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?

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Need a new devotional?  Here is the best family devotional out there.  Read what others are saying, too.  The Family Bible Library.  You will use this resource for years!

 

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.

 

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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.

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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

LEGACY IS NOT FOUND IN WEALTH, FAME OR POWER

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Dads, Encouragement, leaving a legacy, Moms

A Generational Impact that Transcends Your Life

(This post is originally found at Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk website here.)

Since antiquity, men have tried desperately to beat the game and achieve some measure of earthly immortality.  The Egyptians built pyramids and filled them with material wealth they hoped to take along to the next world.  Sorry Pharaoh.  Grave robbers reaped the benefit of that miscalculation a few centuries later.  A thousand years hence, Spaniards hunted for the “fountain of youth” to reverse the ravages of time.  It was a nice thought.

The search continues today. Some of the ways modern man seeks to “live” beyond the grave are as follows:

1.  Through art.  Rembrandt, Picasso, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Frank Lloyd Wright achieved some remembrance beyond their passing.

2.  Through philanthropy.  Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Huntingdon secured their place in the culture by building libraries, concert halls, and hospitals in their memory.

3.  Through business.  Ford, Krup, Getty, and the Warner Brothers immortalized their names…at least to this point.

4. Through children.  Henry VIII was desperate for an heir, so that his bloodline and legacy might survive his death.

5.  Through literature.  Plato, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, and Steinbeck will be remembered for centuries.

6.  Through politics and history.  Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, and Roosevelt have secured their place in history.

7.  Through conquest.  Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Tse Tung are notable examples.

8.  Through science.  Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Edison, and Hubble made the grade here.

9.  Through cryonics.  A more recent effort has led people to arrange to have their bodies freeze-dried in hopes some future medical technology will bring them back alive.  Lots of luck!

There are other approaches to the pall that hangs over the entire human race…the nagging specter of death.  All of them have a basic flaw, however.  They permit only a person’s memory to escape the grim reaper.  Sooner or later, even those who achieve cultural immortality will die like the rest of us.  Like John Brown in the Civil War ballad: “His body lies a’molderin’ in the grave.”

True eternal life is available from only one source.  It is a free gift to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and accept His forgiveness for sin.  Only through this Gate can we escape the sting of death and the “victory” of the grave.

“True enough,” a critic might reply, “but I’m not trying to accumulate wealth for my own use.  My goal is to pass it along to my children and future generations. I want them to have it easier than I did . . . to enjoy a head start that only money can give.”

Shirley and I have spent many hours thinking and talking about that objective with reference to our own children.  Even it if were possible for us to leave them a large estate, would that be a wise thing to do?  I think not.  It takes a steady hand to hold a full cup, and many young people have been destroyed by money that burned its way through their lives.

In a sociological study published under the title “Rich Kids,” we read the case histories of individuals who inherited large trust funds.  The findings were consistent: wealth passed to the second and third generations has typically wreaked havoc in the lives of the recipients.  They fought each other to control it.  They lost their incentives to work.  They lived profligate lives.  They shamefully wasted their resources. Some even committed suicide.  When the Apostle Paul said “the love of money is the root of all evil,” he spoke the truth.

Should it be our desire, then, to inflict this “evil” on our precious children?  Not to excess, certainly.  It makes sense to help the next generation get started or perhaps to assist with the purchase of their first homes. but if our objective is to generate wealth for those who will not earn it, we are putting our beloved children at high risk for satanic mischief.  Likewise, we must not get so busy attempting to give our kids what we didn’t have as children that we fail to give them what we did have as kids.

Perhaps it is clear now why I emerged from the mid-life years with some concepts firmly in place.  My children (and other people) are the only things I can take to heaven with me.  That’s why I left the medical school back in 1977 and declined almost all speaking invitations that came my way.  It became clear to me that Danae and Ryan were temporary residents in our home…that they would soon be grown and on their own.  Parenthood is a short-term affair, and the opportunity to lead and influence them was a “now or never” proposition.  Thus, I retooled my professional responsibilities and focused heavily on my own family I’ve made some bad decisions in my life and a few rather good ones, but this was my most brilliant moment.  The empty nest did indeed come quickly, and I thank God I have not squandered my most precious privilege of participating in the lives of my children.

From Dr. Dobson’s Straight Talk To Men, Chapter 1: A Man Looks Back

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