Running After God

In Psalm 42:1the sons of Korah said that their hearts thirsted for God as a deer thirst for water. This the great desire of any parent for their children. But how do we know if we are succeeding? Paul Tripp gives five ways (Maybe Mr. Tripp thinks the number five is the number of perfection) we can know whether or not our teenagers are pursuing God.

1. There will be an independent life of personal worship and devotion.  This teenager will spend personal time with the Lord.

2. There will be a desire for corporate worship and instruction.

3. A teenager who has a heart for God will also pursue fellowship with the body of Christ. He will want to spend time with others of like mind. He will look for peers who share his faith and his desire to be involved in the Christian community…He will also value the help, prayer, encouragement, experience, insight, and wisdom of the older members of the body of Christ.

4. The teenager who has a heart for God will be relaxed and open in discussions about spiritual things…We are seeking to produce young adults who love the Lord and his Word, who understand that it speaks in some way to every situation of life, and who are hungry to be guided and corrected by it.

5. Teenagers who have a heart for God will approach decision-making from a biblical perspective…We want them to see the Bible as their most important tool in making the critical and practical decisions of life.

Redeeming the Culture

Five strategies from Paul Tripp for helping our teenagers interact redemptively with their culture.

1. Prepare: “The first step is to instill in our teenagers a biblical view of life.” He especially encourages family devotions to have practical application not just imparting of knowledge about the Bible.

2. Test: “We teach our teenagers to critique, evaluate, interpret, and analyze the surrounding culture from a biblical perspective.” I would call this cultural exegesis.

3. Identify: “Here we teach our children to recognize common ground…We want teenagers who have learned to identify with their culture—not agreeing with its interpretations and responses, but identifying with its struggle and humbly acknowledging why these responses seem logical to someone who does not  know Christ and his Word.”

4. Decide: “We want to teach our teenagers how to know when they can be redemptive participants in their culture an when they must separate from it…Calmly help your teenagers learn how to think through these decisions.  Require them to be part of the discussion and thinking process. Many parents not only protect their teenagers from the world, but block them out of the decision-making process as well. In doing this, they leave them unprepared for the myriad of decisions they will have to make as adults.”

5. Redeem: “Here we teach our teenagers to take back turf that has been lost to the world by witnessing to the good news of Jesus Christ. Our voice in the culture is ordained by God not just to be negative, not just to be always against something. The goal is to declare positively what God had in mind when he designed things in the beginning, to be part of rebuilding the culture his way, and to proclaim that this rebuilding can only be done by people who are living in proper relationship with God through Jesus Christ.”

Book Review: Age of Opportunity

Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens (Resources for Changing Lives)Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens by Paul David Tripp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the best books I have read on shepherding older children. As I read it, I was constantly thinking about my own children and the congregation I serve. The book is really well-outlined, which allows for easy referencing after I was done reading. He did a good job of maintaining a proper biblical balance between focus on Christ, but not allowing this to obscure how teenagers should behave. One of the most important things he emphasizes is how much work and time good shepherding requires. This was a strength of the book. Yes, the teen years are a great opportunity to see your children grow in Christ. However, this opportunity requires great labor and dependence upon Christ. Highly recommended for all pastors and anyone who will be or is raising teenagers.

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