One of the first things you've got to realize that, every child that is given to you is unique. You cannot make comparisons.
You can say that We've read all the Christian parenting books. Okay, Why does your kid still got such issues then? Because sometimes we read all this stuff and we're still not dealing with things.You can be in church, you can hear from the Lord, you read your Bible all you want, you can listen to everything but unless you take action, and deal with some things, you're gonna find there's trouble.
As a parent, we have blind spots with our children. We so often look and tend to only see good but we need to deal with the disobedient, and the blind spots.
During Parent Teacher meeting, When parents are defensive and say "how dare you speak about my child like that!". Unless You're willing to respond and be open, You're just going to be exposed to the blind spots. You can think it's a short-term win, but it's a long-term loss.
There's a cost when parents choose to ignore what they should confront.
Different types of children.
1. Johnny Lovely:
All his parents see is "Wow he's lovely. isn't he?" and even when he does scoundrel things, it's like "oh but he's a lovely scoundrel!". We still bring correction, we bring stuff, but with it there is almost this default - "he's lovely".
When they grow up, there's gonna be a confusion around what real good discipline is.
Today we're in a culture, "well let's just sit down and explain everything" No, you need to have a culture of discipline where there are standards that actually they're known, without even talking about, and yet we're trying to. If you try to explain something all the time, you're not communicating clearly where the line is.
Be clear, be firm. He doesn't need a discussion, about what he's done wrong. He needs discipline.
You also need the agreement of parents, there's no good in saying, "wait till your dad comes home." Because, I've seen, the dad saying "right you just wait mum's gonna sort you out". That's so imbalanced, It brings confusion again. You've got to be both in agreement because sometimes one a parent really striving to bring discipline as standard, and the other one just undoes it by their response.
Many of us avoid confrontation, because we haven't confronted the things that are actually within ourselves. If you are undisciplined as a parent in your lifestyle, it's going to be very hard for you to confront a lack of discipline in your child.
2. Johnny Don't
If you're constantly correcting your children because you somehow want them to be perfect, because it looks good on you, you're gonna break them.
They can end up insecure, they're gonna end up struggling to find confidence, and if you actually hold back approval and affirmation, they're gonna go and look for it somewhere else through a girl or boy or friends or addictions.
Giving our kids everything is not true, it's not good parenting. You may have very very little, but you can give the richest gifts to your kids, through the way that you love, and connect, and affirm.
3. Johnny Guilty
He comes from a background where there's been maybe loss.
There are parents who lost their 1st son, So they poured so much upon the next son and could not bring discipline to his life. Because they wanted to overcompensate for the loss they experienced in their life.Divorced and Single parents, you can feel guilty for a marriage that's broken down, and so then you can overcompensate for the children that you have.
It's the worst thing you can do. They want to be treated normal.
The cuckoo doesn't make his own nest. She lays her eggs in other nest. She lets the other mother take care of the eggs. The cuckoo normally hatches before the others and it will push every egg out.
So finally when the original mother/owner of nest comes back, there's just this one chick left. She spends her time trying to satisfy this chick, that actually is not her chick.
If you don't watch, If you ignore what comes into your home, and you put up with whatever comes in, it'll rob you of your true inheritance. It will come in, and later on you will be consumed.
Our children need leadership, not a democracy. If you want your children to live their best life, you must lead them, and not just appease them.
it's the greatest stewardship gift you'll ever be given. Greater than the millions on this earth, greater than anything could have, is your child. It's the greatest thing that you will answer for.
So be encouraged parents, you're amazing! Parenting is one of the bravest, boldest things you'll ever have to do, and we're cheering you on here at Freedom Church.
How to raise kids well... Killing the CuckooThis message has potential to not just change your life but even some that have not yet been born. It's gonna have a riffle effect. If we respond to this message today, it will impact the future destination and destiny of others
Now we're in this generation, the RE:Generation series, all about the generations, and I'm gonna have to visit this.
I wasn't gonna do it, but I was just challenged to do it, because certain things that you sort of shouldn't really talk about in church... and why is that? It's because they can normally cause upset, and this is probably one of the top subjects. So get ready, get your heart ready, because this is one of the things you shouldn't really go there too much about is, parenting!
