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Embracing Your Kids’ Hard Questions

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
November 8, 2021 1:00 am

Embracing Your Kids’ Hard Questions

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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November 8, 2021 1:00 am

Not having all the answers can be intimidating to parents, but Rebecca McLaughlin encourages us that the closer our kids look into the truth, the brighter Jesus shines.

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I think one of the hardest things in one know if you agree, as a parent is when your son or daughter starts the teen years.

Usually it's around there and they start questioning or pushing back or maybe rejecting the faith of their parents. I think that creates a lot of fear and parents because were afraid of where they will go with their doubts with their thoughts, and I think it's easy for some parents to avoid it, but I really believe the greatest thing we can do for our kids is to have a discussion about it and I'm so glad our kids were perfect so I never questioned or doubted another pushback asked a lot of questions that it was really healthy welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most and will send Dave Wilson and you can find or on our family life is family life today. I remember reading a book early in my parenting years because I wasn't raised in a Christian home called the dangers of growing up in a Christian home and I thought I better read this because I didn't grow up one in, but I'm trying to leave one now and the biggest lesson I took away from it was your children's faith has to be there faith, not the parents you have to let them pushback you have to let them question and doubt and come alongside them on the journey and I think that's really true day. But I also think were in an era where the questions kids are asking are different from the ones our kids were asking if they were growing up.

All I know is we need help. As parents come alongside and we have hope in the studio with us today yeah I'm not laughing at me I'm really working I cited because Rebecca MacLachlan is written a book for parents and for teenagers which is sort of off a book you wrote a few years back anyway. First of all let me say welcome to family today. Rebecca exactly that. Glad you're here and you are about how many years ago called confronting Christianity. Yes, I think it was 2018 and that was really sort of written to adults to wrestle with you said 12 questions yes I dedicated it to my best friend in the UK is not a Christian, and to all my other really smart friends who you think that Chris NTS crazy or dumb oral that you know all the reasons that very intelligent people might have for not even considering Christianity today reading my best friend in England right yes she felt as it had been dedicated to hoping not to file this one is similar in you. You can tell so much but it's really written to parents and to their teens. The idea with my fuss but was to write not to question saying hey, this is how you can put your non-Christian friend, but she to everybody's non-Christian friend said that a Christian could buy the book really for themselves IP be encouraged as they wrestle with the right questions but also have something to give to a friend or family member who is skeptical or confused by Christianity and have them talk about ultimate Santa even know and be able to answer some these questions themselves exactly said the idea with the team but was exactly the same to say I want to write something that you could give to you at non-Christian teenage or you could get your kid to use either teen or even a preteen might my duties just on 11 from a trade with her in mind as well say Nick is Miss right right for an HSA there be some kids. He will be very ready for this by 10 others unit they wouldn't be ready, but with the idea, saying, this is a bit they could read high-purity help them. They could also get to non-Christian friend or Christian parents or grandparents could to get this back to that kids I'm say it's very much aimed at the teenagers themselves do not tell you, even as I read it I read it like I could hang this to a nonbeliever right and are a lot of books you don't always feel that way. I felt like you are writing to a believer but you are writing to a nonbeliever like I love you I want you to be to ask and answer these questions here enters the title, by the way. 10 questions every teen should ask and answer about Christianity and here's why and I didn't write it because we don't have these credentials. Rebecca holds a PhD in Renaissance literature from Cambridge right people that know David and know all state universities. Not quite Cambridge and they degree in theology from Oak Hill College in your cofounder of revocable likable communications is right is that it's a communications firm. I started with a friend of mine who's a professor at UNC Chapel Hill. He's a professor commune patients that and he had been doing consulting some on the side of his professor job for a while and wanted to start a company with some of the professor friends as well to train people to be better can indicate to say yeah I may sleep coach pulses through the naturally wasabi survey. That's kind of my favorite thing to do. Say yeah and I tell you of stony and as we are reading the book is like this is so readable for adult but obviously for a for a teenager and obviously your tackle and big questions that like you say a team should ask and answer. Let me ask you this, though, is it good is it something scary for parents as their teenagers as we said earlier start to reject or maybe pushback or start ask questions that a good thing. How we respond yet it's funny is you guys wish on your experience.

