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.

Raising Boys in a #MeToo Generation – MBFLP 227

You spend years teaching your sons right from wrong, good manners instead of bad, and all the right social skills. Yet in a super-sensitive time, even a hint of misbehavior toward a female – sometimes just an accusation – can affect the rest of their lives! When you’ve worked hard to keep your son’s conscience clear and his life innocent … how can you keep him from stumbling into trouble he didn’t deserve? This episode, we’re talking about training your son how to keep his life above reproach – and sometimes, making hard choices because they’re not only right, but safer.

The Most Important Thing

The best way to stay out of trouble is simply, don’t do it! Paul asked in Romans 6:2, “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?Jesus said, “If you love me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) If we claim the name of “Christian” we have a responsibility to live like it. If you don’t chase after sin, then you’re not earning the trouble that comes with it. Easy, right?

We need to be careful about the “hidden” sins we permit ourselves, too. Pornography is a trap that many young men fall into. When Jesus warned in the Sermon on the Mount, “Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery in his heart” (Matthew 5:28), He put His finger right on the use of porn–what else could you call it? Sadly, young men who dive into porn sometimes try to imitate it, but always receive harmful, false ideas of how to relate to women. It’s poison.

One thing that seems common to so many of the accusations that emerged with #MeToo is alcohol use. How often to we hear protests or explanations that start, “We were at a party and we’d been drinking …” This is not about the morality of alcohol per se, but a simple observation to our sons–it’s best not to partake when you’re young, single, and need to be alert!

But even if we’re careful to avoid sin ourselves, we need to be very cautious about who we associate with. Proverbs 13:20 says, “The companion of fools will be destroyed.” Peter, again, says in 1 Peter 4:3-4,

We have spent enough of our past lifetime [before we became believers] in doing the will of the Gentiles–when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties … In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.”

Did you catch that? He not only warns against drunkenness–unquestionably sinful–but also drinking parties. Just hanging out with people who are pursuing sin is risky behavior, and it can damage our reputation even if we weren’t deep in the sin with the others.

(continued …)

 

 

 

Reputation matters

In fact, that’s a good place to wrap up. It’s important to avoid a negative reputation, where people are willing to believe an accusation because it would be consistent with your past behavior. But even better is to build such a positive reputation for the right sort of behavior that even when the accusations come, those who know you will come to your defense. The culture is pushing us to believe that men and women are interchangeable, that there’s no difference in their thinking and feeling, that everyone wants to live out the same lascivious fantasies–yet the Bible tells us differently, and experience proves it!

Our calling is to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh (Galatians 5:1), and our lives should be marked by the fruit of the Spirit–which includes things like kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). When our sons walk in that spirit, they may not avoid every accusation, but they’ll steer clear of trouble they can avoid, and they’ll find it easier to deflect the falsehoods others may fling!

Upcoming Events

July 15 – Albuquerque, N.M. – Redemption Hill Church

July 19-20 – Phoenix, Ariz. – Arizona Homeschool Convention

November 8-10 – Flat Rock, N.C. –  Come Away Weekend marriage retreat

Unexpected Benefits of Graduation – MBFLP 226

It’s Graduation Time!

We’re heading out for our fifth high school graduation (our homeschooled son will be in the ceremony at the North Carolinians for Home Education “Thrive!” conference). It’s a milestone that doesn’t grow stale even the fifth time around!

It’s good to see our children growing into the first steps of independence, as they graduate from high school and move off to college or their first job and apartment. We’ve found several unexpected benefits to that transition, though – things that benefit not only the graduate but also their younger siblings and our family as a whole. Join us as we unwrap some of these surprising gifts that come after the tassel’s turned!

Upcoming Events

Come by and see us at one of these upcoming conventions!

May 30-June 1 – Winston-Salem, N.C.
Thrive! Conference – North Carolinians for Home Education (NCHE)

June 6-8 – Richmond, Va. 
Virginia Homeschool Convention – Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV)

June 15 – Raleigh, N.C. 
North Raleigh Homeschool Conference

July 19-20 – Phoenix, Ariz. 
Arizona Homeschool Convention – Arizona Families for Home Education (AFHE)

… or see more events on our webpage here

The Importance of Fun – MBFLP 224

Who said school can’t be fun? This episode, we sit down with our friends Roger and Jan Smith, long-time homeschool parents and leaders in Louisiana. The topic is simply, “Fun” – what it can do to create memories, bond family members, and make learning a lot more enjoyable for parents and students alike!

Recently we visited with Roger and Jan Smith, leaders in the Louisiana homeschool community and dear friends of ours. One evening our family and our friends were playing a fast-paced game together, laughing hysterically, and thinking about what an important, bonding thing that is.

We were noticing how well our teenagers interacted with the adults in the room, and the obvious respect going in both directions, and we were talking later about how the shared experiences build that sort of relationship. They’re more and more important as we all become more individualized and isolated, focusing on our work and entertainment through private screens—even when we’re in the same room, we’re not interacting.

That’s one reason we love audiobooks when we’re driving or working together, because the whole family can share that experience and have a basis for conversations later. It’s a good reason for reading aloud together, even when the children are reading well on their own. We try and make intentional choices to do things together so in later years, our adult children will have memories that draw them back to their family home.

Another thing we do is make a big deal over family holidays. Birthdays are an example. In our home, the one we’re celebrating gets to choose the family menu for the day. At supper, we center the conversation on memories of the birthday person. Afterward, we take turns sharing things we love or admire about them. It’s really touching – everyone loves being appreciated, and it’s very easy to overlook the chances to communicate that respect.