Because we get very sensitive when people start talking about styles of parenting, that could challenge ours, be different to ours, we all get sensitive.
I've been around church for a long time and I've seen it. I've seen sort of someone who seems very gentle and placid, but when sort of challenged about their child's behavior In kids, they become a roaring monster. "Are you talking about my Johnny?" Now I'm gonna pick on Johnny a lot today, and if your name's Johnny I don't want you to feel I've got an issue with you.
It's not like you know a bit of a point, so sorry about that but, you know, I know that God's gonna help you get through this. But it's so true, is that when you start talking, and I know that when I start bringing some principles around parenting, there's going to be challenge, a little bit of friction maybe some offence, "well I don't agree with that,"
I want to present some principles that I believe are biblical, you then need to decide as parents, you know, whether... hey just just have an open mind, that will question, say "maybe that is worth considering." So I'm not up here saying, "hey this is the way you should do it" because, you'll soon find out, I'm a parent that didn't get it right. I didn't get it right all the time, it was like, many times, made mistakes and I hope that I'm going to speak out of some of those things. Okay?
So this is now if this is how you should be a super-duper Christian parent. I've heard some people talk like that and I thought, I don't even come anywhere near you. You must be you know the way you get your kids to read the Bible, around the table and like, you know, take communion and do all these things, and we're gonna watch Bible stories. I'm thinking Wow! Something went wrong with me!
So guys just, I want this to be real, because of that I've got to give some like examples and if it's an example that you think "are you talking about me?" because again, I get people saying "have you been to my home?" Look guys no one's reported you, but it's amazing how... I'm asking now Holy Spirit would you speak to us. Holy Spirit will you speak into our homes, into our lives, into the way we parent, I pray that we would be able to lay down what somehow we feel defensive over, to say help us to be secure, so that we can really do our best, Lord for the generation that's coming in Jesus name.
So, the other thing I want to mention was, I know straight away if you haven't got children. So first of all, if you're single, well you haven't got children, you might be a teenager, you might be a zeal student, don't switch off! Because you can easily think "oh well, when I get to that stage it will be relevant" No! I'll tell you what if you, if you can grab hold of some of the principles I'm gonna share, it will set you up, right, for who you meet, and the agreement you make before you decide to marry. You don't want to wait till the point of like, "now I'm pregnant, let's quickly... where was that bit of teaching?" Don't do that. I'm saying that there is something, something for every one of us.
Also, if you perhaps, you've had your children and this is now looking back, there is still something for you. There is something for you and then ultimately everyone else, who you're thinking "you didn't mention me" is what I'm going to share about parenting should reflect something about the heart of God to you.
So turn it around the other way and if you can understand the way that God thinks as a father, you'll understand maybe some of the way that you respond to Him, because we're all children of God. So, please don't miss what God's about to do.
This is my sort of tribe the the five boys, obviously when they were younger. They were known locally as the Fight Club. But, you never talk about what goes on in the Fight Club! And when people saw us coming, you know we used to go for a walk in the woods and when we saw like a happy little family they seemed to disperse quickly, as if some fear and dread came over people, and we always wondered why no one ever invited us around to their house for tea, we had to make our own picnic and go out into the field, but we taught them what it meant to endure, and one of the things we taught all of our boys is, never give up, and even from this picture I'm showing you of the five boys; Josh, Luke, Jord, Isaac and Solomon.
They are all different and unique, so one of the first things you've got to realize that, every child that is given to you is unique. You cannot make comparisons. You cannot maybe even use one system for another system, because I tell you what, when Solomon came and we thought we had it cracked, we had to start all over again. In fact, we often think if he came second that probably would have been it!
Every one is different so that's why when I share some principles to you, you can't like just think, "yeah well that doesn't really apply to my parenting situation", because every parenting situation is so different. Right? You are gonna have all different challenges.
