Lance Armstrong won 7 consecutive Tour de France cycling races, between 1999-2005. Armstrong was also a cancer survivor and founded the LiveStrong Foundation which provided support for cancer patients and inspired millions of people.
However, allegations of using illicit performance-enhancing drugs surrounded Armstrong. He vehemently denied them, even charging others with libel in court. Yet, in 2012 the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) disqualified Armstrong from those races for doping offenses banning Armstrong from competitive cycling for life.
A legacy was wiped and wasted.
Brian Williams has been the news anchor with NBC since 1993 and in 2004 became managing editor for NBC Nightly News. For over a decade he has been one of the premier journalists of our day. However, recently his reports came into question of personal experiences aboard a military helicopter during the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Additional incidents of previous reporting during his Hurricane Katrina coverage have now been questioned. Williams has admitted embellishment of his Iraq story while the public and media have diminished his credibility. NBC announced Williams’ suspension for six-months without pay as their news anchor.
A legacy is being wiped and wasted.
Personally, one of my pastors in the early 1990’s was a spiritual hero to me. Our church more than tripled in size in a short few years. We grew from a church plant meeting in libraries and school gyms & cafeterias to purchasing land and constructing a church building. I saw my spiritual hero not only pastor a church but be the general contractor for our church building. Later years he continued the growth of our church, not only seeing salvations of souls, but marriages & families find healing in brokenness and several individuals dedicate their life to Christian ministry as pastors and missionaries, of which I was one.
However, around 2005 it was discovered this pastor had molested several teen boys in various states.
A legacy was wiped and wasted.
Legacies take a lifetime to develop but only a second to squander.
Today’s message is Raising the Next Generation: Parenting Requires Release.
A parenting legacy is established through faith in Christ and cultivating faithful character.
Legacy established through faith in Christ..
Proverbs 10:7 “The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.”
Everyone wants to be remembered.
People check FB 20x a day because they want to see if anyone is saying something about them. We want to be known and know others. Yet, the supreme and sobering reality is that in two or three generations you will be forgotten. Three generations later few, if anyone, will remember the accomplishments of your life, the body aches you complain about, the car type you drove, your favorite meal, your golf handicap, the jobs you worked, the music on your ipod, the sport teams for which you rooted, and few will care about the tarnish on our church steeple.
Our life legacy will either be remembered or rot. Which world are you living for, this one or the next?
Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not lay up treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
- Parents, have you trusted Jesus Christ? Are you living for eternity?
- The Bible presents one hero, past, present, and future. Our accomplishments are not that significant. Point your children to the Savior, Jesus Christ.
It cannot be emphasized enough the need to expose children to spiritual truth during their earliest years. George Barna (Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions) says that a child’s moral, spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional and relational foundations of people’s lives are determined primarily before age 13. Further, the probability of receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior between the ages of 5 and 13 is 32%. It drops to 4% for those between the ages of 13 and 18, and picks up to only 6% for the rest of life. This requires urgent attention if we are to leave an enduring legacy that shapes future generations for Jesus Christ.
Your child will not know or understand spiritual truth by default. In fact, he/she will not have spiritual truth upon their heart simply because they are dropped off at church. Just because something is placed in a garage does not make it an automobile, or something in an aquarium turns it into a fish. As parents, you must set some goals for your child’s spiritual growth. You must also understand how to accomplish such goals. I believe in this area our expectations are too low. We need to be challenged to raise the expectations for our children and as we do I believe our children will rise to the occasion. They do so in almost every other area and should be no different spiritually speaking.
Legacy established through cultivating faithful character.
Proverbs 13:22 “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children…”
We all will leave behind material possessions and some form of wealth/debt. The Proverbs remind us that a good and wise parent will leave an inheritance for future generations. Yet, one cannot help reflect that an inheritance is more than wealth but wisdom. Parents are not called just to leave something “to” their children but to leave something “in” them.
President Lyndon Baines Johnson toward end of his life, “I’ve been reading [a] biography on Lincoln and no matter how great the book’s supposed to be, I can’t bring Lincoln to life. And if that’s true for me, one president reading about another, then there’s no chance the ordinary person in the future will ever remember me. No chance. I’d have been better off looking for immortality through my wife and children and their children in turn instead of seeking all that love and affection from the American people.”
Parents, your role is never ending. Sure there are seasons of parenting but you always have a role.
- 0-3 Foundations: provision, care and nurture
- 1-3; 4-5; 6-13; 13-18 Formations: instruction, guidance, correction
- 18+ Freedom: release; allow success & failure (avoid boomerang, adultolescence)
- 20’s+ Follow–up: advise, counsel, friend (parenting never ends!)
- Parents of young children: accept the responsibility to shepherd your child’s heart and shape their character.
36 percent of young adults, ages 18-31, have either moved back in with their parents or never left home.
- Parents of older children: accept the responsibility to stop enabling adult children to act childish.
- Provide Gospel love to child; parents of prodigals (Luke 15), grace to grow
- 1Cor 13:11 “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
- Eph 4:14-15;
- Provide Ground rules for living in the home.
- Provide Goals for the child’s God-given purpose.
- Provide Gospel love to child; parents of prodigals (Luke 15), grace to grow
Proverbs 29:17-18 “Discipline your son and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart. Where there is no prophetic vision, the people are discouraged.”
- Parents, realize that dreams for your children come through daily discipline. Dreams and desire are not enough, discipline is needed to follow through. Hope is not a good strategy. Parenting requires a wise purpose and discerning planning to accomplish family goals.
