OCTOBER 18, 2023

Dear Friends,

This week, I’m passing along something I read online. It’s a Facebook post written by Greg Stier, the founder of Dare2Share, an evangelistic outreach aimed primarily at teens and young adults.

Greg posted about parenting, and I thought “I can relate.” I think his counsel is wise. Here’s what he wrote:

Early on in our marriage my wife and I took one of those raising children courses that promised certain outcomes if certain principles were consistently followed.

We did our best to follow those principles and, honestly, much of what we learned was helpful.

But some of it was not.

Raising children is not a formula, it’s a fight.

It’s a fight for wisdom on when to discipline, how to discipline and when to show mercy.

It’s a fight for the balance between leading them and loving them.

It’s a fight to keep your marriage strong at times of great stress (crying babies, bad grades, teen hormones, bad choices, challenging finances, etc.)

It’s a fight against Satan and his demonic hordes for the souls of your children and for the heart of your marriage.

Just 10 days ago our son got married to a wonderful and godly young lady, Kat Stier. She is the woman we had been praying that God would bring into his life from the time he was born. We are unspeakably grateful for her.

Jeremy loves her and she loves him.

Watching them get married (I officiated) was one of the greatest days of our lives.

Jeremy has become the spiritual leader we relentlessly prayed for him to be. His spiritual growth continues to skyrocket. We are so proud of him.

Our 19-year-old daughter Kailey loves Jesus with all her heart. She is going to Word of Life Bible Institute where she serves on the worship team and sets the pace for evangelism with her friends. I know of no other kid who has a more sensitive heart to the things of God than her.

By God’s grace, both of our kids are serving the Lord.

When people ask, “How did you do it?” I don’t tell them about a course on parenting that we took.

I jokingly answer, “Prayer and duct tape.”

My serious answer is this: Debbie and I realized years ago that it is NOT our job to MAKE our kids serve the Lord.

You can’t make your kids serve the Lord. All you can do is create the environment, do your best to set the pace and pray.

It’s not our job to force our kids to be godly. Honestly that is impossible.

You can force outward conformity for a while but you can’t stop inward rebellion forever.

Instead, it is our job to build a light house that is so tall and so bright that, even if they stray out of the harbor, when the storms of life hit, they know how to navigate back to the safe harbor of Jesus.

Our son strayed from the harbor for a while in high school (drugs, alcohol, vaping, etc).

But, after less than a school year of secret sin, he finally came to us and confessed. He said he couldn’t stand the conviction from the Holy Spirit anymore.

Thank the Lord. (He gave me permission to share his story btw. )

That confession began a change in his spiritual trajectory.

But whether that change of course happened in high school or college or years later, the point is that it happened.

Jeremy knew where the light house was and sailed back to the harbor of Jesus.

My advice to parents is this: pray, love, discipline, model, ask forgiveness and fight.

Pray for your kids relentlessly.

Love them with the love of Christ.

Set clear boundaries and be consistent with discipline.

Model what it means to serve the Lord, love your spouse.

Ask for forgiveness from your spouse and kids when you fail to model true Christianity in a particular situation (which will happen…a lot.)

And, finally, fight.

Parenting is a battle against the prince of darkness for the heart, souls and minds of our kids.

Never give up the fight.

The spiritual transformation of our kids is not usually a straight line.

It’s a zig zag.

Keep zigging and zagging them toward Jesus.

Keep fighting the good fight for your kids on your knees.

It’s worth it.

Maybe your adult kids aren’t serving the Lord today. Refuse to allow the devil to whisper in your ear that you failed as a parent.

Instead, keep praying for them. Keep loving them. Keep building that light house.

Never give up.

Their souls are worth fighting for.

Amen. I agree. Moms and dads, keep on praying, loving, disciplining, modeling, repenting and fighting for your kids.

Back as the year began, I had planned to provide you with a regular update on our church finances each month. Over the months, I’ve been delinquent in keeping you up to date. Here’s the latest info:

September giving: $25,644
September operating expenses: $38,152
Year to date giving: $375,115
Year to date operating expenses: $393,819

Cash on hand: $85,829

Please continue to keep our financial needs in your prayers. And as always, we are grateful for your generous giving. If you have any questions about our finances, please reach out to me or to Tim Friesen.

We need candy! From you. And we need it this week! On Sunday.

As you head to the grocery story, add a bag of Halloween candy to your shopping list so we can have plenty of candy on hand for our Trunk Or Treat event on October 28.

Guys –

It’s not too early to put a note in your calendar about the November Men’s First Tuesday meeting on November 7.

And parents – don’t forget the next Roots Game Night is about two weeks away…

As we saw in our study of Jude last week, false teachers are known for rejecting authority – God’s authority over their lives, the authority of scripture as their guide, and the God-ordained authority structures in our world. How should we respond to authority? And when is it right to resist authority? We’ll see what scripture tells us about submission and authority this Sunday.

See you in church.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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