The Gospel and Parenting - Chapter 4 "How Should the Church Engage"

MAIN IDEA: What can parents really expect from church when it comes to helping them raise godly children?

Parents have no shortage of needs and concerns that they would like for the local church to address in some way.

Steve and Candice Watters the authors of this chapter in the Gospel and Parenting spent 13 years at Focus on the Family. Their purpose in writing this chapter is to encourage parents to avail themselves to the local church. In their opinion the local church is best positioned to help them. The word avail is a King James word that means, "to turn to your benefit."

Two primary commitments that the local church should embrace to best help parents flourish.

  1. A commitment to help fathers and mothers live out what is known as the vocation of parenting through the Word of God, prayer, and fellowship.

    1. The Word of God – Parents have a steady supply of advice on how to parent from family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, social media, and culture. However, parents need a revelation...a revelation of creation, the Fall, and the redemption of Jesus Christ. Parents need the gospel to transform them from the inside out, thus transforming their parenting. Parents can grow in their vocation of parenting through a commitment to the Word of God and through a commitment to a personal Bible Study.

    2. Fellowship – Parents have to understand that they cannot make it on their own. Many parents are involved at some level with their child's sport or extracurricular activity, but they also need to be actively involved in church. Why? Because life is too difficult to go at it alone. Parents need people who will stand by them speaking the Word of God into them when their world is caving in. Parents need the fellowship of brothers and sisters in Christ who aren't wasting time trying to keep up the appearances of a model family, but who are instead walking in grace-repenting of sin and putting on new life in Christ. Parents, need more than superficial interactions that come at the ball park or at the dance studio, they need real relationships!

    3. Prayer – Prayer is vital for men and women to survive and thrive in the vocation of parenting. A great way for parents to serve their kids is to pray for them.

  2. A commitment of pastors and leaders to lead faithfully in their own homes as they serve pastorally in the church as loving, committed parents. Personally speaking here, there are times that I disappoint myself and most importantly my God. However, when that happens I have to be quick to repent, seek forgiveness, and move forward. I am not perfect and I do not pretend to be, but one thing I am is a work in process.


In closing I want to speak about GFBC specifically. GFBC wants to help parents to understand their vocation of parenting. Parenting is a calling to love and serve your children. At GFBC we want to help parents parent better by offering solid Biblical Teaching and Preaching, fellowship, and prayer.

The best parenting help that GFBC offers to parents is the preaching of Pastor Kevin on Wednesday Nights and Sunday Mornings. Pastor Kevin preaches the whole counsel of God's Word in a way that every person can walk out with an application for their life. Another great parenting help that GFBC offers parents is our lifegroups. In our lifegroups we go deeper into God's Word together by focusing topically in our studies. The Word of God, fellowship, and prayer shape men and women in their vocation of parenting.

Finally, parenting is one of the hardest yet most rewarding thing that I get to do. Seeing parenting as a vocation changes how you parent. Just this morning as I was praying for one of our girls on an issue she had been having the Lord encouraged her and showed her what to do. In conclusion, my encouragement to you is to pray, seek the face of God constantly, stay in the Word of God, and to be consistent in attending church and a lifegroup.

The Gospel and Parenting - Chapter 3 "How Should the Christian Live?"

MAIN IDEA: As Christians living in the world today, we must have a nurturing* home.

*Nurturing - the process of caring for and encouraging the growth or development of someone or something

  • Parenting is not just hard work, but it is heart work.

  • Parenting involves pouring out our life as we pour ourselves into our children.

  • Being a parent is one of the most important callings of God.

Three Elements of parenting that must be in woven into the nurturing home.

  1. Communication that enables us to understand and engage our children. One thing that must not be forgotten in communicating with our children, is the ability to understand them.

    1. Proverbs 18:2 "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion." This Proverb reminds us to take pleasure in understanding the person whom we are talking to.

    2. Proverbs 18:13 "If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame." This Proverb reminds us to slow down and listen before we give an answer.

    3. Proverbs 20:5 "The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out." This Proverbs reminds us to be patient when communicating with our children.

      1. Our children need a parent that will ask thoughtful questions that cannot be answered with simple "Yes" or "No" answers.

      2. Our children need parents who have trained themselves to listen to not only what is said but not said.

      3. Our children need parents that are not afraid to enter their world.

  2. Gospel-centered discipline and motivation.

    1. The Gospel must be at the center of all parenting. Whenever we are trying to secure proper behavior, the Gospel is not at the center of our parenting...behaviorism is. Behaviorism and the Gospel do not mix. Behaviorism seeks to produce change by appealing to the child's self-interest. On the other hand, the Gospel produces change through conviction of sin and faith in the power of Christ to forgive, renew, and empower your child to love God and others.

    2. Godly nurturing and shepherding must target the heart!

    3. Keeping the Gospel at the center of your parenting, does wonderful things for correction and discipline.

    4. The Gospel motivates obedience.

  3. Displaying God's glory for our children in the daily challenges of life.

    1. All people are designed to worship even children. We do not cease to worship, but sometimes what we worship is not what we should worship.

    2. The following list is some "idols" that you or your children may worship. An important question to ask yourself and your children is, "What things are in my own life that are substitutes for God?"

      1. Pride and performance - Some thrive on performing

      2. Power and influence - Lust to control, arrange, or organize.

      3. Pleasure and sensuality - Thrill seeking

      4. Possessions - Craving stuff

In Closing...

