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Christian Home and Family Radical Faith for Generations
9 minutes | Mar 20, 2018
To build a Christ-centered home, you go first (Episode 106]
19 minutes | Feb 15, 2018
Why Our Kids Don't Date and How We Accomplished It - Episode 105
Why our kids do not date This post is not about dating VS courtship... so you can relax. This post is about the wisdom (or lack of wisdom) that is inherent in the cultural practice of dating... and what can be done about it in YOUR family. When my oldest son was very small, my wife and I prayerfully decided that our children would not "date" in the typical sense of the word. Our experiences had not been all that great, and we knew there had to be a better way for a Christ-centered family to go about it. Before I tell you how we accomplished that in a way that all our children have willingly and even joyfully adopted it... let me tell you WHY we made that decision. Reasons we didn't want our kids to date #1 - "Pairing up" as couples is for the purpose of heading toward marriage We really believe that. There's no other reason for a young man and young woman to pair up. So think it through... at what age is a young man or young woman actually READY to be seriously heading toward marriage? Twelve? Sixteen? Eighteen? What do YOU think? You absolutely MUST answer that question well if you are going to think about this issue well. When we allow eleven or twelve year olds... or fifteen and sixteen year olds for that matter, to pair up - it's premature. They are not yet of marrying age, so why would we allow them into a context where everything is heading toward marriage? They aren't ready for it... so it's foolish to allow it. We can talk about it in ways that prepare them for what's ahead... and we should. But we don't have to thrown them into dating in order for them to learn about it. #2 - Romantic relationships require a tremendous amount of maturity and emotional self-control in order to be healthy Even adults have a hard time handling the emotions that come with a committed relationship. There are vital, mature skills needed in order to make a one-on-one relationship like dating work - things like deep communication, consideration of others, insight into human nature, commitment to high moral standards, etc. How many pre-teen or teen-aged kids do you know who have those skills? How many adults? Why would we put our children into a relationship for which they are not prepared? When we do, failure is the only logical outcome... as well as pain that doesn't need to happen. Instead of putting them in the dating meat-grinder, why don't we use the time to build good character into them? Why don't we help them think biblically and maturely about marriage, relationships, and family? I think that goes a lot farther than the dating alternative. #3 Dating places far too much sexual temptation on the soul of a child who is not ready to bear it. Our culture sexualizes everything... dating most of all. From the moment a couple pairs up, the pressure is on to hold hands, get physically close, kiss, touch each other's bodies, and everything that naturally follows. It's unhealthy and unwise to put children in that context. So think it though... here are some questions for you to consider: Is this child ready for the responsibility of their own child? Is this couple ready for the responsibility of a family? If not... dating is a bad idea. #4 - Dating encourages emotionalism that can easily cloud sound, godly judgment. Every Christian parent wants their child to marry a person who loves Jesus and is impacted by their personal walk with Him. But how many times does that happen in the normal dating scene? Very seldom. Here's an example of what happens instead: A young lady is allowed to get involved with a young man who is not all that the parents hope. He's probably not even all the the young lady hoped... but he's paying attention to her, saying sweet nothings, making her feel special... and it's hard for her to think about all the things he's not. She feels too many warm fuzzies being around him to let herself consider such logical matters. This scene could happen with a young man just as easily as a young woman. I've seen it in counseling and pastoral ministry countless times. What has happened? There isn't enough spiritual and emotional maturity developed yet... they don't have a chance of stepping back, considering reality, and making a godly decision... especially in a culture that tells them relationships of this type are all about the feelings. Dating sets that up... makes it the most likely outcome. That's dangerous, and we don't want any part of it. Those are some of the more vital reasons we decided that our children would not date. To us, it seemed like inviting a hungry lion into a sheepfold... and we wanted our little lambs to live to see the day they had the opportunity to raise their own little flock. How did we accomplish our children happily not dating? It's not as hard as you might think... unless you've waited too long to get started. #1 - We started young When our children were old enough to understand that there were such things as girls and boys, we began talking about the wonderful differences God created in male and female. We began explaining the way a man and woman come together in marriage to create a family. We began telling them how much the LORD loves marriage. Then we began talking about how a man and woman come to be in love, how they have to be mature, healthy, and grown-up enough to love and take care of the needs of another person. We'd even talk about how far our children were from being ready for that responsibility. Without fail, they saw it as clearly as we did and had no desire to have a boyfriend or girlfriend, no matter how "cute" it might be at a young age. #2 - We continued the conversation When our kids were eight, nine, ten, and eleven, we began talking about dating itself... mostly through discussing what we observed going on around them. We pointed out teen couples and asked our children what they thought. We asked them if they thought it was wise for a couple who is not old enough or mature enough to get married, to pair up like that. Without hesitation, they said, "No." They began to see for themselves that dating early is a silly thing. #3 - We introduced our plan Before we started talking about dating-alternatives, we first talked about what it takes to be a good companion. Maturity, selflessness, wisdom, self-control, willingness to serve, desire to care for another person. We