New Book: Parenting First Aid by Marty Machowski

In a recent sermon I preached on parenting I started out by saying, “Parenting is hard, gloriously hard.” Not only do I believe this to be true, I know it is true from experience. When I say it’s glorious, I mean this is a primary ministry God gives us and therefore a blessing. When I say it’s hard, I mean that this privilege and responsibility that is far beyond our capacity. That’s why I’m grateful for books like Parenting First Aid by Marty Machowski.

Marty has put together twenty chapters worth of devotions for parents. He uses the Scriptures to point parents to the resources they have in God himself. Marty doesn’t use the typical “parenting” passages but rather he uses the whole of Scripture, interpreted just for parents. He reminds us that our Heavenly Father is big and trustworthy, and he shows how God gives us the answers to our current parenting challenges.

Parenting First Aid is a great tool for those struggling with their parenting. Marty reminds parents of the importance of their faith as the tool God will use to draw their kids to Him. If you are struggling as a parent—and I know you are—this book will be a great source of encouragement. Get it at the link above. Read it and be refreshed.

Family Friday Links 2.22.19

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Here is what we’ve found most helpful online this week:

Cam Hyde had a post on what it means to be a good husband. It reads, “ I’m not looking to be the goofy husband who pays no attention to his wife, does whatever he wants, and then apologizes later. I’m aiming at much loftier goals. “ He goes on to list 3 of those loftier goals. If you are a husband (or hope to be someday) here is a good list of what being a godly husband looks like.

Jaquelle Crow wrote on lies teens are told about love, sex, and romance. In it she lists 10 lies that culture pushes teens towards believing. It’s a good list that parents need to be working through with their teens. We need to be having more of these conversations.

Jason Tilley had a post on classroom management. He bases his post on 4 “C’s” - clear, contained, connect, and clean up. Go to see what he says about each one. If you are a pastor or ministry leader - your kidsmin people would benefit from this.

What have you been reading and liking online lately? Leave a link in the comment section for us to check out.

Love Thy Neighborhood Podcast: Where the Gospel Meets Special Needs

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According to Erik Carter, a special education professor at Vanderbilt University who studies religion and disability, only 45% of Americans who identify as having a severe disability say they attend a place of worship each month. That’s 12% fewer attendees in this demographic than the 57% of all Americans that attend worship each month. Carter also tells us that churchgoers with a cognitive impairment are less likely by one third to participate in congregational activities outside of worship—activities such as a small group, a Bible study, or even a church fellowship.

A study published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion finds that the statistics among children are more severe. Children with autism spectrum disorders are 1.84 times more likely to never attend church activities. Children with chronic depression are 1.71 times more likely to never attend.

The truth is that many churches are ill-equipped to welcome kids with unique needs. I’ve come to see this inequity as a justice issue. Recently I had the chance to join some friends—Elaine Moore, Todd and Kim Robertson, and Kelly Stivers—in telling the story of our personal journey as well as our local church’s journey with special needs ministry.

Here’s just a bit of that story…

My wife, Megan, and I are both type A. We religiously sit down every week to plan our finances and family calendar. We plan our vacations years in advance. But when our middle daughter, Lucy, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, we were stopped in our tracks. Our life was suddenly more than we could plan and manage.

Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised to those who love him?
— James 2:5

For years, Megan has taken Lucy to therapy appointments, cooked meals according to a strict diet, loved her stressed-out pastor husband, ministered to our church community herself, and worked through her own grief over Lucy’s disabilities—all while being mother to two other typically developing (but still sinful) young girls. By four o’clock in the afternoon nearly every day, we’re both exhausted. One of the great graces in our life is that for six years, a group of young Christian women from our church and a local Christian college came to our home to help care for Lucy in the afternoons. These amazing ladies conducted a behavioral therapy program, potty-trained, and even taught Lucy a simple catechism. Most of the time we were able to use Medicaid funds to pay them. But one of the women, Kelly Stivers, kept showing up for us in a season when we lost our funding. She had our back even when there was seemingly nothing in it for her.

In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 14, the evangelist relates the story of how Jesus was invited to the home of a prominent Pharisee. Jesus noticed how the guests at the table jockeyed for position—carefully picking the places with the greatest honor. Then he said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Jesus instructed religious leaders to move toward the margins and welcome even those who are sometimes the most difficult to accommodate. This is one of the ways the church can do justice and embody the life of the gospel.

Want to learn more? Give the podcast a listen and check out the list of resources below:

RESOURCES

Getting Started – Special Needs Ministry Resources from The Inclusive Church

Podcast – Special Needs Ministry Secrets to Success w/ Amy Fenton Lee

Stats on Disability and the Church

The Ministry of the Disabled – Christianity Today

3 Barriers Keeping the Disabled from Church – Lifeway Facts & Trends

Special Needs, the Church and the Justice of God – Relevant Magazine

Louisville Regional Baptist Association website

Family Friday Links 2.15.19

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Back again for another dose of links we liked, huh? Well, here you go:

Our friend, Sam Luce, had a post on recruitment. It reads, “People you ask will serve longer and more faithfully than people you beg.” Recruitment is a necessary part of the job. This will help you do it well.

Tim Elmore had a post on teen unhappiness. It lists reasons for this and how to help. This is helpful for both parents and pastors.

And because yesterday was Valentine’s Day, I thought it helpful to remind us all what true love looks like … via Paul Tripp and his post entitled, “23 Things That Love Is”. This is a great reminder for us all that love is bigger than we typically think.

What have you read online lately? Leave a link in the comment section for us to check out.