Praying For More Men And Women Like Elizabeth Bunyan

Feb 05

Elizabeth Bunyan was an incredible woman of God. She was the second wife of John Bunyan, a well known pastor from the 1600’s. She married John after his first wife died. Unfortunately, just a couple of years after Elizabeth’s marriage to John, he was put in jail for preaching the gospel. This left her–an English peasant woman–all alone to care for John’s four children from his previous marriage, one of which was blind, while she was pregnant! To make things worse, the stress that she was under contributed to the miscarriage of her child. Heartbreaking circumstances.

Yet, in the midst of her difficulties, she repeatedly went to the authorities to fight for her husband’s release. Here is one interaction that gives you a glimpse into what kind of an incredible woman she was. Hope it inspires you.

The official asked her: “[If we released him], would he stop preaching?”

 

She replies: “My lord, he dares not leave off preaching as long as he can speak.”

 

Official: “What is the need of talking?”

 

She replies: “There is need for this, my lord, for I have four small children that cannot help themselves, of which one is blind, and we have nothing to live upon but the charity of good people.”

 

After an official asks if she really has four children so young, she says: “My lord, I am but mother-in-law [stepmother] to them, having not been married to him yet full two years. Indeed, I was with child when my husband was first apprehended; but being young and unaccustomed to such things, I being smayed at the news, fell into labor, and so continued for eight days, and then was delivered; but my child died.”

 

Some of the other officials spoke up against John, saying: “He is a mere tinker!”

 

She replies: “Yes, and because he is a tinker and a poor man, therefore he is despised and cannot have justice.”

 

One official angrily replies: “Bunyan will preach and do as he wishes…”

 

She replies: “He preacheth nothing but the word of God!”

 

Another official replies: “He runneth up and down and doeth harm.”

 

She replies: “No, my lord, it is not so; God hath owned him and done much good by him.”

 

The official continues: “His doctrine is the doctrine of the devil!”

 

She replies: “My lord, when the righteous Judge shall appear, it will be known that his doctrine is not the doctrine of the devil.”

 

May God grant all of us the courage, strength, and conviction of Elizabeth Bunyan!

Thanks to John Piper’s The Hidden Smile of God for pointing me to this interaction (p. 55).

Author Jed Coppenger
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4 Neglected Truths For Change

Jan 28

Just about everybody is interested in how to change for the better. We make resolutions, try to create new habits, start a new diet, and any other number of things that we hope will change our lives. Unfortunately, at the very same time, smaller and smaller amounts of people—even professed Christians—believe the church is a necessary part of changing their life. But a basic reading of the New Testament shows us a different vision of change. In fact, it shows us that Christianity is always lived out in the context of local churches. The people of God are meant to be a people of change. That’s why I think it’s important for people looking for real change to remember these four neglected truths for change.

Real Change Requires Real Relationships With Your Church – It’s hard to come away from a reading of the New Testament and not realize that our relationship with Jesus is intimately personal, but far from private. After all, the Bible uses language like “family” and “body” to describe the type of relationships that should characterize his followers (Rom. 12:1-9). These “up close and personal” relationships take place in local churches. In God’s plan of salvation, during the time between when we are declared righteous by faith (Rom. 3:21-26) to when we are completely conformed into the image of the righteous one Jesus (Rom. 8:29), God places us in churches. As we are changed into Christ’s image, we are members of Christ’s body. God’s plan for changing people always includes belonging to his people of change. Do you have a real—committed—relationship with a church?

Real Change Requires Real Pain From Your Church – If you follow God’s plan for change by belonging to his people of change, you’ll experience pain. After all, the same people that are called to love one another with “family affection” are also the ones who were God’s “enemies” just a few weeks, months, and years earlier (Rom. 5). The cross of Christ tells us that every person we encounter is capable of more sin than they know while being loved more than they know. This means we shouldn’t be surprised when people sin against us, we should expect it. We shouldn’t think that the presence of pain in our lives from the church equals the absence of God’s great plan for change for us. God uses the painful actions from the church to make us more like Christ. There is no pain free path to conformity to Christ. What they mean for evil, God means for good (Gen. 50:20). That’s why the Apostle Paul tells us that we need to do what we can to live at peace with one another and not to pay back evil with evil (Rom. 12:16-20). Loving people like Jesus means loving people who hurt you.

