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Helping Children See Their Invisible God

“Mom, why can’t I see God the way I see you and other real people?”

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Gazing out the car window always seems to prompt deep or funny questions for kids. My 6-year-old wants an answer to everything that is happening in the world. Where does rain come from? Why do humans salivate? Can she have blue hair? (The answer to the third question was no.)

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Seeing God…What a wonderful question! Believing in a God we don’t see is not only a dilemma for children, but something even adults can struggle with every day.

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Jesus said: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are
those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

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How do we help children wrestle through the fact that they can’t see God? What does the Bible teach us about this? Here are some suggestions for navigating this conversation:

  • God always makes a way for us to know Him. The Bible tells us that Moses asked for the same thing. He wanted to see God.
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 “Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.”’

The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.  But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.” The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.” (Exodus 33:18-23)

God told Moses that no one could look directly at Him and live.[1] Use this opportunity to explain to your child that God did not leave Moses wondering. God made a way for Moses to feel His glorious presence. He even protected Moses by covering him as He passed by.


 

 

Moses couldn’t look directly at God because of the sin in his life. When God created humans, they were perfect. But the first humans, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God. Sin and death came into the world. Every human born after them was no longer perfect. However, God had a plan to save people from their sins. And one day, God would be able to walk and talk with them face-to-face just as he did with Adam and Eve.

God made a way for Moses to see and feel Him. And He was preparing a way for all other humans to see him, too.

1) How did God make a way for Moses to see God? (God hid Moses in the crevice of a rock and covered him with His hand. He allowed Moses to see Him from behind.)

2) Why couldn’t Moses look directly at God? (Moses’ sinful nature prevented him from looking directly at the perfect, magnificent God.)

3) How did God protect Moses in this story? (He made a way for Moses to see Him without Moses dying.)


Have your child close their eyes and keep them closed. Hold a flashlight pointing toward the ceiling as you walk past them. Ask if they could sense your presence and if they saw the light emanating from the flashlight. Remind them that God’s brilliance is overwhelmingly more powerful.

This activity will work better in a darker room. But remember not to point the flashlight directly at your children’s eyes when you do this!

  • God took on human form. He came into the world as baby Jesus. It is through Jesus Christ that humans could see God again because Jesus is God.

“For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.” (Colossians 2:9)

“Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave[2]
and was born as a human being.” (Philippians 2:6-7)

God’s desire is that we see Him. It is so important to God that we know Him that He came to earth in human form as the person of Jesus Christ.

God and Jesus are one.[3] The people walking on the earth about 2,000 years ago had the chance to see Jesus, and therefore also saw God. Jesus Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.[4]

Jesus’ full divine glory was hidden by human flesh. Jesus was 100% God and 100% human. Even though people were seeing Jesus face-to-face, many did not believe in Him. However, many did. And this is how the Church started.

Jesus willingly died on the cross for all the sins of the world. He rose from the dead and went to heaven to prepare a place for those who love and follow Him to be in God’s presence in the future.

Again, God made a way for people to see and feel Him.

1) Who is Jesus Christ? (Jesus Christ is God)

2) How long ago did Jesus Christ live on the earth? (Jesus lived on the earth about 2,000 years ago)

3) What did Jesus come to earth to do? (He came to die on the cross to save us from sin)

Ask your child to hold an ice pack or cubes with their bare hands. Acknowledge how the ice is cold and can feel like it’s burning. Then, take the cubes back and wrap them in a towel. Now, have your child hold it again. Explain to your child that Jesus was 100% God and 100% human. He chose to wrap himself in human form so we could know him.

Ice is the best for this activity—hot materials may burn yourself or your child!

  • In what ways can you help your child see God now?
  • We can see God in creation.

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20)

 

 

God created everything! All the things we can see around us—and even the things we can’t see. This is one of the ways God shows himself to us.

1) What have people seen since the creation of the world? (People have seen the earth and sky)

2) What did God create? (God created everything)

3) How can we see God in creation now? (We can see His power and divine nature through His beautiful creation)

Take a field trip into nature (the mountains, beach, or a local park). Or simply have your child look out a window up at the sky and clouds. Contemplate the Creator together and talk about how intricate creation is. No human hand could design the oceans, skies and mountains.

