Welcome to Season 17 of Truth.Love.Parent. I’m so happy to have you here with us. I hoe you’ll subscribe to the show and stick with us into the future.
Listen, I don’t believe the Lord is glorified when His people complain.
I know, that’s an abrupt and unexpected switch in topic.
But I think it’s a really bad idea to complain about anything, but the weather and the changing of the seasons in particular.
You can foolishly deduce that people messed up and now we have the president you don’t want or that bad things happen in this world outside of God’s control . . . and that would be very foolish. But weather is clearly God’s doing. We don’t live in some utopian future where agencies can control the weather. That’s all God. He’s ordained the hot weather and the cold weather.
It’s never appropriate to complain about things that are ordained by God.
And — by the way, full transparency — God ordains everything . . . not just the weather.
So, even though we’re transitioning out of my favorite season and into winter, I am excited about it. The Lord created changing seasons for so many reasons, and I embrace all of them. He knows what’s best.
So, I’m looking forward to the cooler temperatures and Advent and Christmas and snow.
I’m looking forward to all of it, and I invite you to do the same.
I’m also excited to say that we made it. That’s right, we made it one full year.
“Aaron, what are you talking about? Truth.Love.Parent. has been going since 2016.”
Yes, but I’m talking about the fact that my family and I took a leap of faith in November of 2019, where we moved to North Carolina and I started working full-time for Truth.Love.Parent.
And so far, we’ve made it.
What do I mean by that?
Well, I praise the Lord for the men and women and families who have financially supported TLP. The three families who have been giving to this ministry for the longest all started in 2017, and I love them all.
But I believe the most Christ-honoring thing I can do for you is to be honest . . . to speak the Truth at all times and in all ways, and — even though I have not lied about anything — I do believe there’s some information I have neglected to share.
At the time of this publication, TLP receives $710 a month from our monthly givers. And each of those dollars is precious and glorious, and each of them helps to cover the expenses of a growing ministry.
But you don’t have to be an accountant to know that it would be very hard for a business to keep its doors open on $710 a month. In many places, that wouldn’t even cover rent.
Thankfully, at this time, TLP doesn’t have to cover rent. I have made certain that TLP operates within its budget, regardless of what that budget may be.
Now, it’s extremely important that you understand that I am not about to start complaining about anything. That would be an affront against my great, sustaining God who has graciously supplied all of my needs.
I will make sure to repeat God’s praises throughout this all, but it’s not inappropriate to share the facts. If you have cancer, you had better be praising God and giving Him the glory, but that doesn’t mean that it would be inappropriate to tell people that you have cancer. It’s the truth.
So, here’s some important information.
Since the governmental debacle that decided that my wife’s business was non-essential, and since I do not as of yet receive any income from TLP, my family has been living off the gracious gifts of God’s people.
My parents have allowed my family of four and our dog to descend on their home in Brevard, North Carolina. God is using various food pantries and charitable organizations in our area to provide food for my family. I want to thank Anchor Baptist and Bread of Life in particular for their weekly service to my family.
My family has benefitted from various programs offered by our department of social services.
The point is, God has provided for my family’s needs. We have the medical attention we need, we have a roof over our head and food in our bellies.
But — and here’s the reason I’m sharing this with you — I’m finding that when people hear this information, they’re very surprised. They’ve heard the podcast and seen the website and heard me preach or have been counseled by me . . . they know Truth.Love.Parent., they know that I’m the president of this soon to be 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and they assume that the Lord is caring for my family in the same way He cares for their family — income that is made from the work my family does.
But, that’s not the case, and many people are surprised. And the responses are varied. Some people think that this is a sign that I should do something else with my life. And — honestly — I disagree. The Lord is providing. He never promised to supply all our wants or supply all of our needs to the standard of living that would be most comfortable —I do not believe in the prosperity false-gospel — instead God has promised to supply all of our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.
And He has done that. I stand here as a man thankful for His daily provision.
But others have responded in different ways. We have 11 faithful monthly supporters that we call our TLP Friends, and some of our them, upon learning this news, upped their monthly giving.
And one of them counseled me that it would be wrong for me to not communicate the truth about TLP’s financial situation. And they said this because “God’s people want to meet needs. They want to be used by God to further His work in this world. That why people support missionaries and give to charities, but if God’s people don’t know there’s a need, there’s no reason for them to give money.”
And this person counseled me that the way I’ve talked about the financial situation of this ministry has always been very God-focused and optimistic. I’ve never misrepresented it, but I’ve only always encouraged people to become TLP Friends, but I’ve never given an accounting of our needs.
So, there you have it. TeamTLP, my family, and I would love to see Truth.Love.Parent. be able to meet all of its financial obligations, provide me a salary, and be able to grow the ministry so we can create more free parenting resources and connect God’s Truth with more people.
So what does all of this mean? Well, today is Giving Tuesday and the very first day of the Season of Grace. And TeamTLP and I are asking if you would consider giving a gracious one-time gift to TLP, or — even better yet — becoming a TLP Friend, someone who gives graciously every month.
