Posts Tagged ‘spiritual’

Grandparenthood: Devoted and Connected

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

Grandparenthood graphic

 

When attending a church Bible study last Sunday morning I witnessed a grandfather who was made fun of (even by the pastor) for having Facebook. I was unexpectedly blessed when I heard his response.  It brought an “amen” to my lips and a challenge to all the other grandparents. He said, “The only reason I have a Facebook is to stay connected with my grand kids!”

I also recently encountered another grandfather who said, “I am not going to learn how to text. I can’t do all that stuff. If they want to talk to me they can pick up the phone.”

It’s obvious which one of these grandfathers is more connected, more devoted, going to have a generational impact and leave a legacy of faith.

Faith Conversation 3: Taming The Tongue Part II: Reckless Words

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

DOWNLOAD & PRINT: Taming the Tongue Part II Reckless Words

Taming the Tongue Part II:   Reckless Words

Our children need to realize how our words affect us and the others around us.  Our tongue can get us into deep trouble or be a blessing to others.  Here is a Faith Conversation you can have with your kids on this important and sometimes overlooked subject.

Conversation Starter:

Gossip, backbiting, name calling, put-downs, hurtful sarcasm… They all hurt.  How do they affect others (esp. brothers and sisters)?

One minute video for all ages:

http://www.sermonspice.com/product/17001/the-power-of-the-tongue

For teens: You may find this video more impactful for your junior high/high school teen:

http://www.bluefishtv.com/Store/Downloadable_Video_Illustrations/2049/Gossip

DOWNLOAD & PRINT: Taming the Tongue Part II Reckless Words

 

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!

 

 

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.”)

When Should Children Learn to Tithe? (and a family devotion)

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

As soon as they are old enough to want to buy stuff, it’s time to start opening up with them about how you spend and give. As you think about your giving for next year, consider bringing your children into the conversation. Carrie and I are open with our children about our finances. We show them the checks we write as we give God our “offering.” We even stopped the automatic withdrawal from the bank, because we wanted our children to actually see us write the check and put it in the plate on Sunday mornings.

We know this is a value we can’t JUST TEACH our children. It’s a value they will NEED TO CATCH as we live it out.

Why do we want to do this at an early age?
First of all, it models for them we trust God at His Word. (Matthew 6.33)
Secondly, it models for them our obedience. (We, as adults, have to be obedient, too!)
Third, they see that we are serious about giving back to God.
Forth, when they see us give, it gives us credibility when we encourage them to give 10% of their income (allowance, birthday money, etc.)
Fifth, God deserves it! (He is faithful! He is good!)
Sixth, it teaches them that Mom and Dad keep our priorities straight, (our spending and desire for money in it’s proper place)!
Seventh, it supports and helps other people! (That is what Caleb said (our 8 yr. old.)

Some of you may have an unknown financial future. Trust us, we can relate! Trust God that He will provide. Let your kids see you trusting in God! They need to know that God does bless, that His Word is true, that He does care and He will take care of us! Matthew 6.33!

FAMILY DEVOTION:
Want to lead your family in a devotion on this topic? It can be as simple as doing this at the next meal time together.

Say, “Mom and dad want to share something with you. Will one of you read from Matthew 6.33?
(Have a child/teen read.)

Ask, “What does this say about God’s character, His Qualities?” Let them answer. (He will provide, He is trustworthy, dependable.)we should to seek Him

Ask, “Do we need to worry about anything? Why?

Ask, “What do we need to do?” (Seek His Kingdom.)

Ask, “What does that mean?” (To seek and do what He wants for us rather than always what we want.)

Say, “Someone read Malachi 3.10. This is why we offer to God first a part of what He has given us.

Ask, “Why do you think God gave us this command?” (It shows who really trusts in Him, keeps our priorities straight (focused on Him), He wants to provide and take care of those who are faithful to Him. It’s also one way God’ uses us to provide for other’s needs, etc.)

Ask, “Why is it important for you to give of your allowance, even if it’s a small amount?” (It’s because you need to be obedient even in the small things. It develops a habit, a tradition. When we can obey God in the little things, God will know He can trust us in bigger things.)

The Cronkhite’s give out allowance on Saturdays (this way it’s close to Sunday) and ask them how much they are going to offer back to God and to set it aside to bring to church in the morning.

Hope this helps.
Jonathan

Resources

Get in Touch

694 Hammock Rd.
Melobourne, FL 32904
Phone: 1-321-223-1163