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Taking off our old clothes of self and putting on a new way of parenting - this is Todd challenge to parents. How do parents exasperate their children and make them lose heart? Todd examines twelve things parents do ("the dirty dozen") that crush the spirits of their children.
Ten to Remember Just When You Thought There was Nothing Left that Mattered
The Transformed Tongue and How to Maintain It
Tossing Out the Employee Handbook: God's Standard for Leaders and Employers
Parenting's Dirty Dozen: How to Exasperate Your Child
Marriage and the 'S' Word: How Knowing Jesus Changes Everything
How the Head Affects the Body: Demonstrating the Faith We Declare
Moving From Reasonable Faith to Necessary Response
It says a lot about where we are in our world today that one of the most popular songs in it is a song that talks about a relationship between dads and their little girls, between moms and their sons, between parents and their kids. Our world is spiraling quickly out of control, and it's affecting all kinds of relationships. That's why you are at a good place today, because you have come where we are going to study a book that is about as relevant a book as you can ever hope for.
It's a book where God, who loves you and created you, has spoken into your existence and said, "Let me help you. This world is going to spiral even more and more out of control until you deal with that which ultimately rules this world, which is your heart's desires, your way of thinking, your understanding, your worldview." So God comes crashing onto the scene and says, "We have to change your mindset. Corrupt and selfish hearts are a problem. We have to open your eyes that sin and choices have consequences."
When you come to see sin for what it is and the destructiveness of it and the severity for which we should see it for, it causes us to seek to have it dealt with as radically as possible. That's exactly what God offers that he's going to do. He has told us the only way to deal with sin is to bring judgment upon it, to cry out for mercy for it, and to pursue the light we were intended to walk in. God says you have to change your mindset and realize you have a master that has come to steal, kill, and destroy, and you need a new master who has come to forgive and give mercy and life and light.
This new master will call you to a new morality, and within this new morality you should have new marriages and new means of relating to your children and new means of relating to those who employ you and those you employ. Everything about the world will change when the one the world responds to is the good one and not the selfishness that rules and corrupts all of our hearts.
We have been looking at a little book called Colossians, which folks who have not been here need to know is a book God gave to us about 2,000 years ago through his servant Paul who wrote to a group of people in what is now modern-day Turkey who have found and embraced the hope of Christ in this world. He has called us out of a kingdom that is ruled by darkness and that builds up a wall of destruction and puts a maze in our hearts that nobody can navigate their way through to a kingdom of light where we are now given the opportunity to live in accordance with wisdom.
When we have a new head, it should change the way we live. We are now at the very practical point of this book where we're going to see that God wants us, in relationship with him, having come to him now in humility, acknowledging that we have left him, our good Creator and lover and Master, and subjecting ourselves to him as our head, our body should begin to look different with a new morality and a new means with which we relate to each other.
Last week we looked at the way we should relate as married couples. The week before that we looked at the way we should relate as couples that enter into marriage. What you've seen is that in our world today we relate to each other, as single folks, in a way that is self-destructive, in a way that is self-advancing and all about self-pleasure and concern.
What happens is when you get two people who are concerned about self, who reject God's morality and God's instruction about how to have a successful relationship, they move from a single state of relating that way to a marital state of relating that way, where the husband is then going to not be loving in his leadership and the woman is not going to come alongside one who has her best interests in mind, and there will be a warring within the home.
Just like there was selfishness and immorality in the dating relationship, there will be immorality in a different sense within the marital relationship. Then there will be immorality or brokenness in the way they relate to those who come into this world through that relationship in the form of children, and those children will grow up to be angry and bitter and look for others to impress, and they will become the employers of tomorrow who will be abusive to their employees or they will become the employees who are angry and rebellious toward those who employ them, and all of society is breaking down.
Colossians addresses how those of us who have been forgiven by Christ and have seen the way darkness rules our hearts and has brought brokenness into the world should be salt and light in this world and begin to show them that there is a better way, another way, and we should set our minds on that way, not on the way of the earth.
It will change our relationships we have individually, change our relationships maritally, change our relationships with our mothers and fathers and our children, sons and daughters, and it will change the way we work with one another. In all of these things, the secret to it, we will find in Colossians 4, is that we devote ourselves to meditation and prayer and let the Word of God, the way of God, the person of Jesus Christ richly dwell within us, and it's no longer we who live but Christ who lives in us by faith.
As we decrease, he increases. We take off our old clothes of self and adorn ourselves in the ways of Christ, and the world will marvel at the love we treat each other with, at the harmony in the homes, and at the blessedness of the relationship between a loving father and mother and an obedient child. Here are the entire verses we're going to study today: Colossians 3:20-21. We are now in the home.
"Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not [ex-aspirate] exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart." Let me just take this apart. Before some of you run out of here and go get your kids and say, "Listen to this! He's going to tell you to listen to me," I'm going to tell you I'm going to do that in about three minutes, and then we're going to focus on the second half of this verse.
It is absolutely certain and clear that the very first commandment with a consequence and with a blessing is that children should honor their parents. Paul, when he was writing at the same time another letter to another group of people who were in Ephesus, wrote this in Ephesians 6:1: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth **."**
In other words, you are young, you are foolish, and you are full of strength. There's not severe consequence to your rebellion, and because the consequences of sin among men is not rapid and quick, therefore, the hearts of men among them are given fully to do evil, a wise man once observed. Kids don't always feel the full consequences of their rebellion, so God has given them order, somebody they can look to who will bring protection to them and guidance alongside of them, and they are to honor the wisdom of their parents and the morality of their parents and not trust their own foolish heart.
God is saying, "Listen, kids. I want you to honor your mom and dad. I've given them to you as a source of protection. If you do listen to them and they walk with me, it will be well with you and you'll live long on this earth." Let me say this very quickly, because as it says here in Ephesians and is implied in Colossians, it says, "Obey your parents in the Lord."
Whenever I talk to a group of high school kids or junior high kids, they go, "So you're telling me I'm supposed to always do what my parents want me to do?" No, just like a loving wife does not let a husband always do what he wants to do if what he wants to do is not glorifying to Christ and has others' best interests in mind. They'll say to me, "Hey, am I supposed to rob a bank if my parents tell me to rob a bank? Is that how ignorant the Bible is?"
