“I DON’T FEEL LIKE WORKING”

“I don’t feel like working today, dad.”

This is what my daughter told us last night during our dinner at home.

My 14 year old daughter recently landed a dubbing job for a Spanish telenovela.  Her job is to dub a young girl’s voice from Spanish to English. What she gets for an hour per week amounts to what a minimum wage worker gets for a whole day. This is indeed a blessing.

But because she is doing 300 episodes, it does come to a point that the experience gets old and the work becomes routinary.

Here are a few things Jenn and I told her.

1. Work is a blessing. Getting fruit from your labor is even an additional blessing.
As a young girl, earning what you get to earn is favor from God.

2. Learning the value and dignity of work is a lesson you can’t pick up in school.
Until you actually do it, reading and hearing about it is merely intellectual assent.

3. God blesses us to be a blessing. Maybe there is a reason why God wants to bless you. When you allow yourself to be His channel, you will find that God will add more. If we are faithful in a little, God gives us more. It’s a Scriptural principle. And it’s timeless.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

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PHOTO CREDIT: http://www.flickr.com/photos/katigiblin/2394382693/

PARENTING TRANSITION

My eldest son, Nathan, started driving. While it’s a risk for us to allow him to do so, we know that it’s something that’s just a natural flow of life. We need to teach him to be out there on his own.

On the other hand, Joaquin, our 5 year old is slowly learning to brush his teeth, change his clothes and tie his shoe laces by himself.

The way we parent my 17 year old is very different from how we would parent our 5 year old.

I’ve realized through the years that there are stages to parenting.

From 0-6 years old, it’s the TELLING stage.
Then from 7-12 years old, it’s the TRAINING stage.
From 13-18 years old, it’s the COACHING stage.
Then from 19 and older is the FRIENDSHIP stage.

I recognize that there’s overlap in the stages and it doesn’t happen exactly the way I’ve divided the ages but generally, it’s that way.

When they’re in preschool, we just tell them what to do.
“Brush your teeth.”
“Finish your food.”
“Take a bath.”

When they’re in elementary, we begin to teach and train so that they can do things on their own.
We teach them to do their own homework, fix their room, pick their own clothes.

When they reach teen years, we begin to release them slowly so they make their own decisions.

Then when they become fully grown adults, we hope that we become not just their coach but also life-long friends.

The goal is to release them to become independent of us and dependent on God.

SIGNS THAT YOU ARE A BOASTFUL PARENT (OR PERSON)

I recently discovered a very helpful website (www.orangeparents.org) for parents.

The following article was written by Carey Nieuwhof on how to detect if you’re becoming a boastful parent.

I wish I could say I’ve never been guilty… but this is definitely a good reminder from Carey.

What is worse than a boastful parent is a boastful “ME”.

Hope this article helps.

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Has social media become a platform for you as a parent to preen a little about the achievements and excellence of your kids?

Now please understand, I’m a big fan of social media. My personal view is that social media isn’t good or evil; it simply reveals and amplifies what’s already there.

We like to talk about the things we are passionate about. And we are passionate about our kids. But I tend to agree with a few articles I’ve read recently.

Robert Brooks makes some excellent points in this piece about how parents have taken to using social media to brag on their kids. It’s gone way beyond “My Child is an Honor Student” bumper stickers (which has more than a little swagger to it) to a full blown ego strut. If we spoke out loud at a dinner party the things that we often tweeted or updated online, we might dismissed as being rude, bragging, or showing off.

Tim Elmore has recently written a great article for the Huffington Post about the implications of bragging, over-affirming parents who, he says, are raising a generation of kids with high arrogance and low self-esteem. I find his insights piercing.

So if we reframed the question, we could ask it this way:

Have you taken to boasting, bragging, and otherwise flaunting your children’s accomplishments online?

Probably not a single one of us wants to say yes.

I’m not real thrilled about asking myself the question, but the articles have made me do some soul searching.

Do you wonder if you are one of those boastful parents? Here are 5 signs you might be one:

1. You’re as passionate about people knowing about your child’s achievement as you are passionate about your child’s achievement. Don’t get me wrong, parents are supposed to be proud of their kids. But pride may have won the moment when you become as passionate about other people knowing how awesome your kids are as you are about your child’s awesomeness.

2.  You feel a need to make your delight public. I love to keep people close to me updated on my kids’ progress. I have two sons I’m very proud of. But telling grandmas and grandpas, the wider family, and some good friends (who also care about our kids) is different than trumpeting it to everyone you know. If you feel a need to make their best moments public, you might well be prone to boasting.

