Chores – Why and How – MBFLP 237

Studies show that although children who have regular chores are more likely to be happy as kids and independent as adults, less than one out of three families expect their kids to help around the house. Only 28%! As a family of ten, we found that teaching our children to help out was a necessity. There are long-term benefits, too! This episode, we talk about why we need to give kids chores, and how we made it work.

Real Modesty (a redux episode) – MBFLP 236

Hello, Friends!

Melanie’s come down with laryngitis this week so we’d like to offer this return to a frequent issue for Christians in conservative churches – Modesty! And we think you’ll find there’s more to it, and less of what you may expect, when you look back to the whole Bible. We hope you enjoy it!

In Christ
Hal and Melanie

One of the long-running controversies in conservative churches is the question of “modesty.” What does it mean, Biblically? How should we practice it? Is it just about “necklines and hemlines” or is there something more?

Sometimes the subject has bad associations in people’s memory. Maybe they’ve encountered a legalistic application of the concept, and it left a bad taste in their mouth. And yet, we know that modesty is important for a Christian. We want the way we dress to reflect that we’re God’s people. We don’t want to tempt people to sin. But how can we consider the question without bogging down in legalistic stuff?

Of course – go back and look at the biblical standard. Let’s see what the Word actually says and not just what someone interpreted.

To The Word!

Providentially, we were looking at one of these passages in our family devotions. In 1 Timothy 2:8-9, Paul is instructing Timothy on the organization of the church he’s planting. He wrote,

“I desire therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety in moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good work.”

Some people interpret that to mean women should not wear nice clothes. They shouldn’t try to be attractive. They shouldn’t wear jewelry or braid their hair. And on the surface the passage sounds like that, but other passages give it more context.

For example, 1 Peter 3 is talking about relations of wives and husbands. In his word to the wives, Peter says (verse 3), “Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather, let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” And in verse five, he continues, “For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

Here’s a significant point – Sarah was known for something. In Genesis 12, when she and Abraham were in Egypt, the Egyptians noticed Sarah. They noticed her beauty. They were staring at her. They were saying in their own language, “Wow. Check out that woman over there.” She attracted so much attention Abraham actually feared for his own life.

Guess what? Sarah was at least 65 years old at the time.

Changing Perspective

This is worth considering for a moment. Obviously Sarah was a woman who knew how to take care of herself, who knew how to dress well, who knew how to groom herself. This woman was like a supermodel, and 65 years old. And what does Peter say? Peter says, ladies be like Sarah–she was a godly woman.

We’ve had friends who seemed to believe that “Dumpiness is next to holiness.” That “dowdy” is “godly.” And yet we have the example of Sarah to balance some of our interpretation.

(There’s much more in the rest of the episode – it’s not just an issue for women!)

Myths of Motherhood – MBFLP 235

Hal is out of town with the children and Melanie is helping her mother after major surgery, so this episode Melanie tackles some common ideas about motherhood that may not be quite so. Join this mother of eight (five all grown now) as she looks at “Myths of Motherhood”!

“Motherhood” is one of the almost-mystical concepts of our culture. It’s symbolic of so many things, though to be sure, just what it represents has changed as the culture has changed.

But like many “big ideas,” there are some mythical things that cluster around, too. Can we talk frankly about what we see as the myths of modern motherhood?

Here’s a big one to start with:

Myth No. 1 – “It’s hard now and it’s always going to be this way.”

When we had four kids eight and under, Hal accepted a new job in a different town. We couldn’t sell the house before he had to start, so we conceived the not-so-brilliant idea of Melanie and the kids staying in the present home to try and sell it, while Hal moved two hours away to begin the new job.

It was horrible.

One mom and four littles, eight and under. Every time the agent wanted to show the house, Melanie would dash upstairs and down, furiously throwing things in laundry baskets and stuffing them in the car. One of our children couldn’t fall asleep at night; Melanie would get the older two settled, nurse the baby down, and then find the toddler wide wake, feet flailing, talking to himself. She would sit by his toddler bed, crying her heart out to God, “Father! Please – let this child sleep,” unable to leave him because the bedrooms were upstairs.