I always want to look at them and go, "Let me just stop right here and ask you a question. How many of you all have parents who are asking you to rob a bank?" Typically, nobody raises their hand. There might be somebody someday who goes, "Yes. My mother Bonnie and my father Clyde have been working me and preparing me and training me up to rob banks. So, should I do it?" No, you shouldn't do it, but as a child, there are going to be some things your parents ask you to do that aren't black and white morality that you should honor them.
As you get older and become an independent adult, you still honor your parents. Now what does that look like? Right now, I don't call my parents and ask, "Mom and Dad, what must I do?" but there is not an area of my life that I will not let my parents speak into. I will always honor my mother and father by allowing them an audience with me, by giving them a hearing. They have earned it. When I make a choice about a mate, about a career, about a practice, if they have an opinion, they don't have to wait in line.
I honor them by saying, "Okay, come on. You have shown your love for me, so if you want to speak into my life, you speak into my life." Now, I have to assimilate that and distill it through wisdom as I've come to understand it and, specifically, make sure it's lining up with what my spirit tells me and the Scriptures say, but you, Mother and Father, will always be consulted. You will always be remembered, and you will always be acknowledged. I will not forget you in my old age, and I will be grateful for what you've done for me. That's the call.
It doesn't mean that if your parents are pushing you away from the things of Christ that you do it. Even as a young child, if your parents are leading you toward rebellion and foolishness, there are places to appeal. Even our fallen, godless world would say, "Hey, we cannot have parents who are abusive to children and leading them toward abusive practices. We will remove them from the home." So if that's your circumstance, let us know what that is. We are obligated by law to rescue you from parents who aren't leading you in accordance with wisdom.
But as you get older, again, honor them. Howard Hendricks, a man who has been used greatly by God these last generations to raise up great spiritual leadership in our land and across the world, said if he had taken this the way some have wrongly taught it, which is you always do what your parents want to do because you honor them this way, he would never have gone into the ministry and never been a professor who raised up the likes of Tony Evans, Chuck Swindoll, Tom Nelson, and others.
His daddy said, "I don't want you to do that." He listened to his dad. He took his dad's opinion, but he followed the call of God on his life, and so should you. You listen to your parents in the Lord, you honor them when you're an adult, but you obediently follow Christ all the way along the way. There are severe consequences. God was so certain about this early on. In Exodus 21:17 he says, "He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death."
God is early on in this young nation's history going to say, "Look, there will be chaos if I don't have some vessel through which my authority can trickle down, so I'm going to start with those who are most mature and have been most instructed by me through both experience and enlightenment, and, children, you honor them. If you have a rebel child who will not listen to their mother and father who will communicate to them the law I've given to Moses, then you have to deal with it severely."
Leviticus 20:9 said, "If there is anyone who curses his father or his mother, he shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother, his bloodguiltiness is upon him." It is a serious thing to mock the order and protection God has given you through your parents. That doesn't mean you let them usher you into immorality, rebellion, and foolishness, but let's be honest about how it's often a matter of taste and a matter of practice. You humble yourself underneath them and don't curse them, but you love them enough to not let them make you a fool. If that's what you feel like is happening, bring others in.
Now it gets to the second part of this verse. This is where we want to focus. We've been around as a body for five years. I have never taught on the topic I'm going to teach on today. It's pretty amazing. We've talked about principles that will make you a better mother, a better father, a better parent, but we've never really come to a place…
As we've worked through all of Mark and have done some Malachi, we've talked about some things fathers can certainly do to turn themselves back toward their children, their children's hearts back toward home, but today is the first time I've really taught specifically on parenting and how to do it. So we have some ground to make up.
I'm going to walk you through the "dirty dozen." This is what the Scripture says. Daddies, specifically fathers… There's a unique role fathers have. Children ought to be obedient to their mothers and fathers, but when Paul is going to talk here about how to have a good and healthy relationship, he's going to go right to the head of the home. He's going to talk to daddies specifically, and he's going to say, "Do not exasperate…" Do not ex-aspirate. To aspirate means to breathe.
Don't take the breath out of your kid. Don't knock the wind out of them. Don't make them apathetic because you've so worked them over. Don't shut them down. Don't crush their hearts. Don't make them lose spirit by your godless leadership. I'm going to tell you 12 ways parents can absolutely take the legs out from their kids, and we're going to say these are the dirty dozen. These are things that are in direct violation of what Paul had in mind in verse 21.
Parents, we all can see, the world has always known, John Mayer sings about the significance of the way fathers love their daughters and the way daddies love their sons. The father, the Puritans used to say, is the mirror by which a son dresses himself. The Spanish say that an ounce of mother is worth a pound of priest. One man said a father is worth more than 100 schoolmasters. We all underestimate our impact on kids.
I'll tell you something else we underestimate. We underestimate how our child's life affects our own happiness. Proverbs 17:25 says, "A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her who bore him." You want joy in your life? It is not going to be easy if you exasperate your child and take the heart out of them and sever the relationship with them. I ask men, "If you had to do it all over again, what would you do?" They would say, "I'll tell you what I'd do. I would have spent more time with the lad and less time on making a living."
You ask guys, "What did you do right?" and they'll say, "I'll tell you what I did right. I am grateful for the sacrifices I made when I invested myself and gave my heart to my boy, to my little girl. I loved them and I am loved by them, and I am so glad I went that way." Folks think all the time that singleness, as tough as it is, the loneliness, the challenges in it… "Man, I'd do anything just to get married."
We think of a good marriage as being a 100. A lousy marriage is a 1 if singleness is a 0, so I may as well just get married in any way I can so at least I'm at a 1 and not a 0. I want to tell you the happiest people I know are married people, but the unhappiest people I know are not single people; they are folks who have married outside of God's will and revelation. You marry yourself to a selfish pig, and you'll see what real misery and loneliness feels like.
Even with that pain, I've heard folks say there's still no pain like the pain of a godless child. It is bitterness to her who bore him. Look at another one. Proverbs 19:13: "A foolish son is destruction to his father, and the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping." Proverbs 23:24-25: "The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who sires a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her rejoice who gave birth to you."
Do you want to be happy? Then you work on that relationship with a child. Don't exasperate them and cause them to lose heart. In our world today it is easy to focus on the wrong things as parents. You want to make sure your primary concern is that you have a godly son, a wise son who walks in righteousness, a moral, loving daughter. We spend a lot of time as parents in our world today making sure they are athletically successful, that they are beautiful, that they are highly educated, but there is no success in your child that will quench the pain of wickedness in their heart.
