Josh Christophersen

Reign In Life

Awesome Father’s Day Video: Calls For Dad

dovemencare

This is an awesome Father’s Day video from Dove.

Happy Father’s Day!

Read More

Consumers, Creators, And Building A Board Game With My Kids

game_old_board

Every year I set goals for the year and some of those goals involve particular things I want to teach my kids.

Last year I set a goal to create a board game with my kids. Our family really enjoys playing games, especially games like 7 Wonders, Ticket To Ride, Settlers of Catan, Bohnanza, and Qwirkle (just to name a few). Many of our family nights are spent playing a game while eating large quantities of popcorn.

familygamenight

The vast majority of people spend their lives consuming, enjoying, and purchasing what a small minority create.

And most people would probably say that there’s one main thing that separates consumers from creators: talent.

And certainly, in some cases, this is true. But I would venture to believe that it’s not the biggest thing that separates them.

I believe that the two main reasons the majority of people are consumers while the minority of people are creators is that most people don’t believe they can create something useful, fun, or great, and of the few that do, most don’t have the discipline, drive, or perseverance to see their good ideas through to completion.

I believe there’s an incredible amount of untapped potential and talent bound up in the heart of every human created in the image of God.

Most of it has not been tried and found wanting, but rather wanted and not tried.

I don’t want my kids growing up in the consumer majority. I want them to grow up believing they can create great things. And I want them to possess what it takes to see their ideas through to completion.

That’s why I’m creating a board game with my kids.

I want them to see with their own eyes that it’s possible, so that they can believe that much bigger things that they can’t see are possible to create as well.

Game Notification

We’re making great progress on the game and are getting real close to completing a working prototype.

If you are interested in more info on the game, participating in a kickstarter to fund the game, or being notified when the game is available for purchase, please enter your email below:


Privacy Guarantee: I will never share your email address with anyone else. Spam sucks.

When Your Child Throws A Tantrum: 3 Approaches

tantrums
(Image adapted from: larkin.familycc)

What do you do when your child throws a tantrum?

The following are three different approaches and what they teach your child:

1) Not doing anything (It’s okay to throw tantrums)

Unfortunately this approach is becoming all too common. And parents have a myriad of reasons why they take this approach:

“I’m too tired.”

“He’s just a kid.”

“He doesn’t understand.”

“He’ll learn eventually.”

Doing nothing while your child throws tantrums is indirectly teaching your child that it’s okay to throw tantrums.

The problem is that it’s not okay to throw tantrums. A tantrum is selfish, manipulative, defiant, and rebellious – all of which are sin.

Regardless of what a child understands at a particular age, you can be sure that what they do understand is that if a parent allows a certain behavior to go unchecked, then it’s okay in their minds, and children are constantly pushing the boundaries to see what they can get away with.

Not doing anything when a child throws a tantrum usually lends itself to parental burnout, because it’s extremely draining, embarrassing, and frustrating to helplessly watch your child throw a tantrum.

I think this approach is the saddest when parents think it’s cute and/or funny. Regardless of whether you think it’s cute or funny for your child to throw a tantrum, it’s certainly not cute or funny when that child is still throwing tantrums when he’s an adult. Unfortunately the reason that most adults throw tantrums is that their parents taught them that selfish, manipulative, defiant behavior was okay when they didn’t do anything about the tantrums they threw when they were children.

2) Removing the inconvenience (It’s okay to throw tantrums under certain circumstances)

This approach also teaches a child that it’s okay to throw tantrums. The difference with this approach is that it only teaches your child that’s it’s okay to throw tantrums when it’s inconvenient for the parent or those around them. This indirectly teaches a child that the only issue is between the child and other people, when in fact the primary issue is between the child and God.

This approach sounds something like this:

“Go in your room and shut the door if you’re going to throw a tantrum. I don’t want to hear it.”

“As long as I don’t have to listen to it, I’m fine.”

“He’s only hurting himself.”

This is a godless, idolatrous approach that teaches children that they can do whatever they want, as long as it’s not harming others. This is the same logic behind the justification of homosexual acts, drunkenness, fornication, and many other sins. Sin is wrong because God says it is, regardless of it’s apparent effect on other people.

Parents need to be diligent to train their children to believe that sins are an offense against God regardless of whether they harm or offend people.

3) Discipline and instruction (It’s NEVER okay to throw tantrums)

Tantrums should be met with consistent, loving, instruction and discipline, so that a child knows the truth that it’s NEVER okay to throw tantrums.

The sooner a child learns this, the better.