helped our children see that before they'd be ready to pair up, they'd need to be well on their way in those and other areas. From there, we told them that we did not think it was wise for them to date at all until they were of an age that they could "do something about it" (get married). They saw it the same way and agreed to it, no problem. #4 - We watched carefully and continued to talk All of our discussion and planning didn't prevent crushes and puppy-love from showing up in our home. It wasn't long before one of our kids got asked out or to be somebody's girlfriend or boyfriend. Let me pause here to say this... if you've not been consistently pursuing your children with good communication up until this point, this is where they may try to hide things from you. If so, you're in for it. The early years of your relationship with your children establish healthy groundwork for the teen years. You have GOT to work at developing closeness with your children all the way along. Don't wait until the teen years and then expect that you're going to be able to pull off a healthy dating policy. You'll get serious push-back. So, back to my description... We didn't allow the crushes and invitations from potential significant others to go underground. We talked about them. We asked the child what they liked about the person. We asked if they felt warm inside or happy inside when they were with them. We wanted our kids to know that we understood what they were feeling. But we also asked them again if they were ready for marriage. We asked them if they were ready to love that other person the way that a committed relationship requires. This helped them see that what they were feeling was only feelings... not a true gauge of their readiness. Then we'd remind them... "This is why we decided that you wouldn't date... remember?" They did... and we'd move ahead in unity. And we continued to talk, almost daily, as long as we knew the feelings of attraction were still there. Typically it wasn't long until the feelings went away and they were once again happily non-dating. It was kind of funny... by the time our kids were fourteen or fifteen, they were saying to us and others (with great conviction) the very things we'd said to them about dating. What happened when they were old enough to date? The story has been told many times already about what happened when my oldest son met his future wife. He was 19 at the time, and had been going to a weekly western dance at a camp near where we live because one of his friend's dads ran the thing. One Thursday evening when he and his sister (two years younger) were getting ready, she said, in our hearing, "Aaron, did you tell Mom and Dad about Hannah?" You'd better believe we stepped through that door... He told us about this cute red-head he'd met the week before, but he didn't seem as excited as I expected. So I asked him, "Do you like her? Do you think she might be a person you would marry?" He said, "Yeah, maybe." That's when I said the infamous phrase he's repeated many times... "What are you going to do about it?" He said that's when he realized that I thought he was ready. It mattered to him that I thought he was mature enough to pursue a loving relationship with a young woman... and that he'd do well at it. And he has.
15 minutes | Jan 18, 2018
Loving The Personal Weakness of Your Spouse [Ep 104]
Our culture tends to be a really self centered. There is not much grace for the personal weakness of others. And so, in step with our culture, a lot of the things that you hear talked about when it comes to the difficulties of married life have to do with one of the partners being bothered by the actions or attitudes of the other partner. As a result we hear complaining - we hear wishes of the things that the other spouse would do differently - and I think while that’s totally understandable, it is NOT the approach we as believers in Christ should be taking. This episode is all about THAT - what do you do when it comes to your spouse’s personal weaknesses? My contention - you should love them not only in spite of those weaknesses, you should also love them IN those weaknesses. Listen to this episode to hear my explanation. Subscribe to the CHAF Podcast On Android | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Podbean | Spreaker | Email What you’ll learn about loving your spouse’s personal weaknesses… [2:00] The different approach believers in Christ need to take when it comes to the weaknesses of others - including our spouse [7:20] The approach of proactive love in the areas of weakness your spouse experiences [8:54] Jesus is the perfect example of proactive love - like we need to express to our spouse What I've discovered about proactively loving the personal weaknesses of my spouse (and that she’s learned about mine)... It was 8 to 10 years into my marriage before Iearned a very important truth about the way I’m supposed to love my wife. It has to do with those things that my spouse struggles with personally. I'm talking about struggles here, things that give her a hard time in life - like in the securities and fears and doubts she feels, you know, those kinds of things that plague all of us but that we don't always readily want to admit to other people. You know you get to see those in your spouse better than you get to see them in anyone else. And as time goes on you get to learn what it is that pushes their buttons… Things that make them afraid Things that makes them doubt themselves Things that make them doubt God's work in their lives Instead of being bothered by those things, instead of being perturbed or irritated, or complaining - we as believers in Christ have a great opportunity to really care for our spouse in a proactive way when it comes to those things. Take the time to listen to this short episode to find out how you can do that - how you can help your spouse in those very areas of personal weakness that plague them the most - by your effective use of proactive love. Thinking ahead in light of your spouse’s personal weaknesses can help you help them through the power of love that never fails. Here’s how it works… Getting ourselves in a position where we're mindful of the struggles our spouses have, knowing the things that are hard for them is a great opportunity for us to help them overcome those very things that plague them the most. What we need to do is to love them in a way that tries to help them with those very issues ahead of time. I can give you an example or two from my experience - and my wife does not mind me sharing this