Tag Archives: Parenting

Book Review: The Pastor’s Family

Book Review:  The Pastor’s Family by Brian & Cara Croft

The Good:

It Takes Two.  Probably my favorite aspect of the book is each chapter provides two perspectives:  the pastor and the pastor’s wife.  This did two things.  First, as a pastor it provided encouragement, challenge, and practical training for the years ahead.  Second, it provided a whole new perspective of what the wife feels, deals with, and the challenges they face.  It allows the reader to come away more sensitive to the other spouse and a willingness to see the other side of situations.

Big Eye Emoji.  I was shocked.  Maybe I need to be a better student of church history, but I had no idea of the struggles some of the greatest preachers in history had in their family life.  Marital struggles, parenting regrets, and family difficulty…how was I so naive.  If these fellas struggled, I need to be even more on guard and fight for my marriage, my family, my children.

Heart to Heart.  At the end of each chapter, it allows the husband and wife to ask questions.  Each of these questions were well thought out and are valuable to a ministry marriage.  Put these into practice and allow it to be life-changing material rather than just head knowledge.

The Bad:

For Real.  This is stretching it, but for someone early in ministry there needs to be a warning here.  This book is real and honest.  It speaks of difficulties, depression, struggles…just make sure you are ready to read this.  It acts as a warning, and an important one, but prepare yourself if you are just entering ministry or have a young marriage/family.

The Grade:  A.  Those in ministry need to read this book.  It won’t take you long, but it will have great impact.  It’s highly practical, challenging, and encouraging along the way.  It’s like a pastoral mentor and his wife taking you by the hand and leading you through the next years of your marriage and parenting.  The value goes beyond the price of the book.  Without a godly family, how will you have a godly ministry.  Sometimes we get things backwards…this book will help put you back on track.

Extra Credit:  Read the reflection article on pages 107-109.  It is dynamite.

 

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Need help with parenting?

That seems like a silly question.  Couldn’t all parents use at least a little help with parenting.  Paul Tripp wrote a book called “Parenting”.  You know what it is about?  Parenting.  Seriously though, it’s more than that.  This book has a dynamite combination.  Sometimes when you combine two things, it’s not so great.  Like hot dogs and mayonnaise, not what the doctor ordered.  Or how about stripes and plaids?  Gasoline and an open flame?  These are all disasters waiting to happen.  But when you combine a parenting book with the Gospel, you get a must read.

Book Review:  Parenting:  14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul Tripp 410ppsax0fl-_sx328_bo1204203200_

The Good:

Don’t Skip the Intro.  What a way to set up a book!  Like a great pregame from a coach, the author’s motivation in the opening pages is impeccable.  Not sure about the book, read the intro and you’ll be asking “Where do I sign?”

Gospel-Centered.  The author’s web page suggested his concern of parenting self-help books, and even his previous parenting books being held in more importance than God’s Word.  So, the author goes all out in taking the Gospel into parenting, rather than the other way around.  And he does a masterful job of instilling Gospel principles into everyday parenting.  It’s not too over the top, the “porridge” tastes just right.

That Didn’t Take Long.  Read a chapter and set a timer…it won’t be very long until you are tested with these practical principles from God’s Word.  These chapters are filled with practical lessons, that are both challenging and convicting.  And it doesn’t take long for you to be tested on the material.

The Bad:

This, This, and This.  The author has a certain style.  He like a particular mode of writing.  The book is filled with a specific literary technique.  I was trying to be subtle there, but the author tends to lean on a repetitive style of writing, and enjoys repeating a phrase in different ways.  Most of the time, it is very effective and needed, but every once in a while the list just seems redundant.

The Grade:  A.  For any phase of parenting, this book is a must read.  Read it before having kids.  Read it when you are in the heat of the battle.  Read it as a grandparent.  Suggest it to friends.  Suggest it in parent meetings.  It’s a must read.  It goes to the heart of both the parent and the child, and it does not let go.  It is enlightening, frustratingly challenging, spiritually uplifting, directionally on target, and never wavers from the truth of God’s Word.  It is a must read.

