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HOW MUCH WE CARE

By Neil Anderson

 Neil Anderson

March 9
 
Romans 15:7 
Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God
 
There are four concepts we deal with as parents in communicating with our children: authority, accountability, affirmation and acceptance. We usually line them up this way:
 
We exert our parental authority over them. We demand that they be accountable to us. When they respond to our authority and comply by being accountable, we affirm them. When they put together a positive track record of affirmative behaviors, we convey our love and acceptance.
 
The reason we have such difficulty communicating with our children is that we have it all backward. Look at God’s approach to us as His children. At which end of the list does our heavenly Father start? He starts by expressing His love and acceptance (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). Our children won’t care how much we know until they know how much we care. Paul instructs us to “accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God” (Romans 15:7).
 
When your child shares something personal with you, what is he looking for initially? Not a lecture, not a list of rules he must obey, but acceptance and affirmation. “Tell me I’m all right,” he begs. “Give me some love and hope.”
 
When you know that you are unconditionally loved and accepted by God and affirmed in your identity as His child, you voluntarily submit to His authority and hold yourself accountable to Him. Similarly, when your child knows that you love him and accept him regardless of his failures, he will feel safe sharing his problems with you and responding to the direction you give. Children who know they are loved are free to be themselves, free to grow, and free to be the people God wants them to be.
 
Prayer: Lord, I know I can’t be a perfect parent, but help me trust You day by day to be the affirming, accepting parent You want me to be.


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Abandoning Perfection

Today’s guest post comes to us courtesy of Ken Myers, you can learn more about him at the end of this article.

perfect

Jesus said “Be Perfect” (Matt 5:48 and 19:21). Given what Jesus said, you may wonder why this piece is entitled “Abandoning Perfection.” Let’s delve into that more and consider a demon that many kids, adolescents and even adults battle with every day: perfectionism. You see, the pursuit of perfection as a Christian is not the same as the pursuit of perfection of the fleshor of selfish goals (what the world might consider to be perfect).

Far too often we chase after worldly goals, whether it is getting the first chair in band, making the varsity sports team, or being the next big Internet sensation making billions off of creating the latest fad website. There isn’t anything wrong with those goals per se, however we do start to encounter problems when we put those worldly goals ahead of literally everything else, including friends, family, and most importantly our faith.

So what does Jesus mean when he calls us to “Be Perfect”? Given that God alone is perfect and Jesus was the example of that perfection in human form, it’s a lot less like perfectionism as WE know it and a whole lot more like “follow my lead and do the best you can to grow in the pursuit of your faith.”The challenge is for us to not put anything before that and to make sure that our faith always remains our top priority.

As a small business owner, this is a constant challenge. Instead of spending time with family, you might try to knock out a couple more contracts or make just one more phone call. Have you ever skipped a church meeting, service or Bible study to get one more thing done at the office? While you may need to do that on occasion out of necessity, you still need to make sure that you set aside time to pursue the goal of being more like Jesus. Sometimes that means abandoning perfection in another area of your life to make progress toward the goals Jesus set for us.

Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.

 


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YOUR CHILD’S SELF-PERCEPTION

By Neil Anderson

September 18

banner_secondary_who i am in christ
Proverbs 22:6 
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it
 
Your primary responsibility as a parent is to lead your child to Christ and help him establish his identity in Christ. When a child comes into the world, he is completely dependent on his earthly parents to feed him, change his dirty diapers and provide shelter. Childhood and adolescence is the process of moving from total dependence as a child to total independence as an adult. In the process of finding out who they are as individuals, children gradually move away from many of the people, thoughts, and ideas they have experienced through their parents and move toward the people, thoughts, and ideas which they have made their own.
 
A child is capable of understanding God’s love and protection and receiving Jesus Christ as Savior at a very early age. But understanding his spiritual identity is a process that takes place over the years of his childhood. It is the process of shifting his dependence from parents to God.
 
Children wrestle with identity around age 12. Researchers of cognitive development say that most 12-year-olds can think as adults. They are capable of abstract thinking and understanding symbolism. This is significant when you remember that Jesus appeared out of obscurity at age 12. Furthermore, the Jewish bar mitzvah has been celebrated for centuries when a boy turns 12, the age at which Jews believe that a boy becomes a man. Many churches have confirmation for children at or near the age of 12.
 
I believe age 12 is the approximate time in a child’s life when we should help him establish his spiritual identity. Evangelicals have tended to minimize junior high ministry and focus on high school. High school is too late for some kids to be challenged with their spiritual identity. Don’t make that mistake with your children. You must begin early helping them understand who they are as children of God and what their identity means to them spiritually. Seeing themselves as God sees them is the most important perception your children will ever have. If your kids don’t find their identity in Christ, they will find it in the world.
 
Prayer: Help me guide my children into a relationship with You, dear Father, so they may establish their identity in Christ.


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LOGICAL CONSEQUENCES

By Neil Anderson

September 10

banner_secondary_who i am in christ

Proverbs 23:13
Do not hold back discipline from the child

Some children are effectively disciplined when they must experience the natural consequences of their disobedience. For example, if your child fools around and misses his bus at school, you may choose to let him walk home instead of picking him up yourself. If he procrastinates on a school project you have urged him to complete, let him receive a bad grade instead of bailing him out by doing the project yourself. For many children the pain of the natural consequence is enough to prompt a change in behavior the next time. Strong-willed children may respond best to this means of discipline. They often have to learn the hard way.

