New Beginnings – Same Vision

This past weekend at Northwest Church, I had the opportunity to address the church a little bit about the vision of the Children’s Ministry and how we are going to work with parents in providing Intentional Family Experiences for our families.   It’s a new challenge for the church and me, and I am eager to see how I can implement these experiences to a larger church than I originally started the program with back in Michigan.

You can check out the video of the service at Northwest Church Facebook Page

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Building An Awareness of God In Your Families Life

Over the years, I have had some pretty incredible God moments happen in my life. They were clear moments that God was leading me in different directions, whether it was calling me into ministry at an early age, to landing my first internship, to my first full-time ministry, to eventually God calling me to the west coast.

Each one changing my life in ways, that I could not have imaged and each happening with God’s direction.

As a Christian parent, I know that God is at work in the world around me. And I want to help my kids and my spouse to know that God is just as active today as He was in the stories in the Bible.

And we can do exactly that!

We can help our kids see God’s working by creating moments in your day to teach and show them God’s actions

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 say’s

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 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. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

We are commanded as parents, to teach our children diligently, every moment we can with them. We teach them by living with them but also by creating visual opportunities. In the Old Testament, if God did something, they would make a shrine, so when they passed by they could tell their families what God did for them. This visual would be great of what God has done.

This isn’t a command that we should take lightly, and it is something we should always in the back of our mind.

So what can you, next time you are at dinner with your children. Talk with your kids about what God has already done in your life. Maybe even have a little trinket that would help be a reminder of God’s story in your home.

After you told your family about what God has done, be aware of what God is doing for you today. Maybe He isn’t doing anything right now, but we on look out for God and be able to tell your children when they happen.

Finally, I was to encourage you to put yourself in opportunities for God to moving. A great way is to make sure you are worshipping God regularly. Praising God in church week in and week out does a few things.

First, it helps us make sure God is number one in our life. God needs to a focal point, and what better way is to make sure we are worshipping Him.

Finally, we are surrounding by other believers, and we can see how God is moving in their lives, which can be an encouragement in difficult times. And that works vice-versa as we can be an encourager to them during difficult times.


Create A Blessing Journal

A few month’s back, my wife and I went up to alma mater (Great Lakes Christian College) for a special alumni prayer for the students during chapel.  It was an enjoyable experience and grateful for the opportunity.

Before the prayer, one the alumni shared a journal that was given to him at graduation from his mom.  Inside the journal were prayers that his mom said to him while he was at school.

WHAT A COOL IDEA!!!!

And I thought to myself; I will have to remember that when my children get into college.  Then it occurred to me, why don’t I start now.  Why do I have to wait for my kids to be in college to pray a blessing over them?

So I started, I ordered some Moleskins, and I try to write faithfully blessings for my children.

The blessings are no more than a paragraph long.  And they normally have to do with something that I witnessed them doing or even things that I am learning in my life.

Here are some examples of my blessings that I wrote for them.

I’ve been thinking lately about making the most of every moment.  I believe that Jesus is coming back, so it’s important to be showing the gospel of grace and mercy every day as much as possible.  I pray that when you look back at these years that you look back with memories of grace and mercy.  ~ Love Your Dad

Today we went and saw Zootopia.  The movie was about harmony and peace.  The main point is that peace is up to you.  Paul say’s in Romans 12:8 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”  This is my prayer for you, and a truth to pass on ~ Love Your Dad

Nothing complicated or overly tedious, just a simple thought and prayer.

The main idea I want my children to know, is that I care for them and want them to know that their father cares for the spiritual welfare, and hopefully, they look back and see God moving in their life.

 

 


Spiritual Parents Need To Be Spiritually Healthy

Sounds obvious…..

But is it true in your life?

Take a few moments and consider how much time you put in your spiritual life?

Is just once a week on Sunday?  Is it daily, if so how much time?

What do you do?  Do you journal? Do you say prayers? Do you read Christian books?  Do you read your Bible?

If the Christian leader in your home (aka you) isn’t spiritually healthy, then how can the home be spiritually healthy?

A Christian parent needs to be faithfully seeking God themselves, not only for their spiritual pilgrimage but also to be a living testimony for their spouse and children.  If I say, my favorite football team is Ohio State, and I watch every other team but them, would you think I am a real fan?  Same goes with our faith, if I say “I believe the Bible to be true and Jesus is important in my life,” but never pick up the book or say a prayer, would you say I am genuine about my faith?

We don’t need to spiritual gurus.  We don’t need to perfect examples.  We need to show our families that God is the priority in our lives.

Here are some way’s to make sure God is your priority

Turn loose time  into God time.  We all have some loose time during our day.  Take one of those times to read a verse or two.  Take one of those times to say a quick prayer for your spouse and children.

Plan time in your day, your week and your year for God.  If you are not careful with your time, it will fill up fast.  Make sure not to overload your time with things that are not spiritually essential.  Maybe plan time off during the week or even plan a sabbatical sometime during the year.

Share your spiritual moments.  When a verse strikes your interest, share your thoughts with your family.  It doesn’t have to be a well thought-out idea, tell your family a verse you are thinking about, and maybe they might have insight that will help you! When you have an answered prayer, let your children know. If God is working in you, make sure your family knows it.

Something Extra

Make a spiritual journal for each of your children.  Every night when they go to bed or prepare for bedtime, write a God-moment and say a prayer for them.

 


The Spirit Of God Makes You Special

In His Words

Read 1 Corinthians 3

My Thoughts

Do you know how special you are?  Think about this, there were millions of people in the Old Testament that would be astonished to know that you have the Spirit of God living in you?!

Only a select group of people had that same spirit during those times, but now the Spirit of God resides in your soul.  Which makes your body a temple, a holy place of God.

Something To Ponder

The same spirit that lived in Moses, David and other heroes of the Old Testament, lives in you and in every Christian.  How can we live by the Spirit to change this world?

Prayer

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, and now, and always, and to the ages of ages. Amen.


Evernote & Kindle Is A Great Match

Talking with a friend about tips and tricks in note taking.

I know I have interesting conversations

But one thing that shocked me a little bit was how he wasn’t using Evernote.  For those who don’t know much about Evernote, it’s an online file cabinet and much more.  Do you have a physical file cabinet in your office?  Well, image that being online, with every file can be accessed wherever you are, with an easy to search tool.  I love Evernote so much that it is one of the services where I pay for the Premium, and I am a miser.

Seriously I have a hard time paying $.99 for a premium app

One of the functions that I love with Evernote is with my Kindle books.  I read roughly 15 – 30 books a year, not including numerous magazine…

…and comic… 

…subscriptions.  And because of the number of books that I read, I switched to digital over physical so I can keep my office from becoming a library.

Where would I keep my old video games consoles and my giant Pee-Wee Herman doll (You read correctly) 

Another plus digital has over physical is that note taking and finding specific notes is so much easier.  I can highlight on my Kindle or Kindle App; then I can see all my notes on that book online at kindle.amazon.com, or in Notebook section on my devices.

And this is where Evernote comes in and changes everything.

I was gonna say “whole nother level,” but that would…. You know…

It changes how I preach, teach, and even made seminary a breeze.  Here is how I use Evernote and Kindle.

Let me show you a step by step instruction on how I use these two products together.

Here is a highlight from a book that I finished.

Highlight

I prefer using the Kindle desktop when I am putting my notes together because I am faster with keyboard and trackpad.  But also, which you will see in a bit, it adds a nice footnote.  So when I have my note, I copy the highlighted note.

Next, I go to Evernote.  I like to create a notebook for each book.  I used to make a separate notebook for each chapter of the book, which I organize through Evernote‘s stack function, but I quickly realize that there is a 250 notebook limit for everyone.  Even if you are Premium member, it’s still 250.

So the created notebook for this particular highlight is called, “Practical Family Ministry” which is the title of the book.  Then I add a “New Note” and then paste my note in the note.

Evernote

Once I paste the highlight, you will notice that it inserts its own footnote.  I believe this only works if you copy and paste from the Kindle desktop app.  It’s no MLA or APA, but you can fix that yourself.  I then add a generic title

If no title, it will say “Untitled Note,” and that drives me crazy.

Then I tag the note to specific tags that I want to keep track of a specific topic.  This one I tagged “discipleship”, “equipping” and “parent ministry”.  Tagging is critical to my file management because if wanted to preach on discipleship or equipping, I just search those tags to find particular notes on it.  If I were going to do a talk on parent ministry, I could find all my notes on that as well.

And this is just one filed note, now add a 1000+ notes all tagged for a variety of reasons.  Now when I need an illustration or an idea to enhance my messages, I do not have to search through physical files or spend countless hours online looking through generic sermon illustrations to find something to add.

The best part, both the Kindle App and Evernote are free to have, and if this method works for you, spend the money to go Premium.


Family Devotion: Evil Enters The World

In God’s Word

Genesis 2: 16-17; 3:1-3

The Lord God gave the man a command. He said, “You can eat the fruit of any tree that is in the garden. But you must not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you do, you can be sure that you will die.”

The serpent was more clever than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. The serpent said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat the fruit of any tree that is in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We can eat the fruit of the trees that are in the garden. But God did say, ‘You must not eat the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden. Do not even touch it. If you do, you will die.’ ”

God gave Adam and Eve freedom to live in the Garden. They could skip, jump, run through the trees. They could interact with animals. Maybe swing on vines…. okay I pretty much described Tarzan, but you get my point. They had so much that could be done, except for one thing. The only thing they were not allowed to eat was from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Sounds simple, but there was a deceiver in the Garden. The deceiver was someone who was seeking his desire, his will, and it wanted Adam and Eve to choose themselves over God.

Questions:

  • What would you be doing in the Garden if you were Adam or Eve? What was the one restriction God gave Adam and Eve?
  • What did the deceiver ask Eve?
  • What do these tell us about God and the deceiver?

Sticky Note To Your Child:

Stand firm in God’s will

Prayer for the Family

I pray that my family will stand firm in God’s will and not fall into the trap of the deceiver.