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Answering Your Kids’ Tough Faith Questions

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Answering Your Kids’ Tough Faith Questions

Natasha Crain helps parents strengthen their children's Christian beliefs in a discussion based on her book Keeping Your Kids on God's Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith.

Original Air Date: January 13, 2020

Today's Guests

Episode Summary

Natasha Crain helps parents strengthen their children's Christian beliefs in a discussion based on her book Keeping Your Kids on God's Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith.

Original Air Date: January 13, 2020

Episode Transcript

Excerpt:

Natasha Crain: But the number one thing I would say to any parent who feels overwhelmed is to take one step. If you recognize that this is important, and it’s something that you have to do – because there’s nothing more important than raising your kids to know and love the Lord – then do something. Whatever it is, do that one thing. And when you are equipped yourself, then you’re in the position to equip your kids with this understanding so that they’re better prepared today.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Natasha Crain is with us today on Focus on the Family. And your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: You know, John, so many of us ask that question. If I could talk to God face-to-face, this would be the question I would ask him. I think one I truly would is, what can I do to ensure my boys hold fast to their faith in you? And I’m imagining the Lord might say, “Well, Jim” – put his arm around me – “That’s actually my job (laughter), but you can do some things to help me.” And that’s what we’re going to discuss today. In Deuteronomy 6, we are commanded to teach God’s word diligently to our children. So that’s it right there. That’s kind of the answer to that question. Teach them wisely. But in the end, God is the one who will draw them to him. And we need to remember that. We want to speak to some of those core conversations you need to make sure you have with your children today. And we have a wonderful guest to guide us through this.

John: Yes, and Natasha Crain is with us. You may remember her as one of our “Best of 2019” guests featured just last month. And Natasha is a Christian apologist, and she’s passionate about helping, particularly, parents feel confident in their Biblical knowledge so they can pass that along to their kids and raise strong believers.

She’s a mom, herself, of three young kids, including twins! And Natasha has written a book called Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith. And of course, we have that book at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Natasha, it’s great to have you back here at Focus.

Natasha: Hey, thank you so much. It’s great to be back.

Jim: You haven’t always been, I guess, a formal Christian apologist. But I like the concept that parents need to become that so that they can pass their faith onto their children. But it sounds intimidating. So how did – how and when, I guess, did you realize I don’t have enough in the tank to really share with my own children?

Natasha: Well, this was the day where I look back and that was the “aha” moment for me of I don’t know what I’m doing as a parent. And I think we all have those moments at various times in our parenting. But for me it’s like this – this picture in my mind of them lying on this little blanket in our living room…

Jim: (Laughter) I remember those days.

Natasha: Yes, exactly. And so, these two little 4-month-old babies are looking up at me, and their eyes are kind of expectantly searching mine as if they’re waiting for something. So, I go through this mental checklist. And I’m thinking, OK, is it time to eat? No. Time to sleep? No, I just changed their diapers. Well, what do you need from me then? And it just kind of hit me like a ton of bricks that, OK, of course parenting’s about so much more than taking care of their physical needs. But until that time, those first 4 months, that’s really what most of it was. And I kind of thrived in that zone. I liked it. It was my controlled home environment. I’m a Type A, take charge kind of person. And so, I liked that it was predictable and that I could just come up with these schedules. You’re gonna eat here. You’re going to sleep here. It was very comfortable to me.

Jim: Well, tired moms, it’s hard – you know, they’re listening – it’s hard to really express that it actually is gonna get more difficult (laughter). This is the easy moment when you…

Natasha: Yeah, don’t say that. That’s a secret. Don’t say that.

Jim: …Changing diapers and feeding them and burping them at 2 in the morning. Oh, this is the easy time. Enjoy it, no.

Natasha: That’s right.

Jim: You had an experience – and I love this – it actually started a conversation as we were looking at the book in the show prep and all that amongst the team here, your swim instruction experience. And we all started sharing ours. I’m sure the listeners would do that. Come, and share your experience teaching your kids how to swim. But what happened – this is so cute – what happened when you were trying to teach your 4-year olds how to swim?