When I think back to when our boys were young, I was thinking when, in the early days when Josh was little, we didn't have disposable nappies! We had like those big 'Terry town' nappies, they were like covered half of the baby, you to wrap him up with a big pin through the front and then the big thing was is, they were like towels. They've got small towels and once they were like used and you know wet and dirty and everything else, we used to put them in a big bucket in the toilet, as in in the bathroom, used to put them in there and I used to poke them, and there was this solution in there that was, I don't know,it was toxic.
Constantly for probably 10 years of my life this bucket was in the in the bathroom. No potpourri (air freshener) took it away! I go to some of your houses now you got the potpourri (air freshener) in the bathroom when I go there, you've got a little candle burning and like there's no sign of nappies at all because you've got your little scented bags. but I'm not bitter!
And then when it came to like traveling in the car for any journey, you imagine we we went to Scotland once. Good like a seven-hour journey, I only had a van! So I strapped Josh in his buggy in the back with some those elastic things. Health and safety!? Then obviously, we didn't have phones that you actually took with you they were attached to something, so when they kicked off in the back, the Fight Club! You pulled over into the lay-by and you went behind the hedge, things happened, then you came back. There wasn't any screens to say let's watch this.
So guys, the point is... we'll all have different things to contend with and even right now I'm sure the challenges that you face as parents, there may be advantages, but there will be disadvantages.
It's not like "it was tough in my day" do you know what I mean? There were things that were easier, things that were tougher. Let's just realize things may be different but the principles of parenting stay the same.
I think that these principles have stayed the same, even through biblical times where there's instruction given. They stay the same.
So let's not get into this way of thinking but maybe you know things have moved on now and we're a bit more the "modern parents". "We've read all the Christian parenting books!" - Good for you, why does your kid still got such issues then? Because sometimes we read all this stuff and we're still not dealing with things.
So we're gonna look at a few of these and I thought it would be great to start from 1 Samuel chapter 2.
Eli and his Sons:
This is all about Eli who was a priest which would be basically, he's like a bit of a holy man, he's been chosen to prepare the sacrifices and altars and it starts off here all about his sons.
They weren't nice boys. They were trouble. They were scoundrels. I know sometimes we use it as a bit of a fun word but this isn't fun.
They said no time for the Lord, He wasn't a priority in their life.
The tent of the meeting is basically this place where they would come at the front to prepare and they were sort of going and they were sleeping with the women that were vulnerable, while the sacrifices have worship to the Lord were taking place.
This wasn't just like some in the background this was blatant full-on disobedience. And it's interesting that says here, Eli who was very old. This hasn't just suddenly happened this has been a pattern for sometime.
This is the challenge! What was happening was, people were bringing the offerings, the sacrifices like the choice lamb, they were bringing them along and then the sons we're taking their pick of the best and we all know that the best belongs to God, is talk about priorities, see God deserves our best and there was the priority and what was happening was is they were choosing against all of the instruction they were saying hey we'll have that bit, the best for us, our household. God can have the rest.
Eli knew this. He knew it, and he was the priest, he was the example, he was the one who was meant to be leading his family, instead he had these two sons that were known as scoundrels, but he wasn't gonna do anything about it.
He failed to bring discipline in the early days and therefore set a path and passed a giant on to them that would rob their future generations.
It's all around parenting. The problem didn't happen later on, it was what he did, when they were in his house. This was Eli, this was the one who would even hear from the Lord, you know? This just shows you can be in church, you can hear from the Lord, you read your Bible all you want, you can listen to everything but unless you take action, and deal with some things, you're gonna find there's trouble and this is the the big sort of challenge that we have as parents.
Do you know what? With our children, is we have blind spots. Because we often think, and this is what Eli, he just had this blind spot. He was so good in so many ways but when it came to his children these boys, he was like, "I just go mushy. You know, I just look at them, I know they're bad but, aren't they lovely?"
And we so often we look and we tend to only see good, and there is good, but we need to deal with the disobedient, and the blind spots, they are a real challenge for every one of us.
I know when perhaps you do parents evening, and I feel first some teachers, because there is something about them trying, they've got your child all week, all month, all year, then its parent evening time and it is amazing to see, when we've been over the years, how much conflict there is, when parents are defensive about maybe the attitude of their child, because all they can see is... "how dare you speak about my child like that!" and unless we're willing to respond and be open, we're just going to be exposed to the blind spots.
