Posts Tagged ‘Faith at Home’

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.)

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.

 

Connecting With Older Children

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Teen Boys, Teen Girls, Teen Guys

As parents, we long to connect with our children in meaningful ways. Those connections often provide opportunities to teach because feeling closeness softens the heart. When children are young, those special feelings of closeness happen regularly, even daily. You read a book to your four-year-old, he leans on your arm, and you cherish the time of connection. You correct your six-year-old, and she cries that repentant cry and wants a hug—and tears come to your eyes too, because you know you’ve connected with her heart.

The closeness you and your children feel is a function of the heart. In Acts 4:32 we read the early disciples “were one in heart and mind,” a statement of their unity. The heart is where we build the close relationships that help us to teach our kids in ways that will have a lasting impact. Closeness allows us to work with our children rather than against them as they develop the valuable character qualities they need to succeed in life.

These special moments of heart connection also happen with older children, but, in many families, they come less often. Connecting with an older child’s heart often takes deliberate actions on the part of the parent. Moms and dads need to be watching for opportunities and then take advantage of them when they come.

A fourteen-year-old gets a positive school report, giving her dad an opportunity to affirm her hard work. Her smile confirms he made the heart connection he’d hoped for.

Mom makes herself available when her son gets home in the evening because that’s often the time he likes to talk.

You Never Know When They Might Pop Up

Be on the lookout for opportunities to connect with your kids on a heart level, affirming their successes and sympathizing with their hurts. The relationships you build with your children are an essential foundation for helping them to grow. In those moments of closeness you may have opportunities for significant conversations or you may simply want to enjoy the heart connection.

This material comes from the book Parenting is Heart Work  by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. This book was written after a thorough study of how the word “heart” is used in the Bible. Do you know that there are more than 750 times when the word heart is used in the Bible? God cares about our hearts and we should care about the hearts of our children. Many parents focus only on behavior. Character is developed when we focus on the heart.

See this original article here. 


Parenting Techies Workshop

Check out reviews, full description, promo video, editable flyer, PowerPoint slide, and more details HERE.  Our Parenting Techies workshop is getting rave reviews as we equip parents, so they know how to protect their children/teens online and on their gadgets.

A Conference to Inspire Parents

Looking for a conference that comes to you to equip and inspire parents to lead at home?

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.

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