Posts Tagged ‘persistence’

Keys to Making Your Kids Apathetic About Faith

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

I wrote this on the Homes Devoted Facebook page (which you should “like” 🙂 if you haven’t yet.)
Many Christian parents put more effort, time, money into their children’s activities than into following God and then wonder why their children grow up and love everything but God.

Scott Linscott shared this article he wrote on the subject, called: Your kid’s an All Star? Wow! Someday he’ll be average like the rest of us.  Scott, was my youth pastor.  The man who met me for breakfast once a week to answer my questions about faith and life.  Most importantly, he was a man of integrity and loved his family well, very well, which was something all of us youth group kids needed to see.

I am posting it here with his permission.  It might encourage you, challenge you or “tick you off” like it did many others.  Here it is:

NOTE: A lot of comments have focused on “church.” As one who believes the church is people and not a location or institution, I wish i could have communicated more clearly that this is about we parents living our faith. “Faith activities” and “community” was my intention. Those things come in numerous flavors. Following Jesus is not about sitting in a “church service” once a week. That said, my tongue-in-cheek approach is not intended to offend.

The church in America is puzzled. Young adults are leaving in droves. Magazines, books and blogs are wagging the finger of blame to point out who is responsible. Some say it is a failure of youth ministry, some point to church budgets and some nail the blame on outdated, unhip worship services. We parents are shocked that our kids just really aren’t all that into Jesus.

When I look for someone to blame I head into the restroom and look into a mirror. Yupp, there he is. I blame him. That parent looking back at me is where I have to start.

If you’re a parent, I might tick you off in this post. But, hear me out. I think that we, as parents are guilty of some things that make it easy for our kids to put faith low on their priority list.

Keys to Making Your Kids Apathetic About Faith  

1) Put academic pursuits above faith-building activities. Encourage your child to put everything else aside for academic gain. Afterall, when they are 24 and not interested in faith and following Christ, you’ll still be thrilled that they got an A in pre-calculus, right? Instead of teaching them balance, teach them that all else comes second to academics. Quick … who graduated in the top 5 of your high school class? Unless you were one of them, I bet you have no idea. I don’t.

2) Chase the gold ball first and foremost. Afterall, your child is a star. Drive 400 miles so your child can play hockey but refuse to take them to a home group bible study because it’s 20 minutes away.

2b) Buy into the “select,” “elite,” “premier” titles for leagues that play outside of the school season and take pride in your kid wearing the label. Hey now, he’s an All-Star! No one would pay $1000 for their kid to join, “Bunch-of-kids-paying-to-play Team.” But, “Elite?!?” Boy, howdy! That’s the big time!

2c) Believe the school coach who tells you that your kid won’t play if he doesn’t play in the offseason. The truth is, if your kid really is a star, he could go to Disney for the first week of the season and come back and start for his school team. The determined coach might make him sit a whole game to teach him a lesson. But, trust me, if Julie can shoot the rock for 20 points a game, she’s in the lineup. I remember a stellar soccer athlete who played with my son in high school. Chris missed the entire preseason because of winning a national baseball championship. With no workouts, no double sessions, his first day back with the soccer team, he started and scored two goals. Several hard-working “premier” players sat on the bench and watched him do it. (Chris never played soccer outside the school season but was a perpetual district all-star selection.) The hard reality is, if your kid is not a star, an average of 3 new stars a year will play varsity as freshmen. That means there’s always 12 kids who are the top prospects. Swallow hard and encourage your kid to improve but be careful what you sacrifice to make him a star at little Podunk High here in Maine.

2d) By the way, just because your kid got a letter inviting him to attend a baseball camp in West Virginia does not mean he is being recruited. You’ll know when recruiting happens. Coaches start calling as regularly as telemarketers, they send your kid handwritten notes and they often bypass you to talk to your kid. A letter with a printed label from an athletic department is not recruitment. When a coach shows up to watch your kid play and then talks to you and your kid, that’s recruiting.

3) Teach your kid that the dollar is almighty. I see it all the time. Faith activities fly out the window when students say, “I’d like to, but I have to work.” Parents think jobs teach responsibility when, in reality, most students are merely accumulating wealth to buy the things they want. Our kids learn that faith activities should be put aside for the “responsibility” of holding a job. They will never again get to spend 100% of their paychecks on the stuff they want.