Even now while I preach this message, there will be blind spots they will want to just say, "oh that's not me, that's not my Johnny!" Right? "Johnny's not like that."
We need to watch out because sometimes you see I think Eli's love for his sons, this is a weird thing because, you know if you love, It's like, "I love them so much!" Yeah, you can love him so much you ruin them.
The challenge that God had with Eli was, the fact that he honoured his sons more than he honored God.
It means basically, he put his sons above God and God below them.
So when it came to disobedience or a standard, it was like "I'm gonna really side with my sons, rather than side with God because if I side with God it might bring me into conflict with my sons, and then I might end up having, I don't know, a disagreement with them and I couldn't bear that... so let's just ignore it. shall we?"
In fact, how many parents are ignoring things right now? Because there's a cost when parents choose to ignore what they should confront.
This is what the story is, right? Now, if you're a child a teenager, at the minute you might be thinking, "oh man he's given me a bad time here, because I'm setting you up" stay with me, This is good.
Because one of the things I've learned is, I will pay a great cost, if I choose to ignore what I should be confronting.
And Eli paid a great cost for the generations to come, because he chose to ignore what he should have confronted.
It's the fact that I will choose to honour, and I have been around friends and people who have incredible potential, who just have not been willing to confront their child. I've been in meetings with them, because of the disobedience of their children, where I've had to go with parents, to support them, to a meeting with someone else because of what his sons did to a girl.
And it's a terrible place, and then the father comes back and says, "well you know, I think it's the way the teenagers are today. I'm thinking you, won't confront, and then it happens again and again, and then they end up sort of disappearing because the father says "I'm not really willing to confront that, I'll confront everything else in my life, but this is my soft spot, this is my blind spot. This is the area that you know... please, don't ask me to go there God. Because, I just find it so hard when it comes to bringing that confrontation that needs to happen.
Guys, I don't want you to pay the price. See we think it's a short-term win, but it's a long-term loss.
So, I want to just refer to different types of children.
1. Johnny Lovely:
The first one is called Johnny Lovely, and it's a little bit about what I've been talking about.
All his parents see is "Aw he's lovely. isn't he?" and even when he does scoundrel things, it's like "oh but he's a lovely scoundrel!"
When you go to their house he's like a wild animal! and yet what they're doing is, the parents are like going "Aw, isn't he lovely, he's so adventurous!" Johnny Lovely! And Johnny Lovely,
The trouble with Johnny Lovely is, even when he does things bad, he's corrected through "oh come on, don't do that, Lovely!" What does that say? What does it say to him? Confusion.
So you'll get mixed up with affirmation. When we bring correction, with on the end of it, "you're lovely aren't you?" And we do this, because we just want to like, throw praise, and maybe, it's because we didn't have that. I don't know, maybe, it's because somehow, we just want to reassure, and reaffirm, and like, "Oh he is lovely" and we see this one side of Johnny Lovely.
We still bring correction, we bring stuff, but with it there is almost this default - "he's lovely". But when he's bringing disrespect, or disharmony, or saying things he should not say, and we affirm it through "don't do that my lovely".
You're thinking "let me take him out, let me have a word, because he shouldn't be getting away with that!" Because this isn't just about this moment, it's not going to suddenly as he grows up, he's suddenly going to get a bit of a glimpse, of you know "oh, maybe I shouldn't behave just however I want."
Because Johnny Lovey struggles with self-control. He gets affirmation and isn't quite sure where the line is. He knows that there things that are sort of wrong, but there is affirmation that comes, even when those things are wrong and he crosses the boundary.
And it's a challenge, because we want to bring affirmation, and yet there needs to be a firm, like firm clear direction when there is disobedience and disrespect.
And I'm saying guys, that you have to confront it. In the early days we had to confront it.
Let me tell you this, if you have a character, because all our kids are different, if you have a character that is very strong, if Johnny is a strong character, and God blessed you with a strong-willed, character-full child, you are going to have to be more clear, more determined, to bring this level of discipline. It's true.
