8 Sides of the Octagon
October 6, 2013
In order to be complete, an octagon needs eight sides. If any one of those sides is missing, the structure will not stand up to the rigors it faces.
In this message, Pastor Ed Young looks at the eight sides of discipline from God’s perspective. And when parents (and children) understand and implement all eight, they discover a structure that can stand up to any fight the family faces.
Love, fight, win. Those are the three big rounds we’ve been talking about when it comes to UFC. Love is the fuel from God, we discovered, for the fight, the family fight. Because remember, we’re fighting for the ultimate. God’s goal and his agenda for all of our lives is for us to win. Isn’t that good? Love, fight, win.
When you’re talking about those three big overriding issues you have to talk about discipline. Because God is a God of discipline. The Bible says that God disciplines those he loves. True love, I’m talking about the real deal, always has discipline as a part of it. and discipline is about true love. The Bible says that God disciplines you and me. It’s not always fun, yet he does it because he has our best interests in mind. Discipline is both dynamic and also difficult.
I was thinking to myself, OK how can we really empower kids and how can we empower parents to understand the beauty of discipline? Because when you talk about discipline it kinda sounds negative. But it’s not really. It’s really incredible. Then I thought about my skills as a rapper. You know, I’m a frustrated hip-hop artist. I rap Caucasianally. So I got together this week with some of our team and we did a rap and it’s premiering right now on this stage. It’s premiering I’m talking about in a couple of seconds, a world premier! So kids, do not miss this. Parents, don’t miss this. Follow me on Instagram, on Twitter. I will be commenting about it. and you can read the comments from other people. It’s been a big hit already so I thought let’s just go ahead and show it, and then after I show you this rap, then I will tell you, I will kinda break it down a little bit about what God says about what I was talking about. Are you ready? Are you ready?! Here we go!
<PARENT MAP RAP 2.0 plays on sidescreens>
You know, let’s go ahead and do a standing ovation because our team here is so incredible. They can make any idiot look good up there. So I gotta give the props to all of our team. It’s amazing what they can do with your voice and video and everything.
Anyway, that rap is so true, isn’t it? And when you look at the teaching ministry of Jesus remember this. Jesus always used metaphors and illustrations from the culture, which people could connect with. He spoke the street language of the day. So that’s basically our model at Fellowship. We want to teach many times some complex truths in ways and to people who are in situations where they can understand it. And that is a major, major aspect of the church. The church should be the most creative entity in the world. The family is the foundation for our culture. That’s why we’ve been talking so much about the family. And especially we’ve been talking about some of the messy parts, like discipline.
Let’s start with discipline. What is discipline anyway? Discipline is training your kids to be the best that God wants them to be. That’s discipline. That’s why we discipline. When God disciplines you and me it’s not something he does to us, it’s something he does for us. Parents, you discipline your kids. You look and you know what they can become because you know about it in Scripture. The word discipline, I couldn’t believe it, comes from a Latin term disco. Can you believe that? Disco! You remember the classic picture of John Travolta in the white leisure suit doing this? You remember that? I think Travolta is pointing to God. He did not know it but he’s saying God is the source of disco, discipline. The word disco means to know. So to discipline you have to have this relationship. We come into a relationship with God, God disciplines you and me because he has our best interests in mind. It’s the picture of someone who is a craftsman and the person who is an apprentice. They have this deep relationship and from that relationship the apprentice learns the discipline from the craftsman. Parents, we’re the craftsmen. Our kids are the apprentices.
A couple of years ago I was speaking in London and Lisa and I were backstage in this tiny green room. And there were a couple of folks in there serving us some espresso and one of the young ladies, we began to talk to her, and she told us that she was a master apprentice from this master tailor. This guy on Savile Row is one of the best guys in the country when it comes to design. His suits start at like $5,000 and they go up to $20,000 for a suit! And she was telling Lisa and I how she has shadowed him for all these years and he’s taught her the discipline. And she starts just with cutting and knowing the different fabrics. And it was amazing. That is the picture of discipline.