Real Change Requires Real Conversations With Your Church – The church isn’t for good people in need of small amounts of change, it’s for dead people in need of resurrection. That’s a lot of change. It’s for guilty people in need of forgiveness. It’s for enslaved people in need of redemption. And the Apostle Paul tells us that although Christians have been justified by faith in Christ (Rom. 3:21-26), they are struggling to become like Christ. This struggle, this process, is called progressive sanctification. Since we are in this process, we should expect people to talk about serious Romans 1 and 2 struggles. They should be “real” about their struggles, not pretending they’re not struggling. The Bible already told us that they are. Jesus isn’t shocked by people’s sins and we shouldn’t be either. Create space for real conversations by being real about your struggles.

Real Change Requires Redemptive Conversations With Your Church – Jesus wasn’t shocked by people’s sin, but he wasn’t fine their sin either. You can’t just be real about your struggles, you need to be real about God’s redemptive grace. The more you experience the redemptive grace of God in Christ, the more you’re able to help other people experience that grace. God puts us in conversational moments to speak God’s redemptive grace into people’s lives and situations that need it. This isn’t just a role for preachers. It’s an all hands on deck kind of thing. People questioning God’s love need to here Romans 8:32. People struggling with a guilty conscience need Romans 8:1. People wondering where God is, need to hear Romans 8:28. You don’t need a phd in theology to learn how to speak truth and grace into people’s lives. Just cherish the gospel in your heart so that you can put it into the hearts of others. It takes a lot of grace administered in conversational moments to make you more like Jesus. Be prepared to receive and administer grace in redemptive conversations.

God’s process of change includes real involvement with his people of change—the church. How are you seeing God use these relationships and conversations to change your life?

Author Jed Coppenger
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4 Lies Christians Tell Themselves

Jan 19

We are incredibly gifted at making the worst choice seem like the best choice. Our sinful tendencies—our flesh—can easily make the least satisfying way, seem appetizing (Gal. 5:17). You might say our flesh advertises like it’s serving a Stony River steak, but in reality it always serves Taco Bell “meat.” That’s why it’s so important that we learn to pinpoint the types of lies we tell ourselves. If we identify the lies we tell ourselves, we’ll be able to live lives more in touch with reality.

This is one of the reasons I’m so thankful for passages like Galatians 5:16-25. When a careful reading of this passage is coupled with an awareness of the tendencies of our hearts, we can identify the following four lies we all tend to tell ourselves.

Lie #1: Our Sin Isn’t As Bad As “Their” Sin – We all tend to minimize the seriousness of our sin and maximize the seriousness of other people’s sins. We look down on the people who sin differently than us. Yet, when you look at the list of sins in passages like Galatians 5:19-21, it’s hard not to notice that “outbursts of anger” are put on the same level of “sexual immorality.” All of these, the Apostle Paul says, are serious enough to keep you from inheriting “the kingdom of God.” That’s serious stuff. The Apostle Paul was an equal opportunity offender. The Spirit helps us see the seriousness of our sins as well as others. This, in turn, helps us not waste our days thinking as much about the problems of others as much as we are reveling in the grace of God shown to us.

Lie #2: Our Plans Are Better Than God’s Plans – We don’t often articulate this lie but our emotions often show us we believe it. While the Apostle Paul says that we should be marked by “peace,” most of us live anxious lives. We’re anxious that our careers won’t go the way we want them too. We’re anxious that our love lives won’t work out like we think they should. We’re anxious about our health. We’re anxious about our church. We wonder if we’ll make budget. We’re an anxious people. But God wants us to be a peaceful people. The Spirit empowers us to be a peaceful people. When we are anxious about some potential outcome, we show that we believe God won’t get it right. The presence of anxiety in us shows the absence of our confidence in him. This anxious thinking comes natural and it points to a lie we believe. His plans are best, so trust him. When you do, you’ll be able to walk in peace.