with you because she shares this with people all the time. It’s one of the examples she often shares to enable others to understand what it is to be human and how we fight our own failings and our own insecurities day after day after day in order to better follow Christ. And so here's is the example when we first married. My wife had this tendency to be very very concerned about what people thought of her. You know… Did they approve of what she said there? Did they feel like she was being wise? Did they see her in some critical light or think badly of her? That may sound extreme but if we are honest we know that we all struggle with that sort of thing from time to time - we all have that sort of desire to please people. And with my wife, I had begun to notice that and how sometimes it became almost debilitating. She could be struggling with an insecurity, she could be struggling with some situation and it caused her to doubt herself - it caused her to to wonder if she was truly wise in the LORD. It caused her to have all kinds of questions about herself. When I began to notice how hard it was for her, the LORD gave me an idea. I was to help her know the TRUTH about what He was doing in her, about the gifts of wisdom and insight He had given her, by encouraging and affirming her in those very areas. It served as a counteractive force against the insecurities she was feeling so that eventually, she could begin to believe and act on the truth. This episode is about that - learning about your spouse’s weaknesses for the sake of helping them overcome them. Listen - please, listen. This could change your marriage. The love of Jesus (dying on the cross) demonstrates the way we are to sacrifice in order to meet the exact needs of others, especially those we love most When Jesus died on the cross, He did so in part to love us IN our weaknesses. Before we were even born - think about that - we were on His mind when He was on the cross. No, we did not deserve His love, we did not have any sense in which we were competent in and of ourselves - yet Jesus came to die for us, to love us ahead of time because He knew the need we were going to have. Our love for our spouse is to mirror the love of Christ for His church. We are able through His strength to NOT be irritated by our spouse’s personal weaknesses or insecurities, or the same old struggles that they might go through again and again and again. Instead, we have an opportunity. to minister to those areas of need, those areas of weakness - we have an opportunity to help for them overcome those things in a proactive way. I hope this concept is striking a home with you. Because I know we all, throughout the course of our lives, feel various times of irritation with our spouse. And it's in those moments that we have to learn, we have to remember, that Christ in us wants to help our spouse, He actually wants them to grow out of the struggle to be a person who overcomes BECAUSE OF His power in their life. And that can be done, in part, by the way we love the mess our spouse can be in at times. We don't give up on them just like Jesus does not give up on them. We don't resign ourselves to the fact that “That's just the way they are!” No, instead, we hold out hope for them. We rest in the fact that Christ is not finished in with the work He's is doing in them - and that we as their spouse are one of the primary tools He will use to enable them to overcome those very struggles that are so bothersome to us. Connect With Carey and Christian Home and Family Website: www.ChristianHomeandFamily.com On Facebook On Twitter On YouTube
12 minutes | Dec 21, 2017
How a commitment to personal freedom is gutting Christian parenting [Ep 103]
A while back my wife and I were talking about absolutes... As we sat over coffee at our favorite local hangout (my favorite drink is a "Honey Badger," with a little extra "badger" - you should try one), we were trying to soak in the blessings God has poured out on our lives. We both teared up at times (which happens when you realize how much you don't deserve all the goodness you get from God). ><><><>< Subscribe to the CHAF Podcast On Android | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Podbean | Spreaker | Email |FEED URL: http://chaf1.libsyn.com/rss ><><><>< We were wondering at the fact that so many in the new generation of parents seem to be put off by absolutes. We hear it often in statements like these... I want to parent in a way that encourages my child to take charge of their life. I don't want to require things of my kids, I want them to discover it for themselves. I want my kids to be free to chose their own path. On the surface all of these statements have some elements of truth to them. I have no problem there. But stated in those ways, each of them communicates what I believe is an underlying belief system - that personal freedom is of the utmost value. And that's a poisonous contention that is quickly gutting Christian parenting of its effectiveness. Freedom is a great blessing God has given to us as humans... but it has its limits. In my years as a pastor I was often asked what I thought about the issue of "free will." It's a sort of hotbed issue for many who enjoy the intellectual challenge of understanding deep things. My answer was seldom satisfactory for most people who asked, but it's one I've come to over many years of watching the impact both sides of the debate have had on the real lives of people. My response to the question? I believe people have "free will," but only within the limits of what they are as creatures. Simply, that means that God remains God. He gets to choose everything that happens, and He does. Our freedom operates within that, underneath that, never outside it. So, are we responsible for the choices we make? Absolutely. But over and above that choice is God, working all things together for our good and His glory. How does this gut Christian parenting of its effectiveness? When parents put emphasis on teaching their children that they are free to choose, to act, to determine their own destiny, they are doing a good thing. Those are important realizations for anyone to come to. But if they do so to a greater degree than they focus on the fact that the child is deeply loved by and answerable to the living God, that child is being deprived of the most central reality of the universe: God Himself as an active part of life. What's the most important thing you could teach them from an early age? He is life. THAT is the truth that governs all that is. It's the sovereign fact that trumps