Often the root of rebellion is made apparent when a child is very young. A great example is when a baby acts defiant while their parent is trying to change their diaper. When a parent lovingly disciplines their child as soon as the child starts throwing tantrums, the child is much more likely to be self controlled when they are older, because they’ve been trained to obey.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov 22:6)

Parent Idolatry

parents_newborn

God is a father. But when a child comes into the world, his first picture of a father comes not from heaven, but from earth. A child’s introduction to what a father is comes from his birth father. Even if the only thing the birth father did was give mom the sperm to fertilize the egg; a child’s definition of “father” starts with his earthly father.

When a man and a woman become parents, one of the main responsibilities they have as a child’s first and primary representation of what a parent is, is to point them to their heavenly Father. Every person is made in the image of God and therefore has a certain responsibility to rightly display that image. Parents have the unique responsibility and opportunity to image God to their children in a way that specifically shows what God is like as a parent.

God places parents in our lives to show us THE Father. They are a means, not an end: a sign pointing to a greater destination – not the destination itself. Because of this, every child is in danger of parent idolatry: trusting in our parents to give us what only God can give. When we idolize good parents, the result is a false security. When we idolize bad parents, the result is despair, anger, and a feeling of being ripped off.

The place in time we now find ourselves is one of brokenness in the family at epidemic proportions. Absent, derelict fathers, selfish mothers, the scourge of rampant divorce, the utter disregard for marriage, and the rise of homosexuality are distorting and blurring a child’s view of what his or her heavenly Father is like. Children are left with a gaping hole and an insatiable hunger for their Father, that they don’t know how to fill.

There’s a “father hunger” in every person that cannot ultimately be found in a man or a woman, a mom or a dad. It’s found in Christ, who through faith in him, restores you to your Father in heaven, healing the wounds from your father and mother on earth. This is good news. This is really good news. Because as long as what you’re looking for is in a man (father or father figure), a woman (mom, wife, girlfriend, porn, mistress), a group (family, church, men, women), or yourself (being a man or a woman, being holy, being successful, being knowledgeable, etc.), then you are trapped, stuck, bound, and always the victim – constantly at the whim of sinful men and women to give you what’s not there’s to give.

But if what you are looking for is in Christ who restores you to your heavenly Father, then you’re never the victim. In Christ, adopted by the Father, everything the Father has is yours (Luke 15:31). You’re no longer a hope sick wanderer frustrating all your relationships by pulling illegally from them what only your heavenly Father can give you.

In Christ you’re no longer a slave and you’re no longer an orphan. You’re a son, and a son of the King.

Whether you’ve had good parents or bad parents, whether you’ve been close or distant, loved or abused, accepted or abandoned, what you’re looking for is not and was never found in your parents. It’s found in your Father in heaven.

Come home to him.

“For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.” (Ps 27:10)

(Image Credit: makelessnoise)

What You Teach Your Kids When You Allow Them To Control Your Life

crying_snotty_kid

Kids are controlling their parents lives at unprecedented levels.

  • “I can’t ever do things that cut into my child’s nap schedule or my child acts like a monster.”
  • “I can’t go out in public very often because my child throws tantrums and it’s so embarrassing.”
  • “I can’t enjoy church because my child won’t sit quietly.”
  • “I can’t go places without entertainment or my child is bored and complaining.”
  • “We can’t go anywhere at night because if our child isn’t in bed by such and such time, then our child is unbearable.”
  • “We can’t hang out with other families because our child is so rude.”

Note, I’m not talking about the inconvenience of sacrificial, selfless, parental love. I’m referring to the inconvenience that comes from neglecting to exercise your God given authority to parent your children for their good and God’s glory.

When you allow your kids to control your life, what are you teaching them?

  1. You’re teaching your child that life revolves around them. The problem is that, in the real world, life doesn’t revolve around them. Raising a self-centered, narcissistic, child is horribly unloving and is setting your child up for a very rude awakening when they realize that life doesn’t work that way.
  2. You’re teaching your child that they are an authority unto themselves instead of the value and reality of God’s authority delegated through parents and other human agents. A child growing up in control learns to buck authority when it doesn’t let them do what they want.
  3. You’re teaching your child the unholy power of manipulation. By rewarding controlling, manipulative behavior, you’re teaching your child that this is acceptable. It’s not.
  4. You’re teaching your child that it’s OK not to grow up. A child doesn’t outgrow their fleshly, sinful desires. They need discipline and they need Christ. There are a lot of fully grown adults still acting like children because their parents indirectly taught them it was OK.

Children need to be taught that the world revolves around God (Col 1:15-20), that he is the ultimate authority from which all authority is derived (Rom 13:1), that he cannot be manipulated (Prov 21:30), and that he wants his children to grow up (1 Cor 13:11).

