Weekend Preview | Ideal Family Part 4: Family According to Star Wars

By Don Gentry

You are in the middle of the biggest film of your life. You are the main character AND you are writing the script. You get to decide if you are going to be the hero. You have an enemy and it is the dark side. (Aka Satan, selfishness and the deceitfulness of time.)

What you may not know is that “the force” is with you and has actually already won the final battle. Victory is yours! There is a battle plan and play book that has been written to guide you and set up a pattern of ideals that will lead you into many victorious skirmishes all along the way. The dark side is forever going to be luring you.

You get to choose on a regular occasion how you are going to act. If you act according to the battle plan and choose the way your guide has laid out before you, your movie will end victoriously. You may have a few scenes you wish could be deleted, but that is why your guide has chosen to walk with you. To help you recover from those difficult scenes.

The only person in your film that you can write a script for is yourself, and you may have to adjust your script regularly because of outside influences. Every character in the movie gets to write their own script and it often causes us to re-write our own role.

You see, we are all writing our own script, and the movie I am talking about is you and your family. God, through His son Jesus, has provided us a path to victory. He has given us the Holy Spirit as our “force” to walk with us as we choose how we are going to write the script in each scene of our life. Whether every scene works out the way we want it to is not the main point of the movie. The main point is are we learning to listen to the Holy Spirit guide us as we figure out our role in the movie.

Our current series at Journey has been about creating our script for an ideal family. God has provided direction for all of us. He has provided power and victory. He has provided examples, as well as a way, to write a good script. If you are breathing oxygen, then you are a part of a family. If you are drawing breath, you still play a major role in your family, whether that role is child, parent, grand parent, or extended relative. There is great freedom granted to you, but caution is encouraged as you become all that God has intended for you to become.

May the force be with you as you write your story!

How Parents Can Help Their Kids Understand and Accept Their Role

By Ryan Weber

I grew up a huge WWE fan, so much so that I wrote letters to them trying to convince them that hiring a 12 year old, 85 pound runt would be fantastic for their ratings. They never wrote me back, thank God. But one of my favorite wrestlers was The Rock, a behemoth of a man who destroyed nearly everyone he went up against. One of the catchphrases he used that reverberated through the many arenas he visited was this: “Know your role, and shut your mouth!”

Yeah, it was wrestling and it was dramatic, but I can’t help but wonder if we bring this same logic into the realm of our parenting. We want our kids to conform to a certain set of ideals, principles and values, but how many of us verbally communicate what those roles actually are? Or instead, do we silently thrust expectation upon our children and then get upset with them when they do not live up to our unspoken expectations?

I’m not a parent, so please don’t think I’m preaching at you, but I’ve worked with kids for as long as I wanted to work. I supervise teenagers, I’m in student ministry, and I lead organizations that affect thousands of kids every day. I may not know anything about parenting, but here’s what I know about kids: they don’t know a lot of things.

It’s our expectation as adults that our kids know what they’re supposed to do, why they’re supposed to do it, and to top it all off, we want them to do it for the right reasons and with smiles on their faces. That’s what makes us dumb. And frustrated. And wondering what’s wrong with “that” generation.

Your kids don’t know what you do not communicate. Clearly. And OFTEN. I have to reiterate roles, rules and expectations on an almost daily basis with the kids that I interact with. Why? Because they are kids. Forgetting and being selfish is what they do. Heck, that’s what I do, why would I expect more from a child when I can barely expect it from myself?

Helping kids understand their role within your own family dynamic stems from the knowledge that you have a clear understanding of the vision and purpose of your own family. If you are not a purposeful parent, communicating vision and life over your family, you should not expect your children to fall into any grey or undefined roles you have thought very little about.

What is it you want your kids to be?
What kind of son/daughter do you want them to be?
What kind of brother/sister?
What kind of grandson/granddaughter?
What kind of friend?
What kind of husband/wife?