- Parents must discipline their child for the sake of the child.
Proverbs 5:11-12 “[lest] at the end of your life you groan when your flesh and body are consumed and you say, ‘How I hated discipline and my heart despised reproof!
Proverbs 5:23 “He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.”
Proverbs 19:18 “Discipline your son for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.”
Proverbs 19:26 “He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother is a son who brings shame and reproach.”
Proverbs 20:20 “If one curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.”
Proverbs 23:14 “If you [discipline your child], you will save his soul from Sheol.”
cf Speaking of Adonijah’s arrogance to assume kingship 1Kings 1:6 “His father [David] had never at any time displeased him by asking, “Why have you done thus and so?”
Hebrews 12:10b, 11b “God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness… [discipline] produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
- Parents must discipline their child for their own parental sake.
Proverbs 29:17 “Discipline your son and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.”
Proverbs 10:1/15:20 “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.”
*Note: This does not mean that if child is good it’s due to Dad, if child bad it’s Mom’s fault!
Proverbs 17:21 “He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow, the father of a fool has no joy.”
Proverbs 17:25/19:13a “A foolish son is grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him.”
Proverbs 23:24-25 “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.”
Proverbs 29:3 “He who loves wisdom makes his father glad, but a companion of prostitutes squanders wealth.”
Proverbs 31:28 “Her children rise up and call her blessed…”
- Parents must discipline their child for the sake of neighborly love to others.
Proverbs 3:29-30 “Do not plan evil against your neighbor who dwells trustingly beside you. Do not contend with a man for no reason when he has done you no harm.” cf. Prov 11:9, 11:12, 24:28, 25:9, 25:18, 26:19, 27:10
Proverbs 5:13-14 “[The child says,] I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors. I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation.” Forces neighbors/community to bring judgment.
Proverbs 6:29 “he who [steals] neighbors wife [will not go unpunished]
Proverbs 12:26 “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
Proverbs 17:12 “Better to meet a bear robbed of his cubs than a fool in his folly.”
- Parents must discipline for God’s sake.
Proverbs 5:21 “For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord and he ponders all his paths.”
Proverbs 21:2 “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.”
Proverbs 28:14 “Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”
Story of strong willed child: Mom takes child to doctor who realizes the young child needs to see a dentist. The child is terribly unruly and the doctor hesitates to recommend a dentist as this new patient would reflect back on him. Yet, he remembers an old friend who is both a dentist and works well with children.
So, the family later enters the dentist office. The child yells with tantrums in the waiting room until finally it is his turn to go back and see the dentist. The dentist says, “son, get in the chair.” The child replies “no”. This goes on several times until the boy says, “If you make me get in the chair I will take off all my clothes.” The dentist says go right ahead. The dentist and nurse observe the boy doesn’t want to swallow his pride and so he strips naked. Squarely the dentist says, “Now get in the chair” and the boy does. The dentist does the needed mouth work and completes his job. The child says, “give me my clothes back.” The dentist says “Nope. Your mother can pick them up tomorrow.” The child exits the dental room passing numerous families and has to walk outside in the parking lot naked.
The next day the mother returns to the dental office to speak to the dentist. She says, “Thank you. My son’s unruly behavior has changed overnight. Your firmness and discipline with consequence not only gave me a new child but a new outlook on how to parent.”
Psalm 127:4 “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.”
In biblical days there were no stores or factories that produced arrows. It was up to the warriors, primarily men, to create and craft arrows with precise care. The arrow point had to be sharp on one end and the other end – fletching – was for guidance. So too parents, must view their parenting as warriors sending children into battle. Two aspects of parenting is both coaching for a sharp & wise purpose of faith and correction to guide and discern the direction.
Ultimately, arrows were never created to stay in the quiver. Arrows were meant to fly and fight for the king’s army. Likewise, we must prepare our children to fight the fight of faith for the glory of God.
“We all know that God’s goal for our parenting is that we work ourselves out of a job. His plan is that we would be his instruments in producing children who are biblically mature, ready to face life in the fallen world, ready to be salt and light, ready to be contributors to his kingdom work, no longer needing the day-by-day guidance that we have given them for so many years.” Paul Tripp, Age of Opportunity, 208
Our Heavenly Father does not ask of us parents anything that He hasn’t already provided the example. God released His Son into a crazy culture and wild world for the sake of others. God reminds us that parenting is for the purpose of His kingdom mission.
- This often starts when the child moves from breast milk to bottle feedings. It moves on from the child sleeping in the parent’s room to the child’s room. Later parents do not have to pick out the child’s clothes as they are able to accomplish small tasks on their own. Onward, as the child grows, the parent’s priority is to raise the child to release it from its full supervision.
- Parents, you must move from being a hovering helicopter to a preparatory parent to release your child to stand on his/her own feet. Even more, the most important role you have is to prepare your child to stand before God, alone, and to answer Him on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ. God has no grandchildren.
See Jesus’ words “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16)
Proverbs 24:3-4 “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”
Wisdom is worshiping God. Houses are built and homes are established by the gracious and generous gifts of godly generations. The author of Proverbs understands that a house is but wood and nails but family homes are established in the wealth of future generations. A family’s legacy is established through passing the knowledge of God to future generations.
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 Cited in Gary Thomas, Sacred Parenting, 155.
 Story adapted from recollection of a sermon illustration by Chuck Swindoll on parenting.
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