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prism t h e p u b l i c at i o n F o r m e r ly k n ow n as V i c to r i o u s L i v i n g

r efracting truth

The Parenting Issue

Children: Discipline / Love different sides of the same coin

issue 00 - Redesign summer / fall 2008

w w w.v fg a r n e r. c o m

Lego Block Lessons Playing Hide & Seek With God I Need You Never Give Up



prism The Parenting Issue refracting truth.

Summer / Fall 2008 Issue 00 - Redesign

contact

Address 1250 Aversboro Rd. Garner, NC 27529 Email info@vfgarner.com Website www.vfgarner.com Phone 919.779.5180 Fax 919.779.4180

contributing writers Anne Houston Dianne Boyette Jon Acuff Joe McGee Pastor Mitch Horton Nikki Dentrone

staff

Mitch Horton // Senior Pastor pastor@vfgarner.com Mike Norris // Associate Pastor mike@vfgarner.com Anne Houston // Administrative Secretary anne@vfgarner.com Brian Saar // Creative Design Team brian@vfgarner.com Cathy Mellor // Children’s Ministry cathy@vfgarner.com Dianne Boyette // Youth Pastor dianne@vfgarner.com Dianne Grubis // Finance Director dianeg@vfgarner.com Frann Sarpolus // Personal Ministry frann@vfgarner.com Jon Horton // Creative Design Team jon@vfgarner.com Nikki Dentrone // Children’s Ministry nikki@vfgarner.com Milly Bolick // Receptionist milly@vfgarner.com Pam Hawkins // Receptionist pam@vfgarner.com Renee Horton // Creative Design Team renee@vfgarner.com Sarah Horton // Defender of Freshness Shawn Tracy // College & Career Pastor shawn@vfgarner.com Steven Hoyle // Music Minister steven@vfgarner.com Tim Theriot // Defender of Freshness

Prism Magazine is a quarterly publication of Victory Fellowship Church. Comments, questions, or suggestions can be emailed to us at the address located above. To view previous issues, visit www.vfgarner.com/newsletter

Parenting. It is sleepless nights and days without long hot showers. It is years of homework and PTA meetings. It is summers of sports and long drives to camp. It is your own lukewarm meal to fix another hot plate of second helpings for your children. It is the fun of playing peek-a-boo, Candyland, or hide and seek, and letting them win. It is weeds picked up in a thoughtful moment, and crayon-colored cards that cover the refrigerator. It is a thousand bedtime hugs and one more “I love you.” It is the honor of watching your baby grow into a Godly young man or woman, and the joy of knowing you are a part of them. It is a self-sacrificing occupation, and yet its rewards are truly priceless gifts from God. In this issue of Prism, we will take a look at some of the many aspects of parenting. Each article invites you to share an experience with the author as you delve into the challenges and rewards of raising children from infants to adulthood. We believe that you will find yourself inspired and encouraged on your journey of becoming the person that God has created you to be.

R e d es i g n

Issue 00

2008

contents

10.featured article

Children: Discipline & Love

04.Welcome to Prism 05.Evoke 06.LEGO Block Lessons 08.The Foolishness of God 09.An Interview With Joe McGee 14.I Need You 16.Never Give Up 18.Playing Hide & Seek With God


For the past 10 years Victory Fellowship Church in Garner has published a monthly newsletter for members and friends entitled ‘Victorious Living.’ Well, you may not recognize us anymore because a lot has changed. Like any little critter ‘VL’ saw lots of growth, improvements and changes, but as many wise men have said “The only constant is change itself.” So we felt strongly that it was time that this little hermit crab found a shinier shell with some room to grow. So it is after much thought, prayer and agonizing and with much joy and satisfaction that we share with you the broadening of our horizons. VICTORIOUS LIVING is changing into prism.

prism - n. a transparent body that is used to refract or disperse a beam of light.

The name, format and design may have changed but the goal remains the same, refracting truth. The pure white light and truth of God’s word passing through a transparent body, dispersing, reflecting and refracting in a myriad of many different colors. Our ultimate vision is to see people grow, to live lives without limitation. We are finite and limited creatures, and we know that this can only happen through God. We are all fragile broken people, yet we long to share our revelations and communicate the shining examples of strength and change God has brought into our lives. If a thing is living, it is changing. So embrace it! Why anchor to the immovable past when you can sail on the winds of change? We have lots of plans for the future, so remember that this is just the beginning. Keep looking for more changes. If you are interested in contributing or have any genius suggestions, please e-mail us at submissions@vfgarner.com. Now here’s the tricky part. Please remember our goal is top-notch excellence. Why do it if it’s not worth doing well? We believe that as God’s craftsmanship we ought to be the most creative, innovative people we can possibly be. We need contributors, creative writers, storytellers. Share with us your journey, regale us with your tales, show us how you see. Tell us about the lessons you’ve learned, the truth that has grasped you. We are on this road together, and we have so much more to learn! It’s good to share both the joys and the pains. Every member of the body has something to add! We want you to express the life that is living on the inside of you. Here is your opportunity, this is the campfire. Finally we want to say thank you! We are painfully aware of the time-limited age we live in and we highly value your every minute and refuse to waste it. YOU are the reason we do this, so thank you for taking the time to read Prism. We truly hope you will enjoy it and that you will get something powerful and meaningful out of it. Enjoy! :)


