The Power of Serving with Your Children

As parents we are always looking for ways to “teach our children” a lesson. Whether it be why we pick up our room, why we don’t eat candy before dinner, or why being thankful for what we have is so important.
 
We as humans can get so stuck in our own selfish ways. If it doesn’t please us or help us in that moment we aren’t satisfied or happy. In a world that bombards us with self-gratification everywhere we turn, it is so hard not to follow in those ways and get stuck in a pity party rut.
 

The hard truth: life is not about us.

God calls us to be servants.

 
If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all. Mark 9:35

 

Wow, what a challenge for us as humans and parents as we teach and guide our children to live a Godly life while serving those around us. We can all be challenged to serve more, give more, and have less. It is a life lesson… so don’t be discouraged!

Use those “teaching moments” to steer your children to the word of God and what it says about serving others.
 

Each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

 

This season I encourage you to help your child serve or bless someone else.

It may be something simple like writing a note to a neighbor or an elderly person, baking a sweet treat for a friend, packing a shoe box with goodies to send to a child in need, or buying presents for a family who can’t afford them. Use this season of Christ’s birth to teach and share the love of Christ by serving those around us. Your children are watching you. Practice giving together and the message is even more powerful.
 
Blessings on you and your families this Christmas season!
 
Author:
Faith Kids ministry lead

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Parenting in Difficult Times

What kind of legacy are we leaving our children… especially in our nation’s current situation? What we are facing seems to be a difficult, challenging, and very interesting time in our lives right now. How are we reacting, what are we saying, how are we loving, steering, and guiding our children through this time?

At first things seemed to be going okay. Staying home, watching movies and schooling at home seemed to be “fun” at the moment – until it continued week after week. Those routines seemed to exit the mind as quickly as they came. Schoolwork became a fight, meal times sporadic, screen time continued to increase and attitudes became more evident.
 
Being socially distant is not a normal thing for adults – let alone children – so when it continued week after week it started to affect everyone.
  
Our children are watching our words and actions each hour of the day. How have I handled this? Well, not always with love and patience, but with God’s help and guidance He picks me back up each time I fail and fall. It is so important to remember that God is in control and He is our help!
 

God is our refuge and STRENGTH, a very present help in trouble. Psalms 46:1 

 

We are not alone in this, and we need His help and guidance each day. There is so much information out there telling us what we should be doing and not doing that it can be hard to keep them straight.

The most important thing to remember? Stay focused on the information that is TRUE – that being God’s Word. There are so many truths and lessons we can learn from these experiences we are going through… don’t miss them!

 

In Proverbs 22:6 it says to “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” 

 

We have a wonderful opportunity as parents to instill some very good life lessons into our children. When we are pushed into things we are not use to, how do we react and guide our children?

Do we speak truth?

Do we show love no matter what?

Do I point them to Christ?  

 
Personally, this is a challenge for me every single day, but I pray each morning for God to help me choose Godly responses. I know I can’t raise these children on my own so I need to keep seeking out truth to teach them and pray that they choose for themselves to follow him. 
 

When my kids look back at this experience, I pray they will remember how we as a family stayed united and sought after God’s truth through it all.

 

I’m sure they are going to remember the screaming and impatience I had during school work (Lord, help me!) but I sure hope they will remember the strength and comfort we took in God’s word to protect and guide us. He alone is our constant helper and an ever present help in time of need.
 

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! Psalm 121:2

 
How has your parenting been going during this crisis? Whether rocky or smooth sailing, remember His mercies are new every morning. Our Savior loves your children even more than you do! Entrust your heart to Him and allow Him to work in and through you to be the best parent you can be. Parents, you’ve got this!
 
Author: 
Faith Kids lead

 


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Trust in God’s Plan

How many times do we say something we believe in our heart, but turn around the next second and do the opposite? When things are going smoothly in life we praise His name with no problem, but what happens when we get a bump in the road? Do we continue to practice what we believe? Or do we question our beliefs, get angry, lose trust, or even turn away from Him? It is so easy to say we trust God, but when things do not go our way do our actions match our words?
 
Look at the life of Joseph. He was thrown into a well, sold by his brothers, thrown into jail for something he didn’t do, yet he continued to trust in God’s perfect plan knowing that God was with him through it all. Eventually Joseph would become a major leader in Egypt who would forgive his brothers and save his family from the famine. WOW! I’m not sure I could say that I would do that – but what an amazing example to hear and be encouraged by.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not on your own understandings. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

God has a plan for our lives and much of the time we will not know exactly what it’s supposed to look like – that’s when trust comes into play.

 
Our faith and trust in the one true God needs to be all-consuming in our lives. That way, when we do encounter those bumps we can say with confidence, “God has my back…even when I question the path and things just don’t make sense”.
 
I am preaching to myself as much as I am encouraging you. Practice having trust and confidence that God has you in the palm of his hand and guiding you through life.
Take ahold of his hand and continue walking even when you cannot stand -He will carry you through.

So how can we raise our kids to have faith and trust in God’s plan like Joseph?

 
With God’s help.
Because we can’t raise our kiddos without his help.
 
Be an example.
Our kids are watching our every move. When things don’t go as planned, use those as teaching moments to encourage them to trust in God’s plan. It might be a failed test, a loss on the field, a sick relative, or a disappointment from a friend. It’s not fun to go through those hard times with our kids. But it’s how we will respond and move forward with them after that will be a witness to our unfailing faith in God’s plan.
 
When we fail.
….and we will….daily….just get back up and go at it again. That is what is so amazing about our Heavenly Father…he never leaves us.
 
