Communication

230 posts

Specks & Planks

Jesus was the most extraordinary communicator in all of human history. He was the ultimate guide for bringing truth to everyday life.  So it is not surprising that his craft as a carpenter provided rich illustrations for his teaching.  Specks of sawdust were part of his life. He used words with the skill and grace of the ultimate master woodworker. His crafted vivid word pictures that connected his hearers to everyday life. Thus, in Luke’s gospel, he uses the common elements of his carpenter’s life to connect to my life and yours. Here is what Jesus says: Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own […]

A Conversation With a Teenager

Mom: “Stop bothering your sister.” Josh: “Why?” Mom: “Because it upsets her.” Josh: “Good, she needs to be upset. It’s what she does to me!” Mom: “God says you should be nice to her.” Josh: “Well, then, you should tell her to try being nice. It’s not like I am hurting her or anything.” Mom: “But that is not how it works. You should do what God wants no matter how your sister responds.”  Josh: “So, what do I do when you get mad and yell at me?” Josh: “You shouldn’t talk to me like that!” Josh: “Why? I am not being disrespectful or mad, I just asked you a question.” Mom: “You just shouldn’t. Look I have to take […]

The Process: From Complaining to Slavery

Fourteen-year-old Louis is moody. He constantly complains any time he is not absorbed in his screens. His parents fear for the things he might be viewing when no one is watching. It seems like it has been weeks since anyone has seen him smile. How did this happen? What needs to happen? The immediate, expected response is to demand his screens from him and require him to stop being so grumpy and moody. This plan may attain some temporary relief. But it will not address the real reason for his sin and unhappiness. If the  focus is only on his wrong and unhelpful actions, it will miss reaching his heart and actually encourage him towards  even deeper struggles and sins […]

The Power Of Gentleness

Parents, how would you answer these questions: • Do you want your children to see you as someone they can trust? • Do you want your spouse to take comfort in just being with you? • Are you easy to talk to? • Is your family hesitant to talk you when they are hurting? • If someone in your family messes up or is in trouble are you the person that helps him feel secure and safe, the person that she knows will help make things right? • Do you sometimes get angry and hurt when those close to you don’t seek your help? If these questions created some uneasiness and tension as you read them, God does have a […]

Radiant Commands

Have you heard comments like these from your children? “Do I have to?” “I had to that yesterday.” “I’m too tired.” “That’s not fair.” “I’ll do it later.” “Seriously?” “I don’t think so.” These are all responses from children to a parent’s request for obedience. Not exactly encouraging responses! There is one commonality in all of these responses: a disdain for obedience. The children giving these answers have little regard for their parent’s authority.  For these children, obedience is a curse and certainly not a blessing. One of the ways children come to this conclusion is because obedience has presented to them as a means to get a reward. However, biblical obedience is not something used to gain a reward.  […]

Short Answers

You observe your teenager talking non-stop with friends. Then you think about the typical conversations that you have had with your son or daughter. Instead of a lively back and forth your attempts at conversation tend to collapse into strained monosyllables.: “Did you have a good day?” “Sort of.” “How was your test?” “Okay.” “Do you have homework?” “Maybe.” “Do you have plans this weekend?” “Not sure.” “Is anything bothering you?” “No.” “Did you clean your room?” “Not yet.” “I thought maybe we could talk later on.” “Why?” “What did you think of the sermon?” “It was okay.” “Why are you so hard to talk to?” “Aw, mom.” You attempt to support your teenager with a well-intended comment of encouragement […]

Be Quick To Listen

Jesus tells the story of a father and his two sons. The father asks his first son to go work in the vineyard. The first son responds with a defiant no. So, the father makes the same request of his other son. This son, in sharp contrast, respectfully says yes, he will go. On the surface of things, it appears one son is rebellious and one is obedient. This much is true, but not in the way it appears. In the story Jesus quickly adds that the first son changed his mind and actually did as he was asked. The other son never went to the vineyard. After telling this story, Jesus asked his listeners which son did what his […]

Questions: The Window To Your Child’s Heart

Questions, questions, questions: just what every parent wants, more questions!  However, your children’s questions are an invaluable tool to help make you a better parent. The questions they ask provide you a window into their heart. Their questions tell you what is important in their world. Questions tell you if your child is sad or happy, what he values and what he doesn’t. Questions are huge! Moses anticipated that the law of God would be so rich and stimulating that it would bring questions from children (Deuteronomy 6:20-21). This is because the word of God does penetrate deeply into the heart. God’s truth is unsettling because it demands change. The light of the Spirit shines into the dark corners of […]

Discipline And Faith

Biblical discipline is an expression of God’s love and mercy to his children. As God lovingly, gracefully disciplines us, we as parents are to give this same warm discipline to our children. It is vital that you, as a parent, see discipline as something that is positive and not punitive. Discipline is not about retribution or getting even. Discipline has the goal of producing peace. Without that goal, discipline becomes a manipulative tool that will only provide separation with your children. It is just as huge that you administer discipline with pleasant, even words. This is because it is pleasant words, and not anger, that promotes instruction:  Pleasant words promote instruction (Proverbs 16:20-24). Angry words will not produce and promote […]

Is God Mad At Me?

Do your kids think that God is only pleased with them if they obey? Do your kids think that the gospel means that they must be good so God will love them? Do your kids think that they must be good for you to like them, for you to love and delight in them? To answer these questions listen to the way your children talk about the gospel. You may be thinking that children seldom talk about the gospel. But actually, they do. Listen to your children talk. Listen to what makes them happy or sad. Listen to what they say about how you love them: “Mommy, I’m sorry I make you angry.” “Daddy, I won’t do it again.” “Why […]