Evoke | Words

by Aaron Weiss / Mewithoutyou


LEGO BLOCK LESSONS // BY NIKKI DENTRONE ®

I remember playing with LEGO blocks as a child in my bedroom with my brothers. We would create things both big and small. We would make rows of perfect houses on the green (platform base) grass and mingle them with tall skyscrapers as we designed large towns and suburbs of tiny blocks. We even used blankets to make rolling hills that would rise to overlook the cliffs on the end of the bed. It took us hours to make dozens and dozens of unique buildings. Although it was a great way to spend a lazy afternoon, soon enough boredom would strike, and the three of us would become storms of destruction attacking the perfectly laid-out towns. First it would begin with soft blows from a pillow as a windstorm, and we would watch our seaside condos fall over the cliffs to their doom. Next, we would attack with GI Joe missiles those buildings that had been perched so nicely on the rolling hills. Steadily the

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destruction methods would intensify as we produced hurricanes and earthquakes. It was interesting to measure what it took to break apart every handcrafted masterpiece. Did it take little to no effort, or a major event, to shake and crumble each creation? But occasionally we would have a building that just wouldn’t budge. No matter how hard we struck or shook it, it stood firm. Each block had been carefully interlocked with the others on the platform base to create a strong foundation and solid building. Thinking about this gives me an idea for helping my own children better understand Jesus and the foundation of the Christian believer’s life. Every one of our lives is made of many small decisions that build the foundations and then the structures of who we become as persons. Each choice is like a building block of our lives. It may seem that what is most visible is most important, for instance, our appearance, houses, possessions, or occupations. But this way of evaluating too often leaves a false impression of security, and is not a true measure of a person’s strength in the midst of a storm. People can appear to have it all together with the biggest houses and the best clothes, and yet fall apart when troubled times come their way. The truth is that a building’s façade doesn’t reveal how


Check out a behind the scenes look at this image at www.lego.vfgarner.com strong it really is, or its capacity to withstand storms. What lies underneath and within is what determines its true strength and stability. The building blocks that make us strong and stable in our Christian walk must be made up of eternal materials. The foundation of our lives should be created with the bonds of a strong, intimate, personal relationship with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Other essential building materials should include spending time in the Word of God and mixing faith with meditation and prayer. A weighty addition of Praise, Worship, and Thanksgiving creates a protective layer that keeps us encompassed within the grace and mercy of the Master Creator. The remainder of the project will take a lifetime and should be supervised and directed by the Master Carpenter Himself (Jesus Christ) with the helpful guidance of the Holy Spirit. When these materials are interlocked in a believer’s life, the resulting structure takes on an eternal strength that can withstand the enemy’s most destructive attacks. The Word of God says that “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” (Psalm 127:1) Allowing God to take over as the lead engineer of

construction will insure that when your life is up against any storm or earth-shaking event, you will be able to stand firm, because the Master Creator has built it. And the guarantee is written in the Master Carpenter’s own blood. The Bible says in Matthew 7:24-27, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” So the next time you have a lazy afternoon to spend with the kids, consider picking up a couple of LEGO boxes and teaching your children about becoming wise and foolish builders. Reflect on that lone LEGO building that simply refused to collapse, no matter what we kids did to it. Let’s help our children interlock the right choices to build lives that are even stronger!

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From The Internet

www.pastor.vfgarner.com

The foolishness of God. This article was taken from Pastor Mitch’s blog, entry Monday, July 21st, 2008.

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence (1 Corinthians 1:25-29). It’s not talent, skill, mental acumen, or social standing that causes God to place His anointing upon our lives. It’s faithful, obedient hearts that catch His gaze. Regardless of what “side of the tracks” we come from, there are no special privileges due to social or financial standing, or even natural abilities in the kingdom of God. What the Father does in us and through us is all a work of His grace of which we cannot boast. He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord. God has a purpose for you as a member of the body of Christ. That purpose is not rooted in your natural heritage or background, and does not depend on natural strengths. That purpose was programmed into you from eternity past when God planned your life. Moses was a murderer with a stuttering problem at age forty, who years later was called by God to lead his generation. David was a shepherd little known by his fellow man. Joseph was ridiculed by his brothers and sold as a slave and did prison time. Amos was a farmer. Elisha was called from the back of a plow to lead a nation spiritually. Peter was unstable, but used by God to lead the church after the resurrection of Jesus. Paul was one of the most educated men of his day but counted his education as a pile of trash compared to knowing Jesus.

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When God called me, I was an awkward introvert with no plan for my life. None of us can trust who we are in the flesh, talented or unskilled. It’s the power and grace of God that make us what we are in the family of God. So we can’t boast of anything God does through us. We’re merely the pipeline for the glory of God to be revealed to our generation through the good news of the gospel. Don’t allow who you are naturally, good or bad, strong or weak, to keep you from the glorious things that the Father has called you to do. You’re His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has planned for you to fulfill. Don’t look at yourself or you’ll get discouraged; don’t look at others or you’ll envy and compare; but look unto Jesus. He’s the beginning and ending of all you are and all He’s called you to do.


