February 15, 2009
How are you? I feel so at home here. I’m glad you’re here tonight. Tonight and next weekend we’re going to be tackling the most difficult elephant that we face as parents. We have been building to this for the last few weeks. We have talked about discipline; we have talked about dealing with pain in our life. We dealt with red flags last week. We dealt with how to recognize warning signs as parents when we know our kids are going south. It was a heavy topic. This weekend we’re talking about ‑‑ and I believe this right here that we’re going to talk about tonight is so underrated. It solves a multitude of problems. It brings healing to deep, deep wounds of pain. I mean, this is something that Jesus did. It is something that Jesus illustrated. We’re going to talk about tonight, the elephant ‑‑ if this is your first weekend here in this series, here is what we have been talking about. There are elephants in the room as parents. Raising kids is not easy. They don’t come with an owner’s manual. It is tough. And there are elephants that we face. Sometimes they’re elephants that we have wanted and we have invited into our house. Sometimes they’re elephants that we have grown up with all of our life. But they are elephants, none the less, and they don’t leave by being ignored. We want them to leave and get frustrated and flap their ears. But they don’t do that. They hang around and they destroy furniture, they destroy people and they destroy lives. So these are the obvious, damaging truths that we choose to ignore. That’s what the elephants are. We’re not the elephants. Our kids aren’t the elephants. Elephants are the obvious, damaging truths that we choose to ignore. This weekend the elephant we are talking about is the elephant of how hungry our kids are. I have a beautiful meal here. There is turkey and mashed potatoes. How many of you like mashed potatoes? I love mashed potatoes. This is good food. There is cornbread and vegetables. It is great food. And on this side I have a garbage can that has rotted food in it, and trash. Now our kids starve to connect emotionally and physically with their parents. They crave that. And when we connect physically and we connect emotionally with them, spiritually with them, we feed them the meal, the nourishment that they crave deep down in their soul. And no one can feed them what they need except you. Now other people can bring them good food but no one can feed them the physical nourishment, the emotional nourishment or the spiritual nourishment that they need. Now I’m not going to spend as much time on the spiritual nourishment because that’s next weekend.
We are going to talk about the physical and the emotional nourishment, the affection and the attention, the double A, that our kids need. Let’s have a little fun here. We’re family, right? So we’re going to have a little group session. How many of you would say Brad, I’m a naturally expressive person? What I mean by that is you naturally show affection. Affection is natural for you. You’re a hugger, even to the point of people are scared of you sometimes because you hug so much. How many of you would say I’m naturally expressive? How many of you would say I’m a little bit more reserved? I’m just a reserved person. Affection is kind of awkward for me. How many of you would say that? The majority ‑‑ I’m so proud of you being honest. I thought most people would say, I’m naturally expressive, and then there would just be a couple who say that I’m more reserved. But most of you are more reserved. That’s very interesting. We’re talking about this and for some of you this will come more naturally for you. For others, it would be easier for me to teach you how to speak ancient Aztec than it will for you to totally understand this because it is foreign and it’s awkward and its non smooth for you to grab this. But here’s the good news, if Jesus can change people, which we really believe he can. I really believe, that’s why I’m here, that Jesus changes lives. I really believe what the song says. If we really believe those words that you came to heal my broken life and you came and did heal my broken life. If we really believe that, then we believe that Jesus can make non expressive people, expressive. Jesus can make people who don’t know how to show affection ‑‑ and I don’t mean that’s everyone who is non expressive. But you do have people who are cold. They’re not a mean person or a bad person, they’re just cold. That’s just who they are. Jesus can change that. He can. And our kids crave it. Now here is what happens. I’m going to put it all in this nutshell. If we as parents do not feed them this, they will eat this. Because your kids are going to eat. They’re going to eat. If I don’t feed them this, they’re going to eat this. Let’s just be honest, sometimes the best of parents feed them this their whole life but they still choose to eat this. The difference is they know what this tastes like. They may say you know what, that can is shiny. There is something about that can. I just can to go through that can. And they may think that what’s in that can is better than what this is, but the difference is ‑‑ this is where Jesus said, train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. Here is the difference; they’ve tasted what is good. They may dig in the garbage for a while, but they will come back, or the odds are great they’ll come back to what is good because their bodies crave it. Their souls crave it. Look what Matthew 7:9 says, and this is a sobering verse. This is what Jesus says, talking to parents. You parents – if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Let’s