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Get a free download from Austin Stone Worship! Download the song “Jesus Lifted High” here!

Own It: Exclusive Interview With Michael DiMarco

Sep 18, 2013

"Michael and Hayley DiMarco’s, Own It, is a companion book to the upcoming movie, Grace Unplugged to be released in theaters October 4th. "

“When you own your faith, it goes beyond salvation; it frees you. It frees you to live life with abandon.”(Michael and Hayley DiMarco, Own It…Leaving behind a Borrowed Faith)

My five children are beginning to stream out of our home one by one. They were raised in a Christian home with countless and consistent times of Sunday morning church services, prayers, Bible devotions, small group meetings, mission trips, and evangelism opportunities.

Yet I still wonder sometimes…did they really get it? Did they get that Jesus died for them personally? Have they fully developed their own faith in God? Bottom line…do they own it?

This easy-to-read, but hard-to-put down book pulls no punches about the difference of owning your faith rather than borrowing or renting it from other people.

Michael and Hayley DiMarco’s, Own It, is a companion book to the upcoming movie, Grace Unplugged to be released in theaters October 4th. This easy-to-read, but hard-to-put down book pulls no punches about the difference of owning your faith rather than borrowing or renting it from other people. It speaks to teens and young adults—yet all age groups (and especially parents) will find this book compelling. Recently I had the opportunity to interview Michael on his book:

INTERVIEWER

What kind of spiritual or emotional preparations were necessary to write this book?

MICHAEL DIMARCO

We had to go back to our teenage and young adult years when we were wandering and not really owning our faith. We also paid attention to what we’re seeing in the church as a whole and let the book write itself.

INTERVIEWER

You both were exceptionally transparent about your failings as teens and young adults in this book. Why?

MICHAEL DIMARCO

That’s what we do. It’s what it means to give your testimony. When you share about falling on your face when you’re completely humiliated—you can choose to humble yourself or be humbled. But the purpose is the same, to bring us low enough to point to the One who can save.

INTERVIEWER

If we are honest with our children about our past failings, don’t we take the chance that they will look at us and say “Well, you made it okay…so we’ll be okay as well”.

MICHAEL DIMARCO

We don’t want them to think we’re perfect, because when they sin, they will feel isolated and alone. When they are mature enough, you can be transparent and trust God.

INTERVIEWER

You wrote about how Jesus didn’t run after the rich young ruler when he obviously made the wrong choice. How do we as parents follow Jesus’ example to not run after our children?

MICHAEL DIMARCO

It’s a perfectly natural instinct for parents to chase after their children especially if they’re young and near a busy street. But the rich young ruler and the prodigal son were at an age of accountability. The father didn’t run after him either.

It’s God who saves and exposes our children to their need for a Savior. The great thing about the father of the prodigal was that he was ready to welcome his son home with open arms and a party—not with judgment, a lecture, or consequences.

INTERVIEWER

You work with a lot of young adults and teens, how do they describe their parents?

MICHAEL DIMARCO

These kids sense fear in their parent’s eyes and words. A teen or young adult want wisdom from their parents, but not wisdom that comes with a jail cell. They want wisdom that they can draw from so that when they mess up, there will be healing—not judgment and condemnation.

INTERVIEWER

Do you think Christian parents are scared?

MICHAEL DIMARCO

It is hard being a parent. There’s the tension of what we don’t want our kids to turn out like and being overly permissive. In the movie, Grace Unplugged, we see a parent that doesn’t want his child to suffer. However we need to accept that God might want our children to go through a difficult time so that He can use it for His glory in certain arenas.

INTERVIEWER

What would you say to the parent who says “I just can’t do that…I can’t let go and let them own their own faith”?

MICHAEL DIMARCO

Your son or daughter needs to see you own your faith. Is your household a place of confession? Are you forcing your children to confess their sins, yet you never confess to them when you’ve blown it? Are you worried about giving them power because of your confession? When you confess to one another, it’s transactional and healing according to James 5:16.

It’s pretty unattainable for you to own your faith if you’re not reading the Bible or praying in faith so they can see your love for God. If you love sports, crafts, or money more than God—your child will see it. It really begins with your heart before your child’s heart can own it.

INTERVIEWER

Why does it seem like many parents are failing to own it?

MICHAEL DIMARCO

There are a lot of church-going parents who are identified as Christians, but they’re really just living a life of moralism. Their homes are where grace is kept up on the refrigerator only to be taken down on special occasions. When their child sins, they’re held to a higher consequence than what the parent holds to themselves. There is an area of repentance for all parents including myself.

We don’t own our children. They belong to God. Embracing this fact brings us to a place of perfect peace about our children. A parent with the peace that passes understanding can send their child on a mission field as a teenager…not in Panama City or the Appalachian mountains, but to Africa or any country in deep peril because they know that our God isn’t safe, but He is good. In Grace Unplugged, the father had to come to the place of saying to God, “She’s yours now”. That moment of surrender is especially necessary for Christian parents.

INTERVIEWER

Is it ever too late for a parent who reads this book or sees the movie and says to his or herself “I’ve blown it and my kids are grown”?

MICHAEL DIMARCO

No, it’s never too late because God has been in control this whole time. It’s never too late to own your faith, to let go of your child’s future, and trust that God is control.

INTERVIEWER

What do you think about Grace Unplugged as a faith based movie?

MICHAEL DIMARCO

Grace Unplugged is phenomenal. This movie literally sets a new bar for faith based entertainment. It acts like and tastes like a Hollywood film with Christian content. We can’t recommend it enough.

INTERVIEWER

How does the struggles of the main character relate to everyday people who aren’t gifted in singing and acting?

MICHAEL DIMARCO

The story of the prodigal is everyone’s story. Train up a child in the way they should go is every parent’s story even for the unbelieving parent. It’s wanting the best for your child and not wanting them to make stupid mistakes. It really translates well to all of us as we truly move towards owning our faith. It’s never too late to own it.

Own It for yourself first!

After reading this book and interviewing Michael, I highly recommend that parents read the book for themselves first and your children.

See the original article posted on What Christians Want to Know:  WCWTK

Article By:  Crystal McDowell

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