Natasha: Yeah, so when my twins were 4, we went on a family vacation. And so, we took the opportunity to take them down to the swimming pool and of course try to get them to learn how to swim. So, I’m working with my son…

Jim: Starfish.

(LAUGHTER)

Natasha: …Yeah, exactly. I’m working with my son. And I keep telling him, “OK, now hold your breath and go underwater and kind of swim to me.” And he was getting the mechanics of it. He was moving his arms and his legs, I think. But every time he would come up out of the water, he’s choking, and water’s coming out of his mouth and his nose, and he’s crying. And this goes on for a couple of days. And I’m getting more and more frustrated, as I know all parents can understand when they’re trying to teach their kids how to swim.

And that was another light bulb moment for me because after having told him so many times, “Hold your breath,” I finally looked him and I said, “Wait a second, Buddy. Do you know what it means to hold your breath?” And he burst into tears, and he said, “No, I don’t know what it means. What does breath mean?”

Jim: (Laughter) That is so awesome. It’s, like, so basic.

Natasha: Oh, it’s so basic, right? But we – we use words all the time without thinking that, you know, our kids don’t know what they mean. And of course, when they’re young, that happens a lot more…

Jim: Sure!
Natasha: … because they’re learning vocabulary and things like that. But I think the principle applies so much as kids get older. And we use a lot of words, especially when it comes to faith, that we assume come loaded with this meaning that we know about but that they haven’t really understood yet. So, you know, words like Christianity and faith and salvation, all these things, they don’t necessarily get it at the same level.

Jim: What a beautiful way to express that, you know, that some kids, depending upon their age, 7, 8, 9 years old, when you say certain things, the Christianese things…

Natasha: Yes.

Jim: … they’re not necessarily gonna know what you’re talking about. No, Mommy, what is breath (laughter)?

Natasha: Exactly.

Jim: How do I hold it?

Natasha: Right, and without just assuming.

Jim: I can just see a 4-year-old saying that.

Natasha: And you feel horrible as a parent, right? I’ve been putting my kid through this for two days where he’s coming up choking and it’s all because of…

John: And almost drowning him.

Natasha: …I know. OK, now you’re making it worse (laughter).

Jim: I can remember saying to Trent or Troy, one of them, “Come on. Just hold your breath. Put your head underwater. Come on. We can do this.”

Natasha: Right.

Jim: I was getting frustrated, too. Did you have that…

John: Never. Oh, no, just five or six times.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: It’s just one of the funniest things to teach your kid how to swim. I mean, it’s so much fun. Let’s jump into these tough questions. And I love the way you’ve set up your book, Keeping Your Kids On God’s Side. Um, you know, we’re going to get into the whole thing that obviously God, ultimately, is responsible for drawing your children to him. But that assist to live in a good home where the Lord is lifted up and hopefully there’s limited failure in terms of hypocrisy and all those things, your kids can see your faith in action. That’s probably critical, right?

Natasha: Oh, absolutely. If we’re not modeling faith in front of them, then why are they going to have reason to believe that Christianity really matters at the end of the day?

Jim: I think when you get to the teen years, that’s probably the most important thing that they see your faith – active faith – and you’re living it. You know, you’re not one thing at church and another thing at home. That’ll cripple a teenager’s ability to trust God, don’t you think?

Natasha: Oh, absolutely.

Jim: All right. So, the – we’ve picked a few out here. The 40 – we can’t cover 40 in a half hour, but we’re going to do our best, maybe four, but…

Natasha: I can try if you really want.

Jim: So, we just picked the things that we thought were really kind of strategic. Um, the first one that I wanted to cover was this question. Do all religions point to the same truth? I mean, this has to be age-appropriate, right? But how do you start answering that question?

