Dads, spend time with your kids one-on-one.

If you're a husband, I’m assuming you’ve read Date Your Wife by Justin Buzzard, (and if you haven’t, you should) and that you understand the need to spend quality time pursuing your spouse. In this post, I want to encourage all dads to pursue your kids too. Leading family devotions are one thing, but personal time with each of your children is equally important. By addressing men, I’m not saying that moms can’t do this as well. And if you're a single parent, these goals are still applicable. Here is what I want to make clear. Husbands and fathers have responsibility before the Lord to care for and cultivate their family (Ephesians 6:4). Here are three goals. 

Know your kids personally.

As you spend time with each of your kids, you'll get to know what they're into. As you listen to them and let them share their heart, you'll get a glimpse into their world. You'll see the way they see the world, and you'll have opportunities to help them see the world through a gospel lens.

I have twins, who probably couldn’t be more different. My daughter is very extroverted, and she loves to be around people. My son is more introverted. If I treat them the same or try to disciple them with the same methods, we'd all end up frustrated. But by spending time with them one on one, I know them personally and have a better shot at being successful with goal number two...

Lead them as individuals.

By knowing them personally, you're better prepared to lead them individually. And you show them what it means to have a personal walk with Jesus. When I spend time one-on-one with my son or daughter, I see and can anticipate where they are currently struggling or how they may struggle in the near future. Then, I can talk with them about or model what it looks like to handle that struggle in a godly way. And that leads them to goal number three... 

Show them how a life of grace works.

More of the Christian life is caught than taught to our kids. So, model spiritual disciplines for your children. Show them what it looks like for you to depend on Christ and his means of grace. In this way, you'll show your kids their own need for Jesus and the free grace he offers.

While we will not do this perfectly all the time, as we are faithful to draw near to each of our children, we can rest in hope that salvation belongs to the Lord. He's chosen to use us as his agents of salvation and for the gospel growth of our kids. Dads, it's an awesome responsibility, but I think you'll find it to be an awesome grace as well. So, ask God for help right now. Then, put some one-on-one times on your calendar. 

Family Friday Links 1/19/18

Here's our weekly list of online must reads:

Dale Hudson had a post about ministry growth. He starts it out this way, "A new year of ministry has begun.  It will be filled with not only challenges, but also great opportunities to impact kids and families for Christ." He goes on to list 10 things that need to be considered by ministry leaders.

Scotty Smith wrote a prayer about spiritual parenting. He wrote, " Teaching at my alma mater this week, Westminster Seminary, Philly, has stirred my heart with gratitude for the spiritual parents, gospel-posse, and partners in the gospel who’ve helped me come alive to riches of the gospel and the wonders of your love." This prayer is a great reminder that we all have a spiritual heritage; not only to be thankful for, but also for the purpose of passing it on to someone else.

Rob Rienow had a post with audio on the subject of kids and tech. He says, "Tech is a huge part of our teens’ lives and it needs to be a huge part of our parenting." Technology isn't going away and as parents we need help our kids use it responsibly.

What have you been reading online lately and benefiting from? Leave us a link in the comment section to check out.

 

Teaching Kids to Praise

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If you are a parent, then God has commanded you to teach your children about Him.  And He has commanded you to teach your children to worship him expressively. In Psalm 78:4, the songwriter, Asaph, declares: “We will… tell the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” Asaph is an example of both a father who led his children in worship and a leader who led the community in worship. Asaph wrote worship songs that gave praise to the Lord and reminded the people about all that he did. 

David gives us similar instructions in Psalm 145. He writes 

"One generation commends your works to another;
    they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
    and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of your awesome works—
    and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
    and joyfully sing of your righteousness." Psalm 145:4-7

This is God’s command for us. One generation declares the works of the Lord to another generation. What do we declare? Look at the passages. We declare God’s mighty acts, his splendor, his majesty, his power, his glorious deeds and wonderful works, his abundant goodness and his righteousness.

