Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Evangelist or Discipler

Last month I had the great privilege of going to the NANC (National Association of Nouthetic Counselors) conference in Walnut Creek, California.  When you plan to go to a conference you have many expectations of what its going to be like and what you are expecting to get out of it.  What always amazes me is that God has a plan for you and your expectations and plans don't always meet up with His.  Truly I didn't have a direct agenda or goals in going to this conference but I sat back and saw how God was in the details of it all and was showing me what He wanted me to get out of the conference. It was exactly what I needed to hear to the utmost detail.  Again I didn't put much planning on the classes I was attending and it changed as I went along BUT GOD and His Sovereignty shines through all of this through and through.
I've been spending time with a young woman (counseling) who I am not sure if she is saved so I decided at the last minute to attend Stuart Scott's class on "Sharing the Gospel with an Unconverted Counselee."  I was familiar with Stuart Scott because he came to my old church to head up the Biblical Counseling Department, but my husband & I were in the process of selling our business and moving to Northern California so we hadn't had the opportunity to be involved in his ministry or hear him speak much.  As the session began a story unfolded that was so unexpected for me.  He began to share about his children and the concerns and struggles him and his wife had in particular with their daughter.  He talked about how as parents our children make professions of faith at young ages and then as parents we embark on disciplining them when in reality they don't completely understand  or come to a saving knowledge of Christ.  Our children are "Christianized Pagans." They talk the talk but they don't walk the walk.  They have no desire or interest to be in God's Word.  They love going to church but that's because they're friends are there.  They know the truths of the Scripture and can repeat them to you but its apparent that they haven't placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. He said, "You can't disciple the lost!" Stuart shared that his daughter at the age of sixteen came to him sobbing with the confession that she couldn't live the lie anymore and that she wasn't a Christian.  He said, "I was so thankful that she knew who she was."  That sentence plays back in my thoughts so much since I've heard them.  The deep faith and trust in Christ that it takes to say those words.  Can I say that when it comes to my own children's salvation?  He had to leave the position that he held at the church and so this confession from his daughter had a huge impact on them as a family.  Two years later his daughter was headed off to college and he asked her if he could share the gospel with her one last time and she agreed, which leads to the thorough gospel presentation that he put together that he uses with all his counselees and went over with all of us in his NANC class.  He talked about how some Christians teach how the outcome of their children's salvation is the parent's responsibility.  He said, "what kind of theology is that? SALVATION IS OF THE LORD! God has called some parents to be evangelist their whole lives or God has called them to be evangelist and then disciplers.  There are many Christian parents with huge guilt trips because they think they're children's salvation depended on them." 

So I ask you, are you an Evangelist or a Discipler?  I ask myself, "am I a evangelist or a discipler?"  God confirmed for me again that my role in my children's life is to be an example of Christ's work in me and that my life is to reflect His grace, love and redemptive work in me.  To be living it out in profound ways.  I need to be preaching the gospel to myself, to them and to others.  God does the work in their hearts and lives in them just like He does in me and continues to do the work.  There are many who are preaching a different message when it comes to parenting.  Others are preaching a method that leads to "works righteousness" and that it ALL depends on what I am doing. This is not what the Bible teaches, nor is it the gospel. Some are even going to the lengths to say that as parents of non-believing children you did not have enough faith in the promises of God and that is the reason your children aren't believers.   Yes God calls us to love and lead our children to Christ BUT the lie is the doing on our part of any shape or form is a guarantee to produce godly children.  God never guarantees us godly children by raising them a certain way.  There are no recipes out there that create godly children.  SALVATION IS OF THE LORD!

"God doesn't promise our children's salvation in response to our obedience, because He never
encourages self-reliance.  It would be against God's character to give us a promise that our children will be saved if we raise them in a certain way.  That would mean that He was telling us to trust in something other than Christ and His grace & mercy.  He would be encouraging us to trust in ourselves, and God never does that.  The way of the Lord is always a way of faith - faith in His goodness, mercy and love.  Our faith is to be in Him, not in ourselves."
 (Give Them Grace pg.62)

I did plan on going to Elyse Fitzpatrick's teaching session which was after Stuart Scott's.  And the exact words came out of her mouth, "SALVATION IS OF THE LORD!!"  Thank you Jesus for being in the details of my everyday life.  After the NANC conference is when I began to read "Give Them Grace" and highly recommend every parent no matter if you're an Evangelist or a Discipler to read it.  

