12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid (YouVersion reading plan review)

Tim Elmore has fantastic insights for those who work with today’s youth. Whether you are a parent, a teacher, a youth pastor, or a coach, you are always guaranteed some great content when you study what Dr. Elmore presents. 

YouVersion has a reading plan based on Tim Elmore’s book 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid. The reading plan has three advantages over the book—(1) Daily Scripture readings which augment the material covered each day; (2) A video message from Dr. Elmore explaining how we can avoid these mistakes; and (3) A place to have an honest dialogue with another parent/coach/teacher, if you are doing this reading plan as a shared plan. 

There is also one huge advantage the book has over the reading plan—lots more content, including warning signs, and ideas for recovering from past mistakes. 

So the real winning combination is not either-or, but both-and. You should both read the book (you can check out my review by clicking here) and do the YouVersion reading plan along with another adult or two (or three or four…). 

Don’t get blindsided by these 12 mistakes. After all, they are all avoidable and correctable! 

(You can also check out some quotes I shared from the book by clicking here.)

Mom, We Remember You

I shared this with my congregation this morning…

MomsTo those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you.

To those who lost a child this year—we mourn with you.

To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains—we appreciate you.

To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you.

To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment—we walk with you. …

To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms—we need you.

To those who have warm and close relationships with your children—we celebrate with you.

To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children—we sit with you.

To those who lost their mothers this year—we grieve with you.

To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother—we acknowledge your experience.

To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood—we are better for having you in our midst.

To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children—we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be.

To those who step-parent—we walk with you on these complex paths.

To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren, yet that dream is not to be—we grieve with you.

To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year—we grieve and we rejoice with you.

To those who placed children up for adoption—we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart.

To those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising—we anticipate with you.

This Mother’s Day, we walk with you.

Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst.

We remember you. —Amy Young

12 Quotes From “Rise”

RiseTrip Lee has given parents, teachers and anyone who mentors teens and 20-somethings an excellent resource in his book Rise. I read this book for myself, and now I’m reading it and discussing it with my teenage son. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are just a few of the quotes I especially appreciated in Rise.

“There are great benefits to living for Jesus in the present. Now is the time when we have the most strength. Now is the time when we have the most energy. Now is the time when we can give it everything we have. Now is the time to get up and live.”

“Every decision we make is a small piece of a larger puzzle. And without looking at the big picture for reference, we’ll place the pieces incorrectly every time. It’s tragic to treasure a moment in time more than an entire lifetime.”

“It’s loving of me to stop my son when he tries to put his finger in a socket or put a penny in his mouth. It’s loving of Jesus to tell me to say no to myself when I’m doing the wrong thing. … Let’s be clear, though. He’s not saying you can’t be yourself. He’s not calling you to ignore your personality and abandon your interests. Instead, He’s saying, ‘Submit all those things to Me.’ Your personality and your interests are His, and following Him shapes those things to bring you joy and bring God glory.” 

“One of our problems is that we think we belong to ourselves. Our assumption is that we are the masters of our lives and we get to make all the big decisions. That’s a myth. I belong to God. First, because He created me (Psalm 139:13), and second, because He purchased me (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And that has serious implications for how I invest each hour of my day. I don’t have the right to rob God of time.”

“We allow our desire for approval to push us in directions we wouldn’t go otherwise. The answer is to be more content with the acceptance of Jesus, while praying that God would make us more passionate about pleasing Him than pleasing other people. … One of the quickest ways to ensure compromise is to obsess over what other people think of you.”

“Confession of sin can only be perceived as your enemy if you have a goal other than God’s glory. If your goal is your glory, then confessing your sin works against that goal and therefore should be avoided. But if you’re living for the glory of God, confessing your sin to the right people will only help.”

“With Christians or non-Christians, when we pretend, we are using them instead of loving them. Instead of saying or doing what would be most beneficial for them, we say or do what makes us look good. We’re using them to get to that end goal, the magical feeling of acceptance and approval, that sweet ego stroke. And that will eventually crush us and crush them.”

“The mature Christian doesn’t just ask, ‘What can I do?’ but ‘What can I do to glorify God?’”

“A Christian’s job is to live in such a way that shows off the real Jesus, the all-powerful, Almighty, sinner-loving King of the universe.”

“One of the reasons we struggle is because we forget that Jesus is the Lord of all. When I say Lord of all, I don’t just mean Lord of all people; I mean Lord of all things and spheres of life. It’s easy for us to section off our lives into little quadrants. There’s the fun stuff, the family stuff, the boring stuff, and the spiritual stuff. But the Bible doesn’t recognize any area of our lives that’s not spiritual. God made every sphere of life, He rules over every sphere of life, and He can be glorified in every sphere of life. This means everything is sacred.”

“The symptom of an encounter with the compassion of Jesus is compassion for others.”

“People go to hell because they haven’t seen the glory of God in the Gospel and trusted in Christ. Seeing the glory of God matters, and we want them to see it. Where the glorious light of Christ is not seen, sins are not forgiven and souls are not saved. This is why we share the Good News. The end goal of evangelism is that people would see the glory of God and worship Him forever.”

You Need “Grey Heads”

Tim DilenaI know that all of us can benefit from an older, wiser person speaking into our lives, but I am especially concerned about pastors. Too many times pastors are seen by others as the “go-to guy” for anyone who needs help, and we pastors begin to believe that we don’t need to go to anyone else for help.

This is a dangerous attitude of pride!

Check out this short 4-minute teaching from my friend Rev. Tim Dilena about the value of “grey heads” in our lives—

My fellow pastor, humble yourself and accept the help of a wise mentor. It will not only enhance your ministry, it could literally save your ministry from crumbling.

