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Book Review: Hold on to Your Kids

In Hold Onto Your Kids, (HOYK) authors Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté argue that all children need attachment. If they will not receive that attachment from their parents, they will find it in peers. The job of parents is to press in and attach themselves to their children. If they do this then those children can resist the pull of the teen culture. The book is broken into five parts: The Phenomenon of Peer Orientation, How Peer Orientation Undermines Parenting, How Peer Orientation Stunts Healthy Development, How to Hold On to Our Kids, and Preventing Peer Orientation.

In the first section, The Phenomenon of Peer Orientation, they state that “The gap opening up between children and adults can seem unbridgeable at times.” “The secret of parenting is not what a parent does but rather who the parent is to the child. It is not a lack of love or of parenting know-how, we are told, but the erosion of the attachment complex that makes our parenting ineffective. We will come back to these insightful overstatements later on.

Neufeld and Maté argue that we all have a need to be attached. Parents are intended to be the primary recipients of that attachment. But as peers press in and parents withdraw, the attachment shifts. It is a natural development of our culture but not healthy.

More of their statements have a biblical tone:

  • Absolutely clear is that children were meant to revolve around their parents and other adults responsible for them, just as the planets revolve around the sun. And yet more and more children are orbiting around each other.
  • Understanding attachment is the single most important factor in making sense of kids from the inside out.
  • The fundamental issue we as parents need to face is that of the competing attachments that have seduced our children away from our loving care.

HOYK argues that the power to parent is slipping away. “This power flows not from coercion of force but from an appropriately aligned relationship with the child.” Peer orientation is not only preventable but in most cases reversible.

Negative Consequences and Solutions
The third section of HOYK lists the negative consequences of having peer attachment rather than parental attachment. They include immaturity, bullying, sexual involvement, and lack of mental curiosity. In the fourth section, HOYK actually tells us how to hold onto or reclaim our children.

We start with “collecting” them. I would call this connecting to their hearts in many different ways. And, they argue, no matter where your children are, it is the parent’s responsibility to keep the children close. Means of connecting include greeting one another, protecting family outings, having family sit down meals.

As for preventing peer orientation, the authors debunk many of the notions that push parents to send their children out into the world of peers. These include the need for socialization, the need for esteem, or to relieve boredom. The last section, an addition to the original book, takes a look at the attachment that can come online even while children are apart. The online world is an answer to that desire for attachment, but the digital intimacy it creates is lonely.

Much Good
There is so much good here in HOYK. In the previous paragraphs I quoted passage after passage that is countercultural and in line with biblical teaching. As a former homeschool father, these statements could have dropped from the lips of numerous homeschool convention speakers arguing for homeschooling. In fact, I am surprised this resource has not been discovered by homeschool speakers. It reinforces many ideas I believe.

Warning: From Observation to Basic Needs
However, in my enjoyment of it, I found myself thinking again and again that while Christians recognize that the “softer” the science becomes the more we need to be wary.

In the midst of all that good there were numerous times they made overstatements. They moved from the functional observation to causal conclusions. Neufeld and Maté provide excellent suggestions for creating a strong family identity. And is there in fact something that God may have created in the natural human family that longs for attachment? This is entirely in line with Scripture.

However, the problems start when we burrow down to the nature of the child and what they need. In their recognition of a God-given pattern, they make the all too common mistake of exaggerating its importance. They would argue our children’s most basic need is not forgiveness and a right relationship with God but a lack of attachment to their parents. Problems are fundamentally not about sin and merely heightened by lack of attachment. Functionally, parents must become the saviors of their children. But we know the truth that there can be plenty of children who are attached to their parents who have no heart for the Lord. And plenty of children who are not attached to their parents who God has graciously saved.

Taking Away the Good
If we will not allow Neufeld and Maté to pontificate about our children’s most basic need and will tone down their overstatements what we have is helpful and needed by today’s Christian parents. We are made to love and disciple our children in an atmosphere of affectionate care. God does intend that we would be the primary influencers of our children. And indeed the glory of children is their fathers (Proverbs 17:6). Sin naturally invades our families through our own human hearts. The hearts of parents and children turn from each other to other things. (Mal 4:6). And one of those things that the sinful heart turns to is love of approval by others. As a result of the sinful choices and environmental choices like peer schooling, you can have children who have thrown in their lot with fools (Prov 1:10) and who are walking with the unwise (Prov 13:20) . When family identity is weak, peer pressure will be strong.

