Archives For Parenting

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Passing on faith to the next generation has been a biblical mandate from God to parents since the garden of Eden. It was inscribed on the hearts of every Jewish family in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 with the express purpose of encouraging a lifelong pursuit of a love for God that would envelope every molecule of a child’s being and existence: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (ESV).

Unfortunately, many parents feel ill-equipped to pass along their faith to the next generation. And that’s where Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley come in. They are the mother-daughter team who wrote Our Daily Bread for Kids to help parents take the initiative of establishing a toehold in the journey of faith for their children.

In this webinar, Crystal and Teri join host Tim Jackson and explore some of the challenges that Christian parents face when trying to pass along their faith without resorting to stodgy indoctrination techniques. Instead, they will talk about how they’ve learned to share biblical truth in a way that encourages exploration of who God is and His love for His children.

To listen to the audio recording from the live webinar event, click the link: Growing Faith: Talking with Kids About God (audio recording).

To watch the video recording from the live webinar event, click the link: Growing Faith: Talking with Kids About God (video recording).

To download the PowerPoint from the webinar, click the link: Growing Faith: Talking with Kids About God PDF.

Click the following link to download a PDF introductory 30-day sample of Our Daily Bread for Kids.

For further resources to help you in your personal faith walk with Jesus, click on Our Daily Bread Ministries or Discovery House.

prayerslide_650x220A recent study by the Barna Group focused on young people who drop out of church and leave the faith. But nowhere is that more disconcerting than for pastors and church leaders who are seeing their own children leave the faith. For leaders who are struggling with their children, the challenge to shepherd other parents of prodigals is a seemingly impossible task. Striving to lead others through their struggles while limping through your own may seem totally out of the question and can feel more like the blind leading the blind. At least that’s what the evil one would like us to believe.

And that’s where this webinar with James and Cari Banks comes in.

James is a pastor and author of the book Prayers for Prodigals: 90 Days of Prayer for Your Child. James and Cari know firsthand what it’s like to struggle as parents who don’t have all the answers. Both of their adult children have struggled with their faith. The Banks share the agony of parents who deeply love their children and yet find themselves powerless to safe their children from their choices. But, as James puts it, “Our children are helpless against our prayers.”

In this webinar, James and Cari honestly share their personally painful story and what they learned on their journey with prodigals in hopes of encouraging pastors and ministry couples to focus on the One who loves their children even more than they do.

To listen to the audio recording from the live webinar event, click the link: Shepherding Parents of Prodigals.

To download the PowerPoint from the webinar, click the link: Shepherding Parents of Prodigals PDF.

To get a free PDF download of an excerpt of the first 30 days of James’ book from Discovery House Publishers, click the title link: Prayers for Prodigals. You can also visit James’ website for more helpful information on his speaking and writing ministry at: www.prayersforprodigals.org.

For further resources from RBC Ministries to help you love your children well, click the linkParenting Resources.

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David Kinnaman’s recent book, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church . . . and Rethinking Faith, highlights a recent study by the Barna Group that focuses on young people who drop out of church and leave the faith. He discovered three distinct patterns of those who have “lost their faith”: prodigals, nomads, and exiles. According to the research, prodigals make up “one out of nine young people who grew up with a Christian background and lose their faith in Christianity.”

Many Christian parents are seeing their children leave their faith and are longing to understand why and what they can do about it. And that’s where this webinar with James and Cari Banks can help.

James is a pastor and author of the book Prayers for Prodigals: 90 Days of Prayer for Your Child. James and Cari know firsthand what it’s like to struggle with children who have wandered from the faith of their parents. Both their adult son and daughter have struggled with Christianity for themselves. The Banks know the plight of parents who deeply love their children and yet find themselves sometimes left to do what seems at times to be an anemic response—to pray.

But prayer is anything but powerlessness. James and Cari help parents focus on the One who loves their children even more than they do. It’s time to pray.

To watch the video recording from the live webinar event, click the link: Praying for Prodigals Video.

To listen to the audio recording from the live webinar event, click the link: Praying for Prodigals.

