More activities for week three!

Hard to believe we are already several weeks into summer! I have some challenging activities for this week. I like “challenges” because I think having competitions between family members, or having activities that family members have to share, makes them more accountable. Plus, it’s FUN!

Mind: Research:

  • What is a “Segway?” Have you ever ridden one? Find out all about them (Google it).
  • When were they created? Why? What are they used for mostly?
  • Also, would you try to ride one if you haven’t done so before?
  • SMALL KIDS: Draw a picture of your family riding segways on vacation.
  • OLDER KIDS: Create a newspaper article on segways, answering the above questions.  (Who, what, when, where, why and how).
  • ALL: Share the results of your investigations.

Body: Crunches:

  • (Remember, be careful if you are very out of shape or have a health condition. Check with your doctor first, and follow his/her advise.) This should be fun, not fatal!
  • How many crunches can your family members do?
  • Give your family a one or two minute time limit to do as many crunches as possible.
  • Must follow good form (hands under head, raise head and shoulders only, not trunk, face must be looking at the ceiling).
  • Alternate activity: Push ups! Can be “knee” or traditional, but all family members must do them the same way.

Soul: Memorizing a verse:

  • Agree on one verse to memorize
  • Must be able to say it without reading it after two days,  to call it “memorized.”
  • Younger kids: Choose a very short verse
  • Older kids: Choose a verse that has at least 10 words in it.
  • Who can remember their verse after a week?!

 

Ways to Bring Jesus Home (Compilation)

Ways to Bring Jesus Home   

 Bringingjesushome.com

(This post is a combination of the previous three posts. It is intended for those who might want to print it out and keep it. Right click to print)

This compilation of information from my blog, “Bringing Jesus Home (from Church),” is in no way complete. The information I am sharing is from my Biblical studies, and years of involvement in church and school, working with kids. I have a passion for raising this next generation with a love of Christ in their hearts, and the reality I see is our churches dying, because the younger generation no longer sees the need for Jesus Christ in their lives. My heart’s prayer is that you will prayerfully consider the information presented and have God guide you, in how you use it.

(There are a lot of suggestions here. Don’t think you have to add or change as much as possible!! Find ONE thing you want to add or change, and make only one change at a time.)  God bless you!

A. With your family…

Make sure your kids are Christian.

  1. I know this seems silly, but many kids believe that people are born into whatever religion their parents are.
  2. Help your kids realize that being a Christian means having a relationship with Jesus, and that it is much more than just a “religion”.
  3. If your child is not sure, or you are not sure they have accepted Jesus into their heart as their Savior, share the gospel with them, and ask them if they want to ask Jesus into their heart.

Trust your kids into God’s hands.

  1. Let Him control what you do and say to them about Him.
  2. Believe that God will have a hand in how you raise them, if you want Him to.

Pray, pray, pray!

  1. Discuss with your kids on when during the day you should pray, both as a family, and individually.
  2. Share with them the things you are praying about (unless it shouldn’t be shared, of course).
  3. Create a prayer journal, and review it to show your kids how Jesus has answered their prayers.  (Remember, “wait” and “no” are also answers to prayer!)
  4. Encourage your kids to pray for the Holy Spirit to take away their desire to get mad, or get even with other kids, and also, to take away temptations to gossip, and complain.
  5. Have your kids hold you accountable to pray everyday, as you hold them accountable as well.

