Summer Family Fun, Week 7

Hi all! I hope this has been a wonderful, rewarding summer for you. I am honestly running out of ideas for the Summer Family Fun lists, but I am using my compilation of things to do that I published on June 10th. (“Ways to Bring Jesus Home, Compilation”). If you can’t think of things to do with your kids on these last days before school restarts, take a look at the compilation of ideas. Hopefully, it will spark some ideas and creativity!

Mind and Soul: 

Eat dinner together (that means at the same time, hopefully at the same table), at least 1 to 2 times this week.

  • Put the dates on your calendar, so you have an “appointment” to have dinner together.
  • Make dinner something that everyone (or most of you) love to eat, or do something different, like having a picnic for dinner.
  • Pray before you eat.
  • NO ELECTRONICS are allowed while anyone is eating!
  • You might pick a topic for discussion before your “dinner date,” but make it something that your family won’t argue about.

Mind:  Game: “Two truths and a lie”

(If you have very young kids, you may want to play a different game {look below})

For “Two truths and a lie”:  This is a very simple game.

(Beforehand…give everyone time to come up with the two truths and one lie about themselves. This can often take some time.)

  • Each person in the family has to think of 2 true facts about themselves, and 1 lie.
  • Usually people come up with things they have done, or something they like, or dislike, that not everyone would know about.
  • Each person takes a turn telling their truths and a lie, and everyone else needs to decide which fact is indeed, a lie.
  • The person who is able to identify the most “lies” is the winner.

Example:

My two truths: I taught Lamaze childbirth for 10 years, and, I have been on TV before.

My lie: I got straight A’s in college.

Most of my grandkids thought that the lie was that I really haven’t been on TV.

For Younger Kids: “I spy with my little eyes, something  (state a color)”

My family plays this when we are on a road trip, but it can be played at home, as well.

  • The object of the game is to locate an object that the person who is “it” has chosen.
  • “It” answers questions about it, without being able to name the object.
  • The person who can identify the object wins.
    • EXAMPLE:
  • To PLAY: The person who is it says, “I spy with my little eyes something blue.”
    • Players look around for something that is blue.
    • First player, “Is it hard or soft?”
    • Next player, “Is it alive or dead?” and so on, until the object can be identified by the answers that the person who is “it” gives.
    • Suggestion: Have the person who is “It” keep their object choice in one room or area that all people have agreed on.

Body: 

Running through the sprinklers with your kids!!! Have you ever actually done that with your kids? Try it this week.

 

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?!

 

The world isn’t THAT bad, is it?

I have a difficult time when someone tells me they are a strong Christian, but just don’t go to church. If Christ says we need to “assemble together,” we need to be in church!

I recently read Day 173: Evening, of my Sonrise Daily Devotional Bible, written by our founding Pastor, Tony Foglio, Sr. It touched my heart, so I thought I would share it with you.

“Once a week is not enough. A one hour worship service is not a good balance between the onslaught of the world and the teaching and preaching of the gospel. Compare the number of hours spent watching television (or being on electronics) with the combined time spent in fellowship, worship, praying, Bible study, and service. Unfortunately, statistics say that TV (and electronics) win. I am not advocating a boycott of television; I am, however, advocating that a greater amount of time be given to that which brings eternal dividends. May I encourage you to not only attend a weekly worship service, but also a Sunday school class, a mid-week prayer service, and a small group fellowship. These combined equate to no more than the amount of television (or electronics) many folks watch in one day. I can promise that your life will be richer for it. Will it be easy? No, it will at first take a fair amount of discipline.There will have to be some priority changes. It will require some sacrifice. However, the fruit that will be produced will be more than worthwhile.”   (Parentheses are mine.)

Hebrews 10:24-25, And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day approaching.

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.

 

Are you enjoying Spring Break?

Spring Break. What an excellent time to teach our kids fun ways we can serve the Lord! Yes, I said “Fun ways to serve.” This year my grandkids and I have had the opportunity to serve by helping two different ministries at our church, and I know they would say it was indeed “fun.”

My younger granddaughter loves to bake. Well, our prison ministry takes homemade cookies to prisoners and shares the gospel message 2-3 times a year. This year my grandgirl and I baked and took about 5 dozen cookies for this ministry.

And, in a second opportunity, three of my four grandkids and I “stuffed” eggs for our Easter egg hunt. Our church fills at least 10,000 eggs, and I think between my grandkids and I, we must have stuffed between 1000-2000!! But believe it or not, my grandson said he had more fun stuffing eggs than he would have had on his electronics. Amazing! And such a blessing to others.

It’s easy to serve. And it really does feel good. Please let me know the ways in which you and your kids serve the Lord, both in and out of church. I really want to know and pray for you and your efforts!

www.bringingjesushome.com

I Samuel 12:24 says, But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you.

I Peter 4:10 states, Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Are you a servant?

Jesus lived and died a life of service to God. He stated that He came to serve in Mark 10:45, For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.

This being the Easter season, most Christians are again focused on Christ’s death and resurrection, and how He gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins.

But when you think about it, Jesus’ entire life on Earth was focused on serving. There are hundreds of examples in the Bible of how Jesus healed people, miracles He performed, and the fact that His life on Earth was 100% about serving God – even to the point of being willing to die for Him.

Chances are pretty good that God is not going to require any of us to sacrifice our lives for Him, but how willing are we to serve Him? There are all kinds of opportunities to serve…just take a look at the needs in your church that go unmet because people are “too busy” to do them. Pray and ask the Lord where you should serve. Chances are, God will suggest a place where you will be happy!

If Christ was willing to die for us, surely we can live for Him.

Extra P.S. here…get your kids involved, if you can. Have them help you make cookies, or wash windows. They usually love being involved! Recently, one of my grandkids baked cookies for our church’s prison ministry. Kids who see their parents involved are often kids who grow up to be involved in their church, as well.

Hebrews 6:10, God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

Is God’s arm shortened? Part 2

The founding pastor of Sonrise Community Church, Tony Foglio Sr., actually wrote the following paragraph for Day 66, Morning, of his Sonrise Daily Devotional Bible. I asked him if I could use it for this post, because it is a powerful reminder of God’s love for us. Bold words are my emphasis.

God is not dead, nor is He growing old. We in our carnality grow weary and weak, but God in His holiness never tires nor weakens. He may be silent, but He is never out of control. We can never take God by surprise. We will never catch Him off guard. Our problems are not out of His reach. We may be attempting to avoid Him, but His arm is not short. Usually when God seems out of reach it is because we are running from Him instead of running to Him. Like a loving parent who plays chase with his or her child, He will catch us whenever He desires. Therefore, when trials and problems come, run to Him, not from Him. When God seems distant, check your location. He will be there where you left Him. One sure place we will find Him is with His people in a place He calls His house.

We need the Lord Jesus like we need air. Our kids need Him in the same way. The more you trust Him, the more peace you will have. That’s a promise from God.

Philippians 4:6-7, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

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.