I just know with our boys, is like when we started off with Josh, he was one of the toughest little kids. We went to battle. It was like a war between us, and he was only about one, and then he went into his twos, and it really was... He was trying to break me and I was trying to break him. Because of his will and the character and the determination.
And yet, Jord was a total different character, who I shouted at him once and his little bottom lip quivered. Do you know what I mean? There's different ways, you're different, but you've got to confront. And maybe there needed to be more reassurance with Jord, see? But with Josh there needed this strength.
I remember disciplining him once, and he said "didn't hurt", "Oh, come back into my room." This defiance! It's channeling it, because if we don't teach our kids to honour, he's talking about honour.
If we don't teach our kids to honour authority, they're going to have issues all of their life.
They're gonna have issues with self-control, they're gonna have issues with, "I get affirmation for this, I'm not quite sure whether I've gone over the line here"
I think sometimes we worry too much today that if we're too harsh, if we're too strong, if we sort of come in, that somehow it might damage them. I'm not talking about abuse, and all those things, and this is the problem.
Some of us you see, we leave Giants, because what we do is we end up sort of coming from a background where we were abused. And authority was abused over us, and so now want to do is, we don't like that confrontation, because it reminds us, and takes back to all that horrible stuff, which was wrong.
I'm not talking about that, it was wrong. But what we do is we swing the other way, where we want to bring this light affirmation. "We've got to bring discipline in" and then afterwards we're feeling guilty. I've been there! You've disciplined then you're like, you do, you're there thinking "I feel so bad! Why can't he just do as he's told?"
We've going to have to deal with it, but I knew that if I didn't confront it at this age, suddenly you see little Johnny Lovely he's going to become a terrorist! I don't mean a literal terrorist, I mean he's going to terrorize people, he's going to terrorize people, right? He's maybe going to disrespect women, because he couldn't respect his mother.
And you allowed things to be said, and behaviour towards yourself, or as a father towards your wife, that what it does is, it starts to, "Oh well, you know he's lovely, let's think of the positive rather than the negative."
I think Eli had something around this, and it's so powerful guys, because we will leave a giant for our child, because they grow up, there's gonna be a confusion around what real good discipline is.
I have got to say, scripture says, you know, that unless, if we actually spare the rod it says, but it's the rod of discipline, so it's not like great big stick, it's basically, if we spare it and we avoid committing to discipline, you will spoil your child. Spoil means damage, so they don't fulfill their potential.
I've got to say I speak to far more people who were spoiled, and even today, the challenges they have today, are because they were spoiled. And they didn't have discipline, which didn't create self-control, which didn't develop honour and respect, and they got all these sorts of things going on, and they're trying to now, they are a parent themselves, trying to grow up Johnny the second.
And what we do is, often, when we've had a very hard, tough background, will swing the other way to being soft and loving, because we just want to be there, and some of us who have been very soft sometimes we swing even the other way, but there's a balance. This is about the balance you see, so this is Johnny Lovely, hope you got the idea.
Be clear, be firm. He doesn't need a discussion, about what he's done wrong. He needs discipline.
Because sometimes we're sitting down trying to explain to a three-year-old. We've given them a whole paragraph of a book we've read or something, "Do you know why that wasn't good to hit your brother?" Sometimes they just need discipline, I'm not saying don't explain, and I think it's when things happen there's no explanation, that can also be damaging.
But I think today we're in a culture, "well let's just sit down and explain everything." No, you need to have a culture of discipline where there are standards that actually they're known, without even talking about, and yet we're trying to, if you try to explain something all the time, you're not communicating clearly where the line is.
And last thing on this, you also need the agreement of parents, there's no good in saying, "wait till your dad comes home." Because, I've seen, the dad saying "right you just wait mum's gonna sort you out". That's so imbalanced, and what will happen is that brings confusion again. You've got to be both in agreement because I've seen sometimes one a parent really striving to bring discipline as standard, and the other one just undoes it by their response.
