How to teach kids to live a prayer filled life.

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I recently bought a book on kindle called “A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life” I assumed it was a traditional systematic theology book from a Puritan perspective. It addresses all the traditional topics you would find in any systematic theology book but it also has a section called “theology in practice.” In that section they have a chapter on “Walking Godly in the home” Such a great chapter so much great stuff in there. I wanted to pass on to you the chapter on teaching your kids how to pray such practical instruction but so helpful. I found myself nodding my head and convicted. I hope you find it as helpful as I did.

  • Be short. With few exceptions, don’t pray for more than five minutes. Tedious prayers do more harm than good.
  • Don’t teach in your prayer; God doesn’t need the instruction. Be simple without being shallow.
  • Pray for things that your children know something about, but don’t allow your prayers to become trivial.
  • Don’t reduce your prayers to self-centered, shallow petitions. Be direct. Spread your needs before God, plead your case, and ask for mercy.
  • Name your teenagers and children and their needs one by one on a daily basis. Be natural yet solemn. Speak clearly and reverently.
  • Be varied. Don’t pray the same thing every day; that becomes tedious. Develop more variety in prayer by remembering and stressing the various ingredients of true prayer, such as calling upon God to hear your prayers, adoring God for His titles and attributes, declaring your humble dependence and need, confessing family sins, asking for family mercies (both material and spiritual), interceding for friends and churches and nations, giving thanks for God’s blessings, and blessing God for His kingdom and glory. Mix these ingredients with different proportions to get variety in your prayers.

Beeke, Joel R.; Jones, Mark (2012-10-14). A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life . Kindle Edition.

 

Free Bible Lesson Lamentations: God’s Mercy

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Lamentations

– God’s Mercy

Key Point – God’s mercy never ends

Memory Verse – 2 Chronicles 7:3 “The Lord is good, and his mercy lasts forever”

Skit – A kid only likes people when they treat him good and do things for him – Jesus is not like that. – He has mercy and loves us just the way we are. But Jesus also doesn’t like it much if we take advantage of his mercy. – A kid comes out says hi to the kids and hi to the MC. The MC asks if there is anything that he can do for him. He says not really. The kid asks the MC what he is doing the MC explains that he is talking about God’s mercy. To be merciful is to treat all people good. The kid says oh, really because I only treat people nice if I like them or if they treat me nice first. MC: you mean you don’t treat everyone the same. Kid: no way some kids I a mean to because they deserve it. MC: Well it says in the Bible that God’s mercy is new every morning. Kid: so God always loves me and forgives me. MC: Yes, God always loves you and forgives you, but you also have to be careful that you don’t misuse the mercy of God. Kid: what do you mean? MC: when you do something you shouldn’t do you

Skit – Act out the Parable of the Merciful servant. Matthew 18:21-35

Object Lesson – Take an eyedropper and measure how much water is in a bucket.  That would take a long time. How many think that is equal to God’s mercy? It can’t be a measure of God’s mercy because you could finish that. The better example of God’s mercy would be to measure the ocean with an eyedropper it would have no end. God’s love and forgiveness has no end.

Object Lesson – God’s love for us is like a perfect circle it has no beginning or end. – Draw a circle on the chalkboard ask if they know where the beginning and the end is. (Allow time for a response – most kids will think they know because they saw you draw the circle) Then take out an overhead with a circle already on it. Ask the kids if they know where the beginning and the end is to this circle? (Allow time for a response, but none of them will know because the circle is perfect) God love is just like that it has no beginning or end. He loves us even while we were still sinners he died for us he showed us perfect love and mercy that we may show it to others.

Puppet – A puppet asks if he can talk to the pastor puppet. The younger puppet explains that he has done something so bad that God could never forgive him. He had broken one of the Ten Commandments he stole something. The pastor explains that Jesus has already forgiven him that God’s mercy lasts forever. The boy is blown away God really forgives me even though I broke one of the Ten Commandments. Pastor: Yes he does forgive you. Boy: You mean he is not mad at me. Pastor: His mercy is great, we can however take advantage of God’s mercy, by that I mean we can say we are sorry for doing something but keep doing anyway. That is what makes God mad. Boy: I sure don’t want God to be mad at me. I will not only say I am sorry for sealing I will return what I stole and never ever seal again.