Use wisdom when employing this method. Some natural consequences may be too severe when other methods of discipline could be used. For example, making a child walk home from school alone may not be advisable in dangerous neighborhoods or bad weather.

Sometimes you may want to plan a negative consequence that is logically related to your child’s misbehavior. Logical consequences are effective because they teach children to be responsible. For example, if your child carelessly spills his milk, a logical consequence is for him to clean up the mess.

Logical consequences help avoid power struggles between the child and parent. They can also greatly reduce nagging, correction and spanking. When your child completes the consequence, the incident is over, and hopefully he has learned to avoid the problem in the future.

Using natural consequences for discipline may require some extra work on your part. For example, you may need to teach your child how to use a sponge mop, operate the washing machine, etc. Don’t look for the easiest method of discipline; look for the best. What may be convenient may not be correct. What works best for one child may not work well for another. Logical consequences teach cause and effect and can be used as a positive reinforcer.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, grant me the wisdom to discipline my children for their future good as You discipline me for my good.


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Not in Vain

1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

I originally posted this post on my blog on May 4th, 2012. I felt like it applied though in regards to leaving for the mission’s field in Ecuador, so that the reader can be encouraged that they are already on a missions field right now, even if they don’t realize it. No matter where you are you can treat it as if you are on a mission field. A lot of the time it is not the where that is all that important, but the what of what you are doing where ever you are. Nothing you ever do for the Lord is in vain. Everywhere there is an urgency for the gospel to reach people, since people are dying every day without the knowledge of Jesus as their Savior, savior from the torments of eternal separation from God in the place of judgment, hell. If that does not stir you to action and concern for lost souls then I do not know what will. I understand we can sometimes forget this, living day to day and just trying to do whats right, being distracted by the needs of life. But the reality is that there is an eternal conflict going on all around us daily. “How can I make a difference in that?” On your own, you can’t. You need Jesus to help you. You need God to send His Spirit to use you. And all you have to do is ask for this. Get back into the fight today if you are not. If your in the fight already then don’t give up, it is not in vain.

Post from May 4th, 2012

“This was one of the verses of the day on my phone today. The Lord often speaks to me through the verses of the day and this one was particularly fitting.

Today was my last night teaching the Jr. High Youth Group at Calvary Chapel of Phelan. I have been doing it for three years, and the entire time we have been going through it book by book, chapter by chapter, and verse by verse. I have grown so much and am thankful that the Lord brought me to a place and under a pastor where my gifts could have the opportunity to grow.

Looking back on it I know I have learned a lot and grew a lot, and even failed alot. Yet, I have realized that my calling was already being put into use without my knowing it. Part of my calling comes from Jeremiah 1:10 which states,

“See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, To root out and to pull down, To destroy and to throw down, To build and to plant.”

Before Jeremiah would get to do some building and planting he would have to do more rooting and tearing. Notice that there are four words which describe demolition and two for construction.

For the first two years of teaching the Jr. High it was all rooting and tearing. I struggled every night for the kids to behave and be respectful and not talk out of turn. We have been trying to bring order into chaos. For two years we worked with them on just learning how to listen and not distract from the study. When I first started I didn’t like to discipline, but now I feel like a seasoned pro. Wanna get ready for parenting? Try Jr. High ministry. So, it was two years of breaking up fallow ground so to speak.

The third year has been the building and planting, which is much more enjoyable. The kids have learned respect and I hardly ever had to even discipline them anymore. They were finally able to learn without distraction. Thank You Lord for doing so much work in their lives, and thank you for growing me as much as You were growing them.

I felt it best to start a smooth transition which is why I decided tonight would be my last night. From here on out Ron and Mary, a wonderful couple of willing servants for Jesus, will be taking over that ministry. I will sit in and play more of a support role until I leave to Ecuador in June.

Coincidentally enough, my last message was Matthew Chapter 28. This wasn’t planned, it was just how it ended up, since I have been teaching through the book of Matthew start to finish, chapter by chapter. But I see the Lords hand in it since I was able to end with the great commission of making disciples of all the nations. It was a great end note to my ministry to the Lord there, since that is exactly what I plan to be doing for the rest of my life and is why I am leaving in the first place.

Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.   Go  therefore and  make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,   teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am  with you always, even to the end of the age.  Amen.”

I definitely had some mixed feelings. It was bitter sweet. Having to leave those kids that I love and have labored in, teaching them to be disciples of Jesus, breaks my heart. But it is the Lord’s love that I feel for them, I find comfort knowing that He will continue to love them and be with them. They are in the Lord’s care now and I can only pray that He would watch over them.

As I look to the future I set my face like a flint. I will not fear, even if it means much more rooting out and tearing down before I can build and plant again. But the Lord is the one who is sending me, its by His authority that I have been commissioned, and He promises to go with me. May it be so, Lord.”

Isaiah 50:7-10 NKJV

“For the Lord God will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.  He is  near who justifies Me; Who will contend with Me? Let us stand together. Who  is  My adversary? Let him come near Me. Surely the Lord God will help Me; Who  is  he  who  will condemn Me? Indeed they will all grow old like a garment; The moth will eat them up. Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness And has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord And rely upon his God.”

© 2012, Matt Camphuis all rights reserved.

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