Parenting in the 21st Century - Part 4

October 30, 2020 by Andy Stanley

If your main goal is your kid's obedience, you're settling for something less than and you're setting yourself up to have anger stirred up regularly. Instead of obedience being the objective, there's a long-term target that will go a long way toward winning as a parent.

Check out this video - A Work and a Hard Place:  

7 Proverbs to Use in Raising Your Children

October 27, 2020 by Marisa Boonstra

We're starting a series on Proverbs in November, so we thought we'd share some Proverbs that will help in raising your kids.

I’m always surprised when I hear someone say they don’t think the Bible has much to say about parenting. Since God originally created the family unit, it should follow that He would want to instruct mothers and fathers how to raise their own families for generations to come.

God’s model for passing on the faith and building His Kingdom is primarily through the family. As we raise our children to know and love the Lord, we are increasing the chances of potential Christ followers who will live out the Gospel and continue raising a godly seed.

The truth is, God’s Word is packed full of verses about the teaching, training and discipline of children! Throughout Scripture we see, over and over, His directives to raise kids who are wise, obedient, and honorable.

In fact, the Book of Proverbs alone contains several scriptures that give us the knowledge we need to parent well and be good stewards of these blessings God has entrusted to us. Here are seven of them to start putting into practice today:


Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

This is the hallmark quote of Christian parenting. But many of us don’t really know what it means, or how to apply it. What are we training children in and for anyway?

Kids are naturally bent on going their own way, so they need us to train them to walk in the path of righteousness. Their hearts need to be trained to obey. They need character training in the areas of humility, attentiveness, responsibility, selflessness, etc. They need training in the spiritual disciplines of prayer, service, and Bible study. Most of all, they need to be trained to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Once they’ve been properly trained, their inclination will be to act, think and respond in a godly way when they’re older, rather than according to the world. That training you invested in during their younger years will set them on a firm foundation they won’t be likely to stray from.


Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.

Let me start off by saying that I understand this verse has been used to justify harshness and even abuse. God would never advocate or endorse the beating of children. “The rod” in this context is primarily an instrument of correction and guidance. However, it was better to strike a lamb’s weak legs than to let it veer off the path into danger (Proverbs 23:13).

So while the rod wasn’t necessarily used to inflict pain, it was used firmly and consistently. Too many of us approach discipline flippantly and treat obedience from our children as optional. Ignoring direct disobedience can make a child vulnerable to an ongoing spirit of rebellion. If we love our kids, we will save them from the ruin of an undisciplined life.


Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives.

When they’re young, children are easily molded. They soak up lots and lots of teaching, usually without any filtering. Their hearts are still soft. But once they’re old, that ability to be formed diminishes drastically. Their “clay” has hardened, and doesn’t yield to being fashioned nearly as much.

Their childhood is a training ground for all sorts of situations they’ll face when they’re older. If they learn first time obedience as a child, it will save them from more harmful consequences as a teenager. If they learn responsibility with small things now, it will set them up for success when they are given bigger tasks later. So use this opportunity while they’re maturing to impress Scripture, truth, and your values onto them.


My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.

This verse is aimed more at children themselves, but it assumes that parents are commanding and instructing them in the first place. Verses 22 and 23 go on to say that these commands and instructions will lead and protect a person throughout his or her life.

Corrective discipline of parents is described as “the way to life”, and as a lamp that lights a path. Put simply, your guiding correction will keep your kids from all kinds of harm.


Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.

Disciplining kids makes them wise. And wise children do not bring shame to their parents. A few chapters earlier in Proverbs 23, it says “My child, if your heart is wise, my own heart will rejoice! Everything in me will celebrate when you speak what is right.” (Verses 15-16) 

Following God’s design for discipline and parenting will bring harmony, honor, obedience, respect, and orderliness into your home. Raising up children in the fear and admonition of the Lord eventually reaps a harvest of righteous living for our kids and peace for us!


The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.

Children imitate what they see. If they see you putting God first, taking your concerns to Him, and reading your Bible regularly, they will, in turn, be more likely to model that behavior.

When it is evident that His Word is alive and relevant to us, then we have something with which to minister to our kids. You are basically saying to your children, “Come, follow me as I follow Christ.”


Those who fear the Lord are secure; he will be a refuge for their children.

You embody the security and limits that ultimately come from submitting to a loving heavenly Father. If we have a healthy respect for God and the authority He has given us as parents, our kids will enjoy a strong sense of security and purpose in daily life.

