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The Video Store

The Video Store

Joey & Carla Link

January 2017

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Our adult daughter Amy came to visit us for a week last fall. After several days of long and hard work around this old house of ours, we all wanted to relax one night. So we went to our local video store to pick out a movie. We walked in and saw the posters of the newest releases and I asked her if anything looked good to her. Personally I was a little surprised at the poor quality of new releases. Out of thirty some movies, only two were of any interest to either of us. So we walked the perimeter of the store looking at all the new release trying to find something to watch. We finally found one and took it home.

 

Did you pick up the most important point of my experience? How did my adult daughter have the same values as I have? How do parents pass their values on to their kids so that when they become adults you have the same or at least similar values to be able to enjoy hanging out together?

 

It goes back to what God gave Moses to teach Israel how to pass their faith on to their kids long before they had a Bible to refer to. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says parents are supposed to impress on their kids’ hearts what they believe like the impression left on a t-shirt. You are to talk to your kids about this mark when you are hanging out at home, when you drive them around in the car and when you are giving them baths and putting them to bed. You are to talk to your kids whenever you are around them.

 

That is exactly what we used to do when our kids were teens and we walked around the video store looking for a good movie. I knew they would be looking at movies in the future and I wanted to be sure they had the standard of what made a movie good or bad from my point of view. Before I launched them into the world where they would ultimately be responsible to God for the choices they made, I knew it was my responsibility to be sure my kids knew God’s standards of right and wrong including moral choices of what kinds of movies to watch.

 

When I (Joey) took our teens to the video store, I would ask them about the different movies we saw on the shelves. I asked questions to see what they really believed about what they saw. I drew one of my daughter’s attention to the cover of a DVD that had a scantily clad girl on it and asked her what she thought about that and what that said about the movie. Asking questions about the movies gave them a way to talk about what they were seeing and reading about the movies in a non-threatening way. While there is not a verse in the Bible that tells us what kinds of moves to watch, there are plenty of verses that point out how we are to act and one especially on what we should think. Philippians 4:8 says:

 

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

 

Once when we were looking for a movie to rent, I saw a boy around 13 years going for a movie on the shelf to show his mother what he wanted to watch. He grabbed it and took it to her and the look on that mom’s face was of disgust and displeasure. The boy put the movie back. What did this boy learn from his mother’s looks? That it was not a movie she wanted him to see, but not why it was wrong. For our kids to learn from us, parents MUST transfer the WHY to their kids so they not only have the standard, but WHY we believe that standard is right for us to live by.

 

How well are you looking for opportunities to actively teach your kids what you believe and why you believe it in your daily lives? You can get more understanding on how to get your kids to think on what is right and wrong from our book “Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think”. It will help you learn how to ask questions of your kids to get them to think why you have the standards you have and why they should live by those standards too.

Do Your Kids Trust God’s Word?

 

Do Your Kids Trust God’s Word?

kid-reading-bible

Joey and Carla Link

January 11, 2017

I (Joey) was in a store buying a new piece of electronics and I had some questions about it before I purchased it. So I asked the customer service tech my question and he said he wasn’t sure as the box was not clear on it. So he said I will ‘google’ it to find the answer.

 

I thought to myself, do we seek God for answers as easily and the same way as we look things up in google? Today our kids are growing up in such a tech friendly and “immediate gratification” society, I wonder if it’s not easier for people to seek answers from “google” than God. Parents can use google as an opportunity to teach their kids to trust the Lord as much as they trust the things of this world.

 

For instance, at a family dinner (which we highly encourage having on a regular basis) I would ask my kids questions to open up a discussion to make them think and stir their thinking in the right direction. Dinnertime around the table is a great time for intentional discussions during which you can guide them towards Godly thinking or someone else will guide them towards their thinking. In today’s fast paced social media society, parents need to do this even more.

 

I would ask a question like “Why do you trust what you google on the internet? How do you know what you read on Wikipedia is true? How about Facebook or snapchat or the magazines about celebrities you see at the store checkout lines?