And you go round in circles, and you wonder, there is frustration, because you're not getting anywhere, because kids, they might look three, but they've already got it sussed. They know who's the weaker one. They know if there's a disagreement. And there is power and agreement. Disagreement will undermine you.
I think in fact, many of us avoid confrontation, because we haven't confronted the things that are actually within ourselves.
If you've got an anger issue, you can sometimes avoid confronting anger. If you picked up certain things, if you are undisciplined as a parent in your lifestyle, it's going to be very hard for you to confront a lack of discipline in your child.
2. Johnny Don't
So let's move on to, Johnny Don't.
I just want to bring the balance to this Johnny Don't is the other extreme.
He ends up going to primary school, and they call out the register, they call out their names, and he's waiting for his name to be called, Johnny Don't, because he thinks it's his name. Because that's all he's ever heard growing up... "Johnny Don't!"
It's been correction. It's been discipline. Discipline without affirmation. You see there is a place for discipline but there is a place for affirmation, and there is this thing about our kids, if you're constantly correcting your children because you somehow want them to be perfect, because it looks good on you, you're gonna break them.
They can end up insecure, they're gonna end up struggling to find confidence, and if you actually hold back approval and affirmation, they're gonna go and look for it somewhere else through a girl or boy or friends or addictions. It's huge! You can just see how big this is.
If you go the other way, and it's Johnny Don't, and I know so many people, okay, so many people. Some of these are grown men. I wanted to use the men as an example, grown man, and I'm talking about in their 20's even 30's who they have like quite a fractured relationship with their father, they've got a good Dad, they got a Dad at home. Mum and Dad stay together, it wasn't from a broken family, in fact, they might even go to church and they do their best and they've had a good, privileged upbringing, but when dad comes home, he's emotionally detached, and he doesn't actually really connect with his son, because he sees that "the way I love my son is providing and in fact we've done very nice and you got a very nice home, my job as a father is to provide" and yet what this... time and time...
Men have come to me and they said "why won't my dad just turn around and say well done to me!? why won't my dad even today, just put his arm around me and say, do you know what I love you son?" This is Christian men as well, I'm speaking to any Christian man right now, if you can't think of the last time you did that, if it's not sort of just recently, you need to confront something in yourself, because that's something again, that the issue you've got is, you're not confronting something that was lacking in you, and you need to overcome it, so that you can be emotionally connected with your children, so that you can reach out.
In a way, you can give them all they want, and in certain parts of the Western world we have kids growing up with everything they want by the age of 14, they've had it all! And do you know what happens then? They then go into addictions because they're dissatisfied.
Giving our kids everything is not true, it's not good parenting. Good intention is not good parenting. You may have very very little, but you can give the richest gifts to your kids, through the way that you love, and connect, and affirm.
Even Jesus, when he's getting baptized and he comes before this baptism, this is suddenly the beginning his ministry. Before he's done anything, we know that God speaks from heaven as the father, and he says, "Behold! This is my son! My beloved son!" This is his announcement! Day one! "This is my beloved son who I'm well pleased with." See affirmation, I'm affirming Him. There's this love in this parent saying, no, this is what is born out of, and yet, Jesus talks about a father that will discipline. And our Father loves to discipline those he loves.
If he didn't, it says he hates them, see that's the opposite if we don't bring discipline. It's like we hate them because we're setting them up for a fail. But if we're firm, and it's harder to be firm because, you can't let things go, you've got to confront, and you've got to work it out, and there's pain, and there's heartache, and it's like are they gonna think I'm the worst dad ever.
But if you don't deal with those things, you'll leave a trail of destruction. It's very difficult.
3. Johnny Guilty
So, just the last one, Johnny Guilty.
I've thrown this in there because... Johnny Guilty, he comes from a background where there's been maybe loss. What it really means is, I knew someone's parents, at one time they went through devastating loss of their one son. So, their second son, they poured so much upon that son, because of the loss, and I don't know what it's like losing a child, a grown child. And from that they spoiled him to death, and could not bring discipline to his life, which eventually had such an impact on him. Why? Because they wanted to overcompensate for the loss they experienced in their life. Loss can do it.
