Posts by kellypatchin:
Modeling Christ is essential.
I have become increasingly aware of societal pressures on the family. With increased emphasis on personal pleasure and false priorities we continue to hear “I am too busy”. This creates a problem. There is no way to model behavior to your children without time being spent living out what Christ teaches us in front of them. Even if you are unintentional you are modeling some behavior, but is it “I’m too busy”? I believe most Christian parents understand but the difficulty is in how to balance it all.
Many of us have heard of multi-tasking, but what if we start looking at our behavior with a multi-modeling outlook. Taking our behaviors and looking for multiple outcomes. Let me give you an example of this. In our church there are many areas to serve in ministry. Over the last few weeks I have noticed many men and women bringing their children with them as they worked together to open or close the church facility. It touched my heart that what they had started was intentional modeling, some without even knowing it. They are showing their children at a young age what serving looks like. It reminded me of when we were planting the church, each week we would set-up, tear-down, whatever was needed. My oldest daughter was raised in this environment of church and would help us with whatever she could. It is a wonderful picture of being a servant of the Lord. They not only serve together, they serve joyously together.
The beautiful by-product of living out servanthood in front of our children is the practice and worldview you instill in them because of it. It came to my realization that these children will grow up in a church with a natural understanding of service. They will come into any church community and say, “how can I help”. It won’t matter how big or small the job. They have caught a very important theological lesson, we are all servants and friends of the Lord. The reason I know this is because my daughter does it, she understands the nature of being a servant. Most Christians that come into the church have to be taught this, they do not instantly connect church with serving the Lord. Multi-modeling, finds ways to connect Biblical principles to our daily habits, often encouraging new habits that allow us to express the love of Jesus in our lives. Begin developing habits the transform the lives of your children as they live life with you.
Next Week’s Author: Scott Turansky
The follower of Jesus Christ does not just trust in Jesus, they trust in the way of Jesus. They arrange their whole life and practice systematically around Jesus. Every Fall families have an opportunity to evaluate what is at the center of their homes and hearts. As the summer comes to its conclusion families hurriedly try to get their last vacation in, simultaneously they work on their calendars for the school year as they rush out the door to sign up for some sporting activities for their children. School, sports, and juggling become the center of their world. But if we are so busy about these things, and arranging our lives around them, what have we done to Jesus?
Jesus is the center of every Christian’s world. Consider sitting down with your spouse and discussing your Fall calendar from a different perspective. Begin with the question, “How do we center our family around Jesus”. Spend as much time developing your families spiritual life as you do the academic and athletic part. I truly believe there is nothing innately wrong with school or sports, but neither are there to train your child in morality and the ways of Christ. And if you were to ask me whether I wanted a moral child or an educated child I would side with morality. Math is important, but not if your child is mean, I love History, but if your child is not helpful what good is it. I do not expect schools and sports to teach my children these things, but Jesus will.
This simple exercise will hopefully encourage you to grow in your own spiritual life. Have a goal of sharing Christ with your children. Make the community of faith a priority and model faithfulness. Practice godly disciplines like devotion and prayer in front of your children. And build healthy relationships through church small groups, and showing hospitality in your home.
All of this sounds good, but in order to do it you have to schedule it in to your calendar, but not on the fringe of your calendar were you are trying to squeeze it in. Make it the center of it, because following Christ is priority one for every Christian family, and when Christ is for us, who could be against us.
Next Week’s Author: Tyler Robbins
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Most Christian father’s would agree with this verse. When I ask men “Do you want to be a spiritual instructor in your child’s life?” Most will say yes. The next question is a little harder. I will ask them “Was your father a spiritual instructor who taught you about Jesus and the Bible?” Most will say no. This will bring me to an even harder question, “How can you do this if you have never had it modeled?” Suddenly a quiet will occur and the road to the heart begins it’s journey. Jesus taught us to practice the truth; he gave us a model to follow. But finding Godly examples to follow can be hard. Most of us have not had them. Because of this we realize that we need to practice our faith. Practice being a father who gives spiritual instruction to your children. Practice showing compassion to someone who is in need. Practice, practice, practice. A good athlete has put in a lot of practice. A mature Christian has also put in a lot of practice. Every church should be practicing Christianity. Our faith is meant to be applied, practiced again and again until we embody Christ in everything we do, including being a righteous Godly father to our children. If you have yet to begin practicing your faith I can already tell you what will occur when your in the game. I want to encourage every Christian to show up to practice and do your best. Realize your hard work spent practicing will pay off eternally. Don’t give up because you didn’t have an example, become that example for someone else. Begin by practicing your faith on a daily basis.