Your own obedience and faithfulness to His Word can bring abundant blessings to your children! When you choose to walk in righteousness, it provides a peaceful, joyful home for your family, as well as spiritual life.

Let us know your thoughts by clicking here.

Praying for Your Child's Use of Technology

October 23, 2020 by Jodie Berndt

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. — Philippians 4:8


At first glance, our family room looks idyllic. Hundreds of books — titles I think of as classics — line the bookshelves. Stacks of puzzles and board games are within easy reach. And thanks to my husband’s affinity for splitting firewood as soon as the mercury dips below 65, there’s usually a crackling fire in the hearth. Throw in the sound-asleep presence of our English Lab, Minnie, and you might be tempted to put the whole scene on Instagram.


Here’s the thing though. Nobody ever plays the board games. The books mostly sit there and collect dust. And while the fireplace does tend to draw people together, they come with their phones. And their iPads. And their AppleTV remotes.


Right now, as I type these words on my laptop, no less than six other screens are within sight — all being actively used to send emails, buy a plane ticket, text friends to make plans, scroll through movie options, and share photos from a recent trip.


And there are only four people in the room.


The four of us are no different from any four people who lived two thousand (or even two hundred) years ago — we are created for connection to each other and to God, just like they were — but things have changed. “We are living a life,” writes Andy Crouch, “that even our grandparents never imagined and could not fully understand: a world in which the technological dream of easy everywhere has come true — is coming true — before our eyes.”1


Which is a really good thing. Except when it’s not.


Kyle and his wife, Ginny, are raising four boys, ages three to fifteen. “Everything about technology feels different and new,” he told me. “As parents, we want to get this one right. We want to make sure our kids never see the thing we don’t want them to see — even though we know, of course, that that’s an impossible goal.


“The word I might use to describe how parents feel,” he said, “is probably panic. Or maybe terror.”


Kyle was smiling as we talked — and you’ll hear more about how his family is navigating the technology maze in a minute — but his comments confirmed something I already knew to be true, namely, that technology is the number one reason today’s parents believe that raising kids is more complicated than it was in the past.2


I get that. Twenty years ago, when I wrote the first edition of this book, the biggest technology-related question Robbie and I faced was whether to let our kids watch PG movies — on VHS tapes. I’ll never forget the call I got from twelve-year-old Annesley when she wanted to watch Legally Blonde at a friend’s house. It was rated PG-13.


“Her mom thinks I’m crazy,” Annesley whispered into the phone, “but I told her I had to call you and ask.”


I granted permission (please don’t judge me!), but that decades-ago phone call reflects the same pressure today’s parents face. We don’t have universal standards for what’s okay and what isn’t, and we can’t count on other parents to affirm our decisions or back us up when we make a tough call. It’s a weird sort of peer pressure — parental peer pressure, author Susan Yates calls it — and it’s part of what can make us feel out of control or overwhelmed by the flood of new devices and apps that get rolled out every day.




As you pray about your kids’ use of technology, look to the Lord, not to other parents, to help you set standards and boundaries.


No Vile Thing


I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. My dad wrote that line (it’s from Psalm 101:3) on an index card and taped it to our television when I was a teen. These days, we might run out of tape before we could attach those words to every platform or device on which our kids might see something bad.


The average child, aged eight to eighteen, spends more than seven hours a day on a screen.3 Pornography accounts for an astonishing 30 percent of all internet traffic.4Kids are first exposed to porn, on average, between ages eight and eleven.5 And only 43 percent of today’s teens think that porn is bad for society, compared with 55 percent of adults. (In a teenager’s eyes, it’s much worse if you don’t recycle.)6


I could go on, but you get the idea. Exposure to pornography, whether accidental or intentional, is not an iffor our kids; it’s a when. And that exposure represents the number one reason that technology — which can be such a big help in our lives — can make parents worry.


Sara’s twelve-year-old daughter, Allison, likes to create collages on the computer, using clip-art images and videos to make her masterpieces. At home, the computers have content filters and other parental controls, but the devices at her father’s office are not as protected. And one afternoon, when Allison was using an office computer to work on a project, some obscene pictures popped up on her screen. Immediately, her father got a text alert from his internet provider: A porn video has been accessed from this location.


