Marriage and Parenting


The Meaning of Marriage

Timothy Keller


Keller's book on Marriage is easy to read with stories and comfortable prose. It is clearly written both for singles and couples in a world which offers no cultural support for marriage or marriages! But it offers no easy answers, false comfort, nor any sentimental ideas. It is truly biblical and terrifyingly frank. Like Jesus arguing with the Pharisees, Keller (both Timothy and Kathy have written this together) tends to expose sham arguments with the real heart issues in relationships. But if a person (I say "person" instead of "couple" because we can only read this "for ourselves") is ready to hear God's perspective, and risk adopting it, this book will give real hope and show a path to joy. Risk it! Find a comfortable chair, a cup of tea or coffee, your Bible, and paper & pen. Then pray as you read.



Shepherding A Child's Heart

Tedd Tripp


Jesus said, "for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45). This means that it is not the actions that make us who we are, but who we are that causes our actions. Too often as parents we focus on the external behavior of our children, but Christ calls us to work from the inside-out. This is the core idea of Tripp's book: parents must seek to train their children's heart, not just their behaviors. Because Tripp is a pastor, counselor, school administrator and a father he is practical and also Christ-centered. For example he says, "The 'Why did you...' line of questioning never works with children (and rarely adults)." He suggests questions like, "What were you feeling when you hit your sister?" or "Help me understand why hitting her seemed to make you feel better" or "How did your response show your trust in God's ability to provide for you?" (p. 80). I find this book to be one of the best, practical, biblical, god-centered books on parenting children.



Parenting In the Pew

Robbie Castleman


Review written by Harold and April Emahiser, Village Church Members:


A few years back, we struggled with our son over attending church and actively being engaged. The word boring kept coming up. We wanted Stew's church experience to be positive and not just an exercise in self control. We found a great resource to help us make this transition in the book "Parenting in the Pew" by Robbie Castleman. Through reading this book, we got a fresh vision. Going to church to worship God with our children is a privilege and it is also our responsibility to train them to worship God by entering into His holy presence each Sunday. Sunday mornings are an opportunity to be intentional in training our children in what matters most, worshipping the God of the universe and fully delighting in Him.

A quote from the book illustrates its focus: "Parenting in the Pew was written to help parents train children in the only "proper behavior" for church: worship!" This is not about teaching proper behavior while sitting in church such as not chewing gum, passing notes or being quiet. The book has a lot of practical tips and advise for parents who want to move towards maturing their children to the point where the church service is where they worship too, not just Mom and Dad. The book would benefit all, but is most applicable to parents with children still attending church with their parents. We highly recommend the book.



Spiritual Parenting

Michelle Anthony


This book was first recommended to me by Janice and I 'adopted' it - a great resource for Village parents. As parents, we can settle too easily for 'good behavior' - not a bad thing. Yet, Romans 12:1-2 tells us that what we all seek is to be transformed from inside out. That's our real goal for our children. If we only enforce a certain behavior (would that we could!), that does not fully protect them when they leave. What we seek and pray for and desire, is for them to be 'transformed by a renewing of their minds'. We want good behavior to flow out of their heart deeply connected to God's. This is work that only God can do, but God does use means - including parents. What can parents do? If you have only a little time, you can get 'the whole book' by reading chapter 2: tell stories about God's glory, teach children about their identity as a hedge against others who want to change their identity, integrate them into the Church, cultivate an expectation for service, get them out of their comfort zone, teach them responsibility, use 'course corrections' rather than punishment, live-out an environment of love and respect, show them how to 'know God' rather than know about God, and model living by faith. That's the list. The rest of the book is a chapter on each that gives examples and encouragement. Read this book.



Age of Opportunity

David Tripp


Raising children - and especially teenagers - is the best way for God to expose the sins of the parents! I've never done anything so difficult or so humbling. One of the things I like about this book is that the author is transparent, using many examples of his own failures as a parent. He made me feel right at home! I also appreciated his soundness biblically. He does not use the Bible verses as proof-texts to reinforce his ideas, but instead he deeply considers the character of God and gives deep insights into what it means to be godly parents from the Bible. One of the phrases that hit me was that the family is a "theological community." That is, the family is the place where we live out our faith and seek after God together. It is in the family that theology becomes real. Finally, the last chapter is a great comfort for those who read this book and say "it's too late!" or "I'm overwhelmed." To those people who feel that way after reading this book, he gives sound counsel and encouragement. I strongly recommend this book to all parents - even those whose kids are now gone because soon you'll be counseling your own children about how to be parents.