The Bible says in the book of Proverbs, chapter 15, verse 10, “Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path. The one who hates correction will die.” Discipline is about order. God is a God of order. God is a first-place God. He’s not second, he’s not third. It’s so cool to say “family first” or “kids first” but when we put family first or kids first God is second. It’s God (he’s at the top of the order) then the marriage (because that’s the only relationship reflective of God’s relationship with his people), then the kids. That’s the dynamic order that God says. So we discipline around those priorities. The priorities of God, #1. #2, the marriage and #3 the kids. Discipline flows from those things.
Well, the Family Octagon is a true fight. Ultimate fighting. The family is the ultimate fight because we’re fighting for the ultimate. And when we’re fighting for the ultimate we’re fighting for order in this whole thing known as discipline. “Stern discipline (Proverbs 15:10) awaits anyone who leaves the path. The one who hates correction will die.” If I hate correction from God I will never understand what this life is all about. I’ll be a walking corpse. Kids, if you dis discipline, if you don’t pay close attention to it you’ll be a walking corpse. You’ll never understand the vitality and the rhythm and the adventure of this one and only life. So don’t leave the path.
I remember a couple of years ago I traveled to a remote part of the Yucatan jungle. I was staying in this little place out in the middle of the jungle and these Mayan guides, they were about this tall, they could barely speak English. They took me through these paths and they were showing me different parts of the jungle. And hey, I’d never been to a place like this and they just told me in their broken English, “Follow me.” So I would just pretty much walk where they walked. We walked over army ants, we walked around quicksand. There were all sorts of things in the jungle. Well, I was walking around some quicksand, I tripped up and fell off the path. I had this brand new (I mean, this is totally tourist, isn’t it?) this shoulder bag, this grey shoulder back with some supplies in it. So when I got myself up off of my rear I looked and this backpack, part of it was turning white before my eyes. I had fallen off the path, just kinda fell into this bush, and all of a sudden my backpack is like rotting almost before my eyes. So when we got to our destination I pointed to it and I said,
“What’s wrong?” And the Mayan said,
“Chachin.” I said,
“Chachin.” And I later found out that I had fallen into the Chachin plant. And this plant the Mayans call Chachin has this substance on the leaves that will rot your skin to the bone!
So let’s read this verse like it’s about Chachin. Proverbs 15:10, “Stern discipline, stern Chachin, awaits anyone who leaves the path. The one who hates correction will die.” Follow the guide. The guide is God. The guide is your mother and father. And kids, most of the time, I’d say about 98% of the time, your parents are right.
Sadly, though, our kids are doing what the parents should do, and the parents are doing what the kids should do. We’ve got it inverted! Why do we have it inverted? Because we’re missing the beautiful order that God has when it comes to discipline. God, spouse, kids. So that’s the what of discipline. It’s training our kids to become all that God wants them to be.
Well, how do we discipline? I want to give you some objectives from the octagon. There are eight sides to the octagon. We’ve already talked about four of them. I’m gonna do the last four but just for review let’s jump in.
#1 – Start soon or you’ll raise a loon. Apply these objectives now. “But I’m not even married, Ed!” You’re starting right now. You’re learning, you’re getting the knowledge. I don’t care if you’re a pre-parent, a grandparent, or you own a parent company of some other big company, start now.
#2 – Discipline for motivation, not humiliation. We don’t humiliate our children. We’re not about just shaming them. We discipline for motivation. God disciplines you and me for motivation. We, in turn, discipline our kids that way as well. And you can go to www.FellowshipChurch.com and check this out where a couple of weeks ago where I unpacked all of this in high detail.
#3 – When you give in, no one will win. And that’s a tough part of being a parent, isn’t it? We hear all this whining, all this, “Why? You people are so unfair! I can’t believe it! No one else does this! Aaaah!” and it’s so tempting to go, “I give up! Too much drama, too much trauma, I just don’t wanna mess with it. I’ve messed with stuff all day at the office and I don’t wanna have all this crap any more at home!” Parents, that’s why we have to encourage one another. That’s why we need raps like the Parent Map Rap 2.0., to rap back at our kids. To tell them: I’m the parent, I’m legit. There’s no use arguing you might as well quit. You can roll your eyes and say it’s not fair. You’re telling God you really don’t care. So do what I say all the time, then your life will have serious rhyme! All the time. Peace of mind.
