You likely haven’t thought of growing up in a Christian home as a dangerous environment… but it is.
Here are some of the dangers of growing up in a Christian home… as I see them…
The danger of familiarity
If your children grow up attending worship services, hearing the Bible read, working on memory verses, singing worship songs, etc. they can easily become so familiar with those things that the “wonder” of what those things represent gets lost.
It’s like a lot of other things in life:
Growing up in a Christian home gives children a great advantage through their exposure to the truth of God. But it also provides the possibility of those things becoming mundane, rote, and no big deal to them.
As parents, it’s our job to keep the wonder of Jesus and his grace alive, to talk of it often, to continue describing the awesomeness and joy of who our God is… so that our children cannot forget it because of familiarity.
The danger of isolation
Many Christian parents, who rightly want to prevent their children from being sullied by the sin of the world, wind up isolating their kids from the world instead of teaching them to live in it in a godly way.
Isolation is not Christian. Jesus taught that we are to “go” into all the world (Matthew 28:18-20). The Christian message that parents want to see its purifying work in their children has to be let loose on the world… through those very children.
But isolation doesn’t happen only because of well-meaning but over-protective parents, it also happens through a subtle mindset of “separation.”
Children who grow up in a Christian home can easily get the idea that in order to be “good” Christians they must have nothing to do with sinful people. Jesus didn’t believe that (Mark 2:16-17). Neither did the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 5:9-10). Our children need to know that the grace God has given to them can only impact others if it is allowed to touch them – and we are the hands of Jesus that does the touching.
The danger of self-righteousness
It’s a very difficult balance that Christian parents have to walk in teaching their children.
Our children need to be able to observe life as it happens around them and make wise, godly, discerning judgments about the situations they see. And we need to help them see where they are being wise and encourage such thinking.
But we have to be careful that right alongside that wisdom we are teaching them an appropriate appreciation of its source. Wisdom comes from God (Proverbs 2:6) – no place else. We need to teach and demonstrate for our children that any wisdom we or they may have, is a gift. It doesn’t make us better than others, only better informed.
It’s a constant, deliberate, difficult work to remind our children that everything they have, they have received (1 Corinthians 4:7). They are humble recipients of the grace of God, and truly, were it not for God’s grace, they would be in the same or worse situation than the “worst” sinner they see or encounter.
The danger of compassion-deficit-disorder
Yes, I made up that term… but it’s a real condition, especially for people who grow up in a Christian home.
Any of us, adult or children, can become so convicted and convinced about the truth of God’s word that we forget how it came to mean so much to us. God brought us to whatever place of understanding we are at, through a process of growth.
…we all go through the same process, no matter who we are.
But the more convinced we become of the truth as we grow up in a Christian home, the more vulnerable we are to compassion-deficit-disorder.
Our children are prone to compassion-deficit-disorder, perhaps even more so if a Christian environment and home is all they’ve ever known.
Growing up in a Christian home can be extremely dangerous…
because these and many other battles happen internally. They’re attitudes that are not as obvious as other things like lying, disobedience, and bickering with siblings. So that means that we as parents have to work extra hard at noticing, gently uncovering, and helping our children deal with them in themselves. It’s hard, emotional, humility-required work, but work we must do if we want to help our children avoid or overcome these dangers of growing up in a Christian home.
I’d love to hear your thoughts… feel free to comment below…
No… I’m not trying to be sensationalistic… just true to what Jesus said:
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.Luke 14:26-42
So was Jesus a hate-monger?
He was and is King of the Universe. And as King of the Universe, Jesus rightly deserves:
Your kids need to know that… and you need to teach it to them.
Jesus is worth more to your kids than they know. He’s worth more than:
That was Jesus’ point… the one He wants every human being to understand.
He is worthy… of all our attention, praise, devotion, preference, adoration, and lives. PERIOD.
How can you teach your kids that Jesus is worth more?
And they just might begin to hate you (in comparison to Jesus)… and that’s not a bad thing.
I’d love to hear your comments…
Why our kids do not date
This post is not about dating VS courtship… so you can relax.