read that again, okay? “You parents, if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?” Here is what Jesus is saying. If your kids are craving this then why in the world do you withhold this from them? If they’re craving this then why would you by choices that you make in your life bring them a rock under here instead of the food that they need? He goes on to say, why would you give your kid a serpent when they crave a fish? Why would you do that? See sometimes without even knowing it, we give our kids stone cold presence. I don’t mean gifts, presents. I mean physical presence. What is stone cold presence? Stone cold presence is when I’m mentally and emotionally somewhere else. Your kids more than any toy, more than any gaming system, more than any amount of money, what they want is you. They want to be with you. They want you to look them in the eye. They want you to want to be with them more than you want to solve a problem. They want you to want to be with them more than the stuff that needs to get done. They want you to want to be with them more than the stuff you didn’t get done yesterday that you need to get done before tomorrow. They want you to want to be with them more than you solve problems at your job. Listen, I’m with you, I do that. I’m guilty as charged of that. And I have seen it in my kids, they crave emotional presence. But if I’m not intentional ‑‑ and that’s the key word. If I’m not intentional I won’t give them this. I will give them a bag of rocks when they’re craving this. The bag of rocks doesn’t fill their stomach. The bag of rocks doesn’t taste good. The bag of rocks is abrasive. So what they’ll do is they’ll make choices in their life looking for this they’ll go and they’ll begin to dig through the trash. And they’ll begin to hang out in trashy places. They will begin to make moral choices that are trashy. And they’ll begin to eat and live out of the garbage so long they’ll think all they deserve is to live out of the garbage can of life if we don’t feed them what they need. Is everybody with me out there? All right.
We give them stone cold presence. We give them stone cold time. That’s just snippets of time. Kids need a lot of affection and a lot of attention. The quality verses quantity doesn’t work here. Its quantity, quantity, quantity and quality, quality, quality. It’s both. It’s not either/or. So we give them little snippets of time here and there but I’m not intentional about the time with my kids. I give them stone cold time.
I give them stone cold hugs or lack of hugs. Tim, come up here for a minute. Your kids crave to be hugged. They crave it. Let me show you what a hug is not. We’re going to illustrate this together. We’re going to be really basic here. This is not a hug. This is not a hug. This is not a hug. Let me show you what your kids crave. I love you. This is what they crave. Let me show you the guy hug. Are you ready? It’s the I’m not gay, I’m not gay, I’m not gay. Here we go. That’s a guy hug.
You can put a set of golf clubs between two guys when they hug. How are you? Good to see you. Your kids ‑‑ come here. I’m so glad to see you. Do you know how much I love you? Your kids crave that. Some of you are like oh God. They’re going to think I’m a softy. That’s weird from me. They need it. I would do this for Bruce but he’s so much taller than me. That’s what your kids crave. But do you know what we do? We give stone cold hugs. Your kids are craving it. Your sons are craving it. Well they are 28. They’re starving for it. Your daughter is craving it. But they act like I’m a leper. It doesn’t matter; they’re craving it. Jesus illustrated this so well. Mark chapter 10. Let’s read this incredible story. You’re going to learn a truth about Jesus tonight that I bet you have never known before. It’s going to blow you away. Mark chapter 10 verse 13. “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.” In other words, don’t bother Jesus. This is God. Don’t bother him. “When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.’ Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.” That word touch there ‑‑ placed his hands ‑‑ the word touch is the Greek word haptomai. Now before I give you what that word means, here is what I kind of pictured this being as a kid growing up and hearing this in Sunday school. If you did and you heard that story maybe you thought this too. It was kind of like Tarzan a little. Come here and sit down and Jesus patted their heads and said God bless you. God bless you. That’s not what he did. That word touch means to attach one’s self. Come here Tim. That is what I thought. God bless you. That’s not haptomai. Haptomai is come here, I’m crazy about you. Bring it on. It is touching them and holding them and putting their face next to his. It is attaching his flesh to them. That’s what Jesus did. Jesus wasn’t a stone cold Swedish snow skier like we see in the movies with blonde hair and blue eyes and pale white skin. He was Jewish. He was a Mediterranean Jew with curly black hair and a beard and very affectionate. And Jesus said come to me. Come here you little germ factories, get over here and hop up on me. Come over here you little boogers. You driving your parents crazy? I bet you are. I know you are. I see everything you do. And he’s loving on them. The disciples are thinking, they’re mugging Jesus. But the truth is Jesus was mugging them. Do you know why Jesus was doing it? Because he loves them. Because Jesus was a hugger. Jesus was a toucher. That’s what he was. And if we’re going to learn how to feed our kids what they need we have to learn how to attach our self. Are you ready?
