Homeschool Peptalk with Eliza Huie

Eliza Huie is the Director of Counseling at McLean Bible Church in Virginia. She and her husband Ken have three grown children and a wonderful daughter-in-law. Eliza balanced homeschooling and work-life for several years while their kids were growing up.

Eliza’s first piece of advice? Take a deep breath, relax. Realize that we are all figuring this out at the same time, together. Manage your expectations. You are not expected to create a school in your home. Aim to help your child retain what they have already learned in school, not start a whole new curriculum.

Your kids may not remember the academic worksheets and drills that you do. They will remember and appreciate the stories you read, the activities you do, and the time you spend together during this time. It is a great opportunity to instill what we really want them to take away from this unique period in their lives.

Let your day work for your family. Don’t feel restricted or pressured by regular school hours. Homeschooling gives you the chance to consider yourself and your child and the best times of the day for learning. Consider each family member’s needs, including your own.

Allow time for work and play. Don’t forget social time. If they can call a friend or connect online, schedule that into their day. If at all possible, try to take a short walk with only one child at a time. Talk to them about how they are coping. Let them ask you questions without having someone barging in and interrupting your heart to heart conversation.

Look at this time as an opportunity to build a relationship with your children in a unique way. It is an opportunity to parent in a different way than you’ve been doing before, but you are still parenting on purpose.

Remember that even without realizing it, your children have been learning from you all their lives. They learn from what they observe from you and how you communicate and connect with them. Beyond textbooks and school, life lessons are some of the most important things they learn from you everyday.

Covid-19: Wisdom for Thriving from a Parent in Lockdown with Virgil Tanner

Virgil Tanner has been married for 20 years and is a father of four. He and his family have lived on three continents and he is currently based in Spain where he oversees strategy and global operations for a non-profit with hundreds of staff scattered all over the world.

It is possible to thrive in lockdown. It is possible to thrive in uncertainty.

You can thrive spiritually by:

  1. Withdraw – Allow yourself to pull away from the people you are on lockdown with and from distractions to create space where you can listen to Jesus.
  2. Gather – Jesus touches us when we gathered. Find ways, with social distance, to connect with people so you can connect deeply with Jesus, together.
  3. Obey – Listen to God’s call, obey, and reflect on what you’ve learned from obeying Him.

Health is incredibly vital during the lockdown. You can thrive physically by:

  1. Eat – Be intentional about what you put in your body. Boost your immune system with vitamins and minerals.
  2. Move – Have a regular movement practice with active intentional action. 30 minutes of high intensity exercise every day is the best way to fight depression and anxiety.
  3. Recover – Notice your energy levels and get the right amount of sleep, not too much and not too little. Right now, adjusting and coping to our new work and life situation can be more tiring than usual. Be intentional about giving yourself more time to rest.

You can thrive cognitively and emotionally by:

  1. Learn – Keep your brain active by presenting your mind with something novel.
  2. Focus – Be selective about when you are going to think of certain things. Know when not to put things in your head and the kinds of things that you shouldn’t put in your head. This also makes space for you to feel necessary feelings.
  3. Play – Schedule play into your day. We are at our most human when we are at play. It helps to play together as a family.

Most importantly, be intentional about lowering the bar for yourself during this challenging time. Right now, everyone’s capacity is diminished. Try hard to do yourself, but cut yourself some slack.

Survival Guide: Resilient Faith with AM Brewster

So many things are rapidly changing in our world today, especially with the coronavirus, and one of the most pertinent and relevant topics that we can talk about is living out resilient faith.

As our kids grow up, their faith is going to be put through the ringer. They will go through tragedy, disappointments, and failures. Your kids don’t just need to have faith. They need to have a resilient faith.

Faith isn’t knowledge. To know something isn’t to believe something. Faith isn’t feeling. Faith is not a version of hope. Most of all, faith is not without an object. It has to be rooted in something. It also cannot be detached from a change in lifestyle.

Faith is a conscious choice to accept something as true, even if there is no “proof.” We cannot have eternal life without faith. At the same time, faith is absolutely necessary for everyday life.

Faith is a complicated concept and as parents, you have to make sure that your kids have the right understanding of what faith is. Aaron shares different kinds of faith that you might encounter:

  • Damning faith – when faith is confused with knowledge or feeling, and has no object. It is a pseudo faith that leads to death eternal because it is nothing but an intellectual acquisition of ideas.
  • Deceiving faith – this is dangerous because it is not completely false. It is a partial faith that believes in elements of things found in the bible, but misses out on the core things necessary for salvation.
  • Saving faith – a gift of the Holy Spirit bestowed on men called to salvation.
  • Sanctifying faith – everyday life faith that lets you glorify God right now. The more you have this type of faith, the more you grow.

How can you cultivate faith in your children?

  • Remember and celebrate the times of God’s faithfulness in the past, not only in the bible stories, but in your own family’s journey.
  • Increase your faith by increasing your obedience.
  • Have faith for the next step and watch how God comes through.