#4 – This is new material. Say new with me. All right. Give proper pay when they disobey. When I jump fences, God brings consequences. When I jump over the guard rails God says, “Ed, here’s the situation” and I receive the punishment. Because punishment is part of discipline. And I know, Hebrews 12, that the punishment within discipline is for my best.
Well, the greatest message I’ll ever preach is not gonna be from this stage. It’s not gonna be in some conference or some other church. The best message I will ever preach is my marriage to Lisa and my relationship with my four kids.
Here is what our oldest said about this objective:
“Hey, I’m LeeBeth. I’m Ed and Lisa’s firstborn child and I definitely was a stereotypical, firstborn, strong-willed child. I was not an easy kid to parent. In fact, this right here was my time out chair when I was little. I spent a lot of time in this chair in time out when I was really young. It even has my name carved in the back, which is kinda funny. But when I became a teenager things did not get easier for my parents. I was disrespectful a lot, especially towards my mother, and looking back they had to definitely enforce a lot of discipline in my life. One time in particular I remember my mom got us up for school and served us breakfast as a family and she gave me my plate and I looked at it and I was like, “This is disgusting.” It was kind of a healthier meal and I refused to eat it. I said it was sick. I wasn’t gonna touch it. Gross, you name it, I said it, and started to mouth off to her. So my dad looked at me and goes, “LeeBeth, since you had this attitude you’re gonna stay home from school today.” Which for me, that was a huge blow. Because I was very into school. I never wanted to miss school or be late for school and so I was furious! I’m like, “What do you mean I’m gonna have to stay home from school?” And he goes, “Well, not only are you gonna have to stay home from school but you’re gonna have to stay outside and move a wood pile.” And I flipped out. I started to scream, cry, and throw a tantrum but they enforced it. They put me outside and I had to move a wood pile from one side of the yard to the other side of the yard in a wheelbarrow. It took me all day. In fact they even served me lunch. They served that breakfast that I had been served and refused to eat for lunch outside. I wasn’t allowed to come inside. And at the end of the day I had to call my teacher and apologize to her for missing school and tell her why I was not there. I had to explain that I was disrespectful to my parents and that’s why I had missed class. So that’s definitely one of the most memorable punishments that I’ve had. But hey, I needed it because I was a very strong girl. So I’m very thankful that they did that in my life. And I wouldn’t be who I am today without that discipline.”
#5 – Well the fifth objective is – moms, dads, single parents – is call it tight and you’ll do them right. Watch a football game. If the refs are loosey-goosey, if things are just not being called we get upset. We scream at the television set. We scream our lungs out at a stadium. It’s best to start tight to call it strict, then you can kind of loosen up. We tell parents all the time as we coach them, don’t have a squillion rules. Have a couple of things that your kids understand. Explain to them the consequences and that is enough. Remember, we are disciplining around the priorities. Discipline is about order. Even though your life and family seems like chaos, here’s what God sees when he sees chaos. That’s order waiting to happen. God says, “You do my order, my way, and I’m telling you amazing things will happen.” Call it tight and you’ll do them right.
One of our twins said this about it:
Landra: “So all through high school we got our technology taken up at 9:00. One night I did not want to give my phone up whatsoever. We would plug our phones in in my parents’ closet. Well, instead of taking my phone that worked I took my old iPhone that was cracked. And I put it face down so they would never know. Well, the next morning I went to school and I was in one of my classes and my mom texted my twin sister and was like, “Hey, Landra left her phone. Just tell her I have it and she’ll get it later tonight.” Well, Laurie texted back and was like, “Landra has her phone. I don’t understand.” And then I pretty much gave myself away. Well, later that night I got a text from my parents saying to come to their bedroom when I got home. Whenever you hear that you know it’s bad. So, I went home. My parents told me my consequences. I had to get my phone taken away for three weeks. And it was miserable but I really learned my lesson. So, yeah.”