Lie #3: We Can Pick And Choose Which Parts Of The Fruit Of The Spirit To Embody – The Apostle Paul doesn’t say “fruits” of the Spirit, he says the “fruit” of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). We all naturally look like we embody one or two of the characteristics on the “fruit of the Spirit” list, but it takes the work of the Spirit to cause all of the traits to be present. Self-controlled people are often impatient with people who are not. Self-controlled people are often missing peace about the areas they can’t control, like the upcoming work presentation, relational difficulty, health concern, or how their kids will do. We all seem to embody one or two of these, but it’s just flesh with a tuxedo on. It takes a real work of the Spirit to be marked by all of these at the same time. That’s the kind of change God’s after. Don’t settle for less.

Lie #4: The Presence Of The Fruit Of The Spirit In Our Lives Requires The Right Circumstances – The Apostle Paul says that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are present because of the work of the Spirit. He doesn’t say that they show up when our circumstances are just right. While we might come out and say that, our excuses indicate we believe it. “I didn’t get enough sleep.” “I just have a lot on my plate.” “My kids are wearing me out.” “I’ll treat her that way when she treats me the right way.” Whether your getting the recognition you think you deserve or not; whether you think you’re getting treated the way you think or not; the Scriptures say that the Spirit is seeking to produce his fruit in your life. Don’t wait for the perfect circumstance to be marked by the Spirit’s fruit. Focus on the perfect grace of God in the midst of your imperfect circumstances and watch the Spirit work.

When we’re able to identify some of the lies we tell ourselves, we put ourselves in a better position to walk in touch with reality, experience a more satisfying life, and help others do the same. Ask God to help you see the areas where you might believe these lies. Ask him to help you break free from them so that you can bring him greater glory and the world greater good.

Author Jed Coppenger
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3 Reasons Why “Change Seekers” Should Prioritize Bible Intake In 2016

Jan 12

There’s a new baseball Hall of Fame class. Most fans will recognize the names of some of the inductees, like Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza. Most fans might also notice that there are a few key names missing, like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Both of these players who had Hall of Fame careers, can’t find their way into the Hall of Fame because of their PED use.

While most of us will never be tempted to take PEDs for our middle class jobs, I think we all understand Bonds’ and Clemens’ temptation to use them. We all know what it’s like to want to change to be something or achieve something that we know we can’t in and of ourselves. We all know what it’s like to look outside of ourselves for help. And we all know what it’s like to look for help in the wrong places.

In fact, if we’re honest, I think we all give into this temptation throughout our days, weeks, and years. That’s why I’d like to point “change seekers” attention to the Bible for that help as we begin 2016. The Bible claims to be the “one stop shop” source for real change, for at least the following reasons.

God Uses His Word To Speak To Us Truthfully About Real Change – If you want to understand the importance of the Bible, you start with Bible’s claim that there’s a God and he’s spoken (2 Tim 3:16). If the creator God has spoken, the most logical thing to do is listen. If you do, you’ll notice that he claims to speak the truth about the nature of your humanity, your problems, and your solution. Any approach to change that misunderstands your nature, your problems, and/or your solution, will ultimately fail to bring about the change you long for. And every theory that departs from Scriptures teaching on change, fails to bring about the change you need. When you need change, you need the truth, and God’s word is truth. That’s one reason to make the Bible your source for real change.

God Uses His Word To Speak To Us Sufficiently About Real Change – The Bible also claims that in it God has said everything we need to be equipped for “every” good work (2 Tim. 3:17). What an audacious claim! He wants “change seekers” to know that his word is the sufficient change source. The Bible, of course, doesn’t claim to tell us everything we could possibly know, just everything we need to know (Deut. 29:29). Want to know which potential changes in your life should be prioritized? Go to God’s sufficient word and get on track to be transformed into a person ready for “every” good work.