The Interrogation Room

www.joemcgeeministries.com

An interview with Joe McGee. Joe is an author, conference speaker, former school administrator, and husband of over 35 years and father of six children. Joe travels extensively training people from all walks of life in family, marital, financial, and parenting issues. His seminars are referred to as a laugh and learn experience. After working in the electrical industry for 12 years and following the call of God on his life, Joe went back to school, became an ordained minister, and spent 12 years working on staff at local churches as a Christian education director and as a Christian school administrator. Joe then founded Faith For Families and Joe McGee Ministries and has spent the past 15 years traveling and conducting seminars across America on the family. Thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions. We appreciate you and the experiences you have to share; you are a great asset to the body of Christ. What is your passion? 1.

Pleasing God. “It is God who gives us the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Phil. 2:13NLT

2. Being a success at what God has placed me on earth to do. I want to hear a “well done” when I am through. 3. Loving my wife. She is my best friend. 4. Loving my kids. They are my glory, the legacy we leave behind if Jesus tarries.

How do you try and live it out? By continuing to grow. I need more wisdom, patience, money, and knowledge this year than I did last. I will need more next year than I do this year. “To whom much is given, much is required.” I need to grow mentally, so I read more, study more, and get around other people better than me. I need to grow spiritually, read my Bible, pray, attend church regularly, and fellowship with other Christians. We are commanded to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus. Be a good listener. Make, commit, and schedule time for Denise and the kids. Everybody is busy. All the more reason to have fellowship and fun time together.

What was your first thought when you found out you were going to be a father? Thrilled and challenged. “This is real, I’m going to have to raise the bar, and this is not a dress rehearsal. I have one shot at this, don’t mess this up.” Very sober minded.

If there was one thing you could tell parents, what would it be?

What was the biggest challenge in raising your own kids? Organization and time management. Constant adjustments. Humans hate surprises unless there is a bow attached to the top of it. Have to work to stay on top of it.

What is one of the best things your children have taught you about yourself? Don’t overreact.

What do you think the church can do about the issue of fatherlessness in America? Build great children’s ministries! Start early, teaching about fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, girlfriends and boyfriends. People are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.

What do you do when your children are acting like wild animals? Nobody has perfect kids, just kids who are growing up. Some grow faster than others! You avoid provoking children to wrath by being as consistent as possible. Eph. 6:4; every home needs some rules, regulations, rewards, and punishments, and a lot of verbal admonition. Every child has flesh and flesh can go stupid if you let it. You can avoid most of that by creating a stable environment in the home.

How do you raise your children in discipline without squashing their personalities? Always deal with the action, not the person. No yelling. Love the child not what they did.

Thank you for the insights Joe, We look forward to seeing you in September!

Stay flexible. Families are not neat. Be willing to be flexible.

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BEHOLD,

children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate. Psalm 125: 3-5 God gives us children as a blessing from Him! A new baby is a highlight to any family. The challenges set in soon thereafter when new parents seek to figure out how to raise a child that will be balanced in personal discipline, godliness, and self-reliance. Susan and I were married five years before we had our first child. I was the one holding out! It seemed to be such a huge task to me for the Lord to give me the responsibility of raising a child. Then I found that God has placed in our hands His wisdom in training children. God wants us to train our children to walk with Him. Proverbs 22:6 reads, Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. The Hebrew Word for the phrase he should go is peh which refers to the mouth.1 When you introduce a new food to a baby, you can place a small portion in

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the roof of the baby’s mouth. The baby takes time to taste the food for a while and develops an appetite for it. We give our children their appetites for life values, or train them up in the mouth of their way, by what they see in our homes as they grow. Their appetite for life values starts with what they see in us! Children should be taught spiritual values at an early age. Isaiah 28:9-10 reads, Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? (10) For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little. Most of an adult’s character and personality is molded by the age of nine. Our children learn by observing our behavior throughout the day. As we interact with life, they learn what we value by how we spend our time. They learn how to relate to others by watching how we interact with them. Here is just one of many references2 that relate the importance of teaching our children by our lifestyles to walk with God: And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9) As our children watch us throughout our day, they learn how to live. We teach by example. We reproduce in our kids not what we know, but what we do! Our children must be taught to fear the Lord. Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. (Psalm 34:11) We can’t expect any person or group outside the home to do what we are commissioned by God to do! They may help, but we parents are responsible to train our children in the way of righteousness!


