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Practical Ways for You and Your Teen to Pray

October 26, 2020
By Coastal Community School

Praying Together with Your Teen

“In prayer you’re going to partner with God to unleash His power, to fulfill His perfect plan for your kids.” —Sally Burke, Parenting Pivot Challenge 

As parents, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of making sure our kids have a strong, lifelong faith. When it comes to prayer, we can’t make our kids have a prayer life, we can only encourage them to pursue it, and pray for a desire to build in their hearts to grow close to God

You may be a great example for your child, but their prayer life is between them and God; it doesn’t have to look exactly like yours. In the end, we can only hope and, yes, pray that they take advantage of God’s availability. But it’s hard to know how to begin when prayer doesn’t always come naturally. Here are a few ways you and your teen can experience prayer in a fresh way! We encourage you to first explore these on your own to strengthen your own prayer life, and afterward share them with your teen as part of helping them discover what works for them.

1. Lectio Divina. This is one form of contemplative prayer or “Christian meditation.” First, find a passage or verse you want to focus on and start by taking in the message. Then read it again and ponder it for understanding. Lastly, pray that God reveals His will to you. This can help us have a two-way conversation with God where we read His Word, and respond through prayer. Even if we don’t say anything to God, we can spend time in contemplative silence while focusing on Him, His presence, or His word.

2. Check-ins. Taking a few minutes to pray and check in with God can be a great way for your teen to connect with Him when they’re feeling busy or overwhelmed. This can be a time to vent their pent up feelings or just a time to be calm and rest their mind. And remember, there’s no time requirement for prayer. A simple “Hey God, I’m overwhelmed, be with me,” is enough. When talking with your teen about prayer, try to lift the pressure of expectations or time requirements, and encourage them to simply talk with Him in the way they feel most comfortable.

3. Music. Encourage your teen to pick their favorite praise songs and spend time speaking with God as it plays in the background. When they hear a verse that reflects their feelings or thoughts, they can take it directly to God and talk with Him about it. This also gives them space to repent of their sins and praise God for His forgiveness of them. And no, this doesn’t have to be limited to something they’d hear on K-Love! There are a lot of cool artists and bands out there who love Jesus, so encourage your teen to explore some different music if they’re not sure where to start. (P.S. Find some great music suggestions here!)

4. Prayer list. This list can take many different forms. The idea is to write out parts of our lives and acknowledge God’s role in them. For example, your teen might make a list of their strengths and positive attributes followed by God’s involvement and impact in their lives. After the list is finished, go over each bullet point with thankfulness, and give the praise to Him. And the list doesn’t have to be upbeat, either. Does your kid feel overwhelmed by everything going on in their life right now? Do they battle with negative thoughts? Have them write out each fear, worry, or struggle, and then go back and write God’s truth beside those things, reclaiming what the devil wants to use against them by embracing God’s sovereignty over all things.

5. Journaling. Writing out our prayers in a journal can be a great way to communicate with God in a way that helps us concentrate on our words. Think of this as a direct message to God; a love letter that He receives as we write. Sometimes writing helps us understand our thoughts and feelings better, so this can also simply be a therapeutic task to unwind and get some emotions on a page.

6. Daily Prayer App. This app has prayers to consider in the morning, afternoon, and evening. It has an opening prayer tab, a confession prayer tab, and a tab dedicated to scripture. We encourage you not only to follow these prayer guides but to dwell on their meaning and apply the messages specifically to your life.

Watch the accompanying webinar and get the additional resources from the original blog posted on Axis at:   https://info.axis.org/blog/practical-ways-to-integrate-prayer-into-your-daily-life

This blog was originally posted by Axis on October 23, 2020.

Why Christian Education?

July 07, 2020
By Coastal Community School

It’s a Difference in Focus and Goals

Students spend more than 15,000 hours in school from kindergarten through 12th grade. This is an influential amount of time. This means that your decision regarding your child's school is really a 15,000-hour decision. Who will shape your son? Who will influence your daughter? How will God be portrayed? Your choice of school matters greatly and we believe that an excellent education within an accredited Christian school is the best way to prepare your child for life

What does it mean to "teach from a biblical worldview?"

