Why Bob Wrote ‘Raising Kids in the Way of Grace’

A Word from Theron: As Entrusted By God serves to equip everyday people to live as faithful stewards in an entitled culture, we are especially passionate about teaching young people to be grateful to God for the grace of God. We understand the essential role parents play in this endeavor. That is why I am excited to share with you this guest post by Bob Kellemen. His latest book, Raising Kids in the Way of Grace: 5 Practical Marks of Grace-Focused Parenting releases next month on September 10, 2018. (An earlier version of this post can be found on Bob’s site here.)

Why Now?

In a moment, I’ll answer the question, “Why did I write this book?” But first, a preliminary question: “Why did I write this book now?”

I actually wrote a manuscript on parenting 25 years ago—when my children were 8 and 5. I’d like to think it had solid biblical content. But, looking back, it didn’t have a ton of parental-life experience.

So…I never published that manuscript. However, the material became the foundation for a class I taught for 25 years in churches, para-church groups, colleges, and seminaries. And, for a quarter-century, it was the foundation for our parenting in our home and for my family and parental counseling of others.

I’d like to think that each year the material grew in parental-life wisdom as Shirley and I grew as parents. Our children are now 33 and 30. Our grandchildren are now 6, 4, and 2.

My prayer is that Raising Kids in the Way of Grace is a combination of biblical insight and parental wisdom—gained through over 3 decades of parenting, grand-parenting, teaching on parenting, and counseling families and parents.

Why This Book? Raising Kids in the Way of Grace 

When it comes to parenting, everyone longs for a how-to manual. And why not? Our world is all about works, performance, easy steps, and self-sufficiency.

While the Bible surely offers wise principles for parenting, it actually offers much more. The Bible offers grace for parents.

If you are a parent who is tired and heavy-laden, then come to Jesus who is gentle and gives you rest. Raising Kids in the Way of Grace helps parents not just to tap into Jesus’ wisdom, but even more, to tap into Jesus’ grace for family life.

So, I wrote Raising Kids in the Way of Grace so parents could learn 5 practical marks of grace-focused parenting. This mini-book builds upon Ephesians 6:4 and the surrounding context of Paul’s gospel-centered letter to develop these 5 marks of GRACE parenting:

  1. G—Mark 1: God-Dependent Parents—Parental Dedication
  2. R—Mark 2: Revelation-Based Parental Wisdom—Parental Discernment
  3. A—Mark 3: Affectionate and Affirming Grace Relationships—Parental Devotion
  4. C—Mark 4: Care-fronting Our Children’s Heart—Parental Discipline
  5. E—Mark 5: Equipping Our Children for the Race of Life—Parental Discipleship

What Is My Prayer for Raising Kids in the Way of Grace?

My prayer is that through Christ’s grace to us as parents we can raise GRACE-saturated kids in a results-driven world. Whatever else our children might need, we want their lives to be surrounded by grace and their hearts always attracted by and to Christ’s grace.

As Christians, we have first-hand experience of God’s amazing grace and love. But as parents, we can often be unsure about how to communicate Christ’s grace as we parent our children. We recognize that being a Christian parent means more than just taking our kids to church and opening up the Bible with them, but we can often feel unsure of exactly how being a Christian should impact our parenting.

Raising Kids in the Way of Grace blends practical principles and a focus on God-dependent living to explain how we can bring our knowledge and experience of God’s grace to bear on the daily joys and challenges of family life. It shows how we can mirror our heavenly Father through 5 marks of grace-focused parenting.

Short enough to read in one sitting, but packed with biblical wisdom, you’ll want to keep this book handy to dip into for counsel, encouragement, and support on your parenting journey.

How Can You Learn More and Order Raising Kids in the Way of Grace? 

You can visit my RPM Ministries Writing Page to learn more about Raising Kids in the Way of Grace.

You can read endorsements for Raising Kids in the Way of Grace here. Here’s one example from Pastor Jonathan Holmes:

“Personally, Bob is the guy I’d want to sit down with and learn from in my parenting journey; now you have the opportunity to do so as you read and drink in this grace-filled perspective on a perennially important topic.”

