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Passing the Baton in the Midst of Battle

Successfully passing faith in Christ on to the next generation is one of the most important responsibilities Christian parents and ministry leaders are to pursue. It’s also one of the most difficult.  Author Chap Bettis talks about the opportunity and challenges:

Passing on the [Christian] faith has been compared to handing off a baton in a relay race. And there are many things to commend that analogy to us. There is a real gospel—the baton—to pass on. It must be passed on individually. The one with the baton has to hold it out, and the one receiving the baton has to reach back for it and close his hand around it. There is a time to pass on the baton, the exchange zone, which does not last forever. All of these are excellent pictures to help us think through this subject.

There is a problem with this illustration, however. We are not handing off the baton at a friendly track meet—rather this exchange takes place on a battlefield! We are attempting to pass on this baton of the gospel while we and our children are being shot at! And what about those observing in the stands? A few are cheering us on, but many in the stands—the world—are laughing at our child’s attempt to run the race. (From The Disciple-Making Parent, p. 8.)

Rather than be discouraged by this, we as parents and ministry leaders should use this as motivation to prepare our children and students to face the challenge. We must arm them with God’s Truth and point them to complete dependence on His sovereign grace. (more…)

How Parents and Churches Can Help Children Engage with the Sermon

Recently my husband and I had dinner with our daughter and son-in-law. They made a special dinner and had the table set with the “fancy” tableware. But there was one hitch to this elegant dinner—four children were included, too; our grandchildren, ages 1-to 5-years-old. Let’s just say that the children put a distinctive twist on the ambiance of the meal. Even with all the challenges and distractions, we were glad they were there. Though their parents have employed a type of system for mealtime that minimizes the mess and helps both children and adults, it was a joyful mess! (more…)

Dads, is Family Discipleship on Your Calendar?

Christian dads, everything we do should be marked with intentionality—even how we take dominion over our schedules.

Using data analysis, our smartphones and smartwatches can monitor all kinds of details of our lives: our health, our money, our media consumption, and more. My phone often informs me about my schedule. “You have a full day tomorrow that starts early,” it says.

TimeSpent is an app that goes further. Inspired by the late Peter Drucker, who coached leaders to “know thy time,” it helps users complete the exercise Drucker recommended of keeping a log of their time in order to determine what they are doing over the course of 24-hour time periods.

What would such a tool show about your life? What would it indicate about your work, your exercise, or your leisure time? More importantly, what would it indicate about your life as a Christian dad? (more…)

Preparing Your Children for Sunday School: Little Things Make a Big Difference

The first few weeks of the new Sunday school year can be somewhat chaotic, especially if you’re in a church with large classes or multi-aged classes. Some children adapt very well to the new surroundings while others struggle. Thankfully, parents, a little effort can go a long way toward preparing your children for class. (more…)

Lullaby Theology: Singing the Whole Counsel of God

At two years old, David is finding his singing voice. From the backseat he warbles about “The Wheels of the Bus,” and in the bathtub he chirps out “The Itsy, Bitsy Spider.” But yesterday I found him on our bed, thumbing through Daddy’s Bible, singing “Jesus Loves Me.” We got out the ESV Bible my parents gave David when he was born and sat on the bed, looking at the pictures and singing the songs he had learned about God. One of those songs was Praise Him, Praise Him, All Ye Little Children:

Praise Him, praise Him, all ye little children,
God is love, God is love;
Praise Him, praise Him, all ye little children,
God is love, God is love.

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What Does Godly Ambition Look Like?

What is greatness in God’s sight? Too often I wish for my children, (and even for myself), greatness that is praised in the world’s eyes: high grades, academic accolades, advanced degrees, leadership positions, world-shaping achievements, visible fame, etc. This has been a temptation in every age. (more…)

Whose Screen Time is the Real Problem?

At our family reunion last week, I overheard one of my sisters saying she gives her kids half-an-hour a day of screen time. My stomach churned, wondering if I’d been too indulgent when I agreed that an hour-a-day on the Wii was the limit for summer. Was I harming our kids? It’s a common topic at the swimming pool and soccer field: How much screen time is good for kids? It’s an important question for parents to ask and answer. (more…)

Dad’s Unmatched Spiritual Influence

Steve Watters recently caught up with Bill Farley to ask about the need for family discipleship, for dads to take the lead as spiritual example and guide, and the challenges dads can expect to face and what to do about them. Farley is a retired pastor, father, grandfather, and author of Gospel Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting.

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The One Thing I’d Change in My Parenting


If I could change just one thing in my parenting, it would be this: I would have prayed more specific and focused prayers for myself, my husband, and our children. What do I mean by specific and focused? (more…)

Helping Children Prepare for Suffering

Children often grow up believing, on the basis of the cultural messages all around them—as well as the actions of their parents—that God owes them comfort and their “best life now.” But Scripture tells us otherwise. Jesus told us that “in this life you will have tribulation,” Peter said we should not “be surprised when the fiery trial comes upon us to test us, as though something strange were happening to us,” and James commands us to “count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds” (John 16:33, 1 Peter 4:12, James 1:2). (more…)

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