the child's personal freedom every, single time. Knowing that God is real, alive, and personally active in their life is what will activate and grow the child's godly conscience. It's what will make them care whether their actions and attitudes are rebellious and self absorbed, or appropriately submissive and others-centered. This morning as we sat over our drinks, my wife recalled a memory from when our oldest son was very small, perhaps 7 or 8 months old. He sat in his bouncy seat on the kitchen table while she put away the dishes. She told him about Jesus. She told him that her smile was a Jesus' smile, that Jesus was happy about Aaron (our son's name). Those kinds of interactions have been a regular part of how my wife parents. Did Aaron understand what she was saying? At that age, not intellectually. But his young soul was sponge-like, soaking up truth as it was being spoken. As those truths were added to over the years and lived out by the most influential people in his life (his parents), they shaped him from the inside out, orienting him toward God-as-King rather than self-determination. 5 children later, we've seen the fruit of those faithful and genuine actions 5 times over. I say none of this to impress you, but to impress something upon you... When we favor personal freedom over personal responsibility to the God who is here, now, actively interacting with us, we set up ourselves as the most important consideration. We push God out of awareness. We make self-determination the highest value. And God becomes an impersonal concept, subject to our individual beliefs about Him. It's a pattern for self-deception and soul-destruction. Seek the Lord and live, lest He break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel, O you who turn justice to wormwood and cast down righteousness to the earth! He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name; who makes destruction flash forth against the strong, so that destruction comes upon the fortress. They hate Him who reproves in the gate, and they abhor Him who speaks the truth. ~ Amos 6:6-10 Though originally spoken to a culture very far removed from our own, the lesson Amos declares rings true for us today. When we seek the LORD, we will live. When we "hate Him who reproves" and "abhor Him who speaks the truth," we set ourselves up as objects of His wrath. The central reality of the universe: Our God reigns. Let's not gut our parenting of the most important reality of the universe. Let's not handicap our children long term through well-meaning but misguided notions of self-determination. Instead, let's hold forth the central sovereignty of our God and portray Him as the primary "Other" in our children's lives, the One who cares for them like no other, who guides them in His ways for their good and for His glory. And let's demonstrate it ourselves, in how we live, what we say, in the faith we express moment after moment as we guide our children through life. ><><><>< Subscribe to the CHAF Podcast On Android | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Podbean | Spreaker | Email |FEED URL: http://chaf1.libsyn.com/rss ><><><><
14 minutes | Dec 14, 2017
The KEY to raising godly children (OR: God-fearing children and the parents who raise them ) [Ep 102]
Why would I throw in my thoughts on such a popular and written-to-death sort of subject? Because what I consider to be the KEY to raising godly children has not been said enough, or loudly enough. Subscribe to the CHAF Podcast On Android | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Podbean | Spreaker | Email The key to raising godly children is to first be a godly parent. Don't hear me saying you have to be perfect. Don't hear me saying you have to make no mistakes. DO hear me saying... your relationship with Jesus had better be authentic, not just something that you do on Sundays. It had better be something more than religious actions. It had better be more than moralistic teaching and corresponding rules. It must be an ongoing, vibrant, up-and-down-but-always-headed-upward RELATIONSHIP with Jesus. Anything less will smell of hypocrisy, and it will absolutely stink in the nostrils of your children. You can't fool them. They will know if you are a fake, and they will know if you really mean and live what you say. [gn_quote style="1"]Your kids want and need the real thing... Jesus. The best way you can give them Jesus is to give Jesus all of yourself. The LORD has shown me this personally. I've seen the teachable, eager hearts of my children in response to my own honest struggles to know the LORD. And I've seen disinterested, doubtful responses when the churchy words coming out of my mouth don't match the attitude of my heart. What does it look like? Your children need to hear you talk about Jesus as if He is real to you... in the day to day circumstances of life. Your children need to hear you pray in a way that shows that you truly KNOW the Person you are talking with. Your children need to see your love for Jesus carried out in obvious ways - commitment to a local church, genuine worship, and a desire to honor Him in all you do. Your children need to know by your own devotion that prayer and Bible reading are not just “things you do,” but the lifeblood of your existence. Your children need to see you so absorbed by Jesus that they want to take part in something that is so obviously wonderful. How to raise godly children Begin with the last half of this post title. Start by considering the spiritual health of the parent(s) who raise your children. Here are some questions to help you begin... Do YOU love Jesus (the LORD your God) with all YOUR heart, all YOUR soul, all YOUR mind, and all YOUR strength? (Mark 12:30) Or is there something else (spouse, work, hobbies, money, etc.) that you love more? Do YOU love your neighbor (irritating co-worker, demanding boss, pesky neighbor, weird relative) as you love yourself? (Mark 12:31) Do YOU seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? (Matthew 6:33) Or are you more concerned with bank accounts, life-insurance, retirement funds, and upward mobility? Do YOU set apart Christ as LORD in YOUR own heart? (1 Peter 3:15) Start there. Go on by asking the Spirit of God to help you begin moving more diligently toward Him. Ask Him to GIVE you a heart that seeks Him first and foremost. He delights to answer those types of prayers. Don't even think about raising godly children if you are not first and genuinely seeking to be a godly parent. Q: What do YOU need to do in order to move closer to Christ as a parent?