Neufeld and Maté have helpfully used different language to help us ask, “What is the status of the affectionate family bonds?” Those affectionate bonds do provide the emotional underpinnings for us to disciple our children. It does give us the emotional resources to discipline them and still maintain the relationship. And all of us long for relational attachment. God is a tri-unity who has lived in perfect relationship and community from eternity past. We are made for relationship. Thus, God gives us himself in Christ, and his plan is for us to be born into a family and born again into a church. We truly are made for attachment.

Another correction I would make is helping parents understand that while we can press in more emotionally through these years, we also need to launch them to independence. I know those two are not mutually exclusive, but there is a sense in which we want them to become more independent people, following Christ’s call no matter what. If we don’t do this, we have effectively created a tribe where the children live next to the parents and so on. While nothing is inherently wrong with this, there is something individually provocative in the statements of Jesus where he calls disciples to be willing to leave father and mother.

Bottom Line
If the reader will not be deceived by “new psychological insight” that will save their child, there is much good to be gained from the reading. This is a book about love and common grace not about God’s redeeming grace. Nevertheless Christian parents need to understand how they need to press into their children no matter the age. You can purchase the book on Amazon here.

The Donut Date Journal
The Disciple-Making Parent’s Donut Date Journal is the perfect solution to create attachment. It is set to be released August 1st, 2017. Perfect for parents, grandparents, and church leaders.

Book Review, Uncategorized|

The Lavish Father and His Two Sons

I had the privilege of preaching at Grace Harbor this morning on Luke 15 and the story of the prodigal son. Only, it is not the story of the prodigal son but the story of the lavish father and his two wayward sons.

The main point of the sermon was that God’s lavish love is meant to lead us to ongoing repentance.

1.Introduction, reading of the text, and comments on the first two stories (00:01)
2.The Young Brother’s Self-Indulgence (12:30)
3.The Father’s Lavish Love (25:00)
4.The Older Brother’s Self-Righteousness (33:00)
5.The Shocking Conclusion (48:30)


This is About That

Hi Friends,

Attending a wedding today.
This 3 minute video will be shown at the beginning by our church leadership.
You can watch the whole thing in preview mode without buying it.

I highly recommend it for your family and to discuss.
Do we really understand the gospel in this way?
Do we really value marriage because of what it illustrates?



My Family, My Growth

Children are God-given sanctification tools in our lives.

God gives us little children that we might nurture, train, and instruct them (Ephesians 6:4). But in that process of shepherding their souls, God also intends that we should grow. In fact, our children are one of God’s primary sanctification tools in our lives.

They will stress us and demand upon us beyond what we think we can handle. They will shine a floodlight on idols of our heart. But the reason God shines that floodlight is not to condemn us but so that we might mature and grow.

The first step in that spiritual growth involves repentance. Five hundred years ago, when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door at Wittenberg, he began with this, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”

Christian maturity happens by repentance.
But it has been my observation that Christians often forget this command and habit to repent. Especially in the home, it is easy to blame-shift, overlook, or excuse our sin. Perhaps we have had a hard day or we have been given a particularly difficult situation in our family. And so we excuse ourselves.

Growth in Christlikeness will never happen as we excuse our sin.

Five Principles
Instead, Christians who grow the most put these five truths in practice:

1. Godly repentance understands God’s standard. Jesus has rescued us from the law by giving us his forgiveness and righteousness by faith. But then he send us right back to those commands to know how to please him. And by the power of the Spirit I can follow his commands. They are not burdensome.

2. Godly repentance involves self-awareness of falling short of that standard. I want to be aware of those times that I do not walk by the Spirit in obedience. Some times that awareness will come by my own self-reflection. At other times, it will come because someone points it out to me. Just asking myself, “Did I handle that situation like Jesus would? Did I handle it perfectly (Matt. 5:48)?” helps me see any way that I fell short. Asking these questions also helps me take responsibility for unintentional actions that affect others.

3. Godly repentance does not excuse that falling short for any reason. Once I realize a standard I am supposed to walk by and how I am off that standard, then my tendency will be to excuse my sin or blame others. After all, we might  say to ourselves, “I am only human.” “I think I am doing pretty well with having to live with a husband like mine.” “You don’t know the background I have grown up in.” But no temptation comes in my life beyond what I can bear and the Lord does provide a door of escape (1 Cor 10:13).

4. Godly repentance involves motivation to please God no matter what others do. Since I am not excusing my sin, I am focusing on pleasing Christ. I can’t control others, but I can walk in the Spirit now. No matter how tough things may get in my home, I want to please Christ. I live with the final judgment in mind. I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You walked well through that trial I gave you.”