If you've adopted someone you can do the same. You think they've been through so much, they've been through this, and so what you do is, "well, let's that go, let's be more, and let's we've got to make sure. They've been to all this rejection, so we don't want to cause rejection, do we? We'll step back, It's the worst thing you can do.
They want to be treated normal. There is something normal, about saying there's security here, not insecurity, and see from it there is this overcompensating, for the journey that's been.
What about divorce? Single parents, I'm speaking to right now. I know it must be so challenging, because you can feel guilty for a marriage that's broken down, and so then you can overcompensate for the children that you have and you make decisions based on your guilt and where you've come from, and what you do is you create issues, because you're almost like afraid of going there. Guys, you've got to get free.
You've got to get free and realise that overcompensating for this, that's gone on my life, and that's gone on. God makes all things new, and even if you're a single parent right now, you could feel through this message almost like overwhelmed because you by yourself, but at least you don't have to find agreement. You can just like right this is the way as a parent in my house, I'm gonna raise my child.
Do you know what? It's not too late. You've got to just take security and confidence but with it, you're gonna have to confront, and if you've been through pain, and you've been through all that difficulty through divorce and separation, you feel exhausted, so it's very hard then to confront the issues that have come from that because these are just to ignore.
But it will come back, and so you just got a watch out for this. You know, even if kids are in, were two people being divorced, getting married and you've got two sets of children, from two different families, again don't overcompensate, you've got to agree together. You have got to agree together. It's the best thing you can do for them.
So last week, I mentioned the cuckoo and we're not far away we're at the end... here we go. Here's the cuckoo, right, the cuckoo, you think "what the heck is the cuckoo?" Remember we had the we've been called to plant the trees, the trees that might be planted for generations to come... that's what this is all about, the way we raise our kids. We're doing something, investing for maybe something that we don't always see the end of.
But in the woods, there are giants, but in the giants there are cuckoos, and the cuckoo is a bird that we have in Europe, certainly in the UK, we have the the cuckoo bird, which is an interesting bird, because this one bird, he makes a nice noise... "cuckoo" and he comes out of a little clock sometimes...
But this cuckoo, he is a scoundrel, because the cuckoo doesn't make his own nest. She doesn't make her own nest. She looks for other birds who have made a nest, watches them from a distance, and waits for an opportunity when the mother is away and she's laid her eggs, to actually go and she sits on the nest and she lays her egg, and then she lets the other mother take care of the eggs while she's out flitting around, making out because she's got no responsibility as a parent.
And then this little bird is there, taking care of the eggs and then after a little while, the cuckoo normally hatches before the others, and this is what happens this is a picture of a cuckoo in the nest who is actually shouldering out the egg of the real mother.
There is something in this bird that understands if there's other birds in this nest, first she's going to see I'm different, next I won't get as much food.
There's instinct in this bird that will actually get in there and will push every egg out. So finally when the mother comes back there's just this one chick left, that she pours everything into.
What you're left with the cuckoo is the stripy big beast. The mother is the small thing, feeding this gannet, feeding this uncontainable and she spends her time trying to satisfy this chick, that actually is not her chick.
Guys, that is why we need to realise, every parent, if you don't watch, and if you ignore what comes into your home, and you put up with whatever comes in, if you put up with standards and things that will come in and "oh this is just the way that our world is today", do you know what? You're allowing a great cuckoo to come into your house, and what it will do is it'll rob you of your true inheritance. It will rob you. It will come in, and later on you will be consumed.
You'll be consumed in your life, even after that child has left your home, you'll be consumed with their problems. Because you chose not to lead them.
The enemy wants to rob your seed. I can't think, when I just saw the cuckoo, I thought just like the enemy, waiting for an opportunity to come in. Removing, so you can't really compare what your child should be.
You need a great vision for your children. You need a great vision for the child that are yet to come, It needs to be firm, otherwise you're gonna end up in a place that means you're gonna have to feed it, and be consumed by it.
So our children need leadership, not a democracy.
When my children, those five boys were in our home we didn't sit around the table and all say "hey what do we want for lunch today family?" We had food, they ate it. Or if they didn't, they went without.