I want to put a couple of math problems on the screens and I want everyone to repeat these problems. Here’s the first one, say it with me. Consistency – at all campuses, let’s do it again. Let’s start. Consistency and reliability = security. As a parent in the home I’m a UFC parent. As I’m loving and fighting and winning, I’ve got to understand the importance of consistency and reliability as it leads to security. Our God is consistent. Our God is reliable. You can count on him. I can count on him. Parents, we’re to mirror that so when we say something we’ve got to follow through. If you want children who have a great self-esteem, if you want kids (I do) who are secure in who they are and whose they are, it starts with consistency and reliability.
But here’s another problem. Say it with me. Inconsistency and unreliability = insecurity. “I want an insecure child. I want a child who has a horrible self esteem.” I have yet to hear a parent say that. We say just the opposite. If we’re capricious, if one day it’s a touchdown and the next day it’s a facemask, our kids will go, “Man, Mom and Dad are inconsistent. They’re unreliable.” And they’ll come to the only conclusion they can come to, they’re insecure. Call it tight! Call it tight and you’ll do them right.
Proverbs 15:32, “Those who disregard discipline, those who dis discipline, despise themselves.” So when I turn my back on God’s discipline, when I say, “Well, God, I can jump fences but when you bring consequences I’m gonna dis that.” … that’s not a pretty thing. Student, child, you dis discipline from your mom and dad you will reap consequences. You are gonna have the Chachin all over you and it’s not worth it. So those who disregard discipline despise themselves but the one who heeds correction… The word heeds in the Hebrew is “pays close attention to.” If I pay close attention to correction I will gain understanding in my life. I want to have understanding as I negotiate the maze of life.
#6 – When you’re specific you’ll be prolific. I’ve got to be specific as a leader, specific as a parent. God is specific with us. It’s not like we wonder, I wonder how I should act as a husband? I mean, I wonder what God says as a wife? I wonder how I should handle my finances? I wonder about my thought life. I wonder, OK, I get angry, I mean what does God say about anger? It’s all here. Very, very specific. Here’s what the other twin said about being specific. She texted this to me because she is in college out of state:
Laurie: “The first thing that comes to my mind when it comes to discipline, like the first illustration would be (probably sadly) when me and my twin sister were arguing in the car years ago. We would always argue and our mom was like, ‘OK, if you argue one more time you’re gonna have to walk home.’ And I was like, yeah, whatever. I thought she was kinda just joking about that. So this is probably like months later, me and my sister were arguing and we kept arguing and arguing and my mom finally was just like, ‘OK, y’all get out of the car and you walk home. Because you’re not gonna argue in this car.’ We were like, probably I don’t know how many miles away but we were like miles away from home. And my mom made us get out of the car and walk home. And she slowly followed us like a good mother would but yep… me and Landra had to get out of the car and walk home for arguing. So that’s the first thing that comes to my mind when it comes to discipline.”
Is it just me these days or do kids say ‘like” all the time, like Laurie, like, that was like Laurie talking about like what she is like doing, like, discipline. Like Proverbs like 10, like verse 17 says, “Whoever heeds, like, discipline, like shows the way to life, like, but whoever, like, ignores correction, like leads others astray.” I don’t know Mom. Like, Dad, I’m not sure, like, but, like, I want to, like, be the best daughter, like, I can possibly like be like.
#7 – And this is gonna be messy here. Stay on the same page!
“But my ex…”
Stay on the same page.
