Making Biblical Family Life Practical

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.

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!)