THE SIGNIFICANCE OF FAMILY MINISTRY

This is a part of a article that I read recently from Gary J. Oliver great perspective

God intended for the family to be the basic unit in society. A casual view of history reveals that as go marriages, so goes the family; as go families, so goes the community; as go communities, so goes the nation; as go nations, so goes civilization.

The Bible tells us that in the beginning God created the family. In His infinite wisdom He chose the family to serve as the cradle for personhood. In Deuteronomy 6, as well as in other biblical passages, it is clear that God designed the family as the crucible in which the reality of the person of the living God is to be both taught (through formal education) and caught (by the example of the parents’ lives).

The quality of family life influences every other part of our life. Surveys have found that an American’s greatest source of happiness in life is the family. These surveys have also found that the greatest source of frustration and disappointment in people’s lives is dealing with family problems. The quality of family life also has a powerful impact on the believability of the gospel message. Joe Aldrich states: “The two greatest forces in evangelism are a healthy church and a healthy marriage. The two are interdependent. You can’t have one without the other. It is the healthy marriage, however, which is the ‘front lines weapon.’ The Christian family in a community is the ultimate evangelistic tool, assuming the home circle is an open one in which the beauty of the gospel is readily available. It’s the old story: When love is seen the message is heard.”1

1. Joseph C. Aldrich, Life-Style Evangelism (Portland, Oreg.: Multnomah Press, 1981), 20,21.

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must have habit!

When you hear someone say the word “habit” what is your first response. Maybe it goes to some goals you have set, maybe to an area of your life that you are not proud of and are in need of freedom. Or maybe you have overheard a motivational speaker tell you that it takes 21 days of consistently doing something to create a habit.

Is a Habit something that you consciously do or is it a pattern of doing something that is almost second nature. The book of Job tells us of a habit that Job possessed that challenged me when I read it.

“His sons used to take turns hosting parties in their homes, always inviting their three sisters to join them in their merrymaking. When the parties were over, Job would get up early in the morning and sacrifice a burnt offering for each of his children, thinking, “Maybe one of them sinned by defying God inwardly.” Job made a HABIT of this sacrificial atonement, just in case they’d sinned.”          Job 1:4-5 The Message

The definitions of the word Habit:

  •  an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary: (Dictionary.com)
  •  a tendency or disposition to act in a particular way, established custom, usual practice: (World English Dictionary)
  •  A recurrent, often unconscious, pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition. (American Heritage)
  •  When I looked into the “Word Origin and History” this is what it said “to have, to hold, to possess–to seize, to take”

Lessons I learned from Job’s habit:

  1. Do not complicate it! take time to bring your children before God in prayer… Job was an interceding parent who possessed a Holy fear of the Lord.
  2. Start everyday by bringing our children before the throne of God. Take up your faith and begin to pray offensively as much as defensively
  3. Pray for them individually and be specific – praying things that will bring protection and releasing favor over them
  4. Be a preventative parent, not a reactionary parent. He took initiative
  5. I must engage in this habit!

i have a passion to end my life being a…. to my kids

Tonight I went to see the movie Courageous with my family. I had heard from people that this was a good movie and someone had blessed our family with some money to go and see it. So we got our schedules figured out for the evening and set off to watch the movie.

I have a passion to end my life being a faithful servant of God to my kids. I believe in the power of Jesus Christ in each of my children and have whole heartedly committed my life to providing them with a solid Kingdom foundation to build and grow from. I can’t wait to see everything that they will accomplish. As a Family Pastor at my church I went into this movie looking forward to being encouraged and motivated to continue to be a godly Father.

 As I sat through the movie, continually trying to hold back the tears. I became conscious of the fact that I have a lot of room to grow in becoming a godly Father. I absolutely love my children, but as I watched the movie I begin to realize how much more I can do and should do. We live in a society that has eradicated what it means to be a father who is a leader in home. And as my wife said when we got home “There are things that only the Dad can do!” This is so true. I am compelled to encourage every father I know to take the pledge to be God-fearing, Biblically rooted, Passionate leader of his family.

The Biblical Father role must be taught, modeled, and expected from the men of our churches. The lack of Fatherhood in our nation is rampant. I thank God for the makers of this movie who put it in our faces to take an honest look at what we are actually doing as Fathers and stop looking at others as our standard, but rather look into the Word of God for our foundation.

It is time to be courageous… as I sat in the theater I looked and saw a theater that was almost empty. As I surveyed the seats I began the process of thinking what if all of these seats were filled with Fathers and the impact it would make on their children and home.

I don’t know what you think about “Christian movies” but I challenge every father out there and future father to see this movie and receive the message, the challenge, the call to be Courageous.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are my children a priority in my daily life?
  • What am I leading my kids in?
  • Do I have a vision for their lives?
  • What areas of my life would I not want my children to follow my example?
  • Do I need to forgive my father for anything?
  • What am I most afraid to talk to my children about?
  • When was the last time you said “Dad really loves you?”
  • Did you pray with your kids before they went to bed, no matter how old they are?

have you looked in the mirror lately?

When was the last time you just looked at yourself in the mirror? I know for me it is not something that I do often. I simply get some goo on my hands put it on my hair, take a quick look, make sure there is nothing to obvious out of place and get on to the next thing. Your reflection is a powerful concept…

Here are some thoughts on Reflection

Definition of Reflect: to turn into or away from a course. (Merriam Webster dictionary)

This is very true of our relationship with God. He has created us to turn to Him and that has caused us to turn away from the course of this world

 The Word of God tells me what He looks like and what I am to look like

James 1:23-25 “For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” New Living Translation (NLT)

Take sometime today to look into the Word of God and find out what it is of God that you are reflecting. What is it that He is asking you to into and asking you to turn away from

never without a story

 “With many stories like these, he presented his message to them, fitting the stories to their experience and maturity. He was never without a story when he spoke. When he was alone with his disciples, he went over everything, sorting out the tangles,untying the knots.” 

