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Imagine the End

Disclaimer: All these thoughts originated from my study of Orange.   They are specifically taken from the Essence of Family teaching given by Reggie Joiner, and can be found in his book, “Think Orange.” This is a fantastic book, and if you work with churches to reach kids then this should be your Manifesto!

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Five Essential Parenting Skills

1.   Imagine the End

Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

This is one of the more recited passages in all the annuals of time.   It’s frequently recited, because remembering that the LORD is God helps us to gain perspective.   Isn’t it true that we naturally have a predisposition to lose focus because of our limited human perspective?   I know that as a parent I can get bogged down in the day-to-day of raising my kids and I rarely take the time to imagine what the outcome of all this parenting work could bring.

I love to ask parents of adult children if they have any parenting regrets.   The #1 response that I get is that things went by too fast.   They usually lament that if they had only known what a uniquely short time they had with their children, that they would have done so many things differently.

Knowing that the time is short, we need to quickly gain some perspective.   What is it that I really want my children to become?   What values do I want them to hold as adults?   What are my dreams and hopes for them?   Reminding myself frequently that God is God, doesn’t cause me to stress more.   It actually causes me to trust God more.   He is writing the narrative of their life, and I am a part of their story.   I’m one of the more important pieces of their story, but I’m not writing the outcome.   God is.

My prayer is that I will learn to allow God to use me as the tool he needs to help my children grow into spiritual champions.   But God can’t use me until I know what the end-game is.

I choose to Imagine the End in order to stay focused on the big picture.

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.