Personal Reflections on Counsel From the Cross (Elyse Fitzpatrick)

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There are a few women authors who I love: Mary Kassian, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Carolyn McCulley and Mahaney, Francine Rivers, Melanie Jetschke, and this one: Elyse Fitzpatrick. These women all write with a focus on the cross.
None more than this book. This book is meant to be used as a tool in how to counsel those who come to you for help – but also can be used to preach the gospel to yourself.
I’ve been reading it this semester with a friend of mine, Becca, and it has been a tool that has shaped both of us (I’m thankful that she gave it to me as a bday gift).
One of the biggest truths this book has made me realize is that I don’t love very well: honestly and truly love faithfully. It is so hard to love without wanting anything in return or loving those who don’t love me. Bring in the gospel: I can’t do it – but the Cross is big enough to love through me.
“The Bible also mentions another conduit through which the Father pours his mercy and power into the hearts of his children: deep, meaningful fellowship with our brothers and sisters in the church.” (47) As I get ready to leave Louisville after 2.7 years I look back at the relationships I have here. Many women have played a crucial part in my sanctification here: Laura D, Bonnie M, Becca B, Cynthia B, Shana S, Tracy H, Aarica M, Rayann J, Brandi L, Sarah V, Sarah M, Sarah M, Amber P, Lindsay W. But, I also look forward to the women who are in Raleigh who will also (and have) played an important role in my sanctification: Rach W, Sarah M, Tina W, Clariss B, Bonnie B, Vern G, Erin H, Maggie M, Steph C, and I look forward to new girls I will meet there. Also, I think about the wider body of Christ and how women all over have played a role in my sanctification: Phyllis R, Mom, Nena T, Kathy K, Lisa M, Laura M, Janel B, Mary K, Jaye M. What I’m trying to say is: God uses women in my life – not just in the life of the local body of believers – to have a real sanctifying power on my life – because they are rooted in the Gospel too! Thank you to these women and I can’t wait to live more of life with each of you!
“In a profound sense, we have been given only two commands: to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus affirms that all other directives in Scripture depend on these two and provide commentary on what it means to love God supremely and to love others as we love ourselves. Just these two simple commands, and yet, every sin we commit finds its genesis in a failure to obey one of the other or both.” (55)
And there you have it: the root of all SIN.
“When we don’t love others, we will fear them too. We will fear what they might think of us, say about us, or do to us. Our fear will enslave us; we will be tied to their opinions, wants, and demands. Without fervent love driving and informing all our relationships, we will constantly swing back and forth between slavish, joyless servitude (motivated by guilt and self-love) and self-sufficiency and anger (motivated by pride and self-love).” (56)
“Do you _____? If so, you are missing the gospel; you are more sinful and flawed than you ever dared believe, but God graciously chose you when there wasn’t one drop of grace in your soul and nothing to recommend you to him.” (77) – Total depravity and Unconditional Election – gotta love the truths of Scripture!
“Gospel-centered counseling is counseling based on Scripture that defines us as God does and then applies both gospel declarations and gospel obligations to every sin problem we encounter.” (93) This is so different than much “Christian counseling” today.
“We will never be truly free from self-condemnation and the desire for approval until we grasp this fact. We were so sinful we had to die. Personal reformation won’t help. We need death.” (94).
This is a big area in which I struggle – need to always preach the gospel to myself every day: “If the message of the gospel does not inform every thought, word, and deed, our striving to put off and put on will disintegrate into another way to gain the approval of others, ourselves, and even the Lord.” (108)
One area I struggle in is fear of man – ongoing but Christ is slowly changing it. “Because of His sinless life, we can stop worrying about our reputation or trying to make ourselves look good in the eyes of others. We are sinful and flawed but loved and welcomed. We have been counted righteous.” (137)
This is something I desperately need to act upon: “He loves us because he chooses to love us, and the depth of our defection from him should produce in us great humility, gratitude, and patience with others’ failures.” (153)
The past 2 years (almost) I’ve been in churches that practice Communion every week. That has been some of the BEST of Louisville: “How frequently do we fail to remember him, even during the Lord’s Supper, because we are so focused on our glory story that the story of the cross seems weak, passe, and hackneyed? All we are called to do is to remember, and we can’t even do that.” (174)
This is another book to read – maybe in light of Easter – that is soon approaching!