A little instruction in Christ,
Next Week’s Author: Tricia Hodges
I believe one of the best ways to help your children remember the Bible is to have them tell you the story. For centuries the Bible was an oral tradition for the people of Israel. They would tell stories from generation to generation. When you tell a story it becomes less about memorization and more about accuracy of the story itself. It also opens doors for dramatization and other fun ways of sharing stories. Your older children will enjoy sharing the stories with their siblings, and you will enjoy the moments you create.
At Christmas we like to have the children share the stories, and on Christmas Day we have a dramatic presentation of the story. It is important to look at it as creating a memory with your children, and impressing the truth on their hearts. When the Bible is made memorable it is also made memorize -able. It is a form of Christian multitasking. It is also fun as a couple to talk about building memories around the Bible, you are training them up in the way God would want you to. �
Age appropriate training can even apply to building memories. With a child 0-3 it is about you sharing the story with them, think about where you do it, sit in front of a fireplace, have a special place. From 3-6 work on the simple story line, have them tell you the story and make sure they have the main points of the story, dramatization of the story is exciting for them, and it will create some laughable moments for you. When they get to be 7-12 the “why” of the story should be understood and more detail should be given by your child. Ask them to repeat the story and ask questions about “why” God put it in the Bible. You will never be fully prepared to answer all their questions, but that is ok too, you can find answers together as a family. At age 13-18 it should become their story, their belief, and their memory. Have them learn to share it with their siblings. Let them lead a devotional time. Maybe coordinate a drama. After others have shared the story have them fill in any missing parts. At this age you are giving them tools that will last a lifetime.
Creating memories around the Bible has a fun way of impressing on the heart and not just the head, but in the end you can accomplish both. One way to do this is pull a verse out of the story for the family to memorize together. The most powerful truth in your life is the one God is revealing to you today. One problem is that we are too forgetful; we forget the stuff we should remember, and remember things we should forget. Remember, the truth turned into a memory is an ever present memory in the storehouse of the mind; it also is an eternal truth that will not fade away. Have fun building eternal memories in the hearts and minds of your children this Christmastide.
Next Week’s Author: Tricia Hodges
We often look at training our children up as an insurmountable task, yet God would never do that to us, the real struggle is we have not been shown how to integrate our faith into our family. We make it too difficult. Most Christians did not have a model of a father’s instruction or a mothers teaching in the things of God. Without the example we feel it is unattainable. My encouragement to you is that it is very attainable, so “don’t make it difficult”. Don’t beat yourself up or think you can’t do it. All things are possible with God.
Start by asking God for the desire to be a father or mother who spiritually instructs their children. Your goal is to raise children who follow Jesus and when they are older they could say, “my father/mother was a spiritual instructor in my life.” Then ask God for the strength to do it and The Spirit to fill you with wisdom.
Next, buy yourself a good Bible Dictionary, I love the Revell Bible Dictionary but it is out of print, another good one is The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Revised and you can buy it at amazon or christianbook.com.
Finally take the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22):
Love, joy, peace, patience (forbearance), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. And after a meal together (find time to eat together), pick one at a time and have one of your children read what it means out of the Bible Dictionary. Then talk about it. Simple!
You are instructing your child so it is important to let them explain what it means after they read it. Correct in love any misunderstood words or ideas. Start with the youngest child who will give a simple answer and pursue more from your older children. Instruction occurs after you hear what they do and do not know about a given virtue. Ask questions, encourage the right answers, and guide them through their misunderstandings. When you are done, use the virtue as the topic of your prayer together (lead by example, pray in front of your children).
You will discover how little and how much both you and your children know about the fruit of the Spirit. You will also want to add some action steps to it in order to exercise the virtue you learned. Working together as a family on the fruit of the Spirit allows you to say we instead of me or you. It helps create family identity as you work on being like Jesus together. Don’t make it hard, just do it! And watch what God does for you.
Next week’s Author: Tricia Hodges
Author: Kelly Patchin
Kelly is a Pastor of New Harbor Community Church. He is the father of 4 children ranging in ages from 6 to 17. He has been married to his wonderful wife Jennifer for 18 years. He truly loves being a husband, father, and pastor. It’s a kick!
I am increasingly aware of one cultural trend I would rather avoid. The pressing in of the season. More and more I hear of people working harder than ever during this season. Companies want to get in as much work as possible before Christmas. Others struggle with having a job at all. The stores press you to get your shopping done. The schools won’t let out until. Parents have to get there Christmas cards out by… and even churches must get the Christmas event, outreach, or show done. It is all pressing you to the day of Christmas.