The Present Of Presence

The words Paul writes to Timothy (his young protege) are the wise counsel of a seasoned veteran to a young pastor. These are words of wisdom that pastors should be especially attentive to, but they also apply to anyone who is in a position of leadership (like a parent, teacher, coach, or employer).

After challenging Timothy to set an example by his lifestyle, Paul adds these words—

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:15-16)

“So that everyone may see your progress.” Quite simply: you have to be present … you have to be around people so they can see what’s going on in your life. Your presence in their lives is your present to their lives!

I need to monitor what I’m doing and why I’m doing it; what I’m teaching and how I’m teaching; what I believe and why I believe it.

I need to have goals and benchmarks. I need to make my goals—and my successes and failures in hitting my goals—known to others.

I need to be in it for the long haul. It’s awfully difficult to an example in the present if my eyes and thoughts are always on “the next thing” down the road.

Look at the blessings—the presents—of living this way: You will save both yourself and your hearers.

Not only is my presence a present to others, but having others present in my life is a present to me! The present of presence works both ways! 

Are you living so that everyone may see your progress? If not, start giving the present of your presence today!

The One To Copy

Adoniram Judson was a missionary to India and Burma in the mid-1800s. His passion for missions was so contagious that a group of students at Andover organized America’s first missionary society, and used the reports from Judson as a means to encourage other students to become involved in missions.

Local newspapers and various religious publications began to compare Judson’s missionary work to the ground-breaking and miraculous missionary trips conducted by the Apostle Paul and the other apostles of the New Testament.

Read the rest of this entry »

Timothy

This young man was one of the Apostle Paul’s protégés. Check out just a few things Paul had to say about him —

  • He works so hard for the Master. (1 Corinthians 16:10)
  • I have no one like him [no one of so kindred a spirit] who will be so genuinely interested in your welfare and devoted to your interests. …But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has served with me in preaching the Good News (Philippians 2:20, 22)
  • We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. (1 Thessalonians 3:2, 3)
  • I sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and trustworthy child in the Lord, who will recall to your minds my methods of proceeding and course of conduct and way of life in Christ. (1 Corinthians 4:17)
  • TIMOTHY’S THE REAL THING. (Philippians 2:22)

I pray I can live up to this “Timothy” standard. Here’s where I believe it starts: Timothy loved God and served others.

I’m working on that this week… how about you?

Borrowed Brains

“We should not only use all the brains we have, but all that we can borrow.” —Woodrow Wilson

It’s so important to learn from others—to borrow their brains. I try to take something from other people’s brains every day.

  • Every morning I begin my day by studying the timeless truths found in the Bible.
  • Then I pray to ask God to give me the mind of Christ for my day.
  • Throughout my day I learn from the brains of other business and ministry leaders. People who have been-there-done-that and are willing to share are an invaluable source of wisdom.
  • I also consume a regular diet of biographies and autobiographies of past and present leaders. I try to put myself in their shoes to see why they made the decisions they made.
  • And I have some close friends that can give me their honest insight and critique.

One of the saddest things is to hear someone say, “I’m a self-made man” or “I’m a self-made woman.” Really?! That’s rather limited, isn’t it?

So whose brains are you borrowing? 

Is Today Your Last Day With Us?

Okay, this seems a bit bizarre: God tells Moses, “Get Aaron and his son Eleazar and bring them with you up to Mount Hor. I want you to transfer the office of high priest from Aaron to Eleazer. And then Aaron is going to die on the mountain.”

Seriously!

Anyone reading this post knows their birth date, but none of us knows his or her death date.

Aaron did.

What do you think he did with his last few hours?

  • Did he need to apologize to someone? Ask their forgiveness?
  • Did he need to make amends?
  • Pass along some vital information to Eleazer?
  • Say “I love you” to someone dear to him?
  • Give one last kiss? One last embrace?

James wrote, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (James 4:14).

You and I don’t know what our death date will be, so our best bet is to live today like it’s our last day. What do you need to do with your last few hours?

  • Are you ready to meet God?
  • Do you need to ask Christ to forgive your sins?
  • Is there someone who needs your forgiveness?
  • Do you need to make something right somewhere?
  • Is there vital information you need to share?
  • Does someone need to hear “I love you”?
  • Who do you need to hug or kiss?

Don’t wait for tomorrow, because tomorrow may never arrive. Live today like it’s your last day. Because it may very well be your last day with us.

Life On Life

In my remarks at the funeral in which I was officiating on Wednesday, I quoted the great Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. He was reportedly addressing a couple of under-performing players when he said, “When all’s said and done, usually more is said than done.” In other words, don’t talk about what you’re going to do, just do it.

One of my passions is to mentor and equip other people to do great things. I’ve found that the best way to do this is not to just talk about what they should be doing, but to step into their life and do those things with them—to do more than I say.

This life-on-life mentoring is challenging but so incredibly rewarding. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Follow me as I follow Christ. C’mon, let’s pursue this relationship with Jesus together. I’m going to keep you close to me so that you can look in on what I’m doing, and I’m going to be right here for you too. Let’s draw closer to Jesus together” (see 1 Corinthians 11:1)

I love the one-on-one times with my kids … brainstorming with the young leaders-in-training at church … having challenging conversations with an accountability friend … opening our home to a young single mom. These interactions keep me focused on staying as close to Christ as I can. Because if I lose sight of Him, so might the others who are connected with me life-on-life.

It’s pretty hard to say, “Follow me while I do my own thing.” So I’m redoubling my efforts to stay close to the Master today.

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