  • We can have God’s Spirit in us. Introduce your child to the Holy Spirit. If you’ve never talked with your child about who the third person of the Trinity is—this is the time.

“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[5]who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” (John 14:15-17)

1) How can we show God we love him? (We obey His commandments)

2) How does the Holy Spirit help us? (He leads us in all truth)

3) Why can’t the world recognize the Holy Spirit? (The world is not looking for Him so they can’t recognize Him)

God has made a way for us to experience Him in a very deep and personal way. When Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, He promised to send His Holy Spirit. And when we believe and receive Jesus Christ, God comes to live in us through the Holy Spirit.[6]

Explain to your child that the Holy Spirit of God lives in us to guide, empower, teach and help us to follow the Word of God, and He shows us our unique purpose here on this earth.

Through the Holy Spirit we know God is with us, always. Once again, God made a way for us to be with him – until we see Him face-to-face, once and for all.

Sit with your child. Ask if he/she would like to pray with you. Ask God to show Himself in a powerful to you and your child today, and for them to receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

  • We can see God through His Word. Jesus is the Word of God (the Bible). He is God. 

In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.” John 1:1

Jesus has many names – one of them is the Word. Jesus is the Word of God. God speaks to us through His Word. The more we know and understand the Bible, the more we know and see God. This is why it’s important for us to learn the Bible and memorize what it says.

1) Why should should we read the Bible? (To know and see God)

2) Who is the Word of God? (Jesus is the Word of God)

3) How can we hear God speak to us? (Through His Word)


Set aside time each day for devotionals with your child. Read a Bible story together, ask questions and let God speak to you.

You can also find great resources at: http://onehope.net/feature/parentresources/

 

Related:

5 ways to help kids understand the Bible
Catechism
Teach kids to share faith using Bible App For Kids

 


[1] Exodus 33:20
[2] Servant
[3] John 10:30
[4] Colossians 1:15
[5] Comforter, Encourager or Counselor.
[6] 1 Corinthians 3:16

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Helping Children Navigate Hard Situations

Do you remember being taught at school that plants need light to grow?  It is actually not true! How else do you think seeds manage to sprout and push up through the soil before they reach the surface?

“Mom, I don’t want you to die, too,” said my 6-year-old one night. It was a bad night. Her dad was sleeping on the sofa in the living room while I tried to help her fall asleep in our bedroom.

My husband, Joe, wasn’t dead but he sure looked like he was going to die. He had just been released from the hospital after surgery to remove part of his colon. For a month prior to the operation, he maintained a liquid diet to make sure his intestines wouldn’t rupture. Because of the danger of the surgery, we needed to buy as much time as possible for a better chance at a safe procedure with a good outcome.

He survived the surgery and now he was home. Still, somehow my daughter was verbalizing what I was feeling – Joe looked half-dead and I was falling apart.

Anxiety was keeping my daughter awake. This was her first time experiencing the nearness of death so personally. She needed to hear my comforting words affirming that her daddy was going to be okay.

I couldn’t say the words she needed to hear. I had no idea if my husband was going to survive this ordeal or not. He was in a lot of pain, down to 147 pounds, and unhooked from the IV and antibiotics that had helped him look more alive in the hospital.

What can we do to help our children grow in the midst of dark times?GROWING IN THE DARK | UNDETERRED.NET | ONEHOPE | LEIIZA GOMES

Be an example to your children. You have heard this before: “Children are little sponges.” Well, they are! They will learn from you and incorporate what they see into their own lives. Teach them that they can find real peace in the darkest of times. But you can’t show them what you don’t have. Let them see you seeking God for peace. Seek Him together. This will be one of the most important life lessons you can teach your children.

“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.”
Psalm 29:11

Be honest with your children. Talk about your feelings and your situation. Be a good listener and point them to the promises we have in Christ. God doesn’t want us to be frightened of the future.

Death is a hard topic for children, but it is a reality in all of our futures. God created a perfect world for us but sin corrupted it bringing sickness and death. And while that made God sad, He made a plan! Those who accept Christ as their personal Savior are going to live eternally with Christ in heaven. No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind has ever even thought up what heaven is going to be like.[1] Our children need to hear this story and the hope of its ending.