3. You only celebrate your own victories. One of the reasons braggarts are so difficult to like is because they are self-absorbed. They only want to talk about themselves, and rarely ask questions about others. If you can’t share the spotlight, genuinely delight in the accomplishments of others, and not get jealous when others do “better”, pride might be gaining some real estate in your heart.

4. Your gratitude isn’t that genuine. It’s easy to bury boasting under an “I’m so thankful that….insert brag here mantra,” as in “I’m so thankful that my son placed first in his class and crushed all the other kids.” (That’s a little sarcasm, just so you know.)  Your private gratitude will always be deeper than your public proclamation. Sometimes true wonder and amazement cannot be expressed in 140 characters or less.

5. You don’t like to give credit to others. Some kids are just gifted. They actually are first in the class. They get all the trophies. And some of you have a child like that. So what do you do? I think humble parents are often last to take the credit. Many will talk about God’s grace, their kid’s hard work, solid coaches, teachers, friends and mentors, instead of giving themselves full marks. For example, “So thankful for everyone who made my daughter’s final year of elementary school such a great one” makes a much better status update than “Top of her class, again!!!!”.

The main reason I can write about this is only because I have to struggle through these things regularly. And I certainly don’t always get it right.

The battle against pride is so important. The last thing I want to do is lead a narcissistic life.

Scratch that.

Even worse would be this: being even partially responsible for the next generation losing the humility and wonder of knowing a God who is gracious to his children and loves us far far beyond our deserving.

That would be the last thing I want to do.

WINNING THE HEART MORE THAN WINNING THE ARGUMENT

The “why” is more important than the “what”.

I’ve always been told this as a new parent. If you explain the why to your kids, then it will be easier for them to obey.

However, based on experience, I haven’t been as successful.

When my eldest was 8 years old, my wife Jenn and I would explain to him why it was important to eat vegetables – the nutritional value and meritorious reasons of developing this habit.

Well, it wasn’t working.

So we reverted back to “just-do-as-I-say” method.

As years passed, and as 3 more kids came, I’ve realized an important lesson.

Yes, the why is more important than the what.
But more important than the why is the relational trust the child has with the parent.

I have yet to recall a time when I gave wonderful explanations of the rules and then my children would reply,

“Oh, daddy, now we realize the critical importance of what you just explained. You’ve shed light into this matter. Because of that, from now on, we will do exactly what you say!”

That would be the dream but unfortunately it only remains to be a dream.

The problem with rules and reasons is that you can argue with them point by point and debate issue by issue.

But here’s the truth – YOU CANNOT DEBATE A TRUSTED RELATIONSHIP.

The answers we give to their questions never carry more weight than a healthy and trusted relationship.

Listen to what Reggie Joiner has to say…

“One of the most powerful things a parent can do is to learn to communicate in a style that values the relationship.”

It actually is possible to win the argument and yet lose the relationship.

The goal is not to win the debate. The goal is to win the heart.

GETTING TO THE HEART ISSUE

I tucked my kids to bed a few minutes ago.

Two of them had an argument because one said something hurtful towards another.

The easiest thing to do is to tell one to ask for forgiveness and for the other one to acknowledge and forgive. Then life moves on.

I’ve done that so many times.

But tonight, we tried to get to the heart of the behavior.

Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) says, “Guard your heart above all else for it determines the course of your life.”

It is the heart that drives behavior.

I asked both, “When you are mean towards one another, what is really going on? What is the heart of the issue?”

I asked that question because when one is hurt, s/he will try to retaliate to make the other feel his/her hurt.

We talked about the root of the behavior. It really is PRIDE.

“Because I got hurt, I will try to make you feel my pain by hurting you back.”

We don’t articulate this, but in effect, it is what we actually end up doing.

2 QUICK THOUGHTS:

1. As parents, it is good to not just ‘fix the problem’ and then move on. Telling them to go to their room is probably the simplest way to do it. But it doesn’t solve the heart issue. It actually worsens if unresolved.

2. Unfortunately, this type of thing doesn’t just happen to kids. It happens to adults as well… all the time. We retaliate when we get hurt.

Hurt people hurt people. But free people free people.

Lord, teach us to see the folly of our behavior and go beyond the surface to check out the heart issue. When we see the real issue, that’s when we can go to you and ask for grace to overcome. In and of ourselves, it is virtually and absolutely impossible. Yet your grace is more than sufficient.

