Calm Parenting University Workshop Session 2 Recap

My journey as a Christian, husband, and father has been filled with earth-shattering sorrows and life-giving joys, humbling defeats and overwhelming victories, with less and less of myself while I become more and more.

Perhaps you were as surprised as I was that the first things we need to do as parents to change our homes and lives is to take care of ourselves. My earliest years as a parent were filled with my search for methods that would change my children’s behavior, but the truth is that I first needed to change my own behavior.

I pray that you have been able begin applying the first ten strategies and have been working on the three action steps from session 1. I am continuing to pray for you as we continue to grow into the parents God has called us to be so that we can raise the twenty-three year old, healthy, well-adjusted adults God has called our children to be.

CPU Workshop Session 2 Recap

Key Idea:

Most of us have tried escalating consequences, bribing, begging, threatening and yelling to get our kids to behave… but nothing changes. This week, our focus is on building the lifelong character trait of self-control in our children.

Key Principles:

  1. Discipline is something you do FOR your child, not TO your child.
  2. Disciple is NOT punishment, discipline is teaching.
  3. Discipline is love.

10 Strategies to Discipline & Get Your Kids to Listen:

  1. Rewind and replay.
  2. Give kids tools to succeed.
  3. Give kids choices and ownership (if you were there, think pots and pans example).
  4. Take action. Act with integrity.
  5. Practice impulse control.
  6. Lead without fear.
  7. Establish proper boundaries between parents and children.
  8. Do not allow tantrums to work.
  9. Get to the root of the issue. Come alongside.
  10. Call your child’s bluff.

Key Scriptures:

  1. Proverbs 29:17
  2. Hebrews 12:6
  3. Hebrews 12:11
  4. Matthew 5:37
  5. Hebrews 4:16

Action Steps:

  1. Take time to reflect on how you were disciplined as a child.
  2. Practice one new discipline tool this week.
  3. Give your kids tools.

May God bless you richly this week as you move forward to becoming more of what God created you to be so your kids can become more of what God created them to be.

 

Calm Parenting University Workshop Session 1 Recap

I had a great day at the Calm Parenting University Workshop on June 24th. I enjoyed listening to the stories of the many parents who joined us,hearing from their hearts. I also enjoyed hearing from Kirk Martin and learning 40 concrete strategies to stop defiance, disrespect and yelling.

Truth be told, however, it was a TON OF INFORMATION to cram in to six short hours. I have been praying that God would work in and through the lives of every parent touched by the workshop – to help them apply these strategies to more effectively parent our children.

As I continue to pray for each of the CPU Workshop participants over the next several weeks, I am going to provide follow up posts summarizing each of the four sessions and include a list of action steps with each.

I pray that this information serves as a blessing for each of the parents who joined us at our workshop. I am also praying that each person to read this would be blessed by this.

Remember: You are not raising a child. You are raising a twenty-three year old, healthy, well-adjusted adult who makes good decisions.

CPU Workshop Session 1 Recap

Key Idea:

It is not your job to control your child’s behavior. Your job is to control your own behavior… and teach your kids how to control their own emotions, moods, and behavior.

10 Strategies to Stop the Yelling, Lecturing, and Power Struggles:

  1. Control yourself.
  2. Demonstrate self-respect.
  3. Step back so your kids can step up.
  4. Conquer your control issues.
  5. Stop controlling people’s emotions.
  6. Control your own anxiety.
  7. Identify your triggers.
  8. Say no to rushing, over-commitment and toxic influences.
  9. Say yes to self-care.
  10. Do the opposite of what your anxiety is telling you to do.

Key Scriptures:

Proverbs 25:28
Proverbs 16:32
Galatians 6:22-23
Matthew 7:3-5

Actions Steps:

  1. Do one activity this week to demonstrate self-care and self-respect.
  2. Identify one trigger this week and create a plan to counter it.
  3. Practice one new habit this week.

May God bless you richly this week as you move forward to becoming more of what God created you to be so your kids can become more of what God created them to be.

Submit to Your Spouse

February is upon us, and with it comes one of the most intimidating and daunting days of the year. Awkward teenage boys fear this day while young women everywhere anticipate its arrival with great excitement. Wives all across our nation are heartbroken by a plague of men who NEVER understand the meaning and importance of this day.

Valentine’s Day, February 14th every year, is coming and it will bring a surge in the sales of chocolate, roses, and Kleenex. A friend of mine suggested one time that Valentine’s Day was created by a couples’ counselor who needed extra work.