It was tough and it was discouraging too. And it was easy to think, “This is my normal. It will always be the way it is this minute. And I can’t do this.”

Eventually we decided to just clean the house really well, close it up, and go live with relatives for a month or two until it sold. And eventually, it all worked out.

That little guy who wouldn’t get to sleep? He’s a father now with his own restless toddler. All four of those kids we had then are grown and gone now. We still have children at home, the younger siblings who weren’t even alive back then, but our life is drastically different. When the younger few were born, we had teenagers to help. The older kids can handle most of their schoolwork on their own. They’re helping more than they’re taking time.

Your life as a mother of a demanding young family is tough – no question. But that three-year-old who’s running around like a maniac — in a few years, he’ll be able to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and he’ll help get the toddler out of the toilet while you’re nursing the baby. When he’s 9 he’ll be able to finish fixing dinner when the baby needs Mama (as they do!). When he’s 12 he’ll be able to cook the whole meal, and when he’s 16 you can send him out for burgers when you’re sick with the flu. Your life hasn’t reached a standstill –

Don’t give up!

(There’s a lot more coming up – listen in below!)

Teaching “Adulting” – MBFLP 234

 

Studies show that young adults are often not prepared for adult independence. Psychologists say the current generation is growing up slowly, and some even say “Twenty-five is the new fifteen”!* But if our parents and grandparents were functioning adults at 18 or 20, why can’t our kids be the same? This episode we’re talking about how to teach adult skills intentionally to our teenagers – and what to do if they graduated before you were done teaching!


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The Parent-Child Relationship – MBFLP 233

Relationship with your kids is more that just feelings

The overwhelming business of raising a child can cause us to miss the importance of our relationship with them. There’s so much to think about, so much to do, so much to pray over and work on – how can we put the proper emphasis on the “soft skills”? And yet, at the end of the day (which is when they graduate and move out), the sort of relationship we have with that child will be the thing which draws them back home – or not. This episode, we take a quick look at the way our parent-child interaction needs to change with the growing maturity of our child.

The Two Biggest Tasks of Parenting

Have you ever asked yourself, what is the absolute core of effective parenting? What would “success” look like? What is so important that, if we miss that one thing, we’ll look back with deep regret?

We actually think there are two absolutely critical things that we must pursue as parents. You can just assume the basic life needs – food, health, safety – of course. Those don’t even have to be on the agenda; if you don’t take care of those, you may not be a parent for long.

But the thing we find at the top of the list is discipleship. The Bible tells us over and over that we are to teach the word of God to our children throughout the day and in every circumstance (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

And inseparably connected to it is a second thing – the relationship we build with those children. In fact, we’d say you will have a very hard time teaching the first thing, if the second is weak or missing. Dr. Jeff Myers of Summit Ministries said that in the process of discipling tens of thousands of young adults, the ministry has found that truth will only be accepted in the context of relationship – a relationship of love, trust, and respect.

Relationship is More Than Just Feelings

The “warm fuzzy” aspect is important, of course, but there is a practical side to our parent-child relationship, too. That changes as the child grows and matures, and our interaction with him needs to change, too. At the start, the most important thing is teaching trust – Mama and Daddy will take care of you – and the Bible uses that as an illustration of God’s faithfulness to us:

“As one whom him mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

(God, in Isaiah 66:13)

(read more …)

Your parent-child relationship is a delicate balance!

The time for positive discipline comes after that. And again, the Bible makes it clear that discipline is a sign of our love (Hebrews 12:5-11):

… for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening … then you are illegitimate and not sons. (vv. 7-8)

But as they grown into the teen years, the way we interact with them, the way we discipline, and the responsibility we give or withhold, has got to reflect their new status as young adults. If we fail there, we may send them into the world with memories of resentment toward us. That’s not a good launch.

And through it all, we have got to communicate our affection to them in a way they understand and receive. They have to know not just that we love them, but that we actually like them. And that may take some work. 

