Sunday Worship Service 5 pm

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What Will You Say to Jesus?


One day we will stand before Jesus.

If we could see through the clutter of our lives now, if we could envision that day when everything is said and done, it’s clear that the enduring mission in and under and beyond every detail of our lives should be about pleasing him. 
What does he think?

What will he say?

We don’t know the exact words Jesus will speak to us on that Day, though the Bible gives us some ideas (Matthew 25:23). 
Whatever it is, we can be sure it will be glorious and full of grace. 
We will hear his voice. 
It will be amazing.

But what if we turned the question around? 
Instead of just wondering what Jesus might say to us, what will we say to Jesus? 
Imagine with me for a moment that you are there with him and he asks you how you made it to heaven.

“How were you saved?” he asks.

Easy, you think. “A person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in you, Jesus, and so I believed in you in order to be justified by faith” (Galatians 2:16).

“Yes,” he says.

But then imagine he asks a follow-up question. 
He wants to press deeper. 
He wants you to see more of his glory. 
Imagine, as John Piper ponders in chapter four of Five Points: Toward a Deeper Experience of God’s Grace, that Jesus asks you, “Why did you believe on me, when you heard the gospel, but your friends didn’t, when they heard?”

You know that is the case. 
We all have friends, family, people we know, who have heard the gospel but do not believe. 
And some, sadly, will refuse Jesus all their lives. 
And there you are, on that Day, and Jesus is asking you why, why you were one of the ones who believed.

“Why did you trust me but these others didn’t?”

You hear his words. 
You bow your head. 

And you do not say it’s because you’re smarter. 
You don’t begin to explain your faith as the result of your wisdom. 
“Well, Lord, you see, I was just more spiritual than they were.” 
“I read more books than they did.” 
“I always had a way of making good decisions.”

No. You won’t say that.

In that moment — picture it — in that moment you and I and every blood-bought saint will put our hands over our mouths, pointing to him, not us. 
Grace will stand forth with more vividness than we could have ever dreamed. 
There will be new dimensions of colors then — depths and wonders that we can’t see through the dim mirror of now.

And then, in that glorious moment, we will say, 

“You, Jesus. It was all you
We believed in your name, 
only by your sovereign grace. 

Jesus, it was all you.”

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Seven Lies About Christianity - Which many Christians Believe

by Stephen Mattson

Dennis Kuvaev/Shutterstock
Prayer can feel good, but it’s a myth 
that Christians are always happy 

You’re Always Happy
There’s an unhealthy expectation within many faith communities that we’re always supposed to be joyful, as if being anything other than a smiling, peaceful, and jolly spiritual cheerleader is detrimental to Christianity.

“Being a good witness” is often the Christian way of saying, “act the part.” 
But while contentment and happiness is a spiritual virtue, it should never come at the expense of honesty, transparency, and truthfulness. 
We shouldn’t pretend to be happy and use the facade of joy as an evangelism tool. 

God desires reconciliation and renewal, and this often means confronting broken relationships and dealing with sin within our lives. 
Asking for forgiveness, admitting addiction, confronting abuse, seeking justice, requesting help, and serving others often makes you the opposite of happy — and that’s OK.

There’s a season for everything, and some of life’s most important, loving, and holy moments are times of trial, sorrow, and sadness — so let’s stop trying to turn Christianity into something it was never meant to be. 

Your Problems Will Disappear
Some people use Christianity as a form of escapism, a crutch, and a way to avoid the pain, suffering, and struggles of life. 
But at the center of Jesus’ life and teaching is (again) the concept of truth. 
Christianity isn’t about ignoring reality but embracing it, engaging the real world and all the baggage that comes with it.

In many ways, following Jesus causes us to accept — and confront — the facts, whether they are good or bad. 
We shouldn’t hide or pretend or ignore difficulties, but address them.  

A faith in Christ requires honesty and bravery, and it demands sacrifice, service, and heartbreak. 
The New Testament shows us that Jesus’ disciples faced even more problems when they decided to follow him: persecution, poverty, and ultimately martyrdom.

No, our problems won’t disappear, but a relationship with God is worth the accompanying struggles that may come with it.