Survival Guide: Transforming Gospel

The transforming gospel is one of most important topics that we can talk about. It is the story of Jesus and it is what will most transform our families.

We often turn to the Bible to find ourselves in the different figures of the Bible stories. But, remember, we are not the central figure of the gospel.

The Bible is about the story of God, from creation to the fall, promise, struggle, redemption, and then recreation. The gospel is about God.

The gospel is about God’s promise made through the prophets and the scriptures. It is God’s promise of salvation to you and me.

The gospel, at its very core is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Gospel means “good news.” The gospel is the power of God for salvation. The good news is dynamite – explosive power. The gospel tells us that Jesus paid the full price and it is His power that saves us.

The gospel reveals not only the righteousness of God, but also the depth of love for God.

Most of all, the gospel is from faith to faith. It is your faith in Jesus that saves you, but more so, it is that faith that sustains you.

How does this change your parenting? You need to be able to help your children understand the wide view of the gospel; the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

Help them navigate the chaotic world with the knowledge that God has always been faithful to His people, even through the worst of times.

Even more importantly, be liberated by the notion that you are living the transforming gospel. Because Jesus rose from the dead, you can have grace with yourself and in your parenting. Know that you will mess up and your kids will too, but you can still show them the consistent and persistent love of Jesus.

If you can live the transforming gospel in your home, you and your family can rest in the grace of Jesus.

Survival Guide: Ultimate Authority with AM Brewster

Today’s guest, Aaron Brewster, has been a biblical counselor for over 10 years. The past 5 of those years were spent at Victory Academy for Boys where he worked with at-risk teens and their families. He now works full time as the Executive Director of Truth.Love.Parent. where he writes, speaks, counsels, and hosts its podcast. Truth.Love.Parent. is a ministry dedicated to serving the Lord by equipping dads and moms to be the intentional, premeditated, disciple-making, Ambassador Parents God called and created them to be. Aaron, his wife, and their two children live in a multi-generational home with his parents in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

Aaron reminds us, all 66 books of the bible are divinely inspired by God. That means that they are valuable to us. It is an extension of God’s character. God’s word is our ultimate authority. Everything that God wants us to know is found in there.

Parents should understand that the bible is not a rulebook. It’s an invitation to a vibrant relationship with God, Aaron says. Your children shouldn’t want to obey because of rules, but because they love Him and they want to please Him.

Help you children discover God’s will for your lives. Start simple with the clear commands stated in the bible and with scripture. From there, know that the whole bible is the will of God for your life and your children’s lives.

Your children should know God and love God. It is their love for Him is going to deter them from sin, not the fear of its consequences.

Parenting is just like pastoring. You need to take God’s word and make it understandable and applicable to our audience. Don’t think that you have to reserve a part of the bible for when your kids get older. Rather, find ways to apply the biblical concepts to your child’s experiences right now.


The Coronavirus, Anxiety, and Jesus

We are living in unprecedented times. Things may be terrifying and uncertain and we can become incredibly anxious, but we can find refuge in the Word of God.

This year I’ve committed myself to memorizing and meditating on the Sermon on the Mount. I’m at chapter six right now and right in the middle of it, Jesus starts a passage on worry and anxiety that is so appropriate for what we are going through today.

One of the reasons for people’s anxiety right now is the economy tanking. It reveals that our hope was set in these treasures that we stored up. Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.” (Matthew 6:21)

If all your hope has been in your financial plan, your heart must be a mess right now. The more you spend time working to acquire treasure in heaven – investing in people, investing the Kingdom of God, that treasure has its eternal reward.

Jesus says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” (Matthew 6:22-23) 

Right now, we are bombarded with information about the pandemic. If you read or watch the news and reports over and over throughout the day, you are investing in anxiety and worry. Instead, set a time and check the news then. Go about the rest of your day. What you’re watching and listening to will feed your soul.

Jesus says do not be anxious about your life. He preached it to severely persecuted and oppressed people in occupied Rome and he tells it to us now.

Jesus gives us several reasons why we should not worry:

  • Do not be anxious about food or clothing because your life is more than food and your body is more than clothing. Your life is more than your mortgage and your car payment. It might be hard and unideal, but we will make it through.
  • Look at the birds that God has provision for. If God provides for the birds, He is going to take care of you.
  • Worrying does not extend your life. As a matter of fact, worry shortens your life. In fact, worry robs you of your life right now.
  • God clothes flowers in beauty and splendor. In the same way God will provide for you. You are of more value to God than a weed or flower.
  • The people that don’t know God spend their time worrying about these things.
  • Instead of being anxious, seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
  • “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” (Matthew 6:34) Most of the time that we are crushed by anxiety does not usually have to do with the present, but with worries about tomorrow and the day after that. But if you think about whether God has provided for today, the answer is always yes.
  • There is going to be trouble today. When you realize that you can’t do it all, you aren’t just saved by the gospel, but sustained by the gospel. Our troubles in our daily lives should drive us back to Jesus.

Now that many of us may have much more time on our hands, maybe it is a good time to start memorizing Jesus’ words on anxiety.