5. Godly repentance involves a focus on myself first and foremost. Finally, as a corollary of #4, godly repentance means I focus on myself. This does not mean I will excuse the sin of others. Perhaps there needs to be a conversation about some issues. I will not smooth over sin that needs to be talked about. But I realize that the only person I can control is myself.

Repentance is absolutely crucial to growing to become a mature Christian. God is working in my family life to show me areas I can grow.

Want your children to follow Christ as adults? tap_dmp_cover_final

Purchase The Disciple-Making Parent: A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Love Jesus Christ to learn more about discipling your children. Send us your Amazon receipt and receive the audiobook for free!

Funerals, Grieving, and Discipleship

Part of disciple-making is bringing our disciples into new situations and coaching them through those. We see this strategy in the life of Jesus. He brought his disciples with him as he went out to minister.

Recently, I had an occasion to hear a godly women who received her Ph.D on the subject of how the church can help those who are newly widowed. This subject became personal for her when she became a widow in the midst of writing her thesis.

Her burden is for the church to care for widows in appropriate ways. In her presentation, she made a number of excellent suggestions for the church.

But I found myself asking, how does this fit into a family-discipleship model? And how does this give us a chance to equip and encourage our children?

Several simple thoughts came to mind:
1. Make sure you are developing intergenerational relationships within the church. Hopefully, your church has structured things so that young families will rub shoulders with the older generations. At the very least, if you sit in the same place at worship, connect and “adopt” a few families that sit close to you. Train your children to interact with the older generations. Don’t excuse your children from this by saying they are shy.

2. If a death strikes that older family, consider bringing appropriately aged children along to the visitation or funeral service. Going to the funeral home is a sacrifice. But that is what brothers and sisters do for each other. It will help model and train our children in love toward others who aren’t like them – older folks. It will be one small step out of their self-centeredness. And it will give us a chance to talk about death and heaven. Of course, this assumes that your children’s behavior will be a blessing to those around them. Sharon and I did not feel compelled to bring our children all the time, but there were several occasions we felt that it was appropriate for them to go and pay their respects.

3. After the death, ask yourself how your family can minister to the widow in a sensitive manner. Depending on the age of your children, it might be appropriate to offer to do some household chores or even just visit. As this woman instructed us, “Don’t say, ‘Call me if you need anything.’ Rather say, ‘I would like to come over and help. I want you to give me something to do.'” She suggested connecting once a month for six months.

James 1:27 tells us that Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world. When we are looking after the widow and teaching our children to do the same, we are pleasing the Lord.

I am not suggesting we become busybodies taking on all the problems of the world. But over the course of our family life, we can and should be able to identify a few older people we can minister to. They will be richer for it. We and our children will be richer for it. And more importantly, God will be glorified in a church where love across the generations is on display.


Want your children to follow Christ as adults? tap_dmp_cover_final

Purchase The Disciple-Making Parent: A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Love Jesus Christ to learn more about discipling your children. Send us your Amazon receipt and receive the audiobook for free!

Church Life|

Cookouts, Family, and Discipleship


How does family discipleship fit into summer activities?

One simple response is to encourage natural intergenerational relationships.


Just this week, my 20 year-old son unexpectedly reminded me of an event that happened when he was around seven.

That year I was participating in a midweek men’s Bible study. To break up the routine and to celebrate summer, we decided to have a cookout/pool party and then end with a time of prayer. We would also invite our sons to come.

In a low-key way, we cooked, swam, and prayed. (Oh yes, as dads we debated if they should get out of the pool because of the thunder!)

Not a Program
It wasn’t a program. We were just doing life together and wanted to included our children in that. They were expected to come and interact with the adults. Sure they had some swim time among themselves, but the focus was on intergenerational interaction. Dads were asking questions of a couple of young guys. The idea was relaxed discipleship and modeling.

We didn’t have a grand strategy as dads, we were just following Jesus and including our children in that journey.

When I asked my son what stands out about that time over ten years ago, he responded, “I was hanging out with the men. And it was just fellowship. As a pastor’s kid, we always had Bible studies, but this was just fellowship with men.” (It’s worth another article to think about the impact of children seeing adults study the Bible.)

Same Values, Different Idea
My wife did something similar when she had a number of the girls, their mothers, and some older women over for brunch. The stated goal was to hear from the women about how they met their husbands. She hoped to cast a vision for making Christ Lord in this area of their lives.

Again, this was not part of a grand strategy. It was just some women following Jesus and seeking to disciple their children in community with other sisters in Christ.