You’ll Be “Blessed”
If you’re seeking wealth, prosperity, comfort, and security, Christianity isn’t the place to go. 

Contrary to our consumer tendencies, Jesus’ teachings continually instruct believers to sacrifice and be willing to give everything away for the sake of loving others. 
The disciples of Jesus lived a dangerous and hard life that continually relied on the hospitality and generosity of others. 
They often ended up in jail or were even killed because of their faith. 

Some of the most holy and righteous people I know have lives that are extremely rough and filled with all sorts of trouble. 
Disease, sickness, poverty, crime, abuse, and a litany of other horrible things happen to good people — even Christians who passionately love God. 

Does this mean that they don’t trust God enough or aren’t being good Christians? 
Our faith isn’t a pathway toward gaining an array of physical, financial, or social blessings — it’s not a formula for worldly success, so let’s stop treating it like one.

Missions and Ministry Is Fun and Rewarding
Don’t get me wrong, it often is rewarding, but from the time we’re in Sunday school throughout high school and college, and even as adults, we’re told that “missions” and “ministry” and “evangelism” is fun, exciting, and rewarding. 
We go on exotic mission trips, work at car washes to raise money for local charities, and spend a day volunteering at the homeless shelter. 
Most of us then have the luxury of going home, back to our “regular” lives.

Missions and ministry is hard work. 
There’s a reason the burnout rate is absurdly high for people whose primary vocation is ministry-related. 
Pastors and missionaries are considered high-risk candidates within the medical community because of their susceptibility to addiction, stress, and abuse. It’s not an easy life.

Being a full-time missionary and minister requires constant service, with very little recognition and plenty of conflict. 
Combine this with long hours, low pay, and hardly any respectability, and it’s an existence that few can handle. 

But within our churches and Christian institutions, we glorify the idea of serving others without presenting an accurate or truthful picture of what it really looks like or requires from us. 
Instead of telling the horror stories of relational conflict, emotional pain, and physical turmoil, we’re fed stories of revival, spiritual renewal, and miraculous wonders. 
That’s great, but in many cases it gives us false expectations of what ministry honestly looks like.

We need to start portraying ministry accurately instead of marketing it as some sort of superficial fun-filled adventure. 
And for those already within ministry, we need to give them all the support and encouragement they deserve.

All Your Questions Will Be Answered
Christianity is full of doubt, uncertainty, nuance, and complexity. 
There are very few clear answers, and the ones that exist are debated among hundreds of theologians. 
For those seeking resolutions to life’s deepest questions and mysteries, Christianity will provide some clarity, but ultimately it leaves much to the imagination.

As believers, we need to start accepting the fact that we don’t know everything. 
When we try to turn the Bible into a set of answers to all of the world’s challenges and questions, we end up manipulating the message of Christ and forming it into our own agendas just to appease our curiosity or quell the objections of others.

The Christian Community Is Great
Many people leave the Christian faith not because they hate Jesus, but because they hate the people who represent him. 
Christians hurt people. 
They fight, argue, yell, scream, and do horrible things. 

Nobody knows this better than Christians themselves, who routinely suffer through denominational splits, church infighting, community gossip, and an avalanche of interpersonal conflicts.

Christians aren’t better than anyone else. 
The divorce rates, crime rates, and other “moral” comparative data show little difference between them and the rest of the world. 
So let’s stop pretending Christians have the market corner on what’s right and wrong. 

We need to start listening and talking with others instead of self-righteously judging and convicting others. 
There’s a reason why you can’t look across a mall and point out who’s a Christian and who isn’t — because there’s no noticeable difference.

It Makes You Better Than Others
This is the hardest truth for Christians to swallow, that they aren’t any better than anyone else. 
In fact, Jesus continually tried to instill the virtues of humility and humbleness throughout his ministry, repeatedly trying to teach his followers that everyone was loved by God, regardless of social, financial, or spiritual status.

When we see ourselves as superior, we become like the Pharisees, who craved power and control and authority. 
But God, the ruler of the world, made himself nothing, and died on a cross for the sake of others — for the sake of those who were in the process of murdering him! 
Are we willing to become nothing for the sake of others, even for those we dislike? 

