“Parenting” Blindspots

Hey Parents.  I am reading and re-reading this article my wife found online.  It’s heavy and loaded with a ton of thought provoking insight.  The main topic is about homeschooling but I think it can be read in a broader sense and really tackle parenting as a whole.  Read it and let me know what you think:

Exposing Major Blind Spots of Homeschoolers by Reb Bradley

In the last couple of years, I have heard from multitudes of troubled homeschool parents around the country, a good many of whom were leaders. These parents have graduated their first batch of kids, only to discover that their children didn’t turn out the way they thought they would. Many of these children were model homeschoolers while growing up, but sometime after their 18th birthday they began to reveal that they didn’t hold to their parents’ values.

Some of these young people grew up and left home in defiance of their parents. Others got married against their parents’ wishes, and still others got involved with drugs, alcohol, and immorality. I have even heard of several exemplary young men who no longer even believe in God. My own adult children have gone through struggles I never guessed they would face.

Most of these parents remain stunned by their children’s choices, because they were fully confident their approach to parenting was going to prevent any such rebellion.

After several years of examining what went wrong in our own home and in the homes of so many conscientious parents, God has opened our eyes to a number of critical blind spots common to homeschoolers and other family-minded people.

Read the rest of the article here. 

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PARENTS: Dirty Dancing

I read an article today that was tweeted by CPYU (Center for Parent/Youth Understanding).  This post opens my eyes to the fact that our students are living in a new erra of morality, and it costs a lot.  Narrowing this topic down this article mentioned how schools are trying to crack down on dirty dancing (grinding) at school dances.  A high school student speaks our from her heart about the issue.  In the article she says;

“Parents, you have to understand this is what our generation has come to. This is us. There is no stopping it. . . . We don’t know any other way to dance. It’s also not our fault our music brings this on. . . . Students aren’t just going to go along with the rules of no grinding. They’re ticked, therefore, many are having parties homecoming night consisting of all the grinding they want and alcohol simply because they can’t grind at homecoming. . . . When our society’s values and morals are what they are, how else are you expecting us to dance? Schools can’t take this out on us for not knowing how else to dance and they can’t blame us for what our generation has become.” (underlining is mine)

The author of this article follows up with three great points;

“…First, we realize that those of us who are older need to think carefully about the examples we’ve provided to our children and teens. Second, behavior that we know is a fallen and sinful expression of God’s good gift of sexuality is no longer seen by kids as immoral and wrong. Rather, it’s normal, nuetral, and maybe even right. And finally, fewer and fewer members of the emerging generations are willing to take responsibility for their behavior.”

Read the entire article here.

This prods me to ask a few questions. Are we loving our student by being disengaged from their world?  Are we loving them by letting them define morality for themselves?  Are we loving our student by tightening the reigns so much that we strangle their personhood to the point that when they are on their own at 18…their first thought is “freedom from mom and dad” (which produces rebellion)?

For the sake of the gospel, and the lives of our teens, we need to know the difference between training behavior vs. training the heart (an on the opposite end, apathy).  God has given us everything in this world – out of love – for our pleasure.  When God’s design is taken out of context – so we can have control of that pleasure – that pleasure has an expiration date.

Morality is changing, just as much is God is changing.  It isn’t.  We need to fight for the hearts of our kids.  This is our responsibility as parents.  Have we forgotten how to fight for our students?  Has their teenage years jaded us to the point of apathy or worse, slave driving?  Love is what changed the world which brought Jesus to the rescue of our souls.  How we love our kids will make the difference in their understanding of how the world goes round.  It has to center on Jesus!

What the heck is…(week 1): PARENTS

Hey guys, sorry about the delay in writing this blog post.  My schedule last week prevented me from doing so.  In keeping you in the loop I felt is was important to back-track a bit.

Two weeks ago at Emerge, on Oct 13th, we started a three week series that we are calling “What the heck is…”  We are leaving the end of this question blank as each week we are looking at a different question each week.  Each of these three questions deal with a pillar of the Christian faith.  These are not the only “pillars” but they are the things that #1 unite us in the Christian faith no matter what church you go to and #2 they are things we say or do often in the church.  We are praying that knowing these three things deeper will deepen our relationship with Jesus.

We opened the series with the question, “What the heck is…being saved?”

This question is what enables us to be able to call ourselves Christians.  You can always tell whether a religious-sect is “Christian” or not by their belief in Jesus.  To help us answer this question we looked at a story in Acts 16: 16-34.  We actually read the whole story and identified with all that was going on.  For the sake of this blog post I will not recap everything we mentioned but in this story we see three things:

  1. A Jailer…who we’ve identified as someone who is not a follower of Jesus
  2. Paul and Silas…who are followers of Jesus
  3. The greatest question that an individual could ask

The jailer asked that great question: “what must I do to be saved” (Acts 16:30).  Pauls answer here is what we focused on as this is what we see biblically to the answer to this question.

