50s_Family_Room_Missy_Robbs_Wide_No_BG.png

Self-Control

From Remote-Controlled to Self-Controlled

I will admit this is the one time of year that I don’t mind my kids flipping the channel every time there’s a commercial break. Why? Christmas ads. 

It reminds me of the commercial from VeggieTales’ The Toy that Saved Christmas. “You need more toys. Billy has nicer toys than you.” Bah!

What’s worse? Trying to take them in any store between October and December. Torture.

Why is that? Retailers know that our children are more remote-controlled than self-controlled. They want to fit in. They like new. They like shiny. They are easily convinced that they cannot possibly live one more moment without the latest version, gizmo, adaptation, or expansion pack. Marketers prey on children's inability to think long-term, to think calmly, and make wise choices between various items.  They want our kids to believe they can and should have it all--yesterday.

So, what are we as parents supposed to do? Well, you could try unplugging your television for the next couple of months, forbidding them to speak to any peers, enforcing a 1-mile perimeter around all retail establishments, and decontaminating your mailbox of all flyers, ads, and catalogs. But that could become a full-time job, and really, who has time for all that?

Alternatively, let’s take a deep breath, pray, and talk to our families about self-control. This is an excellent time of year to talk about family priorities and how we want to use the money God has given us. (And yes, He may own it all, but He hasn’t given it to our family in one giant lump sum!) How we spend our money shows what and who is important in our lives. 

Published on

No Comments



Dedication: Application Points

Click on a circle below to see some easy ways to apply this value to your family.

Published on

No Comments



Dedication

Got My Back!

I’ll admit it, sometimes I just don’t know WHAT to say to my kids? They’ve asked more questions than I can answer or pushed me to the very brink of sanity.  In those moments, I gasp: “Lord, help!”

And you know what? He always does.

I have had many of those moments where a particular verse of scripture pops into my head. One that either speaks to what my kids are questioning, OR sometimes to me, about how I might be tempted to answer them. (Those are not the fun ones.)

Now that doesn’t just randomly happen. I was not born with the Bible implanted by chapter and verse in my brain. Those verses have gotten there over time as I study God’s word and work at memorizing different scriptures. And let me tell you, that’s gotten a lot more difficult over the years, but they have been my saving grace more times than I can count.

Do I wish I had more of them tucked away in my mind for quick reference? You’d better believe it! But when I come up against that in parenting my kids, I have an escape hatch. The light bulb goes off over my head, and I say, “Let’s see what the Bible has to say about that!” Instant salvation.

The bonus with this is that it gets my kids digging into God’s word for answers to their questions. They see that our lives should be based on the Truth of the Bible. It gives us something to work on memorizing together. It becomes a file in their brain they can access at a moment’s notice when they’re parenting my grandkids.

And if my grandkids turn out anything like their grandmother, my boys are going to need all the help they can get with that.

- Guest Blogger, Leah Kirk, and the Next Generation Team

Published on

No Comments






Kindness

BFF

In our look at family values, there are two that show up often together. They work with each other. They finish each other's thoughts. You really can't have one without the other. You might say they are joined at the hip--patience and kindness.

In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul lists them first in describing what love looks like. 2 Corinthians 6:6 mentions them as two pieces of evidence in a blameless life. In Galatians 5:22, the are paired up again in the Fruit of the Spirit. Why do they hang out together so much? They are like two halves of the same whole.

Patience allows us to be kind to each other, even in frustrating circumstances. Kindness to others deepens our relationship with them and fosters patience and understanding. See how that works?

In our harried and hurried world, softly-spoken, kind words proclaim that there is something different about us. Small acts of kindness buff away callouses created by the impatience and indifference of our society. Kindness whispers: "You matter."

And our world desperately needs to hear from Christian families that they matter. Kindness from us indicates that they have value and worth. When they believe that, they'll be ready to hear it from our best friend, Jesus.

Published on

No Comments



Perseverance: Application Points

Click on a circle below to see some easy ways to apply this value to your family.

Published on

No Comments



Perseverance

Perseverance may be the hardest value to learn. It is born from hardships compressed under the stress of time. It is revealed by fire and trials, by chisel and hammer.

Watching our children learn perseverance is tough for parents. We can be so tempted to reach in and let them off the hook or put out the fire, but invaluable lessons come in the crucible.

