Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Why is sex outside of marriage wrong?

There are Two Answers: 

  1. It is demanding the REWARDS of the covenant without the Commitment of the Covenant.
Any time two people have sex outside of marriage they have abused each other.  Satan loves to mock.  One of the ways he mocks is to twist things.  He mocks every time someone has sex outside of marriage by calling it making love”.  Love has nothing to do with it.  Love is giving. Sex outside of marriage is pure, 100% selfishness. When you violate a person, you do the opposite of love.   People who have sex outside of marriage, on a 0 – 100 scale never get above a 25 in pleasure.  It’s all about self-esteem.  It is when a person says, “I am a prince of the King of Kings and I am a bless-er.  To be in a dating relationship with me is a high privilege and if you would shred my soul, go away."  Paul says, “Live a life of love.”, which is the opposite of sexual immorality.  Paul says, “Must not be even a hint of sexual immorality.”  The minute you have introduced the concept that sex is “take what I can when I can”, you loose a cancer in the relationship. It may not kill the relationship although it kills most.  The most disrespectful thing one person can do to another person is sex outside of marriage.  It has been my experience as a youth deacon that most relationships break up 4 - 6 weeks after a couple has sex.  The reason being is that respect is the most important thing to a man, and once a man has been able to disrespect a woman, to that degree he can no longer be in relationship with her.  Even if the relationship survives into marriage, the fact that you survived cancer doesn’t mean that cancer is a good thing.  Asking how far is too far is like asking, “How much arsenic do you want in your food?”

The first 10 chapters of Proverbs are devoted exclusively to how to avoid sexual immorality.

When a man in a dating relationship understands that he has a 0% chance of anything inappropriate going on, he is able to focus his full attention on getting to know and understand the woman he loves.  If a man cannot be trusted sexually he cannot be trusted in other areas as well.

  1. It kills your ability to trust. Herein lies the dynamic of trust in a relationship - when you took something that was not yours, you said, “I will violate you."
Good Physical Boundaries.

It is so easy to stay sexually pure.  It's not hard because your eyes have been opened.  You see that for a little selfish abuse you throw away a lifetime of pleasure.  Boundaries are easy for a healthy soul.

  1. Talk about your boundaries before your first date
  2. Never be alone in a private place.  That includes parked cars!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Notes From My Sermon on Purity


Ephesians 5: 3-16

But among you there MUST NOT be even a HINT of sexual immorality or of ANY kind of impurity… because these are IMPROPER for God’s holy people. Nor should there be any obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, WHICH IS OUT OF PLACE. But rather thanksgiving. For of this you can BE SURE: No immoral, impure or greedy person has ANY inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  LET NO ONE DECEIVE YOU with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.  Therefore DO NOT be partners with them.  (Don’t date them.)
Live as children of the LIGHT. For the fruit of the light consist of goodness, righteousness and truth.)
Have NOTHING to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather EXPOSE THEM.  (You know of some guy who is going to use girls.  God’s word gives you permission to EXPOSE THEM. )
Be VERY CAREFUL then, how you live - not as unwise (brute beasts) but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Strategies for reaching your goal of purity

In order to reach a goal you must devise a strategy.  I am a runner and three years ago I set the goal of running Red Top Mountain (a 5.5-mile course) in under 50 minutes.  If I set that goal then proceeded to sit on the couch and eat popcorn, what do you think the chance would be for me to reach my goal?  I would never reach my goal.  What do you have to do to reach a goal?  You have to devise a strategy, which is smaller pieces that will enable you to get to the bigger goal.  When I set the goal of running Red Top in 50 minutes I was still just walking Red Top Mountain.  Then I started running just the down hills, then I ran the flats, then eventually I was able to run the up hills.  The next step was to improve on the whole course until my speed was up to where I needed it to be to reach my goal. 

Staying Pure is much like running Red Top.  If your goal is to remain pure then you need a strategy or smaller pieces that will enable you to reach that goal.  Here is a strategy that I gave to my own children to help them reach their goal of Purity.  

Important note:
This strategy is ONLY to be implemented once you are established enough to actually be looking for a mate.  Meaning you have graduated from high school and or college.  You are physically able to support a wife, established in a career. 

Stages of Intimacy:  In order for something to be bonded together it takes TIME for the “setting” of a relationship.  The glue that holds a relationship together is communication.  As soon as the physical aspect enters the relationship the communication level will go down greatly.  It’s easy to become physical; it takes more thought and energy to focus on communication.  

  1. Eye to Body: The first time you notice someone.
  2. Eye-to-Eye: The first time you look directly at each other.  This is when you are checking each other out and exchanging flirtatious smiles.
  3. Voice-to-Voice:  The first conversation between the romantic partners.  This is where a relationship should stay until you have reached your primary goals that I have listed in the above paragraph. (Only talk for six Months)
  4. Hand to hand: This can be a very exciting stage. It indicates that the relationship is progressing. (After you have completed the six months of talking you can hold hands for the next six months.  Now your relationship has reached the one-year anniversary.)
  5. Hand to Shoulder: This stage reflects sort of a buddy type of relationship.  (After a year you move to six months of hand to shoulder.  Now you are a year and a half into the relationship and still there has been no kiss. If you find after this period of time that this person is not the person God has chosen for you, you can walk away with your soul intact.)
  6. Hand to Waist: This position is clearly romantic.  Casual friends DO NOT stand like that. (Okay, you decide to move forward with the relationship.  You are a year and a half into the relationship and you move to hand to waist. ( Two year anniversary at the completion of this stage.)
  7. Hand to Head: This stage is clearly a reflection of sexual desire and romantic desire.  If a couple has not rushed through the other stages.  (For the next six month time period.  Now upon the completion of this stage you have completed two and a half years.)  
  8. Kissing: Friendly peck on the cheek. French kissing should be reserved for the wedding day when the pastor says, "You may kiss the bride."  Touching a person’s hair, nuzzling face to face. (By now you have pretty much decided that this is God’s chosen mate for you.  After three years of dating you get your first kiss.)
Note: You can change the time frame from six month intervals to three month intervals depending on the age of the person who is dating.    But I do think you can date for a year and know whether or not you want to get married, if you are out of high school and established in your career. 

Benefits of implementing this plan in your life:

  1. You’ll notice that by using this plan you are three years into the relationship before the first kiss.  After that long you probably will know whether this is the person God has chosen for you. 
  2. You are able to get out of the relationship with your soul still in tact.
  3. Chances are if you make your strategy clear to those who approach you, you will most likely attract those that share your common goal of wanting to remain pure before marriage.
  4. You eliminate those that want to use you and just have “fun” with your heart.  If that person knows from the start of the relationship that these are your standards and he/she is just in it for the fun, they will look elsewhere. 
Pitfalls of this strategy

  1. Be prepared to defend your stance.  Don’t think that just because you set this standard that everyone will automatically accept it.  Expect your standards to be challenged.  Men are wired to like a challenge.  So if you say no holding hands until a year has passed, then three months into the relationship he holds your hand, you must be prepared with a plan to reinforce your strategy when your standards are violated.  Forgiveness is automatic, but trust has to be re-earnedIf the guy respects you and your standards he will gladly comply with your wishes.  So what do you do when your standards are violated?  Agree ahead of time. I encourage you to establish that same standard in your dating relationship BEFORE the incident occurs.  Tell the other person, "If you violate my standard ALL COMMUNICATION will be cut off for one month."
I realize that these are very high goals and only the top-notch teens will be able to reach them. 