Mark 4:33-34

When preparing for a message or for a series as a pastor I use this method of Taking the Known to Teach the Unknown. The method is divided up into 3 columns on a piece of paper with these three headings going right to left: Topic, Student, Object Lesson

Topic: As we teach children it is paramount that we know everything about the topic we are talking about which is a passage from the Word of God. It is vital that as you lead children and those who work with children that the Word of God is central to every aspect of your ministry. Take time to invest in the Word of God that it might be “living and active” in your daily thoughts and actions

Student: The understanding of where the students in your ministry are at: Spiritually, Emotionally, Physically. This is where you find out a children’s pastor who labors in the field that God has given to him or her. This takes an investment of your time and a heart to sacrifice for those that God has commissioned you to shepherd. Just like Jesus model for us come down to their level and walk with them

Object Lessons: Once  you have taken the effort to know your Topic, know your student. You then begin the creative process of taking what is known by the children i.e. life experiences, stories, books, movies, games, school life to teach what is unknown i.e. the biblical principle.

One of the ways that Jesus best used this method was when He called His disciples to come and follow Him Matthew 4:19. In this passage Jesus understood the Topic/Unknown: to gather men that would work hard and sacrifice to bring in the harvest for the Kingdom of God and He was discerning His student/known: they were in the midst of fishing putting those two ingredients together He then calls out follow me and I will make you fishers of men.

Taking the Known to Teach the Unknown

do the math

I have alway’s been intrigued by people who can do quick math. I have always wanted to be that guy! It is a great feeling when someone ask a math problem and you are the first to answer. It is like you are the math genius in the room. Then they ask another math problem and someone else gets it right first and you respond like everyone else responded when you got it right… lucky guess.

And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. http://bible.us/Luke12.29.NASB

 

When it comes to our needs in life and those things that seem to keep us worried, God has a very simple solution. I have heard it called “Kingdom Economy”. It does not exactly add up as we would add things up! the more I look at the scripture it has nothing to do with adding anything but rather seeking.

The word “Seek” means – “to go in search of, to try to discover, to try to acquire” it is not about gaining things and coming to God with something but rather abandoning everything and going in search of His Kingdom and walking away having Him add all that is necessary in life!

So today if you are in need of something remember it’s not about Addition but rather about Seeking the One who can add!

a culture of homework

This was a article that I read recently that I thought had some very practical

guidelines for helping our children with homework.

Heather Beals, the student support advocate at Calvary Christian School in Somerton:

The National PTA and the National Education Association recommends 10-15 minutes of homework per night, per grade (i.e. third graders should do 30 to 45 minutes per night).

Basis of Homework

Homework is essential for practice, preparation and extension. Practice=master, preparation=being ready, extension=being ready for the next level or concept.

Strategies

Parental attitude should be: homework is necessary!

Organization: Have a central place for children to do homework, equipped with materials (pencils, paper, crayons, markers, etc.). Have a central place where all homework and important papers are kept. Have a calendar that shows scheduled homework time (allow for extra-curricular activities, time for rest and decompression after school). Have your child work in a public location (kitchen, family room with no TV, dining room, anywhere conducive to parental involvement).

Contract: Create a contract, signed between you and your child, agreeing to certain guidelines for homework. Refer back to it on those hard days.

Learn Through Play

Search online sites to assist with fun ways to teach the same concepts being brought home in ways that don’t feel like work. For example, computer games, a toss game involving questions and answers depending on where a bean bag hits, basketball or baseball where you review questions with every basket, hit or catch. Pair math with fun activities like listening to music while saying multiplication tables.

The 3 A’s

Be available, be alert, and ask the right questions. Parents should know exactly what homework their children are working on. Be available for answering questions and just general assistance.

Please remember parents do not need to be content experts. They are facilitators of the process. Be alert if the child requires assistance and be willing to ask questions of the teacher, if necessary.

Create Incentives

“But it’s bribery” you say! Well, when we go to work, it is not just to be there. We receive a paycheck. This does not indicate we should “pay” our children, but we do need to find incentives to help them remain motivated. Try:

1. Chore passes (for good homework etiquette, passes can be earned to release them from certain chores)
2. Breaks (they can be scheduled if you see your child struggling, or can be earned for showing good attitude and effort)
3. Treats (hand one out, or offer special mom/dad time immediately following homework time)

Conclusion

Learn to use probing questions to enhance the thinking process for your child. Do not frustrate them, help them grow in their confidence by showing them you know they can do it!

If you are tempted to try to teach your child the same material, but in another way, be sure to ask the child’s teacher first. If the assessment used to ensure the child has mastered the content differs from what you teach them, they could score poorly on their test.

Welcome the use of timers, giving homework time a beginning and an end. If it goes beyond the scheduled time, work with your child’s teacher for adequate strategies to help get to the recommended goal of time per grade level.

We like feedback. Remember to praise your child during homework time, instead of just finding errors.

If your child likes homework or excels in specific areas, find resources for additional worksheets and activities in these areas as an incentive.

Begin with the least reinforcing subject area and move to more preferred items as the homework time goes on.

-Heather Beals, Calvary Christian School, Philadelphia