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Terry Benge

Terry is currently serving the Lord as Executive Director of Salem4Youth Ranch Ministries. Terry and his wife Stacey have two children. Their son Nathan serves as a Deputy Sheriff and their daughter Jordan is currently pursuing her Master’s in Biblical Counseling. Terry currently preaches on the Ranch and has worked with teenagers for over 25 years as a coach, mentor and Youth group leader. Terry loves hunting and the outdoors.


Gabriel Jackson

Gabe is currently serving the Lord in the vocational training department of Salem4Youth Ranch as a wood working instructor. He has been involved in ministering to young people since he was a teenager – mentoring, teaching, church ministry, camps, retreats, and residential ministry. Gabe attended Lincoln Christian University and Columbia International University, graduating from CIU in 2002 with majors in both Bible and Youth Ministry. He and his wife, Nikki (also a graduate of LCU and ISU with degrees in Jr. High Education and Bible), are busy with 3 children in gradeschool, jr. high, and high school. Gabe is an avid fly fisherman and enjoys spending time outdoors with his family as often as possible.


Stan Risinger

Former Chairman of the Salem4Youth Board of Directors, Stan is currently the Area Director of Men’s Discipleship for the West Central Illinois Man In The Mirror Ministry. When Stan came to faith in Christ God livened his spirit for evangelism and discipleship both locally and internationally. Stan is married to Julie they have four children and are blessed with five grandchildren. Stan and Julie have a love for missions, hospitality and family.

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As parents of teenagers we often think or say to ourselves or our spouses “Why isn’t he getting it?” A question that is often posed when our kids don’t seem to have learned anything we have taught them.

This causes frustration, anger, anxiety and even can at times lead us down a path toward depression as parents. Why is it? Why is it sometimes or many times our children don’t seem to get it? I’m certain as well that my wife and I can’t be the only ones that have ever said at some point “do as I say not as I do!” or “Because I said so…that’s why.”

Jeremiah 17 starting at verse 5 through verse 8 compares two types of people. First, the one who experiences no real blessing. A dryness of life per se. Second, the one who does experience blessing. Happiness or contentment in life. The difference being the first 34962391_1820303454696745_8183469237977743360_operson relies on getting through life by his own ability and his own strength. It says “he shall be like a dried up bush in the desert and shall not see when good comes.” Nothing will grow, it won’t produce anything. Whereas the second person “shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will it cease from yielding fruit.” This person will grow and this person will produce fruit, good fruit. Why? Because this second person trusts in the LORD and their hope is in the LORD.

What’s this have to do with raising our children? Something I read in my personal study time a couple of years ago comes to mind. “We ourselves are God’s thermometers and God’s instruments. We must undergo thorough training and strict discipline, because whatever is left untouched in us will be left untouched in others. The more thorough our training, the greater will be our usefulness in God’s work. He (meaning you and I) must first himself be healed before he can heal others. He cannot lead others where he has not trodden. He cannot teach others what he himself has not learned.”

Parents, this is so fundamental to our parenting. How can we expect our children to follow our convictions and instructions when we have not committed ourselves to them? The reason we should never say “because I said so, or do as I say and not as I do” is because it truly reveals our own rebellion and it teaches the wrong thing. Oh sure, they might comply to some degree but all you’ve taught them is how to be fake so they can get what they want in life.

In Jeremiah 17 verse 10 it says this “I the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.” You see it is God who will give the blessing. We the parents are to just be faithful to God. It is God who will turn the heart of our children not you and not me. Yes, we are to teach them properly and to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord but how in the world can we expect that to be effective if we are not allowing God to do that work in us first?

Spurgeon once said “Train up a child in the way he should go, but then be sure to go that way yourself.”


We have no need to ask why doesn’t our child get it. Especially when we’ve yet to have let God search our heart and to test our mind. Do you want to be the parent like a tree planted by the waters whose roots have spread and never stops producing fruit? Then teach them by allowing God to have His way with you first.

I am convinced that if we want to help our children with arrogance then we will first have had to allow God to deal with our hypocrisy. If we want to help our child to manage their finances, then we first must let God deal with our finances. If we are distraught over our child’s anger, then we best let God deal with our hidden anger. And it goes on and on no matter the issue.

As Parents who desire the best for our kids we must ask God every morning and every night “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

 So that our children will go that way too.

Until next time,
For His glory not ours,

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