We did things together, but we didn't say "hey where'd you fancy go in this year on holiday?" We didn't have those conversations, we might have asked them but we made the decision.
We didn't say "hey now just see you a bit bored with Church, do you want to stay at home? while we go to church, because we don't want to force you, because we were forced and my biggest fear is to force you, because then it might put you off God forever. So why don't you stay at home as a teenager, watch things, while we're at church, that are probably going to make you further away from God, and then hopefully it's all gonna work out in the wash".
Because what we choose as parents to avoid, the difficult conversation, right, and we've been there, the sulky teenager in the car who doesn't want to go to church, and sits on the front row trying to distract you while you're preaching. "I'm your son and I'm not happy that I'm here."
Guys, we push through with every one of them, and I want to put this out, because your children's futures depend on this.
Some of us have given up and I'm calling out to you! If you've been doing this for a while, it's gonna be hard for you to go back and change your mind. But you need to go back and say look, sit them down and say, "do you know what? mum and dad were wrong, do you know we got this wrong, we want you to forgive us, this is actually a priority in our house, that we will serve the Lord, and you know what? Even if we're not gonna force you to worship, we're not gonna force you, but we're gonna go and worship together until you're 18 at least.
We're gonna do this together and while we do that together, we're gonna believe the Lord's gonna speak to you, he's going to show himself to you."
Where do you think there's more chance of the Lord changing this kid's life? In church, or at home on some computer? Hanging out with some friends that aren't doing him any good... Do you think suddenly they're gonna go out that well my parents didn't force me, and now I'm just like feeling so all oozy about Jesus.
It doesn't happen guys. We need to wake up and this is the story of the cuckoo, I want to encourage you, it's really tough, and it's really hard but don't you give up... because the enemy wants to rob your chicks. And we need to be firm and confident. Don't let fear come in, that somehow we're gonna push him away forever.
God will come through. God is faithful. God is faithful.
Let me finish with this, last quote here... "If you want your children to live their best life, you must lead them, and not just appease them." It all comes down to leadership, Church. Right? Leadership is parents, single-parent, parents together, right, I'm saying it comes down to your leadership.
Your leadership to stop avoiding dealing with some things in your life, because you can't confront some things in your child's life. They'll pay a great price for it.
But I want to speak hope, and life today, if you have got a child that is difficult, I want to say God knew what He was doing when He gave them to you. He knew it.
All of my boys, God saw it fit that He would entrust them to us, and it's the greatest stewardship gift you'll ever be given. Greater than the millions on this earth, greater than anything could have, is your child. It's the greatest thing that you will answer for.
So steward, raise up champions, raise up champions in the house of God, that's what we're talking about in this regeneration series, is there's champions all around us, but we've got to get this right church.
We want to raise Johnny Champion, that's who we want! Johnny Champion! That's who we're looking for. You've got to get a vision for him even in the most difficult time of rebellion and difficulty, get a vision and keep speaking visions, but you still got a discipline.
And we're gonna see, I believe we're gonna see the next generation that will raise the next generation.
You're gonna see generations raised with this balance, and it says you know if you honour me, honour me first, honour me. Honour me first,
God says. Honour me, put me first in your family, call out for wisdom. So I encourage you if there have been mistakes, that have been made up till now, if there have been, I know you've got regrets, it's really important that today, you put an end to it. It's okay, that's behind but I'm gonna take steps. Go to war on what you need to go to war on. Right, so it's saying okay, we can agree about this, we can have our steps, and we're gonna fight this through. Right, and there's a time to do that.
You ought to be full of energy and ready to go for it, but you got to go and you got to set this in place, and it will pay so much treasure back to you. So be encouraged parents, you're amazing! Parenting is one of the bravest, boldest things you'll ever have to do, and we're cheering you on here at Freedom Church Every one of you every one of you, around the world we're cheering you on.
We believe so much that this is how you're raised that the most incredible people. I don't know any of anyone who feel condemned today.
I want you to be encouraged and inspired because I believe you want the best for your children, so it's not to appease them but lead them. God bless you in Jesus name.