children

Discipling Your Kids Is More than Family Devotions

Discipling Your Kids Is More than Family Devotions

By Derek Brown

A couple of months ago I was in the kitchen preparing lunch and caught a familiar tune wafting from the living room. My son was singing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” along with an interactive Christmas book. Particularly delightful was his substituting “morning” for “glory” and mumbling incoherently the “peace on earth” section. He didn’t have any trouble with the following phrase: “God and sinners reconciled,” my 3-year-old bellowed with joy. As I laughed to myself and squeezed mustard onto a slice of wheat bread, my wife—ever ready to seize on teachable moments—turned immediately to the living room. “Do you know what reconciliation means, Colton?” After he indicated he didn’t understand the significance of what he’d yelled across the house, she proceeded to explain, in simple terms, the nature of our relationship with God and our need for a Savior.

But wait: hadn’t Colton heard these things before? Wasn’t he familiar with the idea of sin and holiness and the need to be right with God? Ever since bringing him home from Ethiopia two and a half years ago we’d incorporated family worship into his nightly routine. We’d read The Jesus Storybook Bible several times and talked a good deal about God, Christ, and the cross during our nightly treks through Scripture. Wasn’t that enough?

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4 Ways to Protect your Kids Online

4 Ways to Protect your Kids Online

In the world in which we live, parents must engage in the battle for their children’s hearts, minds, and attention.  There is too much at stake to assume that they will “be okay.”  Ministering to students, whether that be as a parent or a pastor, is a full contact sport.  We must engage. We must to go war.  We must not sit idle by and watch our children’s lives unfold.

The linked article gives good practical recommendations on how to put a wall around your child’s internet access.  Something that must be considered when raising teenagers, especially boys.  It is a follow-up to a previous article written by the same author that I highlighted earlier this week.

4 Ways to Protect your Kids Online

By: Brian Howard

A few months back I wrote a post entitled, A New Way to Keep Pornography Out of Your Home, where I reviewed a Router from Pandora’s Hope. The post was quite popular and continues to be read daily. Since writing the post I have become increasingly aware of the range of ways that are available to help protect families from pornography. I recently read an excellent article on Yahoo’s new technology site that motivated me to do more research into this area. The post, entitled 3 easy ways to protect your kids online, reviews some excellent tools to help families stay proactive with the Internet. Here are the 3, my take, and a link to the Pandora’s Hope router as well.

1. Norton Family Online

Norton Family Online allows you to monitor every site that your kids visit, see everything that they search for, and track their activity across social media. Norton offers a a free version and a paid version. The paid version ($50 per year) adds instant message monitoring, video monitoring, and also monitors mobile devices. On the surface it looks fantastic. Reviews say that the software is buggy at times but it definitely is worth a look.

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Rites of Passage for Your Daughter

self-esteemI feel less qualified than usual in writing this post.  I do not have daughters, nor have ever claimed to understand the opposite gender.  Although I do believe this article is very relevant for parents of teenage daughters.  One of my favorite parts of this series is the emphasis on the power of words.  While I agree that words have an effect on guys, I believe that they have a much more powerful effect on girls.  While there are guys who struggle with self-worth and self-doubt, it seems to plague girls.  Words of worth from parents go a long way, especially from a father to a daughter.

ARTICLES

Words are Powerful

Ideas for Creating Traditions

More ideas for Traditions

Other Rites of Passages

Creative Traditions Build Relationships

Simple Influence

Rites of Passage for Your Daughter

by Pam Farrel, Doreen Hanna

The conversation with the group of young women that day had been one of excitement and laughter as they planned the upcoming special Night of Celebration. Each girl’s family would join in a special rite-of-passage ceremony that would culminate with each princess’s father reading a personalized blessing over his daughter. However, after the meeting, one princess was not as excited as the rest of the girls, so I [Doreen] initiated a conversation with her.

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Darla shrugged her shoulders with frustration as I asked if she would please reconsider asking her father to impart her blessing at the ceremony before she asked her youth pastor. With exasperation she began to blurt out her reasons for not wanting to give her father this privilege: “He spends all his time on that dumb computer! I can tell my parents are not happy. I feel like they might be talking about divorce. I wish he’d spend time with me. I know he used to be a Christian because he used to go to church. I hate being at home. I look for something to do every day just to be away from there.”

It was evident that the power of her parents’ words — talk of divorce, as well as a lack of loving words — had begun to kill hope in Darla’s heart.

My heart grieved for her, knowing also that at just 13 years of age she was already dealing with depression. However, I spoke quickly, reminding her that this might be an opportunity to hear her father publicly say things she never thought he knew or noticed about her. I told her that this would be a day she would remember for the rest of her life and, if possible, it would be best remembered with her father.

Lastly, I asked her if she would allow him this opportunity. She begrudgingly agreed and said she’d let me know of his decision within the next few days. The following day, she called.

“Mrs. Hanna, this is Darla.” (Long pause.) “Well, he said yes.”

Her tone of voice reflected an irritated disappointment that he had agreed to participate. However, she changed the subject and with excitement told me of the dress a girlfriend was going to let her borrow and how she was looking forward to celebrating with some of her friends.

After we hung up, I called and spoke with Darla’s dad, Rick. I explained what he needed to do to prepare to impart her blessing. I sensed sincerity in Rick’s voice and felt assured that God was at work.