The problem with romanticizing Christianity is that we turn our faith into a product, using various selling points to make it look more attractive. 
It’s not that the above headlines are entirely false, it’s just that Christians publicize them as being entirely true. 
This creates false expectations and idols, and inevitably leads to disappointment and sense of failure.

Instead of promoting Christianity as a set of benefits, we need to promote Christ. 
In the end, when everything else fails and falls short, Jesus will remain faithful through it all. 
We can trust him above any form of religion we attempt to turn Christianity into.

Stephen Mattson has contributed for Relevant Magazine and the Burnside Writer's Collective, and studied Youth Ministry at the Moody Bible Institute. He is now on staff at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minn. Follow him on Twitter @mikta.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

No One Ever Said It Would Be This Hard


Nobody said it was easy;
No one ever said it would be this hard. 
(Coldplay, “The Scientist”)

O Christian Hedonism! 
That ancient, beautiful, biblical truth that our treasure is what most captures our heart (Matthew 6:21).
That what measures our treasure is our pleasure.
That if God is our “exceeding joy” (Psalm 43:4) then God’s pursuit of glory and our pursuit of happiness are one wonderful, wild pursuit! 

Because God is actually most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

For many of us, putting the scriptural pieces together and seeing this truth was almost like a second conversion. 
We saw more good in the gospel than we had ever seen before: God doesn’t merely want us holy; he wants us happy! 

And then Christian Hedonism left us devastated. 
Not because it was untrue, but because we were. 
It exposed us. 
We did not value the Pearl anywhere near his worth (Matthew 13:45–46). 
We found ourselves still too attracted to mud pies and too neglectful of the Sea.

We had set out to pursue the deepest, purest, most satisfying Joy that exists and found the world, the flesh, and the devil (Ephesians 2:1–3) fought us tooth and nail. 
They yielded no ground without a fight. 
Instead of experiencing joy, we often felt weary and discouraged.

All we were after was happiness. 
No one ever said it would be this hard, did they?

Indeed they did. 
We just hadn’t quite understood the extent before. 
In fact, the Pearl himself said:

  • “The way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14);
  • “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23);
  • In order to have joy we must gouge out our eyes and cut off our hands if we need to (Matthew 5:29–30);
  • Holy, maximum happiness may cost us our family relationships and we will need to hate our earthly life in many ways to get it (Luke 14:26).

This is why the author of Desiring God wrote the book, When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy
The former helps us understand what “the good fight of the faith” is all about (1 Timothy 6:12) — what is the good we’re fighting for. 
The latter is a field manual. 
The former shows us the panoramic view. 
The latter is for the ground war where we live, in the trenches with snipers shooting and mortar shells exploding. 
When an enemy attacks or when we’re strategizing to take a hill or when our stubborn darkness just won’t lift, what we need is very practical help.

The way is hard that leads to life. 
But let’s remember that the emphasis is not on “hard” but on “life.” 

The eternal (John 3:16), abundant (John 10:10), exceedingly joyful (Psalm 43:4) and forever pleasurable (Psalm 16:11) life is so worth the fight that we will someday look back at the very worst, darkest, horrible battles and see them as “light and momentary” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

And in the meantime, with the fiery darts still flying, let’s keep close at hand the Bible and field manuals such as When I Don’t Desire God to help us keep the shield of faith in place.

Five Things to Teach Your Children This Christmas ...

... and maybe ourselves, too.

by Christina Fox


“Mom, I need to add something to my Christmas wish list.”

It’s that time of year again. The stores are adorned with all things red and green. 
Mailboxes and inboxes are filled with ads, sales, and catalogs. 
Prettily wrapped packages are at the forefront of nearly everyone’s minds — especially kids’.

Christmas provides a wonderful opportunity to pour the truths of the gospel into the hearts of our children. 
It’s an ideal time to show them the greatest gift they could ever receive, the gift of Jesus Christ.

Below is a list of important truths to teach our children this Christmas:

1. The Story of Redemption

During Advent, with the anticipation of the 25th, we can teach and prepare our children for the celebration in Scripture of Jesus’s birth. 
In our family, we like to begin with the story of Creation and daily walk through the story of redemption until we get to Christ’s birth on Christmas day. 
We talk about the fall and God’s promise of a Savior in Genesis 3:15
We read about his promise to Abraham that he reaffirms throughout the Old Testament. 
We discuss Moses and the “one greater than Moses” who would come. 
We read the prophecies in Isaiah. 
We look at how all of the Bible points to our Redeemer.