Here we go. Number one, my kids need ‑‑ let me talk about this word. Let’s talk about the word excess. Excess gets a bad rap. They live a life of excess. We think of that as, they live beyond what they can live on. And a lot of people do that. But you know if we’re not careful, we apply the negative principle of excess with our kids. Here is the principle that I believe Jesus looked at. Excess is best. When it comes to affection, when it comes to food ‑‑ do you like to eat some place where it says let me see how little I can give you to eat? We’re going to chinch on the food and we’re going to bring you a small amount of food and charge you the highest price we can for it. They don’t get my business. They may get it once, but they won’t get it again. Because when I want to eat, I want to eat. Anybody with me out there? So excess is best. Look at Jesus. Look at the story of the prodigal son. When the father saw his son who had been wayward coming back that the father ran to where he was and the father grabbed him and he hugged him. By the way, in the culture the neighbors of a family, friends of a family whose son had disgraced his parents, they would look for opportunities to stone him to death and kill him. So not only does his father chase him down and went running which it was totally disgraceful in the culture for an older man to run. Older men didn’t run; it was disgraceful. The father said I’m disgraceful and he took off running. And when he got to where he was he grabbed him and he hugged him. Not only was it to show affection, but it was to tell the neighbors if you’re going to get to my boy you have to get through me to get to him. I’m the body guard for him. It’s principle. So when you’re hugging your kids ‑‑ and they need lots of touch. Every time in the Bible where it says Jesus touched someone, every single time it had to do with healing in their life. Touch heals. It brings healing in marriage. It brings healing in your relationship with your kids. You can’t live without physical touch. You know King Frederick, this ancient king, did a test. He took 50 newborn babies and he took them from their mothers at the moment they were born and he hired 50 women to be surrogate caretakers for these kids. And he said I want to know if a kid never receives a touch, if a kid never receives an I love you, if no one ever speaks to or touches this kids, what language will they speak in their life? And these women had strict orders, they could not touch them and they could not speak to them. All of those babies died within one year. They got the best of physical food that they could get but they didn’t get what they needed and that was the emotional touch. Listen, this is one reason we’re losing a generation. We have kids come to this church by the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds that they can’t remember the last time their daddy gave them a hug. Some of them can’t remember the last time their mama gave them a hug. They put a roof over their head and that’s a noble thing. And they fed them something to eat and that’s a good thing. But they don’t remember the last time their parents said I love you so much. I’m so glad you’re my boy. I love you so much.
They can’t remember the last time they did that. And the parents are trying to solve all different kinds of things and here’s the thing, their kids are starving. And their kids are looking for a chicken bone. They are looking for an old half eaten cheeseburger and the parents are like, come over here. We are worried about you at the trashcan. LifePoint Church, you have to get our kids out of the trashcan. You have to get them out. And they’re over here eating and they’re like, well I don’t want to go back with you and eat marbles when I can get a half eaten cheeseburger right here. Are we tracking together?
