Give Family Experiences vs. Stuff

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Family Devo Tips, Ideas, leaving a legacy

A friend of ours sent this link to us and I wanted to forward it on as well.  With it, she said, “Kids won’t remember their best day of TV or video games, but they will remember family times, family events, family vacations, family projects, family ministry, etc… My Christmas encouragement to you is for you to plan to use your time and money to create meaningful family experiences rather than just giving lots of stuff. ”

She is so right!  There is great insight in this article about giving experiences. 46 Ways to Give Experiences Instead of Stuff and Why.

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I want to add the importance of spending time together experiencing God’s Word.  Nothing has helped our children enjoy God’s Word more than the Family Bible Library.  I know this sounds like a commercial, but having family devotions with the FBL has helped our children experience God’s Word for over a decade. People would ask us how our kids know so much scripture.  FBL is the answer.  I can’t help but share what I know works for us and many other families.   (Sample below.)

How much are you going to spend this Christmas giving your family something that deepens their faith over the next decade?  Give experiences and not just stuff.

Helping you have homes devoted,

Jonathan

*****
This was sent in a previous email:
Click here for a “thankful” devotion you can use as a family. I wrote some personal notes on the pages as well.  It’s a Bible passage (Luke 17: 11-19) in story form with some questions to ask.  There isn’t any prep or crafts to organize (although reading it through once helps you know which questions are best for your family.)

Find a time, like at a meal or before bed.  Read the story with your children (even teenagers) and close with a thank you prayer: “God, I thank you for ___________.”

This story is taken from a resource called the Family Bible Library which we have used for 14 years.  It’s a fantastic 8 volume set that spans Genesis to Revelation.  To learn more about the FBL, click HERE. (You may want to think about purchasing it as a family Christmas present that will bless your family spiritually for years to come.)

Reminded Of What’s Most Important

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Family Devo Tips, Praying Together

Bethany Reading to babiesWatching our children play when they don’t know we are there can be very entertaining and revealing. Sometimes it is convicting, sometimes it is a blessing.  It is always honest.  

Last Sunday, before revealing I was there to pick up our 3 year old daughter from the nursery, I saw her opening her Bible.   (Yes, her Bible.  The one she brought from home.)  

Sitting in the play cribs, she placed her Bible in front of some “babies” to read to them.  

It was one of those moments when I realized something we are doing is sticking.  

It reminded me that nothing is more important than our kids loving God’s Word.  Even at 3 years old, Bethany loves her Bible.  She often reminds us to grab our Bibles as we head out the door to church.  What a blessing she is!

Our summer schedule has been so out of whack between traveling, spontaneous get togethers, summer camps, etc., that I look forward to the routine of school starting again, so we can get back to regularly spending time in God’s Word as a family.

As school starts again, I boldly encourage and challenge you to spend time together in prayer and in God’s Word as a family.  Help your kids know, understand, and apply God’s Word, so when they are older, they “will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22.6).  So they will know where to turn for truth.  So they will know where to turn to hear God.

Modeling our relationship with God is so important, but Bethany didn’t learn to read her Bible to those baby dolls because she saw us read the Bible in our own devotions.  She learned to read the Bible to those babies because that’s what we do with her.

The Family Bible Library

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Family Devo Tips, Family Devotions

This is the best resource to get your children to love the Word.  You will use this until your children are grown and then you will use them with your grand-kids!!Children love stories and the Family Bible Library provides even more than passages of scripture in story form!!  The FBL includes interesting insights to scripture such as: timelines, cultural information, geography, diagrams, and great photos in a way that broadens their understanding and experience.

Lead your family to grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord by regularly having family devotions.

REVIEWS:

Pastor Brad Fink
“I love the Family Bible Library!  As a Pastor you would think I would be good at doing family devotions, yet this was always a challenge until we began using the Family Bible Library.  We are able to do devotions now with our 9, 6 and 2 year old boys, and they all are engaged.  The discussion questions make leading a conversation about the bible story natural and meaningful.  I would highly recommend this to any family who would like to pass their faith on to their kids!”

Scott Armistead

“My children love the Family Bible Library. They enjoy having their daddy read to them. They listen well. They love to see the pictures.  The questions are engaging.  We have had some great faith discussions because of our morning devotion time with the Family Bible Library.”    

Erik Natwick

“Family Bible Library makes leading family devotions easy for dad and the kids are enjoying it, too!  Thanks for this great resource.  I’m looking forward to using it for years to come!”  

Richard Perkins

“We love our Family Bible Library! It’s awesome for the whole family.  We are 1/2 way through the second time.  It gives us a reference point as we teach our children about self-control and discipline.  It’s an awesome set of books. Our children love it when we finish a volume, because they get to open the next one.  Thanks, Homes Devoted!!!”

I hear from dads all the time, “What is a good devotional I can use for family devotions?”  Without a doubt, hands down, this is the best resource!  I can say this, because we have used it for over 10 years!  People in church would ask, “How do your children know the Bible so well?”   This was our answer.These Biblical stories stay true to the Biblical account and are suitable for all denominations. 

Each story has questions that are relevant to children at varying ages.  You can ask the provided questions as well as add your own. They also have loads of additional information in the margins with historical, cultural facts, topical subjects, etc.  (The Family Bible Library is like a Biblical encyclopedia!)

Here is a video I quickly put together to share with friends who wanted to know about the FBL:

Sample pages from the books:

HOW CAN THE FBL BE USED FOR DECADES?