2. Humility of Christ

For the world, the holiday season is about extravagance, opulence, and making every detail picture-perfect. 
The story of Jesus, however, is one of humility. 
Christmastime provides a great opportunity to teach our children about what it means to be greatest in the kingdom (Matthew 20:26–28). 
His parents, his place of birth, his hometown, and his very act of taking on human flesh were all demonstrations of humility. 
Most people expected the Messiah to arrive in a castle, not a stable. 
Most expected him to live a life of royalty, not poverty. 
Most expected him to conquer the Romans, not be crucified by them. 
Read through Philippians 2:1–11 and show your children the humility of Christ.

3. God Works Through Weakness

In a similar vein, teaching our children how God works through weakness is another topic to teach at Christmas. 
God often chooses the unlikely and the weak to use in his story of redemption. 
Mary was a simple, poor girl from an insignificant town. 
Peter was an uneducated fisherman. 
God’s glory is displayed when he works through our weaknesses. 
This is seen most dramatically in Jesus’s death on the cross in our place and his resurrection on the third day, securing our victory over sin and death.

4. God Keeps His Promises

Another important truth we can emphasize with our children during this season is that God keeps his promises. 
We can begin with the promise of a Savior after the fall and go throughout the Old Testament, looking at God’s promise to redeem his people, culminating in the fulfilled promise in Christ.

5. The Names of Christ

Last year, my children learned a different name for Jesus each day during Advent. 
We studied names such as Messiah, Lamb of God, Immanuel, Alpha and Omega, and Prince of Peace. 
Teaching children the names of Jesus and what they mean helps them know more about Jesus, his character, and what he has done. 
We made a chain link out of paper with a different name printed out on each one. 
Another way to learn the names might be to create a Christmas ornament for each one and hang them on a Christmas tree each time you study a name.

Take advantage of this time of year to teach your children about the Christ-child. 
Spend time in the word, showing them the promised Messiah and how that promise was fulfilled in the baby born in Bethlehem. 
Help them see that Jesus is the greatest gift they could ever receive and the greatest gift they could share with others.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

What People Are Really Thinking When They Invite you to Church

Angela Jamene
Freelance Writer

In the new era of "The Pope Francis Effect", and people of all walks coming out for the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini, a lot of previously shy Christians are feeling more confident stepping up and out, and inviting you to church.
Which can be really annoying when you have zero interest in going to church, maybe that's why you're reading this. You may even be reading this thinking some version of "Anyone who would believe in some all-powerful man, who watches every little thing that every single person does, telling us to love each other, while he lets whole nations suffer from starvation and genocide, is out of their mind." That's what I used to think.
But I don't anymore.
Just over two years ago, I picked up a free bible, I had read it before but, this time, almost instantly, in a wave of emotions and realizations and revelations and a wide variety of indescribable sensations, I became a Christian. It happened. It was not deliberate and it was not a choice. It was what I thought never happened to anyone, it was what I had been so sure did not exist the way any of these nut jobs described it, but I'll be damned (pun intended) if it didn't happen to me. I got saved.
In any movie centered around a coming of age love triangle, the title character will ask "Dad, how did you know you loved mom?" or, if our lead is female, "Mom, how did you know you loved dad?" and whether mom or dad are answering, the answer is always the same, "I just knew."
It was like that. I just knew.

