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Raising a Modern-Day Joseph: A Timeless Strategy for Growing Great Kids - eBook
David C. Cook / 2011 / ePub
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Two clear models of children leaving home are given in the Bible - Joseph the son of Jacob and the Prodigal Son. One had been instructed about respect, wisdom and perspective and the other had not heeded his wise Father's gentle instruction. These are two real options for children, and parents need to start spiritual instruction on these and other topics when their children are young to make sure they have what it takes when that child does leave home.
Joseph, through trials not of his making, brought great honor and fame to his family's name while the prodigal son (even though eventually reconciled), through his own choices, only dishonored his Father's name during his time in the far-off city. Children are precious, and should be given every instruction to make sure that, when they are tested by the world (as they most certainly will be), they will be able to withstand whatever is thrown at them by applying simple, scriptural truths that they know to be true.
Imagine this scenario for a typical teenager in your church: He's separated from his family and sent to live in a hedonistic, no-holds-barred culture. He's stripped of his spiritual support, left alone, and treated unfairly. Then, at his most vulnerable point, his ego is stoked with power and success. Throughout this rollercoaster ride, would he continue to serve God?
This very test was given to the Old Testament Joseph, whose faith remained rock solid. Yet it seems that our youth are ill-equipped to face the moral vacuum in today's culture. Worse, research shows that when young people leave home, many also leave the church. So how can we forge sons and daughters of faith and fortitude?
The vital answers are found in the story of Joseph. Drawing from this timeless narrative, author Larry Fowler offers a biblical plan for building teens who will love and serve Jesus Christ. Biblically based and up-to-the-minute relevant, Raising a Modern-Day Joseph is an essential guide to raising a generation that can pass life's tests with flying colors.
Larry Fowler is the executive director of global training for Awana and the author of the popular Rock-Solid Kids. His writing is clear, from the heart, and biblically based. Having trained children's workers in forty-five countries, Larry is an international leader and key influencer of children's ministry around the globe.
I am sitting on an airplane beside a young father. (I'll call him John). We've just finished an hour-long conversation; John just shared with me that his career has been enabling young Internet companies to be successful in starting up. His company was recently purchased by Yahoo!, and he is returning from that headquarters. I asked him, "So what is your strength?" His eyes brightened, and he told me of the satisfaction he gets in developing strategy, identifying vision, etc., for the companies that he serves.
John then asked me what I did, and I said, "I work for a children's ministry," and shared with him about my work. After some small talk, I asked him, "Do you have children?"
"Yes, two - they are four and one."
I probed deeper: "Can I try a question out on you?"
He was ready to cooperate: "Sure."
"Here's my question," I continued, "What do you want to be able to say about them when they are in thirty?"
"Wow," he remarked. There was silence for a few moments. "I've never thought that far in the future. College-educated, I guess - and in a good career. Happily married."
"Let me ask a different question." He wasn't going where I wanted him to. "What would cause you to grieve if you have to say it about them when they are thirty?"
"Oh...if they are lost." His answer was the first indication to me that he was a Christian dad. After a pause, he kept on: "And if I had to say that they had failed morally, or addicted so something."
I probed further. "Which is the more important question?"
"Oh, for sure the second one."
"Do you know when you have the best opportunity to impact the answer?"
"No, when?" He was now fully engaged.
"Before they are twelve. Do you know that the major attitudes of life are formed by then? And the basic foundations for decision-making are in place before the teen years?"
I could tell I had his attention. I zeroed in for the kill: "You mean your specialty at work is developing strategy for companies, helping them set vision, and you've never thought of having one for your own children?"
"No." He paused, clearly stunned. "No. Wow... No..." He perked up. "Am I glad I sat next to you. Wow."
This Christian dad had never given any thought to what would produce the results in his children that would end up being the most important. I could see the wheels begin to turn.
Take a typical seventeen-year-old from your church; plant him in a pagan, hedonistic culture. Separate him from his family. Destroy his dignity. Strip him of his spiritual support system. Throw alluring temptations at him. Treat him unfairly. Then feed his ego with promotions and success. Would your seventeen-year-old continually demonstrate that he (or she) knows, loves, and serves God?
The Old Testament Joseph passed that test with flying colors - unlike too many of our 21st century youth. His story helps parents and church workers think biblically, plan strategically, and act specifically in raising godly kids.
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