Josh Christophersen

Reign In Life

Awesome Father’s Day Video: Calls For Dad

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

Happy Father’s Day!

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

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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.

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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:


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When Your Child Throws A Tantrum: 3 Approaches

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(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)

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

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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

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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

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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)

Louis C.K. On Fathering And Manhood [VIDEO]

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Here’s an excerpt from the following video by Louis C.K. on CBS.  It’s excellent. Watch it below.

I’m gonna be a dad. I’m not gonna be mom’s assistant. That’s depressing.

Don’t do that if you’re a dad, just wait for her to write you a list, walk around the store staring at it and call her from the cereal isle to make sure you got the right thing.

Be a man! Make your own list.

Fathers have skills that they never use at home.

You run a landscaping business and you can’t dress and feed a four year old. Take it on. Spend time with your kids and have your own ideas about what they need. Get into it.

It won’t take away your manhood. It’ll give it to you.

Mom Primary Breadwinner In 40% Of US Households: Where Are The Men?

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A recent Pew Reserch Center analysis found that mothers of children under 18, are the sole or primary source of income for their family in 40% of U.S. households.  Although many have touted this story as a success for women, I believe it says much more about a serious problem with men.  Especially when 63% of the 40% of households where moms are the primary breadwinners are such because the mother is single.

Where are the men?

God has called men to lead in providing for their families (Eph 5:29).  Wives are called by God to help their husbands (Gen 2:18), which most certainly can include helping to provide, but the primary responsibility for provision lies with the man.

Single Mothers

63% of the women who are primary breadwinners are because they are single mothers.  And there has been a significant increase in the amount of single mothers who have never been married in the past.  In 1960 the share of never married mothers was 4%.  In 2011 it was 44%.  This is staggering.

Not only are more and more men getting women pregnant out of wedlock, but they’re not paying for it either.

First of all, men if she’s not your wife, you have no business having sex with her.  God has called you to rise up and protect a woman’s purity, not rise up and take it.

Secondly, if you have impregnated a woman outside of the safety and security of wedlock, you better be busting your butt to provide for your child’s care.  Be a man and take responsibility.  And don’t go thinking that if you had a child inside of marriage, that divorce let’s you off the hook either.  You are still responsible to provide for your child’s care.

One of the most disturbing things about the PewResearch survey is that less people are believing that single motherhood is a problem.  Only 64% say that this growing trend is a “big problem”, down from 71% in 2007.

It is a big problem, and the problem is predominantly a man problem.

No woman should ever be left alone to be the sole provider for her child.  Stop being selfish, men.  Provide for your family.  Step up.

Married Mothers

37% of primary “breadwinner moms” are married.  Again, if a man needs help providing and his wife can do that for him, that’s excellent.  Proverbs 31 commends that and there is nothing in the bible about who should be making more money.

Unfortunately there’s a growing trend of dead beat dads, unwilling and unprepared to pull their weight in the area of provision.  More and more moms are picking up the slack.  That either leaves the kids at home with dad or with someone else.  And that’s a problem.  Children are the ones who suffer in all of this.  This shouldn’t be about fathers and mothers fighting for their rights, but rather fathers and mothers laying down their lives to exercise their God given complimentary roles, for God’s glory and the benefit of their children.

Fathers, you should be doing everything you can to fight for your wife to be able to love you and your children, “working at home” so “that the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:4-5).

Some of these mothers want to lead in the area of provision and they want their husbands to be their helper.  There’s a growing acceptance of this role reversal in both men and women.  The problem is that men were not created to be a woman’s helper.  Women were created to be a man’s helper (Gen 2:18).

God has called husbands to lead in providing for their family so mothers are free to fulfill their role to nurture and raise children in the unique way that God created their bodies to do that, for God’s glory and people’s good (husbands, wives, children, and society).

The Hard Truth

The bible has some strong language for any of you men who are not providing for your family:

“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Tim 5:8)

It doesn’t matter if you profess to be a Christian.  The bible says that if you are not providing for your family, then “you have denied the faith“.  That’s some seriously strong language.

Men, if you are single, get vision for your provision.  Adam, the first man, got a job before he got a woman (Gen 2:5-20).

If you’re married, work hard to lead in your family’s provision (Eph 5:29).

If you’re divorced, fulfill your responsibility to your children and their care.

Be men.  Be responsible.

 

Four Types Of Parents

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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)