20: The Israelites

God had a special relationship with the Israelites in the Old Testament because they were his chosen people. On this episode, Aric and Lance continue reading the Israelite’s story in Exodus and talk about who God’s special people are today.

 

19: The Passover Lamb

What’s the big deal about lambs in the Bible, and what do they have to do with Jesus?

Tune in to this episode to find out!

18: Pharaoh

On this episode, Moses confronts Pharaoh about letting God’s people go free from Egypt. But Pharaoh is stubborn, and takes some convincing…

 

17: Moses

Who’s in the Bible is back for season 2! Aric and Lance jump into Exodus to learn about Moses and the fate of the Israelite people in Egypt.

 

Earned Wisdom in Parenting

I have seen a lot of parenting styles in the almost 40 years I have been in children’s ministry or teaching public school. I have seen parenting victories and fails and have experienced both myself as a parent of three grown children. All of these observations have led me to think about things parents need to know, but maybe haven’t been told.

There are things you should do, things you should avoid, and most importantly, things you should become.

I Hope You:  

  • Laugh. Enjoy the little quirky moments with your children. Sometimes things your children do are just funny! Relax and laugh.
  • Pray Continuously. Praying quietly comes naturally to a parent. But remember your child needs to hear their name prayed out loud. So pray for them in front of them, also. Pray that your children love God more every day. Pray for every stage they wander through. Pray for their health. Pray that they will learn and grow even in their mistakes. And don’t forget to pray for their spouses even when they are little. Pray for protection for that spouse as they grow as well.
  • Depend on God. Remember that God is the protector of your children. He gave them to you to raise, but they are his. Depend on the loving Father that he is and relax some of your control issues.
  • Value Experience over Schedules. Give your children different experiences, memories, and time with different people. Experiences almost always should trump schedules!
  • Raise the Bar. As your child grows, raise your expectations. Challenge your child instead of enabling them.
  • Teach Obedience. Train your child to stop, listen, and obey when they hear your voice. When they are running toward the street, you do not have time to count to three or reason with them.
  • Teach Service. Teach your children to serve others at an early age and encourage them to keep doing it all their life.
  • Teach Generosity. Help your children give generously to the church and others early in his/her life. Be a generous family and let your children be part of that generosity.
  • Have Family Meetings. Family Meetings are great for making decisions on rules and consequences, discussing family finances, planning ways to be generous and serve others, celebrating victories, and supporting each other in hard times.
  • Write letters. Write to your children at milestones in their lives and save these letters to give to them as an adult. It will mean a lot for them to see how you prayed for them, or what characteristics you saw in them at an early age.

 

I Hope You Avoid:

  • Delayed Obedience. Don’t teach your child to procrastinate by counting instead of expecting immediate acknowledgement and obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience.
  • Reasoning with a Toddler. It just doesn’t work! Use less words and physically show them expected behavior.
  • Children as Idols. Our sinful nature makes us idol makers. Don’t allow your child to become your idol. Remember, idols are made when we turn something good into the ultimate.
  • Creating Idols. Children are also sinful and will struggle with making idols for themselves. Don’t create idols for them by taking something good (like sports, education, talents, recreation, etc.) and making it into the ultimate thing of their life, by letting it take all of your family’s time and treasures.
  • Stubborn Pride. You will make many mistakes as you parent your kids. Learn to apologize quickly.
  • Words Instead of Tools. Give your children tools to use instead of words of excuse like “bored” or “fair.” Teach your child to create, dream, or read, and help them to understand the reality of an unfair world. Give them tools to survive and thrive.
  • Staying on the Sidelines. Get in the game! Parenting is an active sport and you can’t just sit on the couch and yell.

 

I Hope You Remember to Be:

  • Surprised. Sometimes we have too high of expectations and feel discouraged as new parents. Be surprised and then thankful for gifts like a good night’s rest, or even a nap. Your life will never be the same after kids. Embrace it, and then be thankful and surprised when you get a good gift.
  • A Good Model. Model how to be a Christ follower, a good citizen, a loving friend, and a generous person.
  • A Team. Make a plan together with your spouse to disciple and discipline your children, and always stay united with your spouse in how to raise them. Never show any disunity in front of the kids.
  • A Storyteller. Tell your child your story of coming to faith and let them watch the story of your faith play out every day.
  • A Worshiper. Give your child experiences worshiping with you corporately. Embrace the moments they can worship with you; don’t be afraid of them.
  • In Community. We all need community — people to walk with us as we parent. Mark and I were blessed with friends along the way and a special couple that walked with us because their journey looked a lot like ours. We learned together and survived together. We picked each other up and encouraged each other along the way. We grew as parents and followers of Christ together.

 

So, now I’ve said it — I’ve told you things you may not have ever been told. Hopefully though, I just reinforced things you already knew, and encouraged you. Parenting is a mighty adventure. The trip can seem long at times, but when you look back it only seems to take a moment. So, seize all those moments and enjoy the gifts that your children truly are.


 

047: Empty Nest – Preparing Your Kids and Marriage for the Next Stage

You might be looking forward to it or be saddened by it, but one day it’ll be here. Those precious kids will move out and move on to adulthood. Being an empty-nester brings new found freedom but the transition into the next stage can be difficult. On this episode, Mark and Lisa Carden share what they learned about marriage and parenting when their kids were in the house and how they prepared for the launching of their kids into the real world.

RESOURCES:

God’s Design for Sex series by Stan Jones, Brenna Jones, Carolyn Nystrom

Parenting by Paul Tripp

What Did You Expect? by Paul Tripp

043: Dad Life – Leading and Loving Your Kids

In light of Father’s Day, Ryan Lehtinen talks with Aaron Lutz and Aric Harding about the fun times and awkward conversations that come with being a dad. They discuss how they lead their family when it comes to technology, discipline, and the priority of their marriage and relationship with Jesus.

