What Our 5 Year Old Gains From Being In Church With Us

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

I read this from a young woman as she reflected on her childhood:

“Our family went to church together every Sunday.  I wasn’t really sure why, but I didn’t mind.  I got to dress up in cute dresses and sit with my dad.  He was so busy during the week, and church was one time I got to hang out with him for hours.  I didn’t care if it was in a pew listening to some guy talking about God.  I just drew pictures and showed them to my dad.”

Our 5 year old, Bethany, loves sitting on my lap during church.  She sings, draws and colors.  Sometimes she is restless, but I know she is listening.  One Sunday, after getting our new senior pastor, I was talking too long during our “greet one another” time and she said, “Daddy, stop talking!  The new guy is speaking.”

So sweet.  So innocent.

I love having Bethany in there with us.  I know she is young, but she is gaining an experience every Sunday that so many children are missing.  She gets to snuggle with me and other close friends and adopted grandmas that sit with us.  She is hearing other people pray.  She is seeing her mom and dad, other kids, teenagers, adults and grandparents sing and praise God.  She is hearing the pastor’s stories and maybe even getting more of the message than we think. She sees communion, baptisms, testimonies.  Maybe one day she will help pass the offering plate, handout bulletins, sing in the band, lead a prayer.

She also experiences a community that loves Jesus, young and old!  I frankly, want her to grow up and feel out of place when she attends a church with only kids her age!  Why?  Because there is complete community when multi-generations are present.

Trust me, I know it’s not always easy having our young children in worship.  Have any of your kids smacked the bottoms of ladies as they walked down the aisle to partake in communion?  I don’t think so!   (One of our boys was the guilty perpetrator.  I wonder where he learned that from? )

What they gain from the Body of Christ worshiping together is so much more than just whether or not they get anything from the sermon.   They miss being a part of the full body.

Typically, the kind of worship experience our kids grow up with will be the kind they look for when they are older.   What kind of worship experience will your children desire to belong to as they grow into adulthood?  Most of the time, it will look a lot like it does now.   So the next question is: what are the experiencing on Sunday mornings now?

Helping you have Homes Devoted,
Jonathan

The Ultimate Goal

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Encouragement, Family Devotions, Grandparents, Heart Connections With Your Kids

If the target of Satan is the family, then your heart is the bulls-eye.

I should stop writing to let that sink in.  Reread that.  I encourage you to stop, think, pray about what this means for you and your family.

Pursue the Ultimate Goal this summer.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6.9

The Ultimate goal of parenting/grandparenting is to connect our children’s hearts to HIS; to connect them with the heart of their heavenly Father.  David Platt said, “The Ultimate Goal is NOT for our kids to behave and be moral upright citizens….Our goal is not for our kids to make great friends, to develop a great self-esteem, to get into a great college, be a great leader, find a great spouse, have a great career with a great income, and then a great retirement.  The ultimate goal of parenting/grand parenting is for them to love a GREAT God.  So much so they will abandon everything this world has to offer in order to follow after Him: no matter what he says, no matter what it costs them and no matter what it costs you.”

Most parents have a vision for their children: get good grades, get into a great college, eagle scout, black belt, 4.0 gpa, etc.  Those are all good things, but the problem is our vision often doesn’t extend to eternity.  We get distracted by earthy things that keep us from being able to focus on God. We want to make sure we give our children every opportunity to succeed in school/sports/music, get into a great college, be socially well adjusted and yet, are not so much concerned about their souls.  (Read Psalm 78:1-8.)

WE HAVE TO ASK OURSELVES: Are we parenting for earthly rewards or for KINGDOM, heavenly, rewards?   God, our Father, wants our children to know Him personally, intimately.  Even more than we do.  He loves them even more than we do.

Wrap your family in His love, convey the heart of our Father to your children as you enjoy your summer.

The Ultimate Goal…

Jonathan

[This is an excerpt of our workshop, sharing the vision of the importance of faith at home. If you would like to schedule this or other workshops, you can email Jonathan at jc@homesdevoted.com.]

