Blog Archives

Faith@Home Resources: Kids of Integrity

I’m always on the lookout for great online resources for parents to take an active role in the spiritual development of their children. Recently, I found the Kids of Integrity website and have been returning to it often. Kids of Integrity is a resource from Focus on the Family Canada and is full of great family devotions and activities. I love how their activities and devotions are organized by character trait.

Today our kids headed to a new school and were apprehensive about starting in a new place. We looked at the Kids of Integrity website and chose one of the object lessons on courage and it worked great for what our kids were going through.

Check out Kids of Integrity here.

Find other great Faith@Home resources here.

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Jesus is the Vine: Lent Family Devotions

Warmup

  • Take your children outside or to a park and find a bush or a tree in your hard that is budding for spring
  • What does this plant need to grow?
  • Does this plant produce anything? (flowers, leaves, fruit, etc.)
  • What happens if a branch breaks off? Does it still grow?
  • Today we are going to look at a story in the Bible where Jesus compares us to branches Read the rest of this entry

Jesus is Our Shepherd: Lent Family Devotions for 3/18/2012

This Lent Family Devotion is a big one for our girls. A few weeks ago when we talked about Jesus being the light and turned off the lights in our house, the girls freaked out in fear. They are scared to go back to the laundry room and get their shoes because it is dark back there. We are continually reinforcing the idea that when we are scared we need to pray to God for strength. Read the rest of this entry

Jesus is the Way: Lent Family Devotions for 3/11/2012

Warmup Activity

  • What have we learned about Jesus so far in our family devotions? 
    • You can use the symbol cubes to remind your kids
  • Tonight we are going on a little car trip as part of our devotions and going somewhere new
    • Find a new restaurant or dessert place that your family hasn’t been to
  • Tonight we are going to go to _________. Do you know how to get there? How can we find out how the way to get to there?
  • Go to Google Maps and find the directions to the spot. Print them off and drive to the location. Have one person tell the driver the directions.
  • Once you are there get dessert or food and while you are enjoying, work through the next questions.
  • For us to get to this restaurant, what did we need? (directions)
  • How did the driver know where to go? (they listened to the directions)
  • Tonight we are going to learn about our next symbol and it has something to do with “the path”

The Word

  • Read John 14:2-6
    • “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

      Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

      Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

  • Who is Jesus’ father? 
  • Where is Jesus preparing a place for us?
  • Jesus is the way to who?
  • Just like we needed directions to find this place, we need directions to find God. Jesus says that if we follow him we will find God. We just need to listen to Jesus and he will tell us the way to live.

The Connection

  • What kinds of things distract us from listening to Jesus?
  • Do you think Jesus talks to us? How?
  • Daily application question at dinner: How did you listen to Jesus today?

Symbol Activity

  • What do you think our symbol is today?
  • Now whenever you see this path you can remember that Jesus tells us the way to follow him
  • Color in the path and then we will put the square on our cubes
Here is the design for the cube that can be printed on card stock and cut out.
Here are the symbol cut outs for each week.

Jesus is the Light of the World: Lent Family Devotions for 3/4/2012

 

Warmup Activity

  • Tonight we are going on a little walk before our family time
  • Light a candle
  • Turn off all the lights in your house
  • Walk around your house with your kids and have them follow you as you hold the candle
  • What was it like walking around the house with just a candle?
  • What would have happened if we didn’t have the candle?
  • Tonight we are going to learn about another statement that Jesus said about himself and it has something to do with this candle

The Word

  • Read John 8:12
    • “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
  • How is Jesus the light of the world?
  • Do you remember a story in the Old Testament about how God made a pillar of fire to show the Israelites where to go in the desert?
  • In the same way Jesus shows us how we can live like him

The Connection

  • What is one thing Jesus gives us as a guidebook to show us how to live like him? (the Bible)
  • How does the Bible show us how to live?
  • Without the Bible and without Jesus we wouldn’t know how to live our lives
  • Application question: What is one way that you can live like Jesus this week?
  • Daily application question at dinner: How did you live like Jesus today?

Symbol Activity

  • What do you think our symbol is today?
  • Now whenever you see this candle you can remember that Jesus shows us we can live like him
  • Color in the candle and then we will put the square on our cubes
Here is the design for the cube that can be printed on card stock and cut out.
Here are the symbol cut outs for each week.

Lent Family Devotions 2012

Yesterday my six year old daughter Anna asked me what Lent is all about. It was kind of hard to explain to her. My wife and I go through different practices of Lent each year to prepare for Easter. We want to use our weekly family times to prepare our children for Easter. This year I am going to write a series of Lent Family Devotions over the next six weeks until Easter. My daughters love coloring and hands on activities so we are going to use a cube to illustrate six different metaphors that Jesus used to describe himself. Each week the girls will color an image that relates to these metaphors. Then on Easter they will open the cube to find the last image.

Here is the schedule if you want to join us on this Family Lent Journey.