Now here is the most important question for your kids: WHY? Kids inevitably expect a “what,” but they want a “why” and rarely ever get an adequate answer. The “why” is what turns stubborn acquiescence into premeditated obedience. The “why” casts vision into your child’s life and speaks life into their future. The “what” produces submission, the “why” produces destiny.

You need to be a proactive participant in the growth of your child’s understanding of their role. You need to speak it to them daily.

There is a passage in Genesis 5 that stuck out to me when I was reading through one of those mind-numbing genealogy sections of the Bible:

When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. He named him Noah and said, ‘He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed’” (Genesis 5:28-29).

It’s easy for us to skip over sections of the Bible like this, we skim because we say, “Ok, this dude had this dude and he lived 500 years and then had this dude who lived… etc… etc…”

But don’t miss what Lamech did. He named his son Noah, which sounds almost exactly like the Hebrew word for comfort. Imagine the connotations brought into Noah’s mind every time his father spoke his name: “Comforter, come here.” “Be nice to your sister, Comforter.” “Why are you building this boat in the middle of the desert, Comforter?”

Every time Lamech spoke his child’s name, he was casting vision into who he wanted his son to be. He spoke to the calling that God had upon his life. He made Noah’s role known to Noah every time he addressed him. You will be a comforter. And he was. He lived through and lead people through the destruction of the world only to start it all over again. I’d say you’d need a PhD in Comfort to pull that off.

In order for our kids to understand and accept their roles, you need to speak it over them. You need to put thought into it and you need to provide practical reasons why adhering to your expectations sets them up for something huge. We are working to provide for the world the next generation of leaders; that deserves our time, effort and overt communication.

Weekend Preview | Ideal Family Part 3: The Ideal Mom

By Don Gentry

We are in week three of a four-week series called the Ideal Family. When we say Ideal Family it is a little play on words because we know there really is no such thing as an ideal family. As we have been saying, every family has dysfunction, but we want to strive to minimize it. We want to challenge everyone to understand that God has established ideals for the family, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, He has equipped us with the ability to minimize dysfunction.

I want to label dysfunction for what it is. Most of the time dysfunction is sin. Modern day Christians seem to have a difficult time calling themselves and others sinners. If we want to identify what an ideal family looks like, then we have to be willing to accept that it is sin that keeps us from God’s ideals. Dad is a sinner, Mom is a sinner, kids are sinners, even grandma and grandpa are sinners. Christ gave up everything to save us from our sins! He meets us in our sin and dysfunction, but we can never seek to attain His ideals if we don’t start with Him where He starts with us.

On Sunday, I am actually going to be speaking more about the ideal wife than the ideal mom. Let’s face it, if you are a mom and if we started with God’s ideals for the family, then you would have been a wife first. This is where society’s definition of mom and dad break down. Even Christians are trying to leave out the husband and wife role of being mom and dad.

If you are divorced or a a single parent, I am not saying your situation is hopeless or that you are horrible. Quite the opposite. We simply need to identify where we are with God. For example, if you are divorced and remarried, according to Jesus Christ’s very own words you are a sinner. As soon as I repeat these words of Christ, I am met with incredible resistance. Because of this resistance, we fail to meet Christ where he meets us. Remember He met the woman at the well who had been married five times right where she was. So I am not repeating His words with judgment, I am repeating his words with truth and love!

If we are going to establish a family built upon God’s “Ideals,” we have to start with identifying our families’ starting point. We are never beyond God’s healing touch. We can never “screw” up the system so badly that He cannot repair it. But He has to meet us in our sin. We cannot go back and fix what has been done. Christ’s forgiveness redeems all that. However, we can accept where we are and make changes for our future.

Family is built upon the foundational ideal of a man and woman being joined together in marriage. After marriage, the man and woman become one flesh. We cannot become the ideal dad or mom if we didn’t start in this order and have never asked Christ to forgive us and help us to start anew.

On Sunday, I will give more of what God identifies as ideal behaviors that we see in a wife and mom, but please don’t come thinking that we must return to the Leave It To Beaver days of womanhood.

