Marriage Matters – Parenting the Strong-Willed Child

In August I wrote the following: “Children need strong attachment bonds in order to develop into healthy adults.

I often hear from parents who are frustrated because they don’t know how to handle their strong-willed child. They are concerned that the “battle of wills” will come against the need for a strong attachment bond.

It is not the authority that is the problem, but how authority is communicated.

Strong-willed children do not despise or have problems with authority, but they reflect a need for control and love. Strong-willed children are well versed with the letter of the law and are usually a couple of steps ahead of their parents. But, positive communications leads to gaining the respect of the strong-willed child.

Message to parents: It is not the authority that is the problem, but how authority is communicated. If you pull the authority trip and say, “You will be doing this. End of discussion” then you are doomed.

The relationship is the most important thing.

Strategies: Choose your battles, don’t make everything a big deal. Decide what you are going to go to the wall for. Back off on everything else. You are not going to get everything. Decide what you can’t live without.

Make sure that your strong-willed child knows that your love is unconditional.

If you don’t demonstrate an unconditional love for them as a parent, then they can’t possibly believe that there is a God in heaven that has unconditional love for them as a child.

You have an incredible advantage. You serve a heavenly Father, Creator, and Designer. God, Himself, fills the place you might have missed. His mercy, grace and strength give you the will to go on.

It is not mistake that God gave you a strong-willed child!

Do you have a strong-willed child? How have you been handling things? Comment below.

Missions Sunday – Recap

A few weeks ago, we hosted a special missions-emphasis Sunday at Grace Point. It was awesome! We had 13 of our global partners present who represented a variety of ministries, from ministering to our nation’s military personnel to mobilizing new teachers to serve in schools around the world, from working locally in Lower Bucks County with troubled and at-risk youth to working in the Arabian Peninsula.

The energy on Sunday morning was inspiring! Compassion’s Virtual Reality tour of Haiti was neat. (Not for those who get motion sickness, though!) To see folks chatting and meeting our global partners in the foyer was also a great encouragement, knowing that relationships were being developed or started. Relationships that would lead to prayer support or financial support.

In The Commons we had flags from all over the world – each one representing a country where either used to have or currently have a missionary serving. We also got to hear from a small sampling of our missionaries about a life lesson they’ve learned from working on the mission field. It was encouraging to hear and see that missionaries are normal people, like you and me. And they face some of the same kids of things we do…just in a different country.

Really, that’s why we do missions Sundays. To build relationships, hear how God is at work around the world, and to be reminded that missionaries are just like you and me.

What was your favorite part of our Missions Sunday?

VBS: How To Pray In the Days That Follow

When we speak truth to kids, we can rest assured that His Word will not return void. He will accomplish the work that He has set out to do in His time (Isaiah 55:11 paraphrased).  This reminder should be our prayer going forward.

  • That God will accomplish His work in the lives of all who were touched because of  His work at Vacation Bible School this year.

The way a kid sees God now is foundational and shapes their understanding of who God is for a lifetime. They need to see God in all his amazing power, holiness, grace, and never failing love.  We strived to do just that during our week together at VBS.  His light shone bright through all of those dedicated to the ministry.  God’s truth, power and love was poured out to the families who attended.

  • Pray they will know Him and seek community with those who know Him.

Here are a few snapshots of our week together.  We hope you will pray over these children and their families with us!

A Great Reminder in the Midst of Seeming Chaos

Unless you live under a rock (not judging you if you do), you’ll know that the news and media outlets are chock-full of headlines regarding growing tensions between North Korea, the United States, and the United Nations.

Regardless of whether or not we believe they should be met with “fire and fury,” I feel we have a responsibility as followers of Jesus. Pray. Do not fear. Trust God.

As you may know, Grace Point is part of Converge, a network of churches working to start and strengthen churches together. Converge’s president, Scott Ridout, recently published a great reminder for us all regarding the current global political scene.

It’s worth the read. Find it here.

Fostering Secure Attachments

I often wonder what the world will be like 10-20 years from now. I do know that if major Family Life changes are not addressed the future will be very difficult. Children need strong attachment bonds in order to develop into healthy adults.

