Our Blog

Filter By:
Showing items filed under “Bryan Gotcher”

Family Ministry Moments - December 2023

main image

Recently I was discussing parenting with another father.  We lamented that parenting is difficult with children of any age, especially when it comes to discipline.  Children need discipline.  It must be measured, biblical, and consistent.  What happens when our discipline seems like it is failing? Sometimes it seems like nothing we do gets through to our children.  Some children can be punished in all kinds of ways, and it doesn’t even phase them.  What is a parent to do? 

As I said, we must remain consistent.  One of the worst things a parent can do when raising children is to become erratic or overly emotional in discipline.  Children need to know what is expected, then if they disobey, they must be punished.  I am sure that no parent likes punishing their child.  It is certainly not something I like to do; however, as a parent that seeks to honor the Lord, I must consistently discipline my children.

We must also commit ourselves to prayer.  There is a temptation to make parenting all about behavior modification.  We want our children to act right so we focus on their actions rather than their motives.  What we should be focusing on is their heart.  There are things a parent can do to help direct our child’s heart but ultimately the Lord is the one who changes the heart.  That means we must commit ourselves to pray for our children.  When you are at the end of your rope, when you don’t know what to do, or when discipline doesn’t seem to work - pray!

When all else fails, we must remember to operate in gospel love.  The way God loves us is how we need to love our children.  In the Jesus Storybook Bible God’s love is described as “Never-Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.”  This is a fantastic way to define God’s love for us.  This is the essence of the gospel.  God loves us and refuses to give up on us, that is why He sent Jesus to pay the penalty for sin so that our relationship with Him could be restored.  This is the love of our heavenly father.  This is the love that parents need to emulate.

I remember a particularly challenging season with one of my children.  It seemed like we were always butting heads and discipline didn’t seem to work.  At one point I looked at them and told them, “I love you and I’m not going anywhere”.  I had to remind them that my love is not based on their behavior.  My love for them is unconditional.  From time to time our kids need to be reminded that we love them regardless of their behavior.  We need to tell them, even though our love is imperfect, we want to love them like God loves us– with a never-stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.

This is what gospel parenting looks like.  We go after the heart of our child in the same way that God goes after our heart.  Children are in as much need of a savior as we are.  They are also in need of discipleship as well.  We must remember to teach them the gospel repeatedly! But we cannot force them to follow Jesus.  We pray that God would call them to salvation, but even as we are waiting for them to believe in Jesus, we must disciple them.  We must teach them to follow Jesus, not just to obey for obedience’s sake. Rather we obey because Jesus loves us, and we love Jesus. 

My encouragement to parents is to be patient.  Parenting is hard at any stage.  I see parents with young children struggle as their babies exhaust them.  I see parents of toddlers struggle as these tiny humans exert their sinful will.  Older children will struggle with more complex emotions, which makes parenting hard.  Teens will struggle as they want to grow up way too fast.  All of it is hard, however all of it is joyous.  Raising our children is worth it, every struggle is worth it.  God doesn’t give up on us and we must not give up on our children.  If you feel lost as a parent, turn to the Lord, He will give you what you need.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

Spare Change - November 2023

main image

Recently I was studying Daniel 3, the story of Nebuchadnezzar’s golden idol.  The heroes of this story are three Jewish young men: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  These three young men stand up to enormous religious persecution and refuse to worship the king's idol.  This story inspires courageous faith in Christians.  We are challenged to stand up for what we know to be right according to God’s Word in the face of worldly pressures.

This story is full of application, especially if you study a little about these three young men in Daniel Chapter 1.  In these verses you will realize that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were exiles from Judah.  God used Babylon to punish His people for their idolatry.  In doing so they conquered Judah and exiled numerous people.  As a part of this exile, the King selected many young men to come and be trained in Babylon so they could serve in his kingdom.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not the only ones taken from Judah.  You have heard about Daniel, but there were others. 

This is interesting because in Chapter 1 they experience their first test.  They were expected to eat the king’s food.  This food did not conform to the food laws that God had given His people.  It would be a sin to eat this food.  Of all the Jews there only Daniel and the three young men stood up for their faith.  In this situation God blessed them and they succeeded in gaining favor with their captors.

Again, they are tested in Chapter 3 when they are told they must bow down to the king’s idol.  Daniel is not present in this situation, presumably he is handling matters
elsewhere for the king.  We know from other examples that he would not bow down to the idol.  He would have stood up for his faith just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did; however, one must ask the question, “were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego the only Jews present?”  Doubtless there were others, but for fear of death they chose sin. 

I am sure the peer pressure for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would have been enormous.  Just three men standing in a sea of idol worshippers.  They probably felt alone and afraid.  I am sure the other Jews looked at them as if they were crazy.  Many of them probably rationalized their sin because all they had to do was bow down. They could bow their knees without bowing their hearts…right?!

Jesus was clear in Luke 9:26, “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”  Denying Jesus in any form, even bodily, is still sin.  What the other Jews did on that day, in the Plain of Dura in Babylon by worshiping the idol, was sin. What Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did was stand up for their faith.  They are clearly the example we should be looking at in this story. 

What happens when we face peer pressure to sin? Do we have the same courageous faith to look our friends, family, or coworkers in the eye and say I will not deny my God?  Are you prepared to stand alone?  Every Christian is called to have courageous faith even if we are threatened with persecution.  The world will try to attack you in many ways.  They will threaten your family, job, and personal well-being. Friends and family might ostracize you; they might even threaten you with death.  What will you say in those moments?  You need to decide now what you will do.  Our Lord, Jesus, gave everything for us, we must be willing to stand up for Him!

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
Luke 9:24-26

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

12345678910 ... 5657