Natasha: Yeah, well, this is a really important question that a lot of times as Christians we skip over and we don’t think about because when we teach our kids about Christianity we assume, well, we’re teaching them truth, right? But a lot of people today make the claim that everything’s basically true. It’s all pointing to one truth that’s all the same for everyone. So, they would say, “Well, yeah, that’s great, Christianity’s true, but this is true, and this is true, and this is true, too. All these things are true.” So, if someone’s assuming that everything can be true at the same time, they don’t really care to hear what you’re saying about Christianity being true. It’s just one of many truths. So, the important thing that we can help our kids understand on this – and I think they can understand it at a pretty young age – is that there are similarities a lot of times between religions. But when you look at the totality of the claims that different religions are making, they cannot logically be true at the same time. They are logically contradictory. So, they answer these big questions like, where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? What’s the meaning of life? And they do so in a way that cannot be reconciled with anything else. A really simple example that you can share with a child is in Judaism, Jesus was not the messiah. But in Christianity, Jesus is the messiah. Those two things simply cannot be true at the same time.

Jim: Right, and that is the crux of the issue…

Natasha: That is the crux of the issue.

Jim: Is he the one?

Natasha: Exactly. And so, when all these different religions make logically contradictory claims, we can see by just sitting down with our kids and showing them, well, this is exactly what is taught here

Jim: Yeah, OK. And let’s go to question two that I had here. If Christianity is the only true religion, why are there so many denominations? Again, that’s a common one. And your kids – again, 7, 8, 9 – may ask that. “What’s a Baptist church, Mommy? What’s a Assembly of God church? What’s,” you know, fill-in-the-blank. I’m going to offend somebody here – Presbyterian, we get the list. But kids can observe that. And they don’t understand those big words. “What’s that big word, Daddy, Presbyterian?”

Natasha: Right, well, I think it starts with defining a simpler word, which is, what’s a Christian, right? And that sounds so basic. I mean, today, what is a Christian?

Jim: And so, what do you say?

Natasha: So, I say, “Well, some people would just say it’s a follower of Jesus.” That’s a common definition. But I’ve asked my kids this question. I said, “Well, what do you think – what kind of problems might you run into if you say that someone who’s a Christian is a follower of Jesus?” And my daughter, even at – I think she was probably 9 when we talked about this – and she said, “Well, that could mean a lot of different things. You know, someone could claim to be a follower of Jesus and just think that he’s a pretty cool guy, that he taught some great morality and not think that he’s God.” So, with this, it’s important to go back to, well, what did a Christian mean originally? If we go back to Jesus and the time of the Apostles and the earliest Christians, what did they believe? What were those earliest core beliefs that they held in common? And so that brings us back to the question of denominations because we can explain to our kids that, yes, Christians do have some disagreements on what we would call nonessentials, like how do you govern the church and the worship style, things like that. But we all come around these core beliefs that go back to the earliest times of Christianity, which are there is one God, that Jesus is God, that he was raised from the dead and that we are saved by grace and that is the Gospel, that we are saved by his grace. So, when we help them to understand there is this core Christianity, you can’t just follow Jesus in any way and call yourself Christian. I mean, you can, but words lose meaning at some point. This is what it means to be a Christian. And here are those essential beliefs. And Christian denominations differ on some of the nonessentials, but we all come around on these.

Jim: I think you had a funny story even with this. And this is what’s so good. Have a sense of humor with this, too. Don’t be so buttoned down that you got to – don’t laugh at this, this is serious. But I think this is when you were young, you said something that caught your mom and dad’s attention.

Natasha: Yeah, I remember in my small town, even though it was a small town, we had lots and lots of churches. And just between my house and the school, in maybe a 10-minute drive, you would pass dozens of these churches that were all Protestant denominations. But my mom didn’t really know what they were, what the differences were. You have, you know, like you said, Presbyterians and Methodist, all these. And I distinctly remember one was called the Free Methodist Church. And in my young mind I thought that that sounded like a pretty good concept. I assumed that it meant that they didn’t take offering. And I didn’t have a lot of allowance at the time. Yeah, it is free. And I thought, you know, that’s a pretty good deal. Of course, my heart needed a little work at that point, but yeah (laughter).

Jim: You didn’t want to give your 10 cents up.

Natasha: Exactly, so I’m going to go to the Free Methodist Church.

Jim: And maybe they’ll give me a hot dog.

Natasha: Exactly, you never know what you’re gonna get when you go there.

Jim: That’s so good.

John: Yeah, it is. And this is free Focus on the Family. Doesn’t cost you anything to listen. And we are glad you’re here.