I am all for intentionality and having a church-wide family discipleship plan. But nothing will ever replace adults who want to disciple their children in the natural rhythms of life.

And certainly we were not the only ones doing this. Other parents would just naturally suggest something similar. For one it was a camping trip. For another, a ladies breakfast.

What Can You Do? What Have You Done?
As the summer kicks off, begin praying about how you can encourage some natural intergenerational ministry in your church.

Quick question: What have you already done that is similar to this? I would love to hear from you. I am always collecting ideas to pass on to others.


Want your children to follow Christ as adults? tap_dmp_cover_final

Purchase The Disciple-Making Parent: A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Love Jesus Christ to learn more about discipling your children. Send us your Amazon receipt and receive the audiobook for free!

Church Life|

Celebrate Mom Campaign!

Today we kick off our Celebrate Mom Campaign!
We believe that moms are some of God’s hardest working, under-appreciated disciple-makers. Moms, you are not just raising kids, you are discipling the next generation!

In fact, you are a Disciple-Making Mom.

We want to celebrate you and give you a way to help others! Both moms and dads can participate.

This week, for two weeks only, we are offering coffee mugs that will celebrate you all year round.

One side proudly proclaims your calling as a Disciple-Making Mom or a Disciple-Making Dad.

The other side reminds you and your children that you have no greater joy than to hear that they are walking in the truth (3 John 4).

Blessing Other Moms Too
But we not only want to make the moms who know about this ministry happy, we want to take this important message to more moms. So we are combining this release with our National Campaign to make The Disciple-Making Parent material available to more moms.

We plan to do this two ways:
1. Creating professional videos of this material to equip churches around the country and the world.
2. Exhibiting at the 2018 TGC’s Women’s Conference and other national conferences.

Here’s how you can help.

As a ministry, we can only take advantage of these opportunities as God’s people partner with us.

Between now and April 30th 2017, we are offering the mugs for a donation of any amount over our cost to put them in your hands! (About $20 for two).

(Update 4/22 – Just to be clear – a $20 donation just pays for the mugs and shipping to you. There are no funds for our other campaign. If you wish to donate to the ministry it will need to be more than $20. Thanks!)

So we would like to bless you and to ask you to bless other moms.

Though we love giving out free content, we are only able to speak and write because of our financial partners. The Apollos Project is 501(c)3 nonprofit overseen by a godly and independent board of directors. You can partner with us in the mission to equip parents to disciple their children.

The encouraging news is that we are 80% toward our national goal and only have $5000 more to raise in our campaign. Even better news is that every dollar you give is doubled because of other generous donors.

April 30th Deadline
Because we are a ministry and our primary calling is teaching and writing, we are going to limit the time of offering these mugs from now until April 30th, 2017.

The good news is that helps you do your Mother’s Day shopping early!

Dads, get your Mother’s Day and Father’s Day present early, remind yourself of your parenting goal, and at the same time help other parents across the country.

Moms, order mugs for your family and help other moms across the country with your generous donation.

Grandparents, order a set to bless the parents of your grandchildren!

Church leaders, contact us about ordering in bulk for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

Most of all, let’s pray for God to raise up godly young men and women to bring glory to Christ.


1. Fill out our contact form and give us your name and the number of mugs and which ones you want (Mom or Dad or both).

2. Click on the Donate Button below to make a generous donation to help out other moms and dads!

3. Sit back and wait for your mugs to arrive before Mother’s Day.

We will match up your contact form and your donation record and then send you the mugs in time for Mother’s Day.


Nine Ways Your Church Changes You for Good


Loving Jesus But Not Loving His Bride?

On his final night, Jesus said All men will know you my disciples if you love one another (John 13:35). To read the New Testament is to read documents that are filled with commands and assumptions that cannot be lived out except in community.

And yet, now comes a study that tells us that numerous Christians love Jesus but don’t like the church. 

While certainly the bride of Christ is not as beautiful as she will be and the body of Christ does not reflect the beauty of its head, to claim to love Jesus and not love his bride is self-deception. Any person who invites me to a party cannot tell me to leave my wife at home. We come together or not at all.

I am convinced that most Christians do not understand the role of the local church in their growth and change.

Sin Demands a Man By Himself

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said,

Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person. This can happen even in the midst of a pious community.

In this post, we will look at nine ways God has designed the church to help in my growth and sanctification that I may not even realize. They are just naturally part of a healthy church.