Work consistently to build up your kids’ faith 

  1. Do devotions with them several times a week
  2. Find a time that works, and stick with it!                                                                      (Morning, evening, right after dinner, right before bedtime)
  3. Memorize, memorize, memorize! Besides prayer, this is an activity that will “arm” our kids with the necessary gospel that will help them when they are being challenged by their friends and circumstances. (Get “armed and dangerous” in God’s word!)
  4. Discuss biblical topics with your kids; salvation, God’s love, His intimate interest in them, control, anxiety, patience, honoring Mom and Dad, etc.
  5. Use Jesus as a positive role model for your kids, not a judgmental authoritarian figure ready to pounce on them when they mess up.
  6. Discuss the hard topics; why God lets bad things happen, why people do bad things, how God feels about sex, drugs, gay lifestyle, etc                                          A.  (Obviously, this needs to be at the time when kids are ready for these topics, not before)
  7. Go to church!  This seems like it shouldn’t need to be stated, but I believe there are a lot of people who are so busy, they don’t have time for church.  I also believe that God will honor the time you spend with Him, and bless you for it.
  8. Guide your kids with their spare time: Use electronics wisely, set time limits and keep to them!                                                                                                                      A. Play board games as a family.                                                                                    B. Have a family night out and do something together.                                              C. Play outdoors together, or at least have your kids play outside.                      D. Have your kids get involved in church clubs and groups (AWANA, Youth group, choir, drama), and/or school extracurricular activities like clubs or sports.
  9. Celebrate the Christian aspect of big holidays, such as Christmas and Easter.       A. It’s ok to acknowledge the secular parts of these holidays, but they get so much of it at school that participating in Christ honoring traditions at home is not necessarily “leaving out” the secular aspect.
  10. Challenge your kids to accomplish something in keeping with God’s word.         A. For example, can they demonstrate in real life an example of following the Golden Rule?
  11. Eat dinner together!!! If not every night, at least several times a week. Get off all the electronics and talk to one another. Get to know each other all over again!  If you need to, come up with a topic for discussion before dinner, so you know what you want to discuss.

B. For parents/grandparents:

For the last segment of my compilation, I have separated out the things I think parents/grandparents need to do for themselves. I know you know that raising kids is a full time job…which, if you already have a full time job outside the home, means that you have two full time jobs!  Whew!! Even though we have the “head knowledge” of having many jobs, we rarely treat ourselves as if we did. In other words, we are like the Energizer Bunny that just keeps going, and going, and going.

As I started to write this, with the above information in mind, my next thought was that parents don’t need more things to do in their day. I get it! Really! But, I think the time that you do have can be used differently, and still not add “things” to your day. For example, prayer. To increase your prayer time, pray before meals. Pray when you are having “cuddle time” with your child, pray after devotions. It takes time to change habits, but if you decide you want to pray with your kids, write yourself notes, or put the activity on your planner until it becomes habit.

To me, the best things you can do for yourself, are pray, and read your Bible.  In the online article “Prayer 101: How Do I Talk to God?,” it states that prayer is talking with God, and it helps us develop a deeper relationship to Him. We need prayer, because we need to talk to God about what is going on in our hearts and lives. In Hebrews 4:16 it says we can, “…approach the throne of grace with confidence, so we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need,” (https://billygraham.org). And, we need to know what God wants us to do, in terms of raising our kids. Not praying could be compared to not talking to your very best friend, or spouse, when you really need to talk to them. Would you do that? God loves hearing from us, both good and bad things.

I don’t believe that we can raise Godly, Christian kids without prayer. We need to ask God to help us get through our jam-packed days, and still be able to reflect our relationship with Jesus to our kids. “With God ALL things are possible,”(Matthew 19:26b).  I believe it!

The second (and equally important) thing parents/grandparents should do, is read their Bible. It is hard to defend your faith, if you really don’t know what you believe. There are many “read the Bible in one year” devotionals, that can break down the Bible into doable parts. But you don’t have to read the entire Bible, if you don’t have time. Please choose a good devotional, one that touches your heart, and read the verses that are referenced for each day. Even a few verses a day will start you on the road to getting more familiar with God’s word.

One last thing I think is important is to have a Christian friend and/or spouse, who can walk with you down the road of raising Christian kids. You need someone to bounce ideas off of, share carpooling to church and activities, and even to vent to when things are difficult.

The job of raising Christian kids is tough, but ETERNALLY rewarding.

(Right click to print document)

 

More ways to bring Jesus home? Part 2

This is a continuation of the list I posted last time. It is a compilation of ways to “bring Jesus home.” Next time, I will have a list focused on parents/grandparents.

