Summary: Today, as we continue our Home Improvement sermon series, I want to focus on the topic of Parenting and I want to help raise the bar.

Stormie Omartian has written books called, The Power of a Praying Parent, The Power of a Praying Wife & The Power of a Praying Husband. In the Power of a Praying Parent she opens the book sounding like Dickens — "It’s the best of jobs. It’s the most difficult of jobs. It can bring you the greatest joy. It can cause the greatest pain. There is nothing as fulfilling and exhilarating. There’s nothing so depleting and exhausting. No area of your life can make you feel more like a success when everything is going well. No area of your life can make you feel more like a failure when things go wrong" (page 13). Mom and Dad, I know you can relate....

Indian: In the days of the wild west, a lone cowboy went riding through a valley and came unexpectedly upon an Indian lying motionless on the road. His right ear was pressed to the ground, and he was muttering to himself.. “Ummmm, stagecoach! 3 people inside. 2 men, one women 4 horses. 3 gray, 1 black. Stage coach moving west...”

The cowboy was amazed and said, “That’s incredible, partner! You can tell all that just by listening to the ground? The Indian replied, “Ummmm. No! Stage run over me 30 minutes ago...” Mom and dad... ever feel run over?

Reconstruction: There are many out there that want to say the “traditional family” is a failure, let’s restructure it. Maybe children will be just as well off having two fathers or two mothers. But if 1 in 3 automobile drivers has an accident that doesn’t mean we ought to lower the driving age to 10 and eliminate penalties for drunk driving. NO, just the opposite. We ought to consider raising, not lowering the requirements for something as serious as driving a car. Marriage was established by God and we ought to look for way to raise the bar.

Today, as we continue our Home Improvement sermon series, I want to focus on the topic of Parenting and I want to help raise the bar. I want to suggest that Parenting is really a call to the Youth Ministry. Someone recently asked me, “Do you have a youth minister?” I said, “Oh, we have several on staff!” They said, “Oh really?” “Yeah, we teach that every Christian parent is a youth minister.” See if you don’t agree as we read Deuteronomy 11: 1, 13-21

1. Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always..... 13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. 16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. 17 Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you. 18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the Lord swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. Deut 11:1, 13-21

T.S.– From this text, let’s grab three keys to successful parenting.....

I. First key is this......Relational Priorities must be Established and Demonstrated (1, 13).

A. The Lord first.... “Love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and soul.”

B. Spouse second.... One of the first teachings of the Bible is that there is a direct correlation between the marriage relationship (stability of the parents) and the welfare of the children. God established marriage in large part for the protection of children. It was his will that children grow up in a loving, stable environment. God intended children to grow up with the security of a father and mother who are devoted to one another. Mom and dad, if you really want what is best for your children, you need to love one another, be faithful and live in harmony with your spouse. That provides security and a powerful example.

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