3b) Make them pay outright for faith activities like youth retreats and faith community activities while you support their sports, music, drama and endeavors with checks for camps and “select” groups and expensive equipment. This sends a loud and clear message of what you really want to see them involved in and what you value most. Complain loudly about how expensive a three-day youth event is but then don’t bat an eye when you pay four times that for a three-day sports camp.

4) Refuse to acknowledge that the primary motivating force in kids’ lives is relationship. Connections with others is what drives kids to be involved. It’s the reason that peer pressure is such a big deal in adolescence. Sending kids to bible classes and lectures is almost entirely ineffective apart from relationship and friendships that help them process what they learn. As kids share faith experiences like retreats, mission trips and student ministry fun, they build common bonds with one another that work as a glue to Christian community. In fact, a strong argument can be made that faith is designed to be lived in community with other believers. By doing all you can to keep your kids from experiencing the bonds of love in a Christian community, you help insure that they can easily walk away without feeling like they are missing anything. Kids build friendships with the kids they spend time with.

5) Model apathy in your own life. If following Jesus is only about sitting in a church service once a week and going to meetings, young adults opt out. Teenagers and young adults are looking for things that are worth their time. Authentic, genuine, relevant relationships where people are growing in relationship with Jesus is appealing. Meaningless duty and ritual holds no attraction.

There are no guarantees that your children will follow Christ even if you have a vibrant, purposeful relationship with Him. But, on the other hand, if we, as parents do not do all we can to help our children develop meaningful relationships in Jesus, we miss a major opportunity to lead them and show them the path worth walking.

I want my kids to see that their dad follows Jesus with everything. I want them to know that my greatest hope for them is that they follow Him too.

Mt. 6:33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. (The Message)

On a personal note: I know the struggle. My wife and I have lived the struggle firsthand. My son was recruited by a few D1 NCAA schools for baseball and opted instead to attend a small D3 school. My daughter was recruited to play field hockey by a couple D2 programs and ended up playing D3 when the scholarship offer was not enough to make her top school affordable. Both played in “premier” leagues. Both got A’s in high school though we often told them not to stress out too much over it. Both are in honor societies in college and my son now has offers from UNC, Univ. of Wisconsin, Johns Hopkins and Weil Cornell for a Phd in Pharmacology. Neither ever missed a youth group retreat, conference or mission trip because of their sports or academic commitments. Both missed a game or two to attend faith-based activities. Both missed school for family vacations. Both held down part-time jobs in high school and learned to give employers advance notice for upcoming retreats. My son often changed into his baseball uniform at church to arrive in the third inning of Sunday games. Robin and I did all we could to make sure they connected in student ministry even when it meant driving straight from a tournament to a music festival at midnight so that they would not miss out. It was that important to us. My youngest, a culinary student, lost a restaurant job because he went on a mission trip. That’s fine. Thankfully, all 3 have strong faith walks today. That is due only to God’s grace. But, I do believe that our efforts and example helped them long for a community-based faith.

Want to add your own to the list? Comment below.  Let’s continue to sharpen one another.

To see Scott’s original post, click here.

8 Days To Win 4 Sea World Tickets!

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Ideas

Homes Devoted™ wants to encourage your child(ren) to memorize scripture in our Sword Scene Challenge II and you could be taking them to Sea World on us!   Show your children this video invitation from our kids.

It’s easy to enter:

  1. YOU pick a verse to memorize.  Ask your kids what verse to memorize (or refresh and get creative with presenting one they already know) and work on it this week.  Just 5 minutes every day, even in the car! It can be fun.
  2. Record it.  Get creative!  Sing it!  Act it! Take a look at the video below of our kids reciting Matt. 5:3-12.
  3. Post it to our Homes Devoted™ Facebook page or paste a link to it in the comments below.  Receive a drawing entry for every verse recited (five verses equals five entries)!