 

During the discussion keep asking them questions to clarify their thinking. Ask your kids if they ever think about looking up something in the Bible, and how they would go about doing this. Ask them if they trust what the Bible says to be true and trustworthy. Ask them if they believe they should follow what the Bible says on how to live and why. Don’t let one child dominate the discussion. When you ask a question, start it with a child’s name. Ask them if they put as much faith in what they read in the Bible as they would in what they google on the internet. Ask them what they would believe more, what they read on the internet or in the Bible? Your goal is to get them to trust what they read in their Bibles more than what they read on social media or on the internet.

 

I was surprised when I read data from “The Jesus Survey”, a 2010 survey of 800 teens who attended evangelical Christian churches across the US who went on mission trips. The following are the statements in the survey and the responses they got.

 

  1. The Bible is 100% accurate –historically, factually, and theologically – and therefore completely trustworthy in what it says about Jesus.
  • 45% Strongly agree
  • 41% Somewhat Agree
  • 10% Somewhat disagree
  • 4% Strongly disagree

 

  1. The Bible, though generally accurate, contains some widely acknowledged errors and can’t be completely trusted in EVERYTHING it says about Jesus.
  • 9% Strongly Agree
  • 27% Somewhat Agree
  • 27% Somewhat Disagree
  • 38% Strongly Disagree

 

It amazes me and scares me how many Christian teens growing up in our churches today do not believe God’s Word is the inspired Word of God to us as Paul told us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

 

All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

 

How well do your kids trust God’s word as a way to live their lives? A good Mom’s Notes presentation that could help you with this is “How to Use the Bible in the Instruction and Training of Your Children. It’s available on CD or MP3 with very helpful notes at the Parenting Made Practical bookstore.

Gratefulness=Contentment

Gratefulness=Contentment

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Joey & Carla Link

December 2016
At Christmas time, it’s easy for kids to get out of control and their weaknesses of behaviors and self-control to be more apparent. Our phone has been ringing off the hook with people calling with parenting questions. That’s a sure indicator of this. The results at such a joyous time of the year either causes parents to yield and be frustrated with their kids, or parents crack down even more on their kids trying to deal with every behavior that can be the result of too much “me, me, me”, crazy schedules, lots of parties and overdoses of sugar.
While there is always something to work on with our kids, here is one quality that I (Joey) distinctly remembered my mom trying to teach me one Christmas morning. After I had opened several gifts I asked “Are there anymore gifts for me?” What child doesn’t love opening presents, and what parent and grandparent doesn’t love seeing their kids open the treasures they specifically picked out for them? My mom, frustrated with my “how many gifts are for me?” versus “Look what I got!” attitude told me I needed to be content with what I had already gotten and the disappointment that there were no more surprises under the tree for me settled in.
The Apostle Paul talked about contentment in Philippians 4:11-12 where he says,
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry whether living in plenty or in want.”
While this is a tough lesson for all of us to learn, it will help your children in life with a lot of selfish motives and wants if you can find opportunity to teach this principle to them at an early age.
In the world we live in, it’s easy to skip this principle as our kids are so spoiled with all that they have and get to do. It’s called “entitlement”. For kids to learn to be content, they need to be able to look at something they want and say “I don’t have to have that.”
How can you teach this? After reading the verses above to your kids (6 yrs. and up) ask them, questions like what does it mean to have plenty and what does it mean to be in want? Ask them if they have ever truly been in want, and what the difference is between needing something to survive and wanting something for fun. Here are some ideas you could talk about:
  • Could we go without eating out for a week to save up money to give to someone in need and be content?
  • Could we go without desserts, treats or snacks for a month and put that money in a jar and give it to someone who could use it more than we do?
  • Could we stand in front of the ice cream aisle in the grocery store and think about our favorite flavors but not buy it and not whine about it?
  • Could you see a toy you really want (name the toy) and be willing to buy that for a friend or sibling and never get to play with it? Would you be content with that?
This is when you want to ask them to really define what “contentment” is. Every night the week before Christmas have each share 3 things they are grateful for at the dinner table. Be sure and praise them when you see them being content.
On Christmas, before anyone opens a gift, ask each child if they will be content with what they are given, and ask them why they should be.