Susan and I are blessed to have four children. Let me relate some things that have helped us in raising godly children in an ungodly world. Let me also start this by saying that we made a choice to live in front of our children what we value. We made our values into a short list of rules that they could relate to and understand. But Susan and I understood that the rules would not work unless we lived them ourselves! First of all, our goal has been to raise our children to no longer need us! They are totally dependent on us at birth, but that dependence should gradually lessen until by the time the child is a legal adult, he is fully responsible for his own life decisions and consequences. Our goal has been to raise conscience-led children. True obedience to mom and dad is obedience to God. Disobedience to mom and dad is disobedience to God! My children knew Ephesians 6:1-3 well: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1-3) In training the conscience in our children, Susan and I created a small list of rules as standards of behavior in our home. The list was concise yet broad. It covered most all of life’s issues. We posted the list of rules throughout our home: in the kitchen, their bedrooms, and in our bedroom. Let me stress that the list was short! Some people attempt to do this with a rule list so long that the parents can’t even remember it! Our list had only three points: 1) Always Obey All Authority 2) Get Along With Your Brothers and Sisters, and 3) Never, Ever Lie.3 Let’s go over these rules briefly, and then I will discuss the consequences they faced for breaking the rules. Our first rule was Always Obey All Authority. This covers so many life issues. It addresses attitudes, outward behavior, and whining. It applies to school teachers, store clerks, business owners, church teachers, and, of course, us as parents. Our second rule was Get Along With Your Brothers and Sisters. If you have more than one child, their personalities will eventually collide! There must be something in place that will curb the manifestation of the flesh called sibling rivalry! We allowed no fussing, fighting, name calling, or accusations toward each other. If they got into a wrangle, both children involved received discipline! This taught them to respect one another and work out their differences without quarreling. It also helped them to respect each others’ property.

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Our third and last rule was Never, Ever Lie! We taught our kids that if they did something that was wrong and owned up to it and confessed it, then they would not be disciplined. Most parents are wise enough to tell whether or not a child is simply working the system or is really honestly confessing a fault. We taught our kids that the devil is the father of liars, and that liars just can’t go to heaven!4 When one of the three rules was broken, our children had to face the consequences. We listed the consequences under the rules that were posted, where they were clear for all to see. As we begin discussing the practicals of disciplining children, let me mention here the importance of consistency and promptness. If you don’t follow through and enforce what you say, your children will not believe you. Determine to practice what you preach and enforce what you value! If you allow your children to delay their obedience until after you’ve said the same thing three or four times, then you’re teaching habits of disobedience. And if you allow your children to whine to get their way, you’re actually fostering rebellious attitudes!

time because they are too tired or preoccupied. Here are some simple guidelines for spanking a small child. First of all, never use your hand. Hands are for loving and helping, not for disciplining! Never slap your child! That is demeaning and is considered abuse! Using a rod keeps the pain of discipline separate from you. A small wooden kitchen spoon works well with young children. Place the rod of correction in a certain location in your home. When your child disobeys, send them to a place for discipline where you and the child will be alone. They should never be disciplined in front of other siblings or friends. That is demeaning to them. When your child disobeys, tell them to go immediately to that secluded place away from others. The time it takes you to go get the rod of correction will give you an opportunity to calm down if you’re angry.

Susan and I value the Bible and its wisdom. And God encourages the use of the rod of correction when disciplining children. This is a subject of controversy today, but in the light of current behavior problems with kids in our culture, it’s plain to me that Father knows best! Check out my endnotes for scriptures that relate the importance of the rod and reproof!5

When you enter the room where your child is, explain what they did wrong in clear terms. I have often taken my Bible with me and simply read from Ephesians 6:1-3. I would ask the child if they knew that they did wrong. Then I repeated the rule that was broken and asked them if they understood what they did wrong. I then reminded my child that the Lord has told me in His word to correct them with the rod. I asked them if they wanted life to be well with them, and if they wanted to live a long blessed life. (Ephesians 6:3) This is appealing to the conscience of the child. I then reminded them that when they disobey me, they are in essence also disobeying God.

Before I go into the practical use of spanking, let me address the issue of why spanking is effective with small children, and then how to deal with older children and teenagers.

Before I ever entered the room to discipline, I had already determined how many licks to give them with the rod. I usually never gave more than three. That predetermined number kept me from disciplining out of anger.

It is not possible to clearly reason with very small children. But they do understand right and wrong and cause and effect. Placing a small child in time out is beyond their ability

For a small child, I bent them over my knee and held them so that their hands could not touch their bottom. The only place I would strike with the rod was their backside. No other

The greatest challenge parents face with small children is consistency. For discipline to work, parents must enforce the rules without wavering.

to understand. And it can breed rebellion and bad attitudes. It’s the rod and reproof that give wisdom to small children. Spanking is used more frequently when children are very young. But as they age, they should be disciplined less and less, as they begin to understand what the rules are and the consequences they will face when they disobey. The greatest challenge parents face with small children is consistency. For discipline to work, parents must enforce the rules without wavering. It sends mixed messages to a child when they are disciplined for wrong behavior one time, and then the parents overlook the same behavior the next

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place on their body is appropriate. After I finished giving them the controlled spanking, I then let them sit there and cry for a moment; I often left the room for only a minute to let them cry. I would return very shortly, tell them again what they did, and then pray with them. I would ask them to pray with me aloud as I led them in a confession before God of their sin of disobedience. When we finished praying, I would then hug my child and tell them that I loved them. And I would remind them that God just forgave them, and I did too. But if they did the same thing again, I would bring them back in for another spanking.


