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Restoration is a Process — It’s Not Too Late, Part 4

Think about your parenting experience. You have heard the call in Scripture to shepherd your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord You may wonder why you did not hear these things years ago. But wherever you are now, God calls you to take hold of the plow. When and where you heard biblical truth about child-rearing must be left to God’s sovereign purposes. Start now to shepherd your child’s heart, regardless of your child’s age! The apostle Paul instructs us to respond to opposition, guiding the Lord’s servant to . . . [correct] his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses […]

The Parent’s Calling — It’s Not Too Late, Part 3

Verses 20 – 25 of Deuteronomy 6 are a godly apologetic for the choices parents have made to honor God’s law when children ask questions such as: “Why do we always have to go to church?” or “Why is our family different from other families?” We are not different because of social status, money, poverty, heritage, education, skills, intelligence, or opportunities. We are different because of who God is and what God has done! When we appeal to any of the above descriptors to motivate our children to know God or walk in his ways, or to explain why we are different from the culture around us, we are either appealing to pride or avarice to reason with them. Deuteronomy […]

Parents and Instruction — It’s Not Too Late, Part 2

Deuteronomy 6 is wonderfully descriptive of the parenting role. Verses 6–9 frame the daily instruction parents are to give their children in God’s ways. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6–9, NIV) Notice that the parents’ role is that of instruction. The instruction is heartfelt. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. […]

God’s Spirit Brings Life — It’s Not Too Late, Part 1

Why are we tempted to feel like “it’s too late”? Perhaps it is your child’s age—he is a teen now or even an adult. Perhaps it is the degree of brokenness in your relationship—it feels like there is no hope for reconciliation. Perhaps it is the sense you have of your child’s rejection of spiritual things, and even rejection of God or the Christian faith. Here is important truth for you to consider as those thoughts crowd your mind and heart. It is always God’s work of grace that subdues rebellious hearts. That’s what happened to you and me. It is God’s Spirit who brings us, and our children, to repentance and faith—not our works or our children’s works. Ephesians […]

Introducing “It’s Not Too Late” by Margy Tripp

The pain of prodigal sons or daughters is often felt the most keenly by parents who fully invested themselves in intentional parenting. We have spoken with many heartbroken parents who are confused and even a little disappointed in God. “We did everything we were taught to do. We were always in church; if the doors were open, our family was there. Family worship was a daily priority. We sacrificed to provide a Christian education. Our son won prizes for Scripture memorization. He never gave us any trouble. He even went on mission trips with young people from church. But in college everything changed. He never did get connected to a good church. He started hanging out with young people who […]

The Way of Sorrows

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:7-10) Here we see Jesus— described in terms of his human nature, his divine sonship, and his high priesthood— learning obedience through suffering and achieving salvation for his people. His true humanity is evident in the “loud cries and tears” that marked his prayers […]

For the Forgiveness of Sins

What did Jesus do after Judas left to find the religious leaders? Jesus wanted His disciples to understand that this was the last time they would celebrate the Passover. Why? Passover was a time to remember that long ago God saved them from Egyptian slavery. Something new and greater was about to happen. Instead of a lamb taking the punishment that God requires, Jesus was going to take the punishment and shed his blood for our forgiveness (1 Cor. 5:7). The blood of the Passover lamb was not needed any more as the punishment for sin (Heb. 10:4). Why is blood needed for the forgiveness of sin? (Heb. 9:22). It is the blood inside a creature that gives it life, […]

Christ Our Substitute

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3) THE CROSS IS CENTRAL in the apostolic proclamation of the gospel. Paul said to the Corinthians, “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). To the Galatians, he wrote: “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14). When we meditate on the cross, our thoughts are often taken up with the details of Jesus’ physical suffering. This is not inappropriate, […]

Putting Gospel Care Into Practice

God loves when we love his children. He asks us to step into the “messy” lives of others both actively and practically. He even tells us that it is through our love for one another that we come to know him better (1 John 4:7). It is a gift, in and of itself, that he has invited us to take part in the care of his people—just as it is a gift that he’s provided others to take part in caring for us. Time and again, we neglect this gift because it feels “too hard” or we don’t “know enough” to help. But the truth is, God has graciously given us all the tools we need to care for one […]

Messy Care

What Is Messy Care? Welcome to the Intro to (Messy) Care and Discipleship! This material is based on the book Loving Messy People by Scott Mehl. In this eight-session course from IBCD, you will learn how to minister to and care for others in the mess of life. This is an opportunity for you to grow in your understanding of the purpose of relationships as they exist in a sinful and fallen world. It will also enhance your ability to provide meaningful one-another care in the local church. Everyone has relationships and, in the course of those relationships, everyone experiences problems. Does Scripture have anything to say about how we approach one another in the mess of life? Of course […]