Be consistent with your children. Show your children that we can always come to God no matter whether the problem is big or small. Remind them that God says we can come to him and He listens to us. He is our ever-present help in time of trouble.2 In your dark night, come to   God’s throne with your child to find the measure of mercy and grace you so desperately need.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

In our somber night God heard us.

Praise God Julee’s dad is now fully recovered! And she has been sleeping well ever since. While it was painful to watch her go through such a hard situation, it was beautiful to watch her tiny faith grow as, together, we fought fear with truth and experienced peace that can only come from God.

Here are some more great verses you share with a child who is going through a tough time:

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Leiza Gomes | OneHope | Undeterred.netLeiza Gomes has a passion to see children and youth find their true identity and purpose in Christ. Together with her husband, she served in overseas missions with youth in Germany and at-risk youth and children in Brazil. Leiza is both a graduate from the International School of Ministry in Boca Raton, FL and of Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelor’s in Multimedia Journalism. She currently works as a Project Design Manager developing tools to share the Gospel with children and youth around world with OneHope.


[1] 1 Corinthians 2:9
2 Psalm 46:1

 

God’s Word for EVERY Child?

Our “impossible” goal to reach every child in every nation with the Gospel

In 1987, during a time of fasting and prayer, I received a vision from God. I saw scenes of children being attacked by Satan—an attempt to literally destroy an entire generation. The targeting of young people and children for destruction broke my heart.

But God didn’t leave me without an answer.

I asked a good friend and ministry partner, Dale Berkey, to pray and fast with me, asking God to reveal His plan for the children around the world to escape this attack. The message I received was very clear, “I want you to take My Word to the children of the world, and you will do it through leaders; I have sent my Word to heal them.”

Responding to the Vision

Since God had specified “His Word” and “leaders,” by faith, we took our first step. We acquired the names of the fifty most powerful people in every Spanish-speaking nation—presidents, ministers of education, and ministers of health—and inscribed their names in gold on beautiful Vida Study Bibles. These Bibles were then presented to the country leaders through missionary friends and Editorial Vida.

As a result, we received invitations to be the guests of presidents in several countries. But most amazingly, an invitation came from the Minister of Education in the country of El Salvador asking if we would provide the Word of God to every child in every school in the country! God was leading the way and showing us how we were to take His Word to the children of the world.

Our team went to work to develop a harmonized Scripture portion specifically for children and youth. The result was El Libro de Vida, or what is known today as the Book of Hope. At that time, a million children in El Salvador were handed God’s Word.

An Impossible Goal?

My son Rob has, since 2009, carried on the vision of OneHope under the banner of “God’s Word. Every Child.”

Do we think our goal of reaching every child around the world with a contextualized Gospel presentation is possible? It sounds too big—and for us it is—but with God, NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE.

We celebrated reaching our billionth child with God’s Word in February of last year. But we only paused long enough to thank Him for his favor, then kept on going because there is still so much to be done! We have plans to reach nearly 100 million more kids with the Gospel this year through our partnerships with churches, non-profits, schools and governments around the world.

Utilizing research and implementing an outcome-based ministry model has allowed us to develop a variety of tools for churches and other organizations to minister to the wide range of heartfelt needs of children and youth around the world.

We are excited about what God is going to continue to do when we dream big and follow his leading to expand the Kingdom.

Photo: OneHope Founder Bob Hoskins presents the 50 millionth Book of Hope to Tiffany in Peru. She is now reaching her own community with the Gospel. Watch her story here.

Related:


 

Bob HoskinsAfter spending years as a missionary around the world, Bob Hoskins founded the ministry of OneHope in 1987. Since that day he has worked tirelessly to tell each and every child about the love of Jesus, never losing sight of his God-given vision.

updated 4/16

Who can get your teen to behave?

Every teen is an enigma. Yet, we’ve found a global norm among teens around the world.

Over the course of 4 years, more than 152,000 13-19-year-olds in 44 countries on five continents responded to our teen research study, answering questions about their lives and beliefs. Our Spiritual State of the World’s Children research examines the true daily life of teens and trends around the world.