39 minutes | Dec 7, 2017
What Does It Mean to Be a Spiritual Leader? : A Challenge for Husbands [Ep 101]
A spiritual leader is not the person who has all the right, holy-sounding answers. A spiritual leader is a person who humbly goes first in serving others. That’s one of the many lessons I’ve learned about what it means to be a spiritual leader in my family over the past almost-30 years. This episode of the Christian Home and Family podcast is aimed at gaining a greater understanding of two of the key biblical passages that speak to the issue of spiritual leadership in the home. In each of the passages, husbands are singled out as the ones responsible to take spiritual leadership in their home. The first passage, Ephesians 5, points out very clearly that spiritual leadership is an act of service, self-sacrificing service. No man who understands spiritual leadership is going to be domineering or demanding toward the people in his home. Instead, he will be gracious, patient, and loving because those are the demeanors of a servant leader. This recording contains my off-the-cuff thoughts about how men should approach the issue of spiritual leadership end to grow in their ability to be The Godly spiritual leader in their homes. Subscribe to the CHAF Podcast On Android | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Podbean | Spreaker | Email Here’s a rough outline of Lessons for Spiritual Leaders [0:58] The home as the foundational element of society - and why we need to take a more diligent approach to that issue. [4:37] Looking at Ephesians 5 - A husband’s sacrificial role as a spiritual leader [11:20] Questions for husbands to consider about their spiritual leadership [14:58] 1 Peter 3:7 - Learning to be understanding of our wives [26:17] What does it mean that a woman is said to be a “weaker vessel?” [34:05] What does it mean to be a spiritual leader? Humility and Initiative Many times one of the first things we think about when it comes to Jesus is His self-sacrificing nature But how often do we consider that his leadership was being expressed in that sacrifice? As He said Himself, he did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. That is the kind of leadership the Apostle Paul describes when he speaks of men being the spiritual leader in their homes. It's not an easy kind of life to live. It's not a “me on top” existence. it is a life like Jesus lived, serving those who were under His care. In this podcast episode, I take you through Ephesians 5 with a view toward understanding why that kind of self-sacrifice is required for husbands in order to leave their wives and their families into a place of Health, spiritual strength, and eventual maturity. Spiritual leaders also work hard to understand those they lead Those who are the best leaders are typically also the ones who have done the best job of understanding the people that they lead. In 1st Peter chapter 3 husbands are taught to live with their wives in an understanding way. What does that mean, exactly? It may sound overly simplistic but one of the primary meanings is that husbands need to understand that their wives are women, not men. Don't let the simple nature of that statement for you. There's so much that goes into a good understanding of your wife as a woman. It could take a lifetime to learn. But I'm convinced that men who are willing to become students of their wives can be empowered by the Spirit of God to love their wives in a way that transforms their own home. In this episode of the podcast, I share my understanding of 1st Peter 3:7 and how husbands can Learn to live with their wives in an understanding way, and in so doing, enrich the generational Legacy of their families. Resources & People Mentioned www.DesiringGod.org - The ministry of John Piper Connect With Carey and Christian Home and Family Website: www.ChristianHomeandFamily.com On Facebook On Twitter On YouTube Subscribe to the CHAF Podcast On Android | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Podbean | Spreaker | Email
22 minutes | Nov 30, 2017
Parenting from the Bible, the Death of Fluffy, and Dealing With Reality [Ep 100]
I hope it’s your desire to learn everything you need to know about parenting from the Bible. I say that because, in my experience, the Bible is all we need. Psychology has its place, as do good books from Christian authors. But in the end, the truth expressed in scripture about how we live our lives as Christ-followers applies across the board. That means that how the Bible instructs us to behave as Christians can and should be applied to the way we lead, teach, and discipline our children. In short: parenting from the Bible is the best way to go. On this episode of the podcast I wanted to share a parenting mindset with you… It’s really nothing new, but perhaps I’m going to say it in a way you haven’t heard before. It’s a way of thinking about the act of parenting that my wife have adopted - and we feel it would benefit anyone who takes the time to understand it and apply it in their parenting. Yes, it’s what I’ve just described, taking everything we need to know about parenting from the Bible - but I’m doing so in a way that I hope is fresh, clear, and concise - so you can cut through the fog of the parenting philosophies out there and see the common sense truth of what God has to say to us. Subscribe to the CHAF Podcast On Android | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Podbean | Spreaker | Email Here’s a rough outline of this episode about REALITY PARENTING [0:59] The difficult job of being a parent and the confusion parents face today [2:52] As parents we should be discussing reality with our children [3:39] The death of Fluffy: an illustration of NOT applying reality perspective [7:52] What the Bible reveals as your job as a parent [11:25] How a lack of reality parenting handicaps your kids [13:06] A better way to handle the death of Fluffy [18:12] How reality parenting can encourage genuine faith in our kids So, reality parenting - what IS it? My wife and I have come to refer to the way we parent as “reality parenting” because it seems to best describe the way we approach parenting, with simplicity. It’s teaching your kids to handle life according to reality. We don’t shade the truth. We don’t hide difficult things from them. We don’t sanitize things to protect their little ears. (Yes, there are age-appropriate issues to consider, but I don’t really address that on this episode). And when I say “according to reality” I mean that in a handful of ways… First, the reality of what happens in the world - in their world - as harsh as it might be. Second, I mean the reality of God being present IN those things - and the impact that can have for them even at a very young age. Third, I mean the reality that whatever circumstances may come their way, God is the one who has brought it into their life. And talking about it in those ways requires lots of discussion, on their level, with absolute honesty and a compassionate, listening ear. Like I say at the beginning of this episode - parenting is probably