I will give you another one. Not only do they need lots of touch ‑‑ by the way, guys and ladies. Preteen and teenage girls need touch from their parents more in those years, especially the dad, in those years than in any other time in their life. They are desperate for it. It is one of the ways to help prevent your daughter from sexual sin. The truth is, if you don’t hug her, somebody will. There are a whole lot of piranhas waiting to give hugs. If you don’t hug them, if you don’t pull their face close to theirs, if you don’t tell them how beautiful they are and what they mean to you, somebody will. And they’ll choose to their own devastation, a half eaten cheeseburger all day long over an air conditioned, beautiful dining room table where they get marbles all day long. They need lots of touch. And by the way, do you know that in those years girls receive five times as much affection than boys do, and boys have the same amount of need. Some of you have a child that’s in the goofy stage and they’re just goofy. Their arms are too long, their body parts don’t fit, they talk like this, they’re awkward talking, they have pimples all over their face and they’re not a cute little pink cuddle bug with a little bit of hair that says dada. They’re just going through this emotional hurricane. They are desperate. They need it more then than when they were fat little tubby babies. They’re desperate. Lots of touch. Number two, lots of time. Excess is best. They need to know that they’re at the top of the calendar. And by the way, what gets calendared gets done. Take your daughters on dates. It should be a step down to go out with another boy with how good her dad takes care of her. I do it. I take them on dates and open doors for them. I buy them things. I took them out yesterday and picked them up from school, took them to Build a Bear and bought them each a little bear for Valentine’s Day. It made their day. I tell them how beautiful they are. I tell them that when a boy starts coming around the house I’m going to knock his teeth out. I hold their hand. I kiss them on the cheek. I tell them how gorgeous they are, how beautiful they are and how much their daddy loves them. They can live with daddy all their life; they never have to move away. And my boy, we see action movies together. We hang out. We play ball. He loves to go to Firehouse Subs. We hang out. He wanted to go to Taco Bell today so we went. I hate Taco Bell. We just hang out and talk about life, Pokémon, baseball.
There are 6000 people in the LifePoint database and a lot of them would love for me to do that with them but I can’t. And not one of those people, not anybody in this entire people could do with him today what only I can do. Nobody else can be his daddy but me. Give them lots of time.
Number three, lots of hugs, lots of time, and lots of cheers. Your kids need a cheerleader. They have enough people telling them they’re not going to make it. They have enough people telling them they don’t look as good as the other person. They have enough people telling them that they’re not the athlete they think they are. They have enough people telling them that; it doesn’t need to be you. If they want to go on American Idol, just tell them they can go. They are all going to love you. Well what if they go on there and Simon tells them they stink? Well they will hate Simon. They won’t hate you. Be their cheerleader. Find the good in them. Tell them how much you love them. Let me give you some cheers and then I have to land the plane. I love you. That’s huge. Those three words, it’s unbelievable what they can do. Say it with me, I love you. Say it again, I love you. And when you say it to your kids, let me tell you how not to do it. I love you man. I love you with all of my heart. I love you and nothing can ever change that. You want me to kiss him? I’m just joking. I love you. It is not, that’s a nice car. That’s not I love you. That’s not hey, I heard you did well on that math test. Way to go. They need to hear that, but it’s not I love you. I love you is not, hey you guys coming over for Christmas? I love you is I love you. Say it with me, I love you. Now some of you, that’s the first time you’ve ever said that. You broke out into a sweat. Your pits are soaking wet now after saying that. I love you. That’s weak. I love you. There you go. Say it and when you say it, look them in the eye and say it with endearment and passion. I love you and nothing can ever change that. Nothing you do, no amount of stuff you get in trouble with, no amount of mistakes you ever make, no amount of money you cost me, I want you to know that nothing, nothing, nothing can ever change the fact that I love you. I will give you another one, I believe in you. I want the best for you. Here is a good one, are you ready? I forgive you. The words we say to our kids are the words they build their life on for the rest of their life. They are the words they build their marriage on. They are the words they build their career on. They are the words they build their relationships with their children on, the words we say. That’s why in the Old Testament in Bible times, the father would speak the blessing on the son and the father would take him and he would tell him how much he loved him and believed in him and that he had the Goldstein name and the Goldstein name meant something. And there was a great heritage to the Goldstein name. And all of your life you will carry the Goldstein name and I love you my son, I love you. And he would touch him and he would pour oil upon him and he would bless him. And every son craved it. There is even a story in the Bible where two sons fought almost to the death to get it.
Jacob and Esau did because every boy wanted the blessing of his father and you can give it. And guess what, no other man can give it. The truth is, there are guys in this room, and the root of why your relationships are a revolving door, the root of the struggle with your wife, the root of it is you never had a daddy that blessed you. And you have been working like a dog to earn it and you can’t earn it. You have built businesses, you have scraped and clawed just for your dad one time to say you’re my boy and I love you. I believe in you. You can do it. You have what it takes. You’ve been looking for that and looking for that. You want your wife to give you that and every other girlfriend to give you that and not one of them can do it. Ladies, that doesn’t mean you’re not important. You can’t ever do that. You guys with me tonight? Lots of hugs, lots of time and lots of cheers. Let’s pray together.