Likewise, there is likely not a challenge they will meet in life, whether that be getting hit twice by the stick of ugliness or being the biggest clod ever to walk onto an athletic field or getting a 2.3 from the University of Texas that cannot be overcome and met with an abundant life if your child will walk in the way of God. So, parents, we have to make sure that, first of all, we are concerned primarily with the right thing.
You don't want to house the chaff and burn the grain, Spurgeon once said. Don't boil the husk and fire the corn in the trash. Hey, fantastic if you help your kid be a great athlete; if you teach your daughter how to groom herself, eat right, and exercise so she might be a thing of beauty; if you help your kids study and learn, tutor them so they will be intellectually astute, but you'd better make sure you keep the main thing the main thing.
You can have a beautiful, athletic, talented child who is a fool, and it's going to cost you, and it will be painful. Kids pursue what is honored in your home. What do you honor? What do you really honor? Is it a heart that runs after righteousness, truth, love, and kindness or is it greatness that is fleeting? All right. The dirty dozen. Are you ready? Let's dive in. Here we go. You want to exasperate? You want to take the breath from your child? You want to cut their legs out?
1._ Live an inconsistent life. You say one thing and do another. You have a different standard for _them than you do for you. You tell them, "Don't you do what I do; you do what I say." You tell them, "You be obedient, but I'm going to do what I want to do." You tell them, "You be kind to others," and then you yell at Mom. You tell them they're to be sober and prudent, and then you pound a few beers in front of them and lose control.
You tell them to be moral, and then you sit there and watch filth and illicit material and tell them that you do one thing and you're going to ask them to do another. You let a kid see hypocrisy, and it will exasperate them. They don't want Daddy saying, "Hey, do what I say, not what I do." They want a dad they can follow who can say, "Imitate me as I imitate Jesus Christ. Follow me on the path of righteousness. Draft behind me."
Karl Marx, who we know wrote the communist manifesto Das Kapital, was a guy who loved his daddy, respected his daddy, but in the end he saw his daddy to be a hypocrite. When he was a young man growing up in Germany, his dad used to talk to him for long hours about the Jewish faith. That's what Marx was. But they moved in Germany from one town to another, and that town was a Lutheran town in Germany, and there were no synagogues there.
If Marx's papa's business was going to succeed, he couldn't let them know what he believed, so he came home and said, "We are now Lutheran." Marx looked at his dad and said, "Dad, you told me to study my faith, to pursue our faith, and to never abandon it. What do you mean we're Lutheran?" His dad said to him, "Look, we can't make it. We've got to surrender our faith and start to attend Lutheran services here so that they'll support my business and we can prosper."
Marx became embittered toward his father. He left him as quickly as he could. He went to London and studied at the British Museum all of the philosophies he could and then began to journal and write on his own his own opinion and worldview of life. He said that religion is the opiate of the masses that can be explained solely in terms of economics. Through his writings and beliefs, we know that one 70-year period in human history about 33 percent of the earth suffered under this man's philosophy.
Marx, Hitler, Dahmer, Voltaire, Nietzsche, Freud, O'Hair… Do you know what they all have in common? They all have in common an abusive, broken, absent relationship with their dad, that they were exasperated by their father and hated him. O'Hair came at her dad with a butcher knife one time and said, "I will kill you. I will get you. I will dance on your grave." Voltaire changed his name so he could get away from his father. Nietzsche saw his dad as weak and absent and hated him. Freud knew his dad to be a pervert.
They are the monsters of our recent history. There is not a philosophy or a practical source of destruction we can't trace back to a child who had a daddy who caused them to lose heart, often where Dad would say, "Don't do what I do; do what I say," and they hated their dad. You want to make a mistake? You want to raise up a child who's going to be a scourge on this earth? Then you live before them an inconsistent life.
2._ Lecture them continually without listening intently_. Let me walk you through this. A group of 10-year-olds were asked by a loving teacher one time, "What do you think adults do wrong?" Watch this list. This is unedited. First, "Grown-ups make promises, then they forget all about them or else they say it wasn't really a promise, just a maybe." What does that sound like? You live a hypocritical life before them. You don't live consistently. You tell them to do one thing, and you do another.
Secondly, "Grown-ups don't do the things they're always telling their children to do." There it is again. Thirdly, "Grown-ups never really listen to what children have to say. They always decide ahead of time what they're going to answer." In other words, kids hate it when they grow up in a home that is not democratic, just like women hate it when they're married to some bozo who thinks by being the head of their home that means that is their rank and not their role, so they don't ever consult those under them; they just bark out orders.
It is a dictatorship instead of a place that a wise leader will confidently get all the input he can from those he is over and let them know they are respected and loved and valued, and then he will lead, but he will lead knowing he has listened and accepted their input and understood how they think it will affect them. They'll never abandon their post as a leader. It's not leadership by consensus. It's not leading by the polls, but it is knowing well the condition of your flock. You get kids who are raised under a dictatorship, and they will have a loss of heart. You will take their breath away.
Fourthly, the kids said, "Grown-ups make mistakes, but they won't admit them. They always pretend that they weren't mistakes at all or that somebody else made them." In other words, they don't value the kid's response. They don't listen to their kids when they say, "Hey, this hurt me." In their insecurity, they can't believe that if they acknowledge what they just did wasn't perfect that their kids would still want to follow them. Kids are desperate to follow you. They are resilient. They know you're not perfect.
Fifthly, "Grown-ups interrupt children all the time and think nothing of it, but a child interrupts a grown-up and he gets a scolding or something worse." In other words, "Don't speak unless you're spoken to. You're a child. You have no value." Sixthly, "Grown-ups never understand how much children want a certain thing, a certain color, shape, or size, but something they don't admire, even if the children have spent their own money for it, parents always say, 'I can't imagine what you want with that old thing.'"
"You're stupid. Your tastes are wrong." They don't listen to a child why they like a certain thing or they don't celebrate with the child their own bent. They don't even get to know their child. They want their child to think like them and act like them, and they major in the wrong things. They don't listen. There's no audience.
Seventhly, "Sometimes grown-ups punish children unfairly. It isn't right if you've just done some little thing wrong and grown-ups take away something that means an awful lot to you. Other times you can do something really bad and they say they're going to punish you, but they don't. You never know, and you ought to know what they're going to do."