God Uses His Word To Speak To Us Powerfully About Real Change – The same God speaking throughout the pages of the Bible is the one who spoke all things into existence (Gen. 1:1-2). This is a powerful word! If it weren’t for the gospel, the powerful word of God would overwhelm us. It would come to us as a powerful word of just condemnation. But, by God’s grace, God’s word becomes a powerful word of hope to the condemned through the gospel (Rom. 3:21-26). As God’s people walk by faith in the gospel, they continue to experience the transforming power of God in the Bible (Rom. 12:1-2). Real change happens when God’s people experience God’s power in God’s word.

There’s no source more worthy of the attention of “change seekers” in 2016. I’m praying that everyone, especially the Redemption City family, prioritizes God’s word in their lives. If you’re wondering how to experience the power of God’s word, look for the next post. It will offer a few practical ways to experience his power in his word.

Author Jed Coppenger
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3 Keys To Experience Unceasing Peace Through Unceasing Prayer

Jan 08

There aren’t a lot of teachers that are children. They don’t have the knowledge and experience needed, obviously, to teach. But there are some things they do naturally that—if we pay close attention—might help us learn a thing or two. I think one of those is found in the way they talk to their parents. No, not all the ways they talk to their parents. I’m talking about the way they talk to their parents about what’s really on their minds, the way they’re all over the place, and the way they often trust their parents to do what’s best (sometimes:). I think this example offers us insight into HOW we might experience unceasing peace through unceasing prayer.

God gives unceasing peace through unceasing prayer when we talk to him about what’s really on our hearts – I’ve learned that praying without ceasing makes sense because life is filled with unceasing challenges. Not just daily, but hourly—even minute by minute occasionally—we find ourselves in situations where we desperately need God’s help. But often times we don’t talk to God about these things. We think prayer is talking to God about “spiritual” things, not “real” things. Thankfully, the Psalmists’ prayers show us that God is happy for us to talk to him about what’s on our hearts (Ps. 5, 6, 62, 88). What are you fearful of? Talk to God about it. Where are you weary? Talk to God about it. Angry, sad, depressed, happy, or any other emotion? Talk to God about it. I’ve found that if I don’t talk to him about what’s really on my heart, my mind tends to wander there—leaving prayer and God behind. Instead, take God to those places that have your attention. You won’t experience real peace without real talk with God. Talk to your Father in heaven about what’s really on your heart.

God gives unceasing peace through unceasing prayer when we aren’t afraid of being messy – When you talk to God about what’s really on your mind, you’ll find yourself saying things you think are “out of bounds.” That’s why the psalmists are so helpful. They show us that there are a lot of appropriate ways to talk to God. Don’t be afraid of the mess. God isn’t. Like a child who doesn’t know the difference between muddy boots outside on the grass and muddy boots on your new carpet, come to God with that childlike lack of awareness. Jesus isn’t surprised by our mess. He knows we’re messy. That’s why he died for us. So when you aren’t organized, articulate, on topic, or put together, don’t stop. Bring your mess to God in a messy fashion, if you want to find peace on the other side of your prayer.

God gives unceasing peace through unceasing prayer when we trust him enough to thank him ahead of time for doing what’s best with our request – After you talk to God about what’s really on your mind in a messy way, you have to trust him to do what’s best with your request. You have to surrender your perspective on what’s best to his. If you do, you’ll be at peace. When you trust God with your requests for the future, you’ll experience peace in the present. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s why the Apostle Paul told the Philippians to offer their prayers with “thanksgiving” (Phil. 4:6-7). They were to thank God for his answer before they knew his answer. How can you do that? Deep trust. A God big enough to answer prayers is big enough to have good reasons that you don’t know of for answering your prayers in a way you don’t like. Anxiety exists when we think God will mess up our future. Peace exists when we think God will create the best future possible for us. When you make your requests, trust God so much that you can thank him before you know his answer. Say to God, with deep contentment, “your will be done” (Matt. 6:10).

When we learn to talk to God about our worries, fears, pains, plans, and everything else in life, we’re on the road to peace creating prayer. When we trust God enough to thank him for his answer to our prayers before we know them, we’ll find an unceasing peace through our unceasing prayer that uniquely comes from the Prince of Peace.