D. Work consistently to build up your kids’ faith

  1. Do devotions with them several times a week
    1. Find a time that works, and stick with it! (Morning, evening, right after dinner, right before bedtime)
  2.  Memorize, memorize, memorize! Besides prayer, this is an activity that will “arm” our kids with the necessary gospel that will help them when they are being challenged by their friends and circumstances. (Get “armed and dangerous” in God’s word!)
  3. Discuss biblical topics with your kids; salvation, God’s love, His intimate interest in them, control, anxiety, patience, honoring Mom and Dad, etc.
  4. Use Jesus as a positive role model for your kids, not a judgmental authoritarian figure ready to pounce on them when they mess up.
  5. Discuss the hard topics; why God lets bad things happen, why people do bad things, how God feels about sex, drugs, gay lifestyle, etc.
    1. (Obviously, this needs to be at the time when kids are ready for these topics, not before)
  6. Go to church!  This seems like it shouldn’t need to be stated, but I believe there are a lot of people who are so busy, they don’t have time for church.  I also believe that God will honor the time you spend with Him, and bless you for it.
  7. Guide your kids with their spare time: Use electronics wisely, set time limits and keep to them!
    1. Play board games as a family.
    2. Have a family night out and do something together.
    3. Play outdoors together, or at least have your kids play outside.
    4. Have your kids get involved in church clubs and groups (AWANA, Youth group, choir, drama), and/or school extracurricular activities like clubs or sports.
    5. Celebrate the Christian aspect of big holidays, such as Christmas and Easter.
      1. It’s ok to acknowledge the secular parts of these holidays, but they get so much of it at school that participating in Christ honoring traditions at home is not necessarily “leaving out” the secular aspect.
    6. Challenge your kids to accomplish something in keeping with God’s word.
      1. For example, can they demonstrate in real life an example of following the Golden Rule?
    7. Eat dinner together!!! If not every night, at least several times a week. Get off all the electronics and talk to one another. Get to know each other all over again!  If you need to, come up with a topic for discussion before dinner, so you know what you want to discuss.

 

Do you know the ways to bring Jesus home?

Over the past seven months or so, I have been posting about things that parents might want to make a priority, when raising Christian kids. Last week I went over all the posts I have written so far, collected and prioritized these, in order to have one “document” that lists what I think God has given me as important things that help families incorporate Jesus into their everyday lives.

I am going to make this a downloadable document, so it can be printed out and won’t look like a blog post, but it doesn’t exist yet. I’ll let you know when it is available.

I have sub-divided this list into things to can do for yourself, and things to do with your family.

With your family…

A. Make sure your kids are Christian.

  1. I know this seems silly, but many kids believe that people are born into whatever religion their parents are.
  2. Help your kids realize that being a Christian means having a relationship with Jesus, and that it is much more than just a “religion”.
  3. If your child is not sure, or you are not sure they have accepting Jesus into their heart as their Savior, share the gospel with them, and ask them if they want to ask Jesus into their heart.

B. Trust your kids into God’s hands.

  1. Let Him control what you do and say to them about Him.
  2. Believe that God will have a hand in how you raise them, if you want Him to.

C. Pray, pray, pray!

  1. Discuss with your kids on when during the day you should pray, both as a family, and individually.
  2. Share with them the things you are praying about (unless it shouldn’t be shared, of course).
  3. Create a prayer journal, and review it to show your kids how Jesus has answered their prayers.
    1. (Remember, “wait” and “no” are also answers to prayer!)
  4. Encourage your kids to pray for the Holy Spirit to take away their desire to get mad, or get even with other kids, and also, to take away temptations to gossip, and complain.
  5. Have your kids hold you accountable to pray everyday, as you hold them accountable as well.

 

How many ways are there to get to Heaven?

Do all roads lead to Heaven? In today’s world, with political correctness being the norm, it is said that as long as you are spiritual, or have some sort of faith, you are fine. Does that mean Jesus was wrong? Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father (goes to Heaven), except through Me.

Our kids get the politically correct information about being a good person all the time. Just ask their teachers. And a lot of their parents. If Jesus said He was the only way to Heaven, was He lying? Was He just another crazy cult leader? Or was He telling the truth? Ask your kids what they believe.