What they're saying here is, look, if you're the older brother and the parents are downstairs and all of a sudden there's a wailing upstairs and the younger brother races downstairs before them and says, "So-and-so just cracked me and hit me," and you just yell upstairs, "Get down here, boy…" There's no listening. Parents don't factor in Proverbs 18:17: "The first to plead his case seems [just] , until another comes and examines him."
If you're quick to rush to justice… You run upstairs and go, "I told you don't ever make your sister come down here like that again!" That kid is like, "Hey, listen to me. I'll explain what happened." "No, I'm going to tell you what happened." Exasperate your child. Eighthly, "Grown-ups are always talking about what they did and what they knew when they were 10 years old, but they never try to think what it's like to be 10 years old right now."
In other words, "They don't really listen to me. They don't understand. All they want to do is tell me what it was like for them, how lucky we've got it, how we don't have to walk uphill to school two miles in the rain." Have you forgotten…? Have you really forgotten what it's like to be in junior high, the insecurity that hits you when your body is changing?
There's redness on your face. That girl you think the world rotates around won't give you any attention. You're getting picked last on the playground. You got cut from that team. Peer pressure is kicking in. Insecurity is all over you. Valentines don't come. Phone calls aren't made. Have you forgotten the pain of that?
I grew up in a very different world than my parents. I didn't grow up in the Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best world of my parents, but my kids didn't grow up in the good life I had either. As a kid, I could take my bike and I could run anywhere. There were woods around our house. We dove into them and came out of them when it was good and dark. There wasn't a street I wasn't allowed to go on.
We'd walk into stores. We'd scrounge all over town. We'd grab Coke bottles. We'd return them for 10 cents and make it a whole day's adventure. My parents never knew where I was for hours on end. My kids… It's a different world, isn't it? I don't let them out of my own front yard without having an eye on them, much less let them ride their bike across town. Have you listened to your kid lately about some of the struggles they're up against and empathize with them?
Do you know kids today spend 40 percent less time with you statistically than you did with your parents? And you sometimes didn't feel like you had enough time with your mom or dad. Let me show you how things have changed. Matthew Gibbins, who sang that song "Fathers, be good to your daughters" is a principal here in the Lake Highlands school district. He saw this list earlier today and laughed. He goes, "Oh, I wish these were the top problems kids had today at school."
These are the top six problems teachers listed off they had to face in the classroom in the 1940s: talking, chewing gum, making noise they shouldn't be making, running in the halls, wearing improper clothing, and not putting wastepaper in the wastepaper basket, God forbid. You jump ahead 40 years to the 1980s. They asked teachers this exact same question. Here were the top six problems in schools then: rape, assault, robbery, burglary, arson, bombing, and murder.
Columbine didn't happen in 1960. Things have changed a little bit. I go to my kids' school… All of the doors are locked but one. I have to walk right in, go one place, and get my little name tag on. Teachers have their eyes swinging around on kids. My kids can't run around through the neighborhood. Kids are filled with insecurity today. Johns Hopkins asked a bunch of kids what their greatest fear was when they were in grade school, 10 years old and younger, 30 years ago.
This is what they said in 1987: animals, being in a dark room, high places, strangers, and loud noises. You ask kids just 30 years later what they were, and look at them: divorce. In 1987 they said "Nuclear war." They wouldn't say that today. What would they say? Terrorism. "Are they going to blow us up, Daddy?" Cancer, pollution, that I'll be the next kid that causes an amber alert… Are you listening to your kids? Are you tender before them?
The most popular teen magazine out there today did a recent study, and they asked teenage girls, "How many of you can go to your father and talk to him about a serious problem?" Only 4 percent said they could go to their dad, because their dad has not shown them that they're valuable, that they listen. They haven't made their kids the center and a focus of their life, where they're home. Not where they're having child-centered parenting where they're insecure that the child will love them. I'm talking about making yourself available, that you're in the way.
When you're running your kids from one thing to the next and this to that, kids aren't going to volunteer in a car with a lot of other folks stuff that's troubling their heart. Are you taking time to date your son and your daughter, to put them on your lap, to listen to them? I'll tell you this. When I get off my lazy tail at night with my kids and I sit with them and put them on my lap and hold them individually and ask, "How are you doing?" that's when the kid's guard goes down. That's when they get to be at a place where they're going to really start to share what's going on in their heart.
Some of the greatest opportunities I've had as a daddy have come when I have done this consistently. I can remember when I took Ally on my lap one night. She was going up the stairs after doing her homework. I said, "Ally, come here. Come sit with your daddy." The TV is off in my little place. I'm doing some reading. I put my book down. I said, "Ally, come here. Sit with your daddy."
She loves to do that. She came over. She sat with me. She put her head on my shoulder, and I just held her and hugged her. I go, "How are you doing?" I had no idea. I said, "How are you doing? What's going on with you?" She said at first, "I'm fine." She didn't know if this was a quick hug and back up to bed, but she sat there. I said, "No, I mean, tell me what made you really happy lately."
"Well, is there anything that's making you sad?" Quiet. "Anything that's going on that's kind of tough for you that your daddy can help you with?"
All of a sudden, she started sniffling. I felt that heart racing. Her shoulders started shaking. I said, "What's going on?" She said, "Daddy, so-and-so at school has been talking about my rear end, and when I walk by he drops a pencil and puts his rear end in my face and wiggles it around, and he slapped me there the other day." She's just a sweet little 10-year-old thing. Didn't know what to do. Felt dirty. Felt like this guy was mocking her.
I said, "Oh, Ally, I am so sorry. You haven't done anything wrong. Do you know that? Listen. That little boy has never had a daddy who has helped him and shepherded him and told him and walked him through that." I said, "But tomorrow your daddy is going to walk him through that." And I did. I said, "I want you to know no boy ever touches you. Nobody ever does that." She goes, "You're going to go talk to so-and-so?" I go, "Yeah, I am." I said, "I'm not going to embarrass you, but I'm going to talk to him."
So I went up there the next day. By the grace of God I had built a relationship with the teacher. I said, "Hey, I need to speak with so-and-so. There's some stuff going on in your classroom I want to let you know about." She goes, "I'd seen that once," and I go, "Ally mentioned that. She said you kind of laughed at it." She goes, "I know I shouldn't have done that." I said, "Hey, we all make mistakes, but can I have a little bit of time with him?" She goes, "Sure." I go, "I'm going to do it at lunch."
