Wednesday, July 12, 2023

PARENTING AND DISCIPLINE HELP: your kid slanders someone else.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
The Scenario. 
You have a child who has slandered one of his siblings to a friend. Consequently, the friends no longer want to hang out with this individual (for a particular activity on a particular day) because one of your children slandered one of his siblings.  You get words of it from another one of your children.  What do you do?  How do you respond?  

The Counsel to the Parent 
Maybe this has never happened to you, but it did happen in our family. This makes for a golden biblical counseling opportunity that opens the door fully for gospel proclamation.  Of course, the easy (and lazy!) path to take would be to sharply chastise the kid and say: “Don’t do that again!” Or worse, you could choose to do nothing about it (until, of course, he does it again). 

What do you do? 

When I got word that one of my children slandered a sibling to another friend and thus that friend no longer wanted to spend time playing with the particular individual any longer, I had a choice to make.  How would I handle this? 

I took the children who were involved in this situation and brought them downstairs and we sat on the couch together.  I had my Bible and I was ready to diagnose the heart, probe deeply, and minister gospel truth so they can put off sin and put on righteousness (ha!). If it only went always according to our plans. 

I asked the children what happened and let them speak of the situation.  After the first child shared, then I asked the other child to share.  After gathering information so as to understand the circumstance, I asked them if I understood the issue correctly. I wanted to ensure I was hearing them correctly. 

Then, I opened my Bible and took them to the importance of our words from Matthew 12 and how our words reveal our heart (Matt 12:34). I then read for them Colossians 3:5 how Paul tells the believers to put sin to death — and one of the sins that must be mortified includes the sin of slander.  I talked about how this is God’s command to believers. 

I showed how the sin of slander comes from a proud heart that is unwilling to have a loving conversation with the individual to their face but rather takes the easy route of speaking “about them” — and doing so behind their back. I said: God hates slander and it is never helpful, nor useful, nor kind. 

Then, we ended with Colossians 4:6 where God tells the believers to let their speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt.  In going to all these Scriptures, I was able to show them their sin and how they fell short of what God requires. They did not obey Him. They sinned against God. I pointed this out. 

After showing them their sin, calling them to repent, and exposing their need for Christ and His forgiveness, I told the child who slandered to write out for me Colossians 4:6 on a piece of paper. However, it had to be word-perfect, clear, legible, and they should memorize it in the process.  

In dealing with the situation in this way, I was able to take a child who sinned by slandering his neighbor and open the Bible and show how God’s Word exposes the evil and proud heart in the sin of slander. Then, after exposing the sin and calling for repentance and showing that the only hope is found in Jesus Christ, they had a discipline. It was a discipline for writing out the verse word for word and then returning that hand-written verse when it’s complete.  Once the child did so, I hugged them and reassured them of my love for them.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023


Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church 


Why new member interviews?

Question:  When people want to join your church, why do you require a new member “interview”?  

Answer:  We do so for the following six reasons: 
  1. It allows church elders to sit with the individual and cultivate continued interpersonal communication so as to get to know them better. 
  2. It allows the elders to ask 3 primary questions: 
    1. TESTIMONY:  please articulate your salvation-testimony. 
    2. GOSPEL:  please articulate the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.
    3. SERVICE:  where and how do you plan to serve and plug in at this local church?
  3. It helps us as elders to know if they need clarification on a point of the gospel as they articulate it (so we can help them, give them a resource for further study). 
  4. It allows us as elders to reassure the individual that we shepherd-elders want to care for all the flock of God that the Lord entrusts to our care. 
  5. It provides a wonderful platform to call the individual to service in the body life of the church rather than just being a spectator and attending when it’s convenient. 
  6. Then, we can encourage the person by praying with and for them at the end.


PARENTING & DISCIPLINE HELPS: practical scenarios 

Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church 

In this post, I will post a hypothetical scenario about a child that disobeys his parents in a certain way. Then, I will share some counsel as to what the parent can do in that moment to discipline with firm consistency and with gospel-grace.

The Scenario 

My 3 year old did not stay in their room as I told them to do. 

Let’s say you have a young child and you have put them in their bed with the clear command: Do not come out. Maybe it is a quiet laying down rest time for a part of the afternoon or it could be that you lay them down for sleep at night. Either way: you have given the command to the child to stay in the bed and not to come out. And so you leave and you begin your tasks until a short bit of time passes by and you hear, “Mom…” or “Dad…” and then they proceed to share that they want water. But a bit later on, their bedroom door opens and they come walking out after you gave them the clear instruction to stay in their bed and not come out. As the child gets older, he will skillfully make his case as to why he just ‘had’ to come out even though you gave him unarguably clear instructions. The child has sinned against God and against you because he did not obey his parents. What do you do? 

The Counsel to the Parent 
 Perhaps this has never happened to you (ha!) or maybe it happened just last week or yesterday! Either way, maybe you can relate. This is a familiar scenario in our household. 
The child has sinned and needs to be reproved, disciplined, and evangelized. The child has sinned because he disregarded your clear verbal instruction about staying in the bed. Whether or not the kid is thirsty or has to go to the bathroom or wants a new toy or a different book is irrelevant. The child chose to sin by getting up out of the bed and walking out of the room. Your command was not obeyed. 
Rather than giving them a warning, or loudly shouting: “go back to your bed!” there’s a better way. And the better way is to take the time, however inconvenient it may be to you in that moment, and lovingly discipline them with the rod and verbally expose their heart of selfishness and disobedience to God and then give them the hope of the gospel and call them to trust in Jesus. 
They must be told that they sinned (Ephesians 6.1). They did not do what God told them to do in obeying Dad and Mom. Thus, because they wanted something and thought that something (anything!) was really important (indeed: more important) than obeying God in that moment, whatever reason/excuse they provide is just exposing their heart. They wanted that thing more than they wanted to please God and obey you. Thus, they sinned. 
So the child should be spanked. The parent should take the rod, take the child into a private room and administer the discipline with firmness, with love, and with self-control. By the way, the younger the child, the more immediate the spanking should be (rather than allowing it to wait until the end of room time, or the end of the day, etc.).
Why all of this? Why the time and the effort? Why the probing of the heart? Why make it a big deal when the kid just came out of the room to go to the bathroom?  Why? Because the child disregarded your authority and thus God’s clear instruction and chose to do what he wanted to do (James 4.1-2).
But praise God, in His mercy, God has provided another evangelism opportunity within the context of the home. You discipline your child, swoop them up in arms of love and tell them how much you love them and how much more God loves them! You say that their corrupt and sinful heart has led them into error and yet there is hope in a mighty Savior who changes hearts and forgives sin! 
It may seem like just “another” opportunity during the day for a child to go back to his room after he disregarded your parental command, but it actually proves to be another God-given opportunity for in-home evangelism for you to minister grace to the guilty soul by giving the gospel to them. 
Parent, this surely demands time and energy. And it often disrupts your plans and your moments of quietness that you had planned. But it’s worth it. Proclaiming the gospel is always worth it. God has given another occasion for you to die to self and live to righteousness and love your child in the best way of gospel proclamation ...  again!
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