I did reach my goal of running Red Top under 50 minutes.  But what did I accomplish?  Yes, I reached my goal, but that was about all. 

If you decide to adapt this plan and use this strategy as your own, the reward will be phenomenal.  Your reward will be a lifetime of intimacy with your spouse. 


Revealing Satan's strategies to get you to throw away your innocence! 

One of the main tools Satan uses to cause teens to stumble is movies.  The message in the movies is THROW AWAY YOUR INNOCENCE.  Hollywood wants you to believe that innocence is worthless, but the opposite is true. What is it that makes something valuable? Why is the diamond ring on my hand so valuable?  The reason a diamond is valuable is because it is rare.  It is very rare to find someone who has guarded their innocence these days, which makes that person very valuable.  In God’s economy your innocence is priceless.  Do not allow your mind to be exposed to what people in the world do.  The Bible challenges us not to even talk about what the heathen do in secret (Ephesians 5:12). Yet you are willing to expose yourself to watch what the heathen do on the big screen, bigger than life at the theater.  One of the main reasons I am a very light-hearted, care-free, JOY filled person is due to the fact that I have been very vigilant about guarding my innocence.  I will not allow this world system to steal my innocence from me.  They will not drag my mind through the mud.  Tim has always said to me, “You are so naive.”  I view that as a compliment.  You don’t have to put your hand in the fire to know that you will get burned.  I believe the Bible when it says, “Can a man scoop fire into his lap and not get burned?”  Obviously not.  

Satan’s second strategy:

                                        Pornography: “YOU HAVE A CHOICE!”

"Slave to Depravity" OR "A Destiny with Dignity"

The sin of pornography will steal your innocence faster than anything else.  It robs you of your dignity and degrades you to the point of a dog in heat.  Pornography sears your brain like a brand.  Because God created us as sexual beings our brains don’t function the same in the area of pornography. Because you can’t erase a sear on your brain.  Because once something is seared it is permanent.  With each exposure to a pornographic image, your brain has less innocence and less capacity for the ability to dream and imagine; or wonder, or the freedom to read a good story and enjoy the beauty of the story; or the ability to look at someone of the opposite sex without thinking lustful thoughts. Sin always entraps. Sin always leads to bondage.

“Sin will take you farther than you want to go. Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay. Sin will cost you much more than you want to pay.”

This passage describes someone who is in bondage to pornography: 
2 Peter 2: 10-19: This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.  They are bold and arrogant men…
Verse 12: "But these men blaspheme in things they don’t understand.  THEY ARE LIKE BRUTE BEASTS (In every sexual abuse you will ALWAYS find pornography), creatures of instinct, (reduced to that of a dog in heat) born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish." 
Verse 13:  "They will be paid back WITH HARM for what they have done.  Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight.  They are blots and blemishes, revelling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery they will never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed-an accused brood!  They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam, who love the WAGES OF WICKEDNESS (what is the wages of wickedness?) He was rebuked for his wrongdoing…and restrained the prophet’s madness."  (Madness is a thought-life that is out of control.  It is obsessive thinking.) 
Verse 17:  "These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm.  BLACKEST DARKNESS is reserved for them."
Verse 18:  "For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error."
Verse 19:  THEY PROMISE FREEDOM, WHILE THEY THEMSELVES ARE SLAVES OF DEPRAVITY- FOR A MAN IS A SLAVE TO WHATEVER HAS MASTERED HIM."  (Has anyone ever told you, "Pornography is fun, you should try it?"  Or worse yet, "Here, let me show you how you can access this on your computer?)  They promise freedom, yet they are slaves. 


"Slave to Depravity" OR "A Destiny with Dignity" 

If you choose to live for sexual pleasure then you will become a brute beast; you will become an animal.  They are equivalent to a dog in heat. If you play with sexual pleasures THEY WILL OWN YOU!!  Sin starts with a little bit of effort and great reward, but once you let that monster into your life the THIRST GROWS!!!  The more you thirst for it THE SMALLER THE REWARD until you become a burned out stub of a candlewick.


 Freedom has its price tag.  Just as soldiers have laid down there life so that we in America can live in freedom, you to will have to fight with vengeance in order to keep your mind free from the sin of pornography.  Do you have what it takes to swim upstream?  How tough are you really?  What is your strength of Character?  Character is doing the right thing when only God is watching, when you could “get away” with doing the wrong thing, but you still choose to do the right thing.  That determines your strength of character. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Part 2: An Object Lesson on Pornography That Your Kids Will NEVER Forget

We are wired to remember object lessons.  It's basically all Jesus used when he preached.  Many of the parables in the Bible are object lessons. So when I was asked to speak on pornography in our youth service at church, I used an object lesson to help the kids remember the point I was making.  I preached that sermon nearly six years ago and I still will have teens who are now in their 20's tell me that of all the sermons they heard, the one that I preached on pornography they never forgot. 

What I did is: I went to the local wig store and bought a styrofoam head that they use to display the wigs on.  Then I got a branding iron. I wanted one with a "P" on it, but couldn't find it, so I settled for one with a "V" on it.  As I spoke I had the lights set low.  The kids did not know it, but while I was speaking I had a guy with a grill heating up the branding iron.  He kept it in the coals until is was glowing red hot.  When I signaled for him to come in, he came into the youth building carrying the glowing red hot "V" branding iron.  I held up the branding iron in one hand and said, "This is pornography." I then held up the styrofoam head in the other hand, "This is your brain." Then I brought the two of them together and said, "This is your brain on pornography."  When the branding iron came in contact with the styrofoam it smoked and put off a terrible smell.  I also used the smell as an object lesson, telling them about how we as Christians carry with us the aroma of God, but pornography carries with it the hideous smell of death. 

Then I explained to them that pornography sears your brain like a brand. When you look at pornographic images those images are seared on your brain forever.  Because God created us as sexual beings our brains don’t function the same in the area of pornography. Why is it that when you study for a test, after you take that test two days later you can't remember what you studied, but with pornography, images that you have seen years ago you can still pull up in your brain?  It's because pornography sears your brain and you can’t erase a sear on your brain, because once something is seared it is permanent.

I would like to challenge you parents with kids in the house ages 11 - 19 to do this object lesson with them.  It just might be the most important lesson that you can ever teach them.  Perhaps it will save them from years of misery, guilt, shame and remorse.  Our kids are being inundated with adult content at younger and younger ages. If they are going to not just survive but thrive, we must TRAIN them up. Training takes TIME and INTENTIONALITY.  