A quick review of all the office computers revealed the trouble spot. But when asked what she’d seen, Allison denied all involvement. And the more her parents pressed for details, the more emotional and manipulative she became.


“That was not like her at all,” Sara said. “My radar was on high alert — and I realized that our greater concern was not what she’d seen or the exposure she’d had, but the choice she was making to lie.”


Thinking about what she calls her own “progressive sanctification” — one where the Lord continues to tenderly transform her heart — Sara resolved not to react in knee-jerk fashion, but to slow down and ask God for his counsel. “I wanted the Lord to teach me how to relate to my daughter, knowing that the way I treat her now will affect our relationship and her life in twenty years.”


She started with prayer.


“I know the freedom that comes with confession,” she said. “I prayed that God would turn Allison’s darkness into light and that she would know the joy of walking in that light and enjoying sweet fellowship with other people and with Jesus.”7


Eager to have her own burden lifted, Sara reached out to an older friend — someone she knew she could count on not to gossip or pry, but to pray.


The woman responded with reassurance. “When God alerts us to something that is not right in our children’s lives,” she said, “it’s not because He wants us to be worried or scared; it’s because He wants us to pray. Our prayers open the door to God’s redemption, protection, and blessing in our kids’ lives.”



God doesn’t want us to be worried or scared; He reveals things so that we can pray.


Noting that Allison likely felt embarrassed by what she had seen (and maybe scared to admit it), Sara’s friend pointed her toward Psalm 25 as a prayer prompt:


Let Allison put her hope in you, Lord, and let her never be put to shame. (Psalm 25:3)


Relieve the troubles of Allison’s heart; free her from her anguish. Take away all her sins. (Psalm 25:17-18)


Guard Allison’s life, rescue her, be her refuge. May integrity and uprightness protect her. (Psalm 25:20-21)


Sara and her husband continued to pray verses like these, trusting in the Genesis 50:20 promise that God could take something so clearly intended for evil and use it to bring about something good in Allison’s life.


It wasn’t long before He did. The following Sunday, after hearing their pastor talk about the freedom that comes with confession and the triumph of grace over shame, Allison pulled Sara aside.


“I need to talk to you, Mom.”


Allison broke down and revealed all that had happened, including her attempts to cover up what she’d seen by lying about it. As she confessed, Sara saw her daughter’s countenance change. It was as if a cloud had lifted. Allison’s shadowy face became joyful and radiant.


The transformation made sense to Sara. “When we keep things hidden,” she said, “it always leads to deeper and darker things. It’s a mercy, not a burden, to be found out.”

Let us know your thoughts, or comments, by clicking here.


Parenting in the 21st Century - Part 2

October 16, 2020 - Andy Stanley

Moms and dads dream of a future where their kids become adults and still want to come home regularly to visit. As parents, there’s something we can do to lay the foundation for that dream to become a reality.

Click here to watch the video:

Let us know your comments by clicking here.

Parenting - Real vs Ideal

October 13, 2020 by Andy Stanley

Ideal can seem out of reach, and it sometimes feels easier to put it out of sight. Part of being a parent is to point our children toward the ideal, while at the same time navigating what is real.

Click here to watch a message from Andy Stanley on parenting:

If you're a single parent and you watch this, don't misunderstand what he says. He says the ideal situation is for parents to be married but unfortunately for many of us, me included, we end up having to raise our kids as single parents. Let me encourage you that it can be done, with a good outcome, and remember the importance of being connected to the church as none of us are meant to do this on our own.

Let us know your thoughts or any prayer requests you may have by clicking here.

Happy Thanksgiving Message from Lisa

October 9, 2020

Parents here's a great idea to do with your kids. Get a pumpkin and a black sharpie and every day have your family write something they're thankful for. By Halloween your pumpkin should be full.


How to Break Social Media Habits - Detailed in "The Social Dilemma"

October 5, 2020

The Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma” looks into the ways social media companies use collected data to keep users engaged for longer periods of time. Catherine Price, author of “How to Break Up With Your Phone,” gives Hoda and Jenna tips for creating a smarter relationship with technology.

Click here to watch a video to learn more.

Red Letter Challenge - Week 3 - Forgiveness

October 1, 2020

Please take a moment to watch Pastor Lisa as she encourages us in the Red Letter Challenge and shares about some updates.

We would love to have your testimonies of how God is working, too!

Send your testimony, questions or comments to

Hope you have a great weekend!