Author Jed Coppenger
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3 Reasons Why Overachievers Should Prioritize Prayer In 2016

Jan 05

If you read any of the “Top Resolutions for 2016” lists, you’ll notice that just like last year, people are resolving to lose weight, exercise more, eat better, and write that book. The reason these resolutions reappear probably has to do with the fact that our good intentions rarely arrive at the intended outcomes. We find the weight we lost, we can’t find our way to the gym in September, saying yes to sugar is easier than saying no, and books are hard to write.

Yet we continue to make resolutions. We continue to make resolutions because we continue to believe that change is possible, that a better life is on the other side of a few changes, and more.

As you make your resolutions I’d commend to you that you add one to the list that might make a difference in all of the rest. I’d ask you to put the Apostle Paul’s command to “pray without ceasing,” on your list (1 Thess. 5:17). Before your eyes glaze over at the mention of “praying,” consider for a second that this is a guy who helped lead a movement with less technological advancement, less 21st century “know how,” less organizational sophistication, that accomplished something more lasting than any one of us has.

You should pray without ceasing this year because:

God can do more in a moment than we can do in a lifetime – I forget where I first heard it, but a quick reading of Scripture certainly shows that it’s true. The psalmist tells us “our God is in the heavens and he does whatever he pleases” (Ps. 115:3). Whatever? Yes, whatever. He spoke the universe into existence (Gen. 1). He freed the Israelite slaves from the Egyptian super power (Ex. 4-12). When he came to earth as the God-man, Jesus, he gave sight to the blind, healed the sick, and raised the dead. He does whatever he pleases. Your view of prayer is shaped in large part by your view of God. When you see that God can do more in a moment than you can do in a lifetime, you see why you should start asking for his help.

God loves to show us that he is present, active, and able to work by answering our prayers – The powerful God of the Bible shows us he loves to answer prayers. Just look at the book of Acts and you’ll see over and over God answering prayers. Before the Apostle Peter’s preaching at Pentecost changed thousands of lives, there was the prayer time in the upper room (Act 1:14). Before the earthquake and evangelistic explosion, there was prayer (Acts 4:31). Before Tabitha was resurrected, the Apostle Peter prayed (Acts 9:40). Before the angel miraculously led Peter out of jail, the church prayed (Acts 12:5). You get the picture. God love to show that he is present, active, and able to do more in a moment than we can do in a lifetime by answering the prayers of his people.

God uses our unceasing prayers as a reminder of our unceasing dependence on Him – God designed us to be dependent on him. He is the Creator and we are his creation. Unfortunately, since sin entered into the world, we go against the grain of creation by trying to live independently of him. That’s why our lives are filled with such worry, anxiety, anger, and other unwanted states of mind. Paul Miller rightly says, “godlike posture without godlike power is pure tension.” Quit trying to act like the self-sufficient, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-wise God, and live like you were designed to live—dependent on God. Unceasing prayer serves as a reminder of our unceasing dependence on God.

Accomplish more and worry less this 2016 by committing to be a person who “prays without ceasing.” If you’re committed to “praying without ceasing,” but don’t know where to start, I’ll show you how in the next post.

Author Jed Coppenger
Category Prayer
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Rest in God’s Care

Nov 30

“The fact of the matter is that we will never figure God out. He will never do all the things that we were expecting. He will never stay on our agenda page. He will never be comfortably predictable. If we rest in God’s care only when we understand just what he’s doing, there will be many times and places where we won’t rest in his care. The danger in all of this is this: we simply do not run for help to someone whom we have come to distrust. It is in the moments of hardship when what God is doing doesn’t make any sense that it is all the more important to preach to ourselves the gospel of his unshakable, unrelenting, ever-present care. He is actively caring for you and me even in those moments when we don’t understand his care and can’t figure out what he is doing.