We all have a lens through which we view and understand the world. It forms from your life experiences, and your beliefs and values. It includes what you believe to be true. A biblical worldview means that you examine, evaluate, and make sense of the world through the truth of the Bible. Christian schools teach from a biblical worldview. Christian teachers and coaches integrate biblical values into every program of the school. Teaching from a Christian perspective does not simply mean diagramming Bible verses or studying biblical text as literature. Teaching itself is not just the passing along of information from one person to the next. Our staff and teachers strive to reflect the Person of Christ in the classroom, in grace and truth.

Why is a biblical worldview so important?

History, science, the arts, and every subject, every curriculum, and every teacher has a point of view. There is no such thing as neutral. If a Christian viewpoint is not present, the only other option is a non-Christian viewpoint. Not allowing prayer, not wishing “Merry Christmas” or explaining how God is not involved in history, are just some of hundreds of examples that present God as non-existent or unimportant when this supposedly “neutral” point of view is presented. Children are bombarded with non-Christian messaging from movies, TV, music, social media, academia, and more. We believe that a school should be instrumental in equipping children to understand the truth about life, the world, and their place in it, and that truth includes God.

Yes, but many Christians have gone to public schools and turned out just fine!

No one can deny this. Yet parents must ask themselves, "Is today’s permissive culture what I want for my child?"  The difference between a public or non-Christian school and a Christian school is not in the professionalism of its staff or perfection of its student body, but in the focus and goals of its education. That focus and those goals greatly influence the school culture. In a Christian school, students are loved and influenced as they learn by committed Christians sharing the same Biblical values as their parents. Students learn these values not just from Bible class but also from the examples that are modeled and taught by staff members in every school activity. Challenges, conflict, and circumstances are engaged from a Biblical / Christian perspective.

Shouldn't Christians be "out in the real world" making a difference in non-Christian circles? Why segregate themselves in a Christian school?

A quality Christian school should never become an institution that shelters students into a reclusive life. That is not the purpose of Christian education. In fact, the mission of Christian education is to do just the opposite – serve the community and equip students to be transforming influences in the world for Jesus Christ. Field trips, community service and volunteerism are just some of the ways students at a Christian school learn about the world and how to share their faith.

Isn't it the role of the parents and their church to teach the Christian worldview?

A Christian school does not replace the role of the parent or church; a Christian school becomes a partner with the parent and church. Christian parents today too often feel as if they are battling an entire culture in order to raise godly children. Parents increase their effectiveness by widening the circle of influence around their children with other godly adults. At a Christian school, students are taught by faculty and staff who share the same basic values and beliefs as the parents. It is a partnership. Those relationships will have a lasting influence on your child.

What about outcomes? What can I expect once my child leaves CCS?

A 2018 Cardus Education Survey is the most comprehensive study ever done on the outcomes of K-12 Christian education. The study found that Christian school graduates, as compared to graduates from non faith-based schools, charter schools, and public schools, are more outwardly focused individuals with a higher commitment to family, church, and the larger society. They donate significantly more money, are more generous with their time, and participate in far more relief and development services than their peers. They also feel more confident, are more likely to graduate from college, less likely to divorce, and pray and read the Bible more often.

At CCS, we feel these elements are an invaluable part of your child’s education. If you are interested in learning more about Christian education at Coastal Community School, email Nora Huggins:  nhuggins@coastalcommunityschool.com

How To Love A Teenager

March 20, 2020
By Coastal Community School
Paul Tripp

Do you remember what it was like to be a teenager?

The self-consciousness. The physical self-awareness. Trying to fit in. Doing whatever it took to gain peer acceptance. Attempting to act cool but looking like a fool. (I remember spilling soda on myself at McDonald’s in front of three girls, and I genuinely wanted to die right then and there!)

Being a teen is scary, awkward, and volatile. Unsurprisingly, they will produce tumult and stress in the home that younger children won’t. It’s a tough season of life for all involved, but moms and dads–and the Christian community as a whole, for that matter–need to reject the dread and cynicism that accompany this stage of life.

This weekend in Raleigh at my annual parenting livestream, I’m going to spend a full session on how we can more effectively love, parent, and influence our teens. Even if you don’t have a teen now or coming in the future, I would encourage you to tune in. You know parents with teenagers who need help, and God has also placed teens in your life who need wisdom and love!

So what does the Bible say about teenagers? Well … nothing! However, the Bible gives us excellent descriptions of the tendencies of youth. Here are just three things for you to consider as you raise and interact with the teens that God has placed in your life:

Teens don’t hunger for wisdom and correction.

