The Sword Scene Challenge: You could win!

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Ideas

The Cronkhite kids want to encourage your child(ren) to memorize scripture. WAIT!  It can be fun.  Take a look at the video below. (Pass this on to other friends and family, too.)

There are lots of reasons to memorize scripture: one the Bible is called a SWORD (Ephesians 6:17: “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”) and another reason is Psalms 119:11, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.”

Memorize Matthew 5:3-12, post your SCENE and you could win a giant set of  TanGrams for family fun.  Something the whole family, young and old, can have fun doing together (see the Cronkhites playing the game below.)  For every 20 families who submit videos, we will give away a game or a Family Time Activity book!  So, spread the word, tell your friends!  (See below for the video on the Family Time Activity book.)

 

Just a few verses each week!  We will post a new video to show your kids each Monday for encouragement along the way. See below for the first four verses!

The fine print:

  1. Submit a video of your child(ren) saying the verses by heart by August 11th and you will be entered into the drawing! In other words, no teleprompter, whiteboards, etc., but a parent can help with hand motions. 🙂
  2. You can post a link to your video in the comments section below or on our Facebook page (click here).
  3. Get creative!  Sing it out!  Act it out!  You will get 2 extra entries for creativity!

Matthew 5:3-4…

Matthew 5:5-6…

 

This is TanGram!  A game young and old can play!

 

Win a Family Time Activity Book. A great resource for making principles from God’s Word memorable!  Your kids will think having a devotion is nothing but boring!

The Dropout Dilemma

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Why Bring Faith Home?

New Stat Video: The Dropout DilemmaThe Dropout Dilemma

God, who knows us completely, has told us to impress the knowledge and love of Him on our children.  Parents, even very religious parents, are losing their children to the world.  Why? (Click picture to view video)  Homes Devoted™ partners with churches and families to inspire and equip parents to impress their faith at home….So the next generation will know.  There is hope.  God has shown us the way through His son, Jesus.  Let’s band together to raise up a generation for the Lord!

For all of you who like to see the stats, here they are.  Look for our next email which will reveal the positive stats and ideas for how to pass on our faith!

George Barna says this in his book Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions: “We discovered that in a typical week, fewer than 10 percent of parents who regularly attend church with their kids read the Bible together, pray together (other than at mealtimes) or participate in an act of service as a family unit. Even fewer families—1 out of every 20—have any type of worship experience together with their kids, other than while they are at church during a typical month.” (Barna, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, p. 78)

Mark A. Holmen, in his book,  states, “They [families] might come to church on a regular basis or enroll their children in church programs, but when it comes to talking about faith, praying together, reading the Bible in the home or doing devotions as a family, these practices simply aren’t happening.”

I have talked with many, many parents and found this to be so true. Married couples aren’t praying together and most do not pray or read the Bible with their children. Are we showing our kids how God can be involved in every decision and aspect of our lives? Do our kids see us pray with a faith that trusts God will come through? Do we talk about God when we wake up? Do you talk about God after school, in the car, on the way to practice, doing chores, at dinner, before you go to bed?

The Search Institute in a nationwide study found that only “12% of youth have a regular dialog with their mom on faith/life issues. In other words, one out of eight kids talks with their mom about their faith. 5% of kids have regular faith/life conversations with their dad.”

Here is the result:

Drew Dyck, in an article in Christianity Today entitled: The Leavers: Young Doubters Exit the Church, writes about the exodus of young adults from the church calling them “leavers”:  “What pushed them out? Again, the reasons for departing in each case were unique, but I realized that most leavers had been exposed to a superficial form of Christianity that effectively inoculated them against authentic faith.”
Children in lots of churches today worldwide are not seeing authentic faith lived out in their homes.

In their book, ReThink, Steve Wright with Chris Graves quote a TIME Magazine article that points to research which found that 61 percent of the adults polled who are now in their twenties said they had participated in church activities as teens but no longer do. Some argue that young people typically drift from organized religion in early adulthood, but others say the high attrition is a sign that churches need to change the way they try to engage the next generation. (page 18 of. Sonja Steptoe/Bellflower, “In Touch with Jesus”, Time Magazine, October 31, 2006)

The Southern Baptist Convention conducted a thorough study of families within their churches and found that:
88 percent of the children raised in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18, never to return.
— The divorce ratio among members of evangelical churches is virtually the same as among non-church members.

