Thursday, September 01, 2005

Discipline versus Discipleship

I started a conversation with our Family Pastor today about my sermon coming up Nov 20 and would love to have any insight you might offer as I prepare. He's been talking about the Shemah lately (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) and how the Israelites neglected to pass on the teachings of their ancestors.

There's a lot of work to do yet to study the passage itself, but this train of thought is compelling (at the moment).

Sermon Text: Colossians 3:20-21
20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

The conversation has been something like this (slightly edited):

I want to use the Shemah some for this sermon (at least, I'm leaning that way). I think the command to not exasperate, might be understood in the positive with DO disciple your children (your OWN children). Not only does North Dallas resemble pieces of this in the busyness of our culture, but those in the church tend to look to the church to disciple their children. Proverbs 1:8 actually says "do not forsake the Torah of your mother." Solomon's words here are referring back to the Shemah, given by God through Moses. Here, he is telling us to take the Torah (the law through Moses, the Shemah being the esseence) on as a necklace, as a garland. Jews used to wear the Shemah on their foreheads and tied around their arms. Solomon is playing with words and painting a picture of receiveing instruction from your parents (which assumes it is an essential part of who they are) like wearing the Shemah on your head. It's good, like a prized necklace. That's discipleship. Not exasperation.

I'm suprised at the number of parents who call us wanting us to disciple their kids. Certainly, we want them discipled and we do many, but the kids have to want it. I sometimes challenge the parents with, "I could show you how to do it. Would you be interested?"

I think there are some powerful insights to be had in transitioning from being an enforcer of rules to being a discipler.

Bruce: I like your sermon thoughts and I'd love to see you tie in discipline also if it fits.

I believe that the command "bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" encompasses discipling and disciplining.

Maybe the trick is in the balancing of the two. We tend to get stuck on discipline alone and end up frustrating/exasperating our children. If we begin to take the challenge to train and coach we move out of this as they grow old enough. I need to see the Greek and see if the word for children carries any age connotation. If these are little children or young people.

The "children obey your parents in everything" part may keep me away from some of this (because it's not about discipleship or seeking their wisdom), but there may still be a connection. It's the magic bullet really, children who obey and parents who don't frustrate them... If we can give them something practical to walk away with that morning, we'll have done them a great service.


Dianna said...

WOWWW - What an awsome confimation to me as a parent. I just this past week have really been thinking/praying about how to disciple my daughters. I just yesterday talked with Tammy about following alongside the BTBF Dicipleship program, to hold me accountable and keep me on track. She provided me with the leader's guide and some books for Devin and I to review....and today I read your blog...with such convicting statements for us parents. Sounds like God definitely has something for you to say to us!!!

Hankinstien said...

Wow, I have so many thoughts on this...

I think so many of the problems we face could be avoided by parents really stepping in and doing just that--discipling their kids. Although, too often parents don't "get" that until it's long past too late and the kids have "learned" to not trust their parents, or to not respect them.

As for parents who become nothing but enforcers of rules... That just shows a lack of caring or understanding. Chastizing someone isn't teaching, although in a proper teaching atmosphere, chastizing will almost certainly come into play sometimes.

I never got along well with my parents, and although it's gotten much better over the years, there are some scars that I'm not sure will go away. The verse to always obey your parents is one that I continually wrestle with. What does that mean? How do you "honor" your parents?

I think many of these problems also arise from the fact that our culture never defines adulthood. There's no "defining moment" where you become a man or a woman. You're left in this floating post-adolescent limbo for years, usually. This creates so much confusion for everyone.

Sorry for the long entry, maybe I should make my own post about this?

Mary Ann said...

neither does my mom, what? I'm confused...
hope all is well.

Jesusfreakelf said...

hey steve, i have a question. there's a picture of chelsea, hannah, me, and my friend sammy hanging up in the treehouse, from the luau in may. i was wondering if you could somehow make three copies of it for me?

see ya wednesday!


Jesusfreakelf said...

oh, i don't know....

i'll be old enough to get married in four years..actually three and a half.

Mary Ann said... it. yeah, she's going to Grace now..third service. I think she goes alone.

Was 90 here. Didn't have to deal with it because I was at work and it's only 86 by the food window. ;-)

Still haven't read Blue Like Jazz. I heard from Luke that it's a necessary read. Have you?

Mary Ann said...

I would read it if it were available to me. Would be cool.

Happy almost weekend.

Anonymous said...

Discipleship? Is the church taking on this role? Is the church even educating, equiping, supporting parents to be this role. I have such a burden for this area. I believe parents want to give their kids to the church "to fix" and the problem is, is that we are trying to do it. Families are still left fractured regardless if the kids are being discipled because their relationship is with someone else. Who would want to forfeit this privledge and joy to someone else. Who can take away or give the joy when your daughter writes a college essay or takes you to lunch to say, "My Mom made all the difference in my life by being my spiritual leader and example." It chokes me up to just write it. Even thinking ahead, who will this generation see as "the one" to disciple thier children.
Untear, Vickie

Hankinstien said...

Now thats interesting--is the church being an enabler to the problem by handling things that should be handled by the parent? I say no, because I would like the kid to get discipled somewhere, but I agree that the best option would be for the parents to do this. In my whole life, I never walked in on my dad praying, and I never felt like I could go to him to talk about God. We're old enough now to have theological debates, which are fun, but I feel like I missed out on getting to see him SHOW me what it means to follow Christ. I learned that from my church leaders. I glad I learned it, and I'm glad the church leaders were there to do that, but I would rather have gotten it from him first.
I think he (like many parents) was scared to disciple me, for who knows what reasons... or maybe he didn't know how. It certainly wasn't modeled to him anywhere--it can be a daunting task.
In any case, I'd like to see the idea of "take my kid to church and they should turn out right" break down and be seen for the pile of crap that it is. I've heard some parents lately commenting on how "bad" the youth group is--only because their kid went through some hard stuff and left the faith because of it. Is that the church's fault? Of course not. Thats like saying its the video gaming industry's fault for school shootings. But thats a whole other topic...

brandon said...

I don't know you, found you through my friend Chris Heschong's blog.

I think we're like minded a bit on this subject, I wish there were more parents who teach their children vs leaving it up to someone else to teach them. My family is going as far as home schooling for this reason. My children are very young, very impressionable and I'm not about to let some liberal, lost, kindergarten teacher plant seeds of wickedness into their little lives.

It your responsibility parents, and as you learn to teach your children, you will grow as well because it will give you insight into God's grace, compassion and love for us.

Tom Eichem said...

It has always been the parents responsibility. How that is done can work out in so many ways. Life on life to model how to follow Christ every parent can and should do. What about helping the kids learn in areas the parent does not know as much about? What if the parent does not have gret knowledge of the scripture, and the kid surpasses them? Parents should find someone else to help supplement what they are doing at home. Is Hannah to be condemend for having Eli disciple Samuel?

Steve said...

Tonight, Eric willis reminded us that a clanging gong or resounding cymal is an irritant. Truth spoken without love is an irritant and it causes resentment. The Greek word in Colossians 3:21 refers to resentment and hatred. I wonder if we build this in our kids when we go to truth without love. Resounding gongs...