Answer: Believe in the Lord Jesus.

This answer begs for another question: If I just say that I believe in Jesus, is that enough to “save” me?  The heart behind this question is, can I believe in Jesus and live any way that I want.  Answer: No.  Believing in Jesus is fully relying on that what Jesus had done on the cross.

What was that?  Because we are sinful people…no matter who you are…we can not know (or have a relationship with) our creator God.  God is in another stratosphere in His holiness, righteousness, and goodness.  This is why we can just do “good deeds” and be saved.  Nothing we do could ever earn us favor.  For us to be “right” with God, someone has to die.  Jesus died in our place on the cross so that we can have a relationship with God.  Jesus died so that we can know God!

Here is the catch.  When you turn to Jesus you have to turn away from the things that break Jesus’ heart!  We’re not saying that you have to be perfect.  You will never be perfect!  Jesus is perfect for us!

When you come to the crossroad in life where you take the leap and say, “I believe in Jesus…I believe in who He claimed to be (God)…and what He did on the cross for ME” you start pursuing this new relationship.  No one who believes in Jesus is unchanged.  There are greater degrees of change but change always happens.

Baptism

Mosaic is celebrating baptism’s on November 21st.  Attached to our week 2 series in “What the heck is…” we extended the invite to all of our students to think about taking part of this celebration is they have never been baptized.  We had 4 students show interest and I am expecting to have conversation with  a few more about taking this step in their walk with Jesus.

What the heck is…(week 2): PARENTS

Hey parents, we want you to know what we are teaching your students so every week we try to update the blog with what we talked about at Emerge.  Last night was our second week in our three week series that we are calling “What the heck is…”  We are leaving the end of this question blank as each week we are looking at a different question.  Each of these three questions deal with a pillar of the Christian faith.  We are praying that knowing these three things deeper will enhance our relationship with Jesus.

Last night we talked about, “What the heck is…Baptism”

Defined:  Baptism is an outward expression of what Jesus is doing inwardly.

We walked in a circle last night. We started with this definition then we talked about what Jesus is doing inwardly that would cause us to celebrate outwardly.

What is Jesus doing inwardly?

We made the connection that we live in a world that LOVES the supernatural.  God loves the supernatural no less than we do.  We looked at a few miracles that Jesus did and ended with how amazing it was that Jesus raised three people from the dead in the gospel accounts.  This has never been done before in history, in my recollection.  Sure, doc’s have brought back people form the dead after about 30 minutes but Jesus brought Lazaras from the dead after we was gone for 4 days.  WOW!

What does a near death experience bring you?  It brings you a different understanding of life!  Imagine how this experience effected Lazaras’ life.

Biblically we looked at our state spiritually before Jesus enters our scene.  We are dead on the inside (Rom 6:23; Ephesians 2:4-5a; 2 Cor 5:17).  Jesus brings life (just as we talked about in week 1 of this series) as we believe in Him as the Son of God and we turn to Him.  In Jesus we are a new creation, the old is gone and the new has come.  We move from death to life!

Romans 6:3-4 says:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

The definition of baptism is, again, celebrating outwardly what God is doing inwardly.  When a dead man walks, he celebrates.  As believers in Jesus we believe in believers baptism.  Once you make the decision to follow Jesus we celebrate that decision in baptism.

Symbol of Baptism.  As Romans 6:3-4 says, we are baptized with Christ in his death and raised to life just as He was raised.  As we stand in the baptism waters we represent our self as the “old self” (2 Cor 5:17).  Before we enter the water we are dirty, sinful people, stained by the fall of man.  When we are fully immersed in the water it represents our death with Jesus.  As we come up out of the water we are symbolizing our new self raising with Jesus.

To combat what some faiths may teach…we do not see the biblical approach that you must be baptized to be saved.  Also, as we celebrate with people who have been baptized as infants, we teach that the Bible teaches believers baptism as the first act of obedience for a follower of Jesus.

I closed the night last night offering to have a conversation with any of our students who may want to be baptized at Mosaic’s baptism service on November 21st.

Broken Hearts (week 4): PARENTS

It’s Mosaic Youth’s desire to partner with parents in raising students.  Maybe it’s not OK with your student if you come in and hang out with us at Emerge on a Wednesday nights…so we are bringing Emerge to you.  We want to encourage you to read this blog weekly so you know what we are teaching your student.  It can get difficult and daunting in raising/leading teens.  We understand that and desire to come along side of you in leading your student in biblical truth.

Last Wednesday at Emerge we finished up our first series of the Fall.  In our Broken Hearts series we have walked down a path of dealing with broken hearts brought on by other people.  Every week we have looked to God and His word for solutions.  Our last night in this series took a turn and dealt with the question, “what happens when God is the one who breaks our hearts.”

