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How to Raise Strong Believers

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How to Raise Strong Believers

Natasha Crain offers practical advice for strengthening your children's faith and equipping them to defend it in a discussion based on her book Talking With Your Kids About God: 30 Conversations Every Christian Parent Must Have.

Original Air Date: January 14, 2019

Today's Guests

Episode Summary

Natasha Crain offers practical advice for strengthening your children's faith and equipping them to defend it in a discussion based on her book Talking With Your Kids About God: 30 Conversations Every Christian Parent Must Have.

Original Air Date: January 14, 2019

Episode Transcript

Teaser:

Person #1: Father, I pray that you would help my five year to stop squirming during devotions

Person #2: Dear Lord, I pray that you would help my daughter come back to church.

Person #3: (Sighs) Heavenly Father, I’m trying to talk to my kids about You, but I feel like they’re not listening.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: Hmm… Well, if you’re a Christian parent perhaps your greatest desire is to help your kids have a strong faith in Jesus.

And today on Focus on the Family, we’ll offer some practical ways you can build your children’s faith in everyday situations. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly.  And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, when my first son, Trent, was born, I was so enthralled by him that I… I’d stay awake all night just holding him and praying for him. It’s that special moment that I know many parents have in that journey. And with that hope that you heard in those parents a moment ago, you’re praying that your son or daughter will enjoy a deep, close relationship with Christ for their entire life.

And then teenage-hood comes along.

(Chuckling)

Jim: But if you’re like Jean and me, we sometimes wonder, “Have we modeled a strong enough faith? Will our kids stay close to the Lord?”

John: Hm.

Jim: Because we’ve demonstrated how to do that. But as we learn in 2 Timothy 1:7, God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear. Here at Focus on the Family, we want to encourage you and remind you that God is enough. He has given you a sound mind and the skills you need to raise your kids in Christ.

And we know from research that only 11% of those who abandon their childhood faith say they came from a home where a vibrant faith was taught and practiced. So, that’s good.

John: It is good news!

Jim: And if you’re like me, and maybe you, too, John, you want to hear that and think, “What are those things I can do to display that vibrant faith to my kids?”

And now that Christmas is over, here’s a challenge for you and me. How about we make a New Year’s resolution to initiate at least four intentional faith conversations with your kids, per month in 2020? I guess that’s one a week.

Our guest today has some amazing insight and practical ideas for doing just that!

John: And many of you told us that you appreciated her advice and it was helpful because we got a great response when we first aired this broadcast earlier this year. So much so that it’s part of our Best of 2019 celebration set.

Natasha Crain is our guest and she’s a national speaker and author with degrees from both UCLA and Biola. She and her husband have three children and live in southern California. And Natasha is a blogger. Her blog is called “Christian Mom Thoughts.”

She’s written a book called Talking With Your Kids About God: 30 Conversations Every Christian Parent Must Have. And you’ll find your copy at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Here now is how we started our conversation with Natasha Crain.

Jim: Natasha, this is your first time on the broadcast, welcome to Focus on the Family.

Natasha Crain: Thank you so much it’s great to be here.

Jim: Now, I’ll push aside that I’m a USC fan (laughter), given you went to UCLA. But that’s…

Natasha: Well, I went to both.

Jim: OK.

Natasha: I went to USC for undergrad, and I went to UCLA for grad school.

Jim: Oh. Well, how do you…

Natasha: So, I can – I can play both sides of this. It’s totally fine.

Jim: So, when you go to the football game, what happens?

Natasha: Oh, USC for sure.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: OK, good. Well, now…

Natasha: Everyone sticks with their undergrad.

Jim: Everything’s good now.

Natasha: That’s – that’s the rule. Yeah.

Jim: The world is right.

Natasha: Yes.

Jim: But this is a wonderful resource – uh, Talking With Your Kids About God, uh, 30 Conversations. It’s a great resource, and I wish I had this when – when my kids were younger. You’re aiming at the younger spectrum of childhood, right?