With this generation of teenagers you can't say: "JUST SAY NO!" It does NOT work.  What this generation of teenagers want to know is WHY should I say "NO"?  They want to know what's in it for me.  How will saying "NO" benefit me? And I think they are right.  It shows respect (which is the number one thing that teenagers crave) when you take the time to explain to them WHY they should say no, and how saying no benefits them.  But you can't be a passive parent and be equipped with the answers your teenagers need.  You have to stay up on what's happening in their world in order to know how to to relate to them.  The way I did that was by serving as a youth deacon at my church for the past 14 years, as well as educating myself by listening to podcasts like "Boundless" (target audience 18 - 30),  as well as Focus on the Family podcasts that deal with teen issues that are relevant to this generation. 

For all you country music lovers out there, I would like to recommend a new CD by Guy Penrod, called "Breathe Deep". Song 1 is about marriage.  Song 2 reminds us to "Pray about Everything". Song 3 "Young Enough to Know Better" is about abstinence.  At first I just downloaded one song. After previewing several of the songs I bought the CD.  I love it!

I highly recommend it. It's a great reminder to be intentional about our parenting goals and strategies. 

Being a mom is the most important thing I have ever done,


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pornography & Teens

I have been working with teens for the past 14 years.  When I began working with teens the Internet was not around so I rarely had to deal with the issue of pornography.  Today however, that is not the case.  Just last week I was confronted with the issue of pornography on four different occasions.  Three came from teens and one came from a parent.  There seems to be somewhat of a disconnect between the Baby Boomers (1945 – 1960), the Generation X-ers (1961-1981) and the Millenniums (1982 - current day).  The parents of the Millenniums have a hard time comprehending how their teenager could be addicted to pornography, because back when the Baby Boomers were growing up only truck drivers or perverts viewed such vial images.  However, the Millenniums don't know anyone older than 12 who has not seen pornography. 

I know that several of you have toddlers and it makes you sick to your stomach to even think about pornography stealing away the innocence of your son/daughter, but unfortunately that is the reality of the world we live in.

As a youth leader I have seen two extreme reactions from parents when they find their teenager has been viewing pornography: 

1.  Is to freak out.  This is not good, and it does nothing to help your teen move away from his/her addictive behavior.

2. Treat it as if it's "no big deal". After a teenager confided in me that he was struggling with pornography I encouraged him to tell his dad about his battle.  I was proud of this young man having the courage to come clean to his Dad.  He asked his father if he would put filters on his computer so that he would not be tempted.  His Dad's response was: "Look son, this is something you are going to have to deal with your whole life, it's time for you to man up and just be strong enough to resist the temptation." 

This too is a wrong reaction.  It's vital that as parents we provide solid answers and solutions to the issues our kids are faced with. (Note: These will be covered in tomorrow's blog.)

Remember yesterday's blog: "Lead me not into temptation." If you have a computer in your house and you don't have a GOOD filter on it, you are a fool.  YOU ARE LEADING YOUR CHILDREN INTO TEMPTATION. 

When a kid comes to me and tells me that they are addicted to pornography, the first thing I do is ask them if they would please forgive my generation for making it so hard on them to grow up.  A lot of the pain this generation is suffering is due to the Boomers not speaking up and fighting for a moral society. 

The second thing I do is explain to them WHY THEY MUST BEAT THIS DEMON.  The demon of lust is the meanest and baddest demon of them all.  You can say that you don't believe in demons, however, whether or not you believe something or don't believe something has nothing to do with what is truth.

  According to the Bible there are only four ways to open yourself up to demonic activity:

1.  Exposing yourself to the Occult (witchcraft, palm reading, Harry Potter is occult activity)

2. Sexual Immorality (pornography, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, sexual immorality)

3. Drugs and Alcohol (drunkenness, getting high)

4. Gossip and Slander 

The Bible says: "Resist the devil and he will flee from you." It will take every bit of fight they have in them to win this battle but it's OH SO WORTH THE EFFORT.

The third thing that I say to that teenager is (I look them straight in the eyes and say):

"You are not abnormal.  Every male at some point in his life will have to stare down the demon of pornography."

I have spoken on this issue before and I will post my notes from that sermon tomorrow, but I feel as if this blog is getting rather lengthy.  So I guess you can consider this the introduction to my series on pornography. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Goodness = Innocence

“Man, that was awesome!” Ethan said.  Joel laughed, “Yeah, my favorite part was when he finally got the girl in bed.  Dude, she was hot! “Yeah, but I think I liked it better when the villain was killed. Did you see the way they made him convulse as he was knifed?”
The two friends were walking out of a movie and the general consensus between them was that it was “a really good movie.” Often today, the two things most applauded, especially in movies, are sex and violence. A few of the words that God uses in scripture to describe these two things are:  sexual immorality, lust, impurity, anger, rage, malice, and slander.
We are told that one of the fruits of the spirit in the Bible is goodness. Many people think that to have goodness, one must simply be good. However, if you look at the Greek meaning of the word you would find that goodness means “innocence”A good summation for someone who has lost their innocence is boredom, hyper-stimulation of the emotions, and lack of imagination.  Nothing is interesting or fascinating anymore.  Consider this Biblical definition of innocence:  to not even consider the possibility of participating in evil.  God wants us to walk in His wisdom, “ . . . I want you to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil” (Romans 16:19).  If you allow pettiness, hypersensitivity, criticism, or anger in your life, it will eat away at you until there is no room left for laughter, and no insight, imagination or passion left about life.  Ask God to make you innocent again.

Of the 3 goals that I had for my children as they were growing up, guarding your innocence was  the biggest challenge to teach them.  They have the knowledge and tools to be good at:

1. Conflict Resolution

They all understand the:

2. Power of the tongue and the importance of floating their tongue in the river of life not death and to use their words for speaking blessings and not curses over their lives.

But guarding their innocence possessed much more of a challenge. I think loss of innocence can be compared to the frog in the boiling water.  Gradually the heat on the stove is turned up until the happy frog swimming around in the warm water is cooked.  This generation of young people does not know how to blush.  They are so desensitized, innocence is something they can barely recognize.   If you are going to operate in the fruit of the Spirit of goodness and innocence you are going to have to be intentional about it.  One of the ways that I'm intentional about that is by owning a ClearPlay DVD player. It will edit sex, violence and language out of the movies.  Check it out:

Media is not the only challenge to guarding your innocence, but it's probably the biggest.  Another issue is who you hang out with.  Friends who are vulgar or constantly causing your mind to go to things that are not wholesome and innocent can also deter you from reaching your goals of guarding your innocence. 

Pornography is another big issue that is destroying our young people by the millions everyday.  If you don't have a filter on your teenagers computer you are a fool.  The Bible says: "Lead me not into temptation." If you give your teenagers access to a computer and then do not provide any accountability for them, its like you are leading them directly into temptation. Deliver them from evil by letting them know that they will be held accountable for every computer sight they go to.  We have used eBlaster for years. 