There are lots of reasons to memorize scripture.  Here are just a few:

1.)    The Bible is called a SWORD (Ephesians 6:17: “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”) and

2.)    Psalms 119:11, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”

The small print:

  1. Submit a video of your child(ren) saying the verses by heart by August 25 and you will be entered into the drawing! Yes, a parent can help with hand motions.
  2. Drawing will be done Monday morning, August 26th at 9am.
  3. Yes, you can post scripture you already know.  One verse per video post.
  4. Plan on going to Sea World by the 31st (Tickets only valid thru August 31.)

Forward this on to other friends and family, too!

 

Family Devotion: Trusting God

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in 5 Minute Devotions, Blog, Family Devotions

How can you “impress” on your children a trust in God?  Here is a devotion you can do as a family.  The very young, and even teens, will have some fun with this activity and discussion on trusting God with everything!  (Print the devotion here.)

Topic: Trusting God.

Scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6

DIVE IN:

Free Falling

Your children can take turns participating in this activity.  Have one at a time stand on something (a chair, bed, etc.) off the ground (waist level works best).  You can decide on the height, but you want to make it somewhat challenging.  You could even blindfold them.

Have them cross their arms to grab their shoulders.  Mom, dad and other family members can get behind them and lock arms together so the one falling can fall straight back into their arms.  You could even put a mattress underneath for added protection.  Instruct the faller to stay straight and stiff like a board and fall into the safety net of their family’s arms.

Have each child do this.  If you don’t have enough family members to catch the faller, you could do this with another family or as an alternative you could blindfold each child and take them by the hand (or by verbal directions) on a tour of their surroundings.

After everyone is done, talk about it. You can ask:

  • Was it hard to do?
  • Why?  [Intentionally falling is not something we naturally do; it goes against all logic.]
  • Why was it hard to trust, even your family/parents?
  • What does it mean to trust?

 DIVE DEEP:

Read (or have one child read) Proverbs 3:5-6 from a Bible. (It’s important to read it from a Bible.  We want our kids to become familiar with reading their Bible.)

Ask:

  • What does it mean to trust God?  Is it the same as “believing” in Him? (Letting Him guide and lead us, obeying Him even when we don’t feel like it.)
  • When can it be hard to trust God?
  • How does God know we really trust Him? (Through listening and obeying Him.)
  • How do we learn to trust God more? (By reading the Bible; by trusting Him in the little things.  Then we realize He is trustworthy and it will become easier to trust Him with bigger things, etc.)
  • What are benefits of trusting God?

DIVE UP:

  • How do we completely trust God as a family?
  • Is there something going on right now which is stretching us to completely trust God?
  • In what area are you (each family member) having difficulty trusting God?

 

Where’s My Child? Locator Apps

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Tech Stuff

I received an email a week ago asking if I knew about a good locator app so parents could locate their child’s whereabouts anytime. Has your child ever not called or texted when they arrived somewhere even though you pay for them to have a cell phone?  Ever wonder if they are where they should be?  Locate your child with these apps you can install on their phone.  Besides the obvious fact of seeing that they are where they should be, these apps allow them to check in when they arrive to their destination and can alert you when they are on the move.

If you have a locator app that you use, please let us know what you think about it.  As well an internet filter for phones.

Here are some apps I explored.  I am personally using the Android apps:

1. GPS Tracking Pro (Android and iOS)

This is a good, free app that tells me where my daughter is and sends me an email every time she leaves and arrives home.

Good stuff:

  • The App’s map shows icons of family and friends with their exact locations.
  • There is a panic button as well that will call/text/email everyone in the family and then brings up a button to dial 911
  • The GPS Tracking Pro App can also locate any phone that has been misplaced or stolen.
  • The website map also provides directions that can be printed to guide you to the destination.
  • A child can hit the “check in” button when they get to where they are supposed to be and you are notified.

Downside:

  • Does not offer parental restrictions (which means your kids can log out or delete the app.)  So, trust needs to be in place as well, but it’s a great bargaining factor especially since you are the ones paying for their ability to connect with all their friends at any time.

Cost:  Free (Premium version is $5/month)

 

2.  Footprints  (iOS app)

We don’t have iphones, so I can’t test this app, but here is what the website said.

Good stuff:

  • Let’s you set up Geofences, for instance, your child’s school.  You are notified when your child crosses these “fences.”
  • You can even activate “movement sensors” that will notify you each time your loved ones are on the move.
  • Offers parental control feature
  • Speeding notifications can alert parents when their teenagers go over the speed limit.

