Tag Archive: Home

  1. Faith In The Home: Moment By Moment

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    As our kids get older opportunities to talk with them can seem to diminish. They get busy with school work, sport, music or friends and there seems to be less time available for a casual chat. But actually, as our kids get older, this is the time we need to be talking with them more than ever.
    As they process the big life questions, we want to know what they are thinking, engage with them and know what they are wondering about.

    Our kids do wonder. I remember going through a 12 month period of asking my then 12-year-old son, what he was wondering about at least once a fortnight. It started out as an experiment after chatting with a friend who had started a similar habit, with fantastic relationship payoff with his daughter. I was constantly amazed at the many wonderings that went on in my boy’s busy mind. I remember thinking how much I appreciated these opportunities that only came about through asking this simple question. I would never have been given this glimpse into his thoughts without this simple prompting. These conversations were sometimes pretty shallow and one-offs while others would require chewing over a few times. They paved the way for conversations into the future that had a significant influence on decisions he had to make and as he began to process some big life questions.

    Our kids have a lot of processing to do. Research into child theology tells us that around the age of 8 or 9, children start to process faith ideas differently. They begin to have significant questions and will begin to seek to find the answers. Sometimes as parents, this can be really daunting and we sometimes start to worry that our kids are having a faith crisis. But we don’t have to fear as these questions are generally a positive sign that our kids are starting to really engage with their faith. What we need to worry about is that they have somewhere these questions can get answered. In Deuteronomy 6, God instructs parents to talk about Him with their children throughout the day. The last thing we want is for our kids to find the answers to their questions through Google. It’s interesting to note that verse 20 says “When your children ask about ….” God knows our children will have questions and he wants us, as parents to be the ones engaging with our kids. We may not know all of the answers and that is totally fine. In fact when we seek the answers together we show kids how faith and understanding is a life-long process.

    If we want meaningful conversations when our kids are older, then we need to engage in conversations with them from a very young age. Paving the way for a culture of regular faith talks takes intentionality. We live in a world filled with distractions and busyness so we need to be in the moment with our kids. Putting our phone or iPad down, or turning the radio off in the car, gives a message of availability to our kids.

    Sometimes our faith conversations happen during an intentional devotional time as a family, and these conversations can be very rich. But often the most engaging conversations around faith happen in our day to day life as things happen. Having conversations in the moment as our kids share their daily struggles, challenges and triumphs are rich in opportunity. When we capture these times for speaking of our faith to our kids, it makes faith relevant to them. It takes their life and shines Jesus into it.

    The moment when our child is anxious about a test at school is the moment we can point to the assurance we have in Jesus that he will never leave us. The moment our teen is struggling with self-confidence is the moment we can affirm them with Psalm 139, that they have been fearfully and wonderfully made. The moment our kids wake in the middle of the night with a nightmare is the moment we can speak of God’s power and encourage them from Isaiah 43 with “Do not be afraid for I am with you”. Our lives are full of these moments with our kids and when we point to Jesus and our faith in these times, we help our kids to see the relevance of God for their lives.

    There is so much joy in sharing faith with children through talking with them. As you disciple your kids to grow in their faith I really do hope you enjoy each one of those special little moments of connection that enrich not only your relationship but help to brings our kids closer each day to Jesus.

     

    Ps Tracy Valentine, Generations Pastor, Gateway Baptist Church

  2. Faith In the Home – Taking Everyday Opportunities to Pray

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    Taking Everyday Opportunities to Pray

    We, as families, are busy. In addition to working long hours, our schedules can be full of homework, sports, arts, and music. Many parents are exhausted!! The very last thing we want to do is to make them feel guilty about yet another thing to have to fit into their busy family life. The solution is to equip parents to take opportunities that they already have in the time they spend with their children to teach them the importance of prayer and how to pray. As we get them up in the morning, drive them to school or other activities, as we sit around the table for dinner and as we tuck them into bed, we can be praying for and with our children, all the while building and strengthening their faith.

    Praying with our kids about things that really matter to them shows them that the great big God of the universe cares for them. When kids get in the car after a full day of school, they often have a story about something. Sometimes, it’s a fight with another child, a hard project they need to complete or news of a sick classmate. Praying about these things before bed at night, or better still, then and there, not only sends a message that the parents care about what is going on in their child’s life but that God cares. When a child understands that God in heaven cares about their “little” (big to them) problem at 6, they also learn that he will certainly care about the bigger life issues at 18 and beyond.

    Recognising and celebrating when God answers prayer is also an important way parents can be intentionally pointing to God. Sometimes when God answers a prayer, we ring a friend, and make sure we tell the Pastor on Sunday, but do we celebrate it with our children? Do our kids witness Him at work in our everyday lives? Sometimes God comes through with an answer for a family in a really BIG way and this creates a rich opportunity for families to not only celebrate it when it happens, but to mark the anniversary in years to come. When miracles happen to parents, children in the family also own that faith story. Just as the people in the Old Testament remembered God’s faithfulness, celebrating His faithfulness reveals His relevance for our children today. Noticing the big and the little answers to prayer teaches our kids to trust our faithful God.

