Milestones in Life

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When I lived in Pennsylvania the bus we took to school would drive by a rock that had been placed right outside an old tavern. I could tell something had been carved on the rock, but I could never read it fast enough as the bus went bouncing by the rock. Once I could drive myself to school, I stopped and read the inscription carved on the rock. The rock was a milestone marker which stated how many miles it was to Philadelphia. It was placed there for travelers, young and old, to gage how much longer until they reached the city.

Milestones are important because they help us know and understand several truths:

  1. We are on the correct path.
  2. We can see where the path is going,
  3. We can see how far away we are from the destination.

In life there are milestones we all go through. Obviously, the first milestone is birth. Most will say becoming a teen and then an adult are the other milestones. Yet we are still left with the questions:

  • When does a teen become and adult?
  • Are there other milestones in a child’s life?
  • Are there spiritual milestones?

We will be exploring these questions October 14th, at Calvary Community Church, from 9-11 am.

For more information: please email me at tim@calvarycommunity.net.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Proverbs 22:6

 

To go or not to go…that is the question

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Mommy can we….? This is a statement that we hear all throughout the day. How do we determine as a family what we are going to do and why we are going to do it? The world around us is continually giving more and more options. Each family has been given the same amount of time each week, but each family does not do the same things with their time. With all the options in this world,how does a family decide what is best?

We need families to be proactive when looking at their weekly schedule instead of just reacting to the outside pressures on their time. In order to do this we as parents need to understand what it important and what is secondary.

At the root of every decision is the question, “Which world am I preparing my child for-this world or the next?’

If you want to explore this topic more and have a chance to become a more focused family. Come to the Proactive Parenting class this Saturday August 19th, 9-11 am at Calvary Community Church, Williams Bay, Wisconsin. If you are planning on coming email me at tim@calvarycommunity.net

Stressed Out? Change your Worldview

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We should all be able to agree with the majority opinion of both secular and biblical historians that we have enough evidence both within and outside of the bible to affirm the historicity of the life, crucifixion, and empty tomb associated with the ministry of Jesus. Additional affirmation of the reality of his life and works includes the fact that many of the apostles who were eyewitnesses of his life and ministry met gruesome deaths proclaiming the reality of the resurrection.

Having this strong evidence supporting the reality of the ministry of Jesus and the claims that he made about himself it is an important to ask the question just how did Jesus recommend we handle the uncertainties, difficulties, and normal stresses that life brings to all of us.

An insightful account from the life of Jesus is found related to us in the book of Mark chapter 4 verses 35-41.

“That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”  Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.  A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

There are many questions one can ask about this event but let’s just focus on four.

  1. Why were the disciples frightened?
  2. Why did the disciples wake Jesus?
  3. Why did Jesus rebuke the disciples?
  4. What was missing from the disciple’s worldview?

 

  1. The disciples apparently realized that the situation was out of their control. They could not stop the waves or the wind and they observed their boat and lives were in jeopardy. They ascertained that unless some force outside their control interceded, they were indeed in trouble.
  2. Knowing they themselves were helpless to change their situation, they almost certainly remembered that Jesus performed many miracles in their midst and hoped that by waking him perhaps he could do something to help the circumstances.
  3. Now this is the most interesting question. You would think that Jesus would have been glad to have been awakened so that he could save the lives of the men by calming the storm before the boat was swamped. But instead he rebuked the disciples and calls them faithless. Where did Jesus want them to have their faith? It was not in him at that moment because they did awaken him and he rebuked them.
  4. What was missing from the disciple’s worldview was faith in the existence of an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God who was with them at that moment in the storm even when Jesus was sleeping. That realization would have made a profound difference and the lack of faith in that reality for the disciples is what I believe Jesus rebuked.