So train your kids to be flexible, and that being tired is not an excuse to disobey.

Train your kids that it’s never OK to throw tantrums.

Train your kids to sit quietly when appropriate. (You can start by teaching them to sit quietly for set periods of time at home.)

Train your kids to be polite and respectful to others.

Train your kids to be content and to use their imagination. (This means restricting entertainment and the use of electronic devices.)

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Prov 22:6

(Image Credit: Emiliano Loungerie)

17 Myths Parents Believe About Disciplining Their Children

spanking-child

The following is a list of myths that parents believe about disciplining their children and what the bible has to say about them.

1) I love my children too much to discipline them

“Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”  Prov 13:24

2) It’s too tiring to discipline my child

“Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.”  Prov 29:17

3) I only need to instruct or discipline – not both

Both are necessary.

“The rod and reproof give wisdom.”  Prov 29:15

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”  Eph 6:4

“For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”  Heb 12:7-8

4) Disciplining my kids will bring me embarrassment

“A child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.” Prov 29:15 NIV

5) There’s no hope in discipline

“Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.”  Prov 19:18 NIV

6) My kids won’t respect me if I discipline them

“We have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them.”  Heb 12:9

7) Folly is something children grow out of

“Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.”  Prov 22:15

8) Kids only need to be taught to obey

A child can obey without honoring. Kids are to both obey and honor their parents.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother.”  Eph 6:1-2

9) Disciplining my kids doesn’t work

“Discipline. . . yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”  Heb 12:11

10) Discipline isn’t good for my kids

“Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.”  Prov 23:13-14

11) It’s ok if I lose control while disciplining my children

It’s NEVER ok to lose control on your children.  “The fruit of the Spirit is. . . self-control”  Gal 5:22-23

Losing control is child abuse.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”  Eph 6:4

12) Parents should punish their kids

Parents should discipline their kids. God the Father “disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.” Heb 12:10

Parents should discipline for the same reason.

God punished Jesus for all of our sins. “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.”  Is 53:5

13) No matter how I train them, children could still depart from it

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Prov 22:6

14) I can’t discipline my kids until they are old enough to understand

God doesn’t wait until we understand, to discipline us. He “disciplines us for our good.” Heb 12:10

Parents should discipline as soon as their children need it so “that it may go well with” them and that they “may live long”.  Eph 6:3

15) Giving my kids choices teaches them wisdom

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”  Prov 9:10

16) Discipline doesn’t have to be painful

“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant.”  Heb 12:11

17) Discipline is primarily about parent and child

Discipline is primarily about child and God. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord.”  Eph 6:1

Teaching Your Kids To Disobey

child_tantrum_floor

I believe that consistency in discipline is one of the hardest things to do as a parent.

But it’s one of the most important.

A lot of parents ask why their kids don’t obey them.  The answer for many parents is because you taught them it was okay not to.

Whether or not a parent is consistent to discipline, is the difference between teaching a child to obey or teaching a child to disobey.

As a parent, you’re not just teaching your child by what you do and say; you’re also teaching by what you don’t do and say.

When your child disobeys you or does something wrong in front of you and you don’t discipline them, or worse you say you’re going to discipline and you don’t, you are teaching your child to disobey. You are teaching them that it’s okay to disobey, that it’s okay to disrespect or disregard authority, that sin is not bad.  A child learns respect for authority and the difference between right and wrong from you.

If you instruct a child that if they do something they will get disciplined, and they do that thing and you don’t follow through, you are in effect undermining your own authority and in action teaching that authority doesn’t need to be respected or regarded.

This is why some young adults have sex before marriage and some throw literal tantrums at their jobs when they don’t get what they want.  Because as children, their parents didn’t teach that authority was important and that it should be respected and obeyed.  A person tends not to obey authority that he or she does not respect. And a person is supposed to learn to respect authority from their parents.

Some of you are saying, “I can’t discipline my child yet.  My child is too young to understand.”  If you wait to discipline your child until they can mentally understand the words you are saying to them, you are going to have a nightmare on your hands by then.  Don’t wait.  If your child won’t lay still to let you change his/her diaper and you discipline your child, your child will learn to lie still.  If your child keeps throwing food on the floor while eating and you discipline your child, your child will learn not to throw food on the floor.  But more than food and lying still, your child is learning respect for authority.

It’s imperative that your child learns to respect and obey God’s delegated authority, because a child will never be able to make their own wise choices until they first learn to fear the Lord.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Prov 9:10).

Respect for God’s authority is instilled through God’s delegated authority figures: parents.  Folly is bound up in the heart of a child and it’s a parents job to drive it far from them with the rod of discipline (Prov 22:15).

