Category: christian living

Are We Raising Teens Who are Barely Christian?

According to the National Study of Youth and Religion, only 8% of American youth are considered “highly devoted” Christians, possessing a faith that makes a significant difference in their lives.

Kenda Dean, author of Almost Christian observes:

“Even if teenagers immerse themselves in youth ministry programs, are involved in churches, and manage to dodge overwhelming counter influences, they are unlikely to take hold of a ‘god’ who is too limp to take hold of them. Perhaps young people lack robust Christian identities because churches offer such a stripped-down version of Christianity that it no longer poses a viable alternative to imposter spiritualities like Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

The elephant in the room in the discussion about the National Study of Youth and Religion is the muddled ecclesiology of American churches, a confusion present, not only in young people but in congregations themselves.  We have forgotten that we are not here for ourselves, which has allowed self-focused spiritualities to put down roots in our soil. (Emphasis mine.)

It would be unlikely for teenagers to develop any religions framework besides superficial Christianity if churches have supplanted the gospel with a religious outlook that functions primarily as a social lubricant, with a ‘god’ who supports teenagers’ decisions, makes them feel good about themselves, meets their needs when called upon but otherwise stays out of the way.  If this is the god we offer young people, there may be little in Christianity to which they object, but there is even less to which they will be devoted.

By contrast, the God portrayed in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures asks, not just for commitment, but for our very lives. The God of the Bible traffics in life and death, not niceness, and calls for sacrificial love, not benign whatever-ism. If the God of Jesus Christ is a missionary God who crosses every boundary–life and death and space and time–to win us, then following Jesus is bound to be anything but convenient.

We reap what we sow. We have received from teenagers exactly what we have asked them for: assent, not conviction; compliance, not faith. Young people invest in religion precisely what they think it is worth–and if they think the church is worthy of benign whatever-ism and no more, then the indictment falls not on them, but on us.”

In short, are we teaching real Christianity to our children? Are we living a life that has been transformed, in every part, by a faith in Christ? And are we espousing the same doctrine as the first century Christians, one that cost many their own lives? While most of us will never be required to give a fraction of that for Christ’s sake, are we willing to give up other things if discipleship deems it? Things that might cost us popularity, comforts, friendships?

Are we teaching a Christ worthy of losing all?

I would love your thoughts.

Raising Children to Love Him: Don’t Miss This One Thing! (Live Interview-I’m Talkin’, Y’all)

 

Recently, Christian Heritage Online invited me to speak in a live webinar on the topic of Raising Visionary Kids. If you missed that, you can listen to the podcast HERE.

The interview addressed an important topic for all parents, but particularly the homeschool community, especially now as some of the foundations are being shaken with recent scandals among popular leadership. So I hope you find some time to listen in and I would love to talk more about this subject of  raising children who love the Lord, in the comment section.

We have to be wise and discerning as parents, carefully dividing the word of truth as we disciple our children. We talked about some good stuff in the broadcast that I hope will encourage you as you seek to do that.

By the way, the interview includes a rare “Green Room” discussion at the end and the producer, Daniel Craig, brought up a most important point addressing the responsibility of this generation in light of some of the conversation in the interview. I strongly encourage you to catch that.

Live webinar: Teaching the Reason Behind the Rules

We Can Do Something to Help Stop Human Trafficking


We’re sheltered. All of us. And maybe you’re like me–we know bad things happen and occasionally we reach out in some small way to try to help. But mostly, we just try to shut the worst of it out, try to imagine that there aren’t really so many humans as evil and depraved as we hear about from time to time.

But then we read something, or hear about it, and this one time, God will not let go. That’s what has happened to me.

“…an estimated 27 million people worldwide are forced to work in slave labor camps with little or no pay or are trapped in brothels in sexual slavery.”

To be honest, I wasn’t very familiar with human sex trafficking. I mean I knew it existed but I really thought it was only something that happened sporadically, and not very often, in some remote, foreign country somewhere. I didn’t have any idea of the magnitude and I didn’t know how prevalent it was in the US until recently.