So what storms are brewing in your life?  Are you stressed out? Are your circumstances weighing you down? Does life seem burdensome?  Perhaps the verse “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known unto God” would helpful to follow. The Christian worldview includes an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God who is not far away but right with us and this is not a hope or a wish but a reality and to say otherwise would make us worthy of rebuke just like the disciples. Jesus knew that his disciples, then and now, needed to understand that God is always available to assist us according to his will and purposes no matter what circumstances come our way.

Let us not be like the disciples during our storms in life and deserve to be rebuked but let us have faith in God through every circumstance in life. This is the kind of worldview that can truly transform your life.

by Karl Yorgey

An Intro to 13 Reasons Why By Kelly Lofy

 

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You may have heard of some trending shows that are popular on media outlets like Netflix. Last year the show Stranger Things was very popular among the teens and young adults and this spring, the show 13 Reasons Why has gained huge interest and popularity in a short time.

The show, 13 Reasons Why is based off of a novel by Jay Asher. It tells the story of a high school girl named Hannah Baker who has committed suicide. The story is about 13 tapes that she left behind for her classmates to listen to that explain her reasons why. The main character of the show is a boy named Clay who had a crush on Hannah and the show focuses on him and how he handles the tapes. Hannah leaves behind not only friends, and family, but a box of cassette tapes with instructions for her classmates.

“I hope you’re ready, because I’m about to tell you the story of my life,” she says on the first cassette tape. “More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to these tapes, you’re one of the reasons why.”

Hannah recorded 13 messages before her death that she intended on having her classmates listen to them in order.  Each selected classmate must listen to the tapes all the way through, no exceptions. If someone refused to follow through, Hannah promised that the corresponding taped message would be released through an alternate, much more public forum. “You’re being watched,” she cautioned.

Though Hannah took her life, she had a clear message to convey through her recorded messages on the tapes. Tapes that tells a tragic story, messages that were full of unfair rumors, bullying, unintended oversights, a variety of some really hard things teens should never go through.  The show follows the aftermath of the selected classmates and how they are affected by Hannah’s death.

Warning

13 Reasons Why is geared toward high school students.  It has a very compelling story line and has a TV-MA rating— “may be unsuitable for children under 17.”  This show does not hold back in regards to content. There is drug and alcohol use, sex, physical and verbal abuse, and profanity.  As the show progresses, the content shows more and more graphic scenes and situations, eventually leading to two heinous rape scenes and a extremely graphic suicide of the main character, Hannah Baker.

Besides the graphic content, there is also very mature themes throughout the series including suicide, underage drinking, cutting, rape, premarital sex, drug use, broken families, child abuse, homosexuality, revenge porn, and bullying.

While there are some very mature, graphic, and possible exaggerated ideas seen throughout 13 Reasons Why. I believe they are not to far away from real life situations our teens and their friends experience today.

At a Glance….A Parent’s First Response to 13 Reasons

Be Aware

The first step in response to 13 Reasons Why is for you as parents to know what is out there and what your teen has access to viewing.  Take some time to educate yourself about this show. (See below for further information and articles.)  Check back to this blog for more detailed entries about 13 Reasons Why over the next few weeks.

Be aware of what devices teens are able to watch this show on.  13 Reasons Why is on Netflix, which is available on Ipads, smartphones, video game systems, laptops, and smart TVs.

It is also important to be mindful of your child or teen and that they will eventually come into contact with this show in some way or another. Even if you decide not to allow your teen to watch this show, chances are friends and classmates might have seen this show and they might be talking about this during study hall or in the lunchroom.

Start the Conversation

The next step after being aware/educating yourself is to have conversations. Have a conversation with your spouse about this show, and get on the same page with how you both would like your family to respond to 13 Reasons Why.

Next, start up conversations with your teen in regards to viewing this show.  See what they know, and let them know your expectations as to if you will allow them to view this show or not.  Give clear reasons and an explanation behind your decision. (This is great to do with ANY tv show or movie you are allowing your kid to watch)

With any and most topics too, like sex and other stuff, it is always good to ask open ended questions to figure out what they know before talking about anything- so pertaining to this show- it would be great to ask these questions:
Have you heard about the show/book 13 Reasons Why?
What do you think about it?
What are your thoughts about suicide?
Have yo seen any of these behaviors portrayed in the show at your school?
Who are your friends/support group at school?

