Posts Tagged ‘Leaving a legacy’

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: Family Bible Library, 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.)

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.

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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.

2.5 Years After Saddleback Cancels Youth Worship: Follow up Interview with Josh Griffin

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Ideas, Why Kids In Worship

Our first interview was 5 months after Saddleback started canceling youth worship once a month to have families worship together, appropriately called: Worship Together Weekend. As expected, everyone was excited about the change…at first….

In this second interview with Josh, we talk about the importance of kids in worship, what Saddleback has learned and how they have adjusted since starting Worship Together Weekends.

PS. My wife corrected me. Our boys were 3 and 5 years old…Not 5 and 7… 🙂 How time flies.

A Lesson From the Movie: War Room

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Dads, Encouragement, Grandparents, Moms, Prayers, Praying Together

I hope all of you see the movie War Room.  Not only is it an encouragement for marriages, there are so many other life lessons we are reminded of.  One of them is the influence we have on our children.  In the movie, their daughter, Danielle, writes down a list of prayers she has for God.  She learned this fromseeing her mom’s list.

What an incredible opportunity we have to lead our children to experience God’s answered prayers!  He is the same God that parted the Red Sea, healed the injured, rose people from the dead, etc.  (You may need the reminder, too, that GOD does answer prayers; He is powerful; He is at work today.)

Do your children see you fervently pray?  Do you pray with them?  Pray in boldness, so your children will grow to know that Jesus does care, is alive and is at work!

We have the greatest opportunity, responsibility and privilege to

tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,

    his power, and the wonders he has done.”  Psalm 78.4
Toward the end of the movie, Danielle checks off an answered prayer, deepening her trust and faith!  I’m convinced, if we will pray with our children & teens, they will grow mighty in faith!

If you want the parents and grandparents at your church to catch a vision and be equipped for making faith at home a daily routine, look into scheduling our parenting conference. (See here.)

Helping you have Homes Devoted,

Jonathan

LEGACY IS NOT FOUND IN WEALTH, FAME OR POWER

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

A Generational Impact that Transcends Your Life

(This post is originally found at Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk website here.)

Since antiquity, men have tried desperately to beat the game and achieve some measure of earthly immortality.  The Egyptians built pyramids and filled them with material wealth they hoped to take along to the next world.  Sorry Pharaoh.  Grave robbers reaped the benefit of that miscalculation a few centuries later.  A thousand years hence, Spaniards hunted for the “fountain of youth” to reverse the ravages of time.  It was a nice thought.

The search continues today. Some of the ways modern man seeks to “live” beyond the grave are as follows:

1.  Through art.  Rembrandt, Picasso, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Frank Lloyd Wright achieved some remembrance beyond their passing.

2.  Through philanthropy.  Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Huntingdon secured their place in the culture by building libraries, concert halls, and hospitals in their memory.

3.  Through business.  Ford, Krup, Getty, and the Warner Brothers immortalized their names…at least to this point.

4. Through children.  Henry VIII was desperate for an heir, so that his bloodline and legacy might survive his death.

5.  Through literature.  Plato, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, and Steinbeck will be remembered for centuries.

6.  Through politics and history.  Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, and Roosevelt have secured their place in history.

7.  Through conquest.  Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Tse Tung are notable examples.

8.  Through science.  Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Edison, and Hubble made the grade here.

9.  Through cryonics.  A more recent effort has led people to arrange to have their bodies freeze-dried in hopes some future medical technology will bring them back alive.  Lots of luck!

There are other approaches to the pall that hangs over the entire human race…the nagging specter of death.  All of them have a basic flaw, however.  They permit only a person’s memory to escape the grim reaper.  Sooner or later, even those who achieve cultural immortality will die like the rest of us.  Like John Brown in the Civil War ballad: “His body lies a’molderin’ in the grave.”

True eternal life is available from only one source.  It is a free gift to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and accept His forgiveness for sin.  Only through this Gate can we escape the sting of death and the “victory” of the grave.

“True enough,” a critic might reply, “but I’m not trying to accumulate wealth for my own use.  My goal is to pass it along to my children and future generations. I want them to have it easier than I did . . . to enjoy a head start that only money can give.”

Shirley and I have spent many hours thinking and talking about that objective with reference to our own children.  Even it if were possible for us to leave them a large estate, would that be a wise thing to do?  I think not.  It takes a steady hand to hold a full cup, and many young people have been destroyed by money that burned its way through their lives.

In a sociological study published under the title “Rich Kids,” we read the case histories of individuals who inherited large trust funds.  The findings were consistent: wealth passed to the second and third generations has typically wreaked havoc in the lives of the recipients.  They fought each other to control it.  They lost their incentives to work.  They lived profligate lives.  They shamefully wasted their resources. Some even committed suicide.  When the Apostle Paul said “the love of money is the root of all evil,” he spoke the truth.

Should it be our desire, then, to inflict this “evil” on our precious children?  Not to excess, certainly.  It makes sense to help the next generation get started or perhaps to assist with the purchase of their first homes. but if our objective is to generate wealth for those who will not earn it, we are putting our beloved children at high risk for satanic mischief.  Likewise, we must not get so busy attempting to give our kids what we didn’t have as children that we fail to give them what we did have as kids.

Perhaps it is clear now why I emerged from the mid-life years with some concepts firmly in place.  My children (and other people) are the only things I can take to heaven with me.  That’s why I left the medical school back in 1977 and declined almost all speaking invitations that came my way.  It became clear to me that Danae and Ryan were temporary residents in our home…that they would soon be grown and on their own.  Parenthood is a short-term affair, and the opportunity to lead and influence them was a “now or never” proposition.  Thus, I retooled my professional responsibilities and focused heavily on my own family I’ve made some bad decisions in my life and a few rather good ones, but this was my most brilliant moment.  The empty nest did indeed come quickly, and I thank God I have not squandered my most precious privilege of participating in the lives of my children.

From Dr. Dobson’s Straight Talk To Men, Chapter 1: A Man Looks Back

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