I read Eden: a sex slave story and it gripped me. It made me sick and furious all at once. And it won’t let go. And I can’t not do something. (Warning: the article contains graphic and violent descriptions and is not suited for a young audience.)

All I can hear is Isaiah 58:6:

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?”

My family is discussing different ways to get involved in helping. We have found a local shelter with all sorts of opportunities and we’re talking to them about those.

There is also an incredible ministry that performs actual rescue operations around the world. The Exodus Road specifically focuses on connecting funds from the West with undercover surveillance and rescue operations in the East (where the largest percentage of sex trafficking occurs).

Facts about human trafficking:

  • There are more modern day slaves right now than at any other point in human history.
  • Currently, an estimated 27 million people worldwide are forced to work in slave labor camps with little or no pay or are trapped in brothels in sexual slavery (This figure is highly debated and estimates range from 10 million to 30 million).
  • Human trafficking is the 3rd most lucrative illegal crime globally, behind the sale of guns and drugs.
  • It is estimated that every sixty seconds, two children are sold for sex worldwide.
  • The average cost of a slave is $90.
  • Human trafficking involves exploitation which can take many forms including: Misleading victims into debt bondage, subjecting victims to slavery or involuntary servitude, fear and intimidation, physical and sexual abuse, forcing victims to participate in sex acts for the sake of pornography, withholding victim’s passports/papers as a means of control.
  • A victim of modern day slavery can be in any of the following categories, according to the US State Department:  Forced labor, sex trafficking, bonded labor, debt bondage for migrant workers, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, child soldiers, and child sex trafficking.
  • Modern day slavery occurs in 161 countries (of the 195 total countries), including the United States.
  • Human trafficking, according to the U.N. Trafficking Protocol is “the recruitment, transport, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a person by such means as threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of adbuction, or fraud or deception for the purpse of exploitation.”
  • Around 70% are female and and an estimated half are under the age of 18.

And I keep thinking how big it is and how impossible it feels. But I also keep thinking of this: never in history have we had the power of social media like we do now. I read that gripping story through social media. The Exodus Road can reach the whole world through the same platform.

And this blog, which I consider a gift for which I am responsible to steward, can reach people and bring awareness that might turn anger to action.

So I’m asking you to consider helping however the Lord leads you. As our family prayerfully considers how to help, I will keep you up to date with specific opportunities that arise. Or, you can go straight to an organization like The Exodus Road and help there.

Or perhaps there is a local shelter near you where you could help. We can all do something.

At the very least, sharing this post will help reach one more person with the stories.

 

How to Build a Strong Christian Home (New Book Review!)

June Fuentes, from A Wise Woman Builds Her Home has written an extraordinarily practical, wise book about all things building a Christian home culture. For the mom who already understands building her home and the power of her influence, the book is an excellent shot in the arm, jarring us from our daily doldrums.

For the new mom, or a mother just beginning and desiring to understand how important her role is in building a Christian home, June’s book is packed with encouragement but also practical ideas about how to do it.

In a culture that treats home as merely a stopping place for people to eat and sleep, How to Build a Strong Christian Home is a much-needed clarion call for the church, the family and the Christian community, to reestablish the foundation of Christian culture. If we are to ever see the transforming power of Christ’s work in our churches and communities, we must first ignite it in our homes.

Get your copy of  How to Build a Strong Christian Home (#2 on Amazon’s hot new releases in Christian Family!) for $4.99!

BUY NOW

 

Included in the book:

  • The State Of The Home
  • A Multi-Generational Vision: Leaving A Legacy
  • The Exquisite Home Culture
  • The Imperfect Home
  • The Important Role Of Parents And Their Example
  • Discipleship, Shepherding Hearts, And Teaching The Word Of God In The Christian Home
  • Education In The Home: Purposeful And Powerful Kingdom Conversation
  • Preparing Your Home: The Influence Of A Godly Atmosphere
  • The Influence Of Entertainment
  • Making Memories In The Kitchen & Gracious Hospitality
  • Serving On A Mission Together As A Family
  • The Foolish Woman Tears Down Her Home
  • Guarding The Home
  • The Secret To A Happy Home Life

A Sale For You to Send Bri to Peru

My daughter, Bria, is going on a mission trip to Peru this May and in order to help her raise money for her trip, I am running a sale for the next 3 days (Sale ended)

You can read a bit more about her trip and her financial goal HERE.