Encouraging Kids

Encouraging Kids

Joey and Carla Link

November 16, 2016

 

It is so easy to get frustrated with your kids when they don’t do what they should do and you know they know better. But have you ever considered what would help your child to choose to do the right thing?

First why did they choose the wrong path? What was so alluring to them? James 1:14 says it’s what entices us as well as our own evil desires.

“Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by

their own evil desire and enticed.” (NIV)

 

What can help your child overcome their evil desires? What can help them turn from the enticements of their friends and worldly influences? What can help them when they are discouraged and defeated because they keep getting in trouble for doing the same old thing over and over and over again?

 

In Judges 20 Israel was tired from fighting.

 

But the Israelites encouraged one another and again took up their positions.

Judges 20:22 NIV

 

If you have used lots of consequences with your child and see no difference in his behavior, how about taking a different approach and trying encouragement? Do you know encouragement means “To give courage to”? If your kids are struggling in one particular area, perhaps they need courage to do the right thing.

 

How well do you encourage your child in the way they are to go? Something like:

  • I know you can do it!
  • What do you think you should do? That’s a great idea. Go for it!
  • When you do obey, you always feel better.
  • How much happier are you when you are not in trouble?
  • When you make the right choice, you have more fun.
  • I would be happy to help you with this.

Encouraging your kids to do right is a very powerful tool in training them in the way they should go.

At this season of thanksgiving, look for ways for all members of the family to encourage each other. Encouraging others is not only a way to get a child’s focus off themselves and on to others, it’s a powerful force to do what is right. The more encouraging they are, the more thankful they will be!

Paul’s final words to the Corinthians “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”

If we are not training our kids to be encouragers at home, how will they learn to be encouragers to their friends and peers? What are you doing to train your kids to become encouragers?

Who Gets Your Vote?

Who Gets Your Vote?

Joey & Carla Link

November 2016

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Growing up I awoke at 5:30 each morning to ride my bike 3 miles delivering 70 some newspapers. I learned many lifelong lessons from this 7 year, 365 day job. Each month I would collect money from my customers. One day a nice lady said to me; “Joey, you can be anything you want to be in this world. Why you could even become the President of the United States!” I peddled away thinking about what that would be like.

 

As Americans go to the polls next week, we have two choices of which one will be the next President of the United States. There are 3rd party candidates running, but they are not likely to win. Each of those running were once kids who grew up in American homes who had parents like all of us. My question to you today is this – Are you raising your kids to have the kind of character that you would not only be proud of, but the kind that would make him/her a leader you would want to vote for as the next President of the United States?

 

Is your child someone you would trust to buy a car for you, repair your computer or take directions from an officer of the law? How about being a judge in the courtroom, or an attorney who would defend you or prosecute a case for you? Would you vote for your children trusting they had your best interest in mind as your congressman? How about a Supreme Court Justice?

 

Sometimes it is easy to simply look at where our kids are today and not think about what kind of adult they will one day become. You don’t need to know now what they are going to choose to do for a living when they get to adulthood. You are, however responsible to train their character, which will be the foundation their life career choice will work from. In reality we are raising our children for the purpose God has for them and gave them to us to raise them for.

 

I was struck by this verse:

“I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30

 

When God looks down on our kids do you think He wonders how many of them are being trained by us to do so they can do what He needs them to? Are you training your kids’ hearts to be filled with integrity and responsibility so they will be trustworthy and considered men and women of their word? Are your children going to be adults who can be counted on to use the finances entrusted to them responsibly without wasting them?

 

There are so many great qualities we need in our leaders and each of us have the ability and responsibility to raise our kids both boys and girls for the purpose God has given them life for. I believe each of our kids is called by God to “stand in a gap” at one time or another in their lives. Will they be lacking like the men in Ezekiel’s day who couldn’t or wouldn’t build a wall, or will you have given your kids the training to stand up in the gap for our Lord’s purposes in their day and be Commander in Chiefs He can count on?

 

What are you doing to consistently train your kids with God’s character?