So I went to lunch with Ally, and then after lunch I waited until they were all out there on the playground, and I went and got him. I'll call him John. That's not his name. I waited until John was right in the middle of a circle with his buddies, and I walked over and said, "Hey, John." I said, "Can I talk to you just for a second?" I go, "I'm Ally Wagner's dad. Do you guys know Ally?" They go, "Oh yeah, we know Ally." I go, "I want to talk to John just for a second." I let them all know.
I walked over there. I said, "Hey, John. Do you have any idea why I want to talk to you?" "No." I said, "Really? No idea? Have you ever made my little daughter sad? Have you ever touched my little daughter? John, have you ever touched my little daughter?" I said, "Have you ever dropped a pencil in front of her and wagged your rear end in her face and mocked her?" I said, "John, let me just tell you something. You don't ever touch my daughter." Just like that.
I said, "And you don't ever do that with your body to a little girl, whether you're 10 or whether you're 30 or whether you're 40. Look at me. I'm not mad at you, because you obviously didn't know. Boys make mistakes. When I was a little boy I made a lot of mistakes, but that's my little girl, and I care about her. I'm going to tell you, if I hear this happens again, you and I aren't going to talk this way again. It's going to be your daddy, your teacher, the principal, and me, and we're going to have a chat, and it's not going to go like this. Now I love you, and I forgive you if you'll ask me, but you're going to stop that."
All of his buddies are looking at him. I go, "All of your buddies want to know what we're talking about, don't they?" He goes, "Oh yeah." I go, "I want you to tell them, and you tell them they're going to get to meet me in the same way if they touch Ally." And off he went. Boy, my little girl… How do you think she felt? Later that day I said, "Ally, did John say something to you later in the day?" She goes, "Yeah." I go, "What?"
"Well, he asked my forgiveness."
"What else did he say?"
"He goes, 'Your dad is big.'"
I go, "Perfect. That's what we want."
Do you know what really came out of that? I want Ally to know her dad will listen and that he's available and I'm the first place I want her to go, not the last. Kids go to music first, peers second, TV third. Guess where Mom shows up according to this survey: 38. Daddy is there at 48, and we wonder why there's so much pain.
Charles Adams, nineteenth-century politician and diplomat, kept a diary. One day he wrote in his diary (you've maybe heard this before), "Went fishing with the boy today. Wasted day." Years later in his life, he found a diary his son kept. He opened up the diary and was reading through it, and he saw on this one day, "Went fishing with my dad today. Greatest day of my life." He went back to his and saw what he wrote.
Sometimes we, as parents, have no idea the value of creating opportunities that are safe and quiet where conversation can happen naturally, where we can talk with our children and listen to them and teach them. Kids aren't going to try and scoot out stuff in the middle of the chaos and busyness we bring into the home.
My friend Charles Swindoll talks about a time when he had overcommitted and there was tension in the home that he had brought. Boy, I can relate to this. He was doing too many things. He was supposed to be too many places. "I was snapping at my wife and our children, choking down food at mealtimes, feeling irritated because I was constantly being interrupted." He said, "Before long things around our home were chaotic because of the 'Hurry up' style I was bringing into it."
He says he remembers one day that his daughter Colleen, who's a friend of ours… If you know Colleen, she's the one who will burst through in times like this. She knew her dad was kind of stressed out, but she still had something she wanted to tell her dad, so she comes in and says, "I've got something I want to tell you, and I'm going to tell it to you really fast, so just listen."
It kind of pierced through his heart. He already knew he was running his household poorly. He said, "Colleen, you don't have to talk quickly." She says, "Okay, Dad, then you listen slow." See, that's what kids are saying. I have a Colleen. Her name is Kirby. Kirby will say, "All right, Dad. Listen slow. Slow down." You want to listen? Listen. Don't exasperate us.
3._ Make excuses for yourself instead of humbling yourself._ Some of us are so insecure, if we're honest with our kids about, "Yeah, that was wrong. You did see what you just saw," that they're going to call CPS and file suit against us. It's like my wife sometimes will say to me, "You know what? You're just not doing a very good job of leading right now," and I'll try and explain to her that I am, that maybe she's just being overly sensitive, she has become this black hole of emotional need that NASA can't address.
I'll start to try and explain to her why what she feels is crazy. So she starts to look at me, and she goes, "You know what? We've got two problems here. First, you have no idea how mean you can be, and second, you're flat insane. You're certifiable, because you'll rationalize away any behavior, and it creates a great deal of insecurity, instead of just going, 'Tell me again what you're perceiving. Tell me again what you think I did. You know what? First of all, you feel that way. That's enough. Secondly, I would acknowledge I did not handle that the way I should.'"
Proverbs 28:13 says, "He who conceals his [sin] will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes [it] will find compassion." There is an issue in my home right now that I have gotten my family together and said, "I need to tell you all something. I have led poorly in this area, and it's unacceptable the way I'm leading right now. I need you to pray for me when you see it. I have no leash. Call me on it, because I see it start to trickle down into your life, and I want to ask your forgiveness for bringing that into the home."
4._ Speak with anger and in demeaning tones_. You want to exasperate your kid? Yell at your kid. I had a buddy who said there is never a reason to yell at a child. You don't want to lead them out of fear and anger. You don't want to make life so miserable for them out of verbal abuse that they won't do what they just did again. That is poor leadership and shepherding.
I agree with this. I had a dog that made Lassie look dumb for a lot of years. Caleb was a dog I could take and speak places and do a lot of things with, and folks would ask me all the time, "How did that dog learn to listen to you the way he does?" Raising a dog is not unlike how you should raise a child. You take that dog when he's a puppy. You take him everywhere you go.
You make sure that dog knows every good thing in the world comes from you: love, encouragement, food, care. Itches that need to be scratched, you're the one who scratches it. Fleas that need to be dealt with, you're the one who does it. You sit there. You hold that animal. You get around it. You love it. You give negative reinforcement to behavior you don't want. You give positive reinforcement to behavior that you do.
People asked me, "Todd, did you ever beat him?" I looked at them and said, "Yeah, I kicked him before, but never because he needed it. I did it because I was selfish. I did it because I came in, I was in a hurry, and he was in the trash as a puppy, and rather than deal with it responsibly I kicked his tail across the kitchen." You do that consistently to a dog, and you have a scary animal.