 

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Book Review: Age of Opportunity

Book Review:  Age of Opportunity by Paul David Tripp

The Good:index

Do you know a Teenager?  Then read this book.  If you are a parent of a teenager, read this book.  If you work with teenagers, read this book.  If you know the name of a teenager, read this book.  Seriously, it is one of the best books I have read for guiding teens to a godly life.

Preparation for Life.  I feel like this book truly prepares the parent for real life.  Tripp is honest in his parenting short falls and weaknesses that we all share as parents.  He does not sugar coat the difficulty of raising a teenager, but he provides valuable insight on truly getting your teenager ready to face the world, AND have an effect on the world for Christ.

Biblical.  This book is intensely Biblical.  Drawing the wisdom and insight from Scripture, it allows you trust what is being presented, because it is straight from God’s Word.  It not only provides the Scripture backing, but also ways to guide your teens to find their answers for living within the pages of the Word of God.

The Bad:

Length.  If you are not an avid reader, this would be the only drawback.  It is a long parent book, but if you stick with it, it is well worth your time.

The Grade:  A.  No book is perfect (except ones that are inspired by God), but this one is a good as they come.  Every parent should have this on their shelf and should be referenced often in their pursuit of raising godly children.  It provides practical ways to prepare their child for real life along with a proper balance of living an effective Christian life.  Priceless advice that needs to be read and re-read often.

 

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Book Review: Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

Book Review: Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Dr. Meg Meeker

The Good:

Eye-Opening. Dads, buckle up. You might want to sit down when you are reading this, especially the first few chapters that make you want to buy a gun, lessen the curfew by a few hours, and but state of the art tracking devices. The statistics and study data is jaw-dropping. My advice: Just take a breather, allow it to soak it, and know that in the coming chapters – help is on the way!strong-fathers-strong-daughters-570x754

Inspirational. The powerful, true stories of fathers taking charge in their daughter’s lives is inspiring. These fathers were truly heroes in their daughters lives, and it inspired the dads reading the pages to be the same to their daughters. The difficult stories are also inspirational in their honesty and the importance a dad is in their daughter’s lives.

Extremely Practical. You will come away with practical ways to be a better dad. I mean, that’s why you read this book in the first place. You opened the book to find ways to be a stronger father and to produce a stronger daughter. The author does a great job at providing practical steps in making this happen.

The Bad:

Can be Repetitive. Can be Repetitive. See what I did there.

8 Chapters later, “Oh There you are God”. Maybe this is my fault. I came expecting much more of a spiritual approach to fatherhood. The emphasis on God’s place in parenting does not come into focus until chapter 8 titled “Teacher Her Who God Is”. Why did she wait so long to teach this important aspect of parenting? The downside of a highly practical book is the spiritual side takes a hit.

Too much Father, Not enough Heavenly Father. Piggybacking on the previous point, there is almost too much emphasis on the father. Sure, the points about the importance of a father in a daughter’s life cannot be stressed enough, but it came at the expense of what the Heavenly Father can do in their life. It might even lead the reader to believe the father must be their #1 resource, which cannot be true. God must be that stronghold and refuge…fathers must come in second, but a distant second to God the Father.

The Grade: B-

Again, this could be my fault, but I expected more spiritual fatherly training. It’s in there, but not as predominant as I expected. However, the practicality of this book is through the roof. I still have recommended it to dads of daughters. It is truly eye-opening, inspirational, and needed training for fathers. You very likely will be motivated to do all you can to protect and be the model for your daughters after reading this book. Your daughter needs you, and you need to read this book.

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Facts About Teens & Drugs

Take a ride on this research train.  Talk to kids about drugs early and often.  Stay informed.  Have conversations and set limits and boundaries.  Click on the picture below to find out more…

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Book Review: The Stick Faith Guide For Your Family

Book Review: The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family by Dr. Kara Powell5258580_orig

The Good:

Real. This book could not get any more real. We are talking about real advice from real families. This book is essentially a collection of advice from parents for the sole purpose of building a faith that sticks in their kids. This is not advice from a panel of psychologists or “parent experts”…no these are real parents that are in the trenches just like you grasping at ideas that will really work and help their child develop their faith.

Practical (Extremely). This may be the most practical parenting book I have ever picked up. From the very start, I was underlining ideas that I could implement right away. In fact, the author even warns the reader to take it slow and just take 5 ideas at a time. Otherwise, it could be overwhelming since there are so many good ideas. And since there are so many ideas, it is easy for any family to find something that fits their family situation (i.e. single parent homes, teenager-filled home, young children, etc.)