Listen in for practical help on balancing these necessary roles – and for ideas how you can build a bridge to your child’s heart, even when you think you’ve lost your first chance already. We’ve crossed that bridge ourselves! With God’s help, so can you.


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Finding a Mate – MBFLP 232

Finding a Mate

Does the Bible give us guidance on finding a mate? Of course – but it’s not as detailed as some of the more recent advice we’ve all heard. This episode we’re talking about some unmistakable – and non-negotiable – things the Scriptures tell us about guys and girls in relationship … but keeping in mind some things the Bible doesn’t say, too!

What’s non-negotiable?

Here are a few principles we think are clear:

Respect for parents – The Fifth Commandment is to “Honor your father and your mother,” and it’s repeated in both Testaments (Exodus 20:12 and Matthew 15:4, for example). Parents have experience and wisdom, and a young lover is well-advised to seek that wisdom out! Besides, they are probably a little more objective about the object of their child’s affection and may be able to raise an issue that’s being overlooked. (We do make a distinction, though, between the commandment to honor parents – aimed at all of us, at any age – versus commandments to obey parents, which are aimed specifically at children. Note the apostle Paul uses both words in Ephesians 6:1-3 but only to children in Colossians 3:20)

(more following …)

Some thoughts and advice about finding a mate ...

Sexual holinessFor this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; … For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. (1 Thessalonians 4:3, 7) The New Testament is full of warnings against sexual immorality, and specifically against fornication in many places. The ancient world thought it wasn’t a big deal and much of our own world thinks the same – but the Bible says they’re wrong.

Friendship with honor
– When the apostle Paul counseled the young pastor Timothy, he told him to threat younger women in the church “as sisters, with all purity.” (1 Timothy 6:2) There is space for friendship between unmarried singles, with that proviso – to be careful of virtue and reputation, just like you would toward a beloved sibling.

For believers – Don’t date unbelievers. Marriage was created by God for all of humanity, and it is open for all, but the Bible warns against becoming too intimate with someone who doesn’t share your faith (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). This passage is not talking about when one spouse becomes a Christian after the marriage – look at 1 Corinthians 7:10-16 for that situation. But we shouldn’t start out with that sort of uneven spiritual relationship.

As for the rest of the advice …

So much of the other advice we hear has to be balanced against clear Scripture, culture, circumstance, and practical application. Much family life teaching comes from Old Testament examples and illustrations – wisdom that isn’t expressed as commandment. Regulations about marrying a captive of war, official recommendations for elopement, and examples of marrying two sisters – at the same time – are there in the narrative. They have to be understood in context!

So in all seriousness, we do encourage our young people to find friendships with the opposite sex, in all purity, and consider the question of deeper relationships and marriage with both godly caution and godly cheerfulness!


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Overcomer Movie

Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team’s state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant in town suddenly shuts down and hundreds of families begin moving away, John must come to grips with the challenges facing his family and his team. Urged by the school’s principal to fill-in and coach a sport he doesn’t know or like, John is frustrated and questioning his worth… until he crosses paths with a student struggling with her own journey.
Filled with a powerful mix of faith, a twist of humor, and a ton of heart, the Kendrick Brothers return to theaters with OVERCOMER, their newest feature following FACING THE GIANTS, FIREPROOF, COURAGEOUS, and the #1 box-office hit, WAR ROOM. The inspiring family film stars Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, Shari Rigby, Cameron Arnett, and introduces Aryn Wright-Thompson.

Opening nationwide on August 23, OVERCOMER dares to leave you filled with hope, inspired to dream, and asks the question: what do you allow to define you?

Click here to learn more!


When Christian Leaders Fall – MBFLP 231

What do we do when Christian leaders fall?

What to you do when prominent Christian leaders walk away from the faith? How do you think this through, and how do you talk about it to your kids?

In the past month, author and former pastor Joshua Harris announced the end of his twenty-year marriage, and almost “by the way,” renounced the Christian faith he preached for longer than that. It’s a tragedy for his personally, his family, and for many who have read his books or heard him teach. But it’s also a tragedy for Christ’s church, and it will have an impact on your own family to some extent or another.

