Perhaps you’ve noticed… Normal is not working.
For the last few weeks at Vortex we’ve been focusing on the kind of different God wants us to be. Since normal is not working, we need to be “FREAKY”.
In my last talk I shared this quote:
“Where family identity is strong, peer pressure will be weak, but where family identity is weak, peer pressure will be strong.” – Greg Gunn
Our families are ground zero for teaching our kids that different is not just ok, when the Spirit of God leads it, different is BETTER!
This week I promised to share two blogs with you. The first (this one) is going to cover the ways that every family needs to be freaky. The second (coming on Thursday) is going to share with you a few things each family needs to pray through to consider.
There are certain things EVERY FAMILY needs to do different. We need to create a culture in our families that shifts from what the rest of the world has. We don’t want normal for our kids, so let’s create a family culture that’s different. That difference is going to provide them the basis to resist peer pressure. It’s important!
Here’s how every FREAKY FAMILY needs to do different:
- Your family needs to make serving God a priority.
For most families, serving God is an abstract idea. You might say things to your kids like “You need to keep God first”, but how do you practically show them how to do that? You do that by first serving God yourself, and then by getting them to serve along with you. One of the most common factors in teenagers translating into church-attending young adults is the fact that they served in the church as a teenager.
Parents, make sure your kids know that serving in church is a priority. It’s actively demonstrating that you are participating in God’s mission. You’re committed to doing something to help others. When it’s time, get them involved with you. You’ll find that serving provides a real connection God’s mission for your family!
- Your family needs to make conversation a regular part of living together.
The greatest tools that you have to influence your kids are your time and your words. Your words will not matter if you don’t give your children your time, so make sure that you’re devoted to giving them regular blocks of time.
Deuteronomy 6:7 gives us several windows of time to capitalize on conversation: bedtime, dinners together, and travel time. It’s important to figure out for your family when you’re going to focus on each other and as a parent you need to force conversations.
Conversation is vitally important today, because with the emergence of such a technologically rich culture we’re seeing young people that have such a hard time conversing with others. Lead them at home to understand the importance of talking to one another.
- Your family needs to make giving a priority.
Giving is the antidote to materialism and selfishness. I don’t know if your kids are like ours, but I’ve never had to teach my kids the word “mine”.
The world we live in is much more concerned about acquisition than it is giving. The more we have, the better we think our lives could be. However, many of us find that way of living to be broken and unsatisfying. There is no satisfaction in the pursuit of material wealth.
Jesus warned us: “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15)
There are two ways we need to make giving a priority. The first is that our kids need to know that we, as a family, are giving to God. They need to see you buy groceries and clothes to appreciate how much they cost, but they also need to know you’re giving. The second way we do this is by teaching them to give from the money they get in life.
Giving will fight against the normal materialistic desires most of us live with!
- Your family needs to make church an important part of your week.
We all need to be taught and instructed. We all need to be convicted and respond to God work in our lives with repentance and restoration. We all need a Pastor and a church family. That’s for you as a parent and for your kids as well.
Your kids need to see that you have been convicted and they need to hear you repent. They need to see that you experience truth and do the work to apply it to your life as well. Your kids need to know that you find value in the relationships that your church has leveraged for you.
You kids need to see that because they will need that in life as well.
- Your family needs to make the Scriptures a regular part of our interactions.
What do you tell your kids when they’re afraid, when their hearts are broken, when they’re unsure about the future, or when they’re doubting themselves? Most of us provide our opinions. We tell them we love them, and that it’s all going to be ok.
What if we learned to make the Bible a part of those important conversations? 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
If we’re going to raise kids that run to God first, who seek His opinion above all others, we need to make the Scriptures a central part of our conversations at home!
- Your family needs to pray together.
There are coming moments that don’t make sense, moments that will be difficult, painful, and confusing. If we have not created a family culture to turn to Jesus, where will we turn when those moments come?
Your family needs to pray together regularly. You need to pray to Jesus to thank Him during the great times. You need to praise Him during the victories. You also need to pray during the difficult times. You need to seek His guidance together. You need to ask Him to heal you when you’re wounded. You need to worship Him even when life doesn’t make sense.
A family culture that turns to Jesus first one that’s powerfully different.
We need to embrace different at home, because normal just isn’t working. The difference between our family culture and the world will not be a liability for our kids; it will be an powerful asset. Truthfully, these differences may be the few things that provide the kind of platform for our kids to be those that stand up and chase Jesus relentlessly.
On Thursday I’m going to share a blog that will give you a few things to consider doing differently within your family. These won’t be for every family, but they will be for some! Check back for it on Thursday!
* * * * *
What did I miss? How should every other family be freaky?