As you peruse the website and listen to the podcasts, just remember that Truth.Love.Parent. is a non-profit, and we don’t make the funds necessary to create all of these free, biblical parenting resources . . . we receive the funds from donors who love God, love strong families, and love TLP.
And I invite you to click on the "TLP Friend" link in the description of this episode so you can learn more about how to support Truth.Love.Parent. as we glorify God by equipping families to be everything He called and created them to be.
And for those of you who are just joining us, I am very sorry. This is not a typical TLP episode. And — as I’m sure you could grasp from some of my comments — this is not a topic about which I often talk.
So, I appreciate your patience, but I want to invite you as well, as you are blessed by the free podcasts and tools and interviews and articles we create, please consider how you may be used by God to support this ministry.
Alright, let’s talk about Season 17 and the Season of Grace.
It started in the early 2000’s, but I can say with confidence that it’s been since 2007 that my wife and I really began picking apart our holiday theology. My son was born in 2007, and it wasn’t long before we realized that how we celebrate holidays is going to be how he celebrates holidays.
And the significance of that fact — coupled with the reality that nearly everything he learned in his first few years of life would originate with us — was quite weighty.
In fact, the weightiest element was that our children’s spiritual foundation would be laid almost entirely by us, and holidays were supposedly a big part of that spiritual foundation.
And it didn’t take too many cycles before my wife and I realized that we were not worshipping God as much as we may have thought.
Since 2010 at the very latest, my wife and I have been intentionally working to mature our own relationship with God and help our kids do the same, and that has required us to seriously rethink and rework how we approach the holidays.
As I mentioned before, TLP was started in 2016, and our very first holiday-themed show was a Thanksgiving show published on November 23rd, 2016. By the way, all of TLP’s holiday-themed shows are linked in the description of today’s episode.
So, from our very beginning I’ve invited you to join my family in rethinking how we celebrate our holidays more generally as well as rethinking how we disciple our kids more specifically.
That’s why I started doing more and more holiday-themed episodes. I knew it was too easy for us to forget God on the days that were created to give Him more of our focus.
And it was only a short time later that I started compiling our first Celebration of God calendar. And I worked on it on-and-off for a couple years before I officially rolled it out a couple months ago.
Since then, The Celebration of God has been given a podcast and life of its own. Since then, I’ve stopped discussing holiday-related content on Truth.Love.Parent. because we’re going to deal with all of that material on The Celebration of God.
So why are we taking about this today.
Well, as I look at the stats, I can easily say that not all of our TLP subscribers have subscribed to the COG. But you really need to. In fact, I wanted to make the transition as easy on you as possible. Instead of doing two TLP episodes and adding one or two COG episodes, I decided to simply do one of each — thereby only putting out as much content as we did before.
But what I think may have unfortunately happened is that the bulk of TLP subscribers now only get half the content — and they no longer are hearing how to use the high days as well as the low moments to disciple our kids for God.
And that was not the plan.
So, if you have not yet subscribed to The Celebration of God, please do. It’s not different than TLP. It’s a resource of TLP. It’s the same kind of discipleship information you’ve been hearing on TLP since the beginning.
And — within The Celebration of God calendar — we will be transitioning to winter and the Season of Grace on December 1st. The Season of Grace will last until the end of February, and there are so many ways to disciple your kids and worship your God during those three months. And The Celebration of God wants to walk with you through that process so that you can become a more mature, more biblically intentional, premeditated, disciple-making Ambassador Parent.
During this Season you’re going to learn about Advent. If you grew up anything like I did, Advent was not something you observed. In fact, you may have thought it was a strictly catholic thing and avoided it for that reason.
But — guess what — it’s not. In fact, it’s observed by protestant Christians all over the globe because it’s a fantastic time to celebrate God’s miraculous deeds — both in the past and the future.
But we’re also going to talk about — not just Christmas — but how to worship the Lord over the full Twelve Days of Christmas.
Again, this is not some veiled attempt to work in catholic tradition. That could not be further from the Truth. It’s about setting up memorials designed to draw our minds to God’s character and works so that we may better know, love, and serve Him.
I’m learning so much by researching for the shows, and I’ve heard some great feedback from some of our listeners about how it’s helping them become more intentional about the holidays. Whereas before the holidays were something they enjoyed for their own pleasure, they’re seeing how glorious it is to offer our holidays — our holy days — to God.
So, as we wrap up today, here are some action steps for you.
1. If you haven’t yet subscribed to the Truth.Love.Parent. podcast and followed us on social media, you need to do that.
2. If you haven’t yet subscribed to The Celebration of God podcast and followed it on Facebook and Instagram, you need to do that.
And please understand, despite the length of my opening comments, our mission is not to get money from you and sell you things. It’s about creating free resources for all parents everywhere.
However, running a ministry does cost money. So, if the Lord has blessed your family . . .
3. Please consider supporting TLP as we create free resources for families who can’t afford pay for counseling or even buy parenting books.
You can find links for all of these action steps in the description of today’s episode, and I — personally — am very optimistic and very much looking forward to year two of serving your family as the president of Truth.Love.Parent.
Remember, this is all about helping our children to grow up into Christ by parenting in truth and love.
To that end, join us next time as we start a discussion concerning the biggest parenting challenges you are going to face this year.
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