I have one more book to give away on November 27th, 2011 7pm PST.  Same rules applied follow blog, FB or Twitter.  Repost and/or retweet and receive more entries in the giveaway.  I've saved everyone who entered last week as well so you all still have a chance to win as well.  Let me know how you've entered in my comments.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

2 Winners for "Give Them Grace" Book Giveaway

Drumroll please! Thank you for all the entries, follows, tweets & reposts of the giveaway.  The winners for tonight is:
Sarah Harrison Woodward
Jessica Thommarson

Congrats ladies! I messaged you via Facebook to send me your addresses so I can email you your "Give Them Grace" books.  So very excited for you! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Are you raising a Pharisee or a Lover of Jesus?

Is there a book that you've recently read that has stopped you in your tracks? One that rocks you to the core of your being and makes you rethink your Christian walk and how you live your life? "Give Them Grace - Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus" by Elyse Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson is the book that has done that for me recently.   It's a must read for every Christian mom & dad.  I know that you hear that time and time again but this book will change your perspective not only in the way you interact with your children but it will open up your heart and see how you truly see your Saviour.  Do you see him as the Lawgiver and Judge? As the disappointed Father every time you sin? No, He is the God of Grace who loved me even though I was sinner and paid the price for me, not so that I would live perfectly but live in the grace that He's bestowed on me by paying the price of my sin with His perfect life and sacrifice.
This book isn't a "how to" raise godly children.  Are you disappointed? It's a book to show you that your children need the gospel not the law.  What saved us in our trespasses? Not the law, but His grace! Hallelujah for God's grace.  Hallelujah for a Christian parenting book that finally preaches the truth of His grace and not the burden of the law.

"Nearly every parenting book you'll read will tell you how to be a successful parent of successful,
seemingly sinless children.  Our modern worship of personal success stories is clearly seen
in the number of books that outline the methods for producing spiritual giants.  Whether
they encourage family-integrated education and worship, public schools, immersing our family in the culture, or moving to a little house on the prairie, being a successful parent and raising
successful kids is the only paradigm we seem to be willing to accept.  But what if we're measuring
success in the wrong way?  Could it be that our perception of success isn't God's plan
for us or for our family? What if he's going to use our failure and our children's rebellion to make us humble comforters of other sufferers for his glory?" pg.148

"Do you hear the underlying message of that best-selling book? Your child's success depends
entirely on your ability to communicate to him in the right way. "If we do our job right as parents to instill these values, our kids will be a success at whatever they do! We'll have trophy kids!  This is the message of every book about parenting that is not rooted in the grace of God demonstrated
in the gospel. ..... parenting books are not Christian if their primary message is law.  If their
message isn't rooted and grounded in the truth that you and your children are deeply sinful
yet deeply loved, in reality its nothing more than a glorification of the will and work of the parent.
Aside from placing a crushing burden of guilt and fear upon the backs of dads and moms, the thought that we can change any one's heart is laughable. Change our children's hearts?
Only God has the power to change the heart!.....

When we make parenting more complex than God has made it, we afflict ourselves with burdens
too heavy for us to carry, and we are unintentionally presuming that the good news of the gospel
is insufficient." pg 161

There isn't a page in this book of mine that isn't highlighted in yellow.  These are only some of the quotes that made the ground underneath me move and quake that I walk on daily.  If you know me you wouldn't think or even suggest that I am legalistic or struggle with that in my Christian walk but this book really made me examine how I have explained or have been an example of what the gospel is to my children. 
A few weeks ago I was driving my oldest son to school and I asked him, "What makes a person a Christian?" He proceeded to give me a list of things Christians don't do.  My worse fear may have come true.  Have I raised a Pharisee? Have a raised a rule keeper or a Jesus' lover? I proceeded to tell him that a Christian isn't necessarily a person who goes to church, doesn't cuss, doesn't do drugs, etc.  Just because you do those things isn't what makes you a Christian.  It's what you love and do you love Christ more than anything and want to live your life for Him is why you do or don't do those things.  We go to church because we love Christ and want to worship Him and be with His people.  We try to live holy lives because He is holy and we love Him and want to please Him, but doing those things doesn't make us holy or make us right with Him.  He has done that already by His death on the cross. 

I want to get this book in parent's hands so I will be doing a book giveaway Sunday, November 20th & Sunday, November 27th. You can enter numerous ways and each one will give you another entry in the giveaway.  You can  follow my blog, "like" my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, repost & retweet the giveaway on your pages or blogs. I will keep all entries till we give away both copies of "Give Them Grace" on Nov. 27th.  Leave comments on my blog to show me which way you've entered the giveaway.  Please include me in your reposts so I can accurately keep track of your entries. 
I will continue to post my favorite quotes of "Give Them Grace" during the duration of the two giveaways.