As we endure hardship, we learn to rely on Christ. We find out what is really important to us and about us. We gain strength to face larger challenges. We discover what can be revealed in us as our rough exterior is worn away.

So, hands off, parents. Let God's hands be the ones to mold and shape their lives through the struggle. Use yours to hug, support, clap, cheer, pray, and fist pump when they make it through.

Published on

No Comments



Joyfulness: Application Points

Image_Next_Generation_Family_Values_Blog_Application_Points.png

Click on a circle below to see some easy ways to apply this value to your family.

Published on

No Comments



Joyfulness

We’ve all seen it at least a dozen times: the obligatory movie scene featuring a parent-child confrontation. The parent offers “advice,” the kid gets mad and lashes out: “What do you want from me?” The parent tears up and spews (all together now…): “I just want you to be happy.”

Oh, please. It’s enough to send you looking for the anti-nausea medication.

Hollywood resorts to happiness, because that’s the best the world has to offer. Thankfully, as Christian parents, we can extend a greater gift to our children. JOY!

Now, you may not think there’s much difference in the two. But there is a HUGE difference. An eternal difference.

Happiness is an emotion based on circumstances. It is the feeling of being pleased with how the events in your life are unfolding. It is hopelessly tied to the moment at which it is felt. If circumstances are not so great, happiness is nowhere to be found. Why would I want that for my children?

Joy, on the other hand, is an eternal condition. It is the delight of a believer that allows him or her to look beyond present circumstances to the hope of eternity. It is that deposit of heavenly presence placed in our earthly lives.

Joy enables a believer to consider unpleasant circumstances as the opportunity to grow stronger, deeper, and closer to God. This process helps us look at our lives outside of the moment in which we find ourselves. It offers us hope and the chance to delight ourselves in our God and not in our circumstances.

So when that moment comes (and I know it will), that I find myself advising my resisting child, I’ll be ready. I’ll listen for the background music and the dramatic pause. When they ask what I want, I’m going to quote Paul to them:

May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 15:13

The truth of that line is something no screenwriter can touch.

Published on

No Comments



Humility: Application Points

Click on a circle below to see some easy ways to apply this value to your family.

Published on

No Comments



Humility

Memorial Day 2014:

I was getting in an early morning workout at the city park in my husband’s hometown. For the weekend, the city had arranged a flag display honoring military members from the community dating back to revolutionary times. Hundreds of flags surrounded the park’s pond. It was a moving and patriotic sight.

As I came down a straightaway on the path, I caught a glimpse of him through the blowing flags: the picture of humility.

A young police officer was carefully straightening each flag. As he went, he adjusted the plaques showing names, military branches, and dates of service. And while I’m certain there was not much else that required his attention at 6:30 a.m. on Memorial Day in small-town Illinois, I’m also sure this was not part of his duties.

This man, whose position in the community could be a source of pride and power, had laid that aside. Instead, he chose to see his profession as a call to service. That’s what humility is.

It is not low self-esteem or powerlessness. It is not fear or unwillingness to stand for truth. It is the recognition that any power or position held is not self-earned, it is granted--and often at a price to others.

Paul gives us great instruction in Philippians 2:1 - 18. He reminds us that as Christians, we are also called to serve with humility. That does not mean that we are powerless, fearful, or lowly. Looking to Christ as our model, we can serve out of gratitude for the indescribable gift which He has given and the adopted status which we have been granted in God’s family.

- Guest Blogger, Leah Kirk, and the Next Generation Team

Published on

No Comments



Faithfulness: Application Points

Click on a circle below to see some easy ways to apply this value to your family.

Published on

No Comments



Old Faithful

When you saw this title, did you immediately think of the geyser located in Yellowstone? That’s understandable. The Wyoming phenomenon received its name in 1870 from a party of explorers who were amazed at its consistency. Regardless of external conditions, this geyser continues its geological mission with great dependability.

But that’s not the “Old Faithful” I meant.  No, I’m talking about the prophet Jeremiah. And while his contemporaries might not have set their watches by him, he was nonetheless reliable.

Jeremiah served as a prophet under some pretty tough external conditions. The leaders of Judah had been hauled off to Babylon. The remaining children of Israel were not too happy to hear the words of warning and chastisement that Jeremiah was called to deliver.

But regardless of humiliation, threat, imprisonment, direct defiance, ridicule, and false accusations, Old Faithful continued. The people never did listen. In Jeremiah’s lifetime, they didn’t change. Still, he continued to faithfully prophesy the word of the Lord. 