Personal Reflections on Crazy Love (Francis Chan)

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I don’t know if I can remember a book being as popular on a seminary campus (where folks already have to do a TON of reading) as Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Chan is a pastor in Simi Valley, CA. I’ve heard him speak live and he is just as engaging and hard-core in his preaching as he is in his writing.
Here is my question (as Francis is probably asking too): if so many people are reading this book (including myself, of course) and so many are saying “wow, that is such a great book; man, I love that book; ugh, that’s a hard book to read, it is kicking my butt” – then how will the local church look different? If people are reading it and being convicted by it – shouldn’t the church change in light of that conviction? Or are we (am I) doing to stop at conviction?
“In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him.” (29) Mary Kassian brought this up in Girls Gone Wise: we have to be intentional about feeding ourselves on God-things, not just shutting ourselves out from the world.
Piper has a similar subject matter in Future Grace: “When I am consumed by my problems – stressed out about my life, my family, and my job – I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God’s command to always rejoice. In other words, I have a right to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities.” (41) In about 8 days I’ll be driving to NC to start a new job and really a new phase of life. This has been one of the easiest transitions (just like the last one) of my life. Why? Because I have total confidence in the God that brought about the circumstances that led to this coming change. He is faithful.
I wrote this on the header of page 73: What would this look like? It was in response to: “Lukewarm people love God, but they do not love Him with all their heart, soul, and strength.”
I love pastors who use sarcasm. Its a grand use of the English language: “Some people claim that we can be Christians without necessarily becoming disciples. I wonder, then, why the last thing Jesus told us was to go into the world, making disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that He commanded? You’ll notice that He didn’t add, but hey, if that’s too much to ask, tell them to just become Christians – you know, the people who get to go to heaven without having to commit to anything.” (87)
“Leftovers are not merely inadequate; from God’s point of view (and lest we forget, His is the only one who matters), they are evil. Let’s stop calling it a busy schedule or bills or forgetfulness (me: or sleeping late or watching tv or reading other good books). It’s called EVIL. (92)
“As we love more genuinely and deeply, giving becomes the obvious and natural response. Taking and keeping for ourselves becomes unattractive and imprudent.” (120). This is one of my favorite quotes of all the book. This is what I want my life to be characterized by. Not so people can look at me and say, I want to be like her in my giving. No – but to mirror the grace of God in my life (dimly, I know).
I engaged in a conversation about this book with two friends today. We were talking about any problems that we might have with this book. This book calls for radical living, beyond many books that I have read. And I really like the last chapter. Francis doesn’t say “your life must look like this for you to be obeying God’s call to radical living”. He says “is this the most loving way to do life?”. That is what you need to ask yourself. Then however you answer that question will be a good indicator of the radical call on your life placed there by a majestic God.

