Tag Archives: Relationslips

Relationslips Week 4 // Non-Compliant


The medical world has a name for me.  That name?  “Medically Non-Compliant”.   I have a drawerful of half-empty prescription bottles that testify to my non-compliance.  I go to the doctor and tell him my symptoms.  He sends me to a lab to run some tests and then prescribes some treatments.  I go home and … do some of it … or none of it … and then wonder why this condition is lingering on so long…

I’m afraid many of us (myself included) are spiritually non-compliant.

We go to God and tell him our our symptoms.  “God, my __________ [marriage, son, daughter, relationship, finances, hope, life…] is broken.  Seems like I just can’t seem to get better.”

God sends us to His Word to run some tests and prescribe some treatments.  (If you missed church last Sunday, or need a fresh dose of prescribed treatments for your relationships, you can watch Rusty’s message here.)

We receive the prescription, go home, and … don’t follow through.  We all have different reasons.  Disagree with the “diagnosis”.  Don’t think the treatment will work.  Think we can heal it another way.  Figure it can’t really be that bad.  Go looking for a “second opinion”.  We forget.  Or just flat-out don’t want to.

Ultimately, all those reasons come down to one thing – we don’t trust the Physician.  We don’t care enough about His opinion to heed His prescription for a healthy life.  And then, sadly, we blame Him that our __________ [marriage, son, daughter, relationship, finances, hope, life…] hasn’t gotten better.  We accuse Him for our brokenness and deny our own spiritual non-compliance.

What prescription do you need to follow through on today?  Forgive someone who has wronged you?  Show mercy and grace to your child?  Honor your parents?  Trust God with your finances?  Be faithful to your word?  To your spouse?

What is stopping you?


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Parenting Resources

Friday night we had a fun on-line parenting seminar.  Thanks to all of you who tuned it and added to the conversation.  It was fun, hopefully helpful, and we will definitely find more opportunities to do it again on different topics.

In our talk, I referenced several books and wanted to list those here for future reference:

  • “Right from Wrong” by Josh McDowell.  (Word Publishing, 1994) – This book (specifically chapter 6) was the main source I used for the content of my talk.  See my notes at the end of this post.
  • “Not Even a Hint” by Joshua Harris. (Multnomah Publishers, 2003)
  • “Questions You Can’t Ask Your Mama About Sex” by Craig Gross and Mike Foster (Youth Specialties, 2005)
  • “God’s Design for Sex” series by Stan Jones and Carolyn Nystrum.  (4 Book Series.)
  • “Parent’s Guide to the Spiritual Growth of Children” by John Trent, Rick Osborne, Kurt Bruner (Focus on the Family, 2000)

Notes from my talk:

Intro – Review Rusty’s message from Relationslips Week 3

  • Three hats parents wear
    • Groundskeeper – sets the boundaries
    • Official – enforces the rules for the good of the game.  “This is how it is supposed to be played.”
    • Coach – keeps players focussed on the bigger picture

I’m taking this information from Chapter 6 of “Right from Wrong” – “The Test of Truth” – but applying it in a more “developmental stages” idea.

  • The Test of Truth
    • Precept
    • Principle
    • Person

Proverbs 22:6  “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

  • This verse is a principle, not a promise.
  • We all as parents want so badly for this to be true!
  • This chapter gives us a framework to help it become true for our kids – to give them skills to know what is best, and to help them to choose it when they are faced with a decision.


  • The first steps in understanding something.
    • Think Math.  We have a 2nd grader who is learning addition facts.  Amy and I know that in a few years, she’ll be doing Algebra and crazy theories.
    • But right now, she NEEDS to learn that every time, without fail, 2+2=4.  Those are the precepts of Math.
  • Developmentally, we start teaching our kids to obey precepts (i.e. “rules”) from the very beginning.  Don’t wait until “they’re big enough to understand.  They are learning authority and obedience from day one.
  • Every time, without fail, we follow God’s precepts.
  • Psalm 119:9 – “How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your word.”  God’s Precepts.
  • Galatians 3:24 NASB – “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ.”
  • Precepts aren’t the end.  The Bible isn’t about a list of do’s and don’ts that we simply obey for obedience’s sake any more than my daughter has to learn 2+2=4 for addition’s sake.
  • Precepts lead us to the next step of understanding…