How did he do it, year after year, with absolutely NO encouragement from the people to whom God had joined him? Jeremiah knew something that we often forget. His first obligation of faithfulness was to God.

The essence of being true to God and allowing God’s character to be displayed not only in his words, but in his life, was at the core of who Jeremiah was as a person.

And isn’t that what faithfulness in all aspects of our lives is about? It is a choice to consistently depend on our “Eternally Faithful” God to do what He promises to do in our lives. We can only be faithful to others, when we are first faithful to Him.

Forget about your watch--that’s a truth you can set your life by.

- Guest Blogger, Leah Kirk, and the Next Generation Team

Published on

No Comments



Patience: More Application Points

Click on the circle below to see some easy ways to apply this value to your family.

Published on

No Comments



Patience: Application Points

Click on a circle below to see some easy ways to apply this value to your family.

Published on

No Comments



Patience

Lord, grant me patience – now.

We live in an always “on” world. We can be constantly connected to an overwhelming amount of options and information right in our hands. Maybe you are experiencing that at this very moment.

We have thousands of entertainment options available at the touch of a button. We can communicate in real-time with employers, friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers. We can research, compare, and purchase items without ever touching them first.

But this world of instant gratification, instant messaging, and Instagram also creates in us an inability to wait. We are quickly losing the virtue of patience. “Why is this taking so long to download?” Sound familiar?

I am by no means, anti-technology. It can be a wonderful tool for many things. But our main operating system is humanity, and we don’t update instantaneously. That’s something we all need to learn. Life’s challenges don’t always come with immediate solutions. Learning how to handle that time of waiting and struggle can be critical to relationships, careers, finances, and even health. Helping our families learn to do these with smaller situations early, can help them apply what they’ve learned to the bigger pieces later.

One of the greatest things we can teach them is that, as believers, we have access to an enormous source of patience--our Heavenly Father. His Spirit working in us is able to produce patience beyond our own (Galatians 5:22). So look at the application guides that will be posted next week. Take some time to practice them with your children, and maybe even for yourself. The supernatural update that can happen will make facing life’s glitches easier.

- Guest Blogger, Leah Kirk, and the Next Generation Team

Published on

No Comments



Prayer: Application Points

Click on a circle below to see some easy ways to apply this value to your family.

Published on

No Comments



Prayer

Thinking about teaching your family the value of prayer can seem a little like trying to relocate the ocean one teaspoonful at a time. A daunting task indeed! After all, there is also an ocean full of resources available on the subject. So where do you start? Do you grab a book? Do you start with an acronym like ACTS? Do you look at prayers in the Bible? Do you teach them the 3 Ps of prayer (ask Pastor Nate ☺)?

It’s enough to make your head swim. And while we can never fully convey all there is to know about prayer, the measure we pour into our family’s lives can be an incredible source of comfort, power, and strength. But then we’re back to the question of where to start. 

Let me throw you a lifeline:

Just pray.

There. That was easy.

Okay, to be more specific: this is a value that will be just as much caught as taught. Each day will provide its own unique opportunities for prayer. As parents, we just need to recognize those moments, both small and large.

On an unexpectedly sunny day in winter, praise God for His creation and thank Him for the break. When you get good news at work, thank Him for the way He provides for your needs. If someone is worried about a test, pray and ask Him to provide wisdom and peace (Philippians 4:6 - 7). Discover that the new neighbors don’t know Christ; pray for chances to show them God’s love and wonderful plan for their lives.

If it is the first action of your family in response to anything (crisis, decision-making, opportunities, blessings, questions, etc.), it will become a vital part of who you are.

***This month, Pastor Tom is preaching a series on prayer. (Convenient, right?) Look and listen for ways that your family can become more involved in the prayer life of our church. Here’s an easy one: use your Worship Guide as a way to pray for our church each week.

Published on

No Comments



Love Everyone: More Application Points

Image_Next_Generation_Family_Values_Blog_Application_Points.png

We've got some more application points for you to try out with your preschool-aged children. Take a minute to check it out!

 
 

Published on

No Comments



Love Everyone: Application Points

Image_Next_Generation_Family_Values_Blog_Application_Points.png

Click on a circle below to see some easy ways to apply this value to your family.

 
 

Published on

No Comments