling.

You see this matters. It is a perfect example in the Bible of Isaac. Isaac had two sons Jacob and Esau. And Isaac favored Esau.

Because Esau was an outdoorsy hunter type kid. And of course his father really loved his barbecued venison. But his wife Rebecca she favored Jacob. Jacob liked to hang around the house you know.

Help mom out a little bit. So this caused a division among the boys that went well into their adult years that was favoritism. Now you would think that Jacob would have learned from this when he had his own family. But no he goes and favors one of his sons over the others he favored Joseph. So much so he gave him a special little coat.

We know it as the coat of many colors right. But actually what that was was a long sleeve tunic which basically said to the brothers Joseph doesn't have to work in the fields and the hot sun like you. He is my favored son. And you know certainly Joseph made things worse by tattling on his brothers. Tallying on his brothers. So they paid him back by selling him to slave traders. Man you know you have ticked off your siblings when that happens.

But really there was a responsibility here on the part of his father Jacob in favoring him. Don't favor one child over another child. And by the way kids know it when you have a favorite.

You are not as clever as you think you are. You know when I want to buy a gift for one of my granddaughters I will say I am going to get this for this granddaughter. And my wife will say no everything you buy you have to buy five of them. You have five grandchildren.

So I do the math and I say she doesn't need it that much. Another way you provoke your children is by never complimenting them. You provoke them by never complimenting them or affirming them.

I grew up in a home where there were no compliments. There was no affirmation. There was no out of boys. It just wasn't done. No hugs.

No kisses. No I love you said by anyone to anyone. So when I became a dad I think I overcompensated. I agree with the statement of Dr. Dobson when he said every parent owes their first child an apology. That is probably true.

Because we all made mistakes with our first kids. Am I right? I did. So I think I over disciplined. I was overly generous.

I didn't understand those were not good things. And so I mean I have shared this example before but I would just take my son Christopher my only boy at that point. Jonathan had not yet been born. We would just go to a toy store and I would just buy him a toy for no reason. And not just a toy. A big toy. I would say hey do you want to go to the toy store?

Yes! Until we went to Toys R Us. And this is when Star Wars was out the first time. That was a long time ago. I wish I had kept those figures in their original packaging.

They are valuable now. So we would go and I would say okay Christopher you can pick out a little figure. Pick out a Star Wars. Pick out a Star Wars character.

So he would look very carefully and think about it and pull different ones off. He is looking for you know Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader or Han Solo or someone like that. And he says dad I want Han Solo. Well meanwhile when he was looking at the little characters I was looking at the Star Wars hardware on the top shelf. And I had my eye on different ones and he said I want Han Solo. I said okay great. We will get it. How about the Millennium Falcon to go with it? And I take this giant box off the shelf.

Off the shelf. And we bought it. And we came home carefully. We would look and just roll our eyes.

It is like what are you doing? Okay so we can overdo things for sure. So one problem is never affirming our child. Another problem is over affirming our child. This may be a problem more in culture today and the way a lot of younger parents are raising their children.

They actually have come up with a term for it. It is called helicopter parenting. And an article said quote when praising children goes too far parents used to worry about spoiling their kids and so they criticized lavishly and withheld praise. Now they worry about self esteem so they withheld criticism and praised lavishly. And the problem with this is it has produced a lot of narcissistic self-centered kids.

And I see it all the time. Kids that have no respect. I always taught my boys respect. You know an adult walks in the room, you stand up and you shake their hand and you look them in the eye and you are respectful to people. You have to teach these things to kids. They don't do it naturally. When I look at disrespectful kids that is the fault of the parents.

Because the parents haven't done their job of parenting and helping the children. Now what are we to do? We are to bring them up it says in the training and admonition of the Lord. Bring them up. This could also be translated nourish and feed. Another translation says let them be kindly cherished. It says bring them up. It does not say knock them down. Nor does it say leave them to themselves.

Because Proverbs 29 15 says a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. And that is a problem in many homes in America today. I read an article with the headline a new generation of latch key kids has emerged.

A latch key kid is a kid that goes to school and they come home and they are alone for hours until mom or dad get home. This article said it has jumped to 15 million every day. A six percent increase since 2004. Who is influencing these kids? In many cases their peers are training them. Or the public school system. God help us with that.

Or media. But listen it is your job mom and dad. Your job to train your children. To bring them up in the way of the Lord.

And I will tell you why to bring them up. Because their sinful nature brings them down. I do not think I have to tell you that your child is a sinner. Just like you are a sinner. David said in sin did my mother conceive me. I never had to teach my boys how to sin.

I never had to send them down. Boys I would teach you how to sin. Let's just start with this word mine.

No I did not have to teach them. It came naturally to them just like it came naturally to me. Like it will come naturally to every person. Now what we need to do is help our children come to Jesus and develop their own relationship with God. Listen to this. Nothing can really happen through us until this first happened to us. And Paul writes in Philippians 4 nine. The things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me practice these things.