Week Big Idea Bible Passage Symbol
February 26 Jesus is the bread of life John 6 Loaf of bread
March 4 Jesus is the light of the world John 8 Candle
March 11 Jesus is the way John 14 Path
March 18 Jesus is the good shepherd John 10 Shepherd’s staff
March 25 Jesus is the vine John 15 Vine and branches
April 1 Jesus is our Savior John 19 Cross
Easter Jesus is the resurrection and the life John 11 & 20 Empty tomb

Here is the link to the cube design that you can print and cut out. It’s probably best to use card stock if you have it as it will be more durable. We will help our daughters each make their own cube.

Each Sunday I will post the family devotion as well as the image to print out, color and paste onto the cube.

“Our Father” – Lord’s Prayer Faith@Home Activity

Hillary and I are leading our daughters through a series of Faith@Home activities  focused on the different phrases in the Lord’s Prayer. We say the prayer at dinner in an effort to train them to pray. This week we focused on the phrase “our Father” for our Faith@Home activity. We thought we would pass on what we did so you can try it with your children.

Warm Up – Who’s the Daddy Game

  • We started by playing a guessing game with the girls
  • We said the name of a person or cartoon character and they had to say who that person’s dad was. Norah, our four year old, didn’t quite get it but Anna, our almost six year old, guessed all of them but one. I stumped her by asking who Cinderella’s dad was.

Discussion Questions

  • Now that we have talked about some dads and their children, we are going to talk about the Lord’s Prayer and the first part of it.
  • What is the first part of the Lord’s Prayer? (Our Father)
  • Who is our Father? (real dad and God) – at this point Anna came to the conclusion that God is our “second dad”
  • How is God our Father? (He created us)
  • Read Galatians 3:26 – “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith”

Application

  • What are some things your dad does with you?
  • How is God like your dad? (he wants to spend time with us – he loves us – this is assuming a healthy home environment)
  • What are some ways you can spend time with God? (talk to him – read stories from the Bible – Anna said she wants to listen to her worship music in her room)

Activity

  • Have your children draw what they think God looks like
  • As you draw remember that God is your Father
  • How does that change what you are drawing?

The Parenting Equation

As parents we have heard the “Parenting Equation” many times.  If we do such and such, then our children will turn out a certain way.  If we have a weekly Family Night and if we pray at dinner time, then our kids will become high functioning Christians who transform their world.  A + B = C.  Even the writer of Proverbs mentions this equation, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Prov. 22:6).  The “Parenting Equation” is very comforting to us as parents.  We have a step-by-step process for raising kids that honor God.  We are in control.  If we just follow the directions then we can enjoy the end product.  But what if I were to tell you that this is all wrong?  What happens when our daughter gets pregnant as a teenager?  What happens when our son gets ensnared by pornography?

When the equation doesn’t give us the intended results we wonder if we did something wrong.  Maybe if I would have taken that vacation instead of putting more hours in at work then my daughter wouldn’t be pregnant.  As a youth pastor, I see parents pouring in endless hours to make their equation work only to see their son or daughter give up on it all.  Even the most devout parents have children who give God the stiff arm.  Even though we know our efforts might be in vain in the end, we still let the pressure of parenting own us.  We experience guilt if we don’t have our kids in every activity under the sun because if we don’t put our kid in AWANA that might be the one missing piece of the equation that leads to their downfall.  The guilt and pressure of parenting according to the equation is like carrying a ton of bricks on our back.  We think this is God’s way of raising our children, but could it be just the opposite?

This past spring I read Larry Crabb’s “The Pressure’s Off.”  In it, he speaks of two ways to live:  the Old Way with its equations and pressures and the New Way of the Spirit.  He writes, “That’s the Old Way–discern which principles to follow that will bring about the blessings we want, then put them into practice as best we can, then pray, trusting God to honor our obedience by making our lives work better.  With all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, get it right so life works.  Desire the peace available in this world” (80).  So much of our spiritual lives our governed by this Old Way.  If I just have my daily quiet time and get rid of sin in my life, then God will reward me with a healthy marriage, a good job and kids who obey me.  In this Old Way of living, a healthy marriage, a good job and obedient kids become my idols.  The spiritual disciplines are just things to do in order to get God’s blessings.  This is jacked up and I know God hates it but yet I continue down this path.  I want life to be an equation.  My experience tells me that it doesn’t work that way though.

Crabb continues, “It’s not about growing up into the maturity of a good self-image and developing the energy to do good things; it is about growing down into the brokenness of self-despair and deepening our awareness of how poorly we love compared to Trinitarian standards.  It’s not about working hard to get it right so that we can present ourselves before God to receive the blessings we desire; it is about coming before Him as we are, honestly, pretending about nothing, becoming increasingly convinced that we can’t get it right though we try as hard as we can, then listening for the whisper of the Spirit, ‘Welcome! You’re home. You’re loved.  You’ll be empowered to speak your unique voice as you hear the Voice of God singing over you with great love’” (26).

May I give up on the idea that parenting and life as a whole is an equation that I am bound to toil under.  Living under this bondage will only pull me further away from God.  Lord, take my burdens and let me rest in your presence.  The pressure’s off!