Most teens think they are wiser than they actually are, and they believe their parents (and all adults, for that matter) have little practical insight to offer. It’s frustrating, yes, but I have watched far too many adults make correction bitter as they beat their teen with demeaning words.

Our call is to make wisdom attractive. You don’t do this with nasty, inflammatory confrontations. No wisdom is imparted in these moments. If you hit teens with a barrage of verbal bullets, they will either run for the bunker or come out firing themselves.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)

Teens make unwise choices in their companions.

There is a great deal of material in Proverbs about friendship and the influence that others have on you and your behavior. Yet teenagers tend to be prickly and protective when it comes to discussions of their friends.

We need to approach these conversations with sensitivity and patient love. Never resort to name-calling and character assassination. Your goal should be to ask probing questions that help the teen to examine their thoughts, desires, motives, choices, and behaviors concerning friendship.

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20

Teens lack a long-term investment perspective.

Teenagers tend to live for whatever they want in the moment, and they tend to put off their responsibilities until the very last minute. We must lovingly challenge their belief that this physical moment is all that matters.

Our teenagers need us to be on site, teaching them to look at the long view of life, not with harsh condemnation and frustration, but with empathy and forbearance. They need our help to see that every choice, every action is an investment and that it is impossible to live life without planting seeds that will be the plants of life they will someday harvest.

“Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices.” (Proverbs 1:29-31)

I want to conclude this devotional with the same question that I started with:  do you remember what it was like to be a teenager? 

Effective parents are those who can remember what it was like to live in the scary world of those adolescent years and display the mercy that they once needed themselves as a teen.

I’m deeply persuaded that this is a period of unprecedented opportunity. I would go as far as to say that the teen years are the golden age of parenting, when you can help prepare adolescents for a productive, God-honoring life as an adult.

God bless,

Paul Tripp

 

Find out more at:  https://www.paultripp.com/wednesdays-word/posts/how-to-love-a-teenager

The Only Valentine's Day Advice You Need

February 13, 2020
By Coastal Community School

As we approach Valentine’s Day, everyone is talking about love. But if you listen, you’ll find that a lot of the conversation is centered around vague definitions or abstract concepts.

Let’s get concrete and specific: Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not require reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving. What inspired my definition? Love is best defined by an event: Christ’s sacrifice of love is the ultimate definition of what love is and what love does.

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

(1 John 4:10-11, ESV; read verses 7-21 for full context)

Let’s unpack that definition. Here it is again: Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not require reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving.

Willing

Jesus said, “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:18).

The decisions, words, and actions of love always grow in the soil of a willing heart. You simply cannot force a person to love; otherwise, it fails to be genuine, other-focused, Christ-centered love.

Self-Sacrifice

There is no such thing as love without sacrifice. If you want to love like Jesus, you must be willing to give up your time, energy, money, and preferences for the good of another. Love serves, waits, gives, suffers, forgives ... then does all these things on repeat.

For The Good Of Another

Love is motivated by the interests and needs of others, excited at the prospect of alleviating burdens and meeting needs. If you are only interested in loving people because you get something good in the end, you are not motivated by love for them but by love for yourself.

That Does Not Require Reciprocation

The Bible says that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. If he had waited until we were able to reciprocate, there would be no hope for us! Love isn’t a “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” contract. Love isn’t about placing people in our debt and waiting for them to pay off their debts. Love isn’t a negotiation for mutual good. Real love isn’t motivated by the personal return on the investment.

Or That The Person Being Loved Is Deserving

Love does its best work when the other person is undeserving. Christ was willing to go to the cross and carry our sin precisely because there was nothing that we could ever do to earn, achieve, or deserve the love of God.

Now, maybe you’re thinking, “There’s no way I can love like this. Where do I start?” (Good! Hopelessness in yourself is the doorway to hope in Christ)

I have one word for you to meditate on:  gratitude.

“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Genuine, other-focused, Christ-centered love is not born through begrudgingly succumbing to duty. No, love is born out of remembering and celebrating. When I remember the lavish, faithful, patient, forgiving, and empowering love that has been poured on me, I will want to give that love away to someone else.

So today, be filled with gratitude for the love of Christ that has been poured down on you, and that has changed your life trajectory forever. Then you will be motivated to look for opportunities to love like Jesus.

- Post from Paul Tripp

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