Ideals are principles to aim at, principles that guide our personalities and behaviors. They are not ingredients for cookie cutter women or families. God gives us truths to live by in lieu of our personality. I hope to see everyone on Sunday as we discover how we can take the truths of God’s word and apply His principles to our current situation.

Weekend Preview | Ideal Family Part 2: The Ideal Dad

By David McNeely

Get ready for the greatest sermon ever preached on being a Dad. It will be your one stop shop where you and your sons will be fully equipped with everything necessary for being a godly father. If you put into practice everything we talk about then you will not sin anymore, your children will be fully equipped for everything, and your family line will win the world for Christ by 2041…

Why are you laughing?

Of course this is a ridiculous statement and is given, by design, to make a point. My guess is, you would do just about anything you could to be a better spouse to your wife/husband. I’d be willing to bet the farm the same is true of being a better parent.

There are two equally dangerous extremes to keep in mind as we head into this “Ideal” series. One extreme is believing that all of it is attainable. We do this when we try to put everything into practice from all of the resources we have at our disposal. Books about family, blogs, videos, conferences, retreats, curriculums, and the like are in abundance these days.

On Thursday, April 07, 2016 (my twins’ 13th birthday) the Christian Book Distributors website listed 59,916 resources on the subject of “Family.” Let that sink in. Granted, some of them are key chains, sweatshirts, travel mugs, and picture frames, but there are over 24,000 books alone targeting family related subject matter!

The danger with access to such an abundance of resources is to try and put it all into practice. I love the fact that we live in a time where so much help is available to us in our parenting and in our spousing (did I just make up a word? Spell check tried to change it to espousing but that doesn’t work). A down side to having all of these resources is that we tend to let the professionals tell us what is supposed to work for us.

The other equally dangerous extreme is believing that none of it is possible. We do this when we become so overwhelmed that we quit. Why begin what could never be finished or perfected?

If you hear nothing else please hear me and bank on this: The Holy Spirit is alive and well. He is not short on resources. The Holy Spirit has not run out of ideas. The Holy Spirit knows how you and your kids are wired. The Father is far more interested in conforming you, your spouse, and your children into the image of the Son; and the Holy Spirit will guide you and teach you in all things. The Holy Spirit will empower you. He will convict you. He will comfort you. You cannot do all these things. But Paul reminds us, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

So listen this Sunday at Journey. But don’t listen to a man. Listen to the Spirit. Hopefully the Spirit has spoken to the man about what to say. Ideally, the Spirit will empower the man to say it. But listen for the voice of the Shepherd.

He has a perfect track record as a dad.

Oh, and go buy a Dad, Be Strong and Courageous Travel Mug for the old man. Then he’ll know you really care.

Resources For The Ideal Family

As we continue with the “Ideal Family” series, our desire is to help guide you through your own journey of understanding your role in creating the ideal family. As mentioned on Sunday, we would like to point you toward 3 specific resources that we feel can be very helpful.

Please consider the following options and take advantage of the opportunities that they provide:

1. Journey Family Resource Page – Our new website has a resource section under Family Ministry that includes links to websites, blogs, videos, curriculum and books. These resources have been vetted by our leaders and are available to explore at your own convenience. You can find this page at www.thejourneyonline.com OR by Clicking HERE.

2. Living Forward Assessment – As an added resource to his latest book “Living Forward”, Michael Hyatt provides a FREE website where you can take an assessment test to help you measure your progress in several different areas of your life- areas such as marriage, parenting, finances, spirituality and more. You can access this test at LivingForwardAssessment.com

3. Parenting Conference – On Saturday, April 16th, we will be hosting a Parenting Conference called “10 Secrets To Everyday Life”. Celebrate Calm’s Kirk Martin will be with us to discuss 10 ways to accomplish the following:

  • Get your kids to listen the first time. 

  • Stop defiance, disrespect and yelling.

  • Stop whining, tantrums and sibling fights.

  • Get kids off video games/screens without a fight.

  • Create stress-free mornings, homework time and bedtime.

You can find out more information, watch a sample video and REGISTER FOR THE EVENT HERE

We truly hope that you take the time to invest in some, if not all, of these resources. We believe they can help you define your role in creating the ideal family!

