Shrimp & Ketchup

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Dads, Faith Conversations, Family Devotions, Moms, Praying Together

Over lunch with a radio talk show host last week, I was enlightened.  I ordered fish tacos and he ordered fried shrimp.  When our meals arrived, he did something strange; he moved his little dish of cocktail sauce out of his plate and squirted some ketchup in its place!  Who does that?

I had to ask.

He said when he was a child, that’s the way him mom served shrimp.  Since that’s the way he was brought up, that’s the way he eats them now.

I laughed.

He looked at me with a question mark on his face.

I chuckled because, it was a great example of the influence of the home.  What we do at home will shape our children’s spiritual lives even as it shapes our taste buds.

We will not hide them from their descendants;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
his power, and the wonders he has done.

He decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
to teach their children,

so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.

Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands.
Psalm 78:4-7

I have to remind myself that what I’m doing now with our children is not only impacting them; it’s also impacting their children, too.   We are influencing our grandchildren; future generations.  Our children can pass the love and trust of the Lord onto their children and their children’s children.

Whatever we choose to dip our shrimp into doesn’t matter, but the way we spend our time connecting our children’s hearts towards God’s can have an eternal difference.  The habits we instill in our children while they are at home will carry on long after we are gone.

Pray together as a family.  Read the Word together and tell your children the “praiseworthy deeds of the Lord…Then they [will] put their trust in God and [will] not forget his deeds but [will] keep his commands.”


Discussion Questions for parents and small groups:

When do you share with your children the “praiseworthy deeds of the Lord?”

How are you developing spiritual habits in your home?

What is a habit you are going to start?

When is the best time to pray together as a family?

Find someone to share this with, so they can ask you about it.


God Doesn’t Always Answer The Way We Think HE Should

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Dads, Encouragement, Faith Conversations, Prayers

The last two weeks have been difficult. A beautiful, talented, dynamic 17 year old girl from the church where we had served for 12 years did not recover from an injury incurred from a skateboarding accident. As friends of the family and her former youth pastor, I was asked to speak at the service. She was an amazing young woman. I shed more tears in the last two weeks than the last five years. Almost 700 grieving teens, parents, and family members arrived seeking to find comfort and answers.

In the hospital, Haley’s parents and I, holding on to Haley, prayed for almost an hour on our knees weeping, crying out to the Lord of Heaven and of Earth for His healing touch. I recounted all the healings I had personally experienced and those recorded in the Bible. I believed He would answer.

What Have You Been Given? {5 Minute Devo}

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

(Click here for the downloadable version of this devotion: English, French, Russian, and Spanish)


Read Matthew 25:14-30

You may want to stop in the middle of the reading to let your child(ren) know that a talent was a lot of money. Not just a $100…no one really knows. It could have been silver (worth around $7,000 today) or gold (worth around half a million dollars today).



• Which servants were faithful? How?
They used what their master gave them to increase the master’s success.

• Which servant was unfaithful? How?
He didn’t use what the master gave him. He was lazy. He didn’t want to work. He didn’t care about what the master wanted. He only cared about himself.

• How would you have reacted if you were the master? Would you have been pleased with what the lazy servant did? Why?
Because he was selfish. He didn’t use what the master gave him. He wasted what he could have done with it.


In this parable, Jesus is teaching the disciples that He is going away (but He will be coming back!) and that we are to continue His work using the gifts He has given us.


• What are the gifts of time, treasure, and talent that God has given you?

• How could you use your time for God? How could we serve God as a family?

• What treasures do we have that we can use to bless others?

• What talent do you have? How could you use it for God?

• How can you be faithful with what God has given you?

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