The Kiev Church has produced an ongoing series of family devotionals that both informs families about life in Eurasia and the ongoing work of the gospel there, but also provides simple and practical Bible lessons for the whole family.
Several months ago on a trip to Boston, one of the brothers mentioned that as we communicate about missions to the Churches in the USA, we need to remember who we are talking to. The majority of those who are in the audience are not campus and singles, but families.
Minhwa Kim got baptized in April 2000. She brought her son, Shin Kyu Kang to church for the first time when he was only in the fourth grade. After a number of years, he studied the Bible and got baptized in December of 2007. He is now a committed high school freshman disciple in Christ.
At the time of his baptism, his big sister, Kyunghee Kang, who stopped studying the Bible five years earlier, made the decision to restudy the Bible. Her humility and child like heart to study the Bible surprised and impacted her family, friends, and coworkers. Through the grace of God, she got baptized this past July 20th.
(An important part of loving our teenagers is trying to understand who they are and how they think.)
Battle Cry For A Generation, Ron Luce
o This book describes the fight against sin we must engage in to save America's Youth.
Family-Based Youth Ministry, Mark DeVries
o Young people belong in the life of the church & the church belongs in the lives of its youth.
Hurt, Chap Clark
o Author spends a year with high school students – getting into their world. He discovers a sub-culture of American teenagers that feel abandoned and isolated by adults.
The Blessing, Trent & Smalley
o Jacob received a wonderful blessing from Isaac and it changed his life forever. This book explores the importance and the numerous ways we can bless our kids.
The Quiver, Douglas Jacoby
o A different look at raising kids with unique & helpful perspectives from the Bible.
Real Teens, George Barna
o The author has done many statistical studies on how teenagers think about the most important issues. He offers his insights in this book.
Parenting with a Kingdom Focus, Ken Hemphill
o If the parents can model a Kingdom-first mindset, it will make a difference with the kids (because they are paying attention to what we do).
Set Apart, Hughes
o “Be holy, because I AM holy” is the theme. Book will help parents bond and work together to lay down the needed boundaries for our teenagers in a corrupt world.
The DNA of Parent-Teen Relationships, Smalley
o What’s the key to your teen’s heart? This book helps communicate and build a relationship with your teen with the goal of preparing him to be a successful, godly adult.
Do Hard Things, Alex & Brett Harris
o A book written by teenage brothers with the desire to inspire their generation to step up and make a difference.
Raising Awesome Kids Reloaded, Sam & Geri Laing
o An updated version of this classic DPI book. New version includes new chapters on technology and teens, pressures of society, and the need for parents to connect with their kids.
Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know, Meg Meeker, M.D.
o A young woman’s relationship with her father is far more important than we’ve ever realized. This book gives 10 fantastic tips every father needs to know in raising his daughter.
Here I am, standing at my son’s baptism, between him and my daughter. Paige just turned 19 and was baptized almost 2 years ago and Jordan at 14 was preparing to be baptized. It has been almost 6 ½ years since my husband’s death. Paige was still 12 at the time and Jordan was 8. I remember when I realized that I might lose him. I went to the closet where I cried and begged God not to take him.
Logged On and Tuned Out: a nontechie's guide to parenting a tech-savvy generation by Vicki Courtney
Disconnected: Parenting Teens in a MySpace World by Chap & Dee Clark
Generation MySpace: Helping your teen survive online adolescence by Candice M. Kelsey
The Ultimate Guide to the Internet for the Christian Family: Thousands of family-friendly web site addresses and descriptions by Christopher D. Hudson
Internet Safety Sites
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: Safety rules for kids and parents: at home, online, on the street.
Protect Kids: Making the Internet Safer for Children and Families
Computer Monitoring Sites
PowWow: Home PowWoW is a powerful, easy and secure web-based solution for managing safe internet experiences. It contains all you need - a social network monitor, chat room monitor, a web browser monitor, and much more.
Bsafe Online Family Filter: Bsafe Online is a simple, yet powerful software program that puts YOU in control. It filters online, inappropriate adult content, monitors Instant Messaging.
Safe Eyes: Safe Eyes is internet parental control software. Safe Eyes is a flexible set of tools that allows anyone to determine the type Internet usage that is appropriate. Includes web blocking, time limits, and social network features.