the hardest job in the world. I believe THAT is parenting from the Bible, the way the Bible teaches Granted, the Bible never uses the phrase “reality parenting.” But it does tell us to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). It does tell us to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). And there’s lots more - but I think you get my point. Our job as parents is to apply those things to our own life, then to help our kids learn how to live them out as well, where they are in life at the moment difficulties arise. What about the REALLY hard stuff that could damage our children? I know there are difficult things children shouldn’t have to deal with. But generally speaking (GENERALLY SPEAKING, please know there are exceptions to this in my mind) that’s simply the way things are in a fallen world. Our job - OUR JOB as parents is to help our children navigate what IS, not what we WISH was the case. And more than helping them navigate it, we are to help them hold onto unwavering faith in the sovereign God of the universe while they navigate it. That’s how we build a legacy of faith that can last generations. It’s hard work. Very hard work. It won’t happen by soft-selling life, coddling our kids’ emotions, or preventing anything difficult or uncomfortable from entering their world. That sets them up for true disappointment when everything they THOUGHT about God and life proves to be untrue - because their well-intentioned parents withheld the truth from them. No thanks. You think it’s hard to parent kids the “reality parenting” way - just try to pick up the pieces from THAT kind of disappointment. In this audio you’ll hear my overview of what I’m calling “reality parenting,” from the Bible :) Connect With Carey and Christian Home and Family Website: www.ChristianHomeandFamily.com On Facebook On Twitter On YouTube Subscribe to the CHAF Podcast On Android | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Podbean | Spreaker | Email
51 minutes | Nov 23, 2017
The Foundation of a Marriage that Honors Christ - part 4 of 4 [Ep 99]
The foundation of a marriage is an important thing. That’s because foundations are important. You don’t think about them much, but without them everything falls apart. Behind the three vital things I’ve covered in the last few episodes - Commitment, Communication, and Connection - there rests a foundation that holds them all in place. And like the foundation of a house, without this foundation every marriage, Christian or not, will be far less than what it was intended to be. What is the foundation of a marriage that honors Christ? God exists, and He is ours and we are His. Join me as we explore the amazing majesty of our God. Subscribe to the CHAF Podcast On Android | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Podbean | Spreaker | Email
66 minutes | Nov 16, 2017
The 3rd “C” of a Christ-Honoring Marriage: Connection [Ep 98]
The kind of marriage connection you want is possible… But you have to understand that it’s built upon other things - the individual relationships you and your spouse have with God through Christ, AND the healthy, ongoing communication you establish with each other. Only then, can the connection and unity you desire in your marriage come to fruition. This episode is the 3rd talk I gave at a recent marriage retreat on the 3 Cs of a Christ-honoring marriage. Subscribe to the CHAF Podcast On Android | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Podbean | Spreaker | Email
72 minutes | Nov 9, 2017
Christian Marriage: Communication is Key - part 2 of 4 [Ep 97]
In a Christian marriage, communication is one of the foundational things that enables man and wife to live together in harmony. But more important is the WHY it’s so vital. It’s because without communication a wife and her husband are unable to understand the state of the other’s ongoing commitment to Christ and be of benefit to them in that journey. This audio is the 2nd in a series of talks I gave recently at a marriage retreat. We had some technical issues with my recording device (cell phone interference) but I believe the content is valuable enough to ask you to struggle through the tech issues and glean some benefit anyway. Subscribe to the CHAF Podcast On Android | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Podbean | Spreaker | Email
30 minutes | Sep 20, 2017
Commitment: The 1st C of a Christ-Centered Marriage - Part 1 of 4 [Ep 96]
www.ChristiandHomeandFamily.com Carey@ChristianHomeandFamily.com I was recently asked to speak at a marriage retreat here in the mountains of Colorado. My topic, for four sessions was this... The 3 Cs of a Christ-Honoring Marriage Those 3 Cs are: Commitment, Communication, and Connection. This episode features the first of those talks - Commitment. And it's not the kind of commitment you might think of when you consider marriage. Take a listen to this episode to find out about the fundamental commitment each partner in a marriage must have in order to have a truly Christ-honoring relationship.
25 minutes | May 10, 2017
Marriage Restoration Is Possible: Take These Steps [Ep. 95]
I am one of those people who believes that marriage restoration is possible for any Christ-following couple who is willing to seek God for the type of healing that only He can bring. I’ve seen it happen. So I can confidently say that there is hope for your marriage if you are willing to humbly submit to God’s plan for restoring it. This episode of the podcast is a recording I made as I was driving to pick up my wife from the airport after a visit to her sister’s home in North Carolina. The thoughts were coming rapidly so I decided to record it - and I’m glad I did. Please forgive the noisy environment - it was in the car. And it was raining. But God gave me a message of hope that I believe is intended for some very specific people I haven’t met yet. But He knows who they are. I trust you’ll find this episode to be a blessing. Marriage restoration can only happen for those who humbly seek it. I’ve seen far too many people resort to divorce when they honestly haven’t tried everything they could to restore their relationship. Sometimes it baffles me that individuals would invest so many years of their lives in a relationship and then NOT do EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to restore it. I know pain happens in marriage. I know betrayals go deep. But I also know that many couples who divorce don’t really need to if they would simply trust God to provide the means of healing they need. On this episode I provide a few simple steps for those who want to fight for their marriage, who want to see God restore it. Outline of This Episode [2:08] How we were counseled that “divorce” should never be in our vocabulary. [4:55] Why divorce is contrary to the real purpose of marriage. [11:10] It’s never too late to recommit to God’s purpose for your marriage. [16:45] The kind of faith that matters the most for restoring your marriage. Resources & People Mentioned www.ChristianHomeAndFamily.com/intensives Carey(at)ChristianHomeAndFamily(dot)com