In reality, Valentine’s Day is a remarkable time of year for us to celebrate the most important relationship God has given us (with any person). Whether married, engaged, courting, or “just friends,” this is a day in which we can intentionally pour honor, love, respect, and appreciation upon that one special person in your life.

When a Christian couple is dating, courting, or engaged – the primary purpose of that relationship should be the preparation for marriage. When a couple is married, the marriage relationship should be the most important interpersonal relationship. Period. Your spouse is a gift from God (Proverbs 19:14), fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), for you to love, honor, cherish, adore, and submit to (Ephesians 5:21-33).

Yes, husband, your wife is to submit to you, but you are to submit to your wife as well. Husband, you should honor your wife, sacrifice yourself for her, love her, cherish and nourish her, and give yourself up for her. What does this mean in your relationship? I don’t know, but your wife does. Ask her.

Wives, yes I know that your husband can sometimes be an insensitive jerk. Often, he doesn’t even seem to respect your time or ideas. How can you submit to someone you are having a hard time respecting? How can you respect a man who doesn’t seem to respect you? By choosing to serve him in love. By choosing to appreciate what he does for you, rather than resent what he doesn’t do for you.

Marriage is a difficult relationship for us, sinners, to get right. Thank God for His Son, gifted to us so that through His life, death, burial, and resurrection we might become the righteousness of God and learn to live this life well. Thank God that at the cross, He gives us hope for marriage.

Men often ask how it is that they can love a wife who does not respect them. Women often ask how they can respect a husband who does not love them. The answer for both is the same: Lead in love, choosing to submit yourself to your spouse out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21) because He loves you. And maybe Valentine’s Day this year can give you an excuse to practice.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Resolve

A new year is upon us. Again. And again, many of us may be thinking about change. Perhaps breaking a bad habit or forging a good one. You may be looking to discover the healthier “me,” becoming the best version of yourself that God made you to become. Often our goals are about spending more time with family or less time at work. Others commit to kicking a tobacco habit or to stop using credit cards. Some even write down goals about spending more time in the Word of God. I am confident that you can achieve the good and godly goals that the Spirit lays on your heart and that you set yourself to.

I know that I would like to eat a healthier diet, exercise more regularly, lose weight, and once again fit in my “someday” jeans. Do you have a pair? Or maybe there is something else that you hang to, hoping that someday you may achieve some nebulous goal, but never really making any long term commitments… The truth is that many of us, most in fact, make “resolutions” every new year. We write down goals to eat healthier, to lose weight, to exercise more, to be better husbands or mothers. In reality,  most of us set lofty and admirable goals every January, and the great majority of us fail before Groundhog’s Day.

Why is that? Three reasons initially come to my mind. The first reason we fail to reach our new goals is a matter of priorities. When a goal is so unimportant that we are willing to wait until a turn of the calendar to begin pursuing it, often waiting months, it is not a priority for us. What is a priority is our complacent conquest of comfortable normalcy.

The second reason we fail to reach our goals is a function of habit. New habits take 90 days to become entrenched into our behavior. This has two implications: First is that you may have already inadvertently formed a bad habit of delay and procrastination by waiting 90 days or more to begin. Yes, delaying the pursuit of your goals is as much a habit as the daily pursuit of them. Even making excuses for failure becomes a habit. Second, you really need to stand firm in the pursuit of your goals for 3 months before they become an engrained habit. Cling to your goal through March, with a daily reminder of what you are striving for and why.

The third is one of resolve. In Daniel chapter 1, the great man of God was a mere young man taken captive by the conquering Babylon. Rather than giving in to the pagan and evil practices that his captors were trying to force upon Daniel and all the captives, Daniel resolved or “purposed in his heart” to seek God. As a result, every dilemma of conscience Daniel faced was easily decided by considering his resolve. God also poured favor upon Daniel as a response to Daniel’s resolve toward God. In the New Testament, Paul often writes about this purpose of heart, using phrases like: stand firm in your faith, putting on the whole armor of God; straining toward the prize heavenward in Christ Jesus; and fight to lay hold of the eternal life.

I pray that as you examine your goals for this new year of your life that you would not delay, that you would resolve in your heart to reach your God given goals. Stand firm, strain daily, and fight to overcome our complacent conquest of comfortable normalcy.

As for me, I am seeking a healthier me: physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially, and spiritually. But most importantly, I am purposing in my heart to seek God with everything I am, that He may lead me and teach me to be a man after His own heart.

Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation. Psalm 25:5

Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord that He may teach us His ways and we shall walk in His paths. Isaiah 2:3, Micah 4:2

Commission of the Church

I have been wrestling with the topic for this article over several days. I have started writing many times, adding one or two sentences before deleting them to begin again. Do you remember the times when doing so would have meant removing a sheet of paper from the typewriter and inserting a clean sheet?

I almost did it again. I nearly laid my finger on the ←backspace key to start again. Progress. It comes in ways we rarely expect, it is often resisted fervently by some, and it always comes.

My dad tells me a story of his childhood. He was cranking the telephone (yes, he had to do that before using the phone), when a lightning storm rolled in. Lightning struck the telephone line somewhere nearby by, sending a surge toward the house. A ball of lightning rolled out of the phone, across the floor, and up into the stainless steel sink. Talk about a shocking experience.

I am only 21 years younger than my father, but I have never had to crank a phone to be able to use it. I have never seen a ball of lightning roll across the floor. In fact, when I was a teenager, I had my own personal phone in my bedroom. The phone had a clear plastic case that allowed me to view the electronics inside. And while I had to plug the phone into the wall to use it, I never had to turn a crank.

Today, most of us carry a phone in our pocket (or on our waist). The phone does not have a lever to crank and only needs to be plugged in long enough to charge a battery. We can now communicate long distances while on the move. We can even carry on a phone conversation with a friend on the other side of the country while we race down the road at 70 miles per hour.

Many of us even have a smartphone, a powerful computer and phone in one. Remembering the size and cost of computers only 20 years ago, this is truly incredible! The ways in which the telephone has changed over the past 60 years has been amazing! The truly amazing thing is, more than they have changed, phones still work on the same principles.

I speak into small microphone. The microphone captures the vibrations of my voice and uses a magnet to convert those vibrations into electrical signals. A speaker on the other end receives the electrical signals and decodes them into sound waves. The phone still works on the same principle it has worked on since Alexander Graham Bell’s famous first words.

In like manner, the commission of the church has not changed. Jesus great commission to the church is recorded in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and Acts 1. In this commission, Jesus commands the church to preach the Gospel (repentance and forgiveness of sins in Christ’s name) to all nations, to baptize those who have repented and believed, and to make disciples. As the principle behind the phone has not changed, the commissions of evangelism and discipleship from Jesus will never change. The Gospel message (repentance and forgiveness of sins in Christ’s name) never changes. Baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit never changes.

The message does not change, the principles do not change, but the “phone” may change.

Fruit of the Righteous

Autumn is arguably my favorite season of the year. As the air begins to chill and the trees begin to fill out with a rainbow of colors, a crisp aroma fills the air. The sun sits a little lower in the sky, and the days begin to shorten. I love this time of year! Everywhere I turn, I am blessed to witness the glory and majesty of God’s Creation with all of my senses.

Of all the blessing that come with the end of summer, perhaps my favorite is the ripening apples. Sweet and soft, tart and crisp, or anywhere in between; I love apples: whole apples, fresh apple cider, pies, cobblers, dumplings, and more. Apples are, perhaps, my favorite fruit.

In Pennsylvania, we had three apple trees in our back yard. Our first year in the home, the nearest apple tree produced a sizable crop of apples. For each year following, this particular tree produced fewer and fewer apples. Two autumns ago, it produced very few apples. That winter, during a snow storm, the entire tree was uprooted and fell. It was dead. The fruit it produced was an indication of the health of the tree.

Psalm 1:3 tells us that the righteous are like “a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season.” (ESV) Jesus tells us that He is the living water. In John 7:37-38, Jesus says “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me,… Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (ESV)

Jesus is the source of living water. When we abide in Him, we are like trees planted by streams of water. In another analogy, Jesus compares Himself to a vine and tells us “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit.” (John 15:5, ESV)

But what fruit should the righteous life produce? In the vine and branches analogy, Jesus follows His words “go and bear fruit” with the words “love one another.” In one sense, the visible fruit of a righteous life is love for one another. Another measure of the fruit produced by the righteous life is given to us by the apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians.

In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul writes “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Note that when Jesus talks about the living water in John 7:37-38, John goes on to explain that the Holy Spirit is the living water. As such, the righteous in Christ are filled with the Holy Spirit. Like trees planted near a stream, they bear much fruit: love, joy, peace, patience…

This autumn, as we enjoy the bountiful harvest of apples and other fruits, please take some time to prayerfully ask, “Am I bearing much fruit?” If not, please repent, turn to Jesus, and abide in Him. He is waiting and ready for you to abide in Him, and He in you. He loves you, as do I.