Raising Our Grandkids (Even Though They Aren’t Here Yet).

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Heart Connections With Your Kids, leaving a legacy, Why Bring Faith Home?

If you are a parent, have you ever look ahead 20-30 years and wondered what your family will be like? Do you ever wonder how many grandkids you will have?  What will they be like?  What college will they go to?  What type of spouse will they choose to marry?  Will they go to church? Will they have a personal faith in Christ?

With one daughter ready to go off to college, I’m thinking about this more and more.

Scripture reminds us to have a vision not only for us and not only for our children, but for our grandchildren.

 So that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees

and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.    Deuteronomy 6:2

For three generations!  He wants us to think about the future; even the children who aren’t even here yet!  Here is Psalm 78:6-7:
“that the next generation might know [his commandments],
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;

We are not only raising our children.  The way we are parenting and raising our kids is most likely how they will raise our grandkids.  They will hopefully learn from our mistakes and make necessary adjustments, but one thing we can’t neglect is raising them to love and “fear” God, having a healthy and holy reverence for the King of Kings.

Remember, that we pass on our faith best when we bring God into everyday living; when you sit at home, walk down the road, lay down, and when you get up (Deut. 6:7).  Bring God into all aspects of life and they will be much more equipped to do the same as they raise our grandkids to know, love and fear a great God.

Here are a couple of resources we recommend pursuing if you want to establish a vision for your family for future faithful generations:  Revolutionary Parenting: Raising Spiritual Champions  (George Barna. Look for the workbook and DVD also.) & Family-iD: (Here is a video.)

In Between Sundays Matters Most

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Heart Connections With Your Kids, Ideas, leaving a legacy, Praying Together

Ever have someone tell you they were going to start working out?  They’re all hyped up. They say they are committed with a plan to achieve their goal. They bought the equipment and the new shoes and say they will meet you at your workout spot.  They come once and then you don’t see them until the next week. After a month, they average an hour a week.

Can you imagine if a teenager told their coach they only had one hour a week to come to practice? What would the coach tell them?  The coach would tell them to come back when they were serious about the game.

If someone says they are in love but can only squeeze that person into their schedule an hour a week, you don’t have to be Dr. Phil to determine it’s not “true love.”

One hour a week is just not enough commitment to certain things.

Especially when it comes to our faith journey.

The reality is that most kids in churches today only spend an hour a week in discipleship at church.  Less than 10% of church-going families pray or read the Bible at home outside of mealtime prayer.

Is this communicating to our children that God is number one in our lives? That we are fully committed to Him as our glorious King? Are we really taking our relationship with God seriously?

With over half of our kids walking away from their home churches as they grow into adults, the answer is clear: they aren’t experiencing a faith that is life-altering.

There is a huge disconnect between what they experience on Sunday mornings and what our children see the rest of the week in our homes.

When we send our kids to Sunday school and they hear all these great stories about how people from the Bible trusted in God and how God came through for them revealing His power and they go home and don’t experience the living Word read and practiced at home, they don’t see how God is making a difference through answered prayers.  It’s no wonder they grow up and grow out of faith.

If the only exposure to faith happens sitting in a pew, our kids are not going to take our faith seriously. They may view your faith as something that is real to you, but they don’t see it as something real, true and worth living for in their own lives.

Many of us spend time in personal prayer and devotion before they wake up, but if we want to really connect their hearts to God’s, we have to involve them, lead them, teach them, explain to them the things of God, etc.

It’s the time, living out our faith, in between Sundays that matters most.

What can we do in between Sundays?
1. Connect our kid’s hearts to God’s.  Pray together and keep a record of God’s answered prayers.  Pray in the car if you have to!  Depending on your kids’ ages, find an appropriate story Bible if they are young.  If they are older, you can read the Bible and discuss it by asking questions.  You could even develop the routine of reading the Bible at dinner while their mouths are full! Help them realize His great love for us. Pray with them/read a devotion with them while they are snuggled down in bed.  They become a captive audience in the car and when they are in bed.  {Resources: The Bible app by You Version has “plans” that you can read.  If your church subscribes to RightNow Media, use it!}

2. Serve.  Put your faith into action.  How does your faith affect your family’s life?  Joshua said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” How can you serve and give?  How do you sacrifice for God?  Sacrifice is the assessment of genuine faith.  Kids actually want to serve.  They want their faith to make an impact.  They ultimately think, “If this isn’t going to impact me or the people around me, why bother, why waste my time?”  (This doesn’t mean they will always be eager to serve.)  Kids that grow up putting their faith into action, grow up seeing how God works through them.  Not to mention, this develops them into men and women who will be accustomed to and enthusiastic for serving God as adults.  They will grow into more of what they are experiencing as kids and teens.  Are they experiencing how to love, serve, give of themselves or are they constantly being inundated with pleasurables this world offers (video games, movies, sports, fun, etc.)

Book Suggestion: 5 Reasons For Spiritual Apathy in Teens.

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Books, leaving a legacy, Resources, Teen Boys, Teen Girls, Teen Guys

KINDLE VERSION:

PAPER BACK:

Rob is a friend and mentor serving on our advisory board. With decades of ministry experience working with students and families, Rob and Amy bring to the table lots of insight and practical ideas to help.  Click here to purchase book.  Click here for Kindle.

(Just a reminder, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Homes Devoted. Bookmark this link and support us every time you shop.)

“When teens are struggling, disconnected, and apathetic, they need parental engagement more than ever. It is not the time to passively accept the behavior as normal and ignore the situation. Parents must express unconditional love and give genuine attention to their teens cultivating faith and character for a lifetime. It’s about pressing in to the heart of your teen, and pushing past the emotional struggle that often occurs in this phase of growing up. Rob and Amy Rienow share from a place of genuine concern for teens and parents alike. They remind readers that spiritual apathy is a serious problem that needs to be given proper attention. The Rienows share five reasons spiritual apathy exists in the lives of teens, and counter those reasons with practical steps parents can take to resolve the issue. Readers are reminded teens are in the midst of making decisions that impact the rest of their lives, and parental involvement is needed more than ever.”511LxTjFrfL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_

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.

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.

Kids-dont-remember-their-best-day-of-tv

I want to add the importance of spending time together experiencing God’s Word.

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

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