Monday, August 25, 2008

Discipline: Getting to the Heart

I realized that my last post was pretty long, so I thought I'd make this one shorter :)

I've been reading a book called Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp recently. This is a wonderful book and one I am hoping to go through with our families sometime in the future. In it he discusses discipline of children at length. One interesting thing he said that made me think was this: Discipline should always be centered around the child's disobedience toward God than merely around their disobedience toward their parents. I think many times that parents are probably tempted to punish their children because the kids have broken the rules that they have set up in their home, disrespected them in front of others, interrupted something important they were doing, disappointed them with their academics, etc. So when punishment is handed down, the child sees their behavior only as an offense against mom or dad.

Biblical discipline will centered around helping the child see their offense against God--not just against mom or dad. If all that is discussed is how they have broken the parents' rules, it is true that the child might learn over time to follow the rules of the home. But the real root of their behavior--disobedience toward God--is never addressed. So it is important that, as part of disciplining our children, we have conversations with them about what is really going on in their heart--rather than just reacting when they have wronged, disobeyed, or disappointed us.

That does not mean that the only thing discipline involves should be conversation. Scripture is clear about parents needing to use punishment in order to instruct and open their children's eyes ("Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him." -Proverbs 13:24). But we must move beyond that external action and discuss with our children the condition of their heart. It's only when they realize their sinfulness against God that they will see their need of a Savior. And it's only when they bow their knee to Him that God can bring about true change in their lives.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Family Worship

Deuteronomy 6:7, speaking of God's commands and His works for His people, tells parents: "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." We are to teach our children diligently and consistently about God and His ways.

I had never heard of "family worship" until a few years ago, but it is something that has been done for countless generations in Christian families. Family worship is simply getting your family together to sit down, read Scripture, talk about it, and pray--every day. I'm sure that as parents it is tempting to let Sundays be the day your family worships God and to just leave it at that. But why not during the week? Your child(ren) and your spouse can tell what is important to you by how much time you dedicate to it and the expectation level you have of them in regards to it.

If spiritual things are not explicitly discussed, Bibles are not opened, and God is not intentionally worshiped by the family during the week, kids will naturally conclude that worshiping God is only a "Sunday morning thing." We teach our children what is most important to us by what we make priorities. Maybe you think vacations are important, so each year, you are sure to get that one or two weeks away with your kids. Maybe you think eating meals together is important, so you have your family gather together around the table at least three or four times a week for dinner. If sports are a priority, you don't let them miss a practice. If something is truly a priority, you will make it a habit in your family.

There are a few obvious benefits to family worship:

1. Your family will be in the Word daily. By reading half a chapter or even a full chapter or two each day together, you will cover a LOT of ground biblically over the long haul. You can have some really interesting discussions as you come across stories or teachings that are challenging, difficult to interpret, or that you have never really come across before. Kids will ask some great questions!

2. Your children and spouse will see that worship of God is a daily practice. We do our families a disservice if we indirectly teach them that worship can only be done with the church body on Sunday mornings.

3. Your family will sense togetherness on a daily basis--and it will be centered around the worship of God instead of a television show, sporting event, or meal.

4. This would be a perfect opportunity to discuss some of the struggles that you and your children are having in your journeys. Your children can see that mom and dad are sinners, who are saved only by God's grace in Christ. You can hear what's going on in your children's lives and encourage or challenge them as needed.

As for the how-to's of this:

1. Keep it simple! Richard Cecil said to keep it "short, savory, simple, tender, heavenly." If it gets too long, kids will get stir crazy.

2. Fathers should be the ones to initiate and lead family worship. Based on Scripture, it is he that leads his family spiritually. Mothers, if this is something you are interested in, discuss it with your husband and try to persuade him of its value--even if it takes a while. Do not undermine his authority.

3. Read through books of the Bible. Don't jump around from book to book every day. If you just make your way through books, you'll teach your children that ALL Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16)--not just the parts we find particularly helpful.

4. Let them ask questions, and don't feel bad if you can't answer right away. Use these as learning times for your kids and yourself.

There is much more that could be said, but if you are truly interested in this, check out this article: CLICK HERE.

If you have any questions, email me:

Monday, August 11, 2008


Catechisms are something that have been used by Christians for centuries, but they have fallen on hard times in recent generations. Catechisms, if you are not familiar with them, are basically a series of questions and answers that are used to help children or new believers learn the basic teachings of the Christian faith. The questions are asked to the child or new believer, and they are to respond with an answer that they have memorized. Catechisms have primarily been used in the home by parents and their children--usually at a fairly young age--in order to help them learn and remember what the Bible teaches in a succinct way.