To download the PowerPoint from the webinar, click the link: Praying for Prodigals PPT.

To get a free PDF download of an excerpt of the first 30 days of James’ book from Discovery House Publishers, click the title link: Prayers for Prodigals. You can also visit James’ website for more helpful information on his speaking and writing ministry at: www.prayersforprodigals.org.

For further resources from RBC Ministries to help you love your children well, click the link: Parenting Resources.

Listen

Dennis Moles —  May 13, 2014 — 1 Comment

 

Porch Swing-Flickr: Creative Commons/Danie Becknell

Porch Swing-Flickr: Creative Commons/Danie Becknell

In my culture (I was born and raised in Appalachian coal country), storytelling is both an art and a way of life. I’m not sure of the degree to which illiteracy and economic depression nurtured this gift in my ancestors, but the ability to teach, entertain, and communicate via stories is highly prized where I come from.

I’ve been many places and met loads of intelligent and gifted people over the years, but some of the best storytellers I’ve ever known are from back home—not the lest of which is my dad.

The storytellers

The storytellers

Dad was and is quite the storyteller. He has a gift for the art of it. Dad uses words the way a painter might use oil or acrylic—the imagination of his listeners is his canvas. Dad has the flare, imagination, and creativity to spin a tale, but he’s still not the storyteller my grandfather was.

Why? Poppaw has better stories. Dementia has robbed my children of the joy of hearing their great-grandfather tell his stories, but it has not and cannot keep them from the wisdom he has passed on through them.

Poppaw wasn’t the artist dad is. His stories didn’t run on wit. They ran on wisdom—maybe that’s why they were so powerful. Some storytellers have to be the hero in their stories, but that wasn’t the case with Poppaw. Sometimes he was the one who needed saving. In his stories, he wasn’t a war hero but a terrified 21-year-old from Confidence, West Virginia, who jumped out of a C-47 on June 6, 1944. He wasn’t a “Screaming Eagle” bravely running through the French night but a farm boy who didn’t know whether he’d live to see another sunrise. In his stories, the German soldiers weren’t monsters. They were boys who stood on the far side of a river that was small enough for the Germans and the Americans to throw packets of cigarettes to each other from one side to the other.

His stories didn’t always cast him or our family in PoppawArmya favorable light, but they almost always taught me an important life-lesson. They were gifts that I could not fully appreciate at the time but have grown to treasure over the years.

The writer of the Proverbs says: “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck” (1:8-9).

The older I get, the more I realize that wisdom permeated Poppaw’s stories. He wasn’t telling me stories just to entertain or inform me. He was telling me his story with the hope that I would find wisdom in the retelling.

So tell me, who in your life is (was) worthy of listening to?

 

 

 

Santa Arrives!—Flickr/Creative Commons/MIKECNY

I recently heard a woman’s compelling story of victory through Christ over a persistent sin in her life. One thing she stated stood out in light of the upcoming Christmas holiday. She shared that when she learned as a young girl that there was no such thing as Santa, she also began to wonder about Jesus. She reasoned that if her parents could lie about Santa, surely Jesus could be a cleverly devised lie as well.

You may not have experienced what this woman did when she learned the truth about Santa, but you probably felt some disappointment, disillusionment, or even anger. I know that both my husband and I were disappointed when we learned that Santa wasn’t real and for us Christmas lost some of its magic, and that’s why we didn’t insist to our children that Santa was real. What we told them was that once upon a time there was a real person named Saint Nicholas and that Santa was patterned after him. We also told them that we give gifts at Christmas to celebrate Jesus’ birth. They were totally fine with that.

I’m not saying we should never tell the children in our life stories about Santa or the Easter bunny or the tooth fairy, but I think we need to think twice about how we do. After all Santa is a myth, and when we perpetuate the myth of Santa we can inadvertently downplay the true meaning of Christmas. We relegate the story of Jesus in the manger to just another heartwarming but fictitious story.