Bible story – Your parents love you without end. Tell the story of the prodigal son how the father showed unending mercy on his wayward son. Then explain to kids how God’s love for us is like our parents love but it’s even better because it is flawless. He never fails us. Explain to kids that the son that left his father was lost but his father never stopped looking for him. God is like that with us. The oldest son was lost because he thought his father loved him because he was good not because he was simply his fathers son. Both needed to be found the difference is only one came to his senses. We are all lost. We can experience the mercy and the grace of God only after we understand the wrath of God that Jesus satisfied for us on the cross. We all need the grace and mercy of God. No matter how good we think we are. Let’s pray.

Lamentations Small Group

Activity –

Mercy is when we receive what we don’t deserve. It is something we need to be thankful for. (4th grade write out something you are thankful for and why)(1st-3rd grade draw a picture of what you are thankful for and explain to everyone what it is and why you are thankful for it.)

 

Questions –

  1. What is mercy?
  2. In the Bible story about the merciful servant who showed mercy?
  3. Who did not show mercy?
  4. What does the Bible tell us about people who do not show mercy?
  5. Have you ever had mercy on anyone before?
  6. Has anyone ever shown you mercy?
  7. What can you do this week to show mercy to someone else?

Facebook Family Night Article from K!

In the past couple of weeks I have had quite a few requests for info on an event we did a while back and are planning on doing again next month. We called it the Facebook Family Night. I re-posted a blog post I did a while back yesterday. Today I am reposting a short article I did for K!.

One of the exciting things for me as a lover of Christ and a lover of technology is to see those two worlds merging. The church is crossing the digital divide in ways and in speeds that have never happened before. There are more people on Facebook than inhabit many countries that’s scary and an amazing opportunity at the same time. I believe it’s our job not to call it evil but think of ways to use the tool of technology to build community in the church and preach the gospel. One of the ideas we had was what if we used Facebook to do a family event for our church.  We tried it and “Facebook Family Fun Night” was a hit.

What is Facebook Family Fun Night? Well the origin of my idea came from Kendra and her team at North Point Church. I love the practicality of Kendra’s blog and read every post she posts. She is also a great breakout speaker if you are going to the Orange or Drive Conferences make sure you go to at least one of her breakouts you’ll thank me later. At North Point they did a competition based event that was more through their website. I thought for us that Facebook would be a great way to do something similar to what they did.

Here is the basic description of what we did:

  1. Our first step was to connect the content with our weekend service. So we would be partnering with the families in our church.
  2. We sent out a flyer and created an event on Facebook that listed all the supplies that families would need. The time the event would start and the basic rules for the event.
  3. I created 2 videos I uploaded those videos to youtube and embedded them in our Uptown Fanpage. The first video welcomed the families went over the rules again. The second video wrapped up what they learned and helped parents lead their kids to a faith decision in Christ. I received word back that one little girl decided to trust God with her whole heart for the first time. Her parents helped her with that decision. That alone made our event a success.
  4. We started our event at 7pm sharp. At 7pm I posted the link to the PDF containing the exact instructions for that night.
  5. Families did each of the activities which rehearsed what they had learned the Sunday before in our children’s ministry. They had to take pictures of each event and upload them to Facebook. It was a race to see who could complete the activities the fastest.

A few questions as to why we did this?

1. Why Facebook? – Loads of our families are on Facebook and know how to work it so we didn’t have to communicate how to use the technology. Plus Facebook is free.

2. What was our goal?

Our goals were:

  • Stir ideas for creatively teaching your kids the bible at home
  • Help connect families to each other through a shared online experience
  • Do a family event in the winter that wasn’t weather dependent.
  • Build Uptown’s Facebook brand with our core audience
  • Create a shared memory for our families.
  • Create an opportunity for parents to lead their own kids to Christ.

 

3. Why make it a race? I like the race because you don’t get bogged down in any one thing if forces you to keep moving because everyone else is. One of the reasons family devotions are lame is because they get bogged down and don’t keep moving and kids lose focus. The race factor keeps the family focused. I like that.

Everyone who took part in this activity really enjoyed it. I don’t think virtual community will ever replace face to face community but I do believe it can enhance it. When we have done events in the past people who didn’t attend didn’t really feel like they missed out but based on the viral and social nature of this event if you missed it you know you missed it because of the chatter and pictures loaded. Love that. We work so hard and not making people feel left out ever that people rarely feel like they missed something great. I hope everyone who didn’t take part in this event feels like they missed out…because lets face it they did!

What I would change for next time:

1. Have a better way to judge who was the winner – I thought the timeline with the last picture posted would work but it didn’t. Next time the last thing everyone must do is take a picture of a digital clock.

2. Perhaps have different criteria for who the winner would be

3.  Maybe do part of it via ustream to make it more interactive and I could make comments on the pictures as they came in.