Our very first warning of the night was…this was going to be a lot of information thrown out…but look for the main idea.

We quickly discussed the fact that if we were honest, the majority of the time that God breaks our hearts as teens is when:

  1. God doen’t make “that” girl notice me.
  2. I beg that God give me the game of my life…and He doesn’t “come through”
  3. I ask the He get my parents off my back…and their still all over me.
  4. I beg Him to help me pass the test I didn’t study for.

BUT this question is so much deeper than that.  As we get older we will notice a lot of the “injustice” in the world around us and ask ourselves, if God is as loving as He claims to be, how can He allow all this stuff to happen?

We started this deeper discussion by asking…what is our belief about God?  Is He our genie in a bottle or is He our God?

It is becoming more and more popular that people believe that God exists but is impersonal and uninvolved with everything God on in this world.  It’s easy to just slash off all the earthquakes, floods, genocides, and cancer as…we live in a sinful world and it’s the consequence of living in a fallen world.  The problem is, that is not what the Bible teaches.

We read Colossians 1:16-17,  and came up with the conclusion that everything was made by Jesus and for Jesus (everything created, all powers, and all authorities and He stands before them all).  In Romans 8:20 the world, though it is wasting away, has been set up that way by God for hope.  Romans 9:16-17 lastly states that that God even raises up the evil tyrants in the world to show His great power. GOD IS VERY INVOLVED IN THE WORLD. Many things on the front stage we are quick to label as ungodly, when the truth just may lay in the fact that God is in the midst of it trying to reveal His love on a deeper  level.

How do we make this personal?  When we experience death in the family, trauma, or suffering…where is God?

Our main idea was: God’s love is very active.

It is a Biblical truth that:

  1. God’s love is active in the way that He is chasing after you. (Matthew 18:10-14 & Luke 15:1-7)
  2. God’s love is active in how he disciplines you. (Hebrews 12:7-8, 10-11)
  3. God’s love is active in how he pulls you through suffering. (Romans 5:3-5)

Our challenge based on our main point was…the next time you find yourself asking the question, “where is God now?”:

  1. Know that God is alway personally involved in your life chasing after you.
  2. Then next time this question pops up, STOP and THINK.  Is God trying to lead me away from sin?  Is God trying to take me somewhere new in my walk with Him?  Has my sin lead me to this place of confusion?
  3. Know that God has the ability to bring you through tuff times for your good, his glory and for the benefit of others around you.

Broken Hearts (week 3): PARENTS

It’s Mosaic Youth’s desire to partner with parents in raising students.  Maybe it’s not OK with your student if you come in and hang out with us at Emerge on a Wednesday nights…so we are bringing Emerge to you.  We want to encourage you to read this blog weekly so you know what we are teaching your student.  It can get difficult and daunting in raising/leading teens.  We understand that and desire to come along side of you in leading your student in biblical truth.

Last night was week three in our four week series called “Broken Hearts.”  Broken hearts are something that are inevitable in our lives.  How do we battle the emotions of broken hearts and see God in the midst of them?

Our discussion last night went down the path of broken hearts in relationships.  We took a different turn with this topic.  In the past weeks we sought scripture to help us battle broken hearts.  The stage of life that our students are in, my greatest encouragement in  battling broken hearts in this area was to avoid dating?  My challenge was to NOT DATE this year.  If you are currently in a relationship, my advise, sarcastically, was to break up with him/her (but seriously encouraged for the two in a relationship to evaluate where Jesus is in their life and if He’s not their priority…then they should seriously break up and focus on Jesus).

Our main point of the night was that we tend to give away our hearts too easily to things that don’t matter…especially people.

I wanted to hit this topic with a different punch.  Instead of saying that, “you have no clue what love is…so don’t date,” we hit it from the fact that we have a terrible understanding of God’s love for us.  How can we expect to properly give our hearts to someone else when we have no clue how deep the love of God is for us?!

When asked, “why do you want to date this person” the first honest reaction has to do with attraction.  Dating is so much deeper than attraction and most of us don’t even go there mentally with it.  Why we want to date has to do with the fact that we want our identity to be found in the fact that “I’m wanted by someone else.”  This has many different levels of reasonings and desires but we didn’t even walk there.

Here is the fact: we want to date because we want to be KNOWN!  We have a God that desperately wants to know us and wants us to know Him.  We are so far from understanding Him. My challenge last night was to spend this year seeking to know and be known by God…not boys/girls.