Spector Soft: SpectorSoft develops, markets and supports PC/Internet monitoring and surveillance products for business, education, government and general home users. Recognizing that corporations, schools and families need to know how people are using their PCs and what they are doing on the Internet, SpectorSoft was founded to provide the first useful and intuitive recording and playback products for Windows and Mac OS based computers. *PC Magazine double award winner.
NetNanny: All the features you need to keep your family safe.
Digital Safety: Staying Safe Online: A blog post that gives an overview of several dangers on the Internet and how to deal with them, such as child online safety, social media safety, etc.
Cybercrime Prevention: There's an informative section on online stalking section with clear directions on how to handle situations where you are a victim.
What Makes a House a Home?
For a family night to be worthwhile, it needs to be fun and include everyone’s happy participation.
For older kids, that will mean that they know in advance when it will be so that they can schedule homework and other important items in their schedule around the family time. Also, be sure that each week everyone gets to participate.
TOPIC: WHAT MAKES A HOUSE A HOME?
Singing: How’s it going here? Is it fun? Are you learning some new, fun songs
Prayer: Have a sentence or two prayer, each thanking God for your home.
Scripture: Psalm 127:1a, “unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” This is a good reason we have family nights….we’re building our homes!
Goal: To help family members appreciate your Home and to encourage them to express this appreciation by doing at least one thing to make your home a happier place to live.
Note to Parents:
We often don’t take time as a family to think of the many beautiful ways in which God helps us make our house a home. Some day our children will reflect upon their home and re-live memories that we are in the process of building now. What will they think of? Will they have warm memories or remember that you seldom had the time for them?
God, the master builder, wants to use us, his Carpenters, to build beautiful homes.
Start this family time by mom and dad describing the house or houses that they grew up in. Not just how it looked, but also the “feel”. If it was a happy place, what made it so? If it wasn’t a happy place to grow up, be gracious in saying why.
Have each child draw a house on a piece of paper. Have them write on the doors and windows what they feel makes a happy home. Discuss what they write.
Play the “finish the sentence game:”
"...My home makes me feel________."
"….The thing I like best about my home is______."
"….My best memory about our home is________."
"….I wish our home could be more _________."
"….I am happiest when we____________."
"….make up your own…"
The “Grand Tour”: Go into every room and have each person think of some way he/she can help make it a more happy room. Example: help keep he bathroom clean, make my bed, wash the dishes, etc.
For families with younger children, you may need to adapt these ideas a little but they can still be effective.
You may want to play house with the little ones. Let them dress up in your clothes. Let them be the father and mother and you be the children.
Close with a prayer and then some super-duper Refreshments. (Ever made a cake or cookies together, as a family? Try it……great fun!!!!).
Topic: Love in Action, Part 2
Deuteronomy 5:7 "impress them (scriptures) on your children, talk about them...when you sit..., walk..., lie down, get up...." God definately wants us to influence our children with scripture
Hopefully by now you’ve all established the "routine" of having a regular, planned, Bible-based, fun, short family devotional time. The family devotional is certainly one way to put Deuteronomy 5:7 into practice: "impress them (scriptures) on your children, talk about them…when you sit.., walk…, lie down…, get up…" In the first Family Devotional we listed 10 things to keep in mind when planning your time together. It would be good to look at that list again if any of this is still fuzzy.
TOPIC: Love in Action, Part II
Bible book stores have tapes and CDs with favorite children’s songs.
Have a sentence (or 2) prayer, each family member thanking God for your family, and for all the loving things that have been going on in your home.
3. Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13
1 Corinthians 13 describes what love is all about. Have each family member, (kids, mom/dad), talk about what they learned about love last week, as they were all working on being more loving. Talk about God’s definition of love here.
This week, we want to actively take love outside the home. Spend part of the family time helping each family member think how he or she is going to show love to the following people:
Tuesday: a neighbor
Wednesday: a friend of the family
Thursday: an "enemy"
Friday: an elderly person
Sunday: a Bible class teacher/helper
Make plans that can be carried out easily. Parents must be the catalyst in order for this to be a great experience for the kids. To truly give your children a great lesson in the rewards of loving, plan a trip on Monday night (or when ever your Family Night is) to a retirement/nursing home. Allow the children to visit with the residents. Preparation of what to say, to speak up, hold hands with the residents will help this be a wonderful experience and a great blessing for all.
As with all Family Devotionals, end with a prayer and super refreshments and a game or cards that involve the entire family, in a fun, interactive way.