Cost:  3-months ($1.99), 1-year ($3.99) or 2-years ($5.99) PER PHONE

 3.  Find my phone  (iOS app)

Ron Uhland told me about this one. He uses it as he travels the world.  He can see where his wife before he calls.

Good stuff:

  • Locate your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac on a map
  • Display a custom message on the screen
  • Play a sound for two minutes at full volume (even if your device is set to silent)
  • Remotely lock your device

 & wipe your device to erase your personal data
  • Lost Mode (iOS 6 or later)
  • Driving directions to device location (iOS 6 or later)

Downside:

  • Does not offer parental restrictions

Cost:   Free

4.  NQ Family Guardian (Android Only)

This app is much more than just a locator tool.  This app is great for controlling and keeping an eye on almost everything your child does on their phone. There is an online dashboard where parents can view their child’s location, all their contacts, phone calls, text messages, web pages visited, and even photos they take!

Good stuff:

  • I can set a schedule when my daughter’s phone can be used.  I turned off the social networking apps from 10pm-7am.  I could even lock the phone all together or set up a schedule for web browsing or texting.
  • Logs all websites viewed and any which are blocked.
  • I can restrict and block apps, websites and even block contacts!
  • It even shows all the phone call logs and text messages to each contact!
  • Geofences.  This allows you to be alerted when they leave the set geophraphical areas you have set up.
  • Children need a password to access the app.
  • There is a panic button if they’re in danger.

 Downside:

  • It “does not block adult content on a non-pornographic webpages” such as youtube or google images.
  • It can be uninstalled without a password.
  • YOU CANNOT trust the browser blocker!  They have not perfected this.  For instance, the second time you try to access blocked content, it will let you.

Cost:  34.99/ year.  No monthly fee…

Stay tuned for content filter apps for phones…

Family Devotion: Thankfulness

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in 5 Minute Devotions, Blog, Family Devotions

Devote some of this weekend to God by doing this devotion on being thankful!

THANKFULNESS- Luke 17:11-19.  Only one out of ten men came back to thank Jesus for healing them.

Begin by asking:

  • When was a time someone did something for you where you felt really thankful?

After reading (or having someone in the family read the verses), ask these questions to spark a discussion on the value of being thankful.  (I realize there are more questions than needed, ask those that will work best with your family to help create the character of thankfulness.)

  • What is leprosy? Why was it such a serious disease physically and socially? (It was a contagious skin disease.  Those who had it had to leave all their loved ones and live with those who had leprosy.  No one could ever touch them.)
  • Why do you think only he came back to give thanks? (He recognized and believed in who healed him and the others didn’t.)
  • Why is it important to note that he is a Samaritan? (Samaritans don’t respect or like Jews and yet he came back to praise God.)
  • Why do you think the others weren’t thankful?  (They may have been so selfish and so excited, they were more concerned about telling others and doing things they haven’t been able to do, than recognizing the source of their healing.)

 

How about us?

  • What has God done for us?
  • Why is it hard to recognize what God has done for us, (see God’s answered prayers)? (The biggest reason is probably because we don’t really expect God to work, so we really don’t look for Him to.)
  • Would our outlook be different if we really lived out Proverbs 3:5-6 or Matthew 6.33?
  • How can we try, even more, to look for what God does, to see God’s answered prayers? (Here is one idea: write prayers down in a pad and then write the date next to when they were answered.  It is incredible to look back after doing this for 5 years and remember all of God’s answered prayers.)
  • How can we as a family, show our thanks for what God does?

 

Want to go deeper (have some teens you want to challenge)?

  • Jesus said this man had faith.  How did this man show his faith? (He went out of his way to give thanks and praise to God.)
  • Giving God our deep thankfulness is a way we reveal our faith in God?  Why? (It expresses our trust in Him. It shows we acknowledge His answered prayers.  That He is at work.  That He gets the glory.)
  • How do we demonstrate our thankfulness to God?
  • What was the result of this man’s faith? Luke 17:19…  He was already healed, so what was made “well?”   (People’s New Testament says it this way, “His faith had not only saved his body, but he had been born to the new life, his soul was saved.”)

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