—Jonathan D. Holmes, Pastor of Counseling, Parkside Church; Executive Director, Fieldstone Counseling 

You can go here to download and read the Introduction: Our Parental Plea: “Give Me a Parenting How To Manual!”

And, you can buy an autographed copy of Raising Kids in the Way of Grace on sale at 20% off for just $3.99 at the secure and easy-to-use RPM Bookstore.

Meet Bob Kellemen: Bob is the Vice President of Strategic Development and Academic Dean at Faith Bible Seminary in Lafayette, Indiana. He is the Founder and CEO of RPM Ministries and also served as the Founding Executive Director of the Biblical Counseling Coalition. Bob has pastored three churches and equipped biblical counselors in each church. Bob and his wife, Shirley, have been married for thirty-six years; they have two adult children, Josh and Marie, one daughter-in-law, Andi, and three granddaughters, Naomi, Penny, and Phoebe. Dr. Kellemen is the author of thirteen books including Gospel-Centered Counseling.

Tell The Coming Generation (Sermon Video)

There is a well-known saying: youth are the future of the church. While I can understand the underlying sentiment, it paints an incomplete picture. Youth are not merely critical to the future life of the church; they are crucial to the current health of the church.

Recently, I preached on the importance of passing the gospel on from generation to generation. From Psalm 78:1-8, I pointed out this happens by:

  1. Hearing what God has said
  2. Handing on to the next generation what God has done
  3. Heeding the warning if we do not pass on these truths

The mission of Entrusted By God, in part, reflects this truth as we desire to equip the coming generation to steward the gospel. Within that, we see the goal of passing on the gospel is for the coming generation to place their hope in God (verses 6-7) and become a hopeful generation. I have provided the video of this message if you are interested in hearing how Psalm 78 calls us to this essential gospel work!

4 Things You Can Do Now to Prepare for Marriage

Where do you want to be in 10 years? Do you want to have a happy marriage and a family of your own by then? I know I certainly do. Preparing for your future family starts today. From an early age, my mom often reminded me…

The way you treat your family today is the way you’ll treat your family tomorrow.

Men, the way you treat your mom and sisters today is the way you’ll act toward your wife. Ladies, the way you treat your dad and brothers today is the way you’ll respond to your husband. Right now, you are building relational habits that you will carry into your own marriage and family. For better or for worse, you are pouring the concrete of your future home. You only have a brief window of opportunity to lay the foundation. Here are 4 relationship habits to form before the concrete sets. 

Communication

It’s the lifeblood of relationships, yet we often take it for granted. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21) Marriages wither and homes splinter because of poor communication. To have a happy home, we need to learn how to communicate well. What does the Bible teach us about communication? 

  • “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29)
  • “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19)
  • “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things…” (Ephesians 4:15, emphasis added)

When we practice speaking the truth in love, listening to others, and seeking to encourage others with our words, we can lay the groundwork for good communication in our future marriages.

Patience

Just as an oyster forms a beautiful pearl around an irritating grain of sand, God will help us produce the sweet fruit of patience as we encounter everyday irritations. Maybe a sister interrupts your brilliant, weighty thoughts (how dare she!) to ask for help with a math question. Or your perfectly laid plans go to ruin because of weather, vehicle breakdowns, or a sudden emergency. These situations require patience….not glamorous, noble patience, but ordinary, nobody-even-noticed patience. And that’s not even mentioning the patience required to keep obeying God when you can’t see past the next step!

In truth, every life stage requires patience. When you’re engaged and counting down the days till you walk the aisle, you’ll need to be patient. When you’re out of work and waiting for the phone to ring for an interview, you’ll need patience. When you’re eight months pregnant and can’t reach your toes, you’ll need patience. 

Whether married or single, parent or not, God has placed you on the potter’s wheel, and He is shaping your life into something exquisitely beautiful. Just be patient! James reminds us, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into diverse temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4). Patience is key to having a happy marriage someday.