Jesus said, Unless you are born again, you cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven.  Was He being a hater, racist, separatist, isolationist, or politically incorrect? Or was He right?

In our world today, many, many kids are growing up with little to no beliefs about Heaven. Most kids don’t go to church regularly. Their parents also have no particular beliefs about Heaven, or think it’s an issue they will deal with “when the time comes.” I believe that this is one very big reason kids go into their schools and shoot their peers. A child with no faith can be a child with no hope.

It is time that as a Christian parent, we make certain that our kids are firm in their beliefs, and can share that faith. Satan is on the prowl, and in today’s world our Christian kids are prone to do the same hateful things that non-Christian kids do, in terms of gossiping, backbiting against their peers, and living as though they didn’t know anything about Christ.

Christian kids should have a faith that is unshakable, because Jesus died and rose again to make it so. Do your kids have an unshakable faith? Do YOU? According to the web article: “Are Young People Really Leaving Christianity”, most Christian kids (63%) don’t believe Jesus is the son of the one true God.  http://coldcasechristianity.com/2018/are-young-people-really-leaving-christianity/

Please don’t leave your kids’ faith to chance. Don’t expect them to figure it out for themselves, because they won’t.

John 14:6, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 3:3, Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

How do your kids learn to trust you?

How do your kids learn about trust? Studies on this subject indicate that children learn to trust, when their parents come through for them in their time of need. When they are babies and hungry, all they can do is cry, in order to get fed. You, their parent, feed them. And this happens over and over again.  Your child is learning that they can trust you to feed them when they are hungry.

I know this is obvious, especially if you are a parent, but this is exactly the same way we, as Christians learn to trust Jesus. It is a simple analogy…we go to Jesus in our time of need, pray for help, and He will help us. We may need Christ to help us see the answer, but it is there.

Many times the last person we go to when we need help is Jesus. We want to  tackle the issue ourselves; or we don’t even think about going to Jesus as a way to solve the problem.  This is human nature, and very much a part of the American culture. The problem with trying to solve the problem ourselves is that Jesus wants us to come to Him. He wants to be a part of the solution. Not only that, He knows our lives from the beginning to the end, and knows the path that is the best for us.

The best way to learn to trust Jesus, is to trust Jesus. Sounds simple, and it is, but it is also very difficult. Giving over an issue to Jesus has to be an act of our will. We don’t know the path our life will take, Jesus does. He also has our best interest in mind, knows us better than we know ourselves, and loves us like crazy.

We can trust Jesus, because He IS trustworthy.  If we need to take small steps to learn to trust Him, let’s do it that way.

Another benefit of learning to trust Jesus, our kids will learn that we trust Him, and we will be teaching them to learn to trust Him as well.  In this world in which we live, our kids are going to need to trust Jesus with all the problems they will face.  We can leave our kids in good hands, with Jesus.

Psalm 9:10, Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Which would you choose?

Would you rather be involved in a “religion,” or a “relationship?” One of my former pastor’s teachings that has most impacted me as a Christian was when he taught that Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship. We don’t become Christian to be involved in a religion, we become Christian to be involved with Jesus Christ Himself.

Jesus wants a true relationship with each one of us. God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us, to take the punishment for our sins, so we could have that amazing friendship with Him.

And He is amazing. He understands us more than we understand ourselves. He loves us like crazy. He wants us to tell Him all our problems, hopes, dreams. He wants to be intimately involved in our day, everyday. He wants to be able to bless us with His love, joy and peace. He wants to bless you and me, and help our lives make sense. And all we have to do is let Him into our lives. Ask Jesus to forgive you for the issues separating you from Him (our sins), and ask Him to be in the center of your life. It will make a huge difference in how you view the world, and your life. And it will be wonderful. Not without problems, but He and you will tackle them together.

Psalm 139 is one of my favorite Psalms.  Verses 1-6 go: You have searched me Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand on me. [*You surround me with your love, and wrap your arms around me] Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, to lofty for me to attain.

*My paraphrasing.

How much do you trust Jesus?