This post is about the wisdom (or lack of wisdom) that is inherent in the cultural practice of dating… and what can be done about it in YOUR family.
When my oldest son was very small, my wife and I prayerfully decided that our children would not “date” in the typical sense of the word. Our experiences had not been all that great, and we knew there had to be a better way for a Christ-centered family to go about it.
Before I tell you how we accomplished that in a way that all our children have willingly and even joyfully adopted it… let me tell you WHY we made that decision.
Reasons we didn’t want our kids to date
#1 – “Pairing up” as couples is for the purpose of heading toward marriage
We really believe that. There’s no other reason for a young man and young woman to pair up. So think it through… at what age is a young man or young woman actually READY to be seriously heading toward marriage? Twelve? Sixteen? Eighteen? What do YOU think? You absolutely MUST answer that question well if you are going to think about this issue well.
When we allow eleven or twelve year olds… or fifteen and sixteen year olds for that matter, to pair up – it’s premature. They are not yet of marrying age, so why would we allow them into a context where everything is heading toward marriage? They aren’t ready for it… so it’s foolish to allow it. We can talk about it in ways that prepare them for what’s ahead… and we should. But we don’t have to thrown them into dating in order for them to learn about it.
#2 – Romantic relationships require a tremendous amount of maturity and emotional self-control in order to be healthy
Even adults have a hard time handling the emotions that come with a committed relationship. There are vital, mature skills needed in order to make a one-on-one relationship like dating work – things like deep communication, consideration of others, insight into human nature, commitment to high moral standards, etc.
How many pre-teen or teen-aged kids do you know who have those skills? How many adults? Why would we put our children into a relationship for which they are not prepared? When we do, failure is the only logical outcome… as well as pain that doesn’t need to happen.
Instead of putting them in the dating meat-grinder, why don’t we use the time to build good character into them? Why don’t we help them think biblically and maturely about marriage, relationships, and family? I think that goes a lot farther than the dating alternative.
#3 Dating places far too much sexual temptation on the soul of a child who is not ready to bear it.
Our culture sexualizes everything… dating most of all. From the moment a couple pairs up, the pressure is on to hold hands, get physically close, kiss, touch each other’s bodies, and everything that naturally follows. It’s unhealthy and unwise to put children in that context.
So think it though… here are some questions for you to consider:
If not… dating is a bad idea.
#4 – Dating encourages emotionalism that can easily cloud sound, godly judgment.
Every Christian parent wants their child to marry a person who loves Jesus and is impacted by their personal walk with Him. But how many times does that happen in the normal dating scene? Very seldom.
Here’s an example of what happens instead: A young lady is allowed to get involved with a young man who is not all that the parents hope. He’s probably not even all the the young lady hoped… but he’s paying attention to her, saying sweet nothings, making her feel special… and it’s hard for her to think about all the things he’s not. She feels too many warm fuzzies being around him to let herself consider such logical matters.
This scene could happen with a young man just as easily as a young woman. I’ve seen it in counseling and pastoral ministry countless times. What has happened? There isn’t enough spiritual and emotional maturity developed yet… they don’t have a chance of stepping back, considering reality, and making a godly decision… especially in a culture that tells them relationships of this type are all about the feelings.
Dating sets that up… makes it the most likely outcome. That’s dangerous, and we don’t want any part of it.
Those are some of the more vital reasons we decided that our children would not date. To us, it seemed like inviting a hungry lion into a sheepfold… and we wanted our little lambs to live to see the day they had the opportunity to raise their own little flock.
How did we accomplish our children happily not dating?
It’s not as hard as you might think… unless you’ve waited too long to get started.
#1 – We started young
When our children were old enough to understand that there were such things as girls and boys, we began talking about the wonderful differences God created in male and female. We began explaining the way a man and woman come together in marriage to create a family. We began telling them how much the LORD loves marriage.
Then we began talking about how a man and woman come to be in love, how they have to be mature, healthy, and grown-up enough to love and take care of the needs of another person. We’d even talk about how far our children were from being ready for that responsibility. Without fail, they saw it as clearly as we did and had no desire to have a boyfriend or girlfriend, no matter how “cute” it might be at a young age.