The story of Santa is a sweet little story, but that’s all it is. Jolly old Saint Nick brings gifts, but Jesus was the gift—God’s gift to us. Let’s remember this holiday season to put the emphasis on the Christ child, the Son of God, who left heaven to come to Earth to live as an example for us to follow and to suffer and die so that all who believe in Him might have eternal life. It doesn’t get any better than that!

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”

Let’s be honest: The family is a flawed institution. We’re all broken. We’re all part of a family that’s broken. All of us. No exceptions. Brokenness is normal.

But we’re not left without hope. And that’s the message Elisa and Evan Morgan shared with us in our webinar: The Myth of the Perfect Family.

While they didn’t attempt to glaze over the messiness of family life, Evan and Elisa described how God has been and still is restoring beauty in the midst of their brokenness because of His great love for broken people. He’s restoring hope and love because of the “broken family values” that they’ve learned along the way.

To listen to the audio recording of the webinar, click the link: Myth of the Perfect Family Webinar audio

To download the PowerPoint for the webinar, click the link: Myth of the Perfect Family Webinar PowerPoint

To get a free download of the introduction and first chapter of Elisa’s book The Beauty of Broken from Thomas Nelson, click on this link:

The Beauty of Broken (Free Sample Chapter)

To purchase the book Click Here

Tell Them Your Story

Dennis Moles —  September 12, 2013 — 2 Comments

We all have a story – but very often we don’t tell it.

As a minister, my story includes helping families say goodbye to loved ones. That’s what I was doing in Big Stone Gap, VA on April 12 of this past year: helping four children, 11 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren say goodbye to their mom, grandma, and great grandma.

The difference on this crisp spring afternoon is that my wife was one of the eleven, my children three of the twenty, and my mother-in-law one of the four. This time it wasn’t someone else’s grandmother; it was mine.

We all have a story – and sometimes they’re painful.

After the interment, we all went to lunch and then loaded into the van and headed toward the little coal camp where my mother-in-law grew up. As we drove the winding roads of western Virginia, my wife’s mom told stories. She told stories about her childhood, about learning to drive on those crooked roads, about her parents and grandparents. She pointed out the little church she went to as a child. We saw the house she grew up in. For several hours that day, this place was home. It was home because we were seeing it thought the eyes of my mother-in-law.

We all have a story – and sometimes we don’t even know it.

The hours passed and the stories flowed. Some of them were new even to my father-in-law. That day, my children were given a great gift. Their grandmother told them her story – the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. And in so doing, she told them THEIR story.

Some of our stories are happy and light, but many of them are sad and troubling. Some we feel are fit for public display while others are just a little too raw and unflattering for the world to see. That leads most of us to keep our stories in two categories: the ones we tell and the ones we don’t. But I wonder if that’s what’s best?

I think these unflattering and painful stories need to be told as well, as they can serve a special redemptive purpose. They communicate hope in a way that other stories can’t.

We all have a story – and all of it is worth telling.

If you think your story is too painful for God to redeem and use I’d invite you to join us for an RBC Webinar on September 19 at 12pm EST https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1023795211087515648. Host Tim Jackson will be speaking with Evan and Elisa Morgan about their story of struggle, heartache, redemption, and hope.

Hope to see you there!

In her new book The Beauty of Broken, Elisa Morgan writes in the introduction:

“Formulaic promises about the family may have originated in well-meaning intentions, but such thinking isn’t realistic. It’s not helpful. It’s not even kind—this prodding one another to think we can create something we can’t: families immune from breakage” (p. xii).

Like the vast majority of Christian parents, Elisa had bought into the unspoken, unwritten, and unrealistic expectation that if she did all the right things—like Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, and teaching her kids about God—then her kids would turn out okay or, in her words, would be “paragons of Christian virtue.” When the desired outcome was radically shattered by the entrance of issues like alcoholism, learning disabilities, legal issues, abortion, homosexuality, addiction, teen pregnancy, infertility, adoption, divorce, and death, Elisa was forced to confront the myth she’d wholeheartedly embraced: the myth of the perfect family.