Do you trust Jesus enough to give him your “to do” list, and then not worry about all the things you have to do today?

Do you trust Jesus enough to make a new commitment to Him, and let Him have every part of your life? Or are there some parts you need to have control over, because you aren’t sure that Jesus will let you do what you think needs to get done?

Sound familiar? It does to me. Giving Jesus all of our life, completely and without reservation, is difficult. I’m not sure why, but we seem to think we can do a better job of controlling how our lives are run than Jesus can.

Can you commit to allowing the Holy Spirit to help you be the person He wants you to be?

I want to take some thoughts from our Connect Groups Pastor, Tabitha Stein, for today’s post. She preached about how being Christian really is a way of life, not just a title. That Christians meeting together is a way to stay healthy as a Christian, and it is also Biblical. It keeps us accountable for how we live our lives. A lot of people these days think accountability has gone the way of the dinosaur, but all through the Bible, Jesus speaks of our responsibility to God, so having accountability to others is just a branch that shoots off of that idea.

The important fact that Tabitha stressed wasn’t going to Church, either. It was connecting at home, with our neighbors and other Christians throughout the week, to do anything from verse to verse study of the Bible, to martial arts classes taught by a Godly Christian man, who incorporates Jesus into the lessons.

It means bringing Jesus home (I think I’ve heard that phrase somewhere before!!!), and building a time into your schedule when you can teach and reach each other, both Christian and non-Christian, for the Lord Jesus Christ.  Although Tabitha’s emphasis was on getting together with other adults, it applies just as much to families. Allow your children to hold you accountable; for Bible verses read, for keeping to a prayer time every night, and many other ways. Kids usually think holding their parents accountable is pretty fun, too. (Just remind them that accountability works both ways!)

Hebrews 10:24, Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

Matthew 18:20, For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.

Hebrews 10:25, …not forsaking  our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

 

In who do you trust?

(Please look below for Bible verses of encouragement)

Another mass shooting at a school. As a teacher, I can understand the teacher who said she would put herself in front of the door, so a shooter would have to go through her before he got to the students. Most teachers would do that, I think. I know I would. It’s just something that most teachers have inside of them. A fierce love and protection for the students entrusted to us.

But neither a teacher, nor a parent, can protect their students like Jesus can. I’m not saying that if the students believed in Jesus that they wouldn’t have died. In fact, this is one of the big questions I want to ask Jesus when I get to Heaven. Why some of the most horrific events in history are allowed to happen to young people. But as parents/grandparents, we can’t protect our kids like Jesus can. We have to trust in God/Jesus/Holy Spirit. We have to bring our kids to understand and love the Lord their God. This world seems to be coming apart at the seams, but Jesus Christ is the foundation for making sense of our lives. Turning to Christ is like turning on a fountain of peace in our’s and our kids’ lives. Of knowing that no matter what, Jesus has our backs, and our kids’ backs. That there is someone out there who loves us, cares for us, and is always with us, no matter what.

Philippians 4:6-7 is one of my favorite verses. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heats and minds through Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 41:13 states, I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Deuteronomy 31:8 says, He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

John 14:27, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

And also, Romans 8:38-39, For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

What (or who) is supporting you?

Talk about no visible means of support!! Check out the picture with this post. It is simply amazing. I was looking at it when it occurred to me that Christians have no visible means of support, either. With Jesus as our Lord however, we have the Holy Spirit within us, with the perfect ability to lift us up and see us through the rough times. Raising kids is hard, but He can make a stressful, impossible situation tolerable, and improve a difficult relationship. Even when times seem like they can’t get worse, God will support you, just as this tree seems to be hanging in mid-air.

Psalm 55:22 states, Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you, He will never let the righteous be shaken.

In John 14:27 it says, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Luke 21:19 says, Stand firm and you will win life.

Romans 8:16 states, The mind governed by the flesh is death but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

God will sustain you, despite your doubts. Just be willing to give God your fears, and let Him show you what to do, when you have no idea what to do.

Also, read Philippians 4:6-7, Romans 8:28, Luke 6:48, II Corinthians 4:7-9, and Isaiah 40:31.