It takes a lot of hard work to stay consistent.  Don’t give up.

(Image Credit: Wayan Vota)

Four Types Of Parents

parent_child

I’ve had the chance to spend time with a lot of young families in the last thirteen years since my wife and I started having kids.  I’ve observed four different types of parents:

1) Parents Who Don’t Discipline

There are some parents who refuse to use “the rod” of discipline on their children.  Most have replaced the rod of discipline with time-outs, counting to 3 (still haven’t figured that one out yet), yelling, ignoring, or giving the child the freedom to figure it out on his own. I would venture to believe that almost every parent would say that they love their kids.  But the bible has a different word for parents who “spare the rod”: hate.  “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” (Prov 13:24)

2) Parents Who Discipline For The Wrong Reasons

Some parents do discipline their kids, but the reason they do it is because they are irritated, inconvenienced, embarrassed, or offended.  This type of parenting is punitive, rather than corrective.  Often times this type of parenting becomes abusive.  A parent has no right to punish their kids.  A parent’s job is to discipline their kids.

Disciplining out of irritation, inconvenience, embarrassment, or offense, teaches children that the problem is between child and parent, rather than child and God.  It’s ultimately God who is disobeyed and dishonored when your child disobeys and dishonors you and the way we discipline as parents should teach this.

If parents make the problem a problem between parent and child then they’re indirectly teaching their kids that they can do whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t bother the parent.  They’re teaching that it’s wrong if it annoys the parent, but not wrong if the parent is able to tolerate it.  A perfect example of this is when a child is throwing a tantrum because they did not get what they want and the parent tells the child to go scream and cry in their room, “so I don’t have to listen to you”.  Although this may eventually end the tantrum; it doesn’t address the heart or teach the child their need for the gospel.

3) Parents Who Discipline To Correct Wrong Behavior

Some parents discipline their kids to correct them and to teach them the difference between right and wrong while failing to set healthy boundaries.  This type of parent disciplines their child when they physically hurt another child, steal another child’s toy, or say something mean to another child.  However they don’t discipline a child for throwing food on the floor, whining, or for climbing all over the furniture.  Why?  Because the bible teaches not to steal, hurt others, or be mean to others, but it doesn’t say anything about throwing food on the floor, whining, or climbing on furniture.  Although this type of parenting may teach a child to a certain degree the difference between right and wrong; it won’t teach them authority.

The truth is that right and wrong is determined by authority.  It doesn’t exist outside of authority.  If authority isn’t taught along side right and wrong, then whatever right and wrong is taught can easily be dismissed out of a lack of respect for the authority that says it’s right or wrong (in this case, the parent) or establishes right and wrong (God).  A parent’s job is not just to teach right and wrong, but authority as well.

4) Parents Who Discipline To Correct And Teach Authority

Biblical parenting involves lovingly disciplining one’s children in a way that teaches children that being disobedient and dishonoring to them as parents is wrong because it is disobedient and dishonoring to God himself.  This type of parenting involves a great deal of self control during times of irritation, inconvenience, embarrassment, and offense, to keep the issue between God and child.  This type of parenting is corrective, not punitive and abusive.  It involves a greater level of consistency that teaches children that something is true not just sometimes, but all the time, because God has said it’s true, and not because it happens to inconvenience the parent at the time.

Biblical parenting is careful to establish rules and boundaries for a child’s good and the well being of others and the home, teaching children to be under authority.  This is so that they learn to submit to God, teachers, bosses, coaches, and other authority figures, and so that they continue to believe what the bible says about right and wrong long after they leave their parents house.  This is only possible if they’ve learned to respect and appreciate the authority of the one who establishes right and wrong, God himself.

(Image Credit: Yogendra174)

Three Things You Should Never Say To Your Spouse

husband_wife_unhapy

Here are three things you should never say to your spouse and why.

1) “You always…”

The vast majority of the time, this statement is just not true.  Most of the time it’s an exaggeration born out of frustration or hurt.

When a spouse says “you always” do such and such, what the other spouse hears is, “You’re purposely hurting me.”  Always doing something carries with it the connotation that it’s being done on purpose, because it takes diligence, focus, and work to “always” do something.

Another thing a spouse might be hearing when you say “you always” is, “You’re really not trying to stop.”  It’s hard to believe that someone’s trying to stop doing something when you believe that they are doing something all the time.

It’s best to refrain from saying that your spouse “always” does something, especially when you are hurt or frustrated.  More than likely, your spouse is not purposely trying to hurt you and is really trying to stop.  Let’s face it, we all have things we wish we would not do, that we actually do often (Rom 7:19).  We all need the present power of the gospel to save us from the power of sin.

