Let All the Arrows Fly!

A message in our series How You Always Meant to Parent. We are becoming the parents we always intended to be!
Find the rest of the messages in this series here.

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Parents these days…

No doubt we’ve all heard someone say something along the lines of, “you know kids these days just don’t…..”
“kids these days don’t have any…”
“kids these days have no appreciation for….”

Often these statements are generally true, but not specifically accurate…

Something we hear less often, but maybe we should consider more often is parents these days. Parenting in 2018 is vastly different than it was in 1988 when I was 5.

The basic concepts are the same, the main tenets haven’t changed, but the challenges parents face are very different. In 1988 parents were terrified of Dungeons and Dragons, Satanists behind Rock n Roll, and AIDS…

Today parents have to worry about bullies, school shootings, sexting, mental illness, and more.

While the challenges change for every generation, the prescription for every era of parents is the same.

The generation before me grew up and said, my dad worked all the time. The generation I’m in grew up and said, my dad left. The next generation will grow up and say, my dad looked at his phone all the time…

The challenges change, but the solution remains the same.

The prescription has been the same for thousands of years and it applies not only to parenting, but leadership, education, rehabilitation, and more…

It’s in Romans 12:2. Let’s look at that together.

2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Paul gives us this great contrast here, conformation and transformation. Conforming means to fit into the mold. To become what everyone else is…

It’s to fashion after a pattern. It’s to make one’s self like another.

It’s making a copy.

Now, I’m sure that everyone in here at some point or another has fashioned ourselves after someone that we thought was cool or impressive or fashionable.

In High School I considered myself a skater/surfer kid. I took great pride in how different it was from the preppy kids, it was alternative. However, even in an effort to be different from the preps, I was fashioning myself after the skaters.

During my era of high school there kids who were “goth” and they were the extreme of alternative. They intentionally dressed differently, wore all black, had studded earrings, and might even paint their finger nails black… I remember being in a mall and there was a large group of goth kids hanging out and they all looked the same, they were different but all the same…

Even in an effort to be different they were conforming…

Our world wishes to conform people.

Even researchers and educators who are not believers have lamented our school system’s propensity to push kids into a mold, to produce graduates like a factory rolling cars off the assembly line with the exact same specifications, down to the milimeter.

Scripture seeks to transform us, and there is a type or a mold for us to be fashioned after, but he’s unlike anyone else on the planet.

We are to become like Christ, and there’s only ever been and only ever will be one Jesus.

Becoming like Jesus is becoming unlike anything here on this earth. Now some people think this means that to become like Jesus you have to be weird. Scripture calls us to be a peculiar people, not peculiar people.

As a body of believers, we should be set apart from the world, but being a Christian doesn’t mean being weird for being weird’s sake.

It means being like Jesus, and if that makes me weird, that makes me weird. Now the problem we get into is when we try to box everyone in and make them be a certain way…

So let’s say for example this morning I told you that I wanted you to be more like Jesus and I think this is what someone who is like Jesus would watch, wear, listen to, and I gave you a long list of rules…

People aren’t transformed by rules,

they are transformed by truth.

Rules are necessary for parenting and life in general, but your kids won’t become like Jesus because of the rules you establish.

They’ll become like Jesus because of the truth they learn.

Look at what Paul says,

“Be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds…”

Then he goes on to say in the next verse

3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

The “mind” is key in our transformation.

Now, before I go any further let me press pause because some of you think you heard me say that rules don’t matter because truth is what changes us. I did NOT say that.

If you think that’s my mindset you need to go back and listen to my message on discipline…

Rules don’t transform us, but they play a vital role. They are important, but they aren’t the source of transformation.

Your kids will grow up to believe in Christ because of the truth they come to know and believe, not the rules you enforce BUT the rules you enforce give them opportunity to know truth and apply truth.

Appropriate rules will help you filter out toxic lies and give your child room to breath.

I’m going to talk to you about the challenges of this digital age and those and there are rules you need to enforce with your kids in this age that my parents didn’t have to worry about with me, and there are rules my grandkids will need that I didn’t need, but all of them should serve the purpose of exposing them to truth and not sin.