Jim: But we’re grateful to the supporters.

John: We are, yes. Our guest is Natasha Crain. And we’re talking about just some of the concepts. Lots of great content in her book, Keeping Your Kids On God’s Side: 40 Conversations To Help Them Build a Lasting Faith. And we would encourage you to get a copy of this book and this broadcast as well so you can listen again and go through this maybe with your spouse or in a small group setting at church. It would be a really good tool to go through. Our phone number is 800-A-FAMILY. And online we’re at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: You mentioned a study where I think they surveyed 3,000 or so students. What were the outcomes of those interviews? And what did those students say?

Natasha: Yeah, so these sociologists a few years back, they surveyed all these students. And they wanted to kind of find out what – just generally speaking – do kids believe as teenagers in America.

And what they found is that overwhelmingly kids believed in some notion of God and that he basically wants us to be good people and that good people go to heaven someday. These were kind of the basic elements of it. And they labeled it moralistic therapeutic deism. Kind of a big term, but now it’s become a term that gets thrown around a lot in conversations about this. But the main thing that they noted was there is this lack of Jesus in there, right? They have this – this…

Jim: His name didn’t come up that often.

Natasha: I’m not sure if it didn’t come up. But overall, it was more of this broad belief in God that wasn’t tied to anything in particular, so there’s no exclusivity there. And that’s a lot of what people avoid today. And so, when they noticed that there’s no Jesus there, that’s the big difference in how we need to be helping our kids think about these things. It’s not just raising them to believe that this God exists, and we’re supposed to be good and then we’re gonna get zapped up to heaven someday if we’re good enough. I mean, that misses the…

Jim: If you get over the line.

Natasha: Exactly. That misses the mark of the Gospel altogether. But even aside from that, it misses the fact that Jesus is what makes Christianity so unique and that it’s all about who Jesus is. Because if he was just a nice guy who had some cool things to say, he has no more authority over our lives than our next-door neighbor. And I really emphasize that with my own kids, that it’s not just what did Jesus teach – we hear a lot about that – but it’s who is he and how do we know who he is.

Jim: Yeah, that’s so good. And again, you had a funny encounter with your own kids with this one, too, where they responded in a way that kind of caught your attention. What happened?

Natasha: Yeah, so I was trying to make this point one day with them and talk about how we know that Jesus is who he said he was. And so, I just got up all a sudden and I said, “Hey, you guys. Guess what? It turns out I’m God. I’m the creator of the universe. I’m the one who made you, and you need to listen to everything I say.” And I looked at ’em. I said, “Well, do you believe me?” And my son said, “Well, no, I don’t believe you’re God because God would never yell at us.”

(LAUGHTER)

Natasha: And that was one of those…

Jim: Boy, there’s a good answer (laughter).

John: Oh.

Natasha: I know. That was one of those convicting moments that you don’t look forward to sharing later (laughter).

Jim: No, but that’s good.

Natasha: But it’s – it’s one of those – it’s one of those times where you go, “OK. Well, that wasn’t what I was getting at, but the point wasn’t totally lost.” That I was able to say, you know, uh, “You don’t believe that I am God because I – even though made the claim that I was, I didn’t give you any evidence of that.” And we talked about how Jesus performed miracles and how he was raised from the dead so that he gave this kind of evidence that the people who saw it knew. OK, he wasn’t just claiming to be God. He actually was God because he came back from the dead. And no one could choose to do that unless they actually were God himself.

Jim: Yeah. This is so critical. So, you just didn’t leave it lie there.

Natasha: Exactly.

Jim: You gave them the information they needed. What is the evidence that Jesus was the son of God? And you just went through it very succinctly. 

Man, I encourage all parents – you gotta make sure that your kids understand that. As a Christian family, we tend to assume the kids are absorbing it somehow, that we don’t have to, uh, work at it or think about it. But I’m so grateful that that’s what you’ve done.