Author: 
Jordan Bivins

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Share Your Struggles with Your Children

A parent’s love for their child is powerful and unyielding. My own daughter is not even two years old, yet I already know there is no limit to what I would do for her. As parents, we have so many hopes for our children’s future, what career they will pursue, hobbies we want to pass on, and relationships they will have. We also know the difficulty in letting our child figure something out on their own, knowing how much easier it would be to just do it for them or to give them the answers.
 
Yet we persevere, let our children explore new things, let them try to hold a cup of water with no lid, get dressed by themselves, pick a sport.
 
We train and guide them on how to deal with a tough teacher, a friend who was mean, their first breakup, how to make good decisions in life.
 

We hold fast to Proverbs 22:6, praying that our kids choose Jesus someday.

Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.

 
But all along the way, do we ever let our kids see our own struggles, witness how we deal adversity and how we go to God with our challenges? We so desperately want to preserve our children’s innocence as long as possible, but there will be a day when they will have to deal with an adult-level problem. If they haven’t been shown how to do that, their first instinct may not be to turn to Christ.
 

If you have children in junior high or high school, I can promise you that your kids know when something is wrong.

 
They may not know the details, but they can tell when something is going on – and they worry about it. I have previously worked as a camp counselor for 7 years and have been a youth group leader for over a year. Many of the prayer requests I hear from students are about their family or their parents. Instead of hiding everything from them in the hopes of protecting them, invite them in so they can see how you lean on Christ. They don’t need all the specifics (and it’s not always healthy for them to know every detail), but the more you try to hide, the more they will fill in with their own imaginations.
 

Pray for God’s discernment and be open as God leads.

 
Pray about it as a family, teach them how they can be helpful by praying and listening to God. Show them how you lean on Jesus even when nothing is going right, so when they find themselves in a similar situation, they too will run fiercely after Jesus.
 

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

 
Let’s teach our children how to run to Christ in every situation by letting them see how we do it first. Let’s give them an example to follow when things in their own life seem out of control. By sharing our struggles, we have a prime opportunity to point them to Jesus.
 
Author: 

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Faith of the Next Generation

As my wife and I had our third of five children turn 30 this past week, it was an opportunity to stand back and say thank you God. We wonder aloud how the time passes so quickly! I mean, these five children were just learning to ride bikes, skip stones, climb trees and splash in the crick. In addition to watching our own children grow up, we now have the opportunity as grandparents to do the same with our grandchildren who are growing up as fast as our children did. Instilling faith in the next generation is a privilege and responsibility.
 
We pray all the time that we will be found faithful to have been used by God to have poured into the succeeding generations. When trials and tribulations come (which they will), we pray the next generation will choose Jesus and the principles of righteous living. In a world that competes nonstop for the hearts and minds of our children – and children’s children – with things that conflict with the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control), we need to be deliberate to not just talk about Godly living but model it too. Guess what… when we fail we need to talk about that too.
 
We want the faith of the next generation to be their own. We want their obedience to be out of thankfulness and not simple compliance, so when trials, tribulations, and temptations come, they will make the right decisions… which often are the hardest ones.
Deuteronomy 4:9 reads, “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”
 
So as parents and grandparents, we are first warned to be careful and watch so we don’t forget. The strong declaration here is that we too…
-can be distracted
-can forget who and what must be first
-can take the easy way out
-can grieve the Holy Spirit
 
When this happens, the direct consequence is we affect our ability to teach our children and their children, our grandchildren. I am thankful when I am distracted (and my wife never is – wink wink), God gives me as many do-overs as it takes to get it right.
 
Do you need a do-over? God knows we can’t parent or grandparent without Him and appreciates the humility to recognize this early (or late) in our tenure as parent and grandparent. Wherever you are in this process, reach out to Him for help every step of the way. The Lord will bless you with the wisdom, endurance and courage to parent and grandparent in His ways and in His love.
 

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Foundations

As a teenager, I got into underground punk music. Friends shared it with me and we started going to concerts regularly, even booking bands to play in Dixon. It started innocently enough. I was attracted to the artists and other people of influence who attended these concerts and helped to spread the word. They sounded convincing, and their lives were clearly dedicated to practicing what they preached.
 
When punks came together, we believed that our shared angst and anger allowed us to see cultural problems clearly and because of our position as outsiders, we were willing to do more about it. Long story short, I spent years of my youth chasing a way of life that had a foundation of sand.
In Matthew 7, Jesus says:
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
 
Building your house on the Rock means hearing the words of Jesus and putting them into practice.
Building your house on the sand means not practicing the words of Jesus and/or practicing the words of someone else.
 
Simply hearing or teaching the words of Jesus is not enough. We have to actually practice them and show how we put them into practice. This process is as intentional as it is personal. It’s not just “listen to me” – it’s “listen and watch me as I follow Christ”.
 
Stop for a minute and reflect on your life. What Biblical truths do you actually put into practice?
Take some time to list them. Now hold that thought.
 
All children and teens are developing their worldview right in front of us.
They’re building a home for themselves in this world and that home will either be on a foundation of rock or sand.
 
I can promise you that while this is happening, the enemy will put liars in their path, people who not only speak false ideas but actually put those ideas into practice. Their words will be relentless and their practices will be persuasive.
 
Now think of the Biblical truths you’ve put into practice. How can you share it with the next generation?
It may be the foundation necessary to fortify a soul.
 
Author: 
Phil Arellano
Youth Lead, Foundations Youth Ministry at Faith Assembly

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