Personal Reflection on Girls Gone Wise

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This past week I’ve spent much of my time reading Mary Kassian’s new book Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild. As most of my close friends know, I’m not a huge reader of “women only” books because I find them to be only geared to certain women or I find them to be fluffy. I am not a fluffy girls’ book reader.
This was not a fluffy book and it was geared toward all women – no matter the stage of life she is in! And, it was AMAZING (only better if it were shorter). I was convicted by this book many times. And it seemed as if I thought of one thing – she brought it up in the next paragraph. Very odd – but very cool as well.
Here are some personal thoughts on the Spirit’s work in my life through this book. I will definitely be re-reading it – and will hopefully have a chance to lead some girls through it in the future.
1. I am not amenable, at least not in my heart. I like to control a situation, I like to know what is going on, and though I may be “glad” to go along with other plans on the outside, it is a heart struggle. God is working on this in my life. “An amenable woman gladly foregoes personal desires and preferences to honor that authority. (Contrast #4). I think I do that, planning around other’s likes and dislikes and preferences, but I still want to be in control. I don’t want to be like this: “A brazen, defiant attitude stands in stark contrast to the soft receptiveness that the Lord intended for women.” (#4). Like I said, this may be done on the outside, but its the heart that matters.
2. I clearly see the effect of sin in this book on women’s lives; it is a sad affair. “So many of us are living with the brokenness, dysfunction, pain, and confusion, that comes from having gone wild.” The cure: the Gospel. (intro)
3. “The more a woman’s heart is seized with affection for Jesus, the more her life will be transformed to walk in his ways.” (#1) It has to start with the heart. I can definitely tell a difference in my life if I have spent way too much time watching TV/movies/internet and not any time reading the Word. My thoughts and contentrations and shortness of temper are definitely off the mark. I saw this marked in a girl’s life just last night. You could tell in how she talked about her Jesus that she loved Him and the feelings were mutual! 🙂
4. “The second adjective describing the Proverbs 7 woman is translated wayward. The Hebrew word means to be stubborn and rebellious. It reflects a defiant, self-willed, obstinate, nobody tells me what to do frame of mind. (#4, Ez 20.38, Ps 78.8). God has already been working this in me. But, I also pick it up in girls more easily now than before. I work in the lounge of the women’s dorm on campus here at SBTS. It has given me opportunity to get to know some of them. I can tell though in some of them that they are defiant and loud and not calm and gentle. This makes me sad. Honestly.
5. “Homeward faced, wisdom graced; out to the max, wisdom lacks.” (#5) I loved this. I can clearly see that my focus needs to be on home. The past few weeks haven’t been that for me in the midst of packing, hanging out with friends, etc – and I have missed that. I love my home (ok, my 800 square foot apt), but I love having folks over, tending to home, being satisfied with being in my quiet apt. This is where God has called women – whether a family, single, kids, etc. We see this in the commands for what older women are to teach younger women (Titus 2).
6. “She’s happy when she has a new prospect on the horizon and the hunt is going well” (#6). Mary talks here of a woman’s focus. I will admit that when there is a prospect of a cute godly guy in my path, I’m going to get dressed differently in the morning, wear makeup if I’m going out where I might see him, etc. There is an added spring to my step. But, why? Why don’t I do this everyday because I’m loved by my Saviour?
7. Body Language – #8. I have seen this all too often in the girls’ dorm too – mainly this has been my interaction with college girls the past 3 years. They are playful in tossing the hair, sitting on guys’ laps, sitting on the arm of the chair he is sitting in, giggling profusely, sometimes dressing inappropriately. I want to film them, then have a movie night and play it along side the reading of this book. I have also been convicted of watching these same tendencies in my own life and interaction with every male that I come in contact with, work with, see in stores, etc.
8. Roles #9 – if you want a good quick chapter overview of the basics of CBMW Gender Roles – read this chapter. Nuf said!
9. Another one of the big hits for me: “Restraining words means that you don’t have to have an opinion on everything. You don’t have to comment on everything that happens. You don’t have to answer every question. You don’t have to constantly make your thoughts known. You don’t have to be proved right. You don’t have to show off your superior knowledge. You don’t have to constantly offer advice.” (#17). As most of you know I am quite opinionated. I feel this has also gotten less in the last few years. It is partly due to male leadership in my life the last few years and also the working of the Spirit. I noticed a few times this week even that I practiced this – and you know, it was ok that I didn’t express my opinion but instead kept my mouth shut.
I started to get discouraged in my actions and heartitude by page 105. Then I read the next paragraph:
“Given my own strength and willpower, my ability to life a self-disciplined life is extremely limited. That’s why I need to depend on my Helper. Success is a matter of depending on the Holy Spirit and not on my own capacity.” (#5). Remember, living a life pleasing to God isn’t done on your own merits – but on the merit of Christ. That’s why we celebrate EASTER!