What we discovered is that family life is one of the biggest influences of teen behavior. The research suggests that regardless of family makeup, it is the degree of positive family experience that determines positive outcomes – fewer instances of substance use, sexual behavior and suicidal thoughts, as well as increased academic drive.

This trifecta of positive family experience, involvement in a faith community, and engagement in religious texts all contribute to positive outcomes and increased vibrancy in teens. And universally, family is key.

ABY Family Vibrancy-01

What do you think is the most important thing a family can do to help raise spiritually strong teens?

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updated 4/16

 

4 Ways to Get Your Kids Thinking About Outreach

Outreach is important! It’s the first step to evangelism. Kids can be involved in outreach. Kids should be involved in outreach.

Tell your kids that they can reach out to the people in their spheres of influence and share the love of Jesus with them! Get them thinking about their spheres of influence. Where do they spend their time?

There are 3 big areas for kids – home, school, and community. Get your kids thinking about how they can reach out to people in their families, to friends at school, and to people in the community, and then give them a tangible reminder that they can reach out to people and share the love of Jesus with them.

 Home

Outreach happens in your home with your family. Be on the lookout for ways to share the love of Jesus with your immediate family and your extended family. Start with people you know. Maybe your Grandma needs some help with yard work or your aunt needs your help with babysitting.

 School

Outreach happens at school with your friends and even with kids at school who are not your friends but could use your support and encouragement. Look for ways to share the love of Jesus with kids at school. This may mean sitting with the kid at lunch who is all alone or telling your best friend about Jesus and how a relationship with Him could change their life.
Abacus School

 Community

Outreach happens in your community with your neighbors. Take some time to check out your neighborhood. Look for ways to share the love of Jesus in your community. Maybe you have an elderly neighbor who could use help shoveling snow from their driveway or raking the leaves on the lawn.

Spend some time brainstorming with your kids about ways they can reach out at home, school, and in their community. Encourage them to be specific.

 Tangible Reminder

After you have gotten your kids thinking about outreach, give them something tangible to help them remember that they can reach out with the love of Jesus. Some ideas could be a Wordless bracelet. Make the bracelets together. Use beads that are the color of the wordless book – gold/yellow, black, red, white, green. Teach the kids what each color means and encourage them to wear the bracelet as a reminder to share the good news of the gospel in their spheres of influence. Another idea for a tangible reminder would be a zipper pull with John 3:16 written on it. Again, this is a tangible reminder for kids that they can be involved in reaching out to those who need to hear about the love of Jesus!

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JanelleJanelle grew up as a pastor’s kid on the prairies. She attended Canadian Bible College (now Ambrose University) and graduated with a Bachelor of Religious Education majoring in Christian Ed. She has served in Children’s Ministry for 17 years in large churches and small and is passionate about Jesus and kids!

 

reposted 4/16

 

40 Verses to Pray Over Your Kids

Praying Scripture over our kids is incredibly powerful! As we pray for them, we are reminded of how deeply God loves them and wants them to know and trust Him. He is very clear about this in His Word!

The Bible is packed with demonstrations and declarations of God’s love, faithfulness, and power. We know that God honors His Word. It is alive and active Hebrews 4:12, and as we align ourselves with what God has spoken, our prayers are permeated with strength and truth. Our own faith increases as we agree with God’s Word over our children’s lives!

Here is a preview of the 40 verses to pray over your children:

Undeterred.net | Prayer Downloadable

 

 

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111116977276274.cXIsYg4oxbn2wurCqtcO_height640Danielle Dykert is the Vice President of Product Development at OneHope. Since joining the OneHope team in 2010, she’s had the privilege of designing countless Scripture engagement products for children and youth, including books, films, curriculum, websites, and apps. Danielle has a BA in English Literature from Taylor University and a Master of Nonprofit Management from Florida Atlantic University. She is passionate about excellence in design and engaging children and youth around the world with God’s Word.

Is God’s Word Enough For Our Kids? Part 1

OneHope began in 1987 with the Book of Hope—a contextualized harmonization of the Gospel for kids! At the time, no other ministry was going to such lengths to make sure children received a copy of the Good News they could easily understand. From the get-go, we have continued to innovate resources for churches and organizations around the world to use to share the Good News.

As social justice started becoming an increasingly popular movement, people began challenging us on whether providing God’s Word to children and youth is enough.