13 minutes | May 3, 2017
The Good Stewardship of Your Family Is A BIG Deal [Ep. 94]
This one is my story - of how I learned the importance of good stewardship - not over the money or possessions I have been given - but over something much more important. The PEOPLE in my life. Contact me at Carey@ChristianHomeandFamily.com
15 minutes | Apr 24, 2017
A prayer for my grandsons - from The Parable of The Sower
On becoming "Grand-Pop" As I've been considering the implications of the birth of this second generation that has sprung from me, I've been sobered. Though Wyatt's upbringing falls mainly on my son and his sweet wife, Hannah, I have a deep conviction in my soul that I am responsible in some very important ways as well. Here are some of the things that come to mind: For now, they live in the same town as we do, so I have the opportunity to invest the seeds of what God has done in my life, into his life personally - through my interaction with his parents and by building my very own relationship with him (I'm "Grand-Pop," by the way). When/if they move away (I'll hate that day when/if it comes), I'll have to be intentional about those things long-distance. I'll have to write letters, send e-mails, make phone calls, do video calls... whatever it takes to make sure that I'm adding to Wyatt's life what the LORD would have me add. I can always pray for him... and I'm learning not to take that lightly. I believe that as James says, the prayers of a righteous man avail much (James 5:16). Through Christ I have the opportunity to capitalize on the righteousness He has given to me, on Wyatt's behalf. I can pray for him confidently, powerfully, and according to the truth of God and EXPECT to see good come of it. I'm just learning to do that as I begin my Grand-Pop journey. A great pattern for prayer Though I've been a believer in Christ for many years, and have practiced prayer for all that time, I feel like I'm JUST NOW beginning to learn how to pray. I'm just now devoting significant blocks of time to the practice, just now beginning to understand some of what Jesus taught about it, and just now really beginning to apply the head knowledge I've had all these years. [pullquote]When it comes to prayer, I'm sorrowful it's taken me so long to learn... but grateful for the LORD's patience, mercy, and grace to get me where I need to be.[/pullquote] Just yesterday, as I was going through my prayer list, I came upon Wyatt's name. The gravity of my responsibility as his "Grand-Pop" almost crushed me. I realized that my prayers for him matter greatly. I wanted to do my utmost to call down the blessing of heaven on his new, but significant life. As I thought about his infant soul (he's just turned 5 months old) I quickly realized that his main need at this point in life is for the LORD to become his... and for him to become the LORD's. Wyatt, though an "innocent" child, is not innocent at all. He's born a sinner and therefore needs the Savior. I want redemption for him. I want forgiveness for him. I want the new life in Christ that the scriptures promise for all who will believe. I want Wyatt to believe. So I began to pray... and found myself praying according to the pattern of the "parable of the sower" Matthew 13:3-9. There, Jesus describes a farmer who is planting seed, a symbol of the truth of God. He also describes 4 different soils, symbols for the human soul, where the farmer plants the seed. Different things result in each case. Here's how Jesus describes it and defines it: VS 3-4: A sower went out to sow.And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Jesus' interpretation - VS 19: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. I don't want Wyatt's soul to be the kind that is confused or unable to grasp the truth of the word of God's kingdom. I want him to be able to understand. If he's not able to understand, our enemy, the devil, will come and snatch away the seeds his parents and others are planting in his soul. So I pray for Wyatt to be open, receptive, and given understanding to grasp the word of God. VS 5-6: Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Jesus' interpretation - VS 20-21: As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. I don't want the good work Wyatt's parents are doing in teaching him the ways of the LORD to be something that stays on the surface. I want to see him take it in, deeply, and grow from it. So I pray that the cares of the world and the hardships of life would not be able to quench the joy he can have from a true knowledge of the LORD. VS 7: Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Jesus' interpretation - VS 22: As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. It would break my heart to see Wyatt raised in a home that honors and teaches the word of God faithfully, yet somehow, the deceitfulness of prosperity and the cares of life in a fallen world are able to make him so self-centered and self-protective that he rejects the word for the sake of gaining other, temporary, lesser things. So I pray for Wyatt to have a delight in the word of God... to see it for the treasure that it truly is. I ask the LORD to do this over and over and over in his life each day. VS 8: Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Jesus' interpretation - VS 23: As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty. THIS is the kind of life I want for Wyatt, the kind of soul I want the LORD to create in him. I pray that the LORD will make Wyatt's soul into "good soil," able to receive the word of God in all its fullness and power. I want him to understand it, to understand his own need for it, and for that understanding to bear the fruit of a godly, overcoming, God-honoring life. A prayer for my grandson Here's the actual prayer I prayed that day... straight from my journal: Wyatt is in great need of Your redemption dear LORD. He is yet to see his own sin, much less be able to repent of it. Father, prepare the soil of his soul for the seed of Your word. Make it good soil - free of the rocks that prohibit growth and free of the bent toward worries that would cloud his view and fill his heart with fear or self interest. Do not allow the thorns and cares of the world to choke out the seed of truth, the life of Jesus that can set him free. LORD Jesus, make Wyatt into good soil, ready to receive Your word at the appointed time, ready to produce the hundredfold fruit and blessings You have in store for his lifetime. Why I wrote this post I don't recount this story to brag or make you think highly of me or my family. I am what I am by the grace of God, and for no other reason (1 Corinthians 15:10). I write this post to spark your thinking about how YOU can pray for those under your care or in your family line... Your spouse Your children Your grandchildren Your great grandchildren Your parents Your siblings Your distant relatives And the list goes on... Who could you be praying for along the lines of Jesus' parable? Who needs YOUR interceding prayer? Will you rise to the challenge and take on warfare for the sake of their soul?