How could bringing jesus into this situation change anything?

How could involving a parent in this situation change anything?

If you need more information about talking with your teen about suicide check out these resources:

My Recommendation

I personally do not recommend teens to watch this show.  I definitely would not recommend anyone to watch this show alone.  As an adult this show brought about a lot of emotions and tough issues. I can understand that a teenager would need someone to walk alongside them to help them process each episode.

If your teen is watching this show I highly encourage you to take action!  Make a decision. You may want to watch it with your teen or you may not want them watching at all. If they are watching, they will need someone to talk to to process the mature content and themes.  This can be an opportunity for you to engage with topics with your teen that do not normally come up.  It may also give you some insight as to what teens are dealing with day to day.

My final recommendation: Teens should not watch this show, but if they are…as a parent you need to be there to walk alongside them.

The decision to let your teen or family watch 13 Reasons Why is entirely up to you. I hope to offer some guidance on how to best relate to your teen and how to navigate some difficult topics for anyone, let alone teenagers. May God give you the wisdom you need to point any encourage your family towards Christ!

What happened today at school?….Nothing

 

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I was a teacher for 12 years and I can assure you that things actually happen at school from the time you drop off your teen until you pick them up. One of the struggles of parenting teens is communication. Many parents want to talk with their teens about what happened during their day, but they struggle with asking the right questions. Proverbs 12:25 (ESV) “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”

 

Here are a couple of insights from a teacher to a parent.

  1. School is not home. Home for many teens is a safe place away from school pressures (not for all). Your teen just got home and may not want to relive the whole day right away. Give them time to mentally unwind.
  1. A lot happens during the day at school. Here are things that may happen in a normal day of school: couples begin dating, break up and get back together several times a day, words are spoken in jest and haste but continue to dwell in the heart, and worldviews are continually challenged and displayed by teachers as well as peers. Each period and between each period many words are spoken and emotions are displayed which affect a teen’s life. So, in one day a teen has experienced a roller coaster of emotions, and they need a listening ear to help them process issues with their still developing mindset.
  1. When your teen gets home, ask questions about specific aspects of the day. Who did you sit with at lunch? Did you get any graded assignments back? If your teen disappears into their room, a great way to get them to come to the kitchen and talk with you is by making a simple snack and talking with them while they eat. Take time to clear your schedule at some point in the evening. This is a treasured time in your child’s life. God has given them amazing minds for thinking, and parents to help them in the development of their thinking before releasing them out on their own.   Proverbs 25:11 (ESV) “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”

 

The best way to keep conversations going is to make the conversation simple and to the point. One important thing to remember when talking to a teen is that school drama for them is real life. As a parent, you need to help them walk through the drama in a God-honoring way and not get involved in the drama as a parent.  II Timothy 2:16 (ESV) “But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,”

 

By T. Yorgey

How do I get there from here?

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How do I help my teen make decision?

If you were to spend time at a rock quarry you would see many different sizes of rocks being separated into different piles. The big rocks into one pile, medium rocks into another and smaller rocks into yet another different pile. The way the rocks are separated is with different size screens with different size holes in them. The different size holes let some rocks through and other rocks are caught and sent to different places. With this in minds there are several steps a parent should walk a child through in making any decision.

The first screen is the Word of God. We ask the question: “Does the Bible clearly call what I am about to do a sin?”. Therefore, as parents we need to study the Word and teach our children to study the Word as well. Micah 6:8 declares, “He has told you, O man, what is good;  and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

The second screen is, “What do my parents say about this activity?”. Parents are God-given to help children make decisions and children are to obey their parents as the Bible clearly says in Ephesians 6:1. While children are living in the parent’s house, they are under their parent’s authority. When the teen moves out on their own, the role becomes one of guidance. Going from being under authority to the guidance role slowly happens during the teenage years as the teenager shows true biblical maturity and shows they can handle more adult decisions.