Forgiveness

“A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers,” wrote Ruth Bell Graham. Even after salvation, we are still in the flesh, and we will make mistakes. The key to forgiving others is to remember how much God has forgiven us. Remember the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35? (If you aren’t familiar with it, take a moment to read it.) Too often, we act just like that servant. If we have believed in Jesus as our Savior and Lord, God has forgiven our debt for thousands of sins, more than we could ever count or remember. He has thrown our sins into the depths of the sea, and He will never bring them up again (Isaiah 38:17). 

But we, like the unforgiving servant, refuse to forgive a specific offense. Mentally, we build a little shrine to its memory and revisit it many times. We cling to anger, bitterness, and vengeful thoughts, never realizing that we are drinking poison. Yet God commands us to be, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (Colossians 3:13) Christ forgave us for everything. No exceptions. No reminders. No expiration date. By His grace, let’s go and do likewise. 

Selflessness

Brace yourself, because this is probably going to hurt. You’re really selfish. (And I am, too.) Because of our sin nature, humans are naturally self-centered. We tend to focus on our own goals, desires, and dreams and completely ignore the needs of the people around us. But, when we get married, we start to realize how selfish we really are. Gary and Betsy Ricucci write in their book Love that Lasts, “One of the best wedding gifts God gave you was a full-length mirror called your spouse.  Had there been a card attached, it would have said, ‘Here’s to helping you discover what you’re really like!’” Marriage helps people discover their faults, and selfishness is definitely at the top of that list.

To have a happy marriage tomorrow, we need to practice being unselfish, or selfless, today. Living within a family unit—whether we’re single or married—requires us to deny self in order to serve others. In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul describes the selfless attitude we need to practice, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Unselfishness is a tough pill to swallow (especially for millennials like us). In fact, it’s impossible without God’s help.

But God doesn’t expect us to be selfless in our own strength. Nor does He expect us to be naturally patient, forgiving, or skilled at communication. Rather, He calls us to be filled with the Spirit. That way, His selfless and agape love can flow like a rushing stream through our lives. His wisdom can fill our mouths. His patience can smooth the rough patches on life’s road. His forgiveness can heal our hurts and mend our relationships. 

If you want a happy marriage tomorrow, choose wise relationship habits today. Pour the concrete carefully. And, above all, learn to be filled with the Spirit. “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it…” (Psalm 127:1) When God builds your house, it will stand the test of time.

This post was written by Claudine Broussard. Claudine is a young writer from the East Coast. She is the co-author of Seeking Jesus: Stepping into a Life of Bold Surrender, Freedom, and Deep Joy and a copywriter/editor at Forward Marketing. In her free time, she enjoys playing music, serving in children’s ministries, and spending time with her family.

The One Sure View of Christ’s Return

One of the most hotly debated topics in theology among Christians surrounds the study of last times and things, or eschatology. These heated discussions typically address the event of the rapture and the timetable of the millennium, whether we are living in it now or if it is to come. For those who seem so sure of their eschatological view, uncertainty arises when all sides seem to use Scripture to make their arguments. They all agree on the second coming of Christ, but they differ on what it will be like and when it will happen. Yet, one aspect of Christ’s return is sure: who it will involve. When Christ returns, people from all nations will gather together to worship Christ, who alone is worthy of glory!

A Sure Salvation

This one sure view of Christ’s return is spoken by Christ Himself when He describes signs pointing to the end of the age, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). One of Jesus’s disciples, John, records the fulfillment of this prophecy in Revelation 7:9–10 where he witnesses the heavenly vision,

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Have you ever wondered why this vision of a heavenly worship service involves people from all tribes, tongues, and nations? It is because those are the people who Jesus died to save. Listen to the Apostle John speak of worshipping Christ two chapters earlier in Revelation 5:9–10,

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

Salvation belongs to God. Worthy alone is Jesus Christ. People saved from every tribe, tongue, and nation.

A Clear Command

If this reality is a sure view of Christ’s return, what does this mean for us as followers of Christ? First, we must recognize Christ’s command to His disciples in Matthew 28:18 is not a call to make disciples in general but to make disciples of all nations. Yes, we are to make disciples wherever we are, but we must also be aware and be involved in supporting and sending fellow brothers and sisters in Christ out to the ends of the earth for gospel ministry.