How do you do that mom and dad? Even if you are not musical like David or Asaph, you can lead your children to worship God. Here are just a few encouragements: 

  1. Slow down and say thanks to God for what he’s given you. David says, “I will meditate on your wonderful works.” One of God’s wonderful works is your children. Your son or daughter is fearfully and wonderfully made. So, the next time they make you laugh or say something cute and you’re tempted to pull out your phone and share that moment with the world… Instead, just take it in. Enjoy it. And remember the Creator who gave you this gift. Stop and say thanks.
     
  2. Put off complaining and put on a life of praise. Kids will wear you out! When they’re babies, it’s those midnight feedings and constant diaper changes. As they grow, you’re running here and there to practice or clubs. Helping a child grow up is hard. And you know what we do? We get with our friends or online and complain about it. We’re complaining when—according to these passages—we should be telling, proclaiming, celebrating, and joyfully singing about God’s goodness and love. So, when you’re tempted to complain, stop and remember that God loves you. Then, celebrate him. Check out the new kids album from Sojourn Music, Clap Your Hands, Stomp Your Feet. Put that music on and sing about God as you drive in the car with your kids. Read a Bible storybook before bedtime, and pray a little prayer of thanks as you tuck your baby in at night. Most of all, enjoy yourself as you're celebrating God! Expressive joy in Christ makes his message believable for our children. You are the curriculum that your child will learn most fully. So, be expressive. It is a good thing to praise the Lord (Ps.92:1).
     
  3. Encourage your kids to be responsive and expressive! You shouldn’t demand outward expression from your kids, but you can encourage it. The Scriptures call everyone to clap their hands to the Lord. It's a universal appeal (Ps. 47:1). So, we should be clear with our children that God is calling them to respond to him as well. Invite your kids to respond to God with their bodies, and explain why we worship the way we do (Ex. 13:8). You have the privilege and responsibility to show your kids the greatness, power, and glory of Jesus. So, take time to talk about the words we sing on Sunday. Take time to ask questions about what a song means and how its words apply to your child’s life. By asking, you can discover how much your kids understand about what we’re doing.

TRY IT THIS WEEK:

(1) Explain to your children why we sometimes raise our hands when we sing or pray. Read 1 Timothy 2:8. Then, explain how we want our kids to get comfortable lifting their hands in worship, but we don’t want them to misunderstand what it signifies. We don’t lift our hands in order to become holy. Rather, we lift our hands as an expression of what God is doing in us.  Lifting our hands shows that God is holy (different from us), and he has made us holy (different from the world). 

(2) Read Psalm 98 together as a family.  Then answer these questions:  Who and what is worshiping God in this song?  How are they worshiping God?  What parts of their bodies do they use? What instruments do they use? Why do they worship God in this way?

Check out the new Clap Your Hands, Stomp Your Feet VBS. This worship themed VBS includes a director’s guide, games guide, craft and assembly guide, printables, and much more. It even includes a studio-recorded children’s worship CD and digital songbook produced by Sojourn Music. Purchase now from New Growth Press. 

Family Friday Links 1.12.18

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Here's what we've been reading online this week:

Barnabas Piper linked to video message he gave last year about barriers for kids in church. He states, "... I try to help parents understand the barriers between their kids and Jesus that occur in and through church – yes, that sounds backward – and how to help their children meet Jesus."  The video is about about 42 minutes long, but is super helpful for parents and churches.

Q Ideas posted a short video clip of a message by Trip Lee on being "cool". Parents, we need to hear what he has to say in order to better prepare our kids.

My friend Steve McCoy has a post from 2013 that resurfaced on parenting. He wrote, "At its core, this list is a quick mind-dump of the practical advice I want to give parents with young kids after years of doing it." If you have young kids or kids on the way, check this post post, it will serve you well.

What have you been reading online lately? Leave a link in the comment section for us to check out.