The journey that Elisa and her husband, Evan, took together radically transformed their view of family life and values. They came to understand that there are no perfect families. Every family is broken because everyone in every family is broken. Broken families are the norm, not the exception.

And that’s why I’m excited to sit down with Elisa and Evan in our next RBC webinar to discuss their journey and what God has taught them along the way that we can all learn from as well. Please consider joining us on September 19, 2013, at 12:00 p.m. EDT for our webinar “The Myth of the Perfect Family.” Space is limited, so please sign up at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1023795211087515648

 

One of the great gifts my father gave to me was the ability to tell stories. One of my preferred pastimes as a boy was to sit and listen to Dad tell stories about his childhood. One of my favorite involved my grandmother and her prayer closet.

Dad, according to his recollection, was about 10 years old when my grandfather (Poppawe Damon) took him and his two younger siblings, Joe and Eileen, out to mend a fence that was about 200 yards behind their house.

As they worked my grandfather suddenly stopped what he was doing and looked back toward the house. Poppawe’s sudden lack of activity caught the attention of the kids, and he answered their unspoken question with a simple, “Listen.”

As they stood there in near silence, the kids began to hear what he had heard. In the distance, they made out a single voice. It was hushed but earnest; tender and pleading.

It did not take the kids long to figure out who was talking. It was their mother. And it didn’t take them long to figure out who she was talking to—God. The longer Momawe prayed, the louder she became.

Dad still remembers standing there at the edge of the woods listening to his mother pray. He remembers the intensity and passion in her prayer. He remembers hearing her pray for him, Joe, and Eileen. He remembers her crying with joy at the presence of her Lord as Jesus met her in the midst of her worship and petition. He remembers Poppawe telling them that Momawe was in the closet, where she went to meet with God (Matthew 6:5-6).

I heard this story many times while I was growing up. And while the actual event took place nearly 20 years before I was born, I still sense the reverence of that moment.

Dad was given a great gift that day. He was able to hear how his mother prayed when she thought no one was listening.

Christian prayer in its most intimate form is like that. It is an intimate conversation. It’s raw but beautiful. It is not ritualistic and measured but relational and empowered. It’s saying what you would say when you think no one but God is listening.

If you have a desire to grow and be strengthened in your prayer life please join us for a live webinar event, “Prayer: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and Why It Matters”.

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6822142345903290368

Register soon; space is limited. Hope to see you there!

Kids need adults in their lives. Two recent studies have captured my thinking over the last 6 months:

  1. The Barna Research Group tells us that 6 in 10 young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 are leaving the church (You Lost Me by David Kinnaman).
  2. The Fuller Youth Institute tells us that adult engagement is the most consistent factor in determining whether or not a young person will continue to stay in the Christian faith (Sticky Faith).

In short, the Barna study tells us that younger people are leaving the church at a greater rate than they are staying. This is discouraging. But the Fuller Youth Institute study gives us hope. It tells us that the most significant determiner as to whether or not a young person’s faith will “stick” is directly connected to adult interaction.

The study says that if a young person has five adults of varying ages who intentionally invest in them, they are much more likely to stay in the faith. When I was a youth pastor, we were told that we should have one adult leader for every five kids. But the FYI study indicates that we ought to turn that ratio around. Not only do kids need more adults, the study also says that they need people from multiple age groups.

The kids whose faith “stuck” the best were those who had relationships with five adults from multiple generations who intentionally built into their lives.

Now I know that the Holy Spirit is the One who draws us, illuminates us, and saves and seals us in Christ. And I do not intend to say that anyone can come to Christ apart from the work of the Holy Spirit; nor am I attempting to say that human effort can keep us in Christ. But I am intrigued by this common thread of multigenerational adult relationships with young people whose faith sticks.

What do you think? Is it noteworthy that young people whose faith sticks have adults other than their parents who are available and present? What is the significance of this multigenerational aspect to spiritual relationships? Is it fair to say that if young people have present, active, and intentional spiritual fathers, mothers, grandparents, and older brothers and sisters, they are more likely to be persons of faith?