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.)

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.

Ignoring the Ringing

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Why Bring Faith Home?

canstockphoto3928995 copyWe have a landline. Remember those? We have one, because we use it for faxing. And when Carrie and I go out, we have a way for the children to contact us in case of emergency (which is often used only to call us and complain about what another sibling is or isn’t doing!).

That phone rings five times a day, but we don’t answer it. So who is calling? Telemarketers. We don’t even know the phone number (it’s in our cell). We haven’t given the phone number to anyone. Literally, we never answer the phone.

Guess what happens when Carrie and I go out on a date and we want to call home to tell them something? We get what we have modeled. They also ignore the ringing.

I am discovering more and more just how much our children “catch” the stuff we do and don’t do.

“Don’t say that!” Mom exclaims with deep sounding disapproval. “Where did you hear that?”

They respond, “Dad.”

Our children will also ignore the things we don’t make a priority. What “ringing” do you ignore? Serving others, loving your neighbors, family prayer and devotions?

Do your children see you read your Bible? Do they see you depend upon God, really trust in Him?

We must be the model; let our children see us practice these things that bring us closer to God. We disciple our children in so many areas: studying, fixing things, even brushing teeth…but are we discipling them; modeling for them how to follow God?

I have to pray, “God, help me to be a great example to my children. Help me to model a dependence upon You, on prayer, on Your Word; knowing that it is vital to their dependence upon You. Help me not to ignore the most important things that will help them depend upon You.”

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

The Dropout Dilemma

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Why Bring Faith Home?

New Stat Video: The Dropout DilemmaThe Dropout Dilemma

God, who knows us completely, has told us to impress the knowledge and love of Him on our children.  Parents, even very religious parents, are losing their children to the world.  Why? (Click picture to view video)  Homes Devoted™ partners with churches and families to inspire and equip parents to impress their faith at home….So the next generation will know.  There is hope.  God has shown us the way through His son, Jesus.  Let’s band together to raise up a generation for the Lord!

For all of you who like to see the stats, here they are.  Look for our next email which will reveal the positive stats and ideas for how to pass on our faith!

George Barna says this in his book Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions: “We discovered that in a typical week, fewer than 10 percent of parents who regularly attend church with their kids read the Bible together, pray together (other than at mealtimes) or participate in an act of service as a family unit. Even fewer families—1 out of every 20—have any type of worship experience together with their kids, other than while they are at church during a typical month.” (Barna, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, p. 78)

Mark A. Holmen, in his book,  states, “They [families] might come to church on a regular basis or enroll their children in church programs, but when it comes to talking about faith, praying together, reading the Bible in the home or doing devotions as a family, these practices simply aren’t happening.”

I have talked with many, many parents and found this to be so true. Married couples aren’t praying together and most do not pray or read the Bible with their children. Are we showing our kids how God can be involved in every decision and aspect of our lives? Do our kids see us pray with a faith that trusts God will come through? Do we talk about God when we wake up? Do you talk about God after school, in the car, on the way to practice, doing chores, at dinner, before you go to bed?

The Search Institute in a nationwide study found that only “12% of youth have a regular dialog with their mom on faith/life issues. In other words, one out of eight kids talks with their mom about their faith. 5% of kids have regular faith/life conversations with their dad.”

Here is the result:

Drew Dyck, in an article in Christianity Today entitled: The Leavers: Young Doubters Exit the Church, writes about the exodus of young adults from the church calling them “leavers”:  “What pushed them out? Again, the reasons for departing in each case were unique, but I realized that most leavers had been exposed to a superficial form of Christianity that effectively inoculated them against authentic faith.”
Children in lots of churches today worldwide are not seeing authentic faith lived out in their homes.

In their book, ReThink, Steve Wright with Chris Graves quote a TIME Magazine article that points to research which found that 61 percent of the adults polled who are now in their twenties said they had participated in church activities as teens but no longer do. Some argue that young people typically drift from organized religion in early adulthood, but others say the high attrition is a sign that churches need to change the way they try to engage the next generation. (page 18 of. Sonja Steptoe/Bellflower, “In Touch with Jesus”, Time Magazine, October 31, 2006)

The Southern Baptist Convention conducted a thorough study of families within their churches and found that:
88 percent of the children raised in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18, never to return.
— The divorce ratio among members of evangelical churches is virtually the same as among non-church members.

I wonder if each denomination conducted the same kind of research what they would find. My hunch is it wouldn’t be much different (or what I fear is that it would be worse.)

LifeWay Research found that 70 percent of young adults ages twenty-three to thirty stopped attending church regularly for at least a year between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. They also found that 20 percent more of those who did not leave the church had a family member who talked to them about spiritual things. (p. 20 of his book….LifeWay Reseach, 2007)

USA Today reported on the same LifeWay research as above. However, they said that the news wasn’t “all bad.” Thirty-five percent of those who dropped out of church started coming back by the age of thirty. It is a sad day when churches comfort themselves with the fact that around one-third of drop outs later return which still means around two-thirds leave the church for good after student ministry.”

Sociologist Christian Smith concluded, “Most teenagers and their parents may not realize it, but a lot of research in the sociology of religion suggests that the most important social influence in shaping young people’s religious lives is the religious life modeled and taught to them by their parents.”

As Christian Smith more simply summarized at a panel at Fuller Seminary, “When it comes to kids’ faith, parents get what they are.”

Richard Ross said, “Spiritually lethargic parents result in spiritually lethargic children.” D6 Conference, 2012

My good friend Jim, told me that his neighbor got extremely upset with their two teenage daughters because one day they declared they didn’t believe in God. “I didn’t raise them like that!”, he said. “We believe in God and it’s important that they believe in God too.” Jim was taken back by such a reaction because he knew that they didn’t go to church (the weekends were too busy and full of stuff to do like boating.) They didn’t pray together or read the Bible together or serve together. They didn’t invite God in to any aspect of their lives. Why would they be shocked to find out their kids don’t believe in God? Why would their daughters believe in God?

Socialogist, Christian Smith with Melinda Lundquist Denton, after the most detailed study of 3,000 churched teenagers and their religious views found that most teenagers have a religious belief which they termed “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.” Here is a summary of what this means: (See the full description at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moralistic_therapeutic_deism)

God exists and wants us to be morally good. God wants us to “be happy and to feel good about oneself.” God is there when we want him “something like a combination Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist.” And that all good people go to heaven when they die.

So, most teenagers believe in a God that is nice, wants us to be nice and happy, doesn’t interfere with our issues unless we call on him for help.

I will wrap up these stats with this last one that will either make you delete this from your computer or spur you on to change the way your church does ministry.

CNN online featured an article, “More Teens Becoming Fake Christians” on Kenda Creasy Dean’s new book Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church. (Oxford University Press, 2010). She writes, “The problem does not seem to be that churches are teaching young people badly, but that we are doing an exceedingly good job of teaching youth what we really believe, namely, that Christianity is not a big deal, that God requires little, and the church is a helpful social institution filled with nice people…” She goes on to say that “if churches practice MTD (Moralistic Therapeutic Deism) in the name of Christianity, then getting teenagers to church more often is not the solution (conceivably it could make things worse).  A more faithful church is the solution…”

God, may we have more faithful churches and more faithful homes, completely devoted to YOU!

 

 

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