Book Review: Girls Gone Wise (Mary Kassian)

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One of the pleasures of working at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has been to meet and interact with professors and authors. Mary Kassian is one of those. She has been a joy to get to know. She has provided such wisdom in my life both in conversation and through her writings.
Girls Gone Wise (in a World Gone Wild) is definitely no exception. I marked my copy profusely with notes to myself and underlined key quote that I’ve been sharing with women.
Kassian has no trouble hitting her target audience: women – of all ages. She wrote this book so that any woman: single, married, in college, 3 kids, high schooler, grandmother, would be able to pick it up and apply it to her life. One of the reasons this is accomplished is because Scripture applies to all of us: no matter what stage of life we are in.
Mrs. Kassian takes the sage advice from the writer of Proverbs and compares the two women he identifies in the book: the “Girls Gone Wild” and the “Girls Gone Wise”. She creatively illustrates the devastating contrasts between the women in Proverbs, mostly in chapters 7 and 31. When looking at the two women side-by-side one notices the stark difference between the two. One following the ways of the world, foolish, and heading to a life of destruction. The other following the Spirit’s leading, wise, and walking daily in the fear of God; her life gripped with the power of the Gospel.
The author brilliantly weaves cultural anecdotes, Scriptural characters and life lessons to make this a book you do not want to put down. Kassian knows the culture to which she is writing. Her years of ministry, teaching, and being a mom/wife have prepared her more than adequately to write this book.
Mary speaks to gender roles in one of the chapters (taken from Prov 7.13, 22 and 1 Peter 3.4-6). This is a great chapter for a well-done and qucik overview of issues concerning submission, male and female roles in relationships, created equal, and other key points. She speaks of the unique relationship that God started in the garden by the order of creation and the commands that God gave to each person. This is very helpful, especially if this is your first time encountering biblical foundations for gender roles.
The three parts you can find in each of the 20 Points of Contrast Mary highlights are: the dangers of following the ways of the world, dangers of ignoring the counsel of God, His Word, and the Spirit, and the promise of a life well-lived for the glory of God. In this compare/contrast style of writing, it is more clearly seen than if she had chosen to write it a different way. Each chapter you see the dangers and the folly and you are convicted by the Spirit to take account of your own life by the scales of comparison.
The only thing I would say that I would have liked better is if it were shorter. Especially if leading this with a group of women, 20 chapters is a long book. You would definitely need to split it between semesters (Fall/Spring) or do 2 chapters a week in the summer. This book would be amazing to go through in an accountability group of trusted women.
Mary: thank you for writing this wise counsel. I look forward to not only re-reading it, studying it more in depth as I’ve seen God point out areas in my own life that need working on by the Spirit; but also sharing it/leading it in small groups in the future.

From the Pen of Rob Rienow: Parenting and the Church

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More reading – and passing along the nuggets of truth to you.
I have just finished 3 books by the same author: Rob Rienow, founder (with his wife, Amy) of Visionary Parenting and Family Pastor at Wheaton Bible Church in Wheaton, IL. I have spoken with Rob about ministry and then got to meet him and hear him teach a class at his church in January.
The three books that I have read are:
God’s Grand Vision for the Home
Passing the Torch (just two chapters in a multi-author book)
Visionary Parenting (if I just got one, get this one)