For an example of a catechism, you can look at:

That is a LONG one and might seem intimidating. But by going through these questions and answers with your child, looking up the verses that the answers are based on, and discussing the significance of the answers, you could go a LONG way toward developing your child's understanding of God, himself, Jesus, and the entire way he/she looks at the world....A few points to be made:

1. These are not learned overnight. Catechisms are meant to be used over a LONG period of time, where you slowly progress through the questions.

2. Memorizing answers doesn't teach children to be cold or distant to the Bible. It actually helps them to really KNOW what the Bible says and not just make up their own ideas of what Scripture teaches. Going through such questions and answers can be a great opportunity to develop a love for God in your child's life.

3. Catechisms can really benefit any person of any age. I know from parents that I've talked to who use these that THEY have learned as much or more than their children by being forced to think about these things.

4. You can adapt them as you need to. Some catechisms sound old, for example, so you sometimes need to use different words that your child could understand.

5. It is the responsibility of EVERY Christian parent to disciple their child. Instead of just hoping that our children "get it" over time, why not go through a straight-forward, interactive, consistent catechism to make sure that they understand Scripture's teachings? There is a reason they have been used so frequently :)

6. There are a wide range of catechisms. Before you begin one, you want to make sure that it is biblically sound and in agreement with your own theological convictions.

That's all for now. We can discuss this more in upcoming months, but I'd recommend to any parent to use a good catechism to instruct their children!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Links on the Side

Next week, I'll probably do my first "real" post. But today, I wanted to explain some of the links on the right side of the main page.

BBC's Website--This, of course, is our church's website. You can find pictures, contact info., and the like there.
Planet Wisdom--This is a site for teenagers and anyone who works with teenagers. It has reviews of music, movies, etc. It has a simple devotional material for students that I actually think is a great starting point. It has some great articles as well, which are under Features/Worldview with Sean McDowell.
Shepherd Press--This is a publishing group of counselors who I have learned a LOT from. They really do a great job of providing resources for families that are biblically based and really get to the root of our struggles. Their blog is VERY good. Hopefully, in the upcoming months, when I start to recommend and read books with many of the parents of our church, I will pull from their texts.
The Rebelution--This is a site started by Alex and Brett Harris to combat society's low expectations of teenagers. The Bible has a great deal to say to young people, and these guys are trying to jump start our young people into realizing their potential!
Focus on the Family--Most have heard of this I'm sure. It's James Dobson's organization. I don't know tons about it, though I know at times that Dr. Dobson can be a bit extreme. I think they have some good resources on their site however.
Boundless Webzine--This is an online magazine designed for the issues that young adults are facing. They have great articles on a variety of topics that are biblical and helpful.
A Baptist Catechism--I know that many of you probably are not all that familiar with catechisms. We will hopefully talk about these in upcoming months. For those that might be interested, this is a good one I think.
C.J. Mahaney--This is my favorite preacher's blog. He has an amazing way of making spiritual issues so simple and so clear. He puts the gospel at the center of everything that he teaches and everything he does in his own personal life. I have benefited immensely from his ministry, so I thought I'd link you up with him.
ESV Online--This is just a link to the Bible online. It is the English Standard Version (which is what I typically use in my devotions and teaching).

That's it for now. I don't want to post too much, because I doubt many people will read this for a while. But it'd be great if I were surprised :)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Name and Purpose of this Blog

The purpose of this blog is to help the students, children, and parents of Beavercreek Baptist Church be faithful to Christ on our journey together. I am not sure exactly what shape the posts and conversations on this blog will take, but I do hope that they can be of assistance in the maturing process that God is bringing all of us through.

The title of the blog, "Arise and Eat," comes from 1 Kings 19:7. This chapter records part of the life of the prophet Elijah. He had done some great things in God's name and been His spokesman before huge crowds of Israelites that had turned away and served other gods. Yet Elijah was going through a dark time of fear and despair--even to the point of desiring death. God did not leave him alone there or let him wallow in his self-pity though! He sent an angel to take care of him. The angel brought him food, let him rest, and then said, "ARISE AND EAT, for the journey is too great for you." Elijah needed this food to be able to continue doing God's work, because God had big plans for him (v. 8).

We are also on a journey as a church, as families, and as individuals, and we will go through trying times when we are tempted to despair and self-pity. But God would remind each of us, that in a spiritual sense, we need to feed on His Word (and on Jesus so to speak) as a source of steady nourishment and instruction. Jesus called Himself the "bread of life" (John 6:35), and said that those who come to him will never hunger or thirst.

So let's make sure that we are "eating" daily. And let's be sure to "arise" too--ready to go and serve wherever He sends us!

I hope this blog is a tool God can use over time to bless you, encourage you, and challenge you. My goal is one post a week--so check back soon!

Here to serve,