There have been times in my parenting life where I have handled things in a similar way, where I started to go, "Hey! What is wrong over there?" Quick voice, yelling at them, a backhand, not really hard but just enough to go… When kids see you doing that, they know why you're doing it. They know you're not doing it because you love them. They know you're doing it because you're being selfish in that moment. You're in a bad mood. They caught you on a bad day.
They got in the way of your remote and the television. It had nothing to do with them. It had everything to do with you. That will exasperate a child. Yell at them. Cuss at them. Smack them upside the head because they irritate you. That'll take the wind right out of them. You call them names. Some of you guys are still suffering from names your parents called you. "You stupid! What is wrong with you, you hussy? Look at you, you little Jezebel. You lousy, worthless child." Have you ever heard that? Have you ever said it?
5._ Reduce yourself to name-calling._ It is completely appropriate to identify behavior and say, "That is inappropriate behavior. That is selfish behavior. That is a lazy lifestyle. That is an arrogant attitude," but you don't call your child lazy. You don't tell them they are a worthless being. You don't say, "You're stupid!" You say, "You have acted stupidly. Foolishness has made its way to your hands," and you state it clearly.
Look at what it says. In Hebrews 12:5-7 it talks about how a father should discipline as the Lord does. It says, "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines …" The one the Lord loves, that's the one he disciplines. A child can tell when you're doing it correctly and when you're doing it wrongly.
Dobson makes a great observation. He says the way you ought to discipline a child is the way an official referees a football game. My dad was an NFL official for 20 years, so I know a little bit about this. When Larry Allen jumped offside, I never saw my dad treat Larry Allen the way he sometimes treated me. He never got on his microphone and went, "Hey! Let me tell you something. You see this big oaf of a man? This clod can't count to three! He just jumped offside, and everybody knows what a numbskull can't count to three."
Kicks him in the rear end, drags him by the face mask, throws him back there, and then says, "All right. Let's try it again." I never saw him once go to Joe Montana when he threw that ball someplace there wasn't a receiver, intentional grounding. "Do you see that incompetent act of leadership?" He didn't get on the microphone and tell everybody, "This guy right here…I don't know why anybody trusts him and pays him a dime, puts a ball in his hands. You can't do that. You're a failure when you do that. Play ball." No.
What a guy does is there's a clear and known standard, it is violated, a yellow flag is dropped, time-out is called, it is addressed, the afore agreed upon consequence is executed, and we go at it again. You don't ever hear an official dress down a player. I've seen a few times that officials have gotten in those conversations with players, and I know those officials are not tolerated by the league, and they shouldn't be tolerated in the home. You don't call them names.
Bill Cosby talks about how his dad wasn't really involved with discipline. Discipline was something his mama typically did. He remembers a time he and his brother were playing basketball in the house and thought they could get away with it without breaking something, and Bill said he took a shot that he said redecorated the glass table in their living room. His mom came at him with a switch, and she says, "I'm going to bust you in half." He said his daddy just put the paper down and said, "You really want two of that boy?"
You want to exasperate your child? Call them names. I had a guy recently. I was with some friends. We were fishing. I was trying to help this knucklehead with a boat, and I was really, I think, helping him. We all later said we were helping him, but this guy had it in for me for some reason. He said, "Pastor…" That's how he identified me. He says, "Having you is like losing two good men." I went, "What are you talking about, man?" Have you ever had Dad tell you that? You don't lead that way.
6._ Leave them alone to find their own way._ We don't have time to go through it, but it'll be available to you on the web. The Houston Police Department most famously has done this. They have gone through and talked about how to raise a criminal, and they've listed out what you should do in order to have somebody who is going to be destructive to society. Basically, it's you enable them in every way you can. You allow them to choose whichever path they want. You defend them.
You take their side against neighbors, teachers, and policemen when they're wrong, because they're all prejudiced against your boy anyway. It just says you don't come alongside that child and teach them right from wrong. Listen to what Proverbs says. Proverbs 13:24: "He who withholds his rod hates his son…" Hates him. If you don't teach your child right from wrong and do it in a way that is clear, you don't love your child. That's not good parenting. You hate your child. You'll exasperate them.
Proverbs 22:15: "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him." Proverbs 23:13-14: "Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die." He may cry like it, but he isn't going to die. "You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from [hell] ."
You can't tell me you love your boy if you're not going to discipline him. You will exasperate your child if you don't. Right out of college for one year I worked in a residential youth home where I was a guardian to three kids whose home environments were no longer effective and helpful for them. One night, there was one boy who was taking me on, and he decided he wasn't going to do his homework. I said, "No, you're going to do your homework." He said, "No, I'm not."
I said, "Well, you don't have to do it right now, but you're not going to go to bed until you do those 10 math problems. I'm proficient in math. I still remember how to do ninth-grade math. If you need help, ask me any question you want. I will give you all the time you need, and I will prevail with you. If you don't feel like you learned it at school today, I can help you. I want you to succeed. I'm not going to quit on you, Doug." He just sat there like this.
Nine o'clock. I come back and put my arm on his shoulder. "Doug, how are you doing?" He hadn't done a thing. Just sat there. Nine-fifteen. Just sat there. "I'm not going to quit on you, Doug." Nine-thirty. "Not going to quit on you, Doug." Nine-forty-five. "Not going to quit on you, Doug." Ten o'clock. Everybody else is in bed. He gets up to go to bed. "No, sir. Right here until you're done with your math problem."
To his bad fortune, he had a night owl for a guardian. So we sat there. Along about 11:30, after I had watched enough ESPN that I was sufficiently bored, I said, "Doug, you've got to do your homework." He said, "I'm not going to do it." I said, "I'm not going to quit on you." He exploded out of that chair and got in my face and said, "Why won't you? She did!" I went, "Whoa." I go, "Who's she?" He started crying like a 6-year-old. I put him in my arms and patted his back, and we had a breakthrough in that moment that a lot of his anger…
What happened with Doug is he had a little single mom. His daddy had left them, and this mom was trying to raise this boy. He goes through puberty. He gets a little bit of size. Mom is trying to tell him, "No." He's trying to expand his boundaries, trying to still see, though, if there was anybody in his life who was going to love him enough to stick with him. His daddy left. So Mom went up to the room one day and said, "Doug, you will not behave that way," and he said, "Yes, I will," and she said, "No, you won't."