A Sense of Humor

Shared humor is another thing we look for. A study of newlywed couples noticed how they interacted, especially the moments of humor in the midst of a problem. It defuses situations and reduces tension if we can refer to a shared joke or inside story. It’s a sign of a healthy relationship if you can still smile, if you can still laugh, if you can lighten up in the midst of your stress. That applies to your kids as well as your mate!

In fact, that study really pointed out that our relationships are formed from the moments we share. Little things count. It’s not like you have to learn a new language to really score points with your kids. Instead, you just need to  hear when they speak, make eye contact, and come back with a positive response.

And that’s something you get a dozen times a day to do. If you miss one, just determine to catch the next. It’s something you can build up without feeling like you have to make a huge investment before you see any benefit.

(Listen in for more great ideas about building memories and relationships with your family!)

Adoption When It’s Not Easy – MBFLP 225

Adoption is a picture of God’s love for His people. It literally saves lives and it rescues children from terrible situations. It’s not as simple as choosing a pet from the store, though, and adopted children often have problems that continue into adult life. This episode, we talk with Shauna Lopez, an adoptive parent who’s dealt with traumatized children in her own home. Learn what to prepare for if you’re considering adoption, and how to come alongside and love families who are in the process themselves.

Adoption When It's Not Easy

Recently at the Teach Them Diligently conference in Waco, Texas, we had the opportunity to interview our friend Shauna Lopez. We met Shauna, her husband Abel, and their family in our travels several years ago, and we’ve stayed in their home. A few years before we met them, they had a difficult experience adopting three young boys, and Shauna agreed to share some of what they’ve learned.

(You can read their whole story on their website, adoptionishard.com)

One of the concerns we have is that Shauna and Abel’s experience is not uncommon, but it’s not widely recognized. Children who have been through trauma react differently to parenting.

“People think that’s an exception to the rule, and it isn’t. People don’t realize that trauma in any form alters the brain, but especially in children who have been taken from their parents,” Shauna said. “It alters the brain chemistry and it alters their development.”

Trauma has a tremendous impact

Others observe that any adoption, even within a family, starts with some sort of catastrophe. Children don’t end up adopted unless there’s been some loss, some trauma, or some trouble in that young life.

“And that’s really the thing,” she continued, “because when a child undergoes trauma, it undermines new trust. … When we adopted three-month-old twins, we thought they’ll only ever know us as their parents. But that wasn’t true, because they had a family for three months [after they were born] plus nine months [in the womb]. So for a full year they had a whole other family, whole other sounds, whole other voices, whole other stressors and non-stressors in feelings. And then to go from hospital with mom, three days later taken from that environment, those smells, those voices, those environmental contributors, to a foster mom for three months — different sounds, different smells, different voices–and then placed in our home–different sounds, different smells, different voices. And we think ‘What’s the big deal?’”

“Their brains are rapidly developing during those times. And with trauma after trauma after trauma–and all of those things are traumas to a young child–it changes the chemistry of their brain and the way that they respond. How on earth could they expect to feel safe when everything keeps changing over and over?”

Understanding children with trauma and the families who adopt them

 

Discipline will be different with adoptive kids

“So you can’t take the typical parenting advice about discipline for a young child and apply it to a child who’s been traumatized. … When we deal with children who have been safe from the beginning, those kids know they’re okay. They know they’re safe, they know everything’s going to be all right. They have that trust. But when you deal with a child who has been traumatized, where that trust has been taken away–if it was ever even there–…sometimes, they don’t have that trust that no one’s going to hurt them. Instead they freak out. They ‘fight or flight.’ They literally go into self-preservation mode even as young children.”

“We’re not saying don’t adopt. Adoption is amazing. God adopts us. It’s God-ordained. It honors God. It represents Christ and the church. It’s wonderful. What we’re saying is be prepared. Not just what the state requires of you, but beyond that. We have to go beyond that.”

To find out more about loving children with trauma – and ministering to the families who adopt them – listen in to the rest of the program!


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Teaching Kids About Money – MBFLP 223

Teaching Young Kids About Money

Today we’re talking about one of those most practical of all topics – money, and particularly how you teach your young people about it. This was easier with the older kids because with the older kids, I mean, you get a job, start a business, make a budget, save money, easy. You can’t tell your five year old to go get a job.

So how do you teach these young kids to manage money? How do you teach them to take it seriously?

We do need to take it seriously because of the things we noticed when we were researching our book on marriage. The Holmes-Rahe Stress Test, something psychologists developed years ago, ranked major life events in their order of impact on your health. The death of a spouse is number 1. Number 14 was “financial issues,” but everything above number 14 had a financial impact of some sort. It touches every aspect of our lives and you know, it’s something that we need to be intentional about teaching, starting from very early, to be stewards of what God’s given them.

So what does that look like?

Teaching Young Kids About Money

Part of it is just teaching them what money is and what it’s about. For example, we teach our kids that money is like a voucher for work. That’s a concept which we don’t think everybody has really thought through. We’re in the business of writing and publishing books, but we can’t take box loads of books down to city hall to pay our electrical bill. They’re not going to be impressed because they don’t need books. You need money because money is a voucher – we get a check for the month for the work we do and we take it to the bank and when we use that money to pay other people to their work,

That’s an important principle to get to the children to see that every piece of money that passes through your hands, somebody worked and did something productive. Either they did some labor or they produced something for sale, and that that piece of money represents certain amount of their work, time, and effort.

It’s really super important for young kids to grasp because you know when you connect it, when you can say, okay, well dad had to work for this money. What he did earned the money that we’re spending. That makes it real and helps the child understand that spending is not just, “Oh, Daddy has this wonderful magic card and we just hand it to the merchant and they give us hamburgers.” … (listen to the whole thing below!)

 


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