I will blog on the issue of pornography in the coming days.  This is something that I have spoken on in youth before, and it is destroying so many homes and young people.

Cheering you on,

Friday, September 24, 2010



The root meaning of kindness in the Greek language comes from two words:  useful and profitable.  Kindness is not just being “sweet”.  Kindness is a sweetness that produces change.  If you are kind to someone then it means you bear profit in someone’s life or are useful in someone’s life.  Kindness has power because kindness changes lives.  Kindness is not just giving, but giving in the area that they have the greatest need.  Kindness is sweetness with perceptivity.  Four greatest acts of kindness that one person can ever impart to another person are: 
(1)                           Safety. The need for safety is one of the greatest needs in anyone’s soul.  To make someone feel safe means you will live by the standard that says, “I will NEVER have the right to attack, criticize or be harsh towards anyone.”  The Greek definition says that kindness is the exact opposite of harshness.
(2)                           Praise.  Pour into people; make them alive. “ Therefore encourage one another and build up one another” (I Thessalonians 5:11). Praise is useless however, if people don’t feel safe.
(3)                           Offer to help.  An offer to help is from a servant’s heart and the goal is to win their heart, give them your heart and have the love of God flowing through you.
(4)                           An honest response.  Kindness goes beyond being “nice” – telling people what they want to hear.  It means being bold enough to speak truth and stand firm in the principles you believe in.  

Are you a kind person?  Are you useful in other people’s lives?  Do you bring great profit to others?  Do people feel safe around you?  Do you praise?  Do you serve? Are you honest?  Where is the only place that you can get filled with kindness?  “But the fruit of the spirit is . . . KINDNESS” (Gal. 5:22). 

Many times nice people are not kind people.  Nice people are often unhealthy souls that never want to offend anyone, and they never bring change that is profitable.  The most evil thing that one person could ever do to another person is to give them a false security of salvation and nice people do that all that time because they do not want to offend anyone with the gospel.  Absolute truth is offensive. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Series: "Fruits of the Spirit"

A few years ago, my daughter Amanda and I were asked to write some articles for "The Real Bible".

Here is one of those articles:


“You would if you really loved me.” a girl’s boyfriend whispers in her ear.  An enraged teenager screams at her mother, “You don’t really love me!” A pastor is ending a sermon,  “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.”  But, what is love?  Yes, God is love, but what is a good definition for love?  If love is what the world says, then it is often synonymous with sex, or a worldly phrase that says, “You owe me.” 

If we take a deep look at what God’s love is, we realize that God’s love is not only different than the world’s love, but it is different than what we usually think it is. A Biblical definition of God’s love says that love is an offer to give from a secure heart.  Insecurity minimizes your ability to receive God’s love and God’s love minimizes your ability to be insecure.

God’s love is a gift. No gift can be demanded or manipulated. It may be asked for and granted, but never manipulated or demanded.  The world however, feeds off insecurity by manipulating love by saying, “I’m hurting so you need to give to me.”  If you give in to this manipulation, you will walk in insecurity; you will not have God’s love to pour out on anyone else. 

A gift is offered and not forced. 1 John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He sent his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”  The ultimate gift was offered.  God gave us the option to accept or reject it. God’s love says that you don’t have to “fix” anyone.  To know God’s love is to live in the security that God unconditionally thinks that you are wonderful!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dating vs. Courtship: Ages 18 - 25

How courtship benefits everyone involved:
The guy, the girl, the parents and your future sex life.

When our kids are in high school, we understand the dangers involved with teens being faced with matters of the heart before they have all their discernment brain cells in place. Studies actually say that the frontal lobe which includes the discernment brain cells is not fully developed until age 25. 

So many times we expect our teenagers to be able to think like a 40 year old when they just don't have the life experience or the brain cells that enable them to do so.  So many teen's aptitudes for relationships is limited to what they hear and see in the movies they watch or TV shows or music they listen to. They still have so much to learn about love. 
So many kids make decisions about sexuality based on emotional involvement that exceeds their maturity level.

Remember mom's, it is our job to get our children one fifth of the way raised.  Marriage, mortgage, job and kids will provide the rest of the maturing process. 
Once our children reach age 18-25 and they have these four foundations in place, they are ready to begin to court. 
                                     When is a person ready to court?

1.      Only when both parties’ parents approve (Accountability).
2.      When both parties are old enough to marry.
      3.      When the couple is spiritually ready for marriage.
      4.      When the couple is emotionally ready for marriage.
      5.      When the couple is financially ready for marriage.

       All during our children's growing up years, we constantly imagined and prayed for God to send him/her the kind of wife/husband they would need.  I dreamed of the day when the love that Tim and I share as husband and wife would be multiplied in the lives of our children. 

      However, as mom's we are sometimes crippled by the fear that our children will not have what it takes to last for the long haul and through the stresses and complexities of life. We as adults have learned that love has to be more than something we feel. It has to be something we do. We also understand that most teens process their feelings through the truth, rather than the truth through their feelings, which can be a very dangerous process when dating is involved.

      Benefits for the Guy:  
      You guys are the biggest WINNERS when it comes to Courting. One of the biggest pressures that a guy faces is he has to come up with the dates.  At first it’s kind of fun, but after a while it turns into a lot of pressure to always have to come up with what you are going to do. Then it turns into a conversation that goes something like this:  Guy to girl: "What do you want to do?"  Girl to Guy:" I don’t know, what do you want to do…..?" You get the idea.
 Now compare that with Courting, where you include the whole family in the process (which is basically what courtship is).  You, the guy, throw out the idea, "Hey what does everyone want to do? " You  have your sister who wants go to “Paint and Fire” to paint ceramics and fire them. Then you  have big brother that wants to go play paintball, then you have the theater lover who wants to go see "Annie” or “Smoke on the Mountain” . You have the 70's loving music dad who wants to go see “Kansas” in concert, or the very active mom that wants to go “Caving” or “Snow tubing”, so within five minutes you’ve got enough date ideas to last you for the next two months.  Now this is not a made up story, this is exactly what happens in our family.  Variety is the spice of life. When you include the whole family, your dating life becomes more fun.
The second way this will benefit you guys, is you might even be able to get your parents to pay for some of your dates. As a parent, I WANT to invest in what God is doing in my children’s life.  I want to pay for:
      1.   “Dialogue in the Dark”
2.     Ice skating
3.    Bowling shoes. 
4.    Dinner at “Ruby Tuesdays”

Why? Because I feel like I am making a good investment into what God is doing.

The third way that it benefits the guy is, last year in "True Love Waits", the main request from the guys was they wanted a low maintenance woman. Another word for “low maintenance” is as little baggage as possible. The way you tell how much baggage a girl has is by how she dresses.  And the criteria I always use are the 3 B’s: Butt, Boobs, and Belly = Baggage. If she dresses with those 3 showing, you can guarantee that she will come with tons of baggage and be very high maintenance.  Your mom knows better than you do guys if that girl is going to be high maintenance or not.