This is a message to all the parents on how to develop healthy attachments in your family:
1. Spend “one-on-one time” with each of your children. Enter into their world. Get to know what makes them special.
2. Children react differently to emotional issues. Help your children get in touch with their emotions by putting words to what they are experiencing.
3. Provide your children with an environment that is predictable and consistent.
4. Create a stable family life by balancing work with family time. Establish rituals and traditions.
5. Establish a self-care system for your spouse and you. Parent’s emotional state influences your children’s development.

Looking ahead, Grace Point will resume the weekly marriage and family classes on September 10th at 9 am in rooms A1 -2. In the fall, we will concentrate on the topic “Life Change: addressing all the issues that keep up from having meaningful relationships with God and others.”

Please contact Pastor Chuck for specifics.
215-858-0879
carnold@gracepointpa.org

Starving for Relationships

I grew up in Union City New Jersey in the 40’s and 50’s. My family lived in what was known as a “cold Water Flat.” We walked a half mile to school each day (no school buses). We had lots of friends and knew the parents and siblings of each of our friends. We did not have air conditioning, color TV’s, or any of the fancy gadgets that are part of our culture today. After school, we could be found outside playing a variety of sports and would only come home for supper. What we did have is a loving family and a very stable environment. Words such a divorce, depression, boredom etc. were never part of our vocabulary.

Today our children are struggling with so many issues. 40% of today’s children live in a home without a father present. This effects their relationships with others and God. One in three girls are sexually abused by the time they are 18 by someone they are supposed to be able to love and trust. The divorce rate is over 50%; combined with separations, over 70% of marriages have failed. Families are on the move; so, friendships come and go. 56% of children under the age of 6 have both parents working outside the home (19% in the 50’s). Alcoholic homes affect 26 million children.

All of the above dictates how children (especially teens) will function in today’s world. They learn to escape through the internet, drugs, alcohol, sex, and basically avoiding meaningful relationships.

Every child needs and deserves at least one person in their life who is crazy about them and can confirm their personal value and worth.

Looking ahead, Grace Point will resume the weekly marriage and family classes on September 10th at 0900 in rooms A1 -2.

In the fall, we will concentrate on the topic; “Life Change”: addressing all the issues that keep us from having meaningful relationships with God and others.

GP Kids Parenting – Importance of Play

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” -George Bernard Shaw

Most of us have probably heard that quote before. As adults, we can forget how important playtime is to kids. We live in a time of rushing and busyness: rushing to get from place to place and rushing our kids to grow up. Sometimes we forget to let our child just be a kid.

Take a few minutes and check out this month’s parenting class on playtime. We explore why play is so important for our kids. Later this month, we will dig deeper and explore creative ideas for kids and suggestions for parents.

https://vimeo.com/parentministry/review/107774699/a835499b54

Staying Connected During the Summer

Summer is here and vacations are in full swing!

While we and our families are heading to the beach, the boardwalk, and other great destinations, there’s a lot happening at Grace Point this summer. With VBS quickly approaching and Greg Shelton (our new Youth Pastor) and his family soon to arrive, you won’t want to miss a thing!

Here are a few ways that you can stay connected:

  1. Subscribe to our GP News List – This is the primary way that we send out announcements and other key news items. You can sign-up for GP News or any of our other email lists using this form.
  2. Listen Online – Each week (typically on Mondays) we post the messages
    Watching Jesus in His every day life helps us find Him in ours.

    from our Sunday morning services on our website. You can stay current with our current series, Every Day Jesus, and listen while your cycling down the boardwalk, sunbathing, or watching the kiddos in the pool!

  3. Follow us on Facebook – On our Facebook page, we’ll often post updates, events, pictures, and other encouraging posts to help you along the way in becoming more following Jesus.
  4. Follow our Blog – You’re here already! Great!
  5. We’re also on InstagramFollow us on Instagram for updates and pictures of encouragement and events.

Know that our staff are praying for you and your families this summer! Have a great week!