There are 6 volumes of story devotions from Genesis-Revelation.  It could take a year to go through the whole FBL.  You can always substitute when the holidays come with appropriate devotions (for instance Lent or Advent), but when those are done, you always have the Family Bible Library to come back to.  As our children have grown, we have gone through them again and again.  Since they are also growing and maturing, they have deeper questions and understanding just like when we reread scripture.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

$199. (Retail $350) How much have you paid for a story Bible? $10-$15?  How long did it last?  1 month? 3 months?   How much money do you spend on leading your family towards knowing God?  Is there anything more important?

OTHER GREAT INFO:

The last book, Volume 8, has chapters entitled “A Guide To Parenting,”  “A Guide to the 36 Building Blocks of Character.” “How to Build These Building Blocks into Your Children.”  and more.  Click to see the table of contents of this volume.  Page 1  Page 2

HOW CAN I PURCHASE THE FBL?

You can pay through PayPal: jctherev@gmail.com…Add $15 for shipping unless you want to pick it up.   Please include your mailing address, email and contact phone for followup.  OR You can mail a check to 694 Hammock Rd. Melbourne, FL 32904.   Don’t hesitate to email us at jc@homesdevoted.com or call/text: 321.223.1163

 

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The Lasting Impact of Faith Conversations

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Family Devo Tips, Family Devotions

Doing a family devotion just might seem overwhelming or intimidating or just plain impossible!  What about having conversations about faith?
Watch video and then download another Faith Conversation you can use with your family this week.

This is a transcript of the above video:

Get this: When college students, with a strong faith, were asked, “Looking back, what would you say attributed to your lasting faith?”  A huge percentage of them referred to having faith conversations in the home.Connecting your children to the heart of God, doesn’t just happen by having family devotions and prayer times.  Those times are vital, but it also happens as we, throughout our daily routine, talk about the things of GodWe connect our child’s heart with God’s:

  • When we discipline and then pray together.
  • When we play and then apologize for being too competitive.
  • When we bring God into our decision making and ask for help.
  • When you turn off the TV, because it isn’t pure, noble, praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8)
  • When we do chores and work and mention how great heaven is going to be.
  • When we catch ourselves worrying and then remind the family that God is in control.
  • When we serve our neighbor, just because God compels us to love in action.
  • When we see a strange looking animal and wonder what God was thinking.
  • When we sin and talk about how easy it is to do wrong and how in need we are of a Savior!

This is what God intended when He said, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 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.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7

When we do these simple things, we bring God into the daily routine of life.  We live out constant communion with God.  We show our children a dependency upon God.  We demonstrate a real relationship with Him.   Do not be afraid to be bold and blunt with your children about the things of God.  They need to see you live out your faith and they need you to lead them until they decide to (hopefully) follow Him for themselves.  Then they will see what it means to be “in Christ”…a real Christian.

To help you on this journey of talking about God throughout life, look in your email every Tuesday for a conversation starter; a discussion on a scripture verse to help you some time throughout your week to help you devote some time to thinking about God.  It can be around the dinner table, in the car, at a restaurant, at bedtime, etc.  The point is to talk about God whenever & wherever; just do it.  When you do, you will be impacting the next generation and the generations to come; your kids, your grand-kids and your great-grand kids.  It starts now.


When Kids Ask Tough Questions

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Encouragement, Family Devo Tips, Why Bring Faith Home?

When faithful young adults were asked what solidified their faith the most in their teen years, the prominent answer was faith conversations in the home!  What does this tell us?  It says that we must talk about God with our family; when it is inconvenient, when it is uncomfortable, or if you don’t feel like you have an intelligent answer.  This shouldn’t be a surprise to us, because this is what God said to do in Deuteronomy 6:7

“Impress them [the commandments] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  

What about those tough spiritual questions our children/teenagers ask that we just don’t know the answer to?

We can’t be afraid of tough questions! We must answer tough questions.  (Notice I didn’t say WE need to have all the answers.)   Help them grow in their knowledge and understanding of scripture and God through helping them discover the richness and depth of the Word.  And when you don’t know an answer, it’s a wonderful thing to find the answer with them!  You may look up passages through your concordance, the internet (www.biblegateway.com), answersingenesis.com, books, or even your pastor or friend that has been on this journey with Christ longer than you.

What does this teach your child/teenager?

When you help them answer tough questions, you are discipling them!  A disciple is a follower, a learner.  By the way, you are discipling them in lots of areas (how to dress, how to get along with others, how to study, etc.), so make sure you are also discipling them in their faith. You will gain respect and build your relationship by being humble and learning with your children.  When you explore questions with your child, you help them learn how to learn, how to find answers.  You also teach them that you are open to learning new things and you never stop learning.

They will need as many questions answered before going off to college, so they can stand firm.  We must teach them to depend upon the Word, to seek it, to know it.  When the storms come, we want them to have a solid foundation, a lasting faith and trust in our Savior. Luke 6:48-50

Small group questions:

How are you answering your children’s questions?  How are you building in them a solid foundation that will stay firm when the storms come?  How are you preparing them for a faith that will last?  If you have any suggestion on what worked for your kids, share them with others below.

What questions have your kids asked?  Post them in the comments section below and we will help you answer them.

Helping you have Homes Devoted,

Jonathan & Carrie

Resources

Get in Touch

694 Hammock Rd.
Melobourne, FL 32904
Phone: 1-321-223-1163