Father’s: Disciple Your Children or Someone Else Will

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

A link to Al Mohler’s The Briefing led to an article titled Four-Year-Olds Discuss Love and Marriage at rethinkingschools.org.

The author of the article is an educator who works with four-year-olds and observes their conversations.

fathersThe author remarks that four-year-olds discuss things about love and marriage, no doubt parroting what they’ve heard from parents and others.

The author does not identify himself or herself as either male or female.  He or she works at a public nursery co-op in Chicago. His or her goal is to challenge binary thinking.

Binary thinking according to the author needs to be challenged in order to expand the minds of the little ones in his or her care.

The real goal is political correctness and this ought to be a concern for any Christian parent that uses public education.

The binary thinking that needed expanding in the conversation he or she over heard involved, you guessed it, homosexuality.

One or more four-year-olds said that boys marry girls and another said that girls can marry girls and boys can marry boys. Apparently, there was a slight disagreement among the four-year-olds.

The educator came to the rescue. What an opportunity to have a conversation and expand (change) the thinking of narrow minded four-year-olds.

The educator explained that love is the issue and not gender. Since love was the issue anyone can marry anyone.

Christian parents that take Ephesians 6:4 seriously should be alarmed.

You work hard to educate your precious four-year-old in the discipline and instruction of the Lord and in public pre-school their binary non-“pc” attitudes are corrected. Did you know? Do you care?

Please do not take this as a total dissing of public education. I realize that many have good reasons for using it including no other choice.

My point is this: Biblical counseling is discipleship as I’ve said many times before. Discipling and counseling your children could not be more important.

I think of a friend who told me that he had four little boys to disciple and that was his priority; His attitude was spot on. Parents must be on top of discipling their children because if they do not someone else will.

Do not assume the public education is neutral. It is not.

Even a casual observer of public education must realize there is an agenda afoot; There has been for some time. It’s just now it is more and more overt as a genuine Christian worldview is mocked and disparaged and corrected when your four-year-old innocently reflects the worldview of his or her Christian parents.

I am a grandfather now and my five-year-old grandson starts public kindergarten this fall after “graduating” from a Christian pre-school.

I am certain that my son is serious about Ephesians 6:4. I am equally certain that he will be on top of what my grandson hears, understands and repeats. I am equally certain my son will challenge the public school if and when my grandson is mocked, corrected or verbally abused by educators with an agenda. My son will be on guard.

I’m simply sad that we have to fight this fight in the first place.

Dads: disciple your kids because if you don’t someone else will and you probably won’t like it.

Biblical Counseling Training 2015 Attendee Feedback – Part 4

Between February 8th and 13th, 2015, eight members of Missio Dei Fellowship, besides me (P. Bruce Roeder), attended the biblical counseling training conference in Lafayette, IN at Faith Baptist Church.

For some of the people this was a first time experience and for others their second or third time. All are either members of our small group ministry or leaders of one of the groups. Our goal is to train as many people as possible in our small group ministry in the basics of biblical counseling.

I’ve asked those who attended to write some of their thoughts regarding the training. I told them that if lengthy enough I would publish to my Counseling is Discipleship blog that Missio Dei Fellowship publishes.

Below are the thoughts Sherri S., a second time attender of the training at Faith Baptist Church. Sherri will be pursuing certification with the ACBC.


Cross-and-BIble2-300x200Like last year, I was reminded that anything God shows me must first be diligently applied to my own life, before I can ever hope to be helpful to another struggling person. This year’s conference brought a renewed passion to be fervent in prayer for all things, not just a difficult trial.

Every session I attended this year was helpful.  The two that went hand-in-hand for me were:

“Desperate parents make the best parents,” and “Prayer:  Tapping into the Real Power for Change”

I began to see how similar biblical parenting is to biblical counseling.  The premise is the same:  We are called to be faithful to teach God’s Word to our children (and our counsels), and call them to walk in His Ways.  Yet, if God doesn’t move, there will be no power or change.  We were reminded that:

  • It is our human and sinful nature to try to boil everything down to just a few principles.  We want some kind of system or check-list that will put us in control and allow us to operate without God.
  • In parenting (and counseling) your weakness will not keep you from effectiveness if you believe the Gospel. Your delusion of strength will.
  • Fervent prayer is evidence of my desire for real change, (in myself, my children, and my counsels) and also shows my awareness that prayer is the means to receive the grace and power for change.
  1. When we are desperate, we are driven to cry out to God in prayer.
  2. It is good to pray for specific traits or characteristics [i.e. to be willing to stand alone, for sin to be found out quickly, to make the Bible the authority in life, to be humble and teachable, to hunger and thirst for righteousness and holiness]
  3. It is good to pray about specific sins and weaknesses [i.e. pride, stubbornness, unteachable spirit, deceitfulness/exaggeration, laziness, living for pleasure/money]

God doesn’t waste our trials.  He uses them not only to refine us, but often to move us from the place of “prayer”…… to fervent prayer.   We need to pray and pursue a passion for Christ, which is the missing ingredient in our fight against sin.

Biblical Counseling Training 2015 Attendee Feedback Part 3

Between February 8th and 13th, 2015, eight members of Missio Dei Fellowship, besides me (P. Bruce Roeder), attended the biblical counseling training conference in Lafayette, IN at Faith Baptist Church.

For some of the people this was a first time experience and for others their second or third time. All are either members of our small group ministry or leaders of one of the groups. Our goal is to train as many people as possible in our small group ministry in the basics of biblical counseling.

I’ve asked those who attended to write some of their thoughts regarding the training. I told them that if lengthy enough I would publish to my Counseling is Discipleship blog that Missio Dei Fellowship publishes.

Below are the thoughts of Elizabeth R.
Elizabeth R. is a small group member, women’s ministry leader, and my wife. This was her third experience at the Faith Baptist Church training.

Pastor Bruce


Cross-and-BIble2-300x200It had been a number of years since I attended training in Lafayette. God had thrown me a few curve balls in the last few years and it wasn’t possible for me to attend the training (Elizabeth is a cancer survivor.). I have a desire to disciple women and with our new counseling ministry getting started at MDF, Offering Hope to the City; I thought this would be a good year to go.

Besides, it was a long, hard winter and I was in desperate need of some spiritual refreshment, but God had so much more for me. I needed some reinforcement from what I had learned in the past, so I decided to retake Track 2 and I was not disappointed. I had the privilege of sitting under some of the most gifted biblical counselors from all walks of life. I was taught how the Bible is sufficient to help our brothers and sisters in Christ with such problems as anger,  eating disorders, bipolar disorder, pornography, homosexuality, and those suffering from sexual abuse, postpartum depression and infertility.

What I heard over and over again is that Christ and the Gospel has to be central in all our counseling and discipleship. The Gospel isn’t just for salvation and taking us to heaven, but for the “in-between” time of just “living life.”  Pastor Steve Viars did a (taped) session on counseling and our union with Christ. Using one of his former counselees as a case study, he explained how we need to make a person’s union with Christ the main emphasis. We need to avoid the 2 extremes in counseling: the purely behavioral model which only focuses on the put ons and put offs by slapping a bible verse on it, and the purely introspective model that only looks at the heart and has no application.

He showed us in Romans 6 how because of our union with Christ (being in Him) we have been:

– baptized into Christ

– baptized into His death

– buried with Him

– so that as Christ was raised

– so we too might walk in the newness of life

– if we have become united with Him

– we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection

In Christ, we have been given a new position and focus in life–we’ve been given a new hope.  Because of Christ’s death and forgiveness of our sins, we’ve been given the gift of  repentance. We have the power to change and can move on from our sins because there is no condemnation in Christ and we can never be separated from His love for us.  Because of the Holy Spirit working in us, we now have the power to offer forgiveness to others because we have been forgiven much. Instead of craving acceptance from the world and man, our joy is in His acceptance of us. But biblical change doesn’t stop there. Because of our union with Christ, we need to start living life serving others and not serving self. As Romans 12:2 states: “present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

Biblical Counseling Training 2015 Attendee Feedback Part 2

Between February 8th and 13th, 2015, eight members of Missio Dei Fellowship, besides me (P. Bruce Roeder), attended the biblical counseling training conference in Lafayette, IN at Faith Baptist Church.

For some of the people this was a first time experience and for others their second or third time. All are either members of our small group ministry or leaders of one of the groups. Our goal is to train as many people as possible in our small group ministry in the basics of biblical counseling.

I’ve asked those who attended to write some of their thoughts regarding the training. I told them that if lengthy enough I would publish to my Counseling is Discipleship blog that Missio Dei Fellowship publishes.