He made some reference to her, likening her to a female dog, and slammed the door in her face and said, "Don't you ever come back into my room." Then he really started crying. I go, "What happened then?" He said, "She never did." In other words, Dobson in his book The Strong-Willed Child says a child is like the policeman who's walking his beat in the town who's going to try every doorknob he can.
He's going to keep trying to see if any doors are unlocked. He hopes they're not, because that means everything is put away as it should be and the community is safe, but he's going to try them all to see if any doors are there that he can go through. He doesn't want them to be open. A kid, he says, is a lot like that. He's going to keep trying to open doors to see if he can get out, but he hopes they're locked, because he wants there to be order. He wants there to be boundaries.
When you have a kid who doesn't have boundaries, he begins to resent it and become scared. They've done studies where they put kids on playgrounds around busy intersections with no fence around it, and those kids won't play with their balls. They'll sit in the middle of the playground as far away as they can from the death that is around them, and they won't ever run around like they're meant to during recess.
They put those same kids back on that same piece of property, but now they've constructed fences around them to keep them from that which they know is dangerous for them, and all of a sudden they're running around freely. They know they're safe. They're kicking the balls. They're playing tag. They're bouncing up against the boundaries and coming back, never with a concern that they're going to get too carried away with their momentum and run out onto the street where death will meet them.
Don't be concerned when your kids are testing boundaries. That's what they're doing. They're trying to say, "Will you love me? Will you push through this fit or can I so embarrass you that you'll stop shepherding me?" It's very important that we touch on this this way, because not only can you not set boundaries and you need to discipline your children, but you have to discipline them not out of anger. This is the dirty dozen. This is one of them.
7._ Discipline a kid harshly and without reflection_. In other words, you do it spontaneously. You do it with a spike. This is the way you should discipline a child. You see the offense. Just like that official, you drop the flag and say, "Hey, I saw that." You call time-out. You walk that child (now you leave the NFL analogy) into another room away from their siblings, because you don't want to humiliate that child. You count to 10. You take a deep breath.
By the way, I believe that is why the Scripture says to strike him with a rod. To my great shame, I have struck my kids like I kicked my dog, and every time I do they look at me and go, "That wasn't done for me, Dad. That was for you. That little smack right there, that crack…" I did it to my 5-year-old yesterday because of my lack of preparation and my stress. I had 25 people waiting to meet me someplace. I send a 5-year-old to find his shoes and socks. What a joke.
I'm getting ready to leave, and he's coming out. He's barely dressed, much less with two shoes. I go, "Hey, Cade, we've got to go!" He goes, "I don't know where my shoes are." Boom! "Find them!" Brilliant leadership right there. I walk out. Cade wasn't scarred by that. I didn't beat him. I just kind of did a quick smack. It wasn't hard, but it was for me. It had nothing to do with teaching him to be a responsible 5-year-old who files his shoes, socks, and shin guards where they can be found.
You do that to a boy consistently, and like you get a dog that becomes mean and cowers, rolls over, and wets itself, quits trying, they'll lose heart. If you're beating your kid out of anger, you'd better stop right now. There's never a place for it. Abuse is always unfair, it's always extreme, and it's degrading to the child. Discipline is fair, it is fitting, and it upholds the child's dignity. We have a little leather tool we use when we spank our kids. It's good that it's up high or can't be found.
You take a kid and discipline them rightly and lovingly. You get them over there and say, "Okay, let's talk about this. What just happened in there? You know what was wrong? Right. Good. Okay, this time there's going to be this consequence." The kid sees you're not angry, you're not embarrassed, you're not shamed, you're not irritated, but you're trying to teach them something. You smack them, and then you turn them around and let them know you love them.
You hold them. You hug them. You tell them you are so concerned for them that you're willing to put them through this. You give them a stripe that will heal in seconds and not label them with a name that'll haunt them when they're 65. That's the way to do it rightly, but if you're somebody who's doing it out of anger, if you're giving somebody spikes, you'd better deal with it, because you will lose your boy.
8._ Withhold love, forgiveness, or attention from them._ Great story in the Scripture. David had two boys. One of those boys raped his sister, and the older son Absalom went and killed that brother. He ran away in exile and lived with the Philistines. After a while David said, "Let him come back." Absalom came back, but David would not let him in the palace. Absalom said, "I want to talk to my father David," and David said, "No, he can't speak with me."
Absalom said to Joab, "I want to talk to David." Joab said, "Your father is not going to talk to you." So Absalom burnt Joab's barley field. Now watch this. Joab goes and says, "What are you doing? Why are you literally burning the house down with your anger?" Absalom looks at him and says something that, parents, if you're manipulating your kids and not forgiving, accepting, and loving your kids and you're trying to manipulate them emotionally by shutting them off and shaming them, you're going to get this.
Absalom said, "It would have been better if I had stayed with the Philistines. Don't bring me back here and not forgive me. If I'm guilty, let David kill me. If I've done something wrong, expose me, but don't put me through this charade of being sent over here, and then you let me out of the room after a while, but not let me back in. Let me deal with what I've done that is wrong. If I need to be executed, execute me, but don't play this game with me where you're going to give me the cold treatment for four, five, or six years and not love me because I've crossed some line of acceptability for you."
David brought a lot of trouble into his household because he never went to Absalom and said, "Absalom, this is what you did that was wrong. This is going to be the consequence to it," but then he would offer forgiveness and reconciliation to him and restore him if appropriate. It's always appropriate to show a child how they can restore themselves and get their way back in. You have to forgive them, love them, and accept them.
9._ Criticize them in everything they do so they don't become complacent_. A lot of dads get this crazy idea that you're never to embrace your son, hold him, and say, "I'm proud of you. You've done great. You've made it. Fantastic." There's a guy I read about this week who used to play for the Dallas Cowboys as a defensive back. He talked about how he grew up. All his dad ever did was wear him out about how he wasn't good enough.
He talked about how a lot of kids would get butterflies before their football games. He said, "I got butterflies after them because my dad would take me and just strip me down and tell me everything I did wrong." He said when he was a kid his dad bought him a bike, threw it in front of him as a 10-year-old, and said, "Put this bike together." Then when he got frustrated and couldn't do it, his dad said, "I knew you couldn't do it." He tried to shame the kid into becoming more mechanical, a better athlete.