So think about my kids to 11 983 and my 11-year-old from the fuss just accepted what we said about Jesus. If Jim had a question was a way to know more than like oh I'm not sure about this, that's just been passed on to have a set of orientation toward the face on our nine-year-old. I remember when she was full. I was reading before Christmas. The story of Gabriel telling marshes and a baby. I might for all guys now to believe that was like okay for nearly what is also some questions and figure out what it was she she didn't believe is that unit deeply that God made us.

Yeah, I believe that, would you believe that Jesus came and I've yeah but it was the angel she didn't buy she was like, hunted by angels believe in fairies why, but I believe in angels. I thought, okay, this is definitely a different feel to my life but I actually like it because she's not just taking what I say on trust. She's actually asking her questions and engaging enough to be skeptical. My two-year-old he's just hunting. Three. I was reading a little bit with him a few weeks ago which Jim called the gold contest is a great book and it starts with the. The story of Elijah are in the profits of bail and took let people in team oat yellow and team battle and then it transitions to Jesus and in the resurrection of the at the end it says Sinnott. You need to decide do you want to be on Jesus's team. My two-year-old looks many guys all really really he's he's just the kind of pushes every boundary he can find, and he knew that was the thing not to say something when you guys went through the ages I'm already in the thick of my two-year-old kind of answer puts of fear in parent heart all know, but it doesn't for you because honestly you have answers which is good and I think it's important for us as parents have all the answers but to be able to dialogue with Al Qaeda. Tell me about your faith. When did your faith become really important that where you were to get that accent will accompany UK as you may imagine from my dulcet tines I grew up in a suit of mixed Christian family. I would say semi. My mom's family where Catholic my dots were Church of England and we sold tonight between the Catholic Church and I make in touch. Growing up as a kid and I think my parents very much and I made themselves of discovering the rain faith and that families of origin had a mixture of people who want to touch because they believed something and people he wants just just because that's what you did on a Sunday morning and so I grew up going to just judges, but on is that probably wouldn't recommend her friend today to get to you, but I was excise the Scriptures. I had about Jesus. I don't remember a time. I didn't believe I remember distinctly when I was around about nine of my tongue is going through a hard time a mom was hospitalized at the time. She's right sick and I had a clarity at that point that Jesus was the only sudden thing in my life. Nothing else could just be taken away and I think that's still true. You I think it's moments in our lives like that went all the things feel uninsurable that we actually probably recognize the stronghold.

Jesus says that you are nine years old. Yeah that point. Yeah. So how did you find your calling to write on apologetics to write on the defense of Christianity from childhood on which I was in very academic very secular environments, even if that yeah I went to school.

It was cool simple skull school is like dedicated to pulse a pool but really hostile to Christianity and say I grew up around a bunch people who web very small and no impressive profanity toolset for money on. I was having conversations with friends, trying to persuade them to consider Jesus anyway under yeah yeah was like the key in being in the youth group. I got yeah yeah engagement teachers as well because it was this at a school that was that a lot of Franken open conversation and it was okay to push back on ideas and say I would argue that she, especially with the school chaplain who took a very set of liberal view of the Scriptures and thanks say I spent a number of using that went to college as an undergrad and got a whole another set of very small, mostly non-Christian friends, same story, second-best, and in grad school and often fats.

I thought you know the touching and spend this money and a lot of really stupid things so they might as well spend the money on theological education me so I went to to seminary. As I just realize I mean I I love studying Shakespeare, but I was never going to be passionate enough about it that I would make all the sacrifices you need to make to really sit or succeed in academia even if I don't if I even had the brain to do it like even theoretically I thought what am I actually makes passionate about what I sacrifice things for the Hans definitely telling people about Jesus and helping people especially, he says have good reasons to not consider question whether it's because they think of Christian anti-is racist or a scrim in a Dragon's people, whether they see it as oppressing women or whether they see it as like incompatible with real's academic engagement like this really good reasons to discredit potential belief, but as I've gone on in life.

The more I read the more I flood, whether from Christians, all from non-Christians actually the moon commits land that Jesus gives us the best on such will ask questions.

