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.

 

Summer Family Fun, Week 4

Hi all! You may well be further into the summer than week 4, but for me, this is the fourth installment of my summer family fun suggestions.

Starting with the Body:

Go to your favorite family park. See if you are as strong as your kids/grandkids when they cross the Jungle Gym without stopping. Can you do that??  How about the swings? (My personal favorite). Can you swing as high as your kids? Your kids will LOVE IT that you are actually playing on the same equipment (assuming it is made for adult body weight) as they are!!

Mind:

Reading time! 20 minutes a day for at least one week. This keeps their skills up for the start of next school year, and I tell my grandkids that it “helps their brain grow.”

  • Graphic novels are ok. (AKA comic books – they look like paperbacks)
  • Also, for very young kids, I would show my kids a picture and have them make up a story for it.  It’s amazing how their minds work!
  •  Reading to kids, no matter what their age,  is also important. Kids get the sense of how to read fluently (without sounding like a robot), and will eventually try to copy how you read aloud.
  • When kids read, YOU read as well!

Soul:

How is the verse memorizing going? Even if kids do 1 verse a week, they are still learning God’s word.

Also, are they signed up for VBS? It’s a great way for them to have fun and learn about Jesus, as well. Many children come to know Christ through VBS.  VBS starts at Sonrise tomorrow, July 9th.  At Sonrise (in Santee, CA), we even have a water slide!

 

 

 

What would Jesus do?

Do you remember this question from a few years ago? “What would Jesus do?” “(WWJD?)” I have found myself coming back to this question several times, recently. The question isn’t in the Bible, as far as I know, but as Christian parents/grandparents we are to be “Christ like.” Meaning, we are to act in the same manner as Jesus would.

This needs to drive everything we do, especially when it comes to our kids and grandkids. They need to see us as Christ does. What does Christ see? We need to be about our Father’s business. Nothing more, nothing less. We need to remember who Jesus is,  and what He sacrificed for us. WWJD?

I Corinthians 13:1-7, 13 –  If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2. And If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3. If I give away all I have and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5. or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6. it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

13. So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

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.

 

What makes you weary?

What is the difference between being tired and being weary? According to  http://www.dictionary.com,  “tired” and “weary” are synonyms with virtually the same definition, but with a minor difference. Being weary includes “mental exhaustion.”

Everyone gets tired from time to time. Parents especially, get tired on an everyday basis because raising kids and living life isn’t easy. When we go through any tough times, (not just raising kids) weariness can set in, and if we aren’t careful, it can lead to depression. From what I have experienced, weariness seems to set in most often when we go through an extended period of difficulty.

The scary thing about being weary is that it can pull us into ourselves and away from God, who is the answer to that weariness. God is the one who will be our rock when we are emotionally and/or physically exhausted. The more we trust God for the answers to our problems, the more peace we can experience, and the less “down” we will feel, even though the problems haven’t gone away.

I don’t have all the answers for ending weariness. My family and I are going through a time of stress because my dad is in failing health. So we are having to depend on God for strength, both physical and emotional.

I found a website, http://www.crosswalk.com that has “31 Verses for when you feel burdened and weary,” by Debbie McDaniel.  Pray the verses that touch you the most, back to God. Meditate on the verses several times a day.  And pray, pray, pray.

Psalm 105:4, Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

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.

Psalm 18:3, It is my God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.

Matthew 11:28, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Philippians 4:11-13, …for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. *I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (*My emphasis)

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.

Pay attention!

Do you ever remind your kids to pay attention to you? If you haven’t, you are in an amazingly small group! Yet one of the things most Christians are good at, is forgetting to pay attention to what God is doing; in, through, and around us.

I would like to suggest that we re-energize our desire to see Christ at work. When we are truly paying attention, we can see what He has done to us and for us, as well as for the people and situations we are praying for.

In the picture here, we can’t see who made the footprint, but we know it was made by someone. Look around to see the evidence that Jesus leaves when He works in your life, and the lives around you.

This is not only a wonderful way for us to stay close to Jesus, but a wonderful way for our kids to witness Christ at work. God either causes or allows all things to happen. When we realize and accept this fact, there’s no room for “luck,” or “coincidence.” Everything happens for a reason, and when we watch for evidence that He is at work, it can be truly amazing what He does for and around us.

Just pay attention!

Romans 8:28, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Philippians 1:6, …being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

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.