Questions:

  • Are we connecting their hearts with God’s?  In what ways?  When can we have family devotions?
  • How are we pursuing a Kingdom vision with our children?
  • What is our vision for your family? For our children?
  • How might we be conforming to the world vs. seeking God’s plan for our family? Are we just doing what everyone else is doing or do we have a vision from God for each of our children and we are parenting in light of that? (Romans 12.1)
  • If you are a grandparent: How can I be accomplishing the Ultimate Goal with my grandchildren?

 

Celebrate Your Family: The easiest way to get pictures printed.

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Encouragement, Grandparents, Heart Connections With Your Kids, Ideas

2016-04-07 13.00.20If you are like most of us, we take all those pictures in a snap with our smart phone and then we never see them again.  They are lost within our digital devices.   When do we ever look at them?  I found an extremely easy way of getting those photos printed, so we can enjoy seeing them around the house.

I have filled two collages and randomly taped pictures up around the house.  It’s a joy to see our kids share family memories with guests.  It reminds our children (and us 🙂 ) that we enjoy each other and that we want to remember the great family times we’ve had in the past, knowing we are making more memories as we continue to do life together.  Another benefit is that it continues to connect them with extended family that we only see once or twice a year.  Celebrate your family by printing those digital memories (and don’t forget to update them a few times a year.)

You have probably sent pictures from your computer to get printed somewhere in the past, but with the Wal-Mart app, it is so convenient to upload them through your phone and pick them up the next time you go.  I’ve actually been in the store, uploaded my photos and picked them up on my way out.  Walgreens has a similar app.  Whatever method works for you, celebrate your family by getting those digitally captured memories in print.

 

2016-04-07 13.01.19      2016-04-07 13.00.07

2016-04-07 13.00.56 2016-04-06 13.28.29

Raising Kids With A Lasting Faith: Interview with Ken and Betsy Delgado

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Encouragement, Faith Conversations, Interviews, leaving a legacy, Why Bring Faith Home?

Ken and IOur family was blessed to have Ken and Betsy join us for dinner in our home.  What intrigued me about them was that all three of their grown children are following Christ and using their gifts to serve in ministry.   The week prior to our dinner, we heard their son preach at their church and while there, met their daughter and son-in-law who work for Hillsong Church in Australia.  They can say with confidence that there is “no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth.”  3 John 4

As full-time pastors of The House (http://www.thehousepalmbay.org), they raised kids who love the church and love the Lord and they continue to intentionally minister to their grandchildren.  I had to ask them to share some spiritual parenting tips.  So, around the dinner table that night, I asked, “Would you share with us the things that contributed to your children growing to love the Lord?”

This list serves as a great reminder for all of us, which we can refer to often:

  1. Complete dependence upon God. Betsy said, “We didn’t do anything without prayer.  We wanted them to taste God’s goodness.”   They said there were times when they didn’t have any food in the fridge, leaving them with only one option: prayer.  God miraculously answered with people showing up with food without them sharing their predicament with anyone but the Lord.  Their children experienced God at work!!!
  2. One-on-one time with Dad. Ken intentionally spent time with them individually on a weekly basis.  He took them on a walk around the block with the purpose of connecting with them at a heart level and at the same time sharing God’s truths.
  3. The Message. They gave each of their children The Message version of the Bible and asked them to read through the New Testament one summer.  [No matter your opinion of The Message, it is a great read for children.]
  4. Hour for hour. At one point, they instituted a rule: for every hour you read the Bible, you get one hour of electronics such as watching TV or playing video games.
  5. TV in the closet. For 30 days, they would put the TV in the closet with the purpose of spending time together as a family playing, reading, etc.  Fasting from electronics will bind the family together.
  6. Family Dinners. They regularly had dinner together; communicating, connecting, sharing life.
  7. Served Together. They put others first by serving together as a family.  How impactful to serve alongside mom and dad!
  8. Worship music. Not just Christian music, but music that was relevant and worshipful.  They would spend time worshipping as a family.  Who said we had to wait until Sunday morning?