I wonder if each denomination conducted the same kind of research what they would find. My hunch is it wouldn’t be much different (or what I fear is that it would be worse.)

LifeWay Research found that 70 percent of young adults ages twenty-three to thirty stopped attending church regularly for at least a year between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. They also found that 20 percent more of those who did not leave the church had a family member who talked to them about spiritual things. (p. 20 of his book….LifeWay Reseach, 2007)

USA Today reported on the same LifeWay research as above. However, they said that the news wasn’t “all bad.” Thirty-five percent of those who dropped out of church started coming back by the age of thirty. It is a sad day when churches comfort themselves with the fact that around one-third of drop outs later return which still means around two-thirds leave the church for good after student ministry.”

Sociologist Christian Smith concluded, “Most teenagers and their parents may not realize it, but a lot of research in the sociology of religion suggests that the most important social influence in shaping young people’s religious lives is the religious life modeled and taught to them by their parents.”

As Christian Smith more simply summarized at a panel at Fuller Seminary, “When it comes to kids’ faith, parents get what they are.”

Richard Ross said, “Spiritually lethargic parents result in spiritually lethargic children.” D6 Conference, 2012

My good friend Jim, told me that his neighbor got extremely upset with their two teenage daughters because one day they declared they didn’t believe in God. “I didn’t raise them like that!”, he said. “We believe in God and it’s important that they believe in God too.” Jim was taken back by such a reaction because he knew that they didn’t go to church (the weekends were too busy and full of stuff to do like boating.) They didn’t pray together or read the Bible together or serve together. They didn’t invite God in to any aspect of their lives. Why would they be shocked to find out their kids don’t believe in God? Why would their daughters believe in God?

Socialogist, Christian Smith with Melinda Lundquist Denton, after the most detailed study of 3,000 churched teenagers and their religious views found that most teenagers have a religious belief which they termed “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.” Here is a summary of what this means: (See the full description at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moralistic_therapeutic_deism)

God exists and wants us to be morally good. God wants us to “be happy and to feel good about oneself.” God is there when we want him “something like a combination Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist.” And that all good people go to heaven when they die.

So, most teenagers believe in a God that is nice, wants us to be nice and happy, doesn’t interfere with our issues unless we call on him for help.

I will wrap up these stats with this last one that will either make you delete this from your computer or spur you on to change the way your church does ministry.

CNN online featured an article, “More Teens Becoming Fake Christians” on Kenda Creasy Dean’s new book Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church. (Oxford University Press, 2010). She writes, “The problem does not seem to be that churches are teaching young people badly, but that we are doing an exceedingly good job of teaching youth what we really believe, namely, that Christianity is not a big deal, that God requires little, and the church is a helpful social institution filled with nice people…” She goes on to say that “if churches practice MTD (Moralistic Therapeutic Deism) in the name of Christianity, then getting teenagers to church more often is not the solution (conceivably it could make things worse).  A more faithful church is the solution…”

God, may we have more faithful churches and more faithful homes, completely devoted to YOU!

 

 

Discipling your children…now there’s a challenge!

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Encouragement, Family Devo Tips, Marty Gonterman

I was discipled by a man who knew what he was doing. He was exceedingly skilled at building deeply into another’s life. This discipleship process had such a profound effect on my life that I absolutely had to learn how to do it, no matter the cost.

At age 23, I put my career plans on hold and moved halfway across the country to learn how to make disciples of Jesus Christ. After three long but rewarding years dedicated to this ministry, I completed the training I wanted, and it was time to resume my original life plan: Career and…etc.?

So, here’s my next few years in a nutshell: I landed the job of my dreams with a giant ad agency, met the girl of my dreams, ran away scared from the girl of my dreams, finally came to my senses and married Sharon (she’s still the girl of my dreams), had two kids, built a career and maintained a ministry discipling men in my church. Life was good, all according to plan.

