Posts Tagged ‘ Faith Parenting ’

Come To Jesus

Bible Reading:
Matthew 4:12-25

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

Weaving Faith into Families

Reread Matthre 4:23-25. How do you help your kids draw closer to Jesus? Where would you like to become even more effective in doing that? Thank God for the ways he already uses you to reveal Jesus to your kids, and ask him to open your eyes to even more opportunities to reveal his love, wisdom and grace to them. Write your prayers down and be sure to pray faithfully for them this week.

Insight For Parents:

Set aside time this week to share your “Jesus story” with your kids. Then listen as your kids share their stories — or their need to begin their own Jesus stories. Afterward, talk about how each of you can share your Jesus stories with your friends, and ask Jesus to give each of you the opportunity to do so.

Faith Talk Starter:
Remind your kids about a time they came to you for help. For example, maybe your child couldn’t figure out a math problem. Or perhaps your child was struggling with a bully at school and asked you to talk to the teacher or the other child’s parent. Then talk with you kids about the fact that Jesus wants us to come to him when we need help. Encourage your kids to talk about what it looks like to come to Jesus and how Jesus might respons in specific situations. Then as a family, come to Jesus in prayer.

Prayer Starter:
Pray that each of your children will extend the invitation for others to come to him, too.

Advertisements

Jesus Is Baptized

Bible Reading:
Matthew 3:13-17

Key Verse:
John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Weaving Faith into Families

During his life on earth, Jesus revealed God to everyone he met. After Jesus ascended into heaven, his disciples followed his example and led others to believe in God and in Jesus’ sacrifice. We should be thankful every day for the Son of God — who introduced us to God and revealed the beauty of a life lived for him — and we should follow his example to lead others to the same belief.

Ask God right now! What can you do today to reveal Jesus to your kids and them believe more deeply.

Insight For Parents:

Come up with an analogy to describe how truly incredible it is that Jesus, God’s Son, wants to have a relationship with each of your kids. End your time by blessing your kids. You could say something like “You are God’ child and my child. God and I love you and are pleased with you”

Faith Talk Starter:
Ask your kids to tell you in their own words who Jesus is. If your kids have trouble coming up with an answer, encourage them to share what they know about Jesus. For example, kids might say “Jesus loves me” or “Jesus died on the cross and rose again” or “Jesus performed miracles.” Then explain to your children that Jesus is God, who came to earth in human form. Share with your kids how God sent his only Son to earth to die for our sins so that we can have relationship with him.

Prayer Starter:
Pray that through this week — and beyond — you’ll be able to identify with your kids’ struggles, forgive their disobedience, and bless them as beloved children. Pray that your kids will be able to extend that empathy, forgiveness, and love to everyone they know, too.

God Guides Joseph and His Family To Safety

Bible Reading:
Matthew 2:13-23

Key Verse:
Nahum 1:7
The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.

As you read Matthre 2:13-23, think of a time you helped your child through a tough situation, and think about the difference it made in your child’s life and in your relationship with your child.

It’s the same with God. We’re afraid to trust God; eventually (hopefully!) we do it; then God gives us an absolutely different and beautiful view of life as we learn to trust him. It’s something we should pass on to our children. Ask God to build your trust in him and use you to build your kids’ trust in him, too. Write your prayers for your kids down somewhere now.

Insight For Parents:
Play a “wacky walk” game of Follow the Leader (instructions at end) with your kids, with everyone taking a turn as Leader. Then ask your kids what kind of wacky walk they’re on with God right now. Explain to your kids that while we may not always understand God’s leading at first, he’ll always lead us in the right direction at the right time if we’re willing to follow him.

Wacky Walk Instructions: Lean over and grab your legs. Close your eyes and think about specific examples of how and why God has guided you. (Parents: Think about your kids and what they’re going through. How would you like to guide them toward God?) With all of this in mind, the first leader will lead your family on a “wacky walk” to demonstrate how you would like to guide your kids to God’s guidance for their lives. For example, you can walk over to the sink and help each person get a drink of “living water” or you can guide them on a “straight and narrow walk.” Take turns leading.

