Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys

  • Friday, July 31, 2009
  • Some of you spend your summer going from baseball or basketball game to another game. For us, we are looking for "mutton bustin" competitions for our grandsons. Here is Thadd locked good and tight and focused on riding this sheep to the end of the line.

    This past week, Nathaniel rode in the Sidney Iowa Rodeo and took first place. In the excitement of his ride, no one took pictures of the ride or even Nathaniel kissing the rodeo queen on the cheek (tradition). But here is the cowboy with his prize.

    So some of you dream of your children playing in the NBA, major league baseball, or the NFL. We figure we might see some of our grandsons doing this someday...


  • Tuesday, July 28, 2009

    Galatians 6: 7, 8 states “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

    Formative instruction, which is part of the heart of this book, is to abound with the good purposes God had for us before the Fall and His marvelous provision for us after the Fall through the person and work of Jesus Christ. The reality of judgment, wrath, and God’s intolerance with sin should drive us to the foot of the cross to be mindful of God’s grace.

    Corrective discipline is an appeal to formative instruction to help our children understand how sin affects all of life. It is a rescue mission designed to redirect a straying or unbelieving child back inside the circle of blessing of honoring and obeying their parents and other authority.

    The reaping process in discipline is to be biblical and not behavioral. That means it must address the issues of the heart. Here are a few steps explained in the chapter:
    -Always dialogue with your child – never monologue. Ask what they were thinking and feeling that prompted the behavior.
    -Use formative instruction to describe their sin, its deception and God’s promises to overcome it.
    -Identify with your child the struggle to resist sowing in the flesh
    -Identify for them what it means to sow to the Spirit
    -Give them an ample opportunity to respond and continue the dialogue

    The Tripps offer these words of final encouragement in this chapter:
    “We don’t shepherd our children to assure that our children will ‘turn out right.’ We shepherd our children to be faithful to the work God has given us. Consequences do not serve as power plays to prove our role or power or strength or to put kids in their place for our convenience. They are designed by God to display the reality of God’s ultimate rule in the affairs of men and to extend mercy while there is time to repent and trust in God.”

    “Discipline is not an opportunity for us to show our children who is boss or to hand our punishments that will change their behavior. Even when our consequences are appropriate to underscore God’s truth and our standards, discipline is primarily an opportunity to remind our children of their need to repent and believe in Christ, and the forgiveness and provision available from God through Christ. We are really declaring God’s sovereignty and involvement with all he has created, offering relationship with God through Christ. Show them the beauty and goodness of confession to God and others, and warn them of the coming judgment for unbelief.”

    Questions to Consider:

    1. Consider the last episode of corrective discipline you had with your teen:
    A. How well did you warn against “sowing to the sinful nature?” (Probably you did fairly well here)
    B. How well did you encourage them as to “sowing to the Spirit?” (Probably not as well)
    C. How much dialogue did you have? Did you seek to discover if their actions were motivated by any fears, desires, hopes, and/or lusts of the heart?

    2. What do you do when you know your child is guilty but does not admit it? What do you do if you are not sure?

    3. How well do you “hunker down in the trenches” with your child's struggle with sin and help them understand that you have similar struggles?

    4. What is the danger if you get too sentimental in your love for your child and start lowering the standards? How does this impact the gospel?

    5. What is your ultimate motivation in shepherding your child? Is it that they should turn out right or is it something else?


  • Thursday, July 23, 2009
  • Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Highland Village, Texas ofers this great story of the meaning of the gospel. The point of the gospel is that it is for broken sinners....


  • Monday, July 20, 2009

  • Chapter 12- Getting from Behavior to the Heart

    Whoops - for those who were following the book, once again I let this slide. It has been a month since I addressed chapter 11. This chapter has a bunch of "ouches" for this parent and grandfather. I was a master at behavior modification and by the grace of God, somehow my kids' hearts turned out okay but sure not because I was aiming there! Their mom was much better than I was.

    To work on our children's hearts is to aim at the source of their bad behavior rather than the behavior itself. We used to have brief periods of "Camp Lockyer" where if their were patterns of behavior that needed to be changed, it was going to happen in the next 3 days! Through a series of rewards and punishments, the behavior was redirected and manipulated until Dad was satisfied. Trouble was that since the source of the behavior was not dealt with, it would show itself either again later or in a new form.