You know, I’ve heard so many testimonies – and I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. My mom did teach us the golden rule, and we had a respect for the Christian ethos. But as children, we never went to church – I shouldn’t say never – we went Christmas, Easter, special holidays. But we didn’t have a lot of training. And, um, you know, so when I encounter families where their 18 or 19 year-old – I’m talking to them, they’ll even say it, you know, “I just never had a moment where anybody asked me to accept Christ into my heart.” That’s such a tragedy, right? That kids will grow up in Christian homes, and we never spend the time to say…

John: Hm.

Jim: “…Have you embraced Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?” It seems simple, but sometimes we just forget. Isn’t that crazy?

Natasha: Yeah.

John: Uh, Natasha, advice for the parent who is embracing what you’re saying but feeling like I am so ill-equipped. And this is really awkward. And what if they ask me questions I can’t answer?

Natasha: Right. Well, if your kids ask you questions you can’t answer, that’s actually a great thing. It means that they’re asking questions, right? And a lot of kids don’t even want to ask the questions to begin with. So, it’s great if your kids are asking questions. But if you don’t know how to answer the question, then say, “I’m so glad you’re asking this. Let’s talk about how to find out an answer together – a biblically sound answer.”

Because kids need to understand that today. It’s not just going on Google and typing in, you know, “How do I know that God exists?” Because they’re going to get a lot of different answers. So, if you don’t know the answer yourself, you’re in a position then where you can really guide them in saying, “You know what? I’m not sure the best way to explain that, so let’s look into that together.”

But the number one thing I would say to any parent who feels overwhelmed is to take one step. If you recognize that this is important, and it’s something that you have to do – because there’s nothing more important than raising your kids to know and love the Lord – then do something. And it could be something as simple as picking up a book. It could be listening to a podcast. It could – can be committing to listening to the Focus on the Family show more regularly…

John: It is free (laughter).

Natasha: …Whatever it is. And it is free (laughter). That’s the theme of the show. Whatever it is, do that one thing. And when you are equipped yourself, then you’re in the position to equip your kids with this understanding so that they’re better prepared today.

Jim: No, that’s good. Uh, there’s an essential question of Christianity, uh, that you’ve mentioned that is kind of the core core, but it’s been – as you said in the book – it’s been reduced to a slogan. That’s how you felt when you were growing up. What was it?

Natasha: Well, it’s the question of why Jesus had to die for our sins. And I have that emphasis on the why because I think, as a kid, I heard it over and over again, that Jesus died for your sins. He died for your sins. He died for your sins. And so, you just accept it. It’s like, “OK. He did. He did. He died for my sins.”

But I realized, as I was blogging and starting to get more skeptics coming to my site, there are a lot of people who were pointing out what they thought was a kind of a killer for Christianity. And they were saying, “Well, if your god is so great, and your god is so loving, then why would he need some kind of blood sacrifice? Why would all this be necessary?” And they really challenged that. And I realized, you know what? My kids have never asked about that. So, I had this moment where I thought, you know, I need to talk to them about why Jesus needed to do this. And so that’s where I really started to talk to them about the why behind the facts.

Jim: How would you do that? I mean, let’s give people tools.

Natasha: Yeah. Yeah. I think there are three key things to explain to our kids. And it starts with the foundation of what is sin. We skip over this so much. As a society, we don’t like the idea of sin…

Jim: No, we don’t.

Natasha: …Or we wanna define sin, you know, in other kinds of ways. But they have to understand that sin is when we break God’s law very specifically. So, I’ve explained to my kids, “Hey, if atheists were right, and there is no God, sin doesn’t exist. It’s a meaningless concept because there’s no God whose law you can break.” So, it kind of helps them to understand, OK, so this is about God, and this is about the existence of a moral law, which, as Paul says in Romans, is that law that’s written on all of our hearts. So that’s the very first thing. If you can’t understand the sin that is the most fundamental problem in the world, you won’t understand the solution.

So, the second thing is that God is just. This is something that we also don’t often like to hear about. Because everyone talks about God is love, right? We want to hear that God loves me, and that is so, so important. But a lot of times, people don’t understand this other part of his character, that he is a just God. And the way that I would explain it to kids is to say, “If you saw an earthly judge, someone – just a regular human judge – and he just kept letting lawbreakers go free. He would let every murderer do whatever they want, kept saying, ‘It’s OK. I forgive you. Go on because I’m super loving.’ Well, you wouldn’t call that loving. People would start rioting and saying, ‘This is injustice. This is not OK.’ And in the same way, our God is a perfectly good and holy judge. He is able and willing and has the authority to judge between what is right or wrong. So ultimately, his justice is an important part of his character.”