There's nothing disappointing about Jesus and actually the more that you also questions the more you actually look into things, the more brightly, Jesus shines on something you as you look at your 10 questions you think okay these are 10 questions every teen should ask and answer. I'm expecting what can be about the Bible about heaven and hell and those are in there is Jesus really the only way what your first question, I found so interesting in terms of like wow this is the first one. I'm not saying it's an order that way maybe it is but it was my question of having come to Christ till my junior in college and this was one of the reasons I didn't think there was any life in Christ.

I just thought I been around church a bit. Non-Christians enough to know and I and I actually developed a talk later as I preach and different things that here's my perspective on Christianity. It's no fun.

It's no freedom under no fulfillment, and that was what I saw and saw Mike who would want to do that and that your first questions I love to hear your perspective why you started with this question in the list talk about it because I loved how you answered the question. I think every teen will go.

That is a great place to start. So you caught how can I live my best life now so that's the question how can I live my best life now. What you start with that in let's talk about Jeff.

He is a gated that the previous job that I didn't one of the areas that we got interested in was mold in psychology and as I started to read on the discoveries of any mold in psychology and will always different things they possess everything would happen. I agree to pay for and I think when a minute. The Bible says that black women, the Bible says that non-Christian social psychologists on black one only sings already because of the Bible and not to say that there was such is invalid and hasn't set a validated it in a different way.

But, for example, I mean even one of your points. That was that.

No fun, no freedom and no fulfillment. We have this idea as molten western people that if you have enough freedom happy to give me enough options, whether it's chocolates in the top box.

All potential spouses.

I just give me enough options to optimize and find the exact right one when I should eat this study after study is showing that unlimited three to is really bad for us like we have a terrible crisis of decision-making. We have too many options.

I was actually good for us is to commit something when I read that such a way to manage all feel at Christian marriage and if you look in fact that the studies on unit correlations between especially for women. In fact, between having multiple sexual partners. For example correlate with like low levels of mental health and happiness in high levels of sadness and suicide late ideation and potential for drug abuse in all these eggs which is not to say go studying every single woman is made they's choices open, pushed into those choices is necessarily going to struggle with depression, but if we look at the population level. Actually, this molten idea that unlimited freedom, whether it's about the jobs that we might have all the people we might sleep with getting that that's the way to maximize happiness. Does she correspond to what we know from up in psychology. I know does it correspond to what we know from the Scriptures which is not because that the Bible doesn't give us freedom it gives us also to freedom it gives us the most profound freedom in Christ body gives us freedom within real important constraints and boundaries and so it's it's that kind of balance is way way we humans thrive at times that I remember reading John 1010 I came that you might have life and have into the full. I remember putting down the hype on thinking Jesus and that it made me start to think what is full what is wholeness what would that look like for me and I feel like we've lived that out. It feels like the opposite would happen when you surrender your life. You feel like oh no, now my life is in the hands I will be in bondage. But the actual opposite happens. You are free. Yeah, yeah, something great to that one of the verses I keep coming back to bite in my life and it will so my writing is when Jesus says anyone he wants to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my site will find yeah anyone he wants come off. You must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

It's so countercultural again and again sold of immediate human stings, and yet I think even experientially is life grown old life more and more realize that truth and that of course for the long time of eternity, but will say fold out the realities of here and now and I know II think of trying to be About an FS chapter is not to in any way preaching on a prosperity gospel writing. I have come to Jesus and you will be happy and wealthy and happy and overthink no problems. No yeah no struggle is absolutely not what Jesus promises us that she says life can be pretty hard indeed.

And yet the teachings that he gives us really do you promote human flourishing. One of the fascinating ours a reset for that is even just like regular going to judge which is a good Geico tied up on the veil he's at the hub. It's good public health. He specifically studies the relationship between religious participation and mental and physical health outcomes and at times other people who go to chat once a week or more, all measurably happy and healthy, less like to suffer from depression substantially less lunch commit suicide extraordinarily say. I think the large-scale study done of female nurses in America and they can pad a people who'd didn't get shot show any kind of religious services tool on on the one extreme vessel people. He went once we come home and attend out that people he went once we come o.s. six times less, let it kill themselves.