  • Behind each specific command (precept) is a principle.
  • Principles explain the “WHY” behind the precept.
    • Honesty is the principle behind “Thou shall not lie.”  Honesty is a better way to live than lying.
    • Value for life is the principle behind “Thou shall not kill.”  Loving people and helping them live and succeed is a better way to live than murder.
  • Principles help us see the right/best way to live, not just a list of rules to keep.
  • My 10 year old son has entered this stage.  He wants to know why he needs to make right decisions when many of his friends don’t.
    • He sees it a lot in areas of respect.  Respect for authorities like parents.  Respect for property.  Respect for other people, like his little sisters and the twerpy kid on the block.
    • I have had to have many conversations with him explaining the WHY behind the rules we have enforced in our home.
  • But Principles for life aren’t even the end.  There is a motiving factor for behavior even beyond that.  It is one we as parents often need to relearn every day…


  • Precepts and principles have one job – to teach us about God and His Character.
  • The ultimate purpose of God in every precept is to bring people to the knowledge of Himself.
    • Don’t murder – Value life – Life comes from God – He IS life.
    • Don’t lie – Honesty is the best policy – God IS truth
    • Don’t talk back – Respect and listen to people who have authority over you – God is our authority AND His ways are best by far
  • Moses said in Ex 33 “Teach me your ways so I may know you.”

Precepts – Boundaries – Right and Wrong = must be learned early

Principles – The “Why’s” in life – the reason behind the rule = help life make sense and show us the best way to live

Person of God – His Character = our ultimate goal

We are not raising kids.  We are raising adults.  When my children are adults, I want them to know and have the character of God.  That starts with obeying His precepts, understanding his principles, and finally embracing his character.

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Relationslips Week 3 // Parentnoid

As we continue in our Relationslips series at Real Life Church, I’d like to try something different.  For Week 3 we are talking about Parentnoid – avoiding or overcoming the mistakes we make as parents.  Since I have made too many “slips” to condense into written form, I thought we’d try a live parenting web seminar.

This Friday, October 2nd, at 9:00 PM (Pacific) I will be HERE talking about parenting.  You’ll be able to watch live on your computer as I share some of my thoughts, experiences, and yes, “slips”, on parenting.  You’ll also be able to submit questions or leave comments as I’m talking.  If you want more on a specific topic, or have questions, or just want to tell me how good my hair looks, you’ll be able to do all that in a “chat window” right next to the video feed.  I’ll keep an eye on that as I talk so I can respond in real-time to what you want to know more about.

But I’d love a head start on what parenting questions/issues/topics/slips you would like to talk about.  Click the “Comments” link below and leave me your questions.  Feel free to ask anything.  I’ll handle everything that I can on Friday (and follow up with you later if I don’t get to your question).  And then remember to tune in HERE this Friday, Oct 2nd, at 9:00 PM to join in the conversation!

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Relationslips Week 2 // Fly Guts



“Oh, I got it!  Ew! Ew! Ew! Ew! Ew!”

Today Molly spotted a fly on the back door and took a swipe at it, not really expecting anything to happen.  But something happened.  She wound up with a handful of … well … fly guts.

Reminds me a lot of sin.  We see a temptation buzzing around.  We take a swipe at it, in reality not expecting much to happen.  But something happens.  And we find ourselves with a life-full of fly guts.

Or a marriage-full of fly guts.  This week we are talking in our Life Groups about marriage – “Holy Matrimonotony”.  Fly guts (a.k.a. “sin”) make marriage messy, difficult, and slippery.  One little opportunity to be dishonest.  One hour alone with the computer.  One business trip out of town by yourself.  One daydream of “What life could be like with ________…”  One little swipe at sin and –  SMACK – you got it.  And now you wish you hadn’t.  You see why it was dumb.  You regret ever having the idea.

So now what?  Molly could have stood there with a handful of fly guts in denial that anything was wrong.  She could have blamed the fly for being there.  Or not moving.  She could have rubbed it on her clothes or the wall or her brother (who ran over to look) and made a bigger mess of things.  But instead, she got rid of the fly guts – she washed her hands.

In your marriage (or life in general), you have choices, too.  You can act like nothing is wrong and get defensive when people question you.  You can blame someone else…or the computer…or society…or whatever.  You can point out other people’s sin, too, and make a bigger mess of it.

Or you can confess it, ask for forgiveness, and get rid of it.  Now doesn’t that just make the most sense?  What is keeping you from getting rid of the fly guts in your marriage?

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Relationslips Poll

As we head into our “Relationslips” series at Real Life Church I would love to hear your answer to this question:

Leave a comment if you’d like to explain your answer, ask a question, or add anything.


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