#2 – We continued the conversation
When our kids were eight, nine, ten, and eleven, we began talking about dating itself… mostly through discussing what we observed going on around them. We pointed out teen couples and asked our children what they thought. We asked them if they thought it was wise for a couple who is not old enough or mature enough to get married, to pair up like that. Without hesitation, they said, “No.” They began to see for themselves that dating early is a silly thing.
#3 – We introduced our plan
Before we started talking about dating-alternatives, we first talked about what it takes to be a good companion. Maturity, selflessness, wisdom, self-control, willingness to serve, desire to care for another person. We helped our children see that before they’d be ready to pair up, they’d need to be well on their way in those and other areas.
From there, we told them that we did not think it was wise for them to date at all until they were of an age that they could “do something about it” (get married). They saw it the same way and agreed to it, no problem.
#4 – We watched carefully and continued to talk
All of our discussion and planning didn’t prevent crushes and puppy-love from showing up in our home. It wasn’t long before one of our kids got asked out or to be somebody’s girlfriend or boyfriend.
Let me pause here to say this… if you’ve not been consistently pursuing your children with good communication up until this point, this is where they may try to hide things from you. If so, you’re in for it. The early years of your relationship with your children establish healthy groundwork for the teen years. You have GOT to work at developing closeness with your children all the way along. Don’t wait until the teen years and then expect that you’re going to be able to pull off a healthy dating policy. You’ll get serious push-back.
So, back to my description…
We didn’t allow the crushes and invitations from potential significant others to go underground. We talked about them. We asked the child what they liked about the person. We asked if they felt warm inside or happy inside when they were with them. We wanted our kids to know that we understood what they were feeling.
But we also asked them again if they were ready for marriage. We asked them if they were ready to love that other person the way that a committed relationship requires. This helped them see that what they were feeling was only feelings… not a true gauge of their readiness. Then we’d remind them… “This is why we decided that you wouldn’t date… remember?” They did… and we’d move ahead in unity.
And we continued to talk, almost daily, as long as we knew the feelings of attraction were still there. Typically it wasn’t long until the feelings went away and they were once again happily non-dating. It was kind of funny… by the time our kids were fourteen or fifteen, they were saying to us and others (with great conviction) the very things we’d said to them about dating.
What happened when they were old enough to date?
The story has been told many times already about what happened when my oldest son met his future wife.
He was 19 at the time, and had been going to a weekly western dance at a camp near where we live because one of his friend’s dads ran the thing. One Thursday evening when he and his sister (two years younger) were getting ready, she said, in our hearing, “Aaron, did you tell Mom and Dad about Hannah?”
You’d better believe we stepped through that door…
He told us about this cute red-head he’d met the week before, but he didn’t seem as excited as I expected. So I asked him, “Do you like her? Do you think she might be a person you would marry?”
He said, “Yeah, maybe.”
That’s when I said the infamous phrase he’s repeated many times…
“What are you going to do about it?”
He said that’s when he realized that I thought he was ready. It mattered to him that I thought he was mature enough to pursue a loving relationship with a young woman… and that he’d do well at it.
And he has.
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Scripture Memory Songs
I grew up through the 70s and 80s, eras of HUGE musical styles and progressions… and the melody and words of thousands of songs from those days are still embedded in my mind. Music is powerful… able to insert itself into our souls in ways like few other things. It makes sense to use God’s creation of music to help ourselves learn the transforming truths of His word. In this episode I’m talking with Danny Stephens, a member of the band “Smalltown Poets” and the creator of Pop Scripture Songs – and attempt to create a tool for helping kids, parents, families get the truths of scripture into our souls. He’s done a great service to the church and is working on his second album now. In this episode he also shares a way that you can get a copy of their Pop Scripture Song album, “Better Than Life” for
On this blog and podcast, I incessantly “preach” about the importance of the family in God’s plan for history.
I speak often about the importance of parents going first in setting the tone and example for the Christian household as they disciple their children in the ways of Jesus.
And I speak often about keeping those things as priorities, as things that are non-negotiable in the “to do” list of life.