Maybe you have also asked yourself this question too. Is God’s Word really enough to save a child—for today as well as for eternity? Enough to radically change lives in the here and now? Enough to make a difference in life’s day-to-day realities?

Our answer to that question is multi-faceted, but starts off with a resounding YES. We believe that God’s Word is more than enough; it is beyond what each of us deserves (Romans 6:23). God’s Word is powerful and alive (Hebrews 4:12). Presenting people with the Gospel message and giving them a chance to accept and believe in Jesus is the only “thing” we can give that will introduce them to the One who can truly transform their lives (Ephesians 2:8).

The Gospel Instead of a Roof

At OneHope, we want to alter destinies, not just modify current circumstances. Tiffany’s story is one that we love to share because it speaks into the inter-related topics of social and spiritual justice.

Tiffany received our 50 millionth copy of the Book of Hope in 1999. The OneHope team walked her home to celebrate the exciting milestone. Her community was a congested and dirty alleyway filled with makeshift scrap houses. The celebrants arrived to find the roof to her house being repossessed because her father had failed to make the roof payment.

There were several organizations working in the area that helped people with housing, but instead of providing Tiffany with a new roof, we had provided her with God’s Word. Tiffany became a Christian and this started a domino effect as she shared her faith with her family.

Not only did her mother accept Christ, but her father finally did too. Her father’s conversion helped him beat his alcohol addiction, which in turn enabled him to return to work and support his family, including paying for the roof. The entire family was healed in a chain reaction to our handing Tiffany the Book of Hope.

As her story illustrates, the Gospel is the best long-term solution we could hope to give to people like Tiffany. In hindsight, providing a roof would have simply covered her family’s problems, hiding the hurt and abuse going on inside that home. Instead, God’s Word opened up and addressed the root of their problems, setting her family on a trajectory of healing and hope for the future.

Social Justice vs. Spiritual Justice

There are thousands of “Tiffanys” out there; her story is actually quite average. But it affirms the research that teens who become involved with a faith community, are engaged with the Bible, and have a life-changing encounter with Jesus can be permanently transformed.

There is no justice—social or spiritual—without Jesus.

Proclaiming the Gospel and providing compassionate relief BOTH constitute evangelism. And both are important. But until we treat the root cause of problems, we will only be providing temporary aid and not affecting lasting life-change.

Our tagline is God’s Word. Every Child. That’s a tall order, but one we are passionate about fulfilling. We have always believed that if we could share God’s Word with every child the world would be drastically different.

In order to reach every child, we need to speak their language. That means leveraging a variety of mediums and formats to make Scripture engaging and relevant for a variety of ages and situations.

Next… how we are reaching every child with God’s Word.

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About the Author:

Rob-01Rob was born to missionary parents, which is where his passion to spread the truth in God’s Word began. Rob has served with OneHope (formerly Book of Hope) for over 22 years, and been president since 2004. His leadership, coupled with the implementation of an innovative Outcome-Based Ministry (OBM) model, has expanded the literature distribution ministry to include a rapidly growing catalogue of innovative mediums. He and his family, wife- Kim, daughters- Diandra and Natasha, live near OneHope’s global headquarters in Pompano Beach, Florida, but their hearts beat on every continent around the world.

 

10 Principles To Help Kids Make WISE Choices

We all want our kids to be wise.  We train them, talk to them, model for them, do everything we can to instill Godly wisdom and practical intelligence in their minds.  We spend eighteen years (sometimes more) monitoring their every move, correcting when necessary, and preparing for the day we will set them free to go out into the world and make a life of their own.

We hope and trust that the scripture we have quoted numerous times throughout our trials and tribulations of parenthood will come true:

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” –Proverbs 22:6

But, the question still remains…how do you GUARANTEE that your child will walk in the way they should go?  How do you GUARANTEE that all of the principles, lessons, and wisdom you have poured into them will actually stick with them when they launch out into the world?

After all, we have all seen children who grew up in godly homes, had amazing parents, went to church every single Sunday – and when they left the nest, they ended up walking away from it all – into a lifestyle of sin.