Natasha: Well, the book is written directly to parents. And so, it’s meant to equip the parents directly so they have this knowledge. And then every chapter has a conversation guide with it that will help you engage with younger kids, even older kids, so that they’re different levels of questions. So really, it can help parents with kids of any age.

Jim: Yeah. That’s good. I – in fact, I talked to Trent this morning. And I said, “Hey, here’s a question in the, uh, preparation of the program I wanna ask you.” And then he goes, “What is it?” And I said, “Well, God – good and evil. Um, you know, if God is good, why does He allow evil to exist?” And he said, “Well, that’s easy – so you could choose who to follow.” (Laughter) I mean, wow, OK. That’s some kid.

John: Good answer. Yeah.

Jim: And, uh, that’s the kind of good questions that you’re proposing here in your book. Let’s start with your blog, though. Uh, I understand it was meant to be a – kind of a lighthearted parenting blog. And, uh, that quickly changed. What happened?

Natasha: Yes. So, in 2011, I had three kids who were 3 and under at the time. And at that age range…

Jim: Hold it – three kids 3 and under. How’d you do that?

Natasha: (Laughter) Well, (laughter) I don’t know, somehow…

Jim: Well, I – I don’t mean, how’d you do that?

Natasha: (Laughter).

Jim: I meant, you know – you have twins, is that right?

Natasha: I have twins, right. Yes, I have twins and then a younger one.

Jim: (Laughter).

Natasha: And, you know, at that age, you’re doing a lot of stuff with diapers and potty and that kind of thing. And it – anyone who has kids that age understands it can become a little bit redundant and isolating too. It’s hard to get out of the house and have fellowship with others.

And so, everyone was starting blogs in 2011. And I thought, you know what? This is a good way that I can kind of build fellowship with other people, meet other people online, at least have those conversations. So, I started a blog just to write about how we were teaching our young kids at that time to know about Jesus and to love Jesus. And I just started blogging. And it turned out great. I started having people who were actually reading the blog. I was meeting people, just like I hoped. Well, what I didn’t realize is that when you blog, people share your blog posts online, which is a good thing.

But that will bring people who are also nonbelievers to your site. And so, what happened was I started getting a – a – just a large stream of comments from skeptics of Christianity who were coming to the site, and they were commenting on everything that I would say. And I have to emphasize I was not writing anything provocative. I wasn’t trying to pick debates with atheists. I wouldn’t have even been able to if I wanted to at the time I was just writing about Christianity. And they would leave comments like, there’s no evidence for the existence of God. And science has disproved God. And there’s no evidence that Jesus existed as a person in history. And the Bible’s filled with errors and contradictions. The list goes on, all of these objections. And/I was a lifelong Christian. I grew up in a Christian home, spent hundreds of hours in church and never turned away from my faith. So, I was a Christian through and through. But I did not know how to answer those questions. And it bothered me a lot because I realized that my kids were growing up in such a different world than the one in which I grew up, and I wasn’t prepared.

Jim: Yeah. You know, for the parent that might have a busy life – I mean, you had twins and a third child, all at – by the time your twins were 3, it sounds like. So, you were busy.

Natasha: Yes.

Jim: You could easily as a parent say to yourself, “Well, you know for this season because I’m so busy, and my husband’s so busy building a business or doing whatever he might be doing, let’s leave this to the church.” I mean, they’ll go to church on Sunday. They’ll go to, uh – maybe they’ll go to Sunday school. And, you know, we’ll make sure we have sing-along songs that talk about Jesus and all those things. Is that enough for this? And I guess what I’m asking you is speak to the mom particularly who’s kind of in that place where it is so busy. I don’t know that I can capture that right now, and I really – I’m gonna take this time and let church do it.

Natasha: Yeah, it’s – it’s very tempting. And for a lot of us, we grew up in homes maybe that were Christian homes. But our parents didn’t necessarily do a lot of discipleship at home, but they took us to church. And we think, well, that worked for me. I’m – I’m a Christian today. But we have to understand that the world is totally different than when we grew up. So, I find that parents who had a conversion experience when they were an adult, they get this. They understand because they’ve been there. They know the other side of it It’s the Christians who grew up in a Christian home who feel like, well, I was OK, and I didn’t have to learn all this stuff, all these apologetics, who need to understand the world is far more challenging today.