This chapter speaks to the enormous task that we have as parents. The only way that I know how to parent in this every changing world is to rely on the Word of God to change me, direct me, guide me, and teach me. I pray that as you read this post you will feel the weight of the challenges of parenting. Furthermore, I pray that that weight will force you to your knees to pray and ask God for wisdom. Thanks for reading.

The Gospel and Parenting - Chapter 2 "What Does the Gospel Say?"

MAIN IDEA: What might look different in my day-by day practices of parenting if the gospel reshaped my perspectives and priorities?

Four ways that the gospel can reshape our parenting

  1. The Gospel reshapes parenting by revealing a Child's true identity.

    1. Children are wonderful gifts from God but they are more than that. Our child or children are first and foremost our potential or actual brothers and sisters in Christ.

  2. The Gospel reshapes parenting by calling parents to become disciple-makers.

    1. The process of disciple-making looks different for every family. The approach to disciple-making is negotiable; but the practice is not.

    2. Christian parents are their child sole instructor in Scripture.

    3. It is the duty of the Christian parent to prioritize and implement consistent practices of discipleship with their own children.

  3. The Gospel reshapes parenting by providing us with a purpose larger than this life.

    “Morality, happiness and success aren't bad of course-but they are miserable goals for parenting. If these goals are our definition of successful parenting, the gospel is not shaping our day-by-day parental practices. Apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ, focusing on good morals tends to result either in self-righteousness or rebellion in our children. What makes children happy in the short term may not direct then toward Jesus Christ in the long term, and financial success is no guarantee of lasting joy or peace. None of these values last pass this life. And yet, these are the dominant values in our culture when it comes to parenting." page 33

    1. The gospel calls us to seek a purpose for our children that is so much larger than this life.

    2. The gospel call us to see our children as potential bearers of the gospel to generations yet unborn.

    3. When it comes to our children, we should ask ourselves some tough questions...

      1. What would it profit your child if they gain an academic scholarship and yet never experience consistent prayer and devotional times with their parents?

      2. What would it profit your child to succeed in a sport and yet never know what it mean to truly follow Christ, by living in a home that is not afraid to release any dream that makes them to busy to disciple one another.

      3. What would it profit your child to be accepted in the finest college but never leverage their lives for the gospel?

      4. Think about these two statement...(caution)

        1. I would rather have my child on the other side of the world seeking God's glory than in a house next door to me seeking their own glory."

        2. "I would rather have my child in a grave in God's will than in a mansion resisting God's will."

    4. The Gospel reshapes parenting by freeing us from the belief that our value depends on our parenting.

Romans 8:15-17 and Galatians 3:26 tells me that because of the grace that comes through the gospel, God’s disposition toward me does not depend on how I perform as a parent. I did nothing to gain God’s favor and there is nothing that I can do to keep God’s favor. Through faith I have been adopted in Christ.

The Gospel and Parenting - Chapter 1 "What Are We For?"

Welcome to the Young Families Blog. Recently, I have been reading a great parenting book The Gospel and Parenting from the series The Gospel for Life.  This book is a short book, but very powerful.  Over the next five posts, I will discuss various concepts from the book.  Each post will cover a chapter of the book. Chapter 1 "What Are We For?" notes are below.

MAIN IDEA - Christian parenting has to be rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ because of the increasing secularization of culture. In order for this to happen the following has to happen:

  1. Christian parents have to affirm the primacy of Scripture. Christian parents cannot parent according to their parents parenting or to what culture says is okay. The Bible has a lot to say about parenting. The Christian parent's main job is to understand the Bible well enough to not only apply it to their lives, but also to the lives of others, particularly their children.
  2. Christian parents have to affirm to the priority of their marriage in the home. The Christian parent's home cannot become child-centered. The husband and wife have to prioritize their marriage. Here are a few examples.
    1. Carve out time daily to talk and debrief from the day.
    2. Go on a date at least once a month.
    3. Try to do a get away for a night or two alone.
  3. Christian parents have to uphold their responsibility to lead. The responsibility to lead comes from a proper understanding of the Word of God.
  4. Christian parents have to understand the importance of the heart. Proverbs 4:23 "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." Do not be so concerned with external behavior that you ignore the heart. God is more concerned with the heart of a child. Part of reaching the heart of a child is helping them understand their own motives. Reaching the heart of the child is described as one of the most difficult parts of parenting.
  5. Christian parents have to understand the necessity of discipline.
    1. Christian parents have to understand that we discipline because we are in authority.
    2. Christian parents have to understand that we discipline because the Bible says that children are to obey. (Ephesians 6:1-3, Colossians 3:20, Proverbs 6:20)
      • “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, so that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land.” (Ephesians 6:1–3, CSB)
      • “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” (Colossians 3:20, CSB)
      • “My son, keep your father’s command, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching.” (Proverbs 6:20, CSB)
    3. Christian parents have to understand that we discipline because children do not obey on their own. Children inherited the sin nature of Adam and are sinners by nature and by choice.
    4. Christian parents have to understand that we discipline to give our child their own identity. Hebrews 12:7-8
      • “Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:7–8, CSB)
    5. Christian parents have to understand that we discipline because it yields right behavior. Hebrews 12:11
      • “No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11, CSB
    6. Christian parents have to understand that all discipline must be done with great humility. Gentleness has to be at the heart of every act of discipline.
  6. Christian parents have to understand the reality of the battle. Satan hates marriage and he hates family. Therefore, Christian parents have to put on the full armor God...
  • “Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.” (Ephesians 6:10–12, CSB)