The night of the ceremony I happened to be standing at the front of the church when Darla and Rick arrived early. As she stepped out of the car, she looked radiant in her beautiful navy blue formal. She ran to find the other girls who were applying their last touches of mascara, lip gloss or blush. All of them were complimenting and helping each other. In the meantime, Rick had searched and found a parking place, then rushed in asking where he was to sit. I saw that he had a yellow pad of paper in hand. The moment he sat down, it was evident he was still jotting down notes in preparation for Darla’s blessing.

The evening moved along smoothly and I soon found myself introducing Darla and Rick. They stepped forward, taking their respective places at the podium. Then Darla folded her arms across her midriff and looked over the heads of the audience. It was so obvious that she was still not happy to be sharing her special moment with her father.

Rick began speaking his blessing with a tone in his voice that reflected tenderness. As Rick’s endearing words poured out, Darla’s arms soon dropped to her side and she looked directly into her father’s eyes. His words were warm, loving and sincere, bringing life back into Darla’s heart. It was evident he truly loved Darla and recognized the importance of this opportunity with his daughter. Darla’s eyes filled with tears and a smile brightened her countenance. Rick, with great delight in his eyes, crowned her with her tiara. Then Darla hugged him warmly. You could hear the sniffles of joy in the audience!

As this celebration came to a close and we headed to the reception, I overheard someone affirming Rick, complimenting him for the powerful words he had spoken into Darla’s life.

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Top Ten Mistakes Christian Parents of Teens Make

Top Ten lists are great because you can read the list and then read only about the one’s that you are interested in.  Here are 10 mistakes Christian Parents of Teens Make.  If you’ve made a few or all of them, repent, refocus, and get started.  Remember, you don’t have to be perfect, just intentional.  This list is not ground breaking, but it is a good reminder of what not to do when it comes to teenagers.

Top Ten Mistakes Christian Parents of Teens Make

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It might be difficult for some parents to read through, but here’s a top ten list that I’ve been wanting to write for a while. Over the next several days I’ll be expanding on each of these in succession, but for now, here is my top ten mistakes Christian parents of teens make:Top Ten Mistakes Christian Parents of Teens Make

10. Not spending time with your teen.

A lot of parents make the mistake of not spending time with their teens because they assume their teens don’t want to spend time with them! While that’s true in some contexts, teens still want and need “chunks” of one-on-one time with parents. Despite the fact that teens are transitioning into more independence and often carry a “I don’t need/want you around” attitude, they are longing for the securing and grounding that comes from consistent quality time.

Going for walks together, grabbing a coffee in order to “catch up,” going to the movies together, etc., all all simple investments that teens secretly want and look forward to. When you don’t carve out time to spend with your teen, you’re communicating that you’re not interested in them, and they internalize that message, consciously or unconsciously.

9. Letting your teen’s activities take top priority for your family.

The number of parents who wrap their lives/schedules around their teen’s activities is mind-boggling to me. I honestly just don’t get it. I know many parents want to provide their children with experiences and opportunities they never had growing up, but something’s gone wrong with our understanding of family and parenting when our teen’s wants/”needs” are allowed to overwhelm the family’s day-to-day routines.

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Abortion . . . think you understand it?

Life.

Although most Americans have some sort of opinion on abortion, many don’t really understand the truth behind this horrific problem.  How does abortion impact you and your family?  Is it really a constitutional right? Why do most abortions happen?

Take this quiz and find out just how much you know about abortion in the United States.

Some of the answers will surprise you.

Wanting God’s Best for Your Children

Abby and I are first time parents with two incredible boys.  They are now approaching 3 years old.  We are just like most Christian parents in that we want to express God’s love to our children as early and as often as possible.  We read the Story Book Bible to them at bedtime.  We pray before meals.  We take them to Sunday school.  We are doing our best at figuring this out as we go. Not perfectly, but intentionally.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Matthew 7:7-11

We all love to give gifts to our children and the knowledge of Christ is the greatest gift of all.  The idea that God loves my children more than me and wants to give better gifts than I do, blows my mind.  The love for your child is an incredible thing.  And think, God loves them more.

So what is our role in spiritual discipleship for our kids?

The full scope of that question cannot be answered within a single post, blog, or even a single book.  Ultimately, I think it starts with being intentional.  Not perfectly, but intentionally. Intentionally sharing the Gospel with your children.  Intentionally reading and pointing them to God’s Word. Intentionally praying with them. Intentionally taking them to church.  Intentionally talking to them about their relationship with God. And intentionally being a living example of the Grace we have received.

Orange is a ministry philosophy that focuses on ministering to the family as a whole.  In student and children’s ministry, that means spending as much if not more attention on parents.  This is not a new philosophy, but Orange has done a very good job of packaging, communicating the essentials of this philosophy, and providing resources.  Below I have highlighted a post from Orange Leaders that I think helps at attacking the question of our role in spiritual discipleship for our kids.

Wanting God’s Best for Your Children

©2012 Jim Wideman Ministries Inc

Wanting God’s Best for Your Children

Psalm 112:1-8 (NIV) tells us: “Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, 
who finds great delight in his commands. His children will be mighty in the land; 
the generation of the upright will be blessed. . . . Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. 
He will have no fear of bad news; 
 his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. 
His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.”

This is hard to walk out as a parent, let alone lead other parents to walk this out for their families. The world can be a cruel place, it can be an unsure place. This is our time but they are hard and troubling times for the church.

A large percentage of Americans believe it will get worse before it gets better. When you look at what’s happening in the news, on TV and even in the church it’s pretty scary out there but it’s times like these that makes us ask the big question: Do you really believe and practice what you teach and preach? As for me, I BELIEVE THE BIBLE!

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