 

 

 

2 FOLD JOB DESCRIPTION OF A DAD

Dad, what are you trying to build?

Going through the book of 1st and 2nd Kings, you’ll notice a phrase that keeps getting mentioned, “…and he did evil in the eyes of the Lord…” (1 Kings 15:25-26, 33-34, 16:24, 30, 22:52)

From Ahaziah to Asa, Pekahiah to Pekah, Joram to Jeroboam. The list goes up to 32.

Only 8 of the 40 kings did not have this phrase attached to his name.

One of the things that the kings failed to achieve (though they won many wars and battles) is that they didn’t build sons.  They built kingdoms, yes, but they didn’t build sons.

As a father, what are you trying to accomplish?

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 sh0ws us our 2-fold job description as a dad.

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

1. TO LOVE GOD WHOLEHEARTEDLY.

A lot of this is caught rather than taught.

As we love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, our kids will observe it and imitate.

A word of caution, they can tell if it’s fake or real.  Kids these days are way too smart.  They can smell hypocrisy from 100 miles.

2. TO TEACH OUR SONS DILIGENTLY

Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

In other words, wherever you are, talk to them about God’s word.  This cannot just happen in church or else our kids will learn to compartamentalize their spiritual life.

“Worshipping God is at church. But when I’m in school, I’m worshipping someone else.”

They will not articulate that statement but they may definitely fall into the trap of living it.

Whether we are a royalty or a ‘commoner’, we are not exempted from these.  This is something we cannot delegate to our ‘subjects’ or to our ‘servants’.

 

3 MAJOR DECISIONS YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE

I tucked my kids to bed tonight.

We usually have devotions before they go to bed.

Our topic tonight was making major decisions.

I told them that in life, they will be making 3 major ones.

These are the 3 that I told them.

1. WHO WILL YOU SERVE?

Will you serve Jesus, self or the devil?

Joshua challenged God’s people, “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15).

This is the first and most important decision you’ll ever make.

And this is one decision you cannot keep putting off.  Remember, not deciding is a decision. You’ve decided not to accept Him into your life. We are either for Him or against Him.  There’s no middle ground.

2. HOW WILL YOU SERVE?

I told my kids that they will have to make a decision how they’ll serve Jesus.

It doesn’t necessarily mean being in full-time ministry as a pastor or a missionary because you can serve Him wherever you are – in athletics, the arts, banking, insurance industry… as in WHEREVER.

Serving Him is not a matter of location but posture of the heart.

3. WITH WHOM WILL YOU SERVE HIM?

I told them that this will be a million years from now. Haha!

But I did say that they will get married one day and making this decision of with whom they’ll serve Jesus with is a critical one.

So I laid my hands on them and prayed for their future spouses – that as early as now, God would prepare the person they’ll spend the rest of their lives with as much as God is preparing them too.

But again, that will still be a million years from now.

WEWEGE PARENTING TIPS

I had dinner with our Senior Pastor from our Every Nation Church in Christchurch New Zealand.  Brian (who is one of our fine campus ministers at Victory Fort) and I listened as we learned a lot from Bernhard Wewege.

Here are some of the parenting tips we learned from him:

1. LOVE YOUR SPOUSE.

Your children will grow up very secure as they see Mom and Dad sincerely take care of each other in good times and bad.  They will not articulate how secure they feel especially as young tots, but this is going to be very clear as they grow into adulthood.

2. GET INVOLVED.

Know your kids’ friends.  Find out what they like and they don’t like.  Learn the things they love doing.  Study your kids and get into it.

Recitals.  Sporting events.  Graduations.  Exhibits.  Musical shows.

Be sure to be there.

3. LEAVE ROOM FOR MISTAKES.

As parents, we don’t like our kids to commit the same mistakes we committed in the past.  We try our very best to protect them so they avoid the pitfalls that life may bring.

Unfortunately, we can’t be GOD because we are NOT.  We can’t be there 24/7.  We just need to keep pounding on the principles we desire to lodge in their hearts and hope that when the time comes, they’ll have the wisdom to apply what they have learned.

4. MODEL FAITH.

We can’t tell them to live for God if we ourselves don’t.  Devotions in the morning can’t be forced.  They are modeled.  Prayer times are not mandated.  They are exemplified.  Believing God for greater things can’t be decreed.  They have to be exercised in front of our kids.

Model faith in Christ.  Remember, much of it is caught not taught.

5. PRAY.

There is no greater parenting tip than to pray for your kids everyday.