Faith Talk Starter:
Talk with your kids about a time you avoided some sort of disaster or hurtful event because you had a gut feeling and changed your plans. For example, maybe you moved up a doctor’s appointment, and the doctor found something unexpected and was able to treat you before there were serious consequences. Or maybe you chose to take a different route to work and later found out someone had an accident on your usual route about the time you would have been in that same place. Dicsuss as a family how God can guide us using simple things such as a feeling, intuition, or dreams or through more concrete things such as the Bible or other people’s advice. Then encourage your kids to talk about ways they will seek God’s guidance in their own lives this week.

Prayer Starter:
Pray that your kids will follow God in the situations they face this week, and pray that you will follow God, too, as you help guide them through those situations. Write down specific prayers for your kids.

Getting Inside Your Christian Teen’s Head

Your baby is now a teenager, going through all of the teenage rites of passage. Between school, friends, God, and a social life, their lives seem to be a foreign country to you. The little boy or girl that once told you everything now has to be hounded to give you even a snippet of thought. Yet there are three things you should know about what is going on in your Christian teen’s head that will make your relationship a little better…

Your Teen Can His or Her Make Decisions

Many parents have a hard time letting their children grow up. Parents still think they need to make all the decisions and they worry incessantly that their children will make mistakes. However, mistakes are part of everyone’s lives. We have all made them from time to time.

It’s important for you to know that your teenager doesn’t want to make mistakes, but he or she does want to make decisions. It’s important that you tell your teen what you think, but also to know where to set limits. If it is not a life-altering decision, then you may just say that you think something will be a mistake and why. If it is life-altering, then maybe you do need to take the wheel. Just make sure your teen understand the reasoning behind your decisions. As a teenager, he or she is old enough to understand the complexity of decisions and “Because I said so” is no longer an acceptable answer.

It is important that you discuss certain things with your teenager. Yet it is also important to give him or her some control over choices. Your teen will thank you.

Your Teenager Wants Privacy

Privacy is a huge deal to teens. If there is one thing that teens say annoys them about their parents it is the invasion of privacy. Your teenager has his or her own relationships, lifestyle, and thoughts. Sometimes they prefer to be alone with those thoughts. Sometimes they prefer to be alone with those friends. Sometimes they like to be on their own at church.

There is a point when you need to let your teenager have his or her own life. Your teen just doesn’t want to go everywhere with you anymore. It is a harsh reality for many parents. Yet, it is okay to ask about where your teen is going and who is going with him or her. That is setting limits and boundaries.

Privacy is also difficult today with the dangers of the Internet. Banning the Internet from your home is not necessarily the best solution. Instead, your teen needs to surrender passwords and usernames so you can supervise. While your teen may desire privacy, it is important that he or she understand dangers and safety precautions in such a social setting. If your teen desires private talks with friends or to maintain a journal, suggest something that predators cannot access easily like the phone or a written journal.

Your Teenager Doesn’t Hate You

Okay, your teen sulks and sometimes acts like he or she doesn’t care about you or your feelings. Unfortunately that is the way that teens exert independence. Despite the Commandment to “Honor thy father and thy mother,” (Deut. 5:16) many teens seem to do no such thing. Does that mean your child hates you? Not at all. Your teen is stuck in a limbo between childhood and adulthood, so you’re not always going to know which “mode” he or she is in at any time. It causes friction and problems, but it does not stop your teen from loving you.

Your teen will talk a lot about respect, which is earned, not offered. It is important as a parent to set limits, but it is also important to offer freedoms as your child grows. Your teen probably wishes you could understand his or her needs better, and having some insight into what’s going on in teenager’s heads is important. Yet it does not mean that you stop being a parent, so let your child know a little about what’s going on in your head, too.

Source: 

By , About.com Guide

Jesus is Born

Bible Reading:
Luke 2:1-20; Hebrews 1:1-4

Key Verse:
John 14:6 – Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’

Enjoy your holiday traditions and festivities this week. As you celebrate, hold fast to the tremendous importance of Jesus’ birth.

No matter what you think of Christmas, when you make Jesus the focus, it becomes the best holiday ever. Is Christmas a happy time for you family? Jesus’ presence will increase your joy. Is Christmas a sad time for your family? Jesus can fill the void you feel at this time of year. Whatever you do during this season, work hard to make Christ the real focus of your family’s Christmas. Jot down some ideas for keeping Jesus first, and then ask Jesus to help you put those ideas into motion. Write down your ideas and prayers.

Insight For Parents:
Have your kids create before-and-after pictures on paper figures that look like a person. On the front, then ca use pictures or write words to show what life is like without Jesus. On the back have them show waht life is like with Jesus. You can use your own figure to get the conversation started and help you child think it through.