Administering discipline in this fashion shapes the conscience and also brings control to your child’s flesh. A clean conscience brings joy! Your child will eventually appreciate your firmness and love. Boundaries set by parents make a child feel cared for and secure. And when you pray with them after discipline, you help reinforce their right relationship with God. Discipline should always have the conscience in view. As a child ages into their teenage years, the conscience should be developed enough to provide them a safe guidance system into life. And parents must be willing to let go of the apron strings enough with age-appropriate freedom to allow a maturing teenager some latitude in certain areas. Teenagers need opportunities to make their own decisions, and then be held accountable for them. And they need to experience the repercussions of a bad decision on non life-altering matters in their early teens. The repercussions of a mistake will not be as severe then as when they become adults, as long as you carefully watch the freedoms you allow them. As a child ages into the teen years, the denial of privileges when they are disobedient can be just as effective as a spanking to a young child. This teaches them that life has consequences and helps further develop the conscience. The key to denial of privileges is again consistency in the parent. A parent who in anger overreacts and grounds a teenage child for a month may find their discipline ineffective. If the parent is unwilling to keep their word and lets the issue go, nothing is learned by the teenager except that mom and dad don’t keep their word! Two or three days of enforcing the denial of certain privileges is far better than the threat of a month of restriction without follow-through!

These are just some simple guidelines. If you’ve let things go for a period of time, or have been slack in discipline and have had no rules, then I encourage a cautious approach. Sit down and have a family meeting, and explain your change of heart as a parent. Explain what you have failed to do, and how the Lord has dealt with you. Show your children the set of rules you’re going to begin to abide by in the home. Let them know what will happen when they disobey the rules. Type out a simple list of rules that they can see, and post them throughout your home after the meeting. The challenging part then comes as you seek to change your parental habits from slackness to discipline! Let me add that if you’re making changes, you should also seek to spend time with your children. It’s too easy to get so busy with life that you don’t take time to do things with them. When my children were very young, I played on the floor with them with their toys. Susan and I went for walks with them. We rode bikes. We would take them to the park or to a place that had games for kids. We developed relationships as loving parents with them. We read to them at bedtime and prayed with them. Discipline will not work without an environment of love being created by both parents. Ask the Lord to help you be the loving parent that He’s called you to be. Ask Him to help you make changes that will help you as a parent and that will benefit your children for the rest of their lives. You can choose now to raise godly kids in an ungodly world!

Resources & Endnotes 1.

2.

OT:6310 peh (peh); from OT:6284; the mouth (as the means of blowing), whether literal or figurative (particularly speech); specifically edge, portion or side; adverbially (with preposition) according to: Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary, © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc. (Deuteronomy 4:9-10) - Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, (10) especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord your God in Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’ (Genesis 18:19) - For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him. (Deuteronomy 11:18-21) - Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (19) You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. (20) And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, (21) that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth. (Psalm 78:4-7) - We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. (5) For He established a testimony in Jacob, And

3. 4.

5.

appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; (6) That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, (7) That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments. We adapted this list from our good friend Joe McGee. John 8:44 - You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (Revelation 21:8) - But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Proverbs 13:24) - He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly. (Proverbs 19:18 KJV) - Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. (Proverbs 20:30) - Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, As do stripes the inner depths of the heart. (Proverbs 23:13-14) - Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. (14) You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell. (Proverbs 29:15) - The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. (Proverbs 29:17) - Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.

Prism magazine | Summer / Fall 2008

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Fingers poised over the keyboard, I heard once more... Tell them... Whispered awareness shifted through me. He was giving strength for the moment once again, as the old tune wafted through my memory: Trust Me when you don’t understand My acts For then you are learning My ways... Trust Me... The pain wrapped itself around my emotions and squeezed. Unshed tears slid down the back of my eyes and into my throat. It constricted as I steadied my gaze onto my friend’s chattering face. I smiled and determined to unselfishly share her joy. All about her wonderful lovely family – grown kids, grandkids, family gatherings, warm with laughter and love. Such scenes were familiar; they played out in memories of my own out-of-state family of origin. Every gathering a joyous celebration of each person’s value, replete with teasing, hugs, abounding joy. Adoration of the grandkids and greatgrands spiraled like shredded party ribbons around the group, sparking it with color and gaiety. I long for that, Lord. My heart cried it silently to the One who understood. But I would not go there now. This would not be about me. If I chose, I could top every story of kid-woes with our own heartwrenching episodes, spilling cold statistics out to faces made incredulous. But I had stopped sharing. No one could relate. For a long time, there had been too much to even tell anymore, so my husband and I just stopped. Closed up. And started listening and smiling and sympathizing with one whose child had been disciplined at school, another whose kid had mouthed off at home, yet another with a newly soured attitude. I murmured encouragement, thinking all the while – at least he came home, at least she’s in school, at least you know where they are. Sometimes I yearn for the hugs of children again. I stroked a baby’s arm at church yesterday. And tickled a toddler. Those tiny bodies, so utterly precious. We got them fourteen years ago. Wow. It had been a while since I’d waded through the memories, so I let them run a bit. We had one adopted son, a perfect child, I thought. Smile. Mothers think that, you know, especially about the first. From the moment I wrapped his tiny two-day-old form in my arms, he had been planted in my heart. Yet gradually it seemed that raising only one child wasn’t enough, and crying out to God for more children became once again a daily seeking. We had so much more love to give, but would we get the chance? We got the chance. Three wide open preschoolers and one shut-down baby. Four beautiful, towheaded siblings, rowdy, eyes emanating both energy and fear, born in less than four years. The social workers warned us that it could be difficult. These children had been horribly abused, the worst case of child abuse ever in a neighboring county.


