To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Imposing A Narrative

What I am thinking of here is the issue of how we respond to peoples’ situations. This can be an issue for parents with their children, friends with one another, employers with their employees. In fact it applies in many situations. I want to think about how we interact we the situations of others.

General. In all situations we must impose the narrative of the gospel to understand the situation we are dealing with. The malaise of this world, as manifest in peoples’ lives, is caused by the entrance of sin into this world. The remedy for the issue of sin is the blood of our Lord Jesus. His salvific work to redeem lives, will work ultimately to retrieve this world form disorder and chaos.

There must be great wisdom and sensitivity in applying the gospel narrative into the situation with which we are interacting. Simplistic cause and effect reasoning are very much cautioned against in Luke 13:1-5. That passage reads:

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

However, that passage also indicates that in a destabilized world, it is sin in the world that is the root cause and as sinners we need to repent. In all this our Lord is imposing a gospel narrative on the situation.

Specific. On the other hand when we come to deal with specific situations we need to be wary of imposing any pre-conceived narrative. I have been very much aware of this through my being afflicted with depression. People may or may not have been right about the narrative they were bringing to my situation. However, what took me aback, at times, was the unwillingness to actually establish with me what had happened to me. People either would not ask or, if they did ask, would not listen to what was said.

I am arguing that always before we jump to conclusions we should stop and consider what has happened. This means we actually listen to the person and find out what there experience is and what they have been through to get there.  For parents, I feel we will fulfill the requirement to not exasperate our children (see Eph. 6:4) if we follow this approach.

Always remember, as well, that even though two people are experiencing something identical that does not mean that the causes of that experience are the same. So don’t assume when you come across someone displaying certain things that you have seen in someone before that the cause is the same in both cases.

It is very frustrating to be on the end of certain counsel or certain views about your situation from people you believe have not taken time to find out about your situation.

So my conclusion is when interacting with any situation always impose a gospel narrative, but never impose a personal narrative.

Saturday Nights Are Alright For……………………………….

Well what are Saturday nights alright for?  How you answer that probably all depends on what your thoughts are about Sunday. If you have got no thoughts about Sunday then Saturday night is probably OK for just about anything that takes your fancy. In fact the Saturday night will flow into the Sunday, so it is all just one Saturday night until you emerge from your slumbers mid afternoon on the Sunday.

But if Sunday means something to you then your Saturday night will be affected. This is particularly so for Christians. So fellow Christian what do you think about your Saturday evenings?

The first thing to have in mind on a Saturday evening is that you have got church tomorrow, and therefore you need to remember that you are committed to being with the Lord’s people in the church of which you are a member, in order to worship the Lord with them. Everything you do and think on Saturday evening is permeated by this awareness.

The second thing to do which builds on the first is to prepare for Sunday. If you have filled your mind with junk on a Saturday evening don’t be surprised if church is an empty experience on the Sunday morning.  Perhaps set aside sometime to meditate on Scripture and seek the LORD confessing your sins and getting your soul in good order. And pray over the services of the Lord’s Day ahead; pray for the preacher and all those taking part. Pray that you would be in the right place at the right time to say the right thing and act the right way.  So that you will be a blessing to others.

The third thing to be aware of on a Saturday evening is the impact that you have upon others. This particularly applies if you have got children and even more so when the children are younger. And I cannot emphasize too much the importance of Christian fathers taking the lead here. Christian parents you should be expecting and anticipating that the whole family is going to be in church. So you will arrange everything around this. You will make sure that the kids are in bed in decent time. You will make sure they know what time they need to get up on Sunday. Your whole schedule operates on Saturday night around knowing that you will be in church by the time the service is arranged to start.

And when we see God’s people getting their Saturday nights sorted out, then we will see the whole experience of the Lord’s Day transformed.  What do you think?

(This is an adaptation of a post Originally published at Venabling on 1st June 2015)

Do Not Speak Ill…………………..

……………………………of anyone in and anything about the church. That should be a rule for all Christian parents. It is a “red line” that should never be crossed. Neither to the children nor in front of the children should there be anything said that casts church and/or the people of the church in a negative light.

To do such a thing is to do the devil’s work. We are giving the children reasons not to believe. After all the church is the place which represents God in this world. To be relaying our malice regarding the church to the children is to be showing God’s place and God Himself in a bad light.

Why should our children continue with God and His church when we are declaring that the church that we (and they) attend is full of hypocrites and miscreants.

We are duty bound as Christian parents to present our church in a positive light to our children. They should not grow up suspicious of people in the church because we have spoken ill of our fellow believers. If such is the case they are likely to make their strongest relationships with people outside the church because they cannot trust people in the church.

So fellow Christian parents let us make it a “red line” to never speak ill of the church or its people

Breeding Pharisees.

