“Live” Christmas Morning Devotion with Santa

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Christmas, Faith Conversations, Family Devotions, Video Challenges

Parents, gather the family and join us Christmas morning for this “live streaming” family devotion. Even a guest appearance from Santa before he goes to Hawaii for a long over due vacation.  It’s a prerecorded video you can watch before or after opening gifts.  You can even watch in the car.

You may be traveling or visiting with family and not attending a church service, so we encourage you to take time on Christmas, Christ’s birthday, to focus on Him.  It’s so important, especially those of you with children, so they grow up keeping Christ in Christmas.

You may want to open with prayer and sing a few worshipful songs.  (Below are a few links to Youtube songs with lyrics.)  After watching the 13 minute video, there are a few questions for discussion to apply and connect the message with those you are with .  After, close in prayer, giving thanks to God for giving us the greatest gift!  (You just had a worship service at home!)

Chris Tomlin – It’s Christmas

Silent Night – Casting Crowns

Chris Tomlin – What Child Is This?

This video was made for and in conjunction with Trinity Wellsprings Church who has a vision for families to worship together at home!  Click here to go to their webpage link.

Questions:

  1. What did you get for Christmas last year?  If you remember, do you still remember how excited you were about it?
  2. Where is it now?  Do you still use it?
  3. What traditions do have that are going to be passed down to your kids and grandkids?
  4. Most important: What is one thing our family can do in 2017 that will last?
  5. How can we serve our neighbors (without anything in return)?
  6. How can we share the message of Christ’s love with our friends?

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?

 

Easter Continued…5 Min. Family Devotion that continue after Easter

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in 5 Minute Devotions, Blog, Faith Conversations, Family Devotions, Resources

#1 John 20:6-20

Read the verses and ask some questions:

  • Do you know why your mom and dad want you to keep your room neat and clothes folded and put in their place?  Jesus folded his clothes.  Verse 6-7
    • (Here is a funny question you can ask your kids.  You can laugh and joke about this.  This is not my theology to justify all the neat freaks out there, but if you needed justification, this is the best verse you will find. 🙂   Keep a straight face to see their reaction.  Then one of them will ask if you are serious and then you can start smiling.
    • But, since we are on the subject, you could ask, “How should we keep our bedrooms/house?”   (I’ll let you take that discussion where you want, but for us, we want to be ministry ready.  We want (not that we always are) to be able to use our gift of hospitality and that means keeping our house neat enough that we can “do a 4 room clean up” in a few minutes.  Well, maybe 15 minutes.  Carrie, my wife, has done a great job keeping our house ready to have people over with a few moments notice.)

(Back to the devo…)

  • Why do you think all the guys left the tomb? (vs. 19.  They were afraid.)
  • Why did Jesus came after everyone had left except Mary?  (My son said, “Because He wanted to stretch their faith.”)
  • How would you have reacted if you were in the locked room and suddenly Jesus appeared?
  • Mary was filled with emotions. One minute she is weeping, because Jesus is gone.  The next minute, she is overjoyed, because Jesus revealed Himself to her.  Even though we don’t see Jesus, how can we know He is with us?  (Through His creation, what He has done in the past, His Word tells us so, and through His Holy Spirit.)

 

#2  John 21:1-14

Read the verses and ask some questions:

 

  • Why did they go fishing?
    • If they don’t know, ask this: What did they do before Jesus asked them to follow Him?
    • They back to the thing they knew how to do.  They went back to the family business. They didn’t know what they were supposed to do now that they were leaderless.
  • They didn’t catch any fish, then a man says to cast their nets on the other side of the boat.  That is a silly idea.  Know why they did?
    • They heard that before.  Jesus said that in Luke 5.4.
  • Do you know who John is referring to when he says the “disciple whom Jesus loved” in verse 7?
    • Himself
  • How many times had Jesus showed Himself to them? (Verse 14: 3 times.)
  • Peter once again “plunged into the sea.”  I think it would have been funny to see a grown man jump into the water and swim to shore out of complete excitement.  How might you have responded?
  • Jesus loves these guys doesn’t He?  He really cares.  Isn’t it good to know?  How do you know Jesus cares for you? (He has blessed you with parent(s) who love you and care about you. He gave us His Word that says He loves us…and He proved that love for us by going to the cross and suffering for our sin.  That is good news!)

More coming.  Check back daily.

 

Family Devotion: Christmas {5 minute devos}

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in 5 Minute Devotions, Blog, Challenging, Christmas, Christmas, Family Devotions

Elizabeth & Zacharias: Patience

Read Luke 1:11-25

The Bible tells us that Zacharias and Elizabeth “were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6 NKJV). Zacharias was a priest who served in the temple. We’re also told that they were “well advanced in years.”

Despite this, they had no children because Elizabeth was barren. This could not have been easy on them. For the people of Israel in this time, it was considered shameful if a woman was unable to have a child. Imagine the grief this must have caused them, particularly Elizabeth. No doubt, the light of hope in a child of their own must have dimmed and burned out long ago.

Around the time of the first century, the duty of burning the incense in the temple fell to Zacharias. As he stood alone in the Holy Place, the angel Gabriel appeared before him to proclaim that their long wait was finally over . . . God had ordained for them to have a son named John. Gabriel told Zacharias that his son would be his joy, great in God’s sight, in the vein of Elijah. He would be the forerunner for the King of Kings; the one who would “make straight the way for the Lord.”

Sometimes, God puts something in our hearts, a great passion and desire, but then wants us to wait for His timing so His perfect plan can unfold. The wait, especially if it’s a long one, can cause us to doubt and lose heart.

You’ve probably heard the age-old expression, “patience is a virtue.” All throughout the Bible, we see God rewarding those who patiently wait upon Him, who trust in His promises and His faithfulness to fulfill them. We also see those who don’t wait and often learn difficult lessons. Elizabeth and Zacharias patiently waited upon God and trusted He knew best. Though the reproach of others hurt, this righteous couple found comfort in the arms of the Lord, and in His time, He took their shame away!

It’s not always easy to wait on God’s timing, but the rewards we reap when we do are well worth it!  

Are you experiencing some situation that, like Elizabeth and Zacharias, is testing your patience?

What might God be teaching you?

Elizabeth didn’t see what God was up to …for years.  Even if you can’t see how God is at work, what can you do to trust Him?  Will you trust Him?

*This devotion was edited from a devotional from Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale called The King Has Come: Prepare Your Heart.  It can be found in the Bible app.

BE THANKFUL

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Family Devotions

2015-09-30 13.10.45These women laughed with surprising joy when I asked if I could get a picture with them.

I would not have been so happy had I been carrying a pile of wood on my head so I had a way to cook dinner for my family.

When you think you have it tough, there are those in other countries (and possibly next door) who have it worse.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13

QUESTIONS: (Add your own personal questions, too.)

  1. What is one thing you aren’t content about right now?  Why? What’s happening?  (Maybe you can help your kids by suggesting something you see they aren’t content.)
  2. How does Philippians 4:11-13 encourage you?
  3. Where will you get the strength to be content? (Through Jesus, the Holy Spirit and prayer!)
  4. We may not be able to see it now, but God may be teaching you/us something.  What do you think it might be?
  5. Close in a short prayer: “Lord, help us be content.  Help us to trust you in all situations.  Help us to depend upon your strength.”

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