What do you do when you can’t DO anything?

This question is more for parents of older, adult kids. What do you do when all you can do is offer suggestions to your kids? Especially as Christian parents? When you’ve tried to raise your kids according to the “discipline and instruction of the Lord,” but they aren’t following that with their own kids?

What do you do, parents? We live in a crazy world, and it is so easy to see how our grandkids need to have strong, living faith in Jesus Christ, but our adult kids really aren’t “bringing Jesus home,” so the only Jesus they ever learn about is the one hour on Sunday they spend at church? (If they go to church?)

What Bible verses do you read? How do you pray about this subject? Does this situation bother anyone besides me? I pray for my kids and grandkids all the time, but wondered if other parents of adult kids get frustrated like I do. I know I need to give it to God, but then a few days ago, I tried to pray with one of my grandsons, who told me we aren’t supposed to talk about Jesus anywhere but in church. I corrected that, but he has mentioned it to my other grandkids as well. What Bible verses do you lean on? How do you pray?

Ephesians 6:4, Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (NIV)

Are you a buddy to your kids?

Imagine having to play a game, but no one tells you the rules. Every once in a while your team gets mad at you for not doing something right, and sends you off the field. After some time passes they let you back on, only to send you off again because you aren’t following rules that you don’t know. Wow, would that be frustrating!!

I know this is a strange analogy, but I would compare a parent trying to be a “buddy” or “best friend” to their kids, to not teaching them the rules of life. I know too many former students who told me they “hated” their parent(s). When I asked them why, or if their parents were “strict,” the kids who seemed to hate their parents the most were the ones who had no rules, or limits, and could do whatever they wanted.

Now, I know that kids will be prone to exaggerate, especially in front of their peers, but I have also known these kids well enough to believe what they were saying.

Parents can not afford to be a buddy or best friend to their kids. They must be the ones to set and enforce the limits, and especially when those limits are pushed or ignored by their kids.

Kids need limits. They need rules. They will try to break them, yes, but that is because they want to make sure those rules are really the rules. I have read child psychologist’ statements that knowing the rules actually makes it easier for a child to be happier, because they don’t need to constantly test to find the guidelines.

The Bible has a lot to say about raising up our kids. In most verses about child rearing, the Bible uses the term “rod.” I know not everyone believes in spanking, (although it is not illegal, contrary to popular opinion). I believe that if you replace that word with “discipline,” the verses still make sense. I could go on about this for far too long, so I wanted to put in one set of verses.

Ephesians 6: 1-4, Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

 

Do we have freedom of speech?

Yes, in this country, we have freedom of speech. But with freedom of speech comes responsibility. Some people might disagree, but we do not have absolute freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is a God given right in this country, but there are people sharing made-up information on social media as though it was fact.  Even my Christian brothers and sisters are sharing it, and believing it.

Absolute freedom of speech destroys people, and ruins lives, because it maintains we can say anything we want to about anyone, especially if we don’t like them, or don’t agree with their views.

How is this Christian? We can not believe everything we see or read in social media! If information sounds silly, ridiculous, or even odd, it is probably a lie. If you aren’t sure if it is true or not – take the time to find out before you share it with others!

Jesus said we are to “Love one another” (John 13:34), and, “We love because He first loved us.” He did not say make sure our side wins. He is in control. In this crazy world, Christians need to be mindful that our job is to be ready to give a reason for the faith that we have,  not to share false information that makes one side sound better than the other.

I Peter 3:15, In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” (Bolding mine)

Summertime, Summertime, Sum, Sum, Summertime!!

For Summer, I am going to change things up a bit. Instead of just telling you about how to bring Jesus home, I am going to give you specific things you can do each week for your mind, body, and soul. Summer is the best time to begin doing something new with your family, because the kids are at home, and there tends to be more free time in the day. I will give activities. You can choose to do some or all of them, but I am focused on three areas;  mind, body, and soul. Jesus didn’t sacrifice Himself just for our eternity in Heaven, but for our life on Earth, as well. So I will be focused on physical and mental activities, as well as spiritual ones.

(Mind) Game: Big Word: “educational”

Directions:

  • Use the letters in the word “educational.”
  • Using pencils and paper, have the family make and write down as many words using only those letters (no extras) as possible.
  • For older kids and adults, don’t tell them the big word, just mix up the letters from the word, and see if they can guess the big word.
  • For younger kids in elementary school, allow short or one letter words.
  • For older kids, tell them they can have no less than 3 letter words.

(Mind) Discussion: This is a question to discuss with your kids/grandkids that should interest them. If it doesn’t, you may want to come up with an alternate question.

Younger kids: What is your favorite kind of bug? Why? If you don’t like bugs, why not?  Did God make bugs? Why do you think He did that?

Older kids: What bothers you the most about your school?  How can you help to make it better?

(Body) Exercise: Take a walk around the block. Look at the colors of the houses/apartments you pass. What colors are mostly used for apartments and houses? How many are white, tan, blue, etc. Is your house or apartment painted the most popular color? (You may want to take a pencil and paper to keep track?!)

(Soul) Discussion: What is your favorite Bible verse? If you aren’t sure or don’t have one, Google, “most popular Bible verses.” Discuss why these might be the most requested verses on Google. (Also, look at www.biblestudytools.com and look at “The 25 Most Read Bible Verses.”)

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.

 

Are you royalty?

With a royal wedding coming up in England, it dawned on me that we, as Christian parents/grandparents, need to share our “royal” heritage with our children. Kids go through so much as they grow up, and a lot of what they deal with has to do with how they feel about themselves. They need to know how important they are to both you, their parents, and also, God.

The Bible states that we are “children of God” (Galatians 3:26), and also that Jesus is “Lord of lords and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14), and we are brothers and sisters of Christ, (Matthew 12:50). This means that not only are we special, but we are royalty. We are ” God’s kids” and children (and siblings) of the King!

This does not mean our kids should think they are better than others, or put other kids down, but instead for them to realize that they are important to Jesus and a part of His royal family. And we are never less than that.

If you want to share more information with your kids about being a part of God’s family, there is a great article by John Rinehart called “What God Thinks About You” from Sept. 24, 2015 on the website, http://www.desiringgod.org

Galatians 3:26, So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith…

Revelation 17:14, They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings…

Matthew 12:50, For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.

 

What are your top priorities?

God, family, others.  Our priorities are to be: God first, family next, and finally, others. We all have things in our life that are competing for priority. Where exactly is “life” supposed to come in on this list? Do we come home from work, collapse on the couch and veg in front of the TV, (or smart phone), or do we sit and cuddle with our kids and ask them about their day? The bottom line is that we tend to make time for the things that are important to us, even if we will tell someone that we don’t have time for some other activity that isn’t as important.

Sadly, there are many times when we forget just what our priorities should be.  Take the time right now – with your kids, if they are old enough – to reset your priorities.  Make a list of the top 10 priorities in your life. Have your kids do the same. Before sharing your lists with each other, eliminate 6-7 of those top 10, leaving only 3-4 of the very top priorities in your life. Now share them with your spouse and kids. Are any of yours similar to your kids’? Discuss ways to help your kids, and have them help you, to maintain the most important priorities in your lives. And remember, if you put God first, He will help you have enough time for other priorities.

Matthew 6:33, Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. (KJV)

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11a, To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: 2) A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3) A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4)  A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; 5) A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6) A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7) A time to rend and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8) A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war and a time of peace.  11a) God has made everything beautiful in His time…   (KJV)

Luke 12:34, For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

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.