Thursday, February 18, 2016

I Love Being a Parent...But What Do I Do?

Your little 3-year-old gets into a box of packing peanuts, which you had told him was off-limits. You walk in only to find him joyfully playing in the box, packing peanuts everywhere, with a huge smile on his face.  You are angry, because you told him not to play in there, but at the same time, the joy on his face is contagious.  You start laughing when you're supposed to be disciplining him.  You think to yourself, "What did I just teach my kid?"

There's no doubt in my mind that being a parent is one of the greatest joys and biggest challenges all wrapped up into one.  As a father of four, believe me, I know.  There are times where we think to ourselves, "I love being a parent, but what do I do to help my kids grow up to be solid Christian adults?"

Good question.  We will answer that question, and other questions parents have, at our next "Love & Logic" Parent Seminar coming up on Sunday, March 20, 11am to 1pm in the lower level fellowship hall of our Green Bay site (1167 Kenwood, Green Bay).  Get together with other parents and learn from the experts in this proven form of rearing your kids!  The cost is $5 / parent, lunch and baby-sitting provided.  

For more information and to register, CLICK HERE.

Incidentally, if you, or someone you know, is in need of great Christian childcare, then check out Riverside Christian Childcare, a ministry of St. Mark by CLICKING HERE.

Friday, February 12, 2016

How To Calm a Troubled Conscience

When you become very aware of your sin or remember some great failing of yours in the past, you need to make sure that you don't allow that sin to ruin your conscience. If you do, it will lead you to despair and to an attitude that says, "I might as well just give up!" Rather, what you need to do is look to Jesus and pour your sin back on him to calm your troubled conscience.

Be careful you don't become like misguided people who allow their sin to bite at them and eat at their hearts. They try to rid themselves of guilt by running around doing "good" things they think will either earn their forgiveness or ease God's anger toward them. But the way to get rid of your guilt and sin is to throw them on Christ, firmly believing that it was Jesus' suffering and death that paid for your sins. As Isaiah said, "The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). Peter said Jesus himself "bore our sins in his body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24).  And Paul said, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

These verses will help you calm a troubled conscience. The more your conscience torments you, the more you need to rely on them! For if you don't do this and you try to quiet your conscience through being a "better" person or making some nice efforts to help others, you will never find peace of mind and will finally be full of fear and hopelessness in the end. But when you think of your sins as being on Christ and boldly believe that he conquered them through his death and resurrection, then they are dead and gone! Sin can't remain on Christ! His resurrection has swallowed up sin!

And that truth blesses you with a clean conscience.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"I Forgive You... kinda..."

It's easy to throw out a quick, "I forgive you" when someone apologizes. But forgiveness like a quick switch can ignore the hurt. Unfortunately, if this is how you forgive, those constant hurts are not going to go away and will most likely get worse.

It's easy to go to the cave when someone says or does something against you. It seems better to pretend the hurt doesn’t matter or isn’t serious. Yet going to the cave is going to wear you out and potentially lead you to emotionally explode at someone someday.

It's easy to forgive someone when they are sorry, really sorry. If they hurt as bad as you did then you can forgive them. This kind of forgiveness wants the offender brought to a personal version of justice. But who is to say that they suffered enough given the circumstances. 

Why do we live in this land of "mostly forgiving"? Why do we find it so hard to forgive and to put the past all the way behind us? Did Jesus say, "As God has mostly forgiven you, so you, too, must mostly forgive others"? No, no he didn’t say that. The Bible says, "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  - Romans 5:8

We are not “mostly forgiven” but completely forgiven. See, God calls us sinners, but then chooses to release us from the eternal consequences – doing this not just for one person but the world. (John 3:16) There is not a soul in the entire world which God has not already absolved from all sin – even the person, the family member, the neighbor, the ex-friend who hurt you. Are you starting to understand forgiveness?

Real Forgiveness:
  • Forgiveness is honest. God is not asking you to allow the offense to occur repeatedly, to be a victim, or even to get along with the offender. He is asking you to talk about the problem and put it all on the table even if the offender doesn’t ask for forgiveness or even if you can’t do it face to face anymore.
  • Forgiveness is to release. Let it go – freely and wholeheartedly. It has very little to do with feelings or even trust. Forgiveness is simply a decision to let go of our regrets and our own view of justice. We don’t need the person who hurt us to feel our pain – Jesus already did. We release them because we are released. It is entirely freeing.
  • Forgiveness is a process, not an event. It takes time to work through emotional problems before we truly forgive. Allow that time. Don’t rush through it to superficially feel better but persist in it. Deal properly with the past, to avoid being stuck there; instead, unhook from the pain and injustice from your past and move forward.

Who is God leading you to forgive this week?