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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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What is good? We evaluate most things in life by good or bad. We apply this measurement to foods, work, trips, events, church, people, and conversations. To include the people, we come in contact with; We measure in our minds whether the experience was good or bad.

What about our families? What more specifically about our teenagers? Well, the truth is we measure all that they do, say, and think on whether it is or was good or bad. The real question we need to ask is what system of measurement do you use? And how do you address it? (The good or the bad) 

Believe it or not, there was only one form of measurement. But ever since that one form was determined — mankind has tried to construct many different forms of measurement. In the Bible Genesis 1:3-4 “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. 4) God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness.” NASB

In chapter one of Genesis (depending on the version) God says ‘good’ seven times. And then in verse 31 “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”

God looked at all He created and said it was very good!  So you see, It was and still is God who determines and defines the definition and measurement of good and bad. So when we look at our children and we evaluate their good and bad do we find ourselves truly using God’s definition or ‘our’ own definition? 

Not only does God define what is good He also is the source for anything and everything good. AW Pink quotes Thomas Manton in his book “The Attributes of God” On page 57, He writes: “God is essentially good; not only good but goodness itself: the creature’s good is a superadded quality, in God, it is His essence. He is infinitely good; the creature’s good is but a drop, but in God, there is an infinite ocean or gathering together of good. He is eternally and immutably good, for He cannot be less good than He is; as there can be no addition made to Him, so no subtraction from Him.” 

So, since God sets the definition of good, and God is the source and determiner of good then without question God is good! Grace is God’s goodness. His love is God’s goodness. His holiness is God’s goodness. His justice is God’s goodness. His faithfulness is God’s goodness. I think you get the point. Goodness and God are inseparable. God is everything every time good without end.

He, God, is the definition of good, He is the standard of good and is all that is good. And goodness cannot be determined by you or me, nor what we want or don’t want, like or don’t like. It must be determined by what God said is good.

Does your child know this? Would they know this by your actions or reactions to things they do or say or think? Do you measure your child’s good or bad in view of God as everything good? Or is it measured by your embarrassment or your frustration or your demand or your anger or your yelling or your exasperation? 

I don’t mean that you start quoting Bible verses at your child while you are instructing their head instead of directing their heart. Try addressing their heart by displaying the goodness of God. Ask yourself, does your child see the goodness of God in YOU? Does he or she know the goodness of God because they see you behind closed doors and how you evaluate what is good and what isn’t? 

Parents, don’t be discouraged but be courageous. It’s never too late to start. God is good and patient and forgiving and full of loving-kindness. Live life in such a manner that your children would come to know the goodness of God without a lecture. 

C.H. Spurgeon “When others behave badly to us, it should only stir us up the more heartily to give thanks unto the Lord, because He is good; and when we ourselves are conscious that we are far from being good, we should only the more reverently bless Him that He is good. We must never tolerate an instant’s unbelief as to the goodness of the Lord; whatever else may be questioned, this is absolutely certain, that Jehovah is good; His dispensations may vary, but His nature is always the same.” 

Until next time,


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