Jim: Yeah.

Natasha: And so, your kids will encounter these questions. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. And it’s not just about leaving it to the church. First and foremost, the Bible calls us as parents to be the primary spiritual influence in our kids’ lives. So, whether you want to leave it to the church or not, that – the Bible wants us as parents to be in that role.

But beyond that, even if you said, “Well, I understand that, but I’m just overwhelmed, and I’m just gonna – I’m gonna put this in the church’s hands,” it’s important to understand that churches have not yet, by and large, caught up with this either. A lot of churches aren’t teaching apologetics.

And one example of that is that, you know, this research that shows, uh, how – why kids are walking away. Over and over again they show that some of the top questions are science-related, uh, the – understanding how science and Christianity can be complementary and that they don’t conflict, as the secular narrative goes. So, there’s so much of that happening.

Yet, when they survey youth pastors to see the kinds of subjects that they’re addressing in church, they find that only 1 percent of youth pastors have addressed an issue about science in the last year. So, there’s a…

Jim: Right and should be 80 percent.

Natasha: Exactly.

Jim: Yeah.

Natasha: They’re – or 100%, right?

Jim: Should be 100% (LAUGHTER).

Natasha: So, there’s this big disconnect between – still, where the church is catching up. We as parents are catching up, and the church is catching up. So, we all kind of have to work together. But first and foremost, it’s our role as parents. And – and like I said, if your kid had any other struggle, you would assume you had to match the preparation for that. We need to do the same with their spiritual lives.

Jim: And I like that underlying theme. You know, if they had a medical issue, you would do all the research you needed to make sure the right decisions were being made.

Natasha: Right.

Jim: That is probably the most profound thing you’ve said so far.

When you, um, look at the culture today, so often we as Christian parents want to insulate our kids. You know, that’s the strategy. So – there’s so much technology coming at them and so much exposure to things that we don’t want them to see, it’s easy to move in that direction.

But in your book, Talking With Your Kids About God, you describe a story, uh, where you were comfortable, it sounded like, exposing your kids to non-Christian themes. And in fact, I think it was Jehovah Witnesses that came to the door. And – and how did you handle that with your children standing there listening to the conversation?

Natasha: Yeah. I think that’s the overall theme of the book, really, is that we should be exposing our kids to all these ideas. So, these are not just 30 questions about God in general but 30 questions that our kids really need to understand, given the secular world that they’re growing up in. And I know a lot of parents fear exposing their kids to these things, but they are going to hear them today. And I can’t emphasize that enough. They’re going to hear them. If they have any access to the Internet, they’re going to see them repeatedly. They’re going to see these things.

So, we can demonstrate this in all kinds of ways. But to the story that you just mentioned about Jehovah’s Witnesses coming to the door, I was just making dinner one night. And I heard the door knock, and I went down there. And my son was playing near the door. And he was probably about 6 at the time. And I opened the door, and, uh, they introduced themselves. This was a mom and a girl who was about my son’s age. And she’s like, “Can my daughter show you this movie about God? It really just shows the design of a butterfly and how that points to God’s existence.”

And it was a perfect opportunity. I knew my son was kind of listening nearby. And I said, “Oh, that’s great. I – I totally believe the same thing. I agree with you that the design and nature points to the existence of God. I’m a Christian.” And she said, “Oh, we’re Christians, too. I’m so glad to meet you because everyone I talk to is an atheist when I go door-to-door.” And I say, you know, that I understand what you’re doing. And I really appreciate that.

But I knew my son was listening. I wanted him to understand how we can approach these things. I said, “I don’t have a lot of time right now because I’m in the middle of making dinner. But I just want to say that we still do have differences between us because based on your translation of the Bible that Jehovah’s Witnesses use that Jesus is not God. Jesus is not part of the Trinity. And that is very different than what I would believe based on the translation that we use.” And so, I said, “Part of what I do as a parent to help my kids is expose them to other viewpoints in the world to explain why there’s good reason to believe that my faith is true.” And I would just encourage you to do the same with your daughter to look into why is it that so many Bible scholars reject that translation of the Bible.