Below are the thoughts of Lauren S.
Lauren is a small group member, a relatively new Christian and this was her first experience at the Faith Baptist Church training.

Pastor Bruce


Cross-and-BIble2-300x200I am going to be cliché in my writing and start this off with a quote I spent the week hearing repeatedly: “A good counselor first makes a good counselee”. The first couple times I heard this, I understood the logic behind the statement. I understood that working with the bible meant that I would come under convictions, and I understood that this meant there will be times I am going to need to repent after rebuke. The first couple times I heard it though, I couldn’t bring my mind past the logic of the statement. It wasn’t until I came under some strong convictions while at the conference that I understood what this statement truly means. Despite the fact that I had gone to the conference to learn how to help others in a biblical manner, I found that I was repeatedly confronted with areas where I need to grow. I quickly learned that this conference was going to require a level of self-examination that I am ashamed to say I haven’t done in a while.

So what does it mean to be a good counselee before being a counselor?  It is the constant reminder that as a counselor, I will never be anything more than a starving beggar who is pointing another starving beggar to the source of food (I want to avoid plagiarism by saying this is not my quote – one of the dark haired pastors first said it, but I can’t remember which one). With this in mind, it becomes impossible to see myself as being a better follower of Christ than a person who reaches out to me for guidance. Not one type of sin is more vile than another kind; sin is sin and all of it is equally vile. I am first a counselee – a sinner who is running the same race as a brother or sister in Christ. As a counselee I am learning how to run that race alongside those who are struggling to fight the same desires of the flesh that I fight. The “counselor” title is nothing more than running the race with the bible as my hydration and pointing other weary runners to the same source of replenishment. If that doesn’t put the importance of community and fellowship into perspective, I don’t know what does.

If anybody is looking for a way to squash some pride that has been lingering in the heart – go to this conference. I want to challenge any person who claims Christ as Savior to sit through one day of sessions and see if you can make it through without being confronted on the absolute depravity we have apart from God. Thankfully, we have a God who is full of love of mercy and this was continually pounded into the teaching with the common idols of the heart. The hope we have of being brought out of that depravity is more than sufficient to show why biblical counseling is so important. Praise God for the hope we all share in Christ.

A Simple Way for Dads to Connect with His Children

Yesterday, I had a short post pointing fathers to a longer post on how to disciple their sons.  I hope those who read it took the time to read the longer and better post that elicited it.  If not, take the 10 minutes to go and do so now.

Mentor2Today I want to throw out another little thing that I did as a father that I found to be very helpful.  Remember that we had four children and I had a crazy schedule during my college and seminary days and that schedule did not change when I took on the pastorate.  I tried to always give my children at least a half an hour of just dad time when I got home before their bed time.  When they were younger this just meant getting on my hands and knees on the floor which signaled to them all to pile on and begin to try to defeat their papa.

But the best thing I did was a simple thing, but it meant that I could not have time to myself.  Every time I went to a store to do something I took one child.  Very few exceptions to that rule.  I leave to go somewhere, one of my children is sitting next to me in the front seat.  During the drive and during the walk through the store I would just talk to them.  Sometimes I could ask them very personal questions right away, perhaps one of them had been struggling in obedience at home lately or messing up with school.  But many times I would just talk, letting the conversation flow and listening very, very carefully.

It is that last part that is key.  I refused to just “chat” though I did a lot of that regardless.  I listened for a hesitation in their voice where perhaps they were about to ask something and changed their mind.  I listened for vague questions that might lead to more specific ones if I didn’t mess things up by over-reacting or blowing off the question.

It was amazing the way conversations would turn to things “eternal.”  Honest questions about God, life, and the future.  Times where they could toss out basic conclusions they were coming too about reality and truth, even though some of it was scary.  Times where I could share with them my failures as a young man that mimicked theirs, letting them know that I was a fellow sinner.  Opportunities to talk about the glory of salvation in Jesus Christ where our sin is dealt with for all eternity.

I am not saying that every conversation was like that.  But I am saying that by purposefully taking a child out with me every time I went somewhere I gained opportunities to have those conversations.  Dads, think about it.

Oh, and by the way, unless it is impossible, take them for a quick bite of french fries or ice cream.  Teach them how to lick a cone properly.  Pause for a bit and kick over an ant hill with them or climb down the embankment to a stream.  Just you and them.

Raising A Son Does Not Have To Be Difficult

bible readingI read a great post today that described what one man, now a pastor, decided to do with his son.  Basically, he had watched other young men walk away from the faith and there he was, a father with a twelve year-old son.  His decision?  Carve out an hour or two each week for the two of them to go out together and simply read the bible.  Wow!  Pretty tough stuff right?  Nope.

Here is one of my favorite parts of the post:

“The way we did it was to trade off chapters. I led us through the first, Josiah the second. Whoever was leading was responsible for doing his best to guide us through the chapter. Having Josiah lead a chapter gave him some ownership, some responsibility, and ideally some added incentive to dig in and ponder before we met to study.

The times were delightful. And discouraging! More than once we came on a verse that I’d sweat over, in Hebrew and multiple tools, before figuring out what it meant — and, seemingly without effort (and none of that struggle), Josiah would just hit the right meaning. As if it were the easiest thing in the world. I kinda hated him.

No, that’s not true. I’m his dad. I loved it.”

You can read the rest of the post here.

My point in this brief post of my own is to encourage each father to mark out a time each week for his son or sons.  Be that man who simply shows what it looks like to submit himself to the Word.  Not to preach, not to demand or upbraid.  Just two men looking at God’s Word together.

Biblical Counseling Training 2015 Attendee Feedback: Part 1

Between February 8th and 13th, 2015, eight members of Missio Dei Fellowship beside me (P. Bruce Roeder) attended the biblical counseling training conference in Lafayette, Indiana.

For some of the people this was a first time experience and for others their second or third time. All are either members of our small group ministry or leaders of one of the groups. Our goal is to train as many people as possible in our small group ministry in the basics of biblical counseling.

I’ve asked those who attended to write some of their thoughts regarding the training. I told them that if lengthy enough I would publish to my Counseling is Discipleship blog that Missio Dei Fellowship publishes.

Below are the thoughts of Mike S.  Mike is a small group leader and this was his first experience at Faith Baptist Church. 


 

Cross-and-BIble2-300x200What was my reason for attending?

  1. I have not done a decent job of spiritually guiding my family and that is a reflection of my own spiritual growth in Christ.
  2. My wife has turned from the faith and is in extremely serious sin of which I am woefully under prepared to counsel her because of my own immaturity in the word in certain areas.
  3. I love the Lord and do not want to  walk any longer in blindness simply because of laziness, bitterness, self-pity or lack of faithfulness in seeking, knocking, asking Him for wisdom.

What one thing have I taken away from the training?

  1. The word of God has every answer to man’s condition of sin and its effect on our thinking. It can speak into any condition of man and our counseling of ourselves and others must emerge directly from the word and no other place.

What did I learn about counseling?

  1. I  must be a good counselee first before I  can even begin to counsel another meaning we must be students of the word, applying it to our own lives, confessing sin, true repentance and turning away from sinful desires and to God. We must be doers and hearers of the word.
  2. We must understand the Bible and how it applies to each situation, when counseling there needs to be a building up of loving involvement, a sharing of biblical hope, gathering of relevant data and then a biblical evaluation of where a person needs change first and the most.
  3. We need to encourage people to want to imitate our Savior Jesus and the change has to be in the heart and not on the outside.

I am excited and have already begun to quietly counsel my family by applying biblical responses as situations arise. It is a slow process and I need to faithfully seek His guidance and be patient. I am looking forward to attending the conference next year for track 2.

Here is a link to counseling training link found on the Faith Baptist Church website.

How Counseling is Discipleship: Personal Experience

Is it true that if you “feel blue” you must be sick?

Allow me to explain.

I recently had  knee replacement surgery and will have to have at some point the other knee replaced.

The surgery involved a two-day hospital stay and follow-up visits to the surgeon’s office. In each case I’ve been asked questions regarding my mental health.

96d467160c5b8b58d69152b561baacef“Are you depressed?”

“Do you feel threatened in any way at home?”

“Are you having trouble sleeping?” (a question that usually relates to anxiety)

“How is your stress level?”

The questions are certainly well-meaning since one’s mental state can have an effect on the healing process. The question regarding depression is especially revealing.

If I were to answer in the affirmative that I was depressed the chances are the [Read more…]