They also tell some classic dad jokes.

RESOURCES:

The Man in the Mirror by Patrick Morley

Disciplines of a Godly Man by Kent Hughes

Tender Warrior by Stu Weber

 

041: The Sanctuary – Hope and Healing in Foster Care

God calls on his people throughout Scripture to protect the vulnerable and care for orphans. The Sanctuary offers a new kind of foster care service, designed to create healing, hope, and permanency for children and families.

Resources:

www.sanctuaryfostercare.org

Harding Adoption Story Podcast

Clear Creek Care & Support

038: Children/Teen Mental Health and the Gospel

On this episode Rachel Chester talks with Lindsey Lehtinen, a licensed therapist, about the unique struggles that children and teens go through and how the gospel applies to them. They also discuss how parents can disciple their children in this season.

RESOURCES:

Care & Support Ministry

Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF)

 

(Mom) Guilt and the Gospel

It started a few weeks after my oldest son was born.

I had dreamed of being a mom. Read all the books. Attended the classes. Developed and implemented a plan experts guaranteed would have my child sleeping on a schedule and through the night by six weeks old.

Except it didn’t work.

I was a wreck. I wasn’t even three months into this mom gig, and already I had failed my child in some significant way. I was experiencing my first bout of mom guilt.

I have a feeling most moms can share their own stories of times they felt they were not up to the task of motherhood, that somehow, they too failed their children. It’s almost universal. Studies say more than 90 percent of mothers experience this unique kind of distress, and 75 percent of parents as a whole feel pressure to be “perfect” for their children. Did you read that? Perfect. No wonder we feel guilty. Perfect is a pretty high standard.

For moms who are followers of Christ, what are we to do with mom guilt?  Actually, let’s first ask the question: what are Christians to do with guilt period?

2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas world grief produces death.” Said another way, our grief before salvation leads us to repent and accept Jesus’ gift of grace on our behalf. Once we’ve become followers of Jesus, Christians shouldn’t feel guilt. Conviction of the Spirit for sin? Yes! But guilt? No. The penalty for our sin has been paid by Jesus.

Bryan Chapell expands on this truth in his book, Holiness by Grace:

Remorse prior to approaching the cross is of God, but after true repentance beneath the cross such self-reproach is of Satan. Our Adversary wants us to believe that Christ’s blood is not sufficient to cleanse confessed sin. We become susceptible to his lie when we begin to doubt the power of the cross full to cancel our guilt, for then we will begin to live (and fall) in the strength of our own efforts.

If you listened to the Clear Creek Resources podcast episode Rachel Chester, Mandy Turner, and I did on mom guilt, we made the distinction between good and bad guilt. Good guilt is better called conviction. It’s one of the roles the Holy Spirit plays in the life of the Christian. It is a mark of true belief (see John 16:8). As followers of Jesus we should be broken over sin. As believing moms we should repent when we sin against our children. Certainly this happens: angry words, rash discipline, selfish motives. These are clearly times we should ask for forgiveness from the Lord and our children.

However, far too often we experience anguish and shame when no sin was involved. This is because somewhere along the way we exchanged the idea of what we might do to be a good mom with what we must do to be a good mom. I experienced mom guilt when I didn’t plan the perfect birthday party, or couldn’t have lunch at school with my boys because of work, or a thousand other things that made me feel like a bad mom. But, I had turned mommy possibilities into mommy imperatives. This is bad guilt.

Sometimes mom guilt has nothing to do with our actions. We may feel guilty because our child made a poor choice and is experiencing a natural consequence like the loss of a friendship. That is enough to send some into the mom guilt spiral of self-doubt, heartache, and despair. And you should know, this also is bad guilt.

Mom guilt is bad guilt.

We need a gospel pathway to walk in order to deal with it.

In my opening story about how I couldn’t get my son to sleep, my friend Amanda heard about my despair. She called and gave me words of grace. Gratefully, over the years, many other women have shepherded my heart similarly in other times of mom guilt. I want to leave you with four steps that have helped me get back on track, and I hope, might help you as well:

1. Remove the standard of perfection.
Get rid of the burden you’ve placed on yourself from wherever it may have arisen (e.g., family of origin, social media, friends). Realize there is one who has been perfect for you (2 Cor. 5:21). Like Paul, we certainly all have weaknesses. And if the apostle, who wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, can claim that because of his weaknesses he can rest in Jesus, certainly we should as well (2 Cor. 12: 9-10).

2. Fix your eyes on Jesus.
I think my mom guilt has often surfaced when my focus has been too much on me. Jesus frees me from needing to constantly evaluate myself against my “perfect mom” standard. Instead of my feeling being anchored to my accomplishments which fluctuate daily (sometimes I’m happy at the day’s end, and other times I’m discouraged), my affections are bound up in Jesus who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). His love for me is steadfast (Rom. 8:38-39) because of what he accomplished for me 2,000 years ago.

3. Call out to God.
Let’s be real. Being a mom is hard. Really hard. Go to Jesus in prayer when you feel the waves of self-doubt and despair begin to wash over you (Heb. 4:16). Don’t skip this! Prayer is one of the most effective ways to combat mom guilt.

4. Be involved in community.
Every mom needs two (or, maybe ten?) Amandas in her life. You need women who can speak gospel truths to your heart. You need friends who will not tell you what you want to hear but need to hear. This is authentic community. It is where can know and be known. It is where you can be vulnerable and find encouragement that you are not alone in your dealings with mom guilt…or any other endeavor (Heb. 10:24-25).