I love celebrating the birth of Christ, but I also want to keep my family together and enjoy it. I think we have lost the perspective that Christmas is a season. The Christmas Season. As a Christian I am celebrating salvation, hope, peace, joy, and the incredible fact that God came in the flesh! I don’t think one day does it justice. If you feel pressed by our culture wanting to make it a one day party, get off the crazy train, and find the joy of Christ today. In the Victorian era it was common practice to have a party during Christmas. Four weeks before December 25th. They would celebrate the lighting of the first candle in Advent.
Don’t feel as though you have to smash everything together in one day. Spread it out, enjoy it. Don’t feel as though you have to keep everything a tradition, if this year is a little busy don’t put up the lights, relax and enjoy. I don’t believe the Christ in Christmas wants us to stress out about every little thing. Do things that allow you to enjoy the whole experience. Spend some time giving to those who are in difficulty. We like to take our family ice skating in San Francisco. What is the reason if we don’t find time to enjoy the season. Stay focused.
And have a Very Merry Christmas!
Next Week’s Author: Tricia Hodges
Author: Kelly Patchin
Kelly has been married to Jennifer for 18 years. They have 4 wonderful children (Victoria 16, Blake 10, Isabel 7, Micah 5 ). Kelly is the Pastor at New Harbor Community Church. He has taught this information in Family and Marriage Seminars that he teaches.
You would never treat a two year old the same as a sixteen year old. Or would you? Have you ever seen parents treat their grown children like they were ten years old? If you want to help your children to grow into healthy, mature, and responsible adults then your parenting will adapt. To raise a godly Christian child you will need to use a lot of wisdom and discernment. Here is a tool my wife and I have found very useful. We call it the funnel approach.
When the funnel is in the upright position the small end is on the bottom and the large end is on the top, making it useful for pouring things through the top. There are four phases in this approach. The “Discipline Phase” is found at the bottom and lasts for the first four years of the child’s life. The small end represents the needs for boundaries and discipline in the child’s life. It is obedience training. A lot of yes and no is used (at times you may feel it is more no than yes). Encouragement should always be used to reinforce good behavior throughout all four phases. In this phase you draw lines (especially between decorations and play toys); you use many different tools for discipline to see what corrects behavior best. Some of these are isolation, spanking, taking away objects, and a few others that can be learned elsewhere.
As the funnel is still small but starting to expand you enter into a “Training Phase” from age five to nine. This is where you begin to explain the reason why you do things. The rewards system begins to work well and your child is beginning to develop mentally in the area of reasoning and abstract ideas. Between the ages of six and eight they will begin to understand abstract ideas of death, infinity, etc… Here they begin to learn scripture well and it is a great time to start training and explaining Biblical Virtues. Because you are training your child you need to take them out on field trips to exercise these virtues. Teach them about respect, have them memorize a verse about it, then go to the mall and have them practice showing it. A lot of practice is needed during this phase. Church is also a natural place to practice because we are all there to learn and grow in our faith. This is also the time your children should be actively practicing forgiveness and restoration. It is the time of training.
The “Coaching Phase” takes place as the funnel widens and is from age ten to eighteen at the latest. Here you begin to give your child small and graduated freedoms. With each freedom comes responsibility. A good coach will encourage from the sidelines, but when a bad play is made they may yank the player off the field. Coaching is a phase where a lot of life skills are being taught and good behavior is being reinforced. They are beginning to play in the game but you still determine how they are doing. Sometimes you are correcting them during the game and allowing them to continue to play, other times they sit on the bench and watch because they are not ready yet. The goal either way is to help them learn the freedoms and responsibilities that come with being an adult and show them how much you want them to win in life. The more righteous your child behaves the more God will bless them in life, even if their life is hard.
The final phase is “Friendship”. The funnel is wide open at the top and your child is a young adult. If they are living outside the home you no longer have responsibility for them and your relationship should be as a parent who is a friend, a good counsel in times of trouble, an encouragement in life, and fun to spend time with. The hardest part for the parent is letting them make mistakes and knowing when to be a good counsel to your adult child.
Using these phases can help you stay clear in your head on what you should be accomplishing. All good parents want the best for their children but only God directs their path. We need to equip them to walk any path God may have for them and pray hard all there life that they will be fruitful and useful for His purposes.
One Warning: If the funnel is flipped upside down and you give all freedom to them when they are young and create boundaries as they get older you will create a rebellious teenager.
One Encouragement: If this is all new to you and you have made mistakes and your children are older, realize it is never too late to change and ask God to forgive and restore your relationship with Him. You can do the same with your children. God can heal and restore any brokenness.
Next Week’s Author: Sue Jones