    Being intentional about looking for opportunities to pray with our children, and encouraging them to pray themselves, empowers them to develop their own deep relationship with God. It gives them confidence in being able to open their heart to God at any time, day or night – not just on Sundays. When we habitually pray for and with our kids, it is only natural that they will want to pray for us. Allowing them to do this and telling them our prayer needs (being age appropriate), we are sending a valuable and strong message to our kids that we not only trust them, but we affirm their faith is real and God hears their prayers as much as He hears ours. Developing the confidence to pray for others empowers our kids to have faith and equips them for a lifetime of relying on God. Prayer in the home is central to building families with strong enduring faith.

    Ps Tracy Valentine, Generations Pastor, Gateway Baptist

     

  3. Playing For Keeps

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    Recently I was in the USA, specifically Louisville, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennesee for a children’s ministry conference called CM CONNECT conference. (Check out CM Connect here: cmconnect.org). It became abundantly clear to me that God was calling us to prioritise reaching families, specifically parents, to help them disciple their children.

    Sunday school teachers (or kids church ministry leaders) have on average, 1-2 hours a week with our kids. Families have the rest. A lot can happen in a week. Here’s a quote from my favourite book at the moment, Playing for Keeps by Reggie Joiner & Kristen Ivy.

    Several years ago, we handed out jars of marbles to parents and to leaders who work with kids and teenagers. There were 936 marbles in each jar. 936 is the estimated number of weeks between birth and high school graduation. Parents and leaders were challenged to reduce the number of marbles in the jar to match the actual number of weeks they had left with each child. Then they were given a simple assignment: Remove one marble each week. Over time, the practice of losing marbles had a strange effect. It reminded them to value their time. It made each week matter a little more. It reinforced a simple principle: When you see how much time you have left, you tend to do more with the time you have now.

    “What are we doing with the time we have now? The reality is, children have a ‘best before’ date.”

    There comes a time when a child is no longer a child. And research indicates that once a child hits that date, they are no longer as open to the Gospel. 43% of all Americans who are Christians made decision to become a Christian before the age of 13, and 64% made the decision before the age of 18. Nine out of ten church leaders became Christians before they were 18. Evangelism is most effective amongst kids. (Check out the article here: https://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/196-evangelism-is-most-effective-among-kids#.VUmdsFwRrVp) It is true that whatever we learn as a child affects us into adulthood. The good and the bad. Things we are intentional about teaching children, and things we aren’t. Our time is precious, and short. So are we really going to relinquish all the time we have to teach them about the Gospel to the one hour a week that their Sunday School teachers have? (Note: Sunday school teachers totally rock for dedicating their time and energy into this one hour, and if you see a Sunday school teacher, you should definitely hug them, or high-five them, or whatever is appropriate according to your child safety policy. Just appreciate them!)

    “The point is, if you are investing in a kid or teenager, you are already making history every week. The problem is, when you’re making history, you usually don’t know it…Let’s think about it another way. Most kids don’t know what you’re doing this week is going to be a formative part of their history. They are just kids. They only see “now”. To them you just… built a sandcastle. Took them to swim lessons. Played basketball in the driveway. Saw a movie. Ate some pizza… But you are an adult. You see yesterday, today and tomorrow. So you should know better. You should realise by being present in their life week after week in a variety of different ways, you are actually making HISTORY.”

    The QB Kids and their Families team is passionate about awakening parents and church leaders to their calling to impact children for the Gospel. We are passionate about not just running ‘Sunday School’ programs (seriously, who wants to be at school on a Sunday?!) but reaching our young people, who are the most receptive to the Gospel, for the Gospel. To raise a generation who know the importance of life-long faith, not just church attendance.

    So we need to equip families to disciple their kids. And we want to help you do that. Here is a really great list of places you can start to learn more about equipping families to be Gospel-centered in their homes. To be investing time into making history. To disciple their kids in the short time they have, so that ‘when they are old they will not depart from it.’ (Proverbs 22:6).

    Start here. Start now. And if you want to know more, email qbkids@qb.com.au.

    Two books you can read:

    • Playing For Keeps by Reggie Joiner and Kristen Ivy: orangebooks.com/books/playing-for-keeps-losing-your-marbles
    • Parenting Beyond Your Capacity: www.koorong.com/search/product/parenting-beyond-your-capacity-reggie-joiner-carey-nieuwhof/9781434764812.jhtml

     

    Or read access helpful resources here:

  4. FREE Family Devotions for your church family!

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    If you want to encourage families in your church or community to be investing int heir child’s spiritual lives, here is a way to do it effectively! It is a fact that the biggest and most effective influence in a child’s spiritual life is their parents. So if you want to be reaching kids and families for more than just the hour you see them each week, here is a way you can do it FOR FREE!

    We all want to be able to reach kids for Jesus the best way we can – but we know that in order to make a REAL difference, we need to see whole families worshipping God together, and spending time with Jesus together as a family. It’s tough trying to equip parents, especially when they aren’t sure how to start these sorts of spiritual conversations, so HERE is a really simple way to help them. Email out FREE family devotions for them to do each week – from SPLINK!

    Splink is a simple way to link your family together spiritually. Through FREE weekly emails packed with ideas, Splink helps you and your family engage in conversation. Whether it’s making memories or having fun together, Splink allows you to capture those teachable moments to impress spiritual truths and life lessons on your kids. No matter where you are, there’s always time to Splink!

    Check it out… JUST HIT SUBSCRIBE! d6family.com/splink/ (see the link in the ‘Footnotes’ section of this post)

    For more information, email Sally at qbkids@qb.org.au
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    Footnotes: http://d6family.com/splink/

    Post date: 01/09/2014Post Author: Sally Contessi