     How does Courting benefit the girl?

 Every girl instinctively knows that how a guy treats his mother is how he will treat her. Courting is a great way to get to see her boyfriend interact with his mother. There is a side of TJ that comes out with me that Ariel would never see in any other arena.  I bring out the best in him.  I say that sarcastically, because Ariel will be the first to tell you that TJ and I can get into some pretty heated discussions. If she was not spending multiple hours with our family she would never see that side of TJ.  Girls, if the only time your date sees your parents is the five minutes while he is waiting to take you out on a date, you will never see the real person that he is: BECAUSE WHO YOU ARE WITH YOUR FAMILY IS WHO YOU REALLY ARE! EVERYTHING ELSE IS AN ACT!

      How does Courting Benefit the Parents?
      One of the many benefits of Courting vs. Dating is, courtship allows me the immense privilege of having a front row seat as my children's relationships unfold.  As we play together as a family and talk about our interest and general details of our lives, we grow closer.  

For me as a mom it makes me feel safe, because nothing is hidden, everything is right out there in front of me.  If a couple does not feel comfortable hanging out with our family, I’m immediately suspicious and feel like they are hiding something.  As a mother of  sons, it is my desire that the woman my sons marry will not be a game player.  I don’t want my son dating some girl who is a manipulator (someone who uses guilt or jealousy to get my son to do what she wants).  If their relationship is open and being played out right in front of me, then I can see that, where he might be blinded to it.  Girls know girls just like guys know guys.  Another thing I want as a mom is to know that this girl is going to take care of my son. In other words, does she have a caring servant’s heart?  Just last weekend we were all at the movies together.  You know how you get the large coke and you can get it refilled for free?  Well, TJ very nonchalantly said, “I gotta go get a refill.”  Ariel was like, “I’ll get it for you.” While she was gone, I turned to TJ and said, “It makes me feel good knowing that Ariel has a servants heart. I have no doubt that she will take good care of you.” TJ said, “She’s a sweetheart.”

     Your future sex life:

Because men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti, everything a woman does in her dating life comes back to her in her marriage.  If she is used by a guy and rejected she will associate rejection, guilt, fear, loneliness and shame with the act of sex. Those feelings do not suddenly go away just because she is married, in fact they increase. So instead of feeling uninhibited when she takes her clothes off in front of her husband, she will feel like hiding because she feels shameful. Instead of enthusiastically wanting to make love to her husband, she will view it as a duty to get through instead of a pleasure of life to enjoy. Once again, the sins of her youth have robbed both her and her husband of God’s greatest treasure: a great sex life. When you court instead of date, the temptations of falling in the area of sexual promiscuity go way down. I am very blessed. I have a wonderful husband, three sweet kids, a son - in - love and a soon to be daughter - in love.  On July 23, 2011 as I sit and watch TJ and Ariel commit their love to each other, I'm sure the previous months of courtship will roll before me like a newsreel running in my mind. Flowers on Valentine’s Day, all the numerous Shenanigans. I didn't hear an audible voice from heaven saying, "This is the wife I have chosen for your son TJ.", but rather a slow awareness washed over me until I realized I had a lot to be thankful for. It's probably good that when we begin a relationship, we never know where it will lead.  If we knew that we would face pain and challenges and we would probably hesitate! And in doing so, we'd probably miss out on some of the greatest joys in our lives.  While no relationship is a guaranteed pain-free future, love is worth it.  I can't say that I have fully arrived; I am still adjusting to my new role of being a mother to adult children.  In the back of my mind I explore many hidden worries.  At times insecurity plagues me as I wonder how ready they are to share their lives together. I have learned to let go of control.  I love my kids enough to give them back to God.  I trust their ability to make wise decisions and I trust God enough to take care of them.  I am no longer in bondage of fear.  I am free to love them both. I need not be the only object of my children's affection. My heart has grown to love each of my children's spouses and hopefully their hearts have expanded to love me.  As we step out and trust God and one another, we can swim in the cool waters of love, enjoying the refreshment and pure fun. 

Forever cheering you on,

Monday, September 13, 2010

Having Fun as a Family = Compromise

Shedd's Sunday Shenanigans

Laughter, talking, dinner around the dinner table and playing together are the things that make Shedd's Sunday Shenanigans a success.  

The Name:
One day as we were all sitting around after enjoying a delicious lunch, my son TJ said, "What kind of Shenanigans are we doing today?" I knew that from that day forward our Sunday family days were going to be known as "Shedd's Sunday Shenanigans"

Vision Statement:
The purpose of Shedd’s Shenanigans is to create memories together as a family. Let’s resist the routine of doing the same thing mindlessly. Routines without intentionality are boring and ritualistic.

Purpose: To have  great family.
How would you define a great family? Great families are easy to recognize. They are made up of people who spend time together on a regular basis and truly enjoy each others' company. They respect each others' thoughts and emotions. When one needs help the others are there for them. When one needs space the others instinctively give them room. When one is hurting the whole family hurts. Great families accept each other unconditionally. Great families look for ways to build each other up. They encourage each other to be the best they can be, but they also love each other in spite of their limitations. Great families have clearly defined boundaries. Great families know how to have fun.

How did we manage to have such a loving and close family?
I believe that perhaps part of the answer is that we have always known how to play together. The key to having fun together as a family is intentionality and compromise.  The power of compromise inspired by love is vital to family fun.  You will never reach this goal if you teach your children that they are the most important people on the planet. That is humanistic parenting, and fun times will not happen if a child is self-centered. Love can’t be built on good intentions. It needs stability, responsibility, and sacrifice. The most important thing in a family is that we all love each other.

Fun times don't just happen, they require thought, planning and flexibility. I believe that fun times are where the family bonding happens best. When you are planning fun activities for seven very different people, it's vital that everyone understands that the world does not revolve around them. There is no way that everyone will be doing their favorite activity every week. Understanding the joy the other person derives from the activity is vital to the success of families playing together. The guys enthusiastically embrace painting pottery at "Earth, Paint and Fire" with the girls, because they know that the following week they will be sitting at the Motocross races.  Another great example of this happened just yesterday in our home. I am in the process of planning our Shenanigans for November and I ask Ariel, who is as "girly girl" as any one you have ever met, "Would you go paint balling?" I loved her response. She said, "If everyone was doing it then I would do it." Now it doesn't take a genius to know that paint balling is not her first choice of activity, but she was willing to lay down her wants and desires because she understood the joy that Robert, Tyler, and TJ would derive from the activity of paintball. In marriage compromise makes all the difference, which is another reason why I feel Ariel will make a great wife.

I also have to consider the fact that we are in Tim’s element when he is home. So I have to be careful not to plan too many things that take Tim out of his home. I believe that a healthy, happy family is the most effective evangelism witnesses. When a hopeless world sees the friendship and love our family shares, it is like rays of sunshine peeking through the dark clouds of this world. When they see our home is filled with love and laughter, they are able to begin to hope and dream again.  Pastor John once said to me, "I would rather see a family that knows how to play together than a family that prays together, because if a family can play together then I know that they will be able to pray together."

Compromise in relationships is not only a good deal, but necessary for the relationships to grow and fully develop. When we compromise we are saying we value each other and appreciate how God made each one. When we take the time to look at others' needs, desires and preferences, relationships become win-win situations. It is my hope that my children know that their mom loves them, because I told them so, and because I demonstrated my love for them every time we had fun together. The experiences we share together play a significant role in the kind of family we now have. We have grown closer than I ever thought possible. Someday I would like to feel passionate about writing books that will inspire others to be intentional about their parenting goals. I hope that not only would parents make their discipline goals, but also play goals. I find being with my family both exciting and relaxing. Those of you who know me, know that I love adventure. As I grow older, I am learning that the real adventure is my family - my husband, my kids, my church. As much as I love to have adventure, spending time with my family is a far richer way to live. When you realize that that’s where the real living happens, the adventure itself is a fraction of the beauty and wonder of joy. Being with family is where the real fun is. There is a new term out now - "emergent adults". It's a term used for those who are putting off the responsibility of adulthood to "find themselves".  This concept is not new, it became popular in the 60's. It describes those who are putting off marriage, job, and adult responsibility until their late 20's or early 30's.  You don’t “find” yourself, self is “made” in relationships.

Will you play with me?
Our times together almost always include playing games. Some of our favorites are board games including but not limited to: Risk, Monopoly, Pictionary, Connect 4, Sorry, Killer Uno and Nertz, Pit, and Blockus.

Non Board Games: Couch Game, Foosball.

We always celebrate holidays together: Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas.

Fall means campfires, S'mores, hot chocolate.

Everyone always hugs everyone when we say good-bye.

My favorite Shenanigans is when we eat a nice dinner, go out and do something physically active, then come back, get cleaned up and settle in for a funny movie, pizza, hot chocolate chip cookies and milk.  Shenanigans in our house can last from 1:30 - 10:30 p.m. 

List of things we have done for our Shenanigans:

1. Sand Volleyball
2. Big Pie in the Sky Pizza
3. Flag Football
4. Nick’s Shooting Range
5. Burt's Pumpkin Patch Farms / Bucks/ Amicalola Falls
6. Hike Red Top Mountain at night
7. 4–wheeling.
8. Nertz, ping pong bonfire,
9. Stone Mountain.
10. Bowling / Put up Christmas Tree
9. Dialogue in the Dark
10. Ice Skating
11. Super Cross Motocross at the Georgia Dome
12. Picnic
13. Tennis
14. Golf
15. White Water Rafting
16. Passion City Church
17. Rock Climbing
18. Salsa Dancing
19. Braves Game
20. Hot Air Balloon Ride
21. Sky Gym
22. Roller Skating & Laser Tag

Movies we have watched together as a family

(Note: We always watch movies on a ClearPlay DVD player which edits out sex scenes, cussing, and excessive violence. This way we can truly relax while being entertained, and not compromise the principles in God's Word, which tells us to guard our hearts.)  

1. Over the Hedge
2. Meet the Robinson's
3. Cars
4. Heroes
5. The Proposal
6. Monsters vs. Aliens.
7. Up
8. Inkheart
9. Book of Eli
10. Blindside
11. Fame
12. Dumb and Dumber

Future Shenanigans:
1. Girls go shopping in Acworth while guys watch football.
2. Go see Tyler in Birmingham
3. Horse Back
4. Zip Line Banner Mills
5. Paintball
6. Georgia Aquarium
7. Caving/Spelunking
8. Atlanta Zoo
9. Hang Gliding at Look Out Mountain
10. Bluegrass Underground
11. Zorb at Pigeon Forge
12. Medieval Times
13. Rodeo at Georgia Fairgrounds.
19. Go to a football game.
20. Hockey game
21. Dave and Busters
22. Rodeo
23. State Fair Sept. 23 – Oct. 3
24. Hike to Cabin at Amicalola Park.
25. Andretti Alpharetta
26. Horseback Riding Moonlight tour
27. White Water theme park.
28. Smoke On The Mountain

Cheering you on,
Captain Fun

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dying From the Inside Out

The Death of a Dream

Poor choices made by our children is not about THEIR relationship with God as much as it is about OUR relationship with God. Raising our children to serve God is everything. It’s our whole life. It’s the most important thing to us as moms. What do we do when we see our children making poor choices? How do we handle watching them reject what we have worked so hard to teach them their whole lives?

What does it mean when your dream dies? The Bible tells of the Shunammite Woman in 2 Kings Chapter 4: Elijah tells her she is going to have a son, which God fulfills her dream and gives her a son. One day that son/dream curls up in his mother’s lap and dies and there she is holding her dead dream in her arms. Elijah lays on top of him, and prays, and the son comes back to life. What is the point of that? Why put the woman through that exercise? Why did God choose to put the woman through the death of her son? It may be that if God gives us a dream and the dream dies, God may want to see what is more important to us - the dream or God, our children or Him?

God wants us to let go of our dream of godly kids. Why would God want us to let go of our dreams? Anything that we are not willing to let go of is an idol. Our children can become idols in our lives, which is a sin. Our role of motherhood can become an idol that defines us, rather than finding our identity in our relationship with Christ Jesus. We work so hard to make sure our children never have the opportunity to miss the high mark of living for Christ. We run all across town to avoid them going to public school. We drive junk cars so we can afford Christian education. We put aside our own desires for years so we can home school them. We make sure our children are at church every time the doors are open. We pay for youth camp, mission trips, and worship camps.

I am just now learning how to wait on God. What does that look like for me? Well, busyness ends as my role of mother, nurturer, taxi driver, chef, and all the many roles that come with the title “Mom”, that require so much of my time and energy cease to exist.

As I watched my child hurt, sometimes due to this fallen, sin-filled world we live in, I saw that other pain is caused by their own poor choices.  I spent some time hurting, just hurting. I lacked motivation to do much. I would spend time sitting in the living room, looking out the window praying, and thinking. Sleeping at night became more and more difficult.

After a season of just hurting, I started reading the Bible. No kid needed a ride. No kid needed a meal fixed. No kid needed my “awesome words of wisdom” (said sarcastically). No kid needed to be picked up from school or dropped off at school. I did not even bother to make a “To Do List”. It took a while, but the only way to describe it was that I was giving up. I was giving up on trying to make things different. I was dying. I was dying to the belief that I had the ability to change my child’s heart. I was dying to the lie that I was God in their life. I was dying to MY AMBITION, MY WILL, MY HOPES, and MY DREAM.

