I would like to share with you an honest and helpful conversation I had with two of COTES life development ministers Brandon and Kara Stephens. In this podcast they discuss some of the big issues when it comes to parenting. Learn what Biblical discipline looks like. See and hear some of the common struggles that some of our COTES leaders face in the home. Be inspired to lead your children to love and follow Jesus.
For the link to the podcast on iTunes, click here.
You can stream the podcast in this post here Parenting Interview
This week we have been reminded once again that our world is not a safe one, and that there is a very real presence of evil in our midst. As the horrific images of the Boston tragedy came across all our tv, computer, and phone screens the reality of life on Earth crept in on millions of hearts and minds. I’m not going to attempt to answer all the questions in a quick blog post, because I simply don’t have all of the answers. I do want to offer a few thoughts that I hope will be both truthful and comforting.
First, we need Jesus. Events like the Boston tragedy are harsh reminders of the fallen nature and depravity of humanity. From the moment sin entered the picture in the Biblical book of Genesis, our world and our natures have been twisted and corrupted. We are born with a nature that is bent away from our loving God and towards evil and sin. Sometimes this nature can result in massive violence and destructive behavior as we have recently witnessed. The truth is, we need a savior. Apart from the saving and redeeming work of Christ, we are enemies of God and will act on our fallen nature.
Secondly, we should all remember that life is so very fragile. The victims at the Boston Marathon got up that morning and headed out to have a beautiful and memorable experience. As they laced up their running shoes and walked to the starting point, they had no idea that their lives would change forever in a matter of a few short hours. The fact is that we just don’t know what’s going to happen in our lives from one day to the next. We must live in a manner that reflects our knowledge of the fragility and the gift of life. Don’t take a minute for granted. Live fully, because there’s no guarantee that you’ll be living at all tomorrow.
Lastly, we can take shelter in the truth that although we have very little control over the events in our lives, we serve a God who is in complete control. He promises that He works ALL things together for His Glory and the good of those who follow Him. No matter what is going on in our crazy and fallen world, we have hope in our God. He has a plan. He is in control. He is not caught by surprise. It is in the darkness of events like those in Boston that the blinding light of the Gospel of Jesus shines so very bright. Yes this world is fallen and evil, but there is hope and redemption at the foot of the cross of Jesus. We need Jesus.
I am currently leading our church, COTES, through a 4 week teaching journey called The Family Series. I’ve been excited about this because I’m extremely passionate about families. We live in a time where it seems that most of our culture and lifestyle is aimed at tearing families apart rather than building them up. I firmly believe from a faith perspective that there is nothing our enemy, Satan, would rather do than destroy our families. Why? Well, because families are a really big deal to God.
The concept of family comes from God Himself. You can easily see that the thread of the family runs throughout the entire scope of scripture from beginning to end. In Genesis, we see God declaring that it was not good for Adam to be alone. He then creates Eve, and subsequently commands them to be “fruitful and multiply”. God started the family! Of course, this is born out of the very nature of God. Our great God has always existed in a family/community environment. It’s called the Trinity! God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have always lived in the most perfect and loving community that has ever been. We, being created in His image, are not designed to live life alone. We are made to live in families.
Human’s were created for a family. We grow, produce, and develop best in a family. The environment we’re in makes all the difference. A jet ski works best in the environment it was created for, which is water. Try to operate on a gravel road, and you won’t get far. You and I were created to operate best in the environment of family. This is why we all deeply long for safe, solid, loving community to live within.
Not only are our personal families important, but our extended spiritual family is important as well. This is the Church. Churches are organizations and businesses. There’s no getting around the fact that those two aspects are a part of every church. But they are NOT the primary function and purpose of the church. Churches are first and foremost families. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. That means we argue sometimes, get on each other’s nerves, and disagree. But it also means that we love one another fiercely, protect one another intentionally, and correct one another carefully. And, we serve one another while we serve the Kingdom and fulfill the vision for the church together. It is the family of God. Beautiful, powerful, and imperfect. Just like a good family should be. So, love and develop your personal family. Place your faith in the center of it. Also, love and commit to your church family. You were created for it!!