That's what they want for you. That's what the person that has sent you countless emails and texts about next Sunday, or called you every Saturday night asking to pick you up in the morning, wants for you. Every card from your grandma with bible passages written on it means she wants this for you. Every flyer from your neighbor, or old high school friend, about another church event means they want this for you. Every invitation to church is an "I love you and I want this indescribable love, peace, and joy for you because I genuinely care about you."
The people that invite you to church are just like that friend that insists that you try the new Puerto Rican restaurant downtown, they have experienced something amazing and they want it for you too. It's like that, but on almighty steroids. When a friend or a kindly stranger, a relative or a playgroup parent, says "Hey, why don't you come to church with me on Sunday?" what they mean is "I love you so much, I cannot describe what I know you can get from this because I can't even put into words what it has done for me." We understand that when you live in a world of sneaky advertising and suspicious sales scams, this sounds like just another one. But, it isn't.
On behalf of Christians everywhere, I would like you to know that we really, just whole-heartedly, love you. And, we want to share this infinite and ultimate love and acceptance with you. Whoever you are, whoever you love, and whoever you see yourself as or becoming or voting for, we love you. We want you to know Christ loves you, that's why we do that thing that used to annoy me so much and we remind you (and each other) in every way possible, through music and bumper stickers and even, well-intentioned but misguided, "Jesus Saves" graffiti. We apologize, collectively, for anyone who may have hurt you or wounded you in the name of a God they obviously needed more time getting to know, they had no right to do that, and we pray for the healing of those wounds.
And, yes, we would like to invite you to church.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

We Are Far Too Easily Displeased


Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. (Philippians 2:14–15)

I am a grumbler by (fallen) nature.

Just this morning a malfunctioning software program required my attention. 
Experience told me the likely course: at least two times on the phone with customer support and at least two glitches in the fixing process. 
Forty-five minutes minimum. 
Probably more. 
(All proved true, by the way.) 
Immediately I resented this time-stealing inconvenience. 
And when my wife called in the middle of dealing with it, out of my mouth came my displeasure.

Life problems don’t get much smaller. 
What is the matter with me?

The matter is that I too easily listen to the lies of my pathologically selfish sin nature, which assumes all of reality should serve its preferences and grumbles against anything that doesn’t. 
The truth is, when I grumble, I have lost touch with reality.

What Grumbling Gauges

Grumbling is a gauge of the human soul. 
It gauges our gaze on grace. 
It tells us that we’re not seeing grace.

Grumbling pours out of our soul whenever we feel like we’re not getting what we deserve. 
Sometimes we’re even crass enough to think, to hell with what we deserve, we’re not getting what we want.

Grumbling is a symptom of a myopic soul. 
Selfishness has caused tunnel vision and has fixated on a craving(s). 
The soul has lost sight of the glory and wonder and splendor and hope that is the reborn, redeemed life and thus it is far too easily displeased. 
Grumbling is evidence of soul-vision impairment.

What Gratitude Gauges

The opposite of grumbling in the soul is gratitude. 
And gratitude also gauges our gaze on grace. 
It tells us that we are seeing grace.

Gratitude pours out of our souls whenever we we’re receiving a gift we know we don’t deserve and we experience a humble happiness. 
And as sinners who have received the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24), we are receiving these gifts all the time.

Gratitude is a symptom of a healthy, expansive soul. 
The gospel of grace has given it panoramic vision, allowing it to see that this grace will be sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9) to meet every need (Philippians 4:19) when inconvenience, crisis, weakness, affliction, unexpected demand, suffering, and persecution hit. 

In fact, in all these things this grace will make us “more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

Accents of Heaven and Hell

Gratitude is the accent of the language of heaven because there everything is undeserved grace. 
No creature that basks in the eternal, deep, powerful, satisfying, overflowing joys of heaven will have merited being there. 
Each will be there solely by the grace of God, which is why we will all sing,

To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever! (Revelation 5:13)

But grumbling is the accent of hell’s language because it’s how a creature’s pride responds to the Creator’s decision to do or allow something that the creature does not desire. 
Grumbling scorns God because it elevates our desires and judgments above his.

That’s why the world is so filled with grumbling. 
It’s ruled by the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) and its citizens speak the official language.

Do All Things Without Grumbling

And that’s why Paul tells us to “do all things without grumbling” (Philippians 2:14). 
The children of God should not speak with the accent of hell.

Rather, our speech should always be gracious (Colossians 4:6); it should have the accent of heaven. 
Those who have been forgiven so much (Luke 7:47) and promised so much (2 Peter 1:4) should speak words that are always salted with gratitude (Ephesians 5:20). 
That’s one way we “shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). 
Gospel gratitude is a foreign language here. 
We are citizens of a better country (Hebrews 11:16).

