Thursday, November 22, 2007

Biblical Parenting 101: Example

These are my notes for the parenting class that I am teaching this Sunday morning at the Contact Church:

*Nothing can give greater comfort to a Christian parent than the assurance that his or her children are following Christ and are destined to enjoy the presence of God forever. Nothing can break a Christian parent's heart more thoroughly than knowing that his or her children have rejected Christ and are destined for hell.

*Our examples have a tremendous influence on the choices of our children.

*According to Dr. Ken Hemphill, 70 percent of people who grow up in Christian families will leave church after high school. He states that the major factor in them leaving the church is the example of their nominally Christian parents. Nominally Christian parents are not merely parents who attend church services on Christmas and Easter; they may even be involved in the church as teachers, elders, or deacons. The problem is that their Christianity is confined to the church building or church activities. They do not actually live their faith in everyday activities. As a result, he says, "the greatest at-risk teenager in America (is) not the teenager whose parents (are) atheist or agnostic, but the greatest at-risk teenager (is the one whose parents) were nominal Christian" (FamilyLife Today broadcast, October 18, 2007). In other words, nominal Christians (those who do not live out their faith and love) are more damaging to their children's faith than are atheists and agnostics.

*Here are a few questions to ask yourself in trying to determine if you are providing a positive example for your children:

1. Have you turned away from sin to follow Christ? Have you been baptized? (Acts 2:38)

2. Have your children ever caught you helping someone in need, reading the Bible, praying, or fasting when you thought they were not around? (Matthew 6:1-18)

3. If your children looked through your home, would they find pornographic magazines, videos, or DVDs? Would they find pornographic files or web sites that you have visited on your computer? (Matthew 5:27-30)

4. Do your children ever hear you giving thanks to God in song or prayer outside the church building? (Colossians 3:15-17)

5. Do your children see you treat your parents with honor? How do you speak to and speak about your parents? (Deuteronomy 5:16)

6. Do you treat your employer, employees, and customers with respect on the job? How do you talk about them at home? (Ephesians 6:5-9)

7. Do your children see you treating people with respect, regardless of their income, race, education, intelligence, looks, or other superficial factors? (James 2:1-13)

*If you find yourself failing to provide a good example for your children in any area of life, please do whatever is necessary to change. Our children are looking to us for direction. Let's give them good examples, and ask for forgiveness when we fail to live up to biblical ideals. Then, let's make things right.

*The positive influence of a parent or grandparent can be more powerful than we imagine. Listen to these words about the infamous murderer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer: "Later in life, after heavy drinking caused Dahmer's discharge from the military, he lived with his grandmother who was a lifetime member of the church (of Christ). Her faith intrigued him, but he failed to take that opportunity. Instead, he descended into the deepest kind of darkness...Following his arrest, Jeffrey's tortured mind turned again toward God...he acknowledged his sinfulness and his need for God's forgiveness" ("Can God Save This Serial Killer?", Mickie Kennedy, Action, November 2007, pp. 1-2). He was contacted and taught about Jesus Christ by members of the Church of Christ. Soon, he was baptized into Christ. Would he have become a Christian without his grandmother's faithful example? Maybe, but God used her positive example to save her grandson.

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