Weekend Preview | Ideal Family – Part 1

By Matt Dawson

I LOVE that we are tackling this topic at Journey. This week we kick off the “Ideal Family Series!”

Is there even such a thing as an “ideal” family?

The reason I ask is because it seems like EVERYONE I know that is married, starting to have kids, or single parenting are looking for the IDEAL when it comes to their families!

They are looking for the answers to questions like these:

  • How do we keep the spark alive after the “honeymoon” year in marriage?
  • When’s the “right” time to have our 2nd kid? (there’s a perfect age difference…do you know what it is?)
  • What happens when you and your spouse switch ROLES (work, parenting, etc)?
  • How do I get my EX to agree to our new family arrangement?
  • Are my kids going to be screwed up because they don’t have a mother/father in their life?

And these are just a few of the questions people struggle with on their path to having an IDEAL Family.

I spent some time studying family models over the last week from Traditional to Modern and everything in-between – and to be honest, I have no idea if any of the models I’ve looked at are the IDEAL family!

So we then look to the BIBLE for examples and answers.

However, this is hard. Not much is mentioned about people’s family and what is shared is often all the ways they did it wrong. The bible is a tough place to look for several examples of healthy loving family units.

Who do you look to in scripture as a model of the ideal family?

  • Abraham’s parenting style (rejection of one son and tried to kill the other one)?
  • Solomon’s marriage (or marriages & concubines)?
  • King David’s sons…you know the ones that tried to kill him!

There are MORE examples of screwed up families (given in detail) in the scripture than GREAT examples for marriages, parenting, and all around family values.

So we’re going to spend the next few weeks tackling these questions. Is there such a thing as an “ideal” family? How do we make it happen? What roles we husbands/dads, wives/mothers, kids/siblings play in fostering the “ideal” family?

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday – it’s a great time to invite a friend to come with you!

Why Understanding Family Roles Matters

By Chris Denning

No matter your experience within a family, whether good or bad, you understand that there are roles within the family. However, your experience certainly colors your perspective of what those roles look like and entail.

In the series we’re starting this weekend, Ideal Family, we’re going to be talking about God’s ideal for the family and what that means for each member of the family.

While there is no picture perfect prescription for what a Father, Mother, Child, etc, should be like in a family, there are certain ideals that we can strive for in these roles. And if God created the family (and He did), then only He can define the ideals for these roles.

This begs the question: Why do these family roles, or ideals for these family roles, matter? Here’s 2 reasons why these family roles matter, and why understanding them for yourself should matter too.

1. They Help Us GROW.

If someone asked you to draw them a good picture, and that it better be what they’re looking for, then you’re in a pretty tough situation. How could you possibly know what they are looking for, or even what “good” means? However, if they asked you to draw them a picture of the Grand Canyon and provided you a picture to base it on, then you’d be on the right track (as long as you don’t draw like me).

God’s ideals for these family roles give us the picture we need to to discern what direction we need to grow in. Without knowing God’s ideals, we don’t have direction for our roles in the family. Knowing God’s ideals for Fathers, Mothers, Husbands, Wives, and even Children gives us a clear picture of what we need to grow into.

2. They Help Us LOVE.

Understanding God’s ideals for family roles not only helps us to understand how we need to grow, but it also helps us understand how to love others in our family even better. By understanding God’s ideals for these roles, we can better understand their motivations and actions, even when we don’t agree with them.

The better we can understand the role of a family member, the better we can love them through tough times and even tough decisions. When a child understands why a Mother makes a decision they don’t like, it makes it easier for them to love them. Understanding God’s ideal for the family helps to provide clarity when things are unclear. That clarity can help us love one another better in times of uncertainty.

I hope you’ll join us for Ideal Family, because no matter your history with your family or what life is like now with your family, understanding God’s ideals for the family will help you be a better member of your family.

While your family may not be perfect, God still has hope for what it could be. Join us and see what God says about the roles of the family and his ideals for them. It just might change your family tree!