This episode, we look at Harris’s departure from the faith and how we should think and respond when a Christian leader has a public fall – and how we need to talk about it with our family!

Who is this? 

If you’re new to homeschooling, ,you may not have heard of Joshua Harris. He is the son of Gregg and Sono Harris, two of the earliest leaders of the modern Christian homeschool movement. In 1997 their son Josh, then 19, wrote a book called I Kissed Dating Goodbye where he questioned the wisdom and morality of modern dating culture and proposed a very formal, parent-led courtship process. The book sold over 1.2 million copies and influenced thousands of families in the evangelical community. Other books on relationships followed, and for several years Harris was pastor of a megachurch in Maryland. A few years ago, he stepped down from the pastorate to pursue formal theology studies, and he also retracted his earlier thinking on courtship, apologizing for the hurt his earlier teaching had caused.

More could be said but the gist of it is, Harris came from an influential family in the homeschooling movement. He was embraced and celebrated within the movement from a young age, and he had an outsized influence in the community as a young adult. Now in his early forties, he has stepped back from the things he once believed and taught. Whatever we think about his teaching (then or now), we need to consider the broader impact of his new direction.

How should we respond when a Christian leader leaves the faith?

 

Some issues we address

  • As Christians, how should we think about and respond to this kind of news?
  • How is seen by the world outside the church?
  • Does it affect what we think of their writing, teaching, or music?
  • What are some personal implications for one who falls away?
  • How can we avoid following a popular teacher into a deadly error?
  • How we should explain this to our kids–and why it’s important that we do
  • Most importantly, where are we focusing our hope and our faith?

Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Overcomer Movie

Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team’s state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant in town suddenly shuts down and hundreds of families begin moving away, John must come to grips with the challenges facing his family and his team. Urged by the school’s principal to fill-in and coach a sport he doesn’t know or like, John is frustrated and questioning his worth… until he crosses paths with a student struggling with her own journey.
Filled with a powerful mix of faith, a twist of humor, and a ton of heart, the Kendrick Brothers return to theaters with OVERCOMER, their newest feature following FACING THE GIANTS, FIREPROOF, COURAGEOUS, and the #1 box-office hit, WAR ROOM. The inspiring family film stars Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, Shari Rigby, Cameron Arnett, and introduces Aryn Wright-Thompson.

Opening nationwide on August 23, OVERCOMER dares to leave you filled with hope, inspired to dream, and asks the question: what do you allow to define you?

Click here to learn more!


College Without Debt or Fortune – MBFLP 230

We’re on the road this week, taking our son – our fifth son, by the way – off to college. He’s not taking on a load of debt – and neither are we. And we’re not rolling in dough and writing checks to cover it, either!

In fact, his four older brothers have done the same thing – three graduated on time and debt free, and the fourth is on track to finish strong this year. How is that even possible?

In this timely episode, we talk about how to find the funding you need to send your student off to college without looking forward to years of punishing repayment. If you have a graduating senior, you need to listen to this one now – because deadlines are looming closer than  you think!


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Overcomer Movie

Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team’s state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant in town suddenly shuts down and hundreds of families begin moving away, John must come to grips with the challenges facing his family and his team. Urged by the school’s principal to fill-in and coach a sport he doesn’t know or like, John is frustrated and questioning his worth… until he crosses paths with a student struggling with her own journey.
Filled with a powerful mix of faith, a twist of humor, and a ton of heart, the Kendrick Brothers return to theaters with OVERCOMER, their newest feature following FACING THE GIANTS, FIREPROOF, COURAGEOUS, and the #1 box-office hit, WAR ROOM. The inspiring family film stars Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, Shari Rigby, Cameron Arnett, and introduces Aryn Wright-Thompson.

Opening nationwide on August 23, OVERCOMER dares to leave you filled with hope, inspired to dream, and asks the question: what do you allow to define you?

Click here to learn more!


Planning for the New School Year – MBFLP 229

As we look forward to the new school year – whether with fear or anticipation – we’re looking at the problem of planning. How much is necessary? Is there a point of “too much”? What sort of process works best?