Jim: Interesting – yeah – really good.

Natasha: And she – she looked at me, and she kind of nodded. And I learned later that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not allowed to accept any kind of outside literature or look into those opposing viewpoints. So even presenting that as something that was challenging to her. But when I closed the door, my son looked at me. And even at that age, he said, “OK. So, the reason that they believe differently is because they have a different translation of the Bible.”

John: He picked that up.

Natasha: Yeah.

John: Wow.

Natasha: And I was – I was really – I was really interested in that because I said, “Yeah. You know, that’s exactly right. There are all kinds of reasons why people believe differently. In some cases, people believe there is no God who has revealed anything. That will be an atheist. In other cases, people believe there is a God. And we have that in common, but that doesn’t mean we believe the same thing. And there are those crucial differences.” So, we can help our kids a lot to by…

Jim: And Natasha, it does get back to this idea of fear. And we’ve got to – with that opening scripture I mentioned in 2 Timothy is that the Lord hasn’t given us a spirit of fear. So, it’s almost like an inoculation process. You want your children to be exposed to things so they can manage them and understand them and process them and explain them in a scriptural and truthful way. And I think that’s great. Do some parents struggle with that?

Natasha: Yeah, absolutely. In fact, I wrote a blog post once that it was called Don’t Be Afraid to Be the Cause of Your Kids’ Questions or Doubts.

Jim: Hmm.

Natasha: And I think that’s so important. I – I told my kids when they were probably 5. I said, “I don’t want you to ever grow up and think that you’re a Christian because mommy and daddy were Christians. Don’t believe in Jesus because I do.” And I said, “I want you to understand that I’m so convicted of the truth of Christianity because God has given us so much evidence that this is what’s true that my job is to help you learn how to pursue that truth yourself.”

Jim: Right.

Natasha: “And so as you get older, we’ll be talking about that. And we will discuss it, and I’ll show you how to do it.” But I think that is so important for kids to understand because then, when they do have questions, they do have doubts, then they come to you. And they know it’s OK. It’s OK. Mommy and daddy are…

Jim: It’s a safe place.

Natasha: Yeah. They’re so convinced of the truth of Christianity that they don’t fear. It’s like what you’re saying. There’s no fear in this house because of Christianity. It’s true. There is nothing to fear.

Jim: Yeah, That’s all good.

John: Yeah and our guest today on Focus on the Family is Natasha Crain. Her book is Talking With Your Kids about God: 30 Conversations Every Christian Parent Must Have. And you can order that through us and support our ministry here at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Natasha, let’s start with teaching our kids the evidence for God’s existence. Let’s get into some practical application now that we kind of talked about the theory of it. You say many Christians rely on the wrong kind of evidence. Explain what you mean?

Natasha: Well, I wouldn’t say necessarily it’s the wrong kind of evidence. But I think that if you ask a lot of Christians, you know, how do you know Christianity is true, 95 percent of the time a Christian will give you their testimony. And so, they’ll tell you about their experience. And that’s extremely important. So, it’s not that it’s wrong to share your testimony. But we have to understand we cannot export our own experience to anyone else. So, if you’re…

Jim: It’s evidence of.

Natasha: It’s – yes. It’s evidence of. So, if your kids come to you and they ask, “How do you know Christianity is true?” – and you tell them about something that happened to you that they haven’t experienced yet they’re getting all of these kinds of intellectual challenges from the world then they’re kind of between a rock and a hard place there. And where do you go?

Jim: Yeah. And in that context, you want to read scripture with your children and reinforce the truths of the scripture, correct?

Natasha: Yes, absolutely.

Jim: I mean, that’s…

Natasha: Absolutely

Jim: …Kind of it gives them the basis for where they can find, you know, the core understanding of who Christ is and what he’s done for us.