What kind of people are being bred and produced in our churches and families. This is a big issue to challenge parents and church leaders.

The big danger we face is of producing those who have an outward conformity to accepted standards, but their heart is not in it. They conform to the standards that are presented to them out of obligation or respect, but if they had their own way they would be doing differently.

The issue is an issue of leadership and teaching. Are we law teachers and demonstrators or grace teachers and demonstrators?

Law teachers basically present the rules and say that if you keep them all will be fine. But if you don’t keep them then things are going to go bad.

Those who teach grace are continually drawing their students into the wonderful news that there is acceptance. Naturally we are wrecked and written-off because of our sin. However, there is acceptance with God though our Lord Jesus Christ who once died to take away our sins. In leading this way we present the true way as a way of delight where we can know that we are with God. In teaching this way we want to draw hearts into an appreciation of how much good God has demonstrated in Christ. We, of course, need to be demonstrators of this. Children need to see that their parents are livers of grace.

As grace is presented in all its richness to our congregations and children then we long and pray for a heart response. Such a heart response will lead to lives that are wanting to go on and know the Lord and live to please God.

They live to please God not just to keep the standards, but because they love the One who gave the standards.

Parents, church leaders and all involved in discipleship must remember this.

It must be noted though that law teaching is not excluded by the need to teach grace. In fact the law if properly handled shows the need of grace. So in that sense the law when used properly is a means of grace.

 

Parenting: Getting Involved

I Have been pondering upon this scripture from 1 Kings 1:5-6) and its implications for parenting:

Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, ‘I will be king.’ So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him. (His father had never rebuked him by asking, ‘Why do you behave as you do?’ He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.)

Adonijah was a son who had been allowed free reign by his father, David. David had never challenged him as regards to his behaviour; he had not got involved in his life. This leads me to have the following observations regarding parenting generally and my parenting in particular:

  • I need to get involved in the lives of my children. To leave them to their own devices is not an approach I can entertain. To leave them to their own devices can seriously prejudice their development.
  • I need to question my children about their bevaiour. This becomes particularly important when they are moving into and on in their teenage years and beyond. When this stage is reached you realize they are no longer those little children you can control through teh imposition of your will.
  • The word for “rebuke” has the idea of “grieve”. It is as if David never wanted to upset Adonoijah. He did not want to hurt Adonijah’s feelings by questioning him about his behaviour. This is a trap that is so easy to fall into. For an easy life and, dare I say, to retain popularity with your children you fail to question what they are doing.
  • The outcome of Adonijah being left to his own ways was that he developed into a proud young man. The words that he ‘put himself forward And said “I will be King”‘ reveal a man who wanted to see himself exalted. The reminds me of how it is not a matter of indifference whether or not I intervene in the lives of my children. If I fail to get involved I am most likely going to negatively impact their character development.

 

What Motivates You?

What motivates you in Christian ministry? Is that I might:

  • be complimented on my service?
  • Manipulate people to do what I want?
  • Gain power over people?
  • Win an argument?
  • Flog myself so others might admire my exertion?

Paul had one overwhelming motive driving his service and that was love. He says to the Corinthians Christ’s love compels us (2 Cor. 5:14). The Corinthian Christians were being affected by the spurious super-apostles who were urging them to be suspicious of Paul. They wanted to represent Paul as someone who just wanted to bring pain to the Corinthians.  Paul  says though : For I wrote to you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you (2 Cor 2:4).

It is passionate love for the Corinthians that motivated Paul to want to distress them over their failure to deal with sin. Love motivated Paul to get agitated and uncomfortable with the Corinthians. We so often cop out and do not want to get involved with the difficulties of potentially upsetting people. Paul, loved people too much to cop out in such a way

Do I love people enough to risk upsetting them? Love that makes everyone think well of me is not really love at all.

This all applies so very much into parenting as well. If we just want to avoid upsetting our children then we are most likely spoiling them and not loving them.

Leading In Repentance.

This post from last week leads me to think about how leaders should demonstrate their leadership in repentance. This is essentially counter-intuitive because the thinking of the world is that you have to prove yourself to be strong and in control if you are a leader. However the godly leader is not of that ilk.

The model of our leadership is a Saviour who was humble and lowly of heart. Now our Saviour never had to repent of any sin. However for us who are weak in our beings and prone to wander from the ways of God there should be the readiness to repent.

This so important because it is how we display the gospel into our family and into our church. Parents and church leaders who are not repenters set a bad example to those under their care. The gospel we affirm, after all, is a message which has its fulcrum in repentance. Gospel grace swings into our lives when there is repentance. Forgiveness is experienced when there is repentance.

So parents and church leaders make sure that you are a leader in repentance. Children and church members who see their leaders ever proving their strength and refusing to face up to their sins are hindered from seeing the gospel clearly displayed before them.

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