14 minutes | Feb 20, 2017
Letting Go Of Adult Children And Taking Hold Of The Faithfulness Of God [Ep 92]
Many parents, Christian or otherwise, have the hardest time letting go of adult children. There’s no easy way to do it and no magic formula that makes everything turn out perfectly. But there is a realization that I’ve come to as I’ve watched 3 of my children move into adulthood: God is faithful - even now - even after I’ve not done everything I could have done to set them on the best path possible. Now that your kids are adults, are you beating yourself up about the way you raised them? If you are, know that you’re not alone. We all have regrets after the fact. We look back with a wisdom we didn’t have at the time - possibly even with insights we have from the school of hard-knocks. We wish we’d done something different, something better. And when our children begin to go down the “not so good” path we set them on through our ignorance or neglect, and continue to do so into adulthood, we can be very hard on ourselves. But I’ve been learning that it’s not too late and that God can bring redemption. After all, it’s what He specializes in. When letting go of your adult children is hard, cling to God instead. Whether you think you did a good job raising your kids or not, it’s easy to second-guess and it’s easy to want to “ensure” that your kids make the right choices as they move into adulthood. But the reality is that you can’t do that. They are adults now - and need to be ALLOWED to be adults, bad choices and all. But that doesn’t mean you take a back seat, that you simply leave them to their own devices. You can cling to God in faith, trusting His faithfulness to guide your children as you let go of them. That’s what this episode is about - my realization of how true that reality is - and some words of encouragement for those who may be in the same boat. Connect With Carey Carey(at)ChristianHomeAndFamily(dot)com On Twitter On Facebook
14 minutes | Nov 30, 2016
God’s Faithfulness in Seasons of Change [Ep 91]
Seasons of change are part of life. There’s no avoiding it. Sometimes the season can linger for much longer than we like. Other times it’s fairly brief. And as is common for almost everyone, change is hard to handle. The same goes for me. I’ve been away from the Christian Home and Family podcast and website for some time. You may have seen a few blog posts pop up here and there when something was on my heart, but the truth is that I’ve been anything but consistent. This episode of the jump-started podcast is aimed at explaining my absence and hopefully, I can also give you some idea of where I think this thing is headed in the future. Unexpected seasons of change and how to handle them If you’ve never been through an unexpected and significant season of change I can tell you, it’s something that throws your whole world off kilter. The things you thought you were supposed to be doing suddenly lose their place in the list of priorities. You have to restructure almost everything. At least that’s how it was for me. But I learned something powerfully important during my most recent time of change. I’d like to share it with you on this episode. Where is God when sudden and unexpected changes hit? When sudden unexpected changes come to significant areas of your life, things like your career - that was it for me - it can be very disheartening and disorienting. It’s easy to question God, to wonder where He is in the mess. It’s hard to believe but He’s right there, in the middle of the mess. In fact, He’s the one who’s making it - and for good purposes that you can’t see. You can hear how it happened to me and what I learned from it if you make the time to listen. I hope you will. Is radical faith for generations still on my radar? I started a podcast way back in 2012 (I think). The Christian Home and Family podcast - and it’s taken on many different forms since then - is something I still love and still want to promote. But I simply haven’t had the time over the past 3 or 4 years. But I THINK that is changing. So I’m giving it a go again. Here’s my approach and what I’m thinking. I hope you’ll get on board to help me challenge Christ-following parents to set their sights higher, to radical faith that lasts for generations. Connect With CHRISTIAN HOME AND FAMILY Carey(at)ChristianHomeAndFamily.com
7 minutes | Sep 24, 2014
Podcast 90 – How to stop family conflicts - Radical faith for generations | family, faith, parenting, marriage, Christian life, spiritual life
Family conflicts can make life inside the home horrendous. Nobody wants to be around when arguing, fighting, and complaining are the norm. So how do you get past the arguing? You get past it by preventing it in the first place. And you do that through working hard toward every person in the family having a right relationship with God.
5 minutes | Sep 17, 2014
Podcast 89 – How to stop sinning - Radical faith for generations | family, faith, parenting, marriage, Christian life, spiritual life
Yes, really. I know we'd all like to know how to stop sinning, and the truth is that the Bible gives us plain, simple instructions for how to do it. But even though it's simple, it's not easy. Every believer in Christ has the opportunity to apply what John says (1 John) and stop sinning. It's a daily, step by step discipline we have to develop. This episode of the podcast is going to highlight the only path to stop sinning, and give some tips on how to move in that direction.
5 minutes | Sep 10, 2014
Podcast 88 – God is light, and what it means for your family! - Radical faith for generations | family, faith, parenting, marriage, Christian life, spiritual life
God seems to love illustrations and symbols. The scriptures are full of them: sheep, goats, seeds, plants, vines, brides and bridegrooms, light, darkness - you get the idea. This episode uses the biblical illustration of light to show you a fun and effective way that you can use light to teach your family that God is light, and what that means for their lives.
4 minutes | Sep 3, 2014
Podcast 87 – 30 day Bible saturation for spiritual growth - Radical faith for generations | family, faith, parenting, marriage, Christian life, spiritual life
There are a million different ways you could get into the scriptures and get the scriptures into you. But here's one that's honestly new to me, taught to me by my daughter. I call it the 30 day Bible saturation, and it's really a cool way to get yourself immersed in some of the main themes of scripture in a very contextual way.
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