Doing all things without grumbling is humanly impossible. 
But thankfully not with God (Mark 10:27). 
What it requires is getting our eyes off ourselves and onto Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and all God promises to be for us in him. 
It requires seeing grace. Being different comes from seeing differently.

Here’s the Bible logic that provides the escape from the temptation to grumble (1 Corinthians 10:13): 
“All things work together for [my] good” (Romans 8:28)
and “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)
so therefore I can “do all things without grumbling” (Philippians 2:14).

Yes it is hard. 
It’s a fight. 
God told us it would be that way (1 Timothy 6:12). 

But we will grow in the gracious habit of cultivating gratitude through the rigorous exercise of constant practice (Hebrews 5:14) of seeing grace.

Lord, help us speak more in the accent of heaven!

Prone to grumbling, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to scorn the God I love;
Here’s my eye, O take and peel it
Till I see the grace above.

Then “the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart [will] be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

Song: Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing (David Crowder Band)

Raising Grateful Kids in An Entitled World

By Kristen

When my family moved a few miles away to a smaller town last year, we swapped a huge school district for a smaller, more rural one, a push mower for a broken down riding one that my hubby fixed and city sewage for our very own septic system (just don’t play in the sprinklers). 

And while we are still close to The City (and by city, I mean Target and Chick Fil A), it was time we two-stepped over to the other side–and became a boot-wearing family.

 On the way to the Rodeo a few weeks ago, one of my kids had a nasty, ungrateful outburst and I was half tempted to leave them in tennis shoes (the horror), but grace won out. 

Outfitting our children in cowboy boots was quite a splurge (hubby and I already had some).

After a fun day, we drove home, and this same kid’s ugly attitude showed up again with a bit of entitlement thrown in and it went downhill from there. 

There was dysfunctional family activity (so glad my life isn’t a reality show) and my husband asked for the boots back. 

This sort of broke my country heart, but I knew it was the right thing to do.

We didn’t buy the boots, so we could return them. 

As a matter of fact, my hubby couldn’t find the receipt at first and I bit my nails because THIS PARENTING THING IS SO HARD. 

We wanted our child to share the joy down to their feet, but it was the heart that needed the immediate attention.

The said child cried and begged and promised and fretted. 

And then pulled the grace card: “Why can’t you show me grace?”

I piped up and said, “Buying you the boots in the first place was grace” and then I recounted the earlier behavior.

My husband put the boots back in the box and stuck them on a high shelf in the laundry room and said,”If you want the boots, you’ll have to work for them.” 

He pointed to the huge mulched areas in the front yard and then the back. 

“You have 3 days to pull every weed. I won’t remind you, it’s up to you. It’s your job if you want it. It pays in boots.”

And that was that.

I wanted to high five my man and sob with my child, all at the same time. 

Because, lo, the weeds were many.

Our big yard is muddy and wet and full of weeds and I grimaced at the job, wondering what my child would choose. 

I was a silent cheerleader on their behalf. 

And my heart soared when I heard the front door click and I saw my offspring in old clothes sit down for the long hours ahead.

For the next two days, I watched my child work hard and get hands dirty and heart tender.

When my husband handed back the boots and I heard a true apology on my kid’s lips, I knew we had all won. 

“You earned these. I won’t take them away again.” 

A certain little cowhand is walking high around here and those boots means twice as much this time around. 

Hard work pays off and changes us in the process.

We live in an entitled world and whether we like it or not, children in our culture are consumers. 

It has become a global issue because they are a captive audience and the average kid views up to 40,000 commercials a year and business pour up to 17 billion into that advertising. 

If you still doubt, just walk down the Easter aisles in your local store. 

Because only a consumer-driven society could take a Savior on a cross and turn it into a four aisles at the grocery store.

“Marketers want to accomplish two things with our children:

1. Awaken and amplify their desire to consume.
2. Blur the line between wants and needs.” Source

And this combination is creating a generation of children who aren’t grateful, who expect everything to be handed to them.

They don’t really know how to work and this breeds the greatest enemy of all: 


Just look at what our culture has done with holidays. 