Biblically we looked into John 21:15-18.  Peter, a disciple of Jesus, tried hard to follw Jesus, but he screwed up many times!  In verse 18 Jesus is talking to him, after Jesus was resurrected from the dead, and made it clear to him that when you are young you are immature and you do what you want to do.  Jesus points out that maturity lies in the fact that as you get older you must realize that you are not in control of your life.  We saw this growth in Peter as his story moves from the gospel accounts (Matt-John) and into the book of Acts…and as history talks about his death (Foxe’s Book of Martyrs).

It’s my challenge that we move closer to Jesus this year and not a “significant other.”

I closed the night explaining a few ways we can start to know Jesus better (begin a prayer life, read scripture, live life together in community (with no strings attached)).  Picking up your Bible and just reading is no easy task.  So I told them last night that I was going to start a weekly devo on the blog.  It’s my goal, 5 times a week, to post a simple devotional online to help them get into their bible.  You will start seeing this post…this is what is all about.

Here is a great video we showed last night – from the perspective of the “woman at the well: john 4.  Listen for the line “To be loved is to be known and to be known is to be loved.”

Parents: clarity

After receiving an email I feel it may be necessary to speak more clearly about what we talked about last Wednesday at Emerge.  The post I wrote to parents may come across as negative (though I hope not) but that was never my intent nor was that the main point of the evening last week.  I saw an opportunity to lovingly bring to your attention the fact that though you may think you understand everything you teen is going through, you may not!  I wanted to encourage you to take more time and get to know your student and everything that is pulling on them in their world.

As far as what we communicated to your student, we mentioned that their parents most likely don’t understand what they are going through but on the flip side, you have no clue how difficult it is to be the parent…in leading their teen to make right choices.  The biggest disconnects happen (fights) between parents and students when all party’s involved don’t understand each other.  We all need to work hard at understanding each other.

Our main point:  God has called us children to “obey our parents” because He wants to make Himself known (to us and our friends) through our obedience.

Parents:  lead your students well.  I am praying for you and it’s my desire that Mosaic Youth comes along side of you in how you lead your student spiritually.

Broken Hearts (week 1): FOR PARENTS

Though one of our greatest passions is hanging out with and leading your student, it’s also our goal to put some tools in the toolbox of parents.  One way I would like to keep parents informed is by giving a brief update about what was talked about the following Wednesday night at Emerge.

We launched our new series last Wednesday called “Broken Hearts“.  We talked about YOU, the parent.  The reality is, no matter how close you are to your kids, you are going to break your child’s heart.  You will make decisions that they don’t like and they most likely will let you know about it…or passively harbor it in till it all explodes one day.  The question we were seeking to answer was, how do I manage a broken heart from my parents?

Practically speaking the major disconnect happens between a child and a parent when one or both parties represented are misunderstood.

That’s right.  You don’t understand your students just as much as they don’t understand you.  I think we believe that we know what they are going through by default because we’ve been there.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Chap Clark has written an amazing book, Hurt, that defines adolescence today.  You need to pick it up.  Chap has his Ph.D and is a professor of Youth, Family, and Culture at Fuller Seminary and he even professes in his book that before his research he didn’t understand adolescence like he thought he did (even through he had older teenagers living at home).  We as parents have to be willing to admit that our teen is going up in a different culture and generation and we need to seek to understand them…today!  I fully believe we will continue grow further from our teens the lazier we get from understanding their world.

This past Wednesday at Emerge our challenge to our teens was based out of Ephesians 6:1-3.  Here is a brief recap.

  • When our parents shatter our hearts it’s important to understand that…Everyone submits to someone.  Ephesians (chapter 5-6) is a book of the Bible that gives us a bigger picture into the family system.  Students tend to think that their parents were kids once who had bossy parents and now it’s their turn to be the boss of their kids.  That’s not the picture that Paul paints in Ephesians.  In our frist point of Everyone submits to someone…dog to the kids, kids to the parents, wife’s to the husbands, and husbands to Christ; our hope was to say, hey, student…give your parents a break…tt tougher being a parent than it is a kid.
  • When our parents shatter our hearts it’s important to understand…what God expects from us.  Ephesians 6:1-3 quotes the 5th commandment, honor your father and mother.  A synonym for “honor” in this text is “honest”.  We gave a different light to this commandment that all students hate.  We talked about how students can respectfully be honest with their parents and still honor them…but it’s also our command to respond to our parents with an obedient heart.
  • When our parents shatter our hearts it’s importnat to understand…why God asks us to obey our parents.  As this is the only commandment of the 10 that has a promise…the answer lies there.  We are promised “to live long in the land” if we obey our parents.  Without getting too much into it what God is saying through Paul is that God makes himself known through our obedience to our parents.  That’s why we obey…to know God.

I close with this thought.  Here is a music video that speaks to dads!  Here is our biblical responsibility to our wives and our kids…to lead them, the love them, and to fight for them.  Watch these two videos and allow God to speak to your hearts.

Music Video for Lead Me:

The Story behind “Lead Me”