The third screen is, “Does this activity cause my love for God to grow? John Wesley’s mother once was asked what is sin and being a mother of 19 children she clearly said:

 

  1. Whatever weakens your reasoning
  2. Impairs the tenderness of your conscience
  3. Obscures your sense of God
  4. Takes way your relish for spiritual things.

 

Each one of these points helps parents and teens to gain a clearer idea in many situations of the correct path according to biblical truth. At the end of the day we must remember Proverbs 3:5-8, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

by Tim Yorgey

 

 

Project Parenting

 

 

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The Way a Teen Sees Themselves Part 1

Paul Tripp uses Psalms 36:1-4 to help parents understand the struggles of a teenager. Psalms 36:1-4: “Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good. He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil.”

The first struggle of a teenager is there is no fear of God before their eyes. Teens allow the fear of man to control them through peer pressure or fear of peer rejection. This struggle can also be seen in identity issues, Am I ugly? Am I a “geek”? Do people find me attractive? Will I ever be coordinated? This is why Solomon wrote in Proverbs 1:7 that, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” As our teens understand the fear of the Lord they will reflect and see their need for Christ as their Savior.

The second struggle of a teenager is they flatter themselves too much. Teens struggle with an accurate view of themselves. They think they are more mature than they really are. They think they can handle adult situations even though they are teens. They many times think they are spiritually wiser or stronger than they are. Many teens believe they have out-grown their need of parents. Teens view themselves through the mirror of personal evaluation and cultural norms, just as Jeremiah called the people of Israel to stop and examine themselves in Lamentations 3:40: “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!”

Anyone who has spent a couple of hours with a teenager you will know that many of these struggles are real. Parents need to understand that teens struggle with a proper view of the world and themselves—this is a part of the sin nature. The best thing a teen can do is to spend time in the Word of God and saturate themselves in truth in order to prepare their hearts for every situation that may arise along life’s road. God’s Word will help them understand first who God is and then second who they are in Christ. This is a task that will take a lifetime. My prayer is that we teach teens the truth of Ephesians 5:16: “making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

by Tim Yorgey

Project Parenting

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In Paul Tripp’s book, Age of Opportunity, A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens, he talks about the importance of project parenting. Project Parenting-being focused, being purposeful, being goal-oriented in our day-by-day encounters with our teenagers and emphasizing certain themes. As parents, we live in a world that demands are attention every minute and our teens are continually on the run with school and church. If we are not intentional with our parenting, then we will parent out of reaction instead of pro-action.

The first step in project parenting is sitting down with your spouse and answering these questions for each of your children.

  1. Where is my child weak/strong?
  2. Where is my child susceptible to temptation?
  3. What are my child’s regular struggles?
  4. What are the areas of rebellion and resistance?

Remember not to try and handle everything you wrote down at once. The shotgun approach to parenting never works well. Handle things with patience and care. You are parenting, not driving cattle. Paul Tripp goes one to remind parents of 4 things to do after examining your children.

  1. Examine the lives of your child and see if your assessments are correct.
  2. Pray and ask God for wisdom.
  3. Consider what to focus on first.
  4. Remember that God is sovereign and He will give opportunities for you to deal with the issues.

Project Parenting finds its basis in Deuteronomy 6:4-9: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

We are to teach the things of God diligently to our children. The word teach means-to cause to know. Teaching does not happen unless there is a plan and a focus on what needs to be done. May we teach our children to Know Christ and make Him known.

by Tim Yorgey

 

Ruts: The Way of a Woman…It’s a Good Thing: Part II

 

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You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

 

Last week we looked at four points in regards to raising up our young ladies to be women of character. Our prayer should be, as we face the world’s ideas of beauty, desire and fame is that God will use us as vessels of honor for His glory alone.