Applying those truths during the transitions of life… is difficult at the very least…
I’m in a season of life right now where I’m needing to focus on many different, fundamental things.
Financial provision for the family. The early adult years my oldest daughter has entered. The “young man” phase my 14 year old son is entering. The continuing need to nurture my marriage relationship through healthy, non-defensive communication. and many, many others…
One of the things that makes it even more difficult is that I’m still getting established in my transition from full-time Pastor to self-employed ministry entrepreneur. There are many challenges in that realm alone that make my current commitments a challenge.
Jason T. Wiser
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Working Hard at Work While Working Hard at Home
Any parent or spouse knows the depth of desire that wells up in your heart when you realize the great responsibility you have to your spouse or your children. But when you add the burden of being a provider to the mix, it can become overwhelming very quickly. How do you keep the balance right so you’re not spending too much time at work? How do you invest in your spouse and children purposefully while working hard at work? How do you make the time? How do you keep both going well? In today’s episode I’m talking with Jason T. Wiser about the difficulty of that balance and how we can go about staying steady in our battle to live rightly in both areas.
Links mentioned in this podcast:
Jason’s business website – Webination Station SHARE THE PODCAST using the social sharing
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a sabbath rest for your family
The idea of a “sabbath” has taken on all kinds of worship-oriented connotations that I don’t think the LORD meant it to have. The main idea you see in scripture is the idea of rest… it’s a statement of our neediness before God. He shows His goodness to use by giving us an instruction that keeps us healthy and balanced through rest. In this episode of the podcast I’m going to briefly tell you about this concept and how you can implement the idea in your family to help you stay healthy and stress-free.
The sabbath is given to us by God, for our good. We are wise to put it into practice. Use the quote to the left to share on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. That’s one way you can help spread the word about The Christian Home and Family Podcast and help me spread the Word and
When we first moved into our current home, we had a mouse problem… or should I say, a “mice” problem. It turned out there were many. Our cat would stare into the heat vents for hours on end. Then we began to hear scratching inside the walls at night. Finally, my wife glanced down into the kitchen heat vent, on the floor by the counter, and there were the cute black eyes, looking up at her.
To take care of our “mice” problem we got a think called a “Rat Zapper,” and man, did it do the trick. By placing it in the crawl space my oldest son and I disposed of 12 mice over the course of two evenings. From that day on, our “mice” problem was no more.
Until two weeks ago.
We’re not exactly sure what made the difference… maybe it was that our cat had to be put down and the mice felt especially bold as a result. But it’s probably that after 4 years of flawless mouse-eradication, our Rat Zapper didn’t work properly anymore (I
Here are 3 simple and easy ways of going about “family prayer” that you can try in your family!
1. Pray for the person to your (right/left).
In our “family nights” (we sing together, read and discuss the scriptures, and pray together), we often use this method of prayer. It goes something like this…
“OK, everyone turn to the person on your right and find out what things you can pray about for them. Then we’re going to pray for those specific things”
Naturally, there’s a little bit of giggling as everyone turns to their right and finds that person turned to their right… but everyone finally gets past it and receives and gives a prayer request. Then we pray together for those things.
I don’t typically keep track of which direction I’ve told people to turn the previous family night, nor do I keep track of who’s prayed for who.
Why? Because every time we’re sitting in different places, so we naturally get “mixed around” in who we are praying for.
Sometimes I will intentionally look to see who’s sitting next to who and choose the direction I
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The Number One Way to Kill your Marriage
In over 20 years of working with my wife, alongside couples in a context of marriage counseling, I have seen one thing that kills more marriages than anything else. It’s not anger. It’s not infidelity. It’s not financial disagreements. It’s not having to deal with a blended family. It’s not nosy in-laws. What is it? It’s pride. Plain and simple.
In this episode of the podcast I’m going to highlight some of the ways that pride manifests itself in marriage and provide some resources you can use to get yourself out of the pride-trap so that your marriage can receive the grace of God toward healing and wholeness.
Pride will kill your marriage faster than anything. God opposes the proud. Use the quote to the left to share on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. That’s one way you can help spread the word about
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