Disciples Today gratefully shares with you Family Devotionals by Ron and Linda Brumley of the Seattle, Washington Church on our Ministries/Parenting channel. The Brumley's, their children and their grandchildren are a blessing to our family of churches.
Our first Family Devotional focused on the #1 most important aspect of Christianity: Loving God. This week, we’d like to suggest that with your children, you discuss the #2 most important aspect of Christianity: Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mt.22:34-40).
We hope that each of you have committed to having at least one night a week devoted to a "Family Night". Refer to the Family Devotional #1 for some great guidelines for establishing a fun and effective tradition.
TOPIC: LOVE IN ACTION, PART 1
Song: Let the kids choose the songs they know and like to sing. (There are some great tapes available to teach you some spiritual and fun songs if this is not your forte).
Prayer: Have a sentence prayer, each thanking God for specific things about each of your family members. (Set up for specific things to be mentioned by talking before the prayer about loving things that have been done by different family members in the recent past).Question: "What do you think is the second most important thing you can do to please God"? Praise each child’s response. "Let’s see what the Bible says!"
Scripture Story: Matthew 22:34-40; John 13:35 (discuss briefly…)
Memory Verse: John 13:35, "by this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another".
Close: Close with a family prayer, expressing to God: "We love one another because…"
- Have a FUN (for the kids) game, tell jokes, tell stories about when you were kids (mom and dad), and eat something delicious!!!!!!
- Have the kids work on next weeks game ideas, refreshment ideas, etc.
- Plan now to have your next Family Night with another family. Call them and set it up!!!!! The spiritual friendships that result will be a blessing to everyone for life - and beyond!!!!
Suggested Activity for bit older Kids (one’s who can read):
- "This week we want to emphasize how each individual in the home can practice what love is."
- Have the readers in the family read from I Corinthians 13, concentrating on the descriptive verses of what love is (patient, kind, etc.). Ask your kids to give examples of how they can show patience, kindness, gentleness, etc.
- Create a game for the week that encourages them to be very aware when they are being loving. Prepare ahead of time a "loving cup" for each child and parent. (You may want to use part of the family night to let each family member decorate his/her own cup). Use a large paper or plastic cup that can be drawn on or have items pasted to it. Place the cups in a highly visible location so that everyone will be reminded several times a day to be loving.
- Give a reward (stickers, sucker, bubble gum, pencil, etc.) every time you see or hear anyone practice a loving word, action or response. At the end of the week, have a special "Reward Ceremony" for all the loving kindnesses shown by all during the past week.
The Seattle Church of Christ published a series of family devotionals by Ron and Linda Brumley which we are now making available on Disciples Today.
We strongly encourage every family in the church have at least one night each week devoted to building strong bonds, faith in God, and treasured memories that will affect not only your children but generations to come.
What we would like to accomplish in the months to come is to keep before our parents the value and fun of having regular family nights. We will publish here a new idea each month. We hope that these devotional ideas will prompt each family to begin or continue or enrich the discussions going on between parents and kids.
TEN THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN PLANNING YOUR FAMILY DEVOTIONALS:
- Be regular, weekly, scheduled (i.e., 7-8pm, everyone knows what to expect). Not too long…20/30 minutes, plus game time.
- Have lots of fun; laugh; be happy.
- Involve everyone, youngest to oldest.
- Plan ahead. Both mom and dad and kids give input.
- Vary each week. No ruts!
- Ask open-ended questions ("What do you think?" "How do you feel about that?" Why do you feel that’s important?" "What else?" "What’s your opinion on that?" "Why do you feel that way?", etc.).
- Sing, pray, share "good news", play games, cards, discussions on various topics, etc.
- Use the Bible each devo. Everyone, even youngest, should have their own Bible.
- Include other families in your family devos.
- Turn off the TV, phone, computer and all electronic games. It’s time to focus on the family.
TOPIC: LOVE GOD
- Song: Let the kids choose the songs they like to sing
- Prayer: Have a sentence prayer, each thanking God for something He’s done for you.
- Question: "What do you think God would say is the most important thing He wants us to do?"(praise each child’s response). "Let’s see what the Bible says is the most important."
- Scripture: Mark 12:28-30. "Jesus said loving God is the most important thing we can do". "What are some of the reasons you love God?" (have a large felt pen and poster board or butcher paper to record all the answers….or, give red construction paper hearts to write out the reasons you each love God and then display).
- Close: Close with a family prayer, expressing to God: "We love you because.."
- Always enjoy refreshments at the end….with a family game, help with homework, etc.