Natasha: Absolutely. We have to point them to the Bible. And a huge part of pointing kids to the Bible is teaching them about the Bible as well.

Jim: Yeah.

Natasha: Why do we have good reason to believe the Bible is true? You know, I spent hundreds of hours in church as a kid. And I always tell parents. I could have told you all about Joseph and his multicolored coat…

Jim: And sing a song (LAUGHTER).

Natasha: …And Daniel and the lions’ den. I could’ve sang the song. I did the – you know, the battle of Jericho song. I could have done all those things. But if you would ask me, “Well, how do you know all those things happened? How do you know that’s true? Why should I put my whole life on this?” – I would have had no idea. And that’s the challenge today, is that, in the secular world, the Bible is foolishness, right? The Bible is something that no one wants to talk about. It’s almost a foregone conclusion. Or it is a foregone conclusion today that the Bible is ancient, irrelevant, filled with errors and contradictions, all these things. So, we have to teach our kids accurately and thoroughly what’s in the Bible. We also have to teach them about the Bible…

Jim: Right.

Natasha: …And why we can trust it.

Jim: Right – that is excellent. And I think this next question kind of lends itself to that. And I’m thinking of this in the context of teenagers. And this will be the question we ask tonight around the dinner table with our boys. But it is this. One common argument against God is that he doesn’t make his existence undeniable. I like the way that’s stated. That’s actually a very good question. If he’s perfectly loving, why is he still such a mystery? Why doesn’t he just declare it so there’s no question? OK. We all know God is there.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Why that distinction that you must trust him by faith?

Natasha: Right – and there are a lot of pieces that kind of go into…

Jim: Yeah.

Natasha: …Answering that obviously.

Jim: It’s a big question.

Natasha: It’s a huge question.

Jim: That’s an adult question frankly.

Natasha: That is an adult question. It absolutely is. And in fact, I’ve been asked a lot of times what makes me doubt or what challenges me. And the hiddenness of God, I think, is a primary issue for a lot of people. Um, so it’s a good one. I think that the first part of that answer comes from having our kids understand the evidence for God’s existence first. A lot of times when people ask that question they’re asking it assuming that there is no evidence…

John: Hmm.

Natasha: …That we just have to blindly believe. And that is just so detrimental to kids’ faith today if they believe that faith is a blind leap in the dark. That there is actually no evidence. We just have to close our eyes and say, “I hope – I hope it’s true.” And so, we don’t want kids to have that blind faith. So, if they have the evidence for God’s existence to start with then we can begin to ask that question. Well, why isn’t there more evidence?

Jim: Right.

Natasha: And so, when we get to that question – and so many atheists say, “You know, if God just wrote in the sky, you know, “Here I am” or showed up in my living room, you know, what would that be?” And a good way to explain this to kids, I think, is that if you imagine a detective – kids love detectives, right? You see a detective. He goes in. He evaluates the evidence. He looks at all the pieces that are there and comes to the best explanation for that.

We would laugh if a de – bumbling detective came out of the room and said, “Well, I don’t like what’s there. So, I want these five things instead to tell me about who did this. You know, I wish that he had left a note with his name and his phone number. I wish, I wish, I wish.” – Right? It doesn’t necessarily make logical sense to come up with a wish list of the evidence that we want to have. We have to look at what we do have.

And so, when we point our kids that evidence – where did the universe come from? – Where did life come from? – Looking at the complexity of life and of how our universe is structured just right to support life – and where did our moral understanding come from? – All these things I talk about in the book that are these pieces of evidence. When we look at it, then we can say, “OK. This is the evidence. What’s the best explanation for it?”

And if God were to show up in everyone’s living room – kind of the bottom line answer to that original question – He would be taking away our free will to choose to love Him freely.

Jim: Yeah. And you know what, I appreciated that. I kind of directed it to my teens but you did the ant farm experiment, I think, that illustrated this. And this is a great way to teach it to 4, 5, 6, 8-year-olds. What happened with that?

Natasha: Well, we didn’t intend for it to be an experiment.