Pastor Bernhard talked about praying for your kids’ hearts to have a tenderness toward the Holy Spirit.

Why?  Many times, they actually know right from wrong.  It is the tenderness to the Holy Spirit, to listen to His voice and prompting, that will make them have a desire to obey God and do the right thing.

I am so thankful for mentors like Pastor Bernhard who we can glean from and learn from so we can become the parents God designed us to be.

SHE NEEDS YOU, DAD

Reading a book by Chap and Dee Clark.  They sampled a letter of a young lady who is calling out to her dad to be a father.

“I don’t know where to start… there is so much I want to tell you about the real me, but you only see me as your “little girl.”  In fact, we’ve even joked about it before.

I remember when we first moved to Kansas.  I was growing out of the back rub stage, but I guess the move made me need you even more.  You wrote me a letter when I was eight, commenting on this, but I still needed those back rubs.  You sent me the letter nine years later and I read it for the first time a week ago.  I sobbed when I read it.  I realized that every once in a while I still need a daddy to take me in his arms and protect me from this awful world and keep me out of harm’s way.  Yet I need a father ,too.  Someone who will prepare me for the real world.  Daddy, will you be my father, too?”

Here’s a few key thoughts Chap and Dee Clark wanted to share so we can be the dads our girls need to be:

1. Take her seriously.

When a child enters adolescence, the key word for her is independence.  This is an adolescent quest – to be treated as and to feel like an individual who matters.

2. Care about what she thinks.

Let her know that her opinions and ideas are important to you.  She is not just part of the family, but she is an important part of the family.

3. Walk with her through the journey of the adolescence.

She inherently needs and desires a unique relationship with daddy.  This is an opportunity to treat her in a more grown up way and to trust and encourage her as she navigates these years.

But the most important thing is to let her know that whatever happens, daddy is for her, with her and will journey with her through everything she’d go through.

WHAT AN AMAZING DAY

What an amazing day!

– International staff meeting was fantastic!  I’ve never been so glad to be part of Every Nation family.  Forty plus nations in one room.  A taste of Revelation 7:9.

– Praise and Worship was electrifyingly glorious.  Jon Owens and Neli Atiga… no words to describe.

– Great to see friends from all over the world.

– Pastor Jim Laffoon shared a very timely message for people in full time staff and those actively involved in ministry.

    • “Spirit of Exodus is about to come.  Multitudes are going to find freedom through the gospel.”
    • “This decade is going to be a decade of supernatural power.”
    • “There is going to be magnificent harvest in this decade – unique and tremendous harvest.”
    • “There will be 10 years of growth in a period of just 5 years.”
    • Ezekiel 43:-13.  God’s presence, glory and power will be settling upon His people.

– He then gives out a few warnings…

    • “When God touches something, don’t take the credit; fall down on your face and be thankful.”
    • “Be careful that you don’t get overwhelmed by the growth – don’t get hurt along the way.

– He then gives 2 determinations

1. Draw closer to Christ!

    • “We’ve stayed so connected to our technology that I wonder if we still are connected with God.”
    • “Podcasts, websites, twitter, sermon helps are great but don’t let it be a God-replacement.”
    • “I’m afraid sometimes that technology has mastered us.”

2. Walk under the covering of God.

    • Pray for His protection.

– Reports from all over the world blew everyone away.  So awed by what God is doing in the nations.  Yet we are barely scratching the surface.  Just glad we’re a part of it though.

– Seeing our leaders have fun on stage is so refreshing. So fun to be a Christian.  Love being in this spiritual family.

– Lunch with Pastor Sam Webb, Pastor Ariel and Shirley Marquez.

– Breakout sessions: Discipleship@Home.  What an honor co-teaching with Pastor David Houston and Sandy.  I remember when they taught in a preconference meeting in 1995.  I attended and we didn’t have kids yet.  A lot of what Jenn and I shared we learned from them anyway… and from Ariel and Shirley… and Joel and Jenny Magpantay… and Steve and Deborah Murrell… and Joey and Marie Bonifacio.

– Spent a few moments with some pastors from Melbourne, Australia – Planet Shakers.  Great bunch of guys.

– Dinner with Jonathan and Joanne Pardey and their kids from South Africa.  We’re hosting them while they are here.  What a privilege and honor.  So we’ll have 8 kids in the house – their 4 and our 4.  What a riot!

Did I already say I’m so blessed to be part of this spiritual family?

– What an amazing day!