Blithely, my husband and I smiled and nodded, answering that we were sure it would, but God would help us. Social workers didn’t know much about Him; it would be different than they thought. When it’s His will, everything turns out okay, doesn’t it? Well? Of course it does. So my husband, our seven-year-old, and I agreed, as a lifelong ministry, to welcome four damaged little ones into our home. And for a season life was good. We raised them at church. The children learned they would be fed and sheltered, how to hug, and not to be terrified of everything. We taught them to quote Scripture and talk to God. They began to obey, do their schoolwork, and play on teams as our family spent summers at the ball parks. They became OURS. And then it began, at puberty. From a trickle to an over-the-walls flood to the torrential explosion of a dam giving way, the rebellion built. Three of our children changed into people we no longer knew, strangers. Then worse – determined enemies. Committed, it seemed, to our family’s destruction. The Bible says in the last days that children will turn against their parents. I knew that to be true, but never could I have guessed it would happen to me, nor how much it would hurt. I was absolutely baffled. What in the world had gone wrong? How had we failed? I had tried SO HARD. Our oldest son detached himself emotionally from the family, willing himself to achieve with no support. The youngest faded into the consuming chaos. Our marriage weakened, as we stumbled on in survival mode struggling through – those last few years. I winced at the weight of those memories, trying to gloss through the absolute whirl – abuse investigations, months of court appearances, being screamed at, cursed at, lied to and about, therapy, social workers, detention facilities, mental hospitals, more social workers, county jail, meetings and more meetings, other parents’ accusations, neglect allegations, four group homes, runaways, police reports by the dozen, stealing, break-ins, the violence, the relentless strain... I shut the memory and turned away. Enough. After they left, the house grew quiet, but the pain still ran deep. Sometimes I would step alongside and watch the silent current. And wonder how it’s fair that mothers have to hurt for lost children. How many millions of tears have been wordlessly collected in the spirit? How many fathers glare fiercely, shuddering with the strain of appearing strong? How many children run and are just never heard from again? Resentment surfaced. This is worse than someone dying... I’d rather my children be dead in Christ than alive in the devil! Whose stupid idea was this family-thing anyway? I gulped, big OOPS, realizing I’d just criticized God Himself. I chided myself for such thoughts, cycling through what I knew to do. Repent. Take them captive. Draw close again. Process the hurts. Wipe the tears. Determine to trust. TRUST. Before all this, I hadn’t understood how it could be shoved away. Now I knew – it’s simply pain. To keep from hurting anymore, we shut down, draw in, decide never to reach out again... never... I knew better, but still reacted as if I didn’t. Because we don’t ever know how we’ll react in the face of continuous, unthinkable pain. How dare I ever judge another! That’s one thing I have learned! The chorus I had written so long ago drifted through my thoughts again, its words drawing my focus:

Trust me when you don’t understand My acts For then you are learning My ways Trust Me when You don’t understand what I do For then you are learning how much I love you You can’t see what I can I have the perfect plan Only trust Me, trust Me, My child Put out your hand and trust Me Trust Me, My child Okay, Lord, how do You want me to trust You with this? I’ve about overdone confessing my weaknesses, needs, and failures. The children are lifted up and committed to You daily. What else? Doing the faith thing with rebellious wills overriding mine is a stretch right now... so what? A clear word-answer floated up from within, gleaned from Pastor Mitch’s recent sermons: relationships. Great. I used to be proud of mine. But now it’s the one thing I don’t want anymore, the one area I’ve reserved for myself – the secluded retreat where my pain is protected with padlocked entrance. Knowing people intimately just plain hurts. Look at my family. Look at my heart. I am, He answered. So tell them. Tell them that it still hurts, that you didn’t do it right, and that you need them. Trust Me when you don’t understand... I lifted my eyes in resignation; You really do want it all, don’t You Lord. Fingers poised over the keyboard, I heard once more - Tell them... So I’m telling you. God’s good, and we’ll be okay. We’re promised victory, period. But I still cry over my children every day. And wonder where they are. And battle angry thoughts. And release yet another dose of forgiveness. Parenting can doggone hurt. A lot. What will be their end? Who knows? Only God does. We invested everything. So far, they’ve rejected it all. Was it wasted? Again, only God knows. It’s between each child and Him now. They’re cast. But I need to tell you this – that I haven’t got it right yet. I’ve not arrived. I can’t look back on those painful years and show you how strong and wonderful I am now, how I did this and that and came out unruffled and grateful for the experience and don’t you wish you could be just like me. Because I’m not there yet, period. God said to tell you that it still hurts, because it flat does. But we’re working on it. Just like you. I have the unqualified guarantee of never being forsaken. Just like you. And I also need to tell you this – that I need you. Actually, even with as little as I have to add to the mix right now, you need me, too. We can have each other over, linger over coffee, cry together, and look for victories not yet seen. Because God said to tell you so...