God could have spared me the pain of watching them make poor choices, but he didn’t. It was not about God and my child, it was about God and Me: my ambitions, my dreams, my misplaced sense of identity and value.

Anything that I am not willing to let go of is an IDOL and I am in sin. They went kicking and screaming up on the altar and now they were dead. I did not want to parent any more. I did not want to give anyone any advice ever again. I wanted to let everything go and rest in God alone.

I often would fall asleep listening to the Bible playing. It would help me get to sleep. My husband and I read the Bible together at night when he gets home from work and we pray together before we fall asleep at night. We pray every night for our children.

I am still in the stage of giving up, and dying, and reading God’s word and praying. However, as I laid my dreams at the feet of Jesus, He has picked them up. I have seen a change in the heart of my children. They are all serving God and living for him today, not because of anything I have done, all because of everything God has done. This story is to be continued. God has not yet shown me how the new me is going to live. As I die to the idol of my children, I live with less anxiety in my life. I am just now discovering what I have been missing all along.

The impact doesn’t happen when we are pursuing impact, the impact happens when we are pursuing God.

The most important thing is not my work; the most important thing is pursuing God. Hold everything loosely except God. When I was finally ready to put everything on the altar and become completely broken, admitting that I cannot fix things, it was then that He was able to rebuild me and my children stronger and better for his glory. I am here humbly declaring God’s sovereignty!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Relinquish Control or Die: Ages18 - 21 Series

 3 John 4: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in Truth.”

If this is true, so is:
"I have no greater sadness than to hear that my children are NOT walking in Truth."

It used to be that bad kids from bad families did bad things and got into serious trouble. Now it can be good kids from good families who are enticed into doing terrible and destructive things. No matter how good a parent you have been, your adult children can still be impacted by the dark side of today’s culture.

One of the hardest things about being a parent is watching someone you love so much go through the treacherous roads of life, knowing you can’t possibly protect them from everything. I guess it's in those times all we can do is remember they don’t really belong to us, they are just on loan. All we can do is love them, and pray for them.

"Relinquish Control or Die"

Giving up control as a mom one baby step at a time:

God showed me where my life was out of balance. God used my kids to reveal that to me. He taught me how to relinquish control.  Because I had history with God, I knew that God was capable of being trusted. God asked me if I would trust Him with my kids. I had to be intentional about relinquishing my control. I think it's natural for a mom to want to fix everything for her kids. I’m used to being a fix it kind of person. If you have a problem, I’ll read the book on the 10 easy ways to fix this problem and I’ll take care of it. Suddenly I was in this situation where I had absolutely no ability to fix it and I realized I had to give to the Lord with an open hand.

For most of us, relinquishment is not a one time experience. Sometimes I would relinquish my control for one minute, then I would say, “No I’d like to worry about that again, I’d like to be angry about that, or I’d like to be hurt about that again." I realized that relinquishment would sometimes be for an hour, then I would relinquish for a whole day.

What does it look like if moms do not choose life and they refuse to relinquish control? It’s painful. Life does not always go as planned.

How would my life have been different if I had not relinquished? The events would have still been the same, but what would have been different had I not relinquished control to Jesus Christ, if I just couldn't let go?  Our choice is either relinquish control or die.  When I say die I do not mean physical death, but rather emotional death, where for example I curl up in a ball and die emotionally, quit answering my door, quit looking at email, quit picking up the phone, quit being a youth deacon, quit being a Daughter of the King representative, quit living.

Or choose life.

It’s important that you don’t allow yourself to get too close to people who have known no pain. People who have known some pain are safer than those who have not known pain. A good friend will weep with you, and say, “I’m so sorry for you, I'm praying for you, I'm praying for your family." Most people will think about your situation for about five minutes before they forget about you and think about their own problems. They have their own troubles and they don’t worry about us that long.

I realize that we all have similar kinds of feelings and we are not to compare each others' pain. It’s all pain. Once we realize it’s all pain, that’s when we can begin to communicate honestly with each other and start seeking biblical solutions to the problems we are all facing. The truth is, the Bible has the answers to today’s pain.
One of the reasons that we have such a hard time relinquishing control is because our identity is in the wrong place. Tomorrow I will share how important it is that our identity be in Christ. 
Forever Cheering you on to Victory in Christ.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ages 18 - 21 -These are the Best of Times, These are the Worst of Times

Parenting your adult children, ages 18 - 21:  It could be described as, "These are the best of times, these are the worst of times."

At age 18, society declares our children are adults. At 18, our military will hand our children a gun and give them the responsibility of defending our country.  However, parents of adult children have a different understanding of what it means to be an adult.  Parents believe that being an adult means you are able to support yourself and provide food, clothing, housing, and have a job that allows you to do all those things.  In our society very few 18 year olds are self sufficient.  The only thing our 18 year old children need from us is our money. They do NOT need our advice or opinions and they definitely do not need our lectures. 

We have a standard in our home called A.R.P., which stands for "Advice Requires Permission".  If at any time I offer advice without my children giving me permission to do so, they are able to hold me accountable just by saying the word ARP.  In this season of our lives, we as parents have to learn to hold our tongues. This cannot be done by using our own power. We must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit and faith. THE OPPOSITE OF FAITH IS FEAR. The reason we try so hard to control our children is because we are driven by fear. Many times the fear is rooted in mistakes that we made when we were their age. 

When our children are younger we have a high level of control.  We basically make all the decisions for our children.  We decide when they get up, what they eat, where they go, who they hang out with.  Many times the best parents during ages birth - 15, make the worst parents during ages 16 - 21, because they have been so vigilant to make sure little Johnny got everything right. When it's time for little Johnny to start making his own decisions, they are paralyzed with fear that little Johnny will make some major mistakes that will mess up the rest of his life.  One of the hardest things about being a parent is watching someone you love so much go through the treacherous roads of life, knowing you can’t possibly protect them from everything. I guess it's in those times that all we can do is remember they don’t really belong to us, they are just on loan. All we can do is love them and pray for them.  For better or for worse, our children are going to have to live with the choices that they make, as we have had to live with the choices we have made.

Don't be a Gnat in God's Face

As we pray for God to deal with our children, when our children begin to suffer we will step in and rescue them.  If you are praying for God to deal with your son or daughter, it's so important that you allow your child to suffer the pain that will bring them back to God.  As my children were growing up I use to say to them often, "YOU CAN LEARN BY LISTENING OUR YOU CAN LEARN BY PAIN."  Some kids choose to learn by pain. Another truth I would live by is: "When the face hits the pavement the ears pop open."   This is true in marriage as well. C.S. Lewis put it this way: "Pain and Suffering are the microphone to a deaf ear." So if God chooses to use pain in order to get my child's attention, I don't want to be that irritating gnat that God has to swat out of the way in order to answer my prayers for my children. 