“But you don’t understand…”
Stay on the same page and you won’t cause a rage. It goes back to God, the trinity, you’ve got unity. As a man and woman, as a husband and wife, we’ve got to present a unified front. Kids love to divide and conquer. And I’ll say it again, this is the tweet of the day. Kids do what their parents should do, and their parents are doing what their kids should do. If the kids are running the show and the parents are like, yeah, I’m the kid. And it shouldn’t be that way. There is power in leadership and there is leadership in power. It’s fine behind closed doors to discuss stuff, to even argue, to give your opinion, but we have to present a unified front. As a coach, as a manager, as a CEO, as a pastor, especially as a parent. As I’ve said, Lisa and I have unashamedly partnered with this great church in bringing up our kids. I would argue the church is maybe the only entity that supports these transcendent, Biblical values that God wants us to champion. It’s the church. I believe we have the greatest student ministry and the greatest kids ministry on the planet. Just for our kids, for example, we have our own website. www.leadershipforkids.tv. I talked to a young day, and I will quote him.
“Ed, my three and a half year old son can give me the gospel and he learned it from LeadershipKids.tv! We have our own app. Parents, I beg you please do this! It will help you stay on the same page to present that unified front.
#8 – The eighth objective from the Octagon. Apologize and your stock will rise. Apologize. Now when I say apologize I’m not talking about this pseudo-apology. Hey, I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. I’m sorry if you took it wrong. That has got to be the craziest bunch of crap that I have ever heard in my life. That had to be written by a bunch of lawyers. And I love lawyers but… When you say that, “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings,” you’re like, man, you’re an emotional basket case. You took me the wrong way. It’s YOUR problem. You’re the one who’s jacked up, not me. What’s that? A real apology, and I did a whole teaching on this called the real F-word, forgiveness, it goes like this: “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Will you forgive me?” Let’s say it together. I’m sorry. I was wrong. Will you forgive me? Husbands, turn to your wives and say that because I’m sure we just need to say it anyway. That’s hilarious, isn’t it?
Let me tell you this. I grew up in a household full of boys. I didn’t know how to talk to women. You know, guys we say stuff and guys don’t care. “What’s up, big Mike?!” He laughs. That’s a term of endearment. You don’t say your wife and go, “Hey, what’s up? Big Lisa in the house!!!” it doesn’t work. So we have to choose our words wisely when we talk to our spouse. Wisely when we talk to our kids. Forgiveness, though, has got to be a foundational principle in the family. Because forgiveness is about the gospel. And the gospel is about forgiveness.
God sent Jesus to pay the price on the cross for all of our mistakes and sins. He has done the forgiveness work. We either receive it or not. And it’s so powerful in the family, kids, when you apologize to one another, and parents, when you apologize to your kids.
We used to travel over a bridge back in the day when the kids were smaller and here’s what our son said about that subject:
EJ: Apologize and your stock will rise. I remember growing up my Dad would take us to school and we would always cross the Grapevine Dam. When we would get into arguments, me and my sisters, we would always end up apologizing over the Grapevine Dam and we called it the Bridge of Apology. And my Dad taught us one time that we’re it. Like, our family is our closest knit so we have to apologize to each other and we have to own up to your responsibilities and your actions. And that’s one thing I remember from that. Apologize and your stock will rise.”
Kids, most of the time parents are right. However, our kids know it when we’ve blown it. They know it when we’ve messed up. And there is power when we walk in and go, “Son, I’m sorry. I was wrong. Will you forgive me?” “Honey, I know I was wrong. I totally blew it. Will you forgive me?” And, as parents we need to command (I didn’t say suggest), command that our kids truly apologize. Well, what do you mean command? God commands you and me to do it. “Be kind, one to another (Ephesians 4:32), tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”
Do you think Jesus felt like being punished, stripped, whipped, tortured, and nailed to a cross? Do you think he like, felt like doing the forgiveness work? “Well, I’m not gonna do the forgiveness work until I feel it.” You’ll never feel it! You’ll never feel it! God commands it. Then once we do it the feelings will follow. Kids, once you do it the feelings will follow. Parents, once you do it the feelings will follow.
Eight objectives from the Octagon. Eight Biblical objectives from the Octagon. Download them. Post them somewhere. Apply them. And I believe, Moms and Dads, we will send our kids out of the family unit with a great trajectory, a tremendous jet stream that’s not polluted but it’s pure and people will go, “Wow! Look at the family flourishing! Look at what God is doing! Look at the Family Octagon!”
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]