The Apostle Paul knew this and lived his life for this mission. He knew the only way sinners could call on the name of the Lord and be saved was through hearing and believing the message of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (see Romans 10:9–15). It is with this mindset he writes to the Romans and says, “I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation” (Romans 15:20).

A Great Need

You may say, “That was nearly 2,000 years ago! Are there really still places and people who have not heard of Christ?” The sobering truth is “Yes!” The reality is around 500 people groups have little to no Christian presence and no one is reaching out to them. In India alone, 495,000 villages have no Christian presence among them. Worldwide there are nearly 2,500,000,000 people who have seldom if ever heard the name of Jesus. Without hearing the name of Jesus, they cannot call upon the name of Jesus. Without calling upon the name of Jesus, they will remain in their sins and face an eternity in hell.

That is why May 20 has been designated the International Day for the Unreached. The heavenly vision reveals this salvation is sure. The Scripture shows the command is clear. The lost world shares the need is great. The hills we die on in eschatology should not be on the secondary specific details of Christ’s return but on the souls Christ has died to save. May our lives be lived on mission toward this vision.

For information on how you can get involved and resources you can share, visit https://dayfortheunreached.org/.

My Real Issue with Hallmark Movies

This article is an adapted excerpt from Theron’s book, Something More: Finding the Joy and Purpose of Life and is available for purchase here.

My family enjoys watching Hallmark movies. They love seeing a romance commence, develop, and bloom. When yet another movie premieres, my loved ones anticipate the time to set aside to view it. I, on the other hand, can be less than enthusiastic about such movies. If you were to ask me, “Why?” my formal response would go, “Because I don’t like chick flicks!” However, an honest reply tells a different story.

Exposing My Soul

My apparent resistance toward and beef with Hallmark movies or any “chick flick” type movie is not due to the unrealistic nature of its endings or its definition of love, although those reasons are topics worth discussing. Rather, my struggle with Hallmark movies stems from the vulnerability it exposes in my soul. As an unmarried person, I aspire one day to be married. As a single person, I desire to enter the realm of a romantic relationship. Yet, none of this has happened for me. So, guess what happens when I sit with the family and watch on-screen two people develop a love for each other culminating in a romantic relationship? My longings for love and a romantic relationship come to light and consume me.

Expectations Unmet

When longings for love and a relationship consume me, my thoughts fixate on the reality of my relationship status. Watching romantic comedies inclines my heart toward desires for romance. Seeing couples together intensifies my longing for love. And, as a single, these contexts provide the reminder my desires and longings have been unmet. The result is I begin to let it take over as my primary identity. As I allow myself to be defined by my relationship status, I answer, “A single and unmarried person,” when asked, “Who am I?” My plea becomes, “If only I had a woman, then I would be happy” as if my main problem in life is I am single and the solution to my problem is marriage. The truth is my problem runs much deeper.

Examining the Problem

My main problem is not singleness. My main problem is sin. This sin has manifested itself through my controlling desire to seek after marriage for a purpose and joy that only a relationship with God in Christ can fulfill. Don’t mishear me. The desire for marriage is not the problem. To desire marriage is a good thing which will bring joy, and marriage itself is a gift from God (see Genesis 2:18–25). The problem in my pursuit for marriage is it has become a consuming desire, where the quality of life depends on my relationship or marital status, singleness viewed as the worst nightmare and marriage viewed as the most wonderful dream. When my desire for a romantic relationship rules my heart, I misplace my worship and misunderstand my identity.

Encouraged in the Gospel

Marriage is a good desire, but it should not be our greatest desire. Our greatest desire in life as we search for purpose and joy is found in a relationship with the One who has given us life. God has created us for His glory and has given us eternal life and joy through the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. “In Christ” we discover our primary identity (2 Corinthians 5:17) and find the solution to our greatest problem (2 Corinthians 5:18–21). While Hallmark movies may remind me of my longing for love, the hallmark of my life will be the love God has shown me in Christ.

Join the Conversation

How can you relate to Theron’s story? What area of life seems to rule your heart and desires?