They’ve turned it all into hoopla and not only is it confusing to our kids to live in a world of made-up celebrations, it muddies the waters of the Holy ones and their true intent is lost.

If “true godliness with contentment is great wealth” (1 Timothy 6:6), then discontentment leaves of spiritually bankrupt and completely empty.

Honestly, I don’t blame the kids. 

As parents, we often foster this mentality with our own actions. 

We compare ourselves (and our homes, cars, etc) to what others have, we let media (and ultimately, advertising) influence our home by not limiting screen time and we have a hard time deciphering between needs and wants.

Fighting the entitlement battle  in our home is hard, but here are some things we are doing to try and live counter-culturally in this area:

We are Asking for Hard Work

I think many kids in our culture (my own included) don’t know much about hard work. 

I grew up in a house that worked. 

We cleaned and did yard work every weekend and everyone helped clean up the kitchen every night. 

A few weeks ago, we spent most of the day in the yard. 

And the more my kids complained, the more I realized how much we had neglected giving them hard, dirty work. 

My kids get their own laundry basket and take over washing, folding and putting away their clothes when they turn 8, they take turns helping clean up in the kitchen and their rooms, but it was clear to me that a little hard work was needed. 

I’m excited to say a truckload of dirt and rock are sitting in our driveway right now, waiting a few hard workers. 

Oh parenting, you do come in handy. (Phil 2:14-15)

We aren’t Making Unrealistic Promises

We regularly tell our kids not to expect us to pay for college. 

While we hope to help in some way, we don’t have plans to pay it for their college education in its entirety. 

We expect them to work hard now, focus on their gifted areas, get scholarships, part time jobs, etc, to contribute. 

We try not to make them promises that only enhance the entitlement attitude in our culture or promises we don’t know if we can keep.

We are Sticking to Consequences

If we suggest a consequence, we commit to seeing it thru as often as we can. 

I’ve come up with some stupid consequences in my day and have regretted my rash tongue. 

But something clicks in our kid when they understand we are serious about some things.

We are Limiting Media

Hushing the voices of our culture that is telling our kids all the stuff they need comes in part by tuning it out. 

Media specifically targets our children to want a lot of stuff they don’t need. 

We have a TV and computers and devices, but besides filtering them, we turn them off. 

My kids still complain about it, which reinforces exactly why it’s important.

We are Exposing Them to the World

I’m a firm believer that an entitlement attitude is in direct correlation to perspective. 

When you’re only looking and thinking about yourself, you can only see what you want. 

But when you remove the blinders and see needs around you and in the world, it alters your perspective. 

Exposing our kids to other cultures and how most of the world really lives, stirs up gratitude like nothing else.

We are Extending Grace

Living by a bunch of strict rules and do’s and don’ts isn’t the answer. 

Being flexible with your own rules is not only necessary, it’s healthy for your family. 

And let’s face it, who doesn’t need extra grace? 

We are on the same team.

We are Examples in our Mistakes

Ouch. This is the hardest. 

When I compare and complain, I’m leading by example. 

When I am thankful and gracious, they are watching. 

As I make mistakes, I’m offering them the greatest lesson. 

It’s important to admit when we are wrong and ask for forgiveness when we hurt our kids.

We are Raising them to Be Different 

I Peter 2:11 Our society has low expectations of kids. 

We expect toddlers to get what they want and teens to be rebellious.

Instead of helping our kids fit in every area of their lives (an impossibility, really), we are encouraging them to go against the flow, reminding them we’re supposed to be different than the world.  

They are normal kids and have longings to fit in-we all do. 

We just aren’t going to compromise our beliefs or lives to do so in every circumstance.

We are Relying on God

By far, parenting is the hardest job. 

And honestly, there are so many days, we don’t know what to do. 

Our kids belong to God. 

He loves them more than we do. 

He wants to guide us down the hard roads.

Our family certainly didn’t need new boots, even though we plan to wear them for years to come. 

But walking a mile in them taught us a great lesson in gratitude. 

Some days we feel like we’ve lost the battle against entitlement in our home; we are still in the trenches, trying to figure this all out. 

But as we reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice and turn our attention to The Cross, it’s thankfulness for His sacrifice and our chance at New Life that I want them to grasp the most.