Faith Talk Starter:
Talk with you kids about a time someone forgave you even though you didn’t deserve it. Explain to your kids how you reacted to being forgiven and how that impacted your relationship with that person. Then talk with you kids about the forgiveness God offers each of us through Jesus even though we’ve done nothing to deserver it. Discuss ways your family can begin to share with people God has placed in your life the exciting news of Jesus’ birth and the salvation he brings.

Prayer Starter:
Pray that Christmas sees the start of something new for your family. Ask God to reveal more of who he is to each of your children during this season. Write down specific prayers for your kids.

Top Ten Mistakes Christian Parents of Teens Make

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:

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.
Parents need to prioritize investing in their relationship with God (individually and as a couple), themselves and each other, but sadly all of these are often neglected in the name of “helping the kids get ahead.” “Don’t let the youth sports cartel run your life,” says Jen singer, author of You’re A Good Mom (and Your Kids Aren’t So Bad Either). I can’t think of many good reasons why families can’t limit teens to one major sport/extra-curricular activity per season. Not only will a frenetic schedule slowly grind down your entire family of time, you’ll be teaching your teen that “the good life” is a hyper-active one. That doesn’t align itself to Jesus’ teaching as it relates to the healthy rhythms of prayer, Sabbath, and down-time, all of which are critical to the larger Christian task of “seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).

8. Spoiling your teen.
We are all tempted to think that loving our kids means doing all we can to ensure they have all the opportunities and things we didn’t have growing up. This is a terrible assumption to make. It leads to an enormous amount of self-important, petty, and ungrateful kids. A lot of the time parents are well-intentioned in our spoiling, but our continual stream of money and stuff causes teens to never be satisfied and always wanting more. Your teen doesn’t need another piece of crap, what he needs is time and attention from you (that’s one expression of spoiling that actually benefits your teen!).
There are two things that can really set you back in life if we get them too early:
a. Access to too much money.
b. Access to too many opportunities.
Parents need to recognize they’re doing their teens a disservice by spoiling them in either of these ways. Save the spoiling for the grandkids.

7. Permissive parenting.
“Whatever” — It’s not just for teens anymore! The devil-may-care ambivalence that once defined the teenage subculture has now taken root as parents shrug their shoulders, ask, “What can you do?” and let their teens “figure things out for themselves.” I think permissive parenting (i.e., providing little direction, limits, and consequences) is on the rise because many parents don’t know how to dialogue with and discipline their children. Maybe parents don’t have any limits of boundaries within their own life, so they don’t know how to communicate the value of these to their teen. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to, because their own self-esteem is too tied up in their child’s perception of them, and they couldn’t handle having their teen get angry at them for actually trying to parent. Maybe it’s because many parents feel so overwhelmed with their own issues, they can hardly think of pouring more energy into a (potentially) taxing struggle or point of contention.
Whatever the reason, permissive parenting is completely irreconcilable with a Christian worldview. I certainly do not advocate authoritarian parenting styles, but if we practice a permission parenting style we’re abdicating our God-given responsibility to provide guidance, nurture, limits, discipline and consequences to our teen (all of which actually help our teen flourish long-term).

6. Trying to be your teen’s best friend.
Your teen doesn’t need another friend (they have plenty); they need a parent. Even through their teens, your child needs a dependable, confident, godly authority figure in their life. As parents we are called to provide a relational context characterized by wisdom, protection, love, support, and empowerment. As Christian parents we’re called to bring God’s flourishing rule into our family’s life. That can’t happen if we’re busy trying to befriend our teen. Trying to be your teen’s friend actually cheats them out of having these things in their lives.
Sometimes parents think that a strong relationship with their teen means having a strong friendship—but there’s a fine line that shouldn’t be crossed. You should be friendly to your teen but you shouldn’t be your teen’s friend. They have lots of friends, they only have one or two parents—so be the parent your teen needs you to be.