    The Tripps point our that:

    Behaviorism does not address the real need of our children

    Behaviorism provides our children with a false basis for ethics

    Behaviorism trains the heart in wrong paths

    Behaviorism obscures the message of the gospel

    Behaviorism shows the parent's idols

    To get to the heart of behavior requires formative instruction that helps your child see the connection between their behavior and their heart attitude that led to the behavior. To do so a parent needs to learn to ask good questions that reveal the child's heart. Questions that are open-ended and where the child can reveal what they were thinking and the motivation behind their behavior.

    Once the motivation is revealed, you as a parent will find a point of personal connection with the child for whether it is pride, selfishness, fear or other sources of motivation, you know what that sin is like. Identify with your child's struggle with the sin and provide the answer - the gospel!

    Hebrews 4: 14-16 tells us that Jesus identifies with our struggles and temptations and as our High Priest, we can draw near to Him with confidence and receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Your child needs you and especially the mercy and grace of Christ.

    How many times today have you barked out imperatives to your children that demanded a change of behavior without addressing the heart?

    Where are you using tools of manipulation in your discipline such as reward and punishment systems? Are they really producing long-term changes?

    Why do you really want your kids to behave? Is it to make your life easier? Is it so you look good to others? Is is so you know you are in control?

    How are you keeping the gospel central in your discipline?

    Note: The Tripps make it clear that it is not wrong to correct behavior and it is necessary in many situations. Part of this heart direction is to understand that in situations where the correction of behavior is necessary, your job is not done. Help them understand how they strayed from God's ways. Also look for typical responses by your child so you can address themes such as selfishness and then speak in depth to the attitude of the heart.

    Working Towards a Praying Life

  • Monday, July 13, 2009
  • I just finished about a 6 week journey through the book A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller. I struggle with my prayer life and have read several books on prayer to try and improve this area. Many of the books just frustrate me more than when I started. I may get a jolt for awhile and soon I am falling back into the old habits. I keep lists, have done journals, topic of the day, Scripture praying and many other things. I do pray and often but it seems like I am using God as a dispenser of my wants and desires rather than seeing prayer as a means to connect with God in the midst of the happenings of the day.

    Paul Miller’s book has been a big help. It has helped me understand fuller the meaning of prayer and how to pray as a regular part of my day to day moments. The book is rich with examples from the Scriptures along with life examples from the author. A look into his family will hit home for many who read this book.

    I am currently applying his tool of prayer cards rather than prayer lists. It has proved useful already. I believe in prayer as what has been quoted as the slender nerve that moves the powerful muscle of God. I commend this book to you as it is in 32 short chapters that can be read in 10-15 minutes each providing clear examples by the author as to application. The 4-6 weeks of a chapter nearly every day will be worth it.

    I do not know how long it will be on sale, but right now the book is available from Monergism Books at 40% off. Just use the coupon code “prayinglife” to get the discount.

    Many Hands Make What?

  • Friday, July 3, 2009

  • Yesterday we did what will probably be about one half of our hay harvest. It was quite a scene. Deb and I along with Bill and Brit and their 6 boys and Chad and Megan Bredthauer and two of their girls picking up bales, stacking them on a trailer, and then loading them into the barn.

    I am a "let's get 'er done" kind of worker so having 8 kids around when there is serious work to do can be difficult on my attitude. was great! What should have taken 2 hours ended up 4 and there were no serious injuries. We all sweated, walked the fields, and the kids had a blast. It doesn't get any better for a grandfather and grandmother than that!
    Hope you are making memories this summer with your kids. No better way than getting dirty together.

    Death is not Dying: The Story Continues

  • On May 14 I posted the testimony of Rachel Barkley, a 37 year old mom who was battling terminal cancer. Her video testimony is gripping and well worth an hour of your time. You can scroll back to that date or link on to it here

    Rachel's story continues as she went home to heaven yesterday, July 2. You can pray for her family as she leaves her husband and two children. She also leaves the impact of someone who has placed their confidence in the gospel of Christ and learned what it is to live by that truth. As the old great hymn declares for the believer in Christ's finished work on the cross, "It is not death to die."