Jim: OK, Natasha, that’s two of the points. What’s the third point?

Natasha: So, the third is that God has chosen to justly forgive us. And this gets to the heart of the why. That he’s not just gonna set us free and say, “Oh, it’s OK. You can do anything you want” because that would not be loving. Love without justice is no love at all. It’s a really important point for our kids to understand. So, he loves us so much that he chose to make payment for our sins on our behalf by sending Jesus. So, he justly forgave us.

So those are the three key points that I try to communicate with my kids when it comes to the why aspect. And that just gives back to the heart of saying, “Hey, this isn’t just, OK, Jesus died for my sins and I’m gonna accept that, but why? Why did this have to happen? Why did Jesus do that?”

Jim: Natasha, this is so good. As a parent, I mean, you’re grabbing me. I mean, I’m really wanting to make sure I’ve got this down for the sake of my son or daughter’s soul. That’s what we’re talking about here. Um, you also ask a good question in your book – if your kids are struggling with their faith, parents, you need to be a detective. Um, explain that.

Natasha: Yeah. I think, a lot of times, we can panic as parents because our kids say stuff, and maybe it’s not in line with what we’re hoping that they’re going to believe or where their heart is. But we have to be a detective and really ask questions to figure out what they mean. And I can give you, uh, an example of how this happened in our house. We got into the car one day, and we were going to church. And my son was probably about 5 years old or something. And I know this is shocking, but kids don’t always want to get in the car to go to church.

John: (Laughter).

Jim: Are you serious (laughter)?

Natasha: And I know. It’s – it’s embarrassing to admit it, but yes, that happens.

Jim: (Laughter) Have you had the back bow…

Natasha: (Laughter).

Jim: …When you’re trying to put the seat belt on, and they…

John: (Laughter).

Jim: …They do the back bow…

Natasha: Absolutely.

Jim: …Like, you’re not gonna to do this to me?

Natasha: That was one of those days.

Jim: Yeah.

Natasha: Yeah, I absolutely had the back bow. That’s a good term for it. And my son just arched back, and he said, “Oh, I hate God.” And that was a moment, you know, for a parent…

Jim: Wow.

Natasha: …You really – takes this seriously. It was like, “Oh, my gosh, where have I gone wrong?” immediately. And so, I lost it. And I just kind of yelled at him. And I said, “How could you say such a thing? Don’t ever say something like that in our house again. That’s a terrible thing to say,” you know. And obviously, in retrospect, that was not the way to handle it. But as we drove quietly to church because we…

Jim: (Laughter).

John: ‘Cause you put the fear of God in him.

Natasha: Those awkward moments. Yes. Exactly (laughter)…

Jim: I’m not saying anything.

Natasha: Very quiet, uncomfortable, awkward drive to church because mommy just lost everything in the car. Then I turned around and I realized, you know, I’m just gonna ask some questions. And the more that I asked him questions to find out what he means by what he said, I got down to the very bottom of that. And it turns out that he hated dancing in his little Sunday school class because they would have them sing and dance to the songs, and he hated having to dance. He’s a guy. He…

Jim: I’m with him (laughter).

Natasha: He didn’t want to dance. And he had kind of translated that into his head, “OK. I don’t like dancing in church, so therefore I don’t like church. Therefore, I don’t like God.” And that’s how it ended up coming out on the back end of that.

Jim: Just the – the way he expressed it.

John: Yeah.

Natasha: Right. And instead of panicking, if I had just kind of taken a second to be a detective and ask the questions and see really what is it that they’re saying, I would have gotten there. And as kids get older, those questions become more serious. Obviously, this is a fun example from when my son was young. But even if a kid says, “Hey, I don’t believe in God anymore,” well, don’t panic.

John: Mmm hmm.