The people he never went and said that there are all these ways in which I think many in our society today have come to think of religion in general and for shanties in particular as being so psychology bad fee because of the opposite is true whether or not you believe in Christianity that the atheist social psychologists Eva say yeah, she's a lot of data to support the idea that regular religious participation is good for you Mesa studies have been done on cha-cha. It's not unique to touch getting but it does seem to be unique to religious participation just into the golf club every week instead of saying the same group of people for the same activities as in get a cottage.

It's fascinating how we seem to be designed as beings who need that specific kind of engagement that community within the idea that what she connecting with something so far beyond ourselves. Yeah, I found that interesting to with the study that wasn't done for 75 years with professors at Harvard and he said that when you're talking about how love is the most important thing they found that good relationships with family and friends are white People happier and healthier, rather than feign wealth and success when you talk to kids that are teenagers and you asked them what do you think will bring you the greatest contentment in your life and they would probably say either fame, wealth or success yeah yeah and this is the saying, no, that's not what brings it. Yeah, I think one of the things that is interesting. That is, that that is that an idyllic shift, romantic love that I think we see in an outboard culture and owns only see also the judge absolutely where a kid might say you know what if I just grow up and get married. Things can be great.

There is some truth in that in that having a stable marriage is correlated with multiple mental and physical health benefits like there are definitely lots of good things about being in a good marriage to Ashley what we most need it is close connection with with a number of people.

It's not just all about finding that one person. He will fulfill all of my relational on social and sexual and emotional needs. As you thus far too much pressure to put on exactly one human being but but as as Christians, we are invited into this this family and given this mission together to actually things like friendship, some to become beautiful and Michelin important unknown just kind of nice to have if you don't have any Basha was interesting. You know when I read that chapter and again I knew where you're going, but the data that you brought in was so interesting it is isn't like you have the best life now because the Bible says so you like the Bible says this Jesus promised this, but here's the data almost the science, the say. Even if you're not a believer you look at this date and go.

That's the way a person should live because there's there's life therein. You know the things that I thought before became a follower of Christ is there's no funders, no freedom. There's no fulfillment. I now have found the opposite is true.

You want fun you want real joy. This not just temporary high. It's in the joy of the Lord is my strength. It's like I would've never understood that before freedom everything free, like you said earlier freedom of being ill do anything I want. It's like that unless I freedom at all about freedom in Christ you don't know how free it is to be little love one woman for your entire life to be old to have self-control. Sounds like you're not free. You are absolutely free and the fulfillment is like oh my goodness that the greatest depth of my life is found in relation with Christ and that's what you Say and in chapter 1, I thought I didn't expect this book to start there. If I'm a nonbeliever or am a new believer. I'm a teenager saying I need to ask this question is the best life to live in Christ.

Yes, that's that is a question that has to be answered before you can really take the next step right yeah yeah so what I mean where to go out because again I will read past that chapter. Like all skip to the deep stuff you know like heaven and hell and you in science, interest, incompatible, and we will talk about those, but I thought what a great place that I'll never forget unit staff training with crew we run athletes in action.

Staff decades ago training with three or 4000 staff in Moby Jim in Colorado State University derivatives yeah and they had different speakers coming up and we were in our first or second year married and just out of college and they introduce a guy to speak to thousands of staff most of us, some of us young efficacy. All of us and he's probably in his 80s 85 years old and his name Sid low Baxter and I do know who he was but he said unbelievable author and thinker and wrote a book called explore the book, which is a commentary on the whole Bible. Long story short, unlike I literally turned and like working. Listen to an 80-year-old you look at my judgment, you know like what she had to tell us, and I'm a musician and so I appreciate as he walks up and start jamming on the piano. I mean jamming and Mike. While this guy's got spunk and he gets up and on their forget. I don't know what he talked about he told the story, he said. So if you're down or your discouraged or your Christian walk is just flat. It's just empty.

There's just no fire and passion anymore in your walk in. If you've ever been there. If you're there.

Let me tell you what you do, that I might get the Bible go to church single worship song here what you said.

He said get off your couch put on your coat and go out and serve somebody right yes yes go give your life away what you said earlier, you know you find life as you lose your life. You said as you serve generously, others fire will come back to your soul is not about. I gotta go find myself. I got egos and all those things are good.