We’re really excited for the opportunity for her to use her gifts and pray that the team will pour themselves out for Him. She is one task-oriented, goal-setting girl. She’s been spending extra time studying carpentry and plumbing, so I think she’ll do great on the project.

It’s also been a fun time to involve everyone in the study of the Peruvian culture and try to learn a little Spanish.

So if you feel led to assist with this effort, we will be most grateful. All profits from the sale will go directly to her.0

Our By Heart Scripture Songs CD is 25% off. It has a whole new look that I’m excited about!

Use coupon code: “peru” to get the discount.

BUY NOW


Get all the -CDs set from our 2012 Living a Legacy Conference for 50% off!!!

($40 $20)

Use coupon code: legacy

BUY NOW

“What if Your Child was a Homosexual?” Thoughts About Really True Love

I was sincerely asked, from someone who knows that I believe homosexuality is a sin, as expressed in Scripture, “What if your child was a homosexual? Would you change your stance then?”

Here’s my answer and I think it raises an important point we don’t discuss enough:

“No. I love him too much.

The same as I wouldn’t (or can’t) change my stance on other clear, moral issues from Scripture. But to better explain, let me offer a very real example:

My friend had a husband she loved very much. They had a happy family with grown children. Twenty-eight years into marriage she discovered that he was not only having an affair, but had had multiple affairs, for as long as they had been married.  Upon being found out, he begged and pleaded with his wife not to leave him. He truly felt bad and wanted them to stay married, admitting that he had a sexual addiction. He said he “couldn’t help it” and had always struggled with pornography and sexual sins. She stayed a bit longer, feeling compassion and hoping the Lord would change him. He cheated again.

Now she (and I and you) have a choice here. The first is to ignore what the Bible says about immorality and adultery, based on the fact that this husband was “born” with these problem. We have to change our minds about what sin is, instead of acknowledging that being born with a sin nature means there are some things we might always struggle with. We would have to embrace the humanistic idea that “if it feels good it must be right.”

We would also have to ignore that adultery and pornography hurt people, even though that’s the reason God has said they are sins to be avoided. (It’s always ultimately about what’s best for us.)

But we would have to go much further than that. If we establish that adultery and pornography are inherent to his nature, it would be wrong to place any blame on him. In fact, it would be wrong to expect his wife to have a problem with his behavior. (Polysexuality, if it’s a born trait, should be treated like the color of one’s skin.)

He can’t apologize or admit wrong, since there would be no wrong to admit. Nor could he then, or should he, change.

I believe that my friend’s husband did struggle with sexual sin. I also believe that it is his responsibility to acknowledge and wrestle with that sin, going to all extremes to avoid it, just like I believe we must all go to extremes to avoid our own personal struggles with sin.

So would I love my child and have compassion on him if I discovered he struggled with homosexuality? You better believe I would. But I would insist that he take responsibility for his struggle with sin and I would walk with him through it.

But if he asked me to accept his behavior, refusing to admit that he’s wrong, (and getting mad at me for saying he is), I wouldn’t change my position. Anymore than I could tell my friend to “get over it” with a husband committing sin against her and wishing to be excused from it.

If we don’t draw lines in the sand, according to Scripture, about right and wrong, soon, we will be forced to accept every act of fallen humanity, to our detriment, no matter how badly it hurts ourselves, other people or families or societies. We’re very close already.”

As to the question, “How would you treat your son”? I submit this incredible piece entitled, “A Gay Son’s Tribute to His Mother.” I would pray, in any situation dealing with a prodigal, to have the same powerful love and perseverance.

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