Ministry Treasures. From chapter 7 which talks about the elder generation’s impact on kids, to the chapter on mentoring…these can be very valuable in building a ministry that is inter-generational. Pastors, youth workers, children’s ministry volunteers…these are pages that need to be read and ideas that can be implemented tomorrow.

Gone too soon. Although I am a parent of young kids, everyone tells me the time goes so quickly. These pages are full of ideas to value the time and use it to have a real impact for your child’s relationship with God and others.

The Bad:

Occasional Bad Advice. Here are a few examples: #1: Allow your child to seek another church/skip youth group – sure this is a little out of context, but did not like reading it, nonetheless. #2: Apologize – Not found in the Bible. Encourage forgiveness over apologizing.

Wide Denomination Range. This is more of a warning for the reader. This is to a wide (Christian-based) denomination audience, so as long as you know that going in, it will prevent confusion.

Could use a little more grace. Many parents are suffering having a prodigal son or daughter. I think this book is missing a chapter on ministering to those that fade away or are rebelling. And also a reinforcement of the idea of there is no perfect plan, but it is of God’s grace. This is in there, but could use more of these types of encouragement and reminders throughout.

The Grade: B.

In the fall, I will be recommending this book to my parents as a valuable resource, and I recommend it to you as well. Powell provides incredible ideas for parents to have a deep impact on their children’s faith. I can almost guarantee any parent can find at least 5 ideas from this book that they can start doing immediately. And everyone is different, so this book provides an incredible variety of families and ideas for everyone to try. The realness, the variety, and the potential impact on children make this book a highly recommended parenting source.

 

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3 Ways to Be a Better Father

Following Father’s Day, it is important to reflect and re-energize ourselves into being better and more godly fathers.  Here are three ways we can do just that…Presentation1

Focus on the Unseen

Dads – we like simple instructions. Here is one, if you can see it then it is temporary, but eternal things are unseen. Each day we get older and closer to eternity…but don’t wait until then to focus on the eternal. When your kids look through what you leave them – they may find sports jerseys, tools, or a coin collection. But what your kids really need you to leave them – faith lessons, integrity & leadership example, path to purity, and the way to Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Remember What Matters

As you sit around the dinner table today – it is a blessing to have your kids sitting there, but it is a much more significant blessing to have your kids sitting at God’s table one day. Your kids will not remember the cost of going out for ice cream – but they may recall the lesson of forgiveness they learned while eating it. Your kids will probably never know the amount of your rent or mortgage payment – but they will recall the prayers by their bedside in their room. Your kids often have no idea how tired you are, but your faith and confidence in God’s plan will help them rest. You get the point? Remember what matters.

Point Them to Jesus

Dads – you can’t be there all the time. But you can point them towards something that can be – their relationship with their Lord & Savior. Your example can point them to Jesus. When they see your life as a picture of grace, forgiveness, trust, mercy, & unconditional love…that becomes a life that points to Jesus. You are showing your kids where the true treasures are. Financial stability, comfortable living conditions, good education are all good things…but those things will fade away…point your kids toward Jesus, an eternal inheritance, a life following God & His Word. Teach them a life given to Jesus a being a good steward of what God gave them…and it is the best life, the life that holds the most joy, and the life that will one day experience eternity as a child of God.

Finally, the best thing to do as a father: Introduce your kids to the Heavenly Father.

Taken from the Father’s Day Sermon called “Good Steward Parenting”

 

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Advice for Middle School Parents & Ministry

Andy Stanley brings some great advice on parenting kids in middle school.  Also provides great value to those working in middle school ministry.

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Explaining the Bible to Your Kids

Looking for a great way to explain the Bible to your kids?  Here’s a great place to start…

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Which Movie Will You See Valentine’s Day?

There are two completely different movies coming out on Valentine’s Day this year.  One is called “50 Shades of Grey”, and the other is called “Old Fashioned”.  This video helps parents help direct their kids to the right movie.  But it also is a great reminder to dads of the responsibility we have to not only be an example to our daughters, but teach them the type of man they should be seeking in marriage someday.

Check this out:

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