Didn't work but just give your life away in service to others for the Lord their wheel fire and passion. It comes back to your soul scene I remember that to Dave, but I also remember crying thinking when you're 21 and you're wondering like what will my life be like a white wine and I remember looking at him thinking I want.

Yeah, this passion he's in his 80s and he was powerful and passionate. I think he ran onto the stage and ran all the love for Jesus that radiate out and compelled him and it made me think I've seen a lot of people at that age that are despondent and weary, cynical, depressed and cynical and I thought if that's what Jesus does. I want to follow him my entire life and give my life away and I love that you started this book on that note, because you're saying like, you may not believe this but these are the scientific facts and data in research that you actually are better with following Jesus. Yeah, I think even if we lay all of the scientific studies aside and we look at the kinds of stories we want to hear we look at the films we went to lunch. Whether it's the one whether it's reading Harry Potter a little of the rings with the ones that we love.

When drawn to stories where there is a real adventure. And there was real mission is real set of danger and sacrifice. And that's because that's really what with design for way. Given that we we deny Jesus, or if we know Jesus but we sit on actually listening to what he saying then we say what's the point of my life will I have to contribute to my that's not my job to figure out we been told to be a job is when you get on with it and I think one of the things that I'm increasingly passionate about, even as we think about charges like we doing on a Sunday morning we going and that just say here assignment and sing some songs of setback and in which case we will hunt at retirement, in which case you can sit in your couch a time and listen to the summit and sing the songs, like what you that it is for those reasons back to doing these things together and what can I contribute to the people around me. How can I so if you can.

I welcome my capital whose needy or distressed or struggling for whatever reason, and we realize that we not just that to spectate the way that to actually be the body of Christ in that place they competing changes how we think about Chet Shea changes even how we think about like closeness and relationships in the kind of feel like and that the Harry Potter series of the friendships that develop between Harry and Ron and Hermione sit around thinking all you know, let's write some marshmallows and try and Mike have deep conversations that I had stuff to do together. They were a mission together and it's that mission together.

That brings us into real closeness and thing I've always said church should be know this may not be an analogy that you would connect with but it's a football game in American Fork yeah right so you figure out where this church is the huddle after you leave church is the game. So what I mean by that is, you know people don't sit in stadiums and watch NFL or college football teams are high school willful seems that in the huddle and talk about what they're going to do. They want to see him run the play right. They would never sit there for two hours and sailing and do anything of these go talk about church is where we come together we talk and we study and we sing and we get excited and then what happens when we go out is what goals it calls us who he calls us to live our best life now, which is the know him and then go on the adventure making known your neighbors and parents hear something that's really important. Our kids are watching you forgiving yet they see that fire in us that deal they see when were loving others, complementing them serving them looking out for them there watching and so if it's not real. They detect it and I hope it is we sit in our churches. We will become doers of the word.

I think all of us as parents understand the we live in a culture that wants to influence our children want to shape their thinking and in our homes and in our churches because they men will.

Some were just saying we need to be standing firm on what God's word teaches and making sure we are helping our children understand what the Bible says be able to think biblically about the important issues of our day. The book that Rebecca MacLachlan has been talking about today.

Her book 10 questions every team should ask is such a helpful resource that helps all of us think more clearly about how the Bible speaks to the issues that are being presented in our culture today and we think this is such an important book for parents.

We'd like to make available to you as our gift when you support the ministry of family life with the donation of any amount your donations to the ministry of family life to the help us reach more people more often with practical biblical help and hope for their marriage and for their family. The kind of help and hope you get as you listen to family life to the every day.

You can donate when you call one 803 586-329-1800 F as in family L as in life among the word today and make a donation to support the ministry of family life to day tomorrow.

David and Wilson will continue their conversation with Rebecca MacLachlan talking about some of the pressing issues of our day. Specifically, the exclusivity of Christianity. How in a pluralistic culture do we defend the idea that Jesus is the only way of salvation will hear that conversation tomorrow. I hope you can join us on behalf of our hosts David and Wilson and Bob Lapine will see you back next time for another edition of family life today.

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