Thursday, August 20, 2009

You Can't Tell Me What To Do!

I think I saw this kid at the store last week, but I know I heard a child say that phrase to his mother. A few years ago at a CVS store, I heard a child say that to his mother, who by this time was red faced, paying, and ready to leave and hide under a rock. The child stood half way across the room disregarding his mother. I walked over to his side of the store to 'look at a greeting card' and softly spoke to him: "She can tell you what to do, and you better listen, or you will have to deal with me." The kid said, "Whatever" but quickly ran to his mother and silently walked out of the store.
We live in a day of equal rights, anti-abuse, independence, and free expression-all of which I totally believe in-problem is these anti-abuse defenders have become the abusers. I will not get into politics in this case (but would love to at a later time) but merely stick to the matter at hand. I am TOTALLY against child abuse-and more importantly, so is God! Our Lord warned over and over about the severity of offending a little one. Sadly, we live in a day where the child has more authority than the parent in many cases.
I am going to drop a bomb shell of enlightenment on you:
God's Plan always works!

And did you know, that God works through authority? God has a plan for rearing children and seeing that those children grow up to serve Him. That plan is founded upon authority. According to 1 Cor. 11:3, "...the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." Eph. 6:1 teaches that the head of the children are their parents. So, if I may, God's plan of authority is this:

That will work-every time! We ask our IFB young people who was their life's authority, and they responded:
A. Parents 81%
B. Youth Pastor 4%
C. Teacher 0%
D. Pastor 3%
E. Yourself 12%

As you can see, the problem is not so much the children not seeing their parents as their authority. 81% of our young people see their parents as the authority for their lives. The 12% that consider themselves is somewhat alarming, but the vast majority see correctly their parents as the authority. At first, I scratched my head....then where is the problem?
I believe the problem is not so much children not seeing their parents as the authority, but rather Parents not realizing, accepting, and acting upon the fact that they are their child's authority.
Our Lord exemplified this in Luke 2:51 when "he (Jesus) went down with them (Joseph and Mary), and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them:" The omnipotent, omniscient One was subject unto his parents. Why? Because God has given to the parent the position of authority and to the child the responsibility to honor and obey that authority.
Here is where I feel we are 'missing the boat.' The typical IFB family drops their child off at a Christian Academy for 35 hours a week to be under the authority of a teacher, allows them to be under the authority of a coach for 15 hours that week, under the authority of a Sunday School teacher an hour that week, and so on and so on. I am not against these positions, but sadly the Devil has convinced most parents that their authority is at home...the teacher will take the authority for education, coach the authority for athleticism, Sunday School teacher/youth pastor the authority for spirituality....the parental authority has been so thinned out by delegation-that there is no real authority in the child's life. Thus, they grow to see themselves as a digester of all the 'inputs' they have received and the final authority to decide what is right for them.
As a parent, it is my God-given authority to see that my child is educated, matures spiritually, is physically fit, and learns the Biblical principles that are necessary for a successful life. My job! Not theirs!
We have swallowed the Devil's philosophy that 'someone else is more qualified than me.' I am not against using Godly tools to help me in rearing my child, but should my child stray-I did wrong.
As a youth pastor, high school teacher, and Sunday School teacher, I was blamed many times when a child rebelled. For a long while, I accepted that as my responsibility; but it is not. I have that responsibility the three children God has given to Stacey and I.
Parents, you can tell them what to do-and should! God has given that authority to every parent. May we strive to teach them diligently to our sons and daughters.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Hey kids, Daddy's home!

I must confess when I first saw the results of the poll regarding where kids thought there fathers would like to be, I was disappointed. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the fathers would be there, it just would have made it so much easier to conclude that the problem was absent fathers. But that makes it all the more puzzling. If the fathers wanted to be home, then where was the problem? I believe the answer is in the second poll question, where would the young people rather be. Almost the same percentage who thought their father would like to be home, apparently didn't want to be there with him. Why not? Why is there this stereotype among parents and their youth that they don't want to spend time together? Why are young people so anxious to get away from their parents? (Before I proceed any further, let me also say I have known some young people who wanted nothing more than to spend time with their parents and vice versa. Unfortunately that is the exception and not the norm.) Usually when this subject is discussed, the focus is put on the young person. We ask questions such as "What is wrong with that child?" or "Why are they so rebellious?" This shows, as seems to have occurred often in this study, that we have the cart before the horse. The first question ought to be, "What is wrong with me?" I fear we have bought into the world's mentality of blame-shifting. No one wants to take responsibility anymore. Parents, when it comes to our children, the buck stops with us. And that is a huge responsibility. One that, to be honest, if I thought I could I might try to pass it off on someone else. But I see from the Word of God there is no one else. Just recently I read an autobiography of a famous former baseball player who became wrapped up in drugs, alcohol, and immorality. It wasn't until he stopped blaming everyone else and took responsibility for his own sin that God was able to free him and get his life right. There is example after example in God's Word of the effects of men's sin on their children. One of the saddest examples of this would have to be David. So many wonderful things written by this man of God, but the saddest would have to be II Samuel 23:4-5, where he begins by recording how God blesses those who rule well, but closes by making the following statement - "Although my house be not so with God..."
Fathers, do our young people desire our company and counsel? Do they seek to be with us every chance they get? If so, praise God for it; if not, let's examine our lives to see what it is that is driving a wedge between us and our children.

Proverbs 17:6, "Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers."