Archive - June, 2015

Fathers: Bless Your Children + Free Give-Away

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Last week, we had the grandchildren over for a sleepover. We went through all their typical nighttime routine, saving the best for last. With the bedroom dark except for a nightlight, my husband placed his hand on David and then Elizabeth’s head and prayed a blessing over them. Not just any words of blessing, but the same words of blessing he had spoken over his own children more than 5,000 times during their childhood. It brought back sweet memories. Our children still remember their nighttime blessings with great fondness. It ended the day—even difficult, turbulent days—with love, hope, forgiveness, peace, and encouragement as a tired father called upon his gracious and powerful Heavenly Father to pour out His goodness in the lives of his children.

Fathers: There are many ways you can bless your children. One simple, but profound way is to incorporate a Scripture-based blessing into your child’s nightly (or daily routine). Here is a resource created for this very purpose:

A Father’s Guide to Blessing His Children

Pastor David Michael is convinced that pronouncing blessings upon our children is a powerful way to plead for God’s grace upon them and to give them a vision for what we hope they will become. The booklet includes blessing cards, each based on a biblical text, with prayers that flow from a father’s heart for his daughters, and a pastor’s heart for the children in his church.

Fathers take note: Free Give-Away for Father’s Day! We would love to bless three father’s with a free copy of A Father’s Guide to Blessing His Children. Dads, simply leave us a comment below by Friday 11:59 p.m. CDT, and we will enter your name for the give-away. We will randomly choose three names and announce the winners on Wednesday, June 17.

 

 

Church: Help Parents in Their Calling

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How can the church effectively and practically come alongside parents and assist and equip them to better fulfill their calling as described in Deuteronomy 6:4-7?

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

One place to start would be to consider two excellent, free resources, seminars by Pastor David Michael.

Partnering with Parents—What does it mean to partner with parents as we minister to children and youth? This seminar describes a model for partnering with parents that recognizes the parents’ God-given responsibility, and the unique position of the church in equipping and resourcing parents. Download the notes here and audio here.

Linking Church and Home for Discipleship—Download the notes here and audio here.

(Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

 

Parents: Pass the Baton

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My daughter and son-in-law are expecting the arrival of twins—a boy and girl—any day now. Adding to this joyful duo of babies are two siblings, both under 4 years old. For sure, the next few years are going to be crazy, busy! Just feeding, clothing, diapering, getting them all down for bed, etc. is going to take a lot of time and effort. As important it will be for their parents to take care of all these basic needs, even more important will be parenting with a greater goal…

Christians parent with one eye on eternity. Their children will live forever. This is a staggering thought…Therefore, the Christian does not parent for this life only. The believing parent labors to prepare each child for the day of judgment. The stakes are inexpressibly high…  

Christian parents have one goal during this short window of opportunity. It is to transfer the baton of faith in Christ to the next generation. Victory does not always go to the fastest four-hundred-meter relay team. It goes to the team that most efficiently transfers the baton. No matter how fast the runners, if the transfer is slow and clumsy, the team will probably lose. In the same way, parents prepare their children for the day of judgment by transferring their faith, values, purposes, self-discipline, and motivations to their children.

(William P. Farley, God-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting, ©2009, page 41)

Parents: Have you carefully considered how you will transfer the baton of faith to your children in a way that is authentic, appealing, engaging, and persistent? Here is one resource that provides great instruction for parenting:

God-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting

Grandparents: How are you helping and assisting your children in this great and difficult endeavor? What is one thing you could do this summer to help nurture the faith of your grandchildren?

Church leaders: Are you coming alongside parents to equip, train, assist, and encourage them in their parenting? Do the parents of your church feel loved and supported, or is it assumed that parents need to “figure it out on their own”? What is one thing your church could do to assist parents in passing the baton of faith on to their children?

(Image courtesy of chrisroll at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Technology and our Souls

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Just the other day, I overheard a conversation in which Sally Michael was highly recommending Tim Challies book: The Next Story: Faith, Friends, Family, and the Digital World. Here is a description of the book as it was posted on Amazon:

Even the least technical among us are being pressed from all sides by advances in digital technology. We rely upon computers, cell phones, and the Internet for communication, commerce, and entertainment. Yet even though we live in this “instant message” culture, many of us feel disconnected, and we question if all this technology is really good for our souls.

Sounds like a good read for all of us—especially parents, teachers, and ministry leaders as we navigate the use of technology in our homes and classrooms.

(Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Doctrinal Summer Camp for Parents and Teachers

Systematic Theology

In my experience in the classroom, I have observed many gifted teachers who are able to connect and communicate with children and youth in amazing ways. But, along with those gifts, it’s important to have the ability to communicate the right things well—right doctrine. And though it may seem strange to some, teaching young children right doctrine well actually requires you have a better grasp of those doctrines. How so?

It takes as much or more understanding of a biblical doctrine to teach it to children than it does to teach it to adults. If you understand a thing well, you can usually make it plain for ordinary people and children. But if you are fuzzy in your own understanding, you will generally be overly complex in your explanation.

A great hindrance to the salvation and the growth of our children is the weakness of our own grasp of the full range of biblical truth and the unity of the whole counsel of God. I am overwhelmed at what children can absorb and retain when they are repeatedly and systematically and progressively instructed in the great doctrines of the Bible.

(John Piper, “Let the Children Come to Me,”  ©2015 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org)

Therefore, as you consider your plans for the coming months, how about increasing your grasp of biblical truth and the whole counsel of God so that you will be better prepared to teach the children and students in your care. A great place to start is by reading a good systematic theology. At CDG our favorite is…

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem

Although this book can look intimidating at 1,000+ pages, it is structured into well-defined topics and is written in a manner that the “ordinary” lay-person can understand. However, if this book feels too overwhelming, try the closely related, summarized version:

Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith

Beyond “Something” for Youth

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Summer is often a great opportunity for scheduling special events for youth. Without the demands of school many students have more free time on their hands, so it’s important that the parents and ministry leaders do “something” to keep youth interested and involved with church-related activities over the summer months…right? Well yes, but how about aiming higher than merely “something”? Maybe think in these terms instead:

How can we…

Glorify God and increase joy in Him by planning events that…

…will display the glory of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior (1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 4:6).

…will cause His Word to dwell richly in His people by His Spirit (Colossians 3:16-17).

…deepen the relationship between Christ and His church and build relationships within the believer’s household (Psalm 25:4, 14; Philippians 3:10).

…make disciples of Christ and work to bring them to maturity in Him (Colossians 1:28-29; Titus 2:3-8).

The above reflects the aim of Betty Dodge’s informative and inspirational seminar, “Reinforcing the Vision with Events and Programs.” Her handout, available here provides a wealth of information to help parents and ministry leaders with a step-by-step process for planning special events. But also listening to her seminar here will give you even more encouragement and helpful ideas.

(Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

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