Truth leads to transformation in every generation, the methods we use to keep truth flowing into the lives our kids and the lies of this world diverted away, those change in every generation.

Let me give you a personal example.

When I was 8 or 9 I went to the birthday party of a kid in my class at Christian school. We were playing the new video game this kid got in his bedroom and one of the other kids said,

“whoa! Look at this!” And on the shelf there was a stack of Playboy magazines. Now, at the age of 8 or 9, I was more worried about the video game and I knew that was wrong, so I didn’t look at them.

My parents had rules and structures to keep me from seeing pornography because pornography tells a bunch of lies.

From focus on the family:

Lie 1: Women are less than human.

(The women in Playboy magazine are called bunnies, making them cute little animals or “playmates,” making them a toy.)

Lie 2: Women are a “sport.” 

Porn views sex as a game and in a game you have to win

Lie 3: Women are property. 

It’s common to see pictures of the slick car with the sexy girl draped over it. The unspoken message is, “Buy one, and you get them both.” Porn tells us that women can be bought.

Lie 4: A woman’s value depends on the attractiveness of her body. 

In fact, if someone is attracted to a heavyset woman, porn labels that a fetish, which means sexual obsession or hang-up that isn’t “natural.” Porn doesn’t care about a woman’s mind or personality, only her body.

Lie 5: Women mean yes when they say no.

Lie 6: That sex and intimacy are easy.

Thankfully, when I went home that day I no longer had access to pornography. To get porn then you had to go and buy it in a store.

If that scenario played out today, I could have come home from the party and then found porn on my iPhone or iPod.

If that scenario played out today, I wouldn’t even have to be at the kids house for them to try and show me pornography, they could send me a link, pic, or even a video, straight to my account.

This is a problem.

Pastor James Emery White writes about in his book, Meet Generation Z that doctors and parents are reporting high numbers of young girls who ask to shave their legs early, only to learn that they are not just shaving their legs but also their genitals because that’s what they’ve seen in online pornography.

Girls. Why? Because our kids have grown up with a device that answers every question in life so when they have curiosity, when they naturally begin to wonder about sex, they ask google who serves up what this world wishes to offer…

I can remember when people thought that huge posters hanging in the windows at Abercrombie and Fitch weren’t healthy for the emotion well being of young kids because it set an unattainable standard for beauty and looks…

Take a gander at the instagram accounts your kid follows…

I’m no longer shocked when a ministry colleague tells me that they’ve been dealing with a problem of sexting in their youth group, of kids sending nude or nearly nude photos of themselves to one another.

(It’s not stalking to see what your kid is up to online. It’s responsible.)


I had a bully when I was in elementary school. Based on the stories I’ve told you about my father, take a guess at what his advice was…

That’s right, he told me to punch the kid in the face. So I did.

The kid was really awful to a lot of people, so a lot of people didn’t like him so when I fought him, a lot of other kids started standing up to him.

We ran into his mother in a store some time later and she scolded me for being a bully!

That was a typical 3rd grade thing in 1989.

Today, when I went home it wouldn’t be over.

It would continue.

Bullying never stops. Social Anxiety never stops.

Our brains our designed to keep us safe. So when we are in danger or afraid, our basic instincts take over, we focus on the danger.

For people who have been through traumatic circumstances, they get stuck in this hyper vigilant mode…

We are putting kids in this low grade constant stress when we let them loose online.

Anxiety, depression, and suicide among young teens is at an all time high.

Your kids need to come home to a safe place, disconnect from the world, and connect to truth.

Our homes need to be places where kids find physical, emotional, and spiritual nourishment.

Unplug. Have dinner with your family and don’t allow screens at the table.

I’d be tempted to tell you to not let your kids have a phone till their old enough to drive…

I think if my child rode the bus to school, or spent half of their time at their other parents house, I’d want them to have a means of communication. Phones are an excellent tool.

Tools are beneficial,

but let’s remember what we’re trying to build.

Tools are beneficial, but let’s remember they’re dangerous.