Sermon Recap: Parenting the Next Generation, Pt. 3

In this series, we are discussing the high calling that is parenting. We have identified that children are a blessing – a gift from God! – and ways in which to love them intentionally, just as God loves us intentionally. Today, we are approaching a more difficult topic: discipline.

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As parents, we are the protectors of our children. And, in an effort to protect, we are called to discipline. We are to lead them, and if we don’t, they will find someone else to follow. Why, then, is discipline so important?

  1. We discipline because we love them:
    1. Proverbs 13:24: “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”
    2. Proverbs 3:11-12: “My son, do not despise the Lord‘s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”
    3. Hebrews 12:6-7: “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
    4. According to God, love and discipline are inseparable. God, in His grace and love, disciplines us as His own children.
  2. We discipline to teach them:
    1. Proverbs 29:15: “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”
    2. If our children are disobedient, it isn’t a reflection of them, it’s a reflection of our parenting.
  3. We discipline because we have hope for them:
    1. Proverbs 19:18: “Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.”
    2. Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Why are parents, then, reluctant to discipline?

  1. We don’t want to kill their spirit, creativity, dreams, uniqueness. But, our children will find abundant life because of our discipline, not despite it. They crave safety and boundaries, which discipline provides and encourages.
    1. Proverbs: 23:13: “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.”
  2. We don’t want to be inconvenienced. It takes time and it’s hard. In public, it might be embarrassing. And, watching our children suffer can be emotionally taxing and painful.

Let’s define clearly the differences between discipline and punishment, because they are not synonymous as we often assume. Punishment is payment and leads to condemnation. Discipline is training our children within the grace of God to teach them obedience (after all, unlike parental discipline, God’s discipline towards us never ends). Discipline leads to abundant life.

The Parameters of Discipline:

  1. It is restorative.
    1. Galatians 6:1: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” It must be done in a spirit of gentleness and not in anger. Anger won’t be the thing that trains our children’s hearts.
    2. Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
    3. Restorative discipline is the result of a child choosing discipline because of their disobedience.
  2. It is unpleasant (neither a joy for the parent or the child).
    1. Hebrews 12:11: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
    2. It’s a painful process.
  3. It produces repentance without regret.
    1. 2 Corinthians 2:10: “Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ.” 
    2. Discipline looks like confession, repentance, and forgiveness. It should never lead to resentment; God doesn’t hold grudges against us for our disobedience, so we shouldn’t hold grudges against our children either.
    3. Discipline should not have a negative affect on our relationships with our children. Rather, it should lead to greater trust.

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Join us next Sunday as we head into the last sermon of our current series, Parenting the Next Generation. It’s going to be so good! 

Priorities and Motivations

This is part two of a three part series. See part 1 here.

So your time is valuable. How do you maximize it?

The first step is figuring out how you are using your time. What are your priorities? Last year, I made a list of everything that took time in my life (work, church, hobbies, family, friends, health) and tried to order them in terms of what I value. I asked questions like “What activities do I never forget or miss?”; “What do I always forget about?”; “What do I end up putting off until last minute?” to determine the order. And I recorded my time use  for 48 consecutive hours.

Once I made that list, I found that I was doing the top half of my priorities excellently, the next quarter adequately, and the last quarter barely.

We are called to excellence because we are made in the image of God and God does things excellently. If you are not doing something excellently, you should be wondering if it is worth your time.

The problem is, excellence takes time. By taking stock of my priorities and current time management, I was able to evaluate if my current priorities lined up with what I wanted to value, and what needed to be adjusted.

I would argue that, for every Christian, your relationship with God and personal time with him has to be your #1 priority. Above all else, make sure to get personal time with your creator, Father, and best friend every day. It is the absolute best use of your time.

I try and make my time as high-yield as possible, which for me means focusing on one activity and doing it well. That is, when I am spending time with friends, I am fully present and enjoying their company. When I am working on a project, I avoid distractions, even turning off the Internet from my computer and closing the door to my room. Why? Because I know if I try to watch TV or hang out with a friend while studying, I will do both half- heartedly and enjoy neither. And if I come home late and my housemates are halfway through a movie, I will generally choose to go to bed rather than stay up because the amount of genuine connecting that will happen during that time (especially when I’ve missed the premise) isn’t worth being tired and unproductive the next day, when there may be better opportunities to develop friendship.

Let me leave you with a challenge. As Christians, we are called to give at least 10% of our income back to God. When I was in college, I had no income so I felt God ask me to tithe my time instead. What if you gave 10% of your time? I’d argue that the kingdom would come faster. I’ve heard so many stories of financial breakthrough that I am convinced that God can get all money he wants, with or without the Church. But it takes our choice to give Him the time he needs to accomplish His mission.

By Ben Drum, Neighborhood Section Leader