During this time, drive yourself back to God’s word, ask for grace for today, and seek to be a blessing to God and to those around you instead of giving in to worry, fear and anxiety. We’re going to get through this.

Survival Guide God Centered Identity

It is crucial for us and for young people to understand who we are as far as being made in the image of God and to have parameters to understand what it means to be a biblical man or woman.

Today, the world is so crazy that it seems like everything is changing so rapidly and it feels like words don’t mean a thing. Truth is so incredibly relative.

On social media, young people are constantly bombarded with messages that skew who they are and who they think they should be. Our kids often end up not knowing what they are about and they need a vision and direction.

Help your children understand who they are – Are you your job? Your possessions? Your body? No. Center yourself and your children on your biblical identity.

Here are three crucial concepts in understanding biblical identity:

  1. The most core identity that we have is being made in the image of God. Who you are isn’t centered on what you look like, your talents, nor your family, but on whose you are. Humanity is the crown of God’s handiwork. Your children are the crown of God’s handiwork. With bullying and other outside factors in the society that take a toll on their self-image and self-worth, it may be difficult for them to grasp. But, if they understand this, it will make them secure in their priceless identity.
  2. Give your children a vision of manhood. It has nothing to do with what they world and society dictates as manly and macho. This is an image pulled from scripture. What makes for a REAL man? A real man:
    • Rejects passivity
    • Expects God’s greater reward
    • Accepts responsibility
    • Leads courageously
  3. Give your children a vision of womanhood. A woman is not second class to men. A woman has equal dignity and equal value as an image-bearer of God. What makes for a REAL woman? A real woman:
    • Rejects worldly identity
    • Expects God’s greater reward
    • Acts with strength and wisdom
    • Loves others boldly.

These are things that your children need not only before they leave the house, but as early as middle school. Constantly remind them that their core identity is that they are made in the image of God and being a real man and real woman comes with the reward of God.

Survival Guide: Biblical Literacy

Biblical literacy is not just being able to read the bible. It’s understanding what the bible is about.

Foster a robust foundation and understanding of what the bible is so that you and your children can have confidence in it. This is important because it is God’s word and the bible says the word of God is living and active.

The bible is not just one book. It is a collection 66 books written by 40 different authors over a span of about 1,000 years! It was inspired by the Holy Spirit, through the words of men.

The bible has so many different types of literature – poetry, prose, letters, allegory – and it could be difficult if you don’t understand the context. It is the story of God from many different human perspectives, but also a unified story of the redemption by Jesus of a people of God.

There are several resources that you can use to instill biblical literacy in your children. Among those that I’ve found useful are:

  • 66 Books in the Bible – a super catchy song that will help them memorize the books of the bible.
  • The Bible Project – one of the most powerful tools for older kids to adults. They have a seven to ten minute animated overview of every book and themes of the bible.
  • The Radical Book for Kids – a good resources for talking to especially inquisitive kids who have questions about faith.
  • The Jesus Storybook Bible – is great for younger kids, covering all the major stories from the old and new testaments and it ties all the stories back to Jesus.
  • Blazing Trees – you can find several helpful resources including a series of stick figures drawings that can help teach bible stories and bible themes. Your children can also draw their own bible stories with stick figures and you’ll be surprised how easy it becomes for them to recall the story based on their drawings.

Kids today are less and less familiar with the bible. The younger your kids memorize the books of the bible, the easier it will be for them to explore and study it.

Survival Guide: Moral Boundaries

What is the real reason why our children should want purity? It’s not enough to just tell them that they need to do it. Understanding the reason behind it is what will really ensure that they will pursue purity in a meaningful and lasting way.

Like in the previous episode on Wise Choices, we reiterate that a wise person makes moral judgements and installs moral guardrails before feelings get turned up high.

Guardrails are put up so we don’t fall of the side of a cliff. In the same way, in our lives there will be times that you are HALT – hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. At these times, your temptation level will be higher than normal. Hopefully, before that happens, you’ve been able to put up your moral guardrails already.

The things that you take pleasure in are created by God. If you eat something delicious, marvel at that fact that God created everything from the ingredients to your taste buds that help you experience this pleasure.

God created sex and knows about it more than anyone. He’s the one that created it for your pleasure and ultimately it should be something that causes us to worship God for the wonder and majesty of what he created. But there is something even better than sex – that’s intimacy.

Intimacy is the joy of knowing someone and being fully known without fear of rejection. We have a deep longing for intimacy with each other and with God.

Sex and intimacy are connected. Sex is not just something physical, but something that is primarily relational. Our children live in a culture that teaches otherwise.

Help young people establish guardrails to live by:

  1. The further you go, the faster you go.
  2. The further you go, the further you want to go.
  3. The further you go, the harder it is to go back once you’ve crossed some boundaries.
  4. Where you draw the line determines three things:
    • The arena of your temptation
    • The intensity of your temptation
    • The consequences of giving in to your temptation

Great sex is a byproduct of maximum intimacy. Purity paves the way for intimacy.