June Ministry Celebration recap

On Sunday evening we held our June Ministry Celebration and Business Meeting. It was an encouraging evening celebrating what God has been doing at Grace Point!

Here are some of the highlights:

  • We celebrated those who have taken the step of baptism this past year, by re-watching the video of Craig Stranahan being baptized in December!
  • Josh DeLeo was recognized for his faithful service in the A/V area, as he is stepping down to devote more time to his family.
  • Three staff members were recognized for their loyal service: JoAnn McDowell (17 years), Darrell Benjamin (15 years), and Steve Weir (15 years). Kudos to each of these special people for their vital contributions to our church family!
  • The Youth Pastor Search Team, and in particular Scott Leuz who served as chair, were recognized for their hard work in helping us find our new Youth Pastor, Greg Shelton. The Youth Transition Team was recognized for doing a great job keeping GP Youth going strong over the past year, thanking point person Bill Wright, along with Martin Hack, Matt Gibson, and John Kindred. And we celebrated the news that God provided a buyer for the Sheltons’ house in just over a week!
  • Charlie and Shirley McDonough were welcomed as new members to the church.
  • We heard a testimony from Julia Bonner, who took the three month “tithing challenge,” and shared how much God taught her through that experience.
  • Bill Wright, Director of Administration shared a financial update. Although giving is under budget, expenses have been less than giving and so we expect to end the fiscal year in the black – praise the Lord! For the first time in several years, giving has not declined from the past year but has leveled out. In addition to general fund giving, we have seen generosity demonstrated in special ways such as the Christmas and Easter offerings. Thanks to all who are practicing steady stewardship and gutsy generosity!
  • Dave Wolf, Senior Pastor, gave an update on the work staff is doing to develop strategies, goals, and objectives to address a central issue: helping people move from being me-centered to Christ-centered. The staff’s proposed goals and objectives will be reviewed by the elders later this month.
  • Glenn Ely, Elder Chair, led us in a vote that unanimously approved the 2017-18 budget, two new Management Committee members,
    • Treasurer: Tom Ames
    • Member-at-Large: Jan Haas
      and two other vital serving roles:
    • Church Clerk: Lynne Holmes
    • Head Teller: Dave Hefty (second 3 year term)
  • Glenn gave two elder updates: Jim Weber and Keith Brown will be observing a sabbatical year beginning July 1; and our two new elders, Dave Kneller and Rich Speeney, will begin their terms July 1. Jay Button is also planning a three month sabbatical, to begin in late August, pending final elder approval this month.

Praise the Lord for His work among us!

Your Husband Needs to be Cherished Too

When I meet with a couple for marriage or pre-marriage counseling I talk about the husband’s role in cherishing their spouse or future spouse. I also share with the wife or future wife the importance of valuing her husband. In today’s society, the issue of a wife cherishing her husband is rarely addressed.

A man is a person with feelings and a heart that can be broken. He is a person who experiences life much deeper than what we can see on the outside. Husbands long for their wives to connect with them at a deep level. Not only do they ask for respect but they want their wives to encourage their spirit. A wife embracing her husband is not just a matter of tolerating his behavior, but truly valuing the makeup of his personality and the positive things he has to offer.

As I talk to men I have learned about a few issues that they want their wives to know.

  1. Stop nagging
    It doesn’t matter what words are coming out of her mouth, most of the time a husband hears, “You are not good enough.” Proverbs 27:15 says, “A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike.”
  2. Verbalize your appreciation
    Wise words build up. Learn ways to encourage your husband. James 3:3-5 reminds us of the power of the tongue.
  3. Connect with him emotionally
    Support him with your presence. Make him feel important. It’s not easy for a man to expose who he is underneath his tough exterior. He would be willing to do so if he can trust you to take care of his heart and not take advantage of it.

In September of 2016 Grace Point started a new ministry focusing on Marriage and Family issues. During the summer months, I will be putting together various seminars on the topics of marriage, relationships and family issues. These Sunday sessions will begin on September 10th at 9am.

If you have a specific topic you would like to see addressed, please contact me this summer. My email is: carnold@gracepointpa.org.

Have a wonderful summer with your family and friends!