(LAUGHTER)

Natasha: But it ended up being one.

Jim: Oh, ant farms are always an experiment.

Natasha: Always an experiment.

John: All of us who have had ant farms are going to identify.

(LAUGHTER)

Natasha: Well, yeah. So, I was – just for the record, I was fundamentally opposed to ant farms.

Jim: So, this is husband’s idea?

Natasha: This is husband’s idea. Yes. I – I did not understand why we needed lots of these little creatures I normally want out of the house in the house…

Jim: (Laughter) Yeah – right.

Natasha: …Even in a contained environment. But he convinced me that this would be very educational for the kids. And they could burrow little holes and all these things. So, we got the ant farm. And for a few days, it was very interesting. I thought, “OK. Maybe he is right. Maybe this isn’t so bad.” But then we wake up one morning, and the ants are almost all dead. And you can’t separate out – as anyone who’s out an ant farm knows, you can’t separate out the live and the dead ants. So now we have a semi-alive creation in the corner of our room. And you can’t do anything about it. By the next day, all of the ants had died. And so, I have to take the whole thing out and throw it away, and that was the end of that. So, uh, the moral of story is don’t get an ant farm, right (laughter)?

Jim: I – I’m hearing that.

Natasha: Kind of.

Jim: (Laughter).

Natasha: But – but we used this as an opportunity to explain to the kids, look, these ants, they needed something really specific to survive. And what came with the ant farm was this blue gel stuff that was in there. And I remember asking my husband, “What do we feed them? What do – what kind of water?” And he said, “No, no, no. The blue gel gives them all that they need.” And according the instructions, that was correct. But in order to have living things that exist and flourish in our world, we have to have certain things. We have to have liquid water, for example. And so, our living environment, both the universe itself and our planet Earth, have to be just right to allow for us to exist. And we kind of intuitively know we don’t exist on other planets. So, you know, we have not seen anything that looks like us on any, uh, planets. But we don’t necessarily think of how much is required for planet Earth to support us. And so just the ant farm, these everyday situations where you can show your kids the ants need something specific, just like we do. And there are very specific things that are needed in order for us to survive on this Earth.

Jim: And what’s so good about that is they start making that connection then.

Natasha: Right.

Jim: And – and they can – and it’s a young age they can start to connect those dots.

Natasha: Yeah, absolutely.

Jim: What a beautiful illustration. This might be the most critical question of all. And of course, we’re gonna encourage you to get Natasha’s book because I think every parent – I don’t care how old your kids are – both for yourself, as well as for your children, need to answer these 30 questions and be uh, proficient at thinking them through.

But here’s the one. How can we help our children understand how to have a relationship with a God they can’t see and, in most cases, can’t really audibly hear? It’s that intuitive Holy Spirit voice that we hear in our hearts and our souls. How do we do that? How do we help them have that relationship?

Natasha: I think that’s a great question to ask because, a lot of times, parents come at it from assuming that because we have become used to having a relationship with a God that we don’t physically see and hear that our kids will know how to do that. But it’s a really foreign thing if – if you think about it. When – when you put yourself in your kids’ shoes, your young kids’ shoes, and you’re telling them that God exists, and God loves them, and, “Hey, you need to love him too,” and, “Here, start having this relationship,” it’s very hard to explain that. And so, I think, No. 1, it’s important for us to just acknowledge to our kids, hey, this is different. This is something different than relating to your friends at school. You can’t see God. You can’t hear Him. But just like with a friend at school, if you’re gonna get to know someone – and if you want to love that person, you have to get to know them. And we hear from God through His word. And so that’s where, first, the Bible study comes from in – in helping our kids understand the importance of studying the Bible together.

And we respond to God by our prayer and through our serving. And so those are – and I could kind of elaborate on all those things – but that’s kind of the big picture of how to approach this with my kids, is to think of it – if you are having that relationship with someone you know at school, it’s kind of the same thing, that you’re hearing from them, and you’re responding to them. And in the context of God, we hear from God in His word and through the Holy Spirit, and then we return by prayer and by serving others.

Jim: Natasha, we’re right near the end. And I – I – I’m thinking of the parent who, uh – maybe they’re through the 10, 11, 12-year-old stage, and they are in the teen years now. And there – there’s a lot more independence in those years, that teenagers are trying to express themselves and find out who they are and becoming more independent from the parental control that’s been rightfully kind of there in the earlier years of development.

How does that parent who’s been desperate to ensure there’s a relationship there with God – because they know this is eternity. What we’re talking about here is the most serious business of any human soul. Do you know God, or do you not know God?

But to that desperate parent who may be thinking, I haven’t been able to do this. It hasn’t caught. Something’s wrong. And they lay up awake in the middle of the night worrying about their 15-year-old, who may be listening to things, doing things that’s inconsistent with the faith. What suggestion do you have for them in that desperation? How do we not become fearful, as we opened the program with that great scripture from 2 Timothy? Where do they get the assurance to say, “OK, God, do you have this?”

Natasha: Yeah. I think that, first and foremost, praying. We – we have to continue praying and asking God for guidance in that. So, we can’t lose our sight of our – our own relationship with God in that. I think that the more that I talk with parents who have teenagers who are in that situation, the more I realize that every parent realizes what they did wrong was panic when their kids first started expressing doubts.

Jim: Right.

Natasha: It shut down the communication line so that they don’t have the relationship that they could have in terms of those questions, so their kids no longer want to talk. And that’s…

Jim: They’re fearful to talk to you about it.

Natasha: They’re fearful because they’re afraid that their questions are gonna upset you. And I’ve always told those parents, “Go back to your kids and just acknowledge. You know, “This is what – what – I responded poorly.” You know? Obviously, you can say, “As a Christian, I believe this is true and that there are eternal implications for what you believe. So please understand from my perspective that this is important to me. But I want to understand where you’re coming from. I want to hear your questions. I want to understand.”

John: Some valuable insight from Natasha Crain on this Best of 2019 episode of Focus on the Family.

Jim:     I want to turn to our listeners. That passion you’ve heard in Natasha’s voice about raising children to love Jesus. It’s because she knows –deep in her heart—that a life with Jesus is the most abundant and purposeful life there is. We all believe that as Christians.

And that love that we feel for our children, that is what is motivating her! But our love for our kids doesn’t even compare to the love God has for us.

If you haven’t accepted Jesus, and you’d like to learn more about what that means—we’re here for you.

John: We are. And over the years, Jim, it’s been a privilege for us to introduce people to the Christian life and tell them more both personally, and through a little booklet called Coming Home: An Invitation to Join God’s Family. And we’ve got an eBook of that online at our website. So, look for that at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call us at 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY if we can help you understand the Christian life better.

Jim:     And again, the resource we have for you today is Natasha’s book, Talking With Your Kids About God: 30 Conversations Every Christian Parent Must Have. It’s a book full of deep faith questions that all of us—even adults and believers in Christ– need to grapple with.

So, contact us. And I want to get this book into your hands. It’s yours for a donation of any amount. Or, if you can’t afford it, call us anyway. We’ll trust that others will cover the expense of that.

John: Yeah. It’s because of the monthly pledge partners that we have, the sustainers who give on a regular basis, and those one-time gifts, those all add up and make it possible for us to reach out and to do, as Jim just noted, make that book available to all who ask for it.

Donate and get your copy of the book at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or when you call 800-A-FAMILY.

Jim: If you’re already a believer in Christ and you want to get on board with what we’re doing here at Focus, let me invite you to join our team of financial supporters. And by the way, last year – we do research every year – we had over 293,000 people make a decision for Christ.

John: That’s awesome!

Jim: I’m excited about that. And here at the end of the year it’s critical to hear from you. So, if you can put “fuel” into the engine that God is using to reach those 293,000 people, be a part of it. Join us. Let’s do ministry together. And let’s give the “Gift of Family.”

John: And our number once again, 800-A-FAMILY. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Well, coming up next time.. How you can be more intentional about loving your spouse on a daily basis.

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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