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This Is Us - Parenting

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Today Pastor Ed Allen continued his series "This Is Us" on relationships, by talking about Parenting.

We all know that parenting has extraordinary challenges and extraordinary rewards.

I Corinthians 7:14 says that children of believing parents are holy to the Lord.

Four Surprising Observations (with conclusions):

1)  The Bible doesn't say as much about parenting as we might expect.

We can apply other teachings from the Word of God to our parenting.  In suburban America, we tend to over-love our children and make idols of them.  

Do not make idols of your children!

You don't have to clean things up when things go wrong for them.  Let them learn from their mistakes and disappointments.

2)  Spiritual education is the primary job of parents.

Spiritual education happens primarily in the home, intentional or not.

Deuteronomy 31:10-13.  It's also our corporate responsibility.  But it's the parents' primary job.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 -- As you're doing life, impress this on your children.  This is still true for those of us with adult children.

Train your children spiritually.  This is your primary job.

This applies as a spiritual father or mother.  Your primary job isn't bringing food, building a warm connection - but spiritual training.

3)  The Bible is not very interested in self-esteem, good citizenship, success, or appropriate social behavior.

What are the more essential things?  Psalm 145:4-7.  One generation tells of God's greatness to another.

Train our children to know God's works.

Train our children to worship God joyfully.

Good behavior is a natural byproduct.

Train our children in God's expectations and commands.

The results:  They'll hold God in deep reverence.  They'll be all in.

We're training people who love God so much, they'll one day abandon us for the cause of Christ.  When your quiver is full, let the arrows fly.  We're not training our children to purchase picket fencedom.

Focus your attention on the greatness of God - on his works and his ways.

Learn about him and get to know him.

4)  Obedience and love are complementary terms.

John 14:21-24 - Love and obedience are intertwined.  II John 1:6

This is why we teach our children to obey: We want them to be loving.

Ephesians 6:1, Colossians 3:20.

We must teach our children to obey.

If they learn to obey their parents, they'll learn to obey themselves, all proper authorities, and God.

Concluding Observations:

1)  None of us gets to be people who don't make mistakes with our children.

2)  Be consistent.

This also means between parents.  For example, they always exercised discipline for direct disobedience and disrespectful attitudes.

3)  Training in obedience teaches us about how God deals with us:

-- God allows natural consequences to have their effect.

-- Consistently, God withheld privileges after disobedience.

-- Restoration was always the point of God's discipline.  Consistently throughout Scripture, God's goal was never to punish, but to train.

The Great Commission asks us to TEACH and train disciples, not just to establish warm connections with them.

This Is Us - Marriage, Part 2

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Today Pastor Ed Allen continued his sermon series "This Is Us" by talking again about Marriage.  He took up where he left off last week, continuing to talk about Keys to a Healthy Marriage.

Key #3 -- Speak the truth in love.

This is from Ephesians 4:14-16, and it applies to all relationships.  Telling the truth is a really big deal to God.

Speaking the truth in love builds stability.  It's contrasted with being tossed by waves.

Speaking the truth in love complements spiritual growth and unity.

Speaking the truth in love is critical for church relationships, and especially for marriage.

Some hate confrontation and need to be reminded that burying the hurt doesn't make it go away.  Others can use the truth like a club and need to be reminded that truth that can't be received doesn't help.

There are two kinds of situations where we need this:

When we've been hurt, disappointed, frustrated:

1)  Allow God to show you your real concern.

Anger is a secondary emotion.  The distance between feeling and awareness can cause problems.  Unrecognized emotion can be at the root of passive-aggression and sarcasm.

Ask the Lord what's going on - Psalm 139.

2)  Admit your issue to yourself with grace and vulnerability.

That's the "in love" part.  You're in a good place if you're asking what the real issue is.

3)  Think FAB:

Focus on your feelings.

Avoid absolutes.

Be brief.

Make hurt the substance, not the fuel.

When we have objective criticism.

If not given in love, it can't be received.

Do your PART --

Prayer coverage

Share Active concerns.

Rehearse the criticism (with a trusted friend).

Set a Time (not heat of the moment).

This is a lot of work.  You'll do the work one way or the other!  Do it on the front end!

Key #4 - Practice your relational posture.

This one's particular to marriage, from Ephesians 5:21-33

For wives:  Submit and respect

1)  This requirement is given to wives.

Wives are told to offer submission and respect.  This is not the husband's concern.  He's not to demand it or take it.

2)  Submission, NOT obedience.

We obey God.  This is your relational posture.  It's about order and function, not about power.

3)  Motivation:  As to the Lord.

This is a way of honoring the Lord.  It's addressing something else altogether than sexism or power.

Respect your husband because that is what he needs.

Men want to know their life matters - that's their point of insecurity.

Men need their wives' respect - that's why God called you to it.

4) Degree of submission: In everything.

The emotional posture needs to be respect.  This does not mean the husband's the boss.  It looks different in different relationships.  This is an attitude.

You're not called to be something you're not.

You're called to offer respect because the man in your life is needy.

For husbands:  Love your wives.

1)  Standard:  As Christ loved the church.

Love is a choice.

2)  This means we lay down our lives for our wives.

Authority to serve.

How can you advance her agenda?

Your relational posture:  Laying down your life. 

Authority is not yours to take.  The wife offers that authority.  Authority means service and responsibility.

What we're called to do is harder than a grand gesture - we're called to do it in small, daily ways - because that's what your wife needs.

Your wife needs to be loved.

She's designed to be the recipient of your love.  Don't let your love grow cold.

3)  Goal:  To make her holy.

Not to make her happy.  This is about her purpose.

You can't do it if you don't have a connection with Christ, so work on that connection first.

When you see stains, wrinkles, or blemishes - those are the reason you're called to the relationship.  They get ironed out by love.

Key #5 - Pray together.

Statistics:  The biggest impact on a lasting marriage isn't church attendance, religious belief, or religious upbringing.  It's praying together.

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