Don't Abandon Your Child in Their Rebellion:

I am a Baby Boomer so I grew up during the time when parents were taught the "tough love" mentality when dealing with rebellious teenagers. I watched as my parents kicked my siblings out of the house. It did not work or promote positive change in my siblings. I'm not saying that approach never works, but please do not be so quick to resort to that tactic. Unless there is domestic violence, this approach is not something that I would recommend. Don't abandon your rebellious teenager. I would rather have my child make their mistakes while living under my roof where we can still have some influence on them when THEY ASK for it. 

Except from Stormie Omartian's book: "Praying For Your Adult Children"

"When you throw them out they can get into a lot of trouble. They can become more vulnerable to evil influences because they are afraid or desperate. You must have the mind of God about this. You have to be certain that throwing your adult child out of your house is what God wants you to do. In some cases it may well be, but it can’t be a decision born of human emotions, such as anger. Remember, you have released your adult child into God’s hands. That doesn’t mean you have given up on him or her. You’re not saying, “You take him, God. I can’t deal with him anymore.” Or, “That’s it, Lord. I’ve had it. She’s all Yours now.” It means you have surrendered the burden you have been carrying for your adult child to the Lord so He can take it off of your shoulders. Then the burden you carry is in prayer.  Today’s cultural environment will chew our adult children up and spit them out if they are not strong enough to recognize the destructive, dark, and powerful forces that are in it and be able to resist them. No matter how horrible our own background might have been, we weren’t confronted with the outpouring of evil they are facing today. It is becoming so dangerous that even our adult children cannot successfully withstand it on their own. They need the power of the Holy Spirit, and they need our prayers to help them understand how He moves in power on their behalf. If you have an adult child who has grieved or worried you, or caused problems for himself (herself) or for you or others, ask God to pour out His Spirit on him (her) right now. Don’t waste time blaming yourself, the other parent, or your child. I am not saying your adult children don’t bear any responsibility for what happens in their lives. They certainly do. But the overriding factor is that only an outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God on your adult children is powerful enough to withstand the onslaught of the spirit of evil coming against them. Asking God to pour out His Spirit upon your adult children is a simple prayer with powerful ramifications, both for you and for them."

This blog has gotten longer than I had anticipated, so tomorrow I will blog on "Relinquish Control or Die". Consider this the introduction to tomorrow's blog. I have heard from several of you on FaceBook that you want me to blog on marriage as well as some of my fun ideas. I will get to that eventually, I promise.

Forever Cheering you on,


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

One Size Does Not Fit All

I don't know about you, but I HATE wasting anything. I hate wasting food, I hate wasting money, but most of all I hate wasting my time or my energy.  Your TIME and your ENERGY are your most valuable commodities, so it's vital to know what your kid's love language is if you are not going to waste your time and energy.  I wanted to be intentional at filling my kid's love tank, while expending the least amount of energy. 

My daughter was age nine when I realized that her love languages were gifts and acts of service, the two love languages that I am the weakest in.  My youngest son's love language was quality time.  One of the worst punishments that I could ever give my youngest child was grounding him from seeing his friends.

My middle son's love language was physical touch.  One of the ways that I figured out what their love languages were - I took each child out to lunch individually and asked them a series of questions. 

I understand that as your children are developing and growing it might be difficult to completely figure out what their love languages are, but pay attention to what makes them light up.

Read the book: "The five Love Languages of Children" By: Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell, M.D.

It is also vital that you know your child's personality type.  I know that there are plenty of different personality books out there, but the one that I like the most is the D.I.S.C. taught by Pastor John Fichtner.  Being a Psychology minor in college I was exposed to  several forms of teaching on personality type, but the reason I like Pastor John's is that he is the only one that teaches  you what the battle is for each personality type. He also lets you know what the curses are for each personality type.   You can listen online by going to: It helped me SO much when it came to understanding my kids.  My daughter is an "I"/"C" type personality.  She was my biggest challenge in trying to figure out.  The I/C is double intense and double fragile.

My middle son TJ is "D"/"S"  He is a Doer, Driver, Direct, Dominate, personality.  With this personality type, negative punishments do not work.  They are goal oriented, so the way that you shape and mold their character is by using a totally different parenting strategy. For a "D" personality you:

AGREE ON A GOAL AND TEST A METHOD. Here is what that looks like practically speaking and an example of what we did:

Parenting Strategy for raising “D” kids - Agree on a Goal and Test a Method.

TJ’s character goal - Peaceful and Easy Going vs. Argumentative and Headstrong!

TJ’s physical reward - One $20.00 Airsoft Gun.

1. Not to disagree, argue, or have a bad attitude for thirty days.

2. Agreed upon goal - One $20.00 Airsoft Gun.

3. Time frame: Depends on TJ. Perfect record, TJ will get his gun February 14th, Valentines Day! He is allowed three strikes each day before he loses a day. That means that the date moves back a day. If the date goes past February 19th, he can no longer reach his goal of earning the gun.

4. Mom and Dad will determine what words, actions, or attitudes constitute a strike. If TJ argues about a strike, another strike will be added on.

5. If TJ loses so many strikes that he is unable to obtain the gun by February 19th, then he does not get the gun at all. This allows him 15 strikes in a 30 day period.

TJ, may I suggest you begin each day by asking the Power of God to enable you to rotate it to “S”? You are an awesome kid and I know with God’s help you will reach your goal.

Contract Signed By:

Tim Shedd _____________________________

TJ Shedd ______________________________

Naomi Shedd ___________________________

Offer expires February 19, 2002

Oh, by the way, he did get his Airsoft gun, but the more important gift was his mom learned how to TRAIN her "D" son using methods that actually work. We were big on using contracts in the teen years.  I have a file in my computer designated to various contracts to apply to various situations. 

Here are a few more ideas for creative punishments: 

1. TJ  - Agree on a goal and test a method: Example: Brag water backpack. (To earn camel back.)

2. Take away Amanda’s favorite jeans.

3. Take away new shoes.

4. No computer, email, instant message.

5. No phone.

6. Pay money.

7. Read One-Year Bible with Mom for one month. (I like this one.)

This blog concludes this series on Discipline and Punishments, so in summary here is what we covered:

The TOOLS of Consistency:

From ages 1-6 punishment was pretty cut and dry. I used the swat chart to correct my children. On a good day I would read the corresponding scripture before administering the rod of correction. On an average day I would just identify the offense, check for how many swats that offense accounted for and again administer the rod of correction. On a bad day I was too selfish and lazy to correct my children despite their misbehavior.

How much I LOVE my children is directly related to how consistently I correct them when they have done wrong (Proverbs 13:24).

Ages 7-12 We moved into the non -spanking, negative reinforcement. I moved more into the discipline and training of my children. This is when it takes more effort on Tim and I to "always have a punishment in our back pocket.”

Ages 13–18: We moved into the TRAINING era of developing our children. This is the toughest area of parenting, because we have to grow up. This is mutual respect and mutual accountability. This is when we begin the process of transferring authority to our children.

Tomorrow's blog is entitled: "Relinquish Control or Die"

Forever your biggest fan,