Ken and Betsy lived out their faith at home, with their children.  Faith was a part of everyday life; it was a way of life; Jesus was talked about at home; the Holy Spirit was sought during prayer at home; the Word was read, discussed and taught at home.

“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”  Deuteronomy 6:7

Thanks, Ken and Betsy, for leading many people at church in faithful living, but also for giving us an example to follow in the way you led your home.

*******

PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Here are some practical ideas and questions based on the above.  You can use these personally, discuss with your spouse, or share with your small group:

  1. Complete dependence upon God.  How do our kids see God at work?  Have they experienced God answering prayers?  Our kids must see God at work TODAY.  If we want our children to grow into teens and adults who believe that God is more than a fairy tale, we must lead them to experience God at work TODAY.  Read more here.
  2. One-on-one time with Dad. Your role is so important. How much time do you spend connecting with your kids one on one?  Click here for more “Dad Stats” to see how important our role is in influencing the spirituality of our family.
  3. Served Together. When have your kids seen you serve others?  What are some ways your family can serve alongside you?  Discuss and set a plan.
  4. Worship music. What are some of your favorite worship songs/artists?  How often do you have them playing?  Are you in a worshipful spirit, or mindlessly listening?  Idea: Set up Spotify or Pandora to a station and play it often as you work together worshipfully.  Pick some songs and play a few while you dance before the Lord like David.  The kids will love it!
  5. Family Dinners. Does your family dinners allow time for discussion?  Could this be a time we catch up on each others’ lives?  Could we take 10 minutes for a devotion?  If getting everyone together for family dinners is a struggle, plan ahead and schedule some nights where everyone knows they need to be home. (We have friends who had very active teenage boys and even after they had their driver’s license, they still knew they better be home for dinner or momma wasn’t going to be happy.)  Have device-free dinners.
  6.  Time Together.  Do we sit with the purpose of connecting and sharing God’s values?  Do we take time to connect at a heart level with our kids?  Can I honestly say I know what each of our kids are experiencing at a heart level?  Where are our kids struggling in their faith?  How have they been encouraged through the Word lately?  What are they reading in the Word?
  7. Time Together II.  Collect those tablets/cell phones and turn off the TV at least once a week to spend time talking, playing a board game, or just hanging out in the living room. It doesn’t have to be a whole night event, but rather 30 minutes more often is better than nothing at all.  (Doing something more frequently for a short duration is better, because it’s easy to miss out on the long event.   When it comes to all that techy stuff, I use an app called Screen Time which can set time limits on everything.   If you are interested in hosting our Parenting Techies workshop, you can read more HERE.

A Lesson From the Movie: War Room

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Dads, Encouragement, Grandparents, Moms, Prayers, Praying Together

I hope all of you see the movie War Room.  Not only is it an encouragement for marriages, there are so many other life lessons we are reminded of.  One of them is the influence we have on our children.  In the movie, their daughter, Danielle, writes down a list of prayers she has for God.  She learned this fromseeing her mom’s list.

What an incredible opportunity we have to lead our children to experience God’s answered prayers!  He is the same God that parted the Red Sea, healed the injured, rose people from the dead, etc.  (You may need the reminder, too, that GOD does answer prayers; He is powerful; He is at work today.)

Do your children see you fervently pray?  Do you pray with them?  Pray in boldness, so your children will grow to know that Jesus does care, is alive and is at work!

We have the greatest opportunity, responsibility and privilege to

tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,

    his power, and the wonders he has done.”  Psalm 78.4
Toward the end of the movie, Danielle checks off an answered prayer, deepening her trust and faith!  I’m convinced, if we will pray with our children & teens, they will grow mighty in faith!

If you want the parents and grandparents at your church to catch a vision and be equipped for making faith at home a daily routine, look into scheduling our parenting conference. (See here.)

Helping you have Homes Devoted,

Jonathan

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