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Grace for kids
Life Group discussion notes for 26.02.12.
Ezekial 36 expresses well the Gospel of Grace…
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.
The grace of forgiveness is in the gospel
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
The grace of internal change is in the gospel
27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
The grace of empowerment is in the gospel
The gospel enables you and your children to face the worst in yourselves - your sin, baggage and weakness - and still find hope; because grace is powerful.
There are two issues that feed into the persons that your children become…
1. Shaping influences of life
2. Their heart towards God
Christian parenting has to address both.
So here are four practical ways you can take charge and guide your child’s heart Godward.
1. Create a family structure that values God
Every now and then its good to review family life and ask why you do the things you do. Life gets busy, and before you know it family life has become complex with many different things going on.
What are the things that you do as a family that value God?
This doesn’t just mean Sundays at church or praying together with your children but in what ways can you show your children that your family prioritises God in the day to day pulse of life? Encouraging our children to see their talents and abilities as something given by God is a great way to teach them stewardship and how to honour God with all that He has given them.
2. Let the Bible speak before Supernanny speaks
When your child has been bullied, how do you get from, “I’m going to knock his block off”, to, “Let’s pray for God’s help”.
· Romans 12 v 17-21 tells us that the only weapon strong enough to overcome evil is good. We’re encouraged to leave vengeance to God.
· Luke 6 v 27 moves us to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us. We are sons of the One who is kind to ungrateful people.
· 1 Peter 2 v 23 encourages us to face injustice without retaliation, entrusting ourselves to God.
Instead of retribution, then, we need to encourage our children to see needs around them; help them learn to make peace; Teach them a soft answer turns away wrath.
3. Gospel Behaviour
Good manners are not just good manners. Good behaviour is not just the means to not be embarrassed by your kids in public! Manners are an expression of ‘love your neighbour’ – imitating Jesus’ self-sacrificing. Saying, “Please”, and, “Thank you”, is rooted in looking out for the interests of others, and so they become an expression of biblical love. Explaining the why behind what we encourage our children to do is essential.
4. Encourage faithfulness to God in what they do
Academic progress can put parents under real pressure. You can see that when people spend a small fortune to move house just to be near the right school. What should our goal be as parents when it comes to our kids schooling?
Is applying pressure for good grades a biblical mandate for parents? Surely what is important is to help show your child how they can work diligently for God. God has promised that he will reward the faithful. We need to show our child how to find, in Christ, the strength and power to work for God’s glory.
In conclusion, the real grace to us as parents is that ultimately it’s God who initiates any work in a child’s heart. Take heart that the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and where we feel inadequate. We rely on the Holy Spirit to empower us for the great task of leading our kids and to continue to grow-up ourselves!
These questions are written to allow non-parents to take part…
1. Write down an average week. What are the main aspects of your weekly pattern or what you do that show you value God? If a parent include aspects that include more than just yourself.
2. What experiences have you had of bullying? How have you handled it in your own life? If a parent, how have you handled it with your children?
3. What do you think about the idea that even something as simple as ‘good manners’ can communicate the gospel to others?
4. What pressure are you under (or your children under) to perform academically? Is faithfully serving God in studies less or more important than the grades you get?
5. Write down all the children represented in your life group and pray for them.
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