Then…out of nowhere…things changed. The kids started walking, talking, thinking, talking, growing, talking, talking, talking!! If I had had any dreams or expectations about family life, this was not even close. And any ideas I may have had about what a family might someday require from me was—easily– the greatest underestimation of my life.

Of course, those of you with children are nodding and (maybe) smiling. This experience is certainly common to every parent that has ever lived. So, as all parents have done before me, I asked myself, “Now what?”

For me, there was an immediate answer to that question. Go with Plan A.

Since I was a trained and experienced disciple-maker, Sharon and I should simply do what I already knew how to do: Disciple our children. “Easy enough,” thought I.

And that was the second greatest underestimation of my life.

Turns out that discipling your kids is a completely different animal than dealing with men who are eager to follow Christ. Who knew? Fast forwarding, my children survived and actually turned out great. God is faithful! They’re both in their 20s and love the Lord. But the process…wow! I wish I had kept a journal, but at the time, we didn’t know how challenging it would be.

There were very few resources available at the time to help guide us, and we didn’t really know anyone that was attempting to do what we had in mind. So we made it up as we went along, and there were ups and downs along the way.
Still…making the commitment to disciple our children and seeing it through was—easily—the greatest, most rewarding accomplishment of our life. Nothing else is even a close second.

We offer concepts and ideas to guide parents in their discipling perspective and family development. A few are easy to introduce for first-timers, a few are fun, a few obvious…and a few may scare the bejeebers out of you. Stay tuned.

By Marty Gonterman

Why Kids In Worship? Its Not All About Them

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Why Kids In Worship

Welcome to another Homes Devoted minute…Hi. I’m Jonathan Cronkhite.  We are discussing the reasons our kids should attend worship services with their parents.

How do we want our children to view church worship?  Church worship should be about giving God our best, giving Him the glory, setting aside time to worship together and encourage each other, and it’s about growing closer and connecting to God through prayer and learning His Word.

Unfortunately, when our children ONLY go to the children’s program or youth Sunday School, they grow up thinking that coloring, crafts and hanging out with friends is what happens at church.  In short: church is fun.  If I can be honest: It’s a lot more entertaining than reverent.  But what happens when it’s not fun anymore?  Even on Sunday mornings, lots of parents are too concerned about trying to meet their children’s needs [keep them entertained] and therefore feel guilty for bringing them into church, because it’s too boring.

Then they grow up and become teenagers (or we wait until they are in college) and we expect them to go to a worship service; to sit still, listen, to be reverent, respectful, hear the word of God taught and possibly take notes!  Then the battle begins!  I constantly hear parents complain, “My kids don’t want to go to worship.”   It’s because we have trained our kids to grow up thinking that church is all about them.  Which means we have not instilled a reverence for God; we have just brought the world’s attitude into the church that “it has to meet my needs or I’m out.”

Our job as parents isn’t to be their entertainment directors.  It’s to raise children who love and serve and respect and honor God.  We have to train our kids that sometimes learning about God and worshiping Him is not all fun and games; it’s not all about us.  Where in the Bible does it say that following God is full of fun times? Actually, it says we will face trials of many kinds.

Maybe if we trained our kids to sacrifice for God, trained them to lay down their lives for Him, they might experience a God that does come through for them.

Let’s impress our faith at home so our kids see how awesome God is and lets help our kids see how God is at work and how He answers prayers, how He protects and how He provides, so that when we come to worship they are also compelled to worship!  God deserves our reverence, our service, our worship.  He deserves an hour of our week where we surround ourselves with singing and reading the word and applying His Word to our lives.

Here are a few questions:

  • Why do you go to church?
  • Do you complain about church when it doesn’t meet your needs? (If parents discuss the entertainment value of the message and music, this contributes to the child’s thinking worship is to entertain them.)
  • When do you want your kids to start learning the real reason we go to church?

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Written by Marty Gonterman on . Posted in Challenging

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