 

I will not tell myself that I am alone. I will not allow myself to think that I am poor. I will not give way to ministry panic or paralysis. I will not look for help where help cannot be found. God is with me, and he cares, and that guarantees that I do have and will have everything I need to be what I am called to be and to do what I have been chosen to do in the particular place of ministry to which he has appointed me.”

 

Paul Tripp in Dangerous Calling (217-18).

Author Jed Coppenger
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Our Heart Problem

Aug 06

“What you really have-what all of us have, by birth-is more than anything a heart problem. And if you’re trying to treat the ‘one thing’ in your life by (1) trying harder, (2) using others, (3) escaping, or (4) upping your religion quotient-or any combination of these-all you’re really doing is just mowing over the weeds. You’re trimming things up, making them look almost okay for a little while. But just wait-they’ll be coming back in full force before you know it, in all their scraggly, tangled variety. They may be laying low for a little while, but don’t kid yourself. They still have the run of your yard and your property. And they still have all kinds of openings and options for creeping back up on you . . . some that you don’t even know about yet.

 

These weeds are the kinds of wild grass that naturally grow from your inheritance of Adam’s bloodline, as well as from your willing alliance with him in rebellion against God. What you’re seeing above the ground is simply evidence of the damning and the damage that have occurred-with your full, outright permission-down in the biochemistry of your life.

 

It goes back to what Jesus said: ‘There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him’-in other words, we’re not made unclean by the things we do, allow, or entertain, but rather, He said, ‘the things that come out of a person are what defile him’ (Mark 7:15). We haven’t made ourselves sinners; sin is what’s already inside us. as we like to say it, ‘the heart of our problem is the problem of our hearts.’

 

And for this job, we need a root canal. We need to let God get down underneath what we think needs changing, so that He can bring full restoration and redemption to us where we truly need changing.”

 

From Matt Chandler & Michael Snetzer in Recovering Redemption: A Gospel-Saturated Perspective On How To Change (38-39).

Author Jed Coppenger
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3 Pronged Approach for Getting to the Heart’s of Our Kids

May 16

“You need some way to look at your children and understand their needs. You need some comprehensive way to organize the things that make up their personalities. You need a grid on which to chart strengths and weaknesses, so that you can zero in on their real needs.

The Three-Pronged Tool of Diagnosis is both simple enough to be useful and comprehensive enough to be helpful. Every six months or so, make this sort of analysis and diagnosis of the needs of your children.

THE CHILD IN A RELATIONSHIP TO GOD

The first prong of analysis is your child in relationship to God. The question is not the personal evangelism question-does he have a relationship with God? The question is what you discern the nature of that relationship to be.

Is your child living in a conscious need for God, and what is the content of his relationship with God? Is he concerned to know and love God? Is God a source of strength, comfort and help? Does he make choices that reflect knowing God? Is he moved by God’s ways and truth? Is he alive to spiritual realities? Is there any evidence that he is carrying on an independent (from you as a parent) relationship with God?

Are there false gods before which your child bows? What are the things without which he cannot be happy? What things other than God seem to motivate him? How does he finish the sentence: ‘What I really want, long for, desire, and esteem is. . . .’?

Does he ever talk about God? How does he talk about God? How does he think about God? Is his God small or grand? Does he think of God as a friend, a judge, a helper, or a taskmaster? Is he living out of the fullness of seeing himself in Christ or is he trying to worship and serve himself?

These are not questions about your child’s understanding of biblical truth. They are questions about his understanding of the nature of God’s grace and salvation through faith in Christ. To shepherd his heart, to lead him to God, you must have some perception of where he is spiritually.

THE CHILD IN RELATIONSHIP TO HIMSELF

How does your child think about himself? How well does he understand himself? How aware is he of his strengths and weaknesses? Does he understand his personality? Is he self-conscious about the propensities of his personality?

My friend’s daughter, Jennifer, is a person with a tender heart toward the needs of others. Because of this, she can often tell what others are feeling. This is an excellent ability. It makes her sensitive to the feelings of others. There is a downside to this ability. It is easy for such people to allow others to manipulate them. It is easy for her not to tell others how she feels or what she thinks. She is sometimes tempted to let someone else win at a game so that they will not be disappointed.