How do you make sure your child doesn’t end up that way?  The truth is – there is no guarantee.  I don’t mean to be a pessimist or to rain on your parade, but it’s true.  There is no guarantee that every child will choose to follow the way that is set before them.  They are individuals.  They make their own decisions.  There is no guarantee in the Scriptures that your child will become a life-long follower of Jesus if only you follow steps 1 thru 3.  It just isn’t in the Bible.

We are a culture obsessed with getting ahead and ensuring a win. We have little tolerance for failure.  We want guarantees on everything – purchases, programs, etc.  We want a 100% money-back guarantee that this will work.  “If you can’t guarantee the weight-loss program, I’m not trying it.”  “If you can’t guarantee that I will get a job on the first interview by using your training program, I am not even giving it an attempt.”  We want guarantees on EVERYTHING – including raising our children to follow Christ and make wise decisions.

It really breaks my heart when I see children raised in Christian families by parents who were desperately trying to raise them the right way – those children walk away from their faith.  In many cases, (though not all) it was the actions and attitudes of the parents that drove their children away from Christ.  The parents’ micromanagement and attempt to control their kid pushed the kid away. In trying to guarantee their child love the Lord and grow up to think exactly like them, the parents became the biggest obstacle in their kids’ spiritual development.

So, now that I have thoroughly depressed you – let me share some things that I have learned.  I want to again remind you that I am NOT an expert.  My children are 14 and 12.  I have SO MUCH still to learn and experience when it comes to parenting.

However, having been a Kids Pastor for 22 years, I have seen a LOT of kids grow up.  I have watched parents train their kids.  I’ve seen kids who have grown into amazing leaders and exemplary Christ followers.  I have also seen many who have fallen away, never to return to faith (not yet anyway).

So, although I cannot make any kind of overarching guarantee about whether or not your child will become the next Billy Graham or Joel Osteen – I do believe there are some basic principles to learn about how to train your children to make wise decisions that will draw them closer to God and help them become life-long followers of Jesus Christ.

In this video, I share 10 principles that will help guide the conversation with our kids when it comes to making decisions that are “in agreement with the Bible, influenced by the Holy Spirit, and promote the spiritual growth of the individual and those they influence.”  

 

“How To Talk To Your Kids About Making Wise Choices” from High Voltage Kids Ministry on Vimeo.

I have included a fill-in-the-blank outline PDF for you – in case you want to play this video for your parents and use it as teaching tool.

How To Talk To Your Kids About Making Wise Choices (OUTLINE)

Included is a printable outline for parents to fill in as they watch the vimeo:

“How To Talk To Your Kids About Making Wise Decisions”

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”– Proverbs 22:6

Wise Decisions – Decisions that are in agreement with the Bible, influenced by the Holy Spirit, and promote the spiritual growth of the individual and those they influence.

If you want your child to make wise decisions:

1) Ask God for _______________.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” – James 1:5

2) Establish clear _______________.

3) Explain the _______________.

4) Practice what you _______________.

5) Connect their decisions to _______________ _______________.

 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” – 2 Timothy 3:16

6) _______________ your child through the decision-making process

 Questions to ask when walking through the decision-making process:

! What does the Bible say about this?

 ! Have I prayed about this?

! Do I have peace about this decision?

! How will this choice affect my family and those I care about?

! Is this choice being made so I can get as close as I can to sinning without technically sinning?

! Will this choice make it harder to share my faith with others?

! What does my pastor and/or spiritual leaders suggest I do?

7) As your child grows, allow them to make more decisions _____ _____________.

8) Don’t shield your child from _______________.9) Reconnect and _______________ the decision with your child.

 Questions to ask when evaluating an unwise decision:

“What _______________ did you _______________ in this?”

“What are you going to do _______________ next time?”

“What did you _______________ from this?”

10) Pick them up, dust them off, and let them ________________________.


 

thumbnailBrian began in Kids Ministry in 1992. He has served at two churches, The Oaks Fellowship (Dallas, TX 1992-1999) and First NLR (North Little Rock, AR 1999 – Present). He loves kids, Kidmin Leaders, and everything that involves leading children in their spiritual journey!

Brian founded High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources in 1998, which creates and provides Kids Church Curriculum, Music, Games, Videos, and more to churches around the world. He is the author of “I Blew It!”, a Kidmin Leadership book that helps others avoid the biggest mistakes in Kids Ministry. You can follow his blog at Briandollar.com.