I’m sorry I ever thought I could make it by myself. By Anne Houston

Prism magazine | Summer / Fall 2008

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never give up by dianne boyette

I am a parent like you. My husband and I have parented four of our own. We have two married adult children, a daughter entering adulthood and college, and a son who will graduate from high school next year. I know the frustrations that come with repeating yourself a million times (OK... so it seems like a million times) and not getting the results you are expecting. I understand the feelings of failure when you see your youth make bad choices that will affect him or her for many years to come. I hear your frustration when they reach the golden old age of 17 and suddenly no longer need parents or their guidance, because they are now so much smarter than you are. I feel your pain when you watch them make friendships that will change them into someone you no longer recognize. I hear your heart breaking as you look into the eyes of your youth, once a kind, caring person, and see a selfcentered being, who is silently declaring, “You can’t touch me... everything is for my pleasure... I will deny myself no gratification!” I cry with you when your youth steps into adult behavior, riding the excuse that God gave them sexual desires, so why not express them. I feel your indignation after years of investing the Word of God into your youth, only to watch them enter adulthood to be influenced to... “just have a little drink!” OK... STOP... ENOUGH! NO MORE!!! I know some of you are saying this. Some of you have experienced everything I have described. I know parents who have done all to stand and then stood again! These are parents who love their children today, who in yesterdays lived the Word of God and loved with the love

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of God, and yet their youth chose to walk away from God, family, and anything to do with godliness. I have cried with these parents. The will of man, if bent in the direction of destruction, will reap the results of their choices. I come alongside parents who did all to stand and then stood, to encourage you now to put your pain, sadness, and trust in God, allowing Him to begin the healing in you. To my parents who are still in the race of parenting, but your heart is broken and you want to give up, I would say this, “Please do not give up on your youth!!!” It may have to be said of them that they gave up, but let it not be said of you. I urge you to keep fighting for them! I have the pleasure of being a friend to a parent that I admire. Even with the pain and sadness of her child choosing to walk away from God and family, this woman refused to give up because she had one last child at home. She dug her heels in. I envision Gone With the Wind... do you remember when Scarlet has just gone through the war, then returned home to Twin Oaks plantation to find everything destroyed? Her home had been raided, everything stolen, nothing of value was left (sounds like Satan, doesn’t it), no food, her father crazy, her mom dead, and everyone on the plantation looking to her for answers. Scarlet could have given up at this point. But instead, even though starving, she held her fist up to the sky and told God... “So help me God, I will never be hungry again!” So all right!


This particular parent is a Scarlet O’Hara to me. She did whatever it took for her last child to experience what her other would not receive. Instead of shutting down and giving up, she poured everything that was in her, and even what was not her but was God, into her last youth. I am so excited to say that this youth has hope and a future because mom (and dad) did not give up.

we not give our lives for them, just as Jesus gave His for us? Would we not give our last breath to see them live for eternity with Jesus? I think so!

For some of my parents, I know it’s hard. And I know you feel this will never end. I know you are thinking that you did not buy into something being this hard, this difficult, and this (seemingly) endless.

Love is about not giving up, but fighting for what is right. Love is about saying NO when it’s for the best, or saying YES when that’s for the best.

I also know that for some, parenting is fairy tale images of Disney World, ice cream parlors, all pink and pretty, with Hot Wheels roaring across your living room floor driven by a cute, little, obedient person. While we do not live in a make-believe world, and reality sometimes hits hard, there is always hope for the hopeless; joy can come in the morning. We just can’t give up. A child needs to know their parent will not give up on them, but will fight for them. Even when they are kicking and screaming and wanting to have their way, we never give up. We believe the best of them, and envision them to become that. We love them in spite of themselves and hold firm to the vision that their future is blessings and not curses. When we want to say, “No more!” we instead cry out in our prayer closet, “More, Lord, give me more love, more patience, more understanding, more compassion, more hope, more time, more energy, more fight!” God never gave up on us, so why should we ever think we can give up on our children? Would

There are rewards in parenting... IF we don’t faint and give up on our youth. For one, we can anticipate the pleasure of enjoying adult relationship and fellowship with our children. I am living that now, and it is wonderful!

Love is about not controlling or manipulating others, but instead giving of your self to them. Love is accepting those things about another person that you cannot change. Love is praying for them when you don’t feel like it, or worse, when you flat don’t want to. Love knows that you will not always agree, but that you can always be accepting of that person. Love is not holding grudges, not making them pay for the wrongs they did. Love is forgiving them, even when they don’t deserve it. Love is letting go of the past and embracing the future with the clean hope of a new and better day. Love is having bad days, but not letting them make you a bad person. Love is feeling the heart of the other person and accepting their differences without judgment. Parenting is loving your child unconditionally. And love never gives up.