Here are some valuable quotes from him and some personal thoughts:
“delegation parenting” – Love this term. It is what a lot of parents in the world today, even in the church, do to get someone else to teach, train, or discipline, or even just be friends with, their kids.
“What am I doing daily with this power and responsibility to impress the hearts of my kids with a love for God?”
“We need to set the example for our kids by putting ourselves under the authority of the Bible, allowing it to speak to our hearts, and letting our kids us talk about it.” Honestly, I didn’t grow up with this in the home. I went to a Christian school and church, but didn’t have it spoken of much in the home. Not till I went to college and built a relationship with my mentor did this become a reality to me.
“Generation after generation have failed to win the souls of their children.” I have spent the last month in the Old Testament. Many times, even in those genealogies many of us skip over, it speaks of the generations and if the sons followed after the fathers. Lineage, genealogy, and faith were very important to the Israelites.
“Christians (begin) to reflect the secular culture.” When did we do this? Sad but true. We do it in parenting, in clothing, in books/movies. We are called out from the world, a chosen people, a royal priesthood. Back in seminary I had a square postcard on my closet door: The Church is not called to reflect the world, but to change it.
“At the heart of the advance of the Gospel is the call to parents to impress the hearts of their children with a love for God and for His Word.” How does your own life reflect this love? Not only to your children, but also to your co-workers, your extended family, and people you meet in line at the grocery store?
“No one can compete with the power a parent has to shape the heart of a child. Your power to bless your children, to build character in their hearts, and to lead them to faith in Jesus Christ.” See the first quote. The last two episodes of Criminal Minds – by far my favorite show on television – has been about the influence of fathers over their sons. Powerful stuff!
“God never calls us to do something and then abandons us when we seek to be obedient.” This may be helpful to you in any situation you are facing right now. I’ve had to remind myself of this very thing as I get anxious about some changes coming in my life. God is so much more faithful to us than we could ever be to Him. He will not leave you!
“Our kids will remember who we are at home for more than what we accomplish in our work and activities outside our home.”
“One of the subtle ways the enemy pulls parents away from their primary life mission of passing faith to their children is to get them over-involved at church.” Wow. This was a power statement for me.

If you are a parent, work with parents, want to be a parent, know any parents (yes, I think that could just about include everyone who reads this blog), pick up these books. I think Visionary Parenting is a good overview and very convicting. These books have great theology, are packed with personal experience, advice, and practical tips, and are loaded with Scripture.

Book Review: Perspectives on Family Ministry

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I went to First Baptist Church, Plant City, FL for most of my high school years. Tommy Warnock had such an amazing impact on my life in areas of discipleship, leadership, and missions. His faithfulness in ministry and love for others was contagious. I’m so glad God put me there; much of the future of my life was rooted in that one decision to go to that church.
Time span: 1995 (graduation) to 2010 (now). I have grown in knowledge of the Word and the turns and styles of ministry. Being in many churches since high school graduation and attending seminary, and now working at a seminary has definitely had an impact on how I think about and am active in ministry.
This book highlights one of the latest “styles” in how to do children and youth ministry. 5-10 years ago no one would have had a conversation about family-integrated, family-based, or family-equipping ministry models. I read Mark Devries‘ book Family-Based Youth Ministry in college as I minored in youth ministry, and applied it to the youth ministry in which I was working. I quickly forgot what I read and couldn’t tell you one underlined statement from that book – but I remember its implications.
The youth ministry staff I was on was a thriving youth ministry, boasted the largest youth ministry in St. Augustine. I loved teaching the Word every week to 70+ middle schoolers, playing games, going on ski-trips, having 5 middle-school girls sledding down my stairs on a mattress – those were the times. I love those girls I had in their youth group years. I love the parents who participated in the youth group, went on the same trips, loved teenagers, taught Sunday School, cooked brownies. They were so cool. But I also remember the parents who whipped through the parking lot of the church (dodging the kids shooting baskets or skateboarding) to drop their kids off for youth group by 6.10pm. I pray I had an impact on the lives of those girls. My first discipleship opportunity with a young lady was amazing and life-changing for both of us as we enjoyed dinner with her family every week one summer and then studied a Max Lucado book together upstairs. I loved that time. She is thriving in life and ministry right now. But, I guarantee that has more to do with the fact that she has parents who model a life of following Christ every day than that one summer I had with her, Wed night youth group meetings, ski trips, and Sunday School classes.
Anyway…this discussion of style of ministry is fairly new. When I started working at Southern Seminary in Fall 2007, the first I ever heard of this was because Steve Wright wrote a book entitled RE:Think. Timothy Jones and Randy Stinson continued the conversation and were teaching principles based on the Word, and dubbed “Family-equipping model”. This is the culture I have been immersed in over the last 2.5 years. This has provided me much to think about and wrestle with. This is what I have come up with.
God created the family – Gen 2
God gave the mandate to the parents for discipling their children – Dt 6
God gave the ministry of equipping the saints to the pastors – Eph 4
The call of disciples of Christ is to evangelize the world – Matt 28.

