Raising Selfless Kids In A Selfish World

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

 

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13.35

One of the greatest ways to “love one another” is to give away your time.  Even with all the social media connections, people are relationship starved.

How can your family love others this week with your time?

It’s so easy to let self-indulgence, fun and entertainment (soccer, judo, movies, YouTube, TV, social media, parties) take up a majority of our time, especially, because many of these things are “good”, but if we continue to cater to the entertainment desires of our kids without any thought of blessing others, they will probably grow up to be adults that continue this “i” mentality.  Fast forward 10+ years.  If your grown kids served as much as they do now, how much time would they be devoting to “loving one another?”

In our effort to raise kids that seek out how to love one another regularly, let’s find ways to get the family together to serve others outside our own universe.

This summer we went on a family mission trip and our 5 year old was playing Charades with all the nice folks at a nursing home.  She was the highlight of their day.  Even at 5 years old, she knows she can use what she has to bring joy to others.

We don’t have to train our kids to be selfish.  But it will take time, training and persistence on our part to join our kids (living by example) in serving and loving others.  Each time we do, they become a little more Christ like and we as a family grow closer together.

What are ways we can serve together?  It doesn’t have to take a day or week or even an hour a day.  We can help our kids have a mindset of helping others and thereby showing our love for Christ, simply by:

  • putting the garbage out for a neighbor
  • bringing in the mail for an elderly person
  • writing a note to someone
  • visiting a nursing home for an hour
  • baking extra cookies for a neighbor
  • picking up sticks after a hurricane (Can you tell we live in Florida?)
  • And those random things that just can’t be planned: praying as you drive by an accident, putting a shopping cart back for an elderly person after they put their groceries in the car, holding the door open for someone, etc. etc.

We have a saying in our house: “Perceive the need!”  We want our kids to have a mindset within all our activities and fun, that there are needs out there (and in our own home) and we are called to serve Jesus by loving others.

John Maxwell said, “People are selfish.  Speak to their need first.”  When we meet a need, it’s a way Christ in us speaks to them.  That is powerful!

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13.35

5 Benefits of Praying Together as a Family

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Family Devotions, leaving a legacy, Prayers, Praying Together

We say mealtime prayers and pray with our kids at bedtime, but let’s also gather the family to seek God with the expectation for Him to answer!  Let’s fervently seek God’s heart and will; praise Him, thank Him, ask for forgiveness, and pray for others and our needs.

George Barna’s research revealed that less than 10% of parents in the church pray together with their kids other than at mealtimes.*  Let’s change those stats one family at a time starting this Easter as we lead our kids to trust Him through prayer.

Here are 5 benefits for praying with our children:

  1. Teaches them how to approach God.  Telling someone how to change a tire is a lot different than doing it with them.  How we pray is most probably how they will pray.  Praying together models for them, guides and teaches them.  What a privilege it is to lead our children to connect with God!
  2. We hear what’s on their hearts and minds; their major concerns.  We learn about their character as they share their challenges about friends, tests or siblings.  It’s such a blessing to hear their prayers for those who need help or God’s healing touch.
  3. Helps us connect with God and each other.  Nothing can restore relationships better than asking for forgiveness!  We teach our children to ask for forgiveness from God and each other.  We want them to know God does forgive and that we are all in need of a Savior, even mommy and daddy!
  4. God answers the prayer of children!  God hears a child’s prayer.  God listens to children; God uses children. It was a child who had the 5 loaves and 2 fish (John 6:8-9).  Do you remember Josiah, the faithful boy king (2 Kings 22)?  He was used to restore a nation to God. Sharing these scriptures and encouraging our kids to build their relationship with God now, communicates to our children that God wants to work through them and that He listens to them today, not just when they are older!   It was Jesus who said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
  5. The most important benefit is so our children will experience GOD AT WORK.   Too many children are going to church and hearing terrific stories of what God has done in the past, but aren’t experiencing what He is doing today outside of Sunday mornings.  This is the biggest reason why the majority of children in church today are walking away: they are not experiencing the fruit of a home devoted.  We must point out God’s answered prayers, so our children know He is at work; that He still answers prayers!  Let’s make God known at home for doing great things here and now and then when our kids grow up and reach that age when their only hope is to rely upon God, they will know He is alive and working in their lives; that He is faithful; that He cares.

Let’s continue to sharpen each other. Respond with your comments, thoughts, questions below.

Questions to ponder individually, as a couple, or as a small group:

  1. How do our children experience God at work?  
  2. When will they experience God’s answered prayers for themselves?
  3. Why do you think the majority of children in the church grow up and out of their faith by college?
  4. When can we pray together?  (Suggestions: at a meal, in the car, after dinner, before going to bed, etc.)

*(Barna, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, p. 78)

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_

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