2) “You never…”

Just like “you always”, “you never” is usually not true either.  Most of the time it’s an exaggeration born out of frustration or hurt.

What a spouse often hears when you say that they “never” do something is, “You don’t care.”  It’s hard to believe that someone really cares, if you believe that they “never” do something.

It’s best to refrain from saying that your spouse “never” does something, especially when you are hurt or frustrated.  More than likely, you’re spouse does care.  Maybe he or she doesn’t care as much as they should, but more than likely they do care, but are having a hard time doing what they want to do.  Again, if we are honest, we all have things that we want to do that we don’t actually do very often (Rom 7:18-19).  We all need the present power of the gospel to save us from the power of the sin of omission.

Always and Never Responses

Saying that a spouse “always” or “never” does something when in fact, it’s not true, will usually elicit one of two responses:

  1. Either the spouse will be frustrated that the other spouse doesn’t notice their efforts and will start trying to prove the other spouse wrong, resulting in an argument, or
  2. the spouse will be so discouraged that all their effort is going unnoticed, that they just give up trying all together.

3) “Divorce”

I understand that the commitment to refrain from talking about divorce has to be mutual.  If a spouse brings it up, then it forces the other to talk about it.  Unfortunately though, many couples use this word jokingly, for manipulation, or see it as a viable option if they’re not happy.  This weakens the strength of the covenant.

In a covenant, you feel loved in the good times because times are good, and you feel loved in the bad times because of the commitment that was made in the good times, to never leave you or forsake you in the bad.  That’s the power of covenant; you feel loved in the good times and the bad.  When divorce is on the table, you only feel loved in the good times.

Every marriage goes through good times and bad times.  My wife and I have had difficult times in our marriage where we didn’t “feel” love for each other.  But because divorce was not an option, we knew that neither of us were going anywhere.  Our commitment to stick with each other caused us to feel love from each other when we didn’t feel love for each other.  That’s the beauty of the marriage covenant.

Setting yourself up to feel unloved in the bad times by talking about divorce, is unhelpful when you need to feel loved the most.  Mutually committing to leave this word off the table is an act of love strengthening your marriage for both the good times and the bad.

Are you guilty of saying any of these?

(Image Credit: The Library of Congress)

Married Couples With Traditional Gender Roles Have More Sex

man_dishes
(Image Credit: Nationaal Archief)

A new study in the American Sociological Review by the University of Washington, says “that households in which men do more traditionally male labor and women do more traditionally female labor report higher sexual frequency.”

The study begins with a statistic stating that “from the 1960s to the beginning of the twenty-first century, men’s contribution to housework doubled, increasing from about 15 to over 30 percent of the total.”  Past studies have taken this data and deduced that sex is being used by women as an exchange for housework. But those studies neglected to take into consideration what types of housework the husbands were doing.

The new study found that couples who divvy up housework along traditional gender lines – wives “preparing meals, washing dishes, cleaning house, shopping, and washing and ironing” and husbands doing “outdoor work, paying bills, auto maintenance, and driving” have more sex.

What I found particularly interesting about the study was a reference to another study by Pepper Schwartz on how “heterosexual attraction and intimacy seem to be organized around the enactment of difference or complementarity between the sexes” and “that egalitarianism in committed heterosexual adult relationships is associated with occasional boredom and a “sibling-like” tonality to the relationship that undermines sexual desire.”  He says that “introducing more distance or difference, rather than connection and similarity, helps to resurrect passion in long-term, stable relationships.”

“Occasional boredom and a “sibling-like” tonality to the relationship that undermines sexual desire”?

Wow.  That’s a jarring observation.  But it’s true.

Heterosexual men aren’t sexually attracted to masculinity and heterosexual women aren’t sexually attracted to femininity.  The reason it creates boredom is because it removes the beauty and intrigue, that lies within the mystery of the opposite sex.

“Sibling-like” tonality is problematic because it’s unnatural for siblings to be sexually attracted to each other.  Of course sexual frequency is less when a man feels like he’s married to his sister or a woman to her brother.

This is an interesting study, but let me be clear: the bible does not specifically state who should be preparing meals, washing dishes, cleaning the house, shopping, washing and ironing, or who should be doing outdoor work, paying bills, auto maintenance, and driving.  That’s for each couple to sort out together.

But the bible does teach distinctly different complimentary gender roles.  And because those gender roles were created by God, there will always be something inherently attractive to men about true femininity and something inherently attractive to women about true masculinity, which when practiced by a couple in marriage, will inevitably lead to more sex.