This book, edited by Dr. Timothy Jones, with authors Paul Renfro, Brandon Shields, and Jay Strother, is a good introduction to these three models (mentioned at the beginning of this) and gives the reader much food for thought. This book would be extremely helpful to people training for ministry, or for church staffers looking at making a change to existing ministries.
Personally, I thought Renfro’s was the strongest argument, Jay Strother’s was the most practical, and Shield’s was the weakest. That doesn’t mean anything – that may just be the style of writing. I liked the humble dialogue between the authors as they brought out points that most readers may not have thought of while they worked through the styles of ministry.
Here are some quotes from the book:
“Church programs have usurped a responsibility that Scripture and church history place first and foremost at the feet of parents.” – Jones, 21
“Family ministry is not another church program that a pastor can add to the present array of programs.” – Jones, 41
Jones definitely accomplishes his task with this book: “My goal is not to convince readers that one of these models is better than the others. I do want to equip them with the knowledge needed to discern which model might work best in their congregation.” – 45
“Who is better able to discern the condition of their children’s hearts and to know if true repentance has occurred than those who live with them every day? The home is the best context for discipleship.” – Renfro, 63
“Could it be that family-integrated churches so heavily emphasize traditional family structures that they subtly give non-traditional families the impression they are second-class citizens?” – Strother, 86
“When attempting to reach another culture, there is a fine line between relevance and accommodation.” – Shields, 110
“So many American families are merely a shell of what God created them to be. In such families each family member has personal agendas and schedules; homes are merely pit stops for the washing of clothes, the provision of food, and a few hours of sleep.” – Renfro, 121
“In the typical church it will require significant changes not only in the message communicated to parents but also in the church’s internal paradigms to send a loud and clear message that parents have the primary responsibility for their children’s discipleship.” – Strother, 129
“We must go where they are, preach to them in their language, compel them to come to Jesus, and consistently create attractive environments where persons from any background can grow in their relationship with Jesus.” – Shields, 137
Why must we create attractive environments? That is my area of disagreement with the above statement.
“Family-equipping ministry must represent the congregation’s convictions about the entire nature of church and ministry.” – Strother, 161.
This is not merely a youth ministry question – this is an entire church life question.

My thoughts: I am not a parent. I have been in youth ministry/college ministry/kids ministry now for 15 years. This has given me much view of typical American families. I see failures and successes. Not every teenager that comes out of a intact, Bible-believe home is a radical Christ follower. Not every teen that comes out of a divorced, broken home is a loser who wants nothing to do with Christ. This isn’t a 100% no-fail solution. God is still in charge of radically changing the lives of sinners like me. He called parents though, Christian parents, to disciple their children in the ways of God. The church is called to equip and evangelize. Evangelize the lost, and disciple them to do what they are called to do. One of the things they are called to do, if parents, is to disciple their own children.
Much more is to be discussed on this topic: broken families, single parents, single adults, etc. But…this isn’t my dissertation on the topic of family ministry. This is my response from reading Jones’ book on it.
I am thankful for all 4 authors as three of them have had a personal impact on my life and ministry and all 4, through this book, have made me think.

Book Review: Shepherding a Child's Heart – Tedd Tripp

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I’ve learned two things (and more) from being in seminary and now having worked/working at 2 seminaries:
1. You can have a lot of practical expertise and not know any theology.
2. You can know TONS of theology and not be able to put it into practice well.