1. The people of God reveal our need to change and our blind spots.

Sin has a deceitful effect. We can be deceived about ourselves. Paul Tripp has said, “My view of myself is about as accurate as a fun house mirror.”

In addition, we can be deceived in our views of God. Tim Keller has used the illustration of the movie The Stepford Wives. The men in this fictional horror movie mentally changed their wives so that they would not talk back to their husbands. From Keller’s point of view, we can do this with God. We don’t want him offending us. So we mold him into our image. But in a church we are confronted with teaching about God.

Others challenge us on our blind spots. As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) This week I met with a  a man and urged him to grow in thanksgiving. At the end, he said, “Before today I would have thought of myself as a thankful person.”

In addition, selfishness stay pretty hidden until we have conflict. In the church, we are rubbing shoulders with a bunch of imperfect people that we are called to love. Sin will come out. And when it does Jesus said, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt 12:34). That selfishness was there all the time – just hidden.

How would you live differently if you realized that sin is deceitful and you need these people to help you understand your blindspots? Without the church, by definition you will continue to be blind to your blindspots.

2. The people of God spur us on and provoke us to change.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:12-13

Notice the purpose of gathering together – To stir one another up. Do we realize and tell each other that the reason we come is to be stirred up, to be provoked to change? Sin is deceitful. I need you and you need me. Without that stirring, sin deceives us and the fire for the Lord goes out. We become a lukewarm drink that the Lord detests.

How would you live differently if you realized you needed a prod to live the Christian life? Without the church you will not be stirred to change.

3. The people of God should inspire us to change and model how to change.

The way we learn is by models and examples. You can see this in the words of Paul where he says, Join together in following my example (Phil 3:17),  Whatever you learned, heard, received from me put it into practice (Phil 4:9) and Follow me as I follow Christ (1 Cor 11:1)

This principle is repeated throughout the Bible. A leader’s example is the first and greatest teacher. When Jesus called his disciples, he called them first to spend time with him (Mark 3:14). During this time, they would be observing his life. Later, he would send them out to imitate his ministry.

Paul said to Timothy – Don’t let anyone look down upon you but set an example. 1 Timothy 4:12. Elders are given as an example, an older brother to the flock 1 Peter 5:3. We are told Remember your leaders, imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7

You are modeling your life after others. Are they godly men and women? Be intentionally teachable. You will not change as much as the Lord wants you without consciously modeling and imitating people. Ask specific questions of the people in your church. “How do you read your Bible? How do you keep a prayer list?”

Who are you consciously imitating at your church? Without the church you will be tempted to imitate others.

4. The people of God instruct us how to change.

Ephesians 4:12 tells us that God gave pastors and teacher “to prepare God’s peoples for works of service.” The word for prepare is the idea of mending a net or setting broken bone. Elders, we are told, must be able to teach. Why? Because change starts with the mind. God said, “My people perish from lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). We are transformed by the truth we take in. And that source of truth, the Bible.  The Bible says about itself, “All Scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching rebuking correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Sin happens because we are believing lies. Jesus said, If you abide in my word then you are truly disciples of mine and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:31-34). We change as we examine the lies we are believing and replace them with God’s truth. And that happens effectively through teachers and preachers. These individuals are gifts from God to us.

How would you live differently if you realized that you needed teachers to unmask the lies  and teach you truth? Without the church you will remain uninstructed as to the vital things of God.

5. The people of God counsel us in how to change.

Counsel is different than teaching. Counsel is taking these truths and applying them to our unique situation to help us especially when we are dealing with sin or a confusing time. Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Galatians 6:1

The whole church is to be involved in counseling, not just the professionals. I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct/counsel one another. Romans 15:14

Larry Crabb, a well known psychologist and author has said in essence, “90% of what I do happens in a good small group.”

Have you ever thought of the church has the best place to get “counseling.” Certainly there may be help from others who are paid. But in the church community, people are seeing you. They are observing patterns in how you react and treat others. Or the same excuses you give time after time.When a person goes to see a counselor, the counselor only has the information that the counselee gives him. That’s absurd! To observe us in community is very helpful.

When is the last time you asked counsel of someone in the church? Without the church you do not have the good counsel that just happens through natural conversations or through pastoral wisdom.

6. The people of God help us change by being a safe place to confess our sin and pray for one another.

In James 5, God commands us, Confess your sins and pray for one another.

Confession helps us change. Confession indicates we want to walk in the light more than we want respect. Sometimes the first step to changing is to humble ourself and confess our sin.

We all need safe people that we an confess our sin to and to pray for us. By definition, you need a second person to confess sin to. You need the church.