Natasha: Ask them questions. What do you mean? What God do you not believe in? Because a lot of times, they’ll describe a god that you don’t believe in either. So, ask them questions. And, “How have you come to that conclusion?” is the other really important question to ask.

Jim: You know, before we end, there’s another aspect that I thought was a good “aha.” You mentioned this distinction between investor approach and purchase. What did you mean by all that?

Natasha: Yeah. I think there’s a temptation, when you do you start learning about these subjects, that you think, well, if I do X, then Y is going to happen. And that’s…

Jim: Is that how we think?

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Absolutely, it’s how we think.

Natasha: At least I did.

Jim: Yeah.

Natasha: Maybe – maybe I’m unusual, but…

Jim: No, you’re normal.

Natasha: …Yeah. And so, I think it’s a purchase mentality. It’s like, I have put this much in, and I plan on getting this much out. That’s not what I’m suggesting with all this when I say we need to proactively prepare our kids for today’s world. What I am saying is that we need to be obedient, just like you read from Deuteronomy at the beginning. We need to be obedient in that calling, and that’s being an investor. It’s investing and taking the time in doing what God has called us to without knowing that we’re gonna have a guaranteed outcome. And so, we invest…

Jim: That’s really good…

Natasha: We put in everything. We let God take that and make it grow all for his glory.

Jim: Yeah. Natasha, this has been great. And I love the humor that you brought to it, too. And I’m thinking of, you know, your little boy doing his back bow and not wanting to go to church, and he said that he hated God. You know, that is such a prime picture of what we need to do as parents – to back up, take a deep breath – even with our teenagers that are gonna say that in a different way and for different reasons – and say, “OK. What are you trying to express to me? I need to understand where you’re coming from.” That – that’s beautiful. And sometimes, we’ll do that well, hopefully. And sometimes, maybe not so well. So, then we get to demonstrate how we need to ask for forgiveness, right? So, it all works, hopefully, to the glory of God. And that’s a (laughter) – that’s a good parenting thing to remember. But I love your book, Keeping Your Kids On God’s Side: 40 Conversations To Help Them Build a Lasting Faith. The investment of what God can do with them, not the purchase because it’s not for sale. But come alongside the Lord as he is drawing your children toward him and, uh, try not to be a stumbling block in that process (laughter). That’s the goal. Thanks for being with us.

Natasha: Thanks so much.

John: And we’ll encourage you to have those conversations that Natasha has suggested having with your child. Keeping Your Kids On God’s Side is available on our website. We also have other resources. I might mention our Adventures in Odyssey Club, where you can sign up and have your kids listen to really good, godly radio drama that will, uh, really affirm them spiritually. Look for the Adventures in Odyssey Club, and, of course, Natasha’s book Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459.

Jim: Hey, John, we also have a PDF that people can download. The 10 Tips For Having Deeper Faith Conversations With Your Kids. And that’s something that you can go to the website and get or, you know…

John: And – and it’s free.

Jim: …Call us here. Yeah, it’s free…

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: That is John’s theme today. But listen. There is something, you know, with Natasha’s book – uh, we want you to partner with us here at Focus on the Family to be able to minister to people and to provide that cup of cold water for that parent that’s desperate. And, uh, if you can give us a gift of any amount, we’ll say thank you by sending along a copy of Natasha’s great book, Keeping Your Kids On God’s Side, as our way of saying thank you.

And if you can do that through a monthly gift, that’s great. Be a partner that way. And, uh, if not, a one-time gift is fine. But, uh, do help us. Be a partner in what we’re doing here to help children come to Christ by equipping their parents to do the job they need to do.

John: Mmm hmm. And we are listener-supported, and, uh, the ministry is not free. It takes a lot of effort to get these programs out and to bring resources to you. So please partner, as Jim said. Make a donation – a monthly gift if you can, or a one-time contribution when you’re at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Well, plan now to join us next time on this broadcast as Lysa Terkeurst shares how she learned to trust God through the biggest disappointment in her life.

Teaser:

Lysa Terkeurst: I felt like my thoughts spun out of my head in a million different directions. And nobody teaches you how to handle that moment.

End of Teaser

John: On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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