Brian and his wife of 16 years, Cherith, have two amazing children – Ashton (daughter – age 14) and Jordan (son – age 12).

Act or React: when sports & passions collide

Are you a sports fanatic? I know I am!  I love playing, coaching, talking, and watching sports, especially the Georgia Bulldogs!

Have you ever wondered how an avid sports fan can be as passionate about being a follower of Christ as he can about his favorite football team? As a follower of Christ, my heart’s desire is to share Jesus with those searching for the truth.  These two passions led to using sports to do ministry. I truly believe as Paul said “We are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to do.” Upward Sports is something God planned a long time ago. I am thankful to be one of many who are a part of seeing His plan become a reality in using sports as a ministry tool.

While serving on staff at a local church, our first year of Upward in 1986, we had 150 players sign up. In the years following, we saw that number grow to 250, 350, 450, then 520! It got to the point where we couldn’t fit any more kids into our gym – we were full. We had a waiting list of 27 kids and I was thrilled. I couldn’t wait to tell my wife that we had 27 kids on the waiting list. I’ll never forget the way she looked at me and said with her compassionate voice “Really? Is that why we are doing this? To put 27 kids on the waiting list? I thought the reason that we got into this was to reach kids, not to turn them away?”

It wasn’t until a well-known pastor spoke to our church that my eyes were truly opened; He said, “If you so much as have a gym in this church and you’re turning kids away from playing basketball, you may as well put up a yellow-flashing sign that says, ‘Go to hell. We’re full.’” He knew nothing about our church and wasn’t speaking about Upward Sports, but I knew God was trying to get my attention.

So I looked all around the church, desperately searching for ways to expand, and one of my mentors wrote us a check for the exact amount we needed to renovate an old youth room and turn it into an extension of our existing gym. We were able to put another 200 kids in that gym, but it too, quickly filled up. I went looking for the money to expand once again – this time to accommodate an additional 520 kids. My friend and mentor who so generously wrote the check to fund the expansion said, “Caz, you don’t need another gym. You need a thousand gyms!” It was evident God’s plan was way bigger than mine and He had a plan for Upward Sports to go beyond the local church.

CB13Brazil29Now, nineteen years later at Upward Sports, God has allowed us to partner with over 2,000 churches and reach more than 500,000 young athletes each year. The growth success of Upward Sports is directly related to pastors, leaders, coaches and volunteers who have followed their calling to use sports as an intentional ministry tool.

Have you ever considered using sports to promote the discovery of Jesus? I have seen first hand the effectiveness sports have in connecting people within communities across the country. Take these facts into consideration:

  • 90% of Americans are influenced by sports each week.
  • 60% of Americans associate with a sports team more than a church.
  • 35 million youth play organized sports each year.
  • 8 million people are leaving the Christian church each year – resulting in a decline in church attendance for the first time ever.

 

If you have a desire to share your faith with those who are searching for the truth, I would encourage you to consider these 5 steps:

  1. Awareness – be open to new experiences. Allow new opportunities that come into your life to be potential outlets for ministry.
  1. Passion – be sensitive to God’s prompting of your heart to those new things you have become aware of.
  1. Vision – Vision is God’s answer to a prior problem. Be willing to be obedient to whatever it is that God asks you to do. When God reveals His vision, it is always “BIGGER THAN ME.”
  1. Get Ready –  This always requires an act of FAITH. Stepping out into the unknown is an act of obedience to what God has called you to do.
  1. Be Intentional – The vast majority of incredible opportunities usually “stall out” at this phase because everybody is waiting on someone else to do something when it is OUR turn to be intentional about what God has asked us to do. At this point, it is time to “get out of the boat.”

God gives us all different passions in life, but when He collides needs in our community with our passion, its time to decide whether we will simply React or Act upon his calling.

*If you would like to dig deeper into how to act on your passion, Caz just released a new book Act or React: The Decision Is Ours.  For more information on the book or Upward Sports please visit www.upward.org.


McCaslin

Caz McCaslin started Upward Sports Ministries, which emphasizes to children and their parents the value of Christlikeness and good sportsmanship.