5. Holding low expectations for your teen.
Johann Goethe once wrote, “Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat as man as he can and should be, and he become as he can and should be.” All of us rise to the unconcious level of expectation we set for ourselves and perceive from others. During the teenage years, it’s especially important to slowly put to death the perception that your teen is still “a kid.” They are emerging leaders, and if you engage them as such, you will find that over time, they unconsciously take on this mantle for themselves. Yes, your teen can be moody, self-absorbed, irresponsible, etc., but your teen can also be brilliant, creative, selfless, and mature. Treating them like “kids” will reinforce the former; treating them as emerging leaders will reinforce the latter.
For an example of how the this difference in perspective plays out, I’ve written an article entitled “The Future of an Illusion” which is available as a free download from http://www.meredisciple.com (in the Free Downloads section). It specifically looks at my commitment to be involved in “emerging church ministry” as opposed to “youth ministry,” and it you may find some principles within it helpful.

4. Not prioritizing youth group/church involvement.
This one is one of my personal pet peeves (but not just because this is my professional gig). I simply do not understand parents who expect and want their kids to have a dynamic, flourishing faith, and yet don’t move heaven and earth to get them connected to both a youth group and local church.
I’m going to let everyone in on a little secret: no teenager can thrive in their faith without these two support mechanisms. I’m not saying a strong youth group and church community is all they need, but what I am saying that you can have everything else you think your teen needs, but without these two things, don’t expect to have a spiritually healthy and mature teen. Maybe there are teens out there who defy this claim, but honestly, I can’t think of one out of my own experience. As a parent, youth group and church involvement should be a non-negotiable part of your teen’s life, and that means they take priority over homework (do it the night before), sports, or any other extra-curricular commitments.
Don’t be the parent who is soft on these two commitments, but pushes their kid in schooling, sports, etc. In general, what you sow into determines what you reap; if you want to reap a teenager who has a genuine, flourishing faith, don’t expect that to happen if you’re ok with their commitment to youth group/church to be casual and half-hearted.

3. Outsourcing your teen’s spiritual formation.
While youth group and church is very important, another mistake I see Christian parents make is assuming them can completely outsource the spiritual development of their child to these two things. I see the same pattern when it comes to Christian education: parents sometimes choose to send their children/teens to Christian schools, because by doing so they think they’ve done their parental duty to raise their child in a godly way.
As a parent–and especially if you are a Christian yourself–YOU are THE key spiritual role model and mentor for your teen. And that isn’t “if you want to be” either–that’s the way it is. Ultimately, you are charged with teaching and modelling to your teen what follow Jesus means, and while church, youth groups, Christian schools can be a support to that end, they are only that: support mechanisms.
Read Deuteronomy 6 for an overview of what God expects from parents as it relates to the spiritual nurture and development of their children. (Hint: it’s doesn’t say, “Hand them off to the youth pastor and bring them to church on Sunday.”)

2. Not expressing genuine love and like to your teen.
It’s sad that I have to write this one at all, but I’m convinced very few Christian parents actually express genuine love and “like” to their teen. It can become easy for parents to only see how their teen is irresponsible, failing, immature, etc., and become a harping voice instead of an encouraging, empowering one.
Do you intentially set aside time to tell your teen how much you love and admire them? Do you write letters of encouragement to them? Do you have “date nights” where you spend time together and share with them the things you see in them that you are proud of?
Your teen won’t ask you for it, so don’t wait for an invitation. Everyday say something encouraging to your teen that builds them up (they get enough criticism as it is!). Pray everyday for them and ask God to help you become one of the core people in your teen’s life that He uses to affirm them.

1. Expecting your teen to have a devotion to God that you are not cultivating within yourself.
When I talk to Christian parents, it’s obvious that they want their teen to have a thriving, dynamic, genuine, life-giving faith. What isn’t so clear, however, is whether that parent has one themselves. When it comes to the Christian faith, most of the time what we learn is caught and not taught. This means that even if you have the “right answers” as a parent, if you’re own spiritual walk with God is pathetic and stilted, your teen will unconciously follow suit. Every day you are teaching your teach (explicitely and implicitely) what discipleship to Jesus looks like “in the flesh.”
What are they catching from you? Are you cultivating a deep and mature relationship with God personally, or is your Christian parenting style a Christianized version of “do as I say, not as I do”?
While having a healthy and maturing discipleship walk as a parent does not garauntee your teen will follow in your footsteps, expecting your teen to have a maturing faith while you follow Jesus “from a distance” is an enormous mistake.
You are a Christian before you are a Christian parent (or any other role). Get real with God, share your own struggles and hypocrisy with your entire family, and maybe then God will begin to use your example in a positive and powerful way.

Source: Author/Pastor Jeff Strong http://meredisciple.com/blog/?p=296