Our daughters need to be loved, cherished and protected—not desired, worshiped, and ignorant of what this world claims as glorious and good.

Four more traits of truth that can be prayed over our daughters ultimately will point toward the Giver of all good gifts.

A GODLY WOMAN:

  1. Serves Cheerfully: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2. True beauty comes not only from within but that very beauty from within has a source as well. Christ is the very Source of True Beauty and through a changed, contrite, humbled heart God can work. Then, and only then, can we serve cheerfully as unto the LORD. Serving with nothing expected in return is what Christ showed us in His life and death and it was we are called to do. It is a hard task, but by the power of the Holy Spirit—serving others cheerfully can be accomplished. It is also important to recognize that Christ is the Rewarder and the Reward of living a life of service here on earth. To teach toward the eternal and not the temporal should be at the forefront of our hearts according to our Father God, who is the Giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Psalm 116:16, Matthew 20:28, Luke 22:26-27, Hebrews 13:1-3, 16, Psalm 100:1-5.
  2. Stands Strong: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the time to come.” Proverbs 31:25. A woman has the privilege to be diligent in any duty God places in her path. Now there is a difference in being busy and being a hard worker. Wisdom and discernment must be prayerfully asked for according to what tasks are most important and how many tasks she should wisely undertake. Knowing that all strength comes from God will help with completing a task well and as doing them as unto the LORD instead of an “I can do this all by myself” attitude. Another aspect to standing strong is remaining firm in the faith according to the Truth. It is important to teach the truth of Scripture and that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In this day of a lack of logic and absolute Truth, it is crucial to pray over and instill the Absolute Truth of God’s Word into the tender hearts of our girls. Our prayer should be that they would be strong women of honor and beauty–changed by the very God who breathed air into their lungs and breathes life into their very hearts. I Corinthians 15:13, Colossians 1:23, Ephesians 6:11, I Peter 5:9, Hebrews 3:14, 4:14, Joshua 1:9, Psalm 27:14, Deuteronomy 31:6.
  3. Seeks Christ: “Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.” Psalm 119:2. May we teach our daughters that nothing satisfies other than Christ Himself (John 11:25-26)! Do we show them we thirst?—He is the Living Water! Do we show them we hunger?—He is the Bread of Life! Through Him we are creatures of the Creator—we may become daughters of the Divine and sheep of the True Shepherd. This world will offer glitter and gold that will pass away with created time, but His glorious radiance will never fade and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). May they see that He is not only the Rewarder but the Reward of those who trust in Him and diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Matthew 6:33, Isaiah 55:6, Matthew 7:7-8, Psalm 63:1, I Chronicles 16:11, Psalm 34:10, Amos 5:4.
  1. Sees God: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” Romans 11:33. The engine which propels all hearts, thoughts, motives and desires—the truth that drives us to our knees and to Look up and Live is God the Father Himself! His attributes and His ways are vast and beyond measure. He is boundless, measureless, limitless, uncreated, all-knowing, and all-powerful. When we begin to see Him in His true majesty and holiness and see that He is Sovereign over all, then and only then will we know how much we need Christ in order to stand before the Perfect Sovereign of all. Our daughters must see God in His fullness, through His written Word in order to see who they truly are—a sinner in need of a Savior from the wrath of God. He is the Father of Lights of whom there is no variation or shifting. He is Father God, who gives every good and perfect gift in accordance to His will and good pleasure—for it is all for His fame and glory (James 1:17). He is the very definition of beauty and goodness and from Him all good and beauty flows. May we teach our daughters to see God and study His awesome attributes, that we may see the Otherness of God the Father. Isaiah 6:3, 29:19, Jeremiah 10:12, 23:23-24, Psalm 27:5, 99:2-3, 115:3, 139, Exodus 34:6-7, 3:5-6, Malachi 3:6, Acts 17:27-28, Revelation 4:8.                                                                                                                                                                                                  -by A. Yorgey