We’ve been homeschooling for twenty-five years now, and we’ve probably done it all, from detailed daily schedules to very flexible, constantly adapting plans. “Life happens,” as they say, and sometimes we’re reminded that God has lessons for our family that we may not have expected. In fact, that’s a key learning for us as homeschooling parents – make plans, yes, but with the humility to accept that God may overrule them at any point – and when He does, it will be for the good.

This episode we talk about striking that balance, being good stewards of the time we have with our kids, but also knowing that opportunities and emergencies will disrupt the best-laid plans. We’ve found you can accommodate both of them!


This episode brought to you by Evangelical Christian Credit Union



Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Overcomer Movie

Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team’s state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant in town suddenly shuts down and hundreds of families begin moving away, John must come to grips with the challenges facing his family and his team. Urged by the school’s principal to fill-in and coach a sport he doesn’t know or like, John is frustrated and questioning his worth… until he crosses paths with a student struggling with her own journey.
Filled with a powerful mix of faith, a twist of humor, and a ton of heart, the Kendrick Brothers return to theaters with OVERCOMER, their newest feature following FACING THE GIANTS, FIREPROOF, COURAGEOUS, and the #1 box-office hit, WAR ROOM. The inspiring family film stars Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, Shari Rigby, Cameron Arnett, and introduces Aryn Wright-Thompson.

Opening nationwide on August 23, OVERCOMER dares to leave you filled with hope, inspired to dream, and asks the question: what do you allow to define you?

Click here to learn more!


Spiritual Doubts and Your Kids – MBFLP 228

“Mom, I think I’m an atheist.” That was the chilling announcement from the back of the van, from our nine-year-old child. Spiritual doubts may arise at any time, especially with young teens, and this episode we’re talking about some practical things you can do to help shepherd your young person through this stormy time.

 

 

 

 

 

Apologetics Museums We Enjoyed

These are remarkable places to visit, but even if you can’t travel there, they have great websites with lots of information and more resources to offer.

Ark Encounter – Williamstown, Ky. could find practical solutions with the existing technology of his time. It answers boatloads of objections with reasonable explanations – questions like how to house so many animals, how to handle feeding, watering, and waste removal, what to do about lighting and ventilation, and much more. Really impressive and thought-provoking. Said to be the largest freestanding wooden structure in the world!

Creation Museum – Petersburg, Ky.

We first visited the Creation Museum only a few weeks after a family trip to Washington, D.C. We were totally amazed at the professional quality of the exhibits and facility, which were much better maintained than the famous museums of the Smithsonian. Every subsequent visit we’ve found new exhibits and presentations. This is a first class museum, in addition to presenting an evidence-rich argument for creation of the world by an intelligent Craftsman. Ken Ham is the public spokesman, but the museum itself is the work of a huge team of geologists, biologists, archaeologists, historians, theologians, and more. Well worth a journey!

Museum of the Bible – Washington, D.C.

This collection traces the development of the written Bible from the earliest records through the ongoing translation missions of modern times. There are truly remarkable items on display – a Latin Bible signed as a gift by Martin Luther, a beautiful illuminated prayer book made for the Emperor Charles V, pages from the Gutenberg Bible, and a copy of the first Bible printed in America – in the language of the Wampanoag Indians! Exhibits talk of the influence of the Bible on civil rights and social justice, the impact on language and fine art, and more.

Apologetics Books We Recommend

More Than A Carpenter – Josh McDowell

A classic look at who Jesus was, and is, and why that matters.

Evidence That Demands a Verdict – Josh McDowell

A fantastic work that looks at hundreds of questions about Biblical reliability, with tons of references and yes, evidence. A good one to have on hand for those “Wait, what about …” discussions.

The Case for Christ – Lee Strobel

An investigative journalist recounts his search into the Bible’s claims about Jesus’ life, work, and person. A dramatic and personal story of a skeptic’s journey into faith.

Mere Christianity – C. S.Lewis

A conversational but philosophical look at the nature of God, man, sin, and other fundamentals of Christian faith.