Tedd Tripp has authored a book that is good at both. He gives you the theology behind good parenting; and he gives you very practical follow-through so apply this theology.
What I love about this book: (the above paragraph), I love his humility (he and his wife do not have it all together), and his accomplishment of the task at hand – instructing parents how to not only target their children’s actions, but how to reach their hearts – to shepherd their hearts.
“Your concern is to unmask your child’s sin, helping him to understand how it reflects a heart that has strayed. That leads to the cross of Christ. It underscores the need for a Savior.” (p 6)Tripp spends the first half of the book laying the foundation to parenting, shepherding, Scripture, etc. “You need to direct not simply the behavior of your children, but the attitudes of their hearts.” (p xxi) Then the second half, he gives very practical advice for different stages of child-rearing: toddlers, children, teenagers. I found these extremely helpful – even as I think back about my youth ministry days and think ahead as I volunteer in the church and even babysit. These are great truths and principles to be adopted.
I went to a Christian school from K-12th grade, only missing one semester. I remember a conversation my mom had when we were talking about one of the trouble makers in my grade. She said something to the effect that her parents probably sent her to this school in hopes that they would “straighten her out”. Tripp makes a similar comment in the opening of this book: “They had hoped that school would provide the direction and motivation they had not been able to provide for their daughter.” (p xvii) The school nor the church have been given the role of chief discipler/parent in your child’s life. You have been given that role (see Deut 6).
“You want the values of your home to be scripturally informed.” (p 22) I saw this lived out in my mentor’s home. Scripture was every where. Itunes was on to the latest Christian praise and worship. But that wasn’t all – conversations were lined with biblical thought, ministry was front and center, relationships were key. All pointing to Scripture. Another one of my friends, Kathy, has as her ministry Scripture Pictures, because she wants to get the Word into as many homes as possible. She does beautiful hand drawn Scripture in art. Amazing woman!
My former professor, Dr. Alvin Reid, at SEBTS, says this: “It is vital that we incorporate the gospel into every fabric of our lives. Our interaction with our neighbors should bring glory to God and communicate Christ to those who need him.”
“Parenting is a pervasive task.” (p 33) Recently, I heard a radio interview with Sandra Bullock, star of The Blind Side. She said, “Being a mother is easy, all you have to do is love”. While there may be some truth in that, there are far deeper implications for parenting than just love. I don’t think I have ever heard a parent say that parenting is easy.
Some would say the best way to raise a child is to shelter them from society. Tripp says this: “You must equip your children to function in a culture that has abandoned the knowledge of God. Your objective in every context must be to set a biblical worldview before your children.” (p 45, 6)
“You must bring integrity to your interaction with your children. You model the dynamics of the Christian life for your children. You must let them see sonship with the Father in you. You should show them repentance. Acknowledge your joys and fears and how you find comfort in God. Live a shared life of repentance and thankfulness. Acknowledge your own sin and weakness. Admit when you are wrong. Be prepared to seek forgiveness for sinning against your children. The right to make searching and honest appraisal of your children lies in willingness to do the same for yourself.” (p 91)
“You must address the heart as the fountain of behavior, and the conscience a the God-given judge of right and wrong. The cross of Christ must be the central focus of your child rearing. God’s standard is correct behavior flowing from a heart that loves God and has God’s glory as the sole purpose of life. That is not native to your children (nor to their parents).” (p. 120)
“Whatever you do will require patience. It is hard for a family to change its direction. What is ahead of you is a matter of spiritual struggle against the forces of evil. There is more to it than applying some principles. Pray; seek God’s help. Wait on God. Study the Scriptures with your children. Try to take them along with you on your spiritual pilgrimage. Share with them what you’re learning and why changes in your family life are important.” (p 158)
“If you never address the character, you will never get beyond bare obedience.” (p 163)
“The primary context for parental instruction is set forth in Deuteronomy 6. It is the ordinary context of daily living. Your children see the power of a life of faith as they see you living it. You do not need to be perfect, you simply need to be people of integrity who are living life in the rich, robust truth of the Word of God.” (p 192)

With every book there are drawbacks:
1. All the illustrations. They are great, but for some they will try to live out these truths and principles in the exact same way – or they won’t be able to live these out at all because they won’t get past the illustration. Way to succeed: ask God how you need to apply these truths to your family, don’t rely on the family of the Tripps to be successful.
2. “God intends for parenting to be a temporary task.” (p 210) I disagree with this statement. Yes, you might not discipline them the same or help them make every decision, but my parents are still my parents. They help me in many ways: to make wise decisions, to give me advice, to help financially some, to be friends with; but they are still my parents.

This book is very helpful. If you haven’t read it, please do.