Leading Your Family Into a Life of Integrity

Garrett Oppel • Children’s Pastor

I’m sorry for the long post, but the Lord has laid this on my heart and I couldn’t stop thinking about this until I wrote it all down. As you know, your family is your #1 ministry—your top priority, check over here if you are learn how to make them feel better. It is vitally important that you set a godly example for your children, and demonstrate for them what it looks like to be a disciple of Jesus. I came across a Psalm in my Bible reading and I wanted to share it with you. I hope you take the time to read it and reflect on it.

Psalm 101

I will sing of your love and justice, Lord.
I will praise you with songs.
I will be careful to live a blameless life—
when will you come to help me?
I will lead a life of integrity
in my own home.
I will refuse to look at
anything vile and vulgar.
I hate all who deal crookedly;
I will have nothing to do with them.
I will reject perverse ideas
and stay away from every evil.
I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors.
I will not endure conceit and pride.

I will search for faithful people
to be my companions.
Only those who are above reproach
will be allowed to serve me.
I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house,
and liars will not stay in my presence.
My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked
and free the city of the Lord from their grip.

The best thing you can do for your family is have a growing relationship with Jesus. As you fall more in love with Him, the better you will be able to lead your family. The world we live in is an evil one. Temptation is everywhere. Satan is seeking to destroy families. It is not uncommon anymore to see Christian marriages fall apart. What our kids need more than anything is not an active sports life, plenty of toys to keep them entertained, or the latest gaming system. They need you! They need parents who have a strong marriage. Parents who intentionally make time to date each other. Time away from the kids and keep the fire burning. You don’t take time away from the kids because you don’t love them; you do it because you DO love them! You need that one-on-one time with your spouse.

As verse two says, we need to live a life of integrity at home. Set the example for your children. Let them see you on your knees praying out to the Lord. Let them see you opening your Bible every day and depending on it daily. Take the steps necessary to make sure you don’t let your eyes look at anything vulgar. Get an accountability partner. Install Covenant Eyes on all of your devices. Pray to God that He will help you to stay away from evil.

On top of that, surround your children with godly influences. Yes, you are to be their main disciple-maker, but they also need other godly people in their lives that can point them to Jesus. Be careful with whom you allow your children’s main influencers to be. Let it be someone who is deeply in love with Jesus and you know will help and encourage them in their walk with God and reinforce what you are teaching at home. Keep an eye on what your kids are watching on TV. Even Disney Channel is not always safe, because a show called Andi Mack just introduced the first gay kid on a Disney show. Be careful of apps and to whom your children are talking to online. Recent research shows that 50% of 10 year olds have been exposed to pornographic material. Most of those cases were by accident (app pop-up, internet pop-up, TV commercial, billboard, YouTube, etc.). The YouTube kids’ app is much safer. Don’t let culture dictate what is acceptable and good, but teach your kids to always turn to the Scriptures.

If you ever have questions about TV shows or appropriate apps for kids, feel free to reach out to me. I keep up with kids’ TV shows, so I know what is out there, can better relate to the kids, and can see if any red flags pop-up like with Andi Mack. Please let me know if there is any specific way I can be praying for you and your family. I want to be your personal prayer warrior for your family. I love each of your families so much, and want to encourage and equip you, the parent, to be the best you can be for your kids. God bless, and thank you for allowing me to be a part of your family’s life!

31 Days of Prayer for Missions

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 1:8 NKJV

The summer months are full of new opportunities to meet people where they are and point them to Jesus. We have set aside the month of July this year to pray with focus and purpose daily for needs related to three missions opportunities.

Download the attached day-by-day prayer guide as an image or printable PDF to join us in prayer pray for MPBC Missions going on in our community (Vacation Bible School), nation (camp at Chanku Waste on Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota) and world (King’s Children Orphanage in Belize).

Click Here to Download PDF

5 Reasons To Keep Dating Your Kids

Monday night, I took our dog to a vet in Farmville, VA. Farmville is about a 75-minute drive from our house. The evening before I asked our 5-year-old daughter (Amelia) if she wanted to go with me and have a date after we dropped Annie off. Since Amelia was 2, we have periodically gone on dates. Any time I ask if she wants to go on dates, she, with much excitement shouts, “YES DADDY!” I realize at some point that excitement will probably change, so I’m going to take full advantage of it now.

 

As parents, it’s so important to take one-on-one time with each of them as they grow up. Most parents have 18 years to disciple their child before they are thrown into the world. Take advantage of every opportunity to spend with each child. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Here are 5 reasons I believe dating your kids should continue until they get married:

 

  1. We’re called to shepherd their heart. Proverbs 22:6 is not a suggestion, but a calling as parents. I pray daily that my kids would be trained in such a way that when they leave my house they reflect the glory of God. It starts with me shepherding and leading them to the cross. We even see a specific responsibility for fathers to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4). Part of shepherding their heart is giving them time alone to give them instruction.
  2. Give your kids freedom to talk about life. My kids are 5, 3, and 1 so my conversations with them are different than that of teenage parents. My desire is to begin now cultivating a space for my daughters (and son) to feel comfortable talking to me about what’s going on in life. My wife and I are in this together, so as both of us “date” our kids, we’re giving them space to open up about their feelings. This is healthy and biblical as we desire to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2). If we build the trust now, hopefully it’s easier during the teenage years.
  3. Model who your kids should date. My marriage isn’t perfect, but I want to set an example and expectation for what my daughters are looking for in the guy they’re going to marry. I want to hold doors for them as we go into restaurants and pay for dinner (duh!). I want to hear what they’re learning about the Lord and treat their soul with much care and compassion. And the same way with my son, I want Liam to look for a wife who is God-fearing just like his mother and is beautiful from the inside out. This is part of wanting your kids to grow up and live the words of the Apostle Paul “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ. Jesus.”
  4. We’re the discipleship program for our kids. The Children’s Pastor and/or Student Pastor are not the main people called to disciple your kids. As Christian parents, we’re called to teach our kids the Lord’s commands: “teach them diligently to your children, and talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deut 6:7). If we’re serious about the discipleship process of our kids it starts together as a family, but it also has to be personal with each child. If we’re not going to disciple and train our children, the world will. Dating your children gives you an opportunity to more intentionally disciple each kid as you shepherd their heart (as mentioned above).
  5. It gives both of you memories that will last a lifetime. Practically speaking, I want my kids to feel like they have a daddy who loves them and has cherished his time with them. I remember the first official date I took Amelia on; we went to Chili’s when they were having a father/daughter night. It’s hard for me to even think that was over 3 years ago. Time flies by, and that day I walk my daughters down the isle, I want to be thinking back over the memories we have created and thanking God from whom all blessings flow.

 

You may have kids that are preschool age, teenagers, or even college students. No matter the age of your kids, please consider dating them until they get married. God will give you opportunities to take your relationship with them deeper, and will give you an opportunity to hear what they’re dealing with in their spiritual journey. Keep (or start) dating your kids.

 

For His Glory,

 

Pastor Joe

A Good Word with Dr. Joey Anthony, Episode 4 “God Has a Plan”

This is a brief message from Dr. Joey Anthony, Lead pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Colonial Heights, Virginia. We hope it is an encouragement to you in your walk with Christ. Visit us online at MPBCLife.com.

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