She must understand these things about herself. If she is to discern these qualities of her personality, my friend must first understand them so that he can help her. Most of us learn these things eventually, but it is often after we are adults. Sadly, some adults never understand the personality issues that drive their responses.

We are complex combinations of strengths and weaknesses. There are things that we can do with ease. There are other things that are painful and arduous. Understanding these things can enable us to shore up our weaknesses and develop our strengths. Your children need to accept and appreciate themselves as unique combinations of strengths and weaknesses-as person who are exactly what God wanted them to be. Help them to embrace themselves as good enough to do all God has called them to do and has called them to be. In a word, you want them to be content with themselves.

There is another aspect of your child’s knowledge of himself. What attitudes toward himself does he evidence? Is he shy or confident? Is he arrogant or diffident? Is he chained by fears? Is he able to extend himself to others? Does he have a false dependence on others? Does he feel better than others or does he feel inadequate around others?

Harold, a first-grader in my acquaintance, is a relationship junkie. Everything he does is vested with relationship implications. When he sits in the reading circle he is interacting more with those around him than with the reading material. Lining up for recess is a process of jockeying for the recognition of someone. Seatwork time is made meaningful by racing with someone to see who finishes first. (It doesn’t even matter whether they know he is racing.) His thoughts about relationships with girls are sexually loaded and laden with baggage a 7-year-old should never carry.

Self-possessed qualities are still another aspect of the child’s relationship with himself. Is he able to stick to a task without external props? Is he able to work independently? Is he dependent on the approbation of others, or is he more self-possessed?

You need to understand your child’s development in these areas so you can shepherd him. You need to ask the proper questions, to draw out his ideas about himself so that you can point him to Christ in ways that address the thirst of his soul.

THE CHILD IN RELATIONSHIP TO OTHERS

What are your child’s relationships? How does he interact with others? What sorts of relationships does he have? What does he bring out in others? Are his relationships even or is he always in control or being controlled? Does he fawn for the attention of others?

Is he pleasant with other children his age? How does he deal with disappointment in people? How does he respond to being sinned against? What are areas of relational strength? What are the weaknesses?

In Christian school, Genny was the take-charge type. She was a born CEO. She told the girls whether their clothes were right. She informed everyone what they should wear to school the next day. If she planned to have braids, the other girls should have braids too. When it was time for recess, she chose the game. Then she chose the teams!

Her teacher understood the issues. She could have told Genny not to be so bossy. But she knew that while Genny might try to obey, eventually the bossiness would resurface. So she chose to help Genny in a better way. She worked with Genny’s parents to understand Genny’s overbearing manner. Together, they helped Genny to see herself, to see what she was doing to others, to see how she was trying to control people, to see that she was getting comfort for her heart from controlling others Genny learned how to pray and ask God for help when she was tempted to control others. She was rescued from a life of finding comfort and meaning in controlling others.”

From Tedd Tripp’s Shepherding a Child’s Heart (165-9).

 

Author Jed Coppenger
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Listen to Your Fears

May 07

“There is no dawdling in the face of fear. When we perceive it creeping up on us we want to keep moving. To slow down and listen to what it might be saying is counter-intuitive.

 

But fear is speaking, and we should listen.

 

One useful life skill is to know when to listen to our feelings and when to ignore them. As a general rule, the first step is to listen. There is a logic-a language-to fear and anxiety, just as there is to most emotions. Anger says, ‘You are wrong.’ Embarrassment or shames says, ‘I am wrong.’ Fear says, ‘I am in danger,’ but it also says much more.

 

Don’t forget, listening for fear is like listening to background noise. At first you think there is nothing to hear, but then you notice the wind in the trees, birds calling for a mate, cars passing by, a plane overhead, creaks in the floors, the water heater kicking in. At first we might deny any palpable fears and their logic, but then we listen more carefully and notice that they are everywhere, speaking loudly.”

 

Edward Welch in Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest.

Author Jed Coppenger
Category Ed Welch, Quotes
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