When is the last time you confessed sin or secret sin to someone? When is the last time you asked someone to pray for you? Without the church, you lose the privilege of confessing to another human being.

7. The people of God give us accountability to change.

In Matthew 18, Jesus calls us to confront one another. And if we don’t change eventually the whole church will judge us as not walking with the Lord. We need this accountability. The elders of a church were charged to watch over yourselves and the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers  (Acts 20:28). Throughout Scripture we are told to admonish one another. The word admonish means to warn. Sometimes we don’t change until we have been warned. Being warned about a danger is a privilege!

When is the last time you confessed sin or secret sin to someone? When is the last time you asked someone to pray for you? Without the church, you lose the privilege of confessing to another human being.

8. The people of God help us change by calling us to serve.

Augustine said that sin causes us to naturally curve in on ourselves.

The people of God call us out of that self-centeredness. The church calls us to love God to serve him and in the church we are challenged to serve one another and the world by serving them. And true love happens when it is inconvenient. Do-good volunteering at our convenience is not deep love.  We don’t really have to sacrifice.

Paul says, “Let us do good to everyone starting with the household of faith” in Galatians 6. In Judges 2 and 3, we see that God had left challenges in the land so that the nation of Israel would fight for him and in the process come to know him more deeply. Self-sacrificial love for others and the Lord, deepens our walk with him and proves we are really his disciples.

When is the last time you sacrificially served someone else? Is it a regular habit? Without the church, you lose the challenge and continue curving in on yourself.

9. The people of God help us change by providing offenses that we must forgive.

This may sound strange. God says,  “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:29) Jesus placed forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer as a daily need (Matthew 6:12).

But we cannot learn to forgive unless we are in community with others. Forgiveness implies community.

Jean Vanier’s quote on community applies to our families as well:

Too many people come into community to find something, to belong to a dynamic group, to find a life which approaches the ideal. If we come into community without knowing that the reason we come is to discover the mystery of forgiveness, we will soon be disappointed.

There is no need to forgive unless we are in community.

Had you thought of the offenses of community as a privilege given by God to learn forgiveness? Who was the last person you had to forgive? Without church, you are severely hampered learning the grace of forgiveness.


Obeying God and being active in and committed to a healthy, gospel-preaching church will change you for the better. There are at least nine things you gain in your growth in Christlikeness.

Part of discipling our children includes casting a vision for the beauty of the bride of Christ. To be called one of his disciples, we have a duty to love her and to pass on that love to our children. In addition, we need to proactively oppose this self-deception that one can love Christ without loving his bride.

Want your children to follow Christ as adults? tap_dmp_cover_final

Purchase The Disciple-Making Parent: A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Love Jesus Christ to learn more about discipling your children.

Send your receipt number to audiobook[at] theapollosproject [dot] com to receive the audiobook for free!


Interview with Family Pastor Tom Burns

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Tom Burns. Tom is the Pastor of Family and Discipleship at Grace Community Church in Spofford NH.

I was encouraged and humbled as I found out how Tom is using The Disciple-Making Parent as a year-long emphasis for all the families in his church.  If you are a family pastor, it is often good to hear from another pastor in your shoes. If you are a pastor of a smaller church you can still gain some ideas that could be useful.

1. Tell us a little bit about your ministry, church, and people you are serving. 0:44

2. How have you used The Disciple-Making Parent in your church? 2:34

3. What are some of the effects you have seen by using this resource? 4:35

4. Is The Disciple-Making Parent too much of a stretch for new Christians? 7:17

5. How have you implemented studying this resource? Tell us about your weekly schedule and format.  9:25

6. How does The Disciple-Making Parent help with fear that parents have? 14:09

7. How are you using this with baby dedications? 15:52

8. What would you say to your peers in family ministry? How would you encourage them? 17:17



Interview on WARV

I recently had the privilege of being interviewed by the local radio station. This short interview gives a good overview of the book.

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1. What is it like ministering in a New England city vs other parts of the country? 1:35

2. What is The Disciple-Making Parent about and why do we need it? 4:55

3. What are some ways parents can have quality conversations with their children? 7:00

4. What do you say to men who are uncomfortable talking about their faith? 9:40

5. What do you say to parents who are too busy and have a splintered family life? 12:00

6. Why should people buy this book? 15:30

7. Where can people get the book and what is the free offer? 17:30

8. Why did you name the ministry The Apollos Project? 19:30

9. How do you think we should handle our day of eroding Christian rights? 21:30