This kid went to University of Georgia, got as far away from his dad as he could, on an athletic scholarship. He got drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the second round. Joe Namath was drafted first when the NFL and the AFL were still split up. Joe Namath we know later signed with the AFL and the New York Jets, but Joe Namath was drafted in the first round by the Cardinals. He was drafted in the second round by the Cardinals. He called his dad to celebrate, and his dad said, "How does it feel to be second?"
I have a buddy who told me he has a friend who still… He's 50 years old. He writes his dad letters, and his dad will still take a red pen and send the letter back, correcting the grammatical mistakes in the letter. Somewhere along the line, some of us dads have thought, "Hey, if I ever tell my son he did good in that game, did good in the way he just responded, he'll become complacent and a slacker."
What you do is you develop a neurotic child, some guy who at 40 years old is trying to impress every male in the kingdom with his car and his conquests sexually and his business deals, some woman who's trying to look for any man who will show her some affirmation and love. The first time some boy whispers a sweet nothing to her, she is absolutely taken and gives herself away.
"Squeaky" Fromme, who tried to assassinate President Ford in 1976… They asked her, "Why in the world did you become a follower of Charles Manson?" She said, "Because in my teenage years when my dad would never accept me, I swore that the first man who loved me I would give my life to him." Manson was asked on the stand, "How did you get these women to follow you?" He said, "They were your children. You turned them out, so I took them in."
You don't compare your kids to some other folks. You don't tell them they can't live up to some standard that is unattainable. You celebrate what they do that is right or you will exasperate your child. You don't have to go over game film and note with them, tell them what they didn't do right. You love them. You don't look at a string full of report cards with As on them and just wear them out on the B.
10._ Compare them to others_. I have six kids. They're all different. Same womb, same woman…night and day. I have certain kids I can just look at cross, and they'll go, "Oh Dad, I'm so sorry. Please, Dad, don't be upset with us." Cade, on the other hand, I have exhausted my arm on at times. He's like, "Bring it on." He has been spanked a number of times and turned around and looked at me and went, "That didn't hurt." "All right. Turn back around." He'll say, "Shoot me. Throw me in the street. Drag me behind a car. I'll take you on." That's his will. That's his spirit.
I have others who will go in there, wail, and beat their head against the wall. I'll open the door and go, "One beating is enough. Cut it out. It's okay. Let's move on." You have to know your kid. Don't ever say to your kid, "Why can't you be like your sister? Why aren't you like your brother?" When it says, "Raise up a child in the way he should go," part of what that means, I'm convinced, is you have to know your child, and every child is not going to go the same direction.
I have one child who is about to get more AR points (I even forget what AR is, but it has something to do with reading) than any kid in the history of her elementary school. I have another kid that I'm not sure she has finished two books. When I'm around them, this one kid can snap off questions left and right. This other kid is not as well read, isn't as sharp. Their mind doesn't fire at the same Pentium speed. So I have to find games I can play where this one can be exalted, where this one can be celebrated.
This one over here is incredibly artistic, has done very creative stuff from the time she was little. "Hey, why don't you help the bookworm over here with her valentine? Why don't you help us with our Christmas card? Man, that's fantastic. We couldn't do that without you." To try and make this one like that one is going to cause a lot of trouble in the home. Don't compare them to others. "Why can't you be like that boy?"
11._ Fail to love Mama_. You don't tell me that you're going to be the greatest dad ever and don't stay faithfully committed to their mom. That gives that kid security. That lets them know what unconditional love looks like. Do you know that toy makers watch divorce rates because they know when divorce rates spike that eight grandparents and four parents buy more toys? Don't tell me you're going to be a good dad and not love Mom. You will not be the dad you're supposed to be. You'll exasperate your child if you don't turn your heart toward home.
12._ Abandon them for other things_. What I mean by that is you don't want to look back over your life and find yourself where you've made some significant career, lowered your handicap, had your fill of fun, and know that the price of that success was the soul of your child. Sixty percent of America's rapists, 72 percent of adolescent murderers, 70 percent of long-term prison inmates all grew up with absent or abusive fathers.
John Mayer has no idea how theologically astute he is when he says you are a god to him; you are his glory. That's what the word means. The weight of your child's love is going to come from you, Dad, and you don't want to exasperate them. There are some areas in these 12 that Todd Wagner is desperately working to improve and take new ground on, and I have to keep going deeper so I can love my kids the way God intended for them to be loved.
As the Spirit of Christ controls this heart more, I will be a better lover as a husband and a better father to my children. So can you, but you need Jesus to deal with your morality and your misdirection and your anger and your selfishness and your misplaced agenda. So you come to him and ask him to reign in your heart and surround yourself with others who will spur you that direction and concern yourself with leading the way God says you should lead so your kids will not be out of breath, exasperated by you.
Father, thank you for these friends and the chance we have had to reflect today on your truth. As we leave to worship today, that doesn't mean we go out and just tell the world that God is good, that Jesus died, that the resurrection is real. We worship you this day by humbling ourselves before our kids, by delighting in the way you have shaped them, by keeping the most important thing the most important thing, that we would raise up godly children, not great, beautiful, talented intellectuals.
May they be all of those things, but may they first and foremost fear the Lord, know right and wrong, have boundaries that are set, administered by love, moms who are pursued and cared for, dads who are home and present, standards that are consistent for every member of the family, confession that everybody pursues when they do wrong.
Lord, help us not to exasperate our kids or others as the world watches us. We have a built-in tool for evangelism, Lord. As we love the way we should, the world will pound our doors down, saying, "Will you explain to me how you can have that relationship with a 16-year-old? Will you explain to me how to raise that kind of child? Will you show me how to have that kind of marriage?"
Lord, may we tell them that the way that happens is not with our insight but with Christ in the center of our home, ruling in our hearts, and may we tell them of the glory of your story, that you are desperate to reign in theirs, so they would come to you and they would have the life and the light that we have had by grace. May we worship you that way this week. May others experience the good and may you get the glory, amen.
From a book that is 2,000 years old comes evidence that has been preserved about the greatest truth the world has ever known and how it can transform our lives. The book of Colossians walks through the radical change that happened to some in an ancient east Asian city, revealing the struggles they faced, the resistance they met, and the transformation they found as a result of the hope they had. Join Todd Wagner as he studies the Colossians scene to discern how their journey can reveal truths that can change us.