( If you are interested in downloading the files we used for our first family night click on the following link. https://www.box.com/s/ii9i71b6roy705bkknis )

 

Retro Post: How can you increase your Ministries presence on Facebook?


One way that I plan on doing this is by doing events for the family based around the community of Facebook. The first event that we did was called “Facebook Family Fun Night”

What is Facebook Family Fun Night? Well the origin of my idea came from Kendra and her team at North Point Church. I love the practicality and ministry in the trenchness of Kendra’s blog and read every post she posts. She is also a great breakout speaker if you are going to Orange make sure you go to at least one of her breakouts you’ll thank me later. They did a competition based event, from what I could gather, that was more through their website. I thought for us that Facebook would be a great way to do something similar to what they did.

Here is the basic description of what we did: Facebook Family Fun Night was an interactive family night that parents from all of our campus’ can sign up to be a part of. The event took place at your home with families from our church the twist is they did a devotional and the supplemental actives with their own family but in a race with all the other families who had registered from all of our campus’. The way the progress will be logged is by each family taking pictures and uploading them to our kidmin fanpage.

A few questions as to why we did this?

1. Why Facebook? – Loads of our families are on Facebook and know how to work it so we didn’t have to communicate how to use the technology. Plus Facebook is free.

2. What was our goal?
Our goals were:

  • Stir ideas for creatively teaching your kids the bible at home
  • Help connect families to each other through a shared online experience
  • Do a family event in the winter that wasn’t weather dependent.
  • Build Uptown’s Facebook brand with our core audience
  • Create a shared memory for our families.
  • Create an opportunity for parents to lead their own kids to Christ.

3. Why make it a race? I like the race because you don’t get bogged down in any one thing if forces you to keep moving because everyone else is. One of the reasons family devotions are lame is because they get bogged down and don’t keep moving and kids lose focus. The race factor keeps the family focused. I like that.

I really liked this event. I don’t think virtual community will ever replace face to face community but I do believe it can enhance it. When we have done events in the past people who didn’t attend didn’t really feel like they missed out but based on the viral and social nature of this event if you missed it you know you missed it because of the chatter and pictures loaded. Love that. We work so hard and not making people feel left out ever that people rarely feel like they missed something great. I hope everyone who didn’t take part in this event feels like they missed out…because lets face it they did!

What I would change for next time:

1. Have a better way to judge who was the winner
2. Perhaps have different criteria for who the winner would be
3.  Maybe do part of it via ustream or the like.

Great app to help with your child’s spiritual development.

New City Catechism

One of the things I want my kids to do is to know is to own their faith. We often fail to teach our kids about their faith because we don’t know what to tell them or how to tell them what we do know. One of the things we have been trying to do in our house is teach our kids the catechism. I love the fact that my kids can learn the basics of their faith. I believe the place in which catechism is best received is at home where it can be modeled.  Tim Keller has done an amazing job compiling questions and adding content around them that engage the whole family. It’s a free app so if you have an iPad I strongly suggest you download it today

The New City Catechism app provides a set of fun, simple, and elegant tools to memorize this catechism that has been adapted by Timothy Keller and Sam Shammas from the Reformation catechisms. The app allows kids to track their progress and view kid-friendly versions of the catechism answers. It also allows adults to see rich, expanded content, and dig into the depths of each question and answer.

Some app features:
+ Navigate 52 catechism questions and answers for adults and kids
+ Watch videos from preachers (e.g. Don Carson, Mark Dever, Timothy Keller, John Piper, etc.) exploring the catechism answers
+ Track your progress and the progress of your kids—or Sunday school class—as you memorize the catechism together
+ Show/hide answers or select between child/adult answers to help in the memorization process
+ Choose between NIV or ESV for Scripture text
+ Read a teaching from a historical preacher (e.g. Augustine, Edwards, Spurgeon, Wesley, etc.) for each question and answer
+ Pray suggested historical prayers for each question and answer

New City Catechism comprises 52 questions and answers—therefore there is only one question and answer for each week of the year, making it simple to fit into church calendars and achievable even for people with demanding schedules.

Because parents who teach their kids a children’s catechism, and then try to learn an adult one for themselves often find the process confusing (the children are learning one set of questions and answers and the parents are learning another completely different set), New City Catechism is a joint adult and children’s catechism. In other words, the same questions are asked of both children and adults, and the children’s answer is always part of the adult answer.

New City Catechism is a joint project between Redeemer Presbyterian Church and The Gospel Coalition.

(Taken from http://www.padgadget.com/ipad-app-details/564035762/6/1/2)