Prism magazine | Summer / Fall 2008

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From The Internet

www.stuffchristianslike.net

Playing hide and seek with God. This article was used with permission from the Stuff Christians Like Blog, entry #299.

My two-year old daughter is horrible at hide and seek. We’re not that worried. My wife and I feel that if we work with some specialists, by the time she is four, McRae should be hiding at a 3rd grade level and seeking at a 5th grade level, which is encouraging. McRae’s biggest weakness is not that she regularly leaves her bright yellowed croc-covered feet sticking out of whatever blanket she is under. Her biggest problem is that she believes that if she can’t see you, you can’t see her. She thinks that if she hides her face in her mother’s dress that the instant the world goes dark for her, it also goes dark for you. I was smiling about this recently until I realized that is often how I approach God. This came to light during my last counseling session. A big part of the reason I am back in counseling is that this site has done OK and I don’t want to become a cocky jerk. That might sound a little silly, but I know that will happen if I’m not careful. So a few weeks ago I told my counselor that sometimes my life feels like I am stuck on one side of the fence. I am looking through a hole in the fence to see what is happening on the other side. There’s a party over there. God is there, on that side, and lots of folks are just enjoying themselves, laughing and celebrating. But I am stuck on the wrong side. My counselor just sat there for a minute, doing that “be silent” move that all counselors have mastered, and then he spoke. “You know what the big thing is in that picture Jon? You think God is only on one side of the fence. You don’t think He’s on both.” He’s right. All too often, I am a two-year old closing my eyes. I am a child misbehaving. I am a toddler that thinks that as soon as I mess up and my little world goes dark with sin and I feel that I can no longer see God, that He can no longer see me. The moment I make a decision that shuts Him out, He does the same to me. When I can’t see Him, He can’t see me. Job deals with this in chapter 23, verse 9. In the midst of everything that happens to him, he admits: When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.

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I like that. I like that Job admits that he doesn’t see God right now. Sometimes people try to make you feel guilty that you don’t “feel led” in a certain direction by God. That despite trying your best, in the north and the south you catch no glimpse of God and that is a failure. But Job knows it’s not about that. Job knows that our ability to see God is not the litmus test to prove if God is there or not. In verse 10 he says, But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. God sees me. When I am filthy and covered with bad life decisions, He sees me. When I have dug deep pits and have stayed there so long that they have started rerouting my mail to the pit, He sees me. When I succeed and celebrate, He sees me. When I am good or bad or stuck believing that life is about being good or bad, He sees me. And even if I don’t see him, that doesn’t mean He is gone. He is in the north. He is in the south. And at some point, I will come forth as gold.

Jon is a copywriter living in Alpharetta Georgia, where he single-handedly manages his blog stuff christians like.


Introduction To CLST. Victory Fellowship has joined with Christian Life School of Theology in Columbus, Georgia, to provide a school to prepare believers for obeying the call of God upon their lives as ambassadors for Christ. Christian Life School of Theology is accredited by Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) to award degrees through the Master of Divinity and has been granted authorization to begin offering courses leading to the Doctor of Ministry Degree. In-depth studies are provided in Bible, Counseling, Christian Development, Church Growth and other related topics. These studies are designed to prepare Christian Workers for pastoral, counseling, evangelistic, teaching, music, youth, children’s, and other ministries. They are also designed to enrich one’s spiritual life, along with strengthening the ministry of the local church. If you are not a member of Victory Fellowship, you must be grounded in a local church in order to participate in the courses offered at our campus.

Course Date

Upcoming Course. “New Strategies For Evangelism” September 18 - 20, 2008 / Dr. Gerald Johnson This course is a biblical study on how to speak the truth of love. Special emphasis includes: the basic New Testament principles of communicating Christ to the lost world, and “The engaging of the Culture” with a coherent gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit.

sign up today and receive your book and syllabus! For more information on Christian Life School of Theology, please contact Shawn Tracy at 550.0618.

Course Title

Instructor

January 17th - 19th

“Apologetics”

Dr. James A. Burkett

February 21st - 23rd

“Interpersonal Relationships and Personality Patterns”

Dr. David L. Baldwin

March 20th - 22nd

“Stones of Remembrance”

April 17th - 19th

“Paul: The Man”

May 15th - 17th

“The Book of Proverbs”

June 19th - 21st

“Great Systematic Theology I”

July 17th - 19th

“Godly Foundations For Parenting”

August 14th - 16th

“The Book of Ezekiel”

September 18th - 20th

“New Strategies For Evangelism”

October 16th - 18th

“The Book of Mark”

November 13th - 15th

“Great Christian Personalities I”

December 2008

No Course This Month!

Dr. Fuschia Pickett Dr. Ronald E. Cottle Dr. Charles H. Gaulden Dr. John Durden Dr. Larry Keefauver Dr. Charles H. Gaulden Dr. Gerald Johnson Rev. Terry Mahan Dr. Jerry Goff


victory fellowship church 1250 Aversboro Rd. Garner, NC 27529

919.779.5180

www.vfgarner.com

NONPROFIT ORG US POSTAGE PAID GARNER NC PERMIT NO. 13


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