Listen some things are caught and some things are taught. And what your children need to see is your faith in action. You know when I first became a Christian I came from this crazy broken home.

You all know that. And so I mean I was converted. My life was changed. And I would meet some kids that were kind of rebelling against God. And they would tell me how they came from homes of hypocrisy. And I would say man you have no idea what a bad home looks like. I came from the worst home ever.

Why would you not walk with God? And later I began to realize what hypocrisy does. In some ways it's almost better.

Almost not really but in some ways. It's almost better to come from a home of complete non-belief than to come from a home where mom and dad say they're Christians and they don't live it. And I'll tell you why. When you're raised in the kind of home I was raised in which was godless, multiple fathers, alcoholism, all that stuff. You know that's not good.

And I kind of saw the world up close and personal. I said I don't want that. There has to be something better. So at least I knew this is not the example to follow. But when you come from a home where mom and dad say they're Christians and they contradict it and they're fighting and they're screaming and they're getting drunk or doing whatever they do or even breaking up.

This is the worst thing you can do to your kids. Because now you've given them an excuse for their unbelief. So live a godly life. Candid counsel today from Pastor Greg Laurie on the important responsibility of parenthood. Pastor Greg has more to share as this message continues here on A New Beginning. Pastor Greg, our good friend, Pastor Levi Lusko is in the studio with us. Maybe we ought to make a more formal introduction. Would you mind doing that?

I'd be happy to. I've personally known Levi for over 20 years. And it's been amazing to see how God has been on his life and how the Lord has raised him up not only to be a fantastic pastor and teacher and evangelist but also a prolific author. In fact, we want to talk to you a little bit about his new book, The Marriage Devotional.

That's the title. But Levi and Jenny have been married for how many years has it been now, Levi, that you guys have been married? Oh my gosh, you're putting me on the spot with the math. I think we're about to get 19 years this spring. Excuse me, sir, you just wrote a book called The Marriage Devotional? Well, the book's an honest, vulnerable look at the reality of being married. Now, we've been married 19 years this spring.

19 years. And I'll tell you, having spent time with Levi and Jenny, Levi and Jenny, I can tell you they have a fantastic marriage. It's real, it's honest, and it's strong, and they have a wonderful family. And now he's gonna tell us some of the secrets of a successful marriage. And this is our special resource this month here at A New Beginning. We're offering you this book by Jenny and Levi Lusko titled The Marriage Devotional. You know, one of the things I love about this book, Levi, is you wrote it with your wife, right? So, you know, you make a statement, and in fact, you open the book up with the conflict you had when you were on a walk in a park in Chicago. And you get both sides of the discussion, which I think is gonna be really helpful for our listeners when they get their hands on this book because this is not like a lot of the other marriage books you've seen. I think this is, what I love about it is it's biblical, it's interesting, it's fun at times, it's surprising, and it's honest. So, tell us, in a nutshell, what do you think are the secrets, if they are secrets, of having a strong and vibrant marriage?

Yeah, well, thank you so much. You know, the thing is is that, like you said, they're well-known secrets. The problem, Greg, isn't that it's not known what to do. The problem is that the easy and simple things to do are also easy and simple not to do, right? So, things like humility and forgiveness, things like kindness and generosity, dying to yourself, it's not like you don't know what those things are.

Instead, it's hard to do it because we have a sinful nature. And Jenn and I, in writing this book and in putting it out there, want to help people strengthen their marriage. And that's really the message we want to carry, is that you can strengthen your marriage.

It's not like you can't become better. Great marriages aren't born, they're made. And if you do the hard work over time, like putting savings into a savings account or eating better and exercising more, your marriage can become healthy and vibrant and what God has in mind, it's just going to take work.

And so, what we hope is that over the 52 days, or 52 weeks, however you choose to approach it, some people might go through it in a crash course if they need more intensive work. But I think most couples will enjoy, once a week, going through this. We have conversation starters, there's questions to ask, ideas for date nights, prayers to pray.

We make it very easy, real low-hanging fruit. And you really, I think, on the back end of this journey, will find that you have a better marriage if you apply your heart to it. That's fantastic. So, I'm talking with Levi Lusko, the author of a new book called The Marriage Devotional. 52 devotions, written by Levi and his wife, Jennie, to help you.

I love that statement. Great marriages are not born, they're made. So you're going to find out more about how you can make your marriage strong and vibrant and lasting. And we want to send you this book for your gift of any size as you invest in our ministry so we can continue to offer resources like this and teach the word of God and proclaim the gospel to people that really need to hear it.

Yeah, that's right. It's an investment in bringing hope to people who need hope. So thanks for partnering with us. And when you make that donation today, be sure to ask for Pastor Levi's new book, The Marriage Devotional. You can call us anytime around the clock at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or just go online. You can make your donation securely at Well, next time, more valuable insight for parents from Pastor Greg's message, God's Plan for the Family, from a series, Am I Doing This Right? Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie.

This is the day, the day when life begins. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to And to find out how to know God personally, go to and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-03 05:28:51 / 2023-04-03 05:39:44 / 11

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