Advent resources for families

As a parent we want to make the most of every season. Christmas time is no exception. I remember a few years back looking for ways to help my kids “get” the true meaning of Christmas. I’m not anti-santa just more of a Santa agnostic. We tried to teach our oldest that Santa wasn’t real for a while and a few years ago despite our best efforts he opened his gifts and said “Dad, Santa is so good to us.” Boom. Christian parent fail.

How the Catechism keeps us from bad theology

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Kevin DeYoung in his fantastic devotional exposition of the Heidelberg Catechism explains the threefold outline of the Catechism in such a concise and profound way.

Question one of the Catechism shapes our whole existence. The first thing we need to know as a Christian is that we belong to Jesus and not to ourselves. But it doesn’t help much to know all about comfort and joy if we don’t know what is required to live and die in this comfort and joy. Belonging to Jesus and not ourselves means knowing three things: guilt, grace, and gratitude. The rest of the Catechism will follow this threefold outline.

First, we understand our sin. Then we understand salvation. And finally we understand how we are sanctified to serve. All three things are necessary. If we don’t know about our sin – which brings a true sense of guilt – we will be too confident in our abilities to do right and make the world a better place. We will ignore our most fundamental problem, which is not lack of education, or lack of opportunity, or lack of resources but sin and its attendant misery. But if we don’t know how we are set free from this sin and misery – which comes through God’s grace – we will try to fix ourselves in futility or give up altogether in despair. And if we don’t know how to thank God, showing gratitude for such deliverance, we will live in a self-centered, self-referential bubble, which is not why God saved us from our sin and misery in the first place. If Christians would hold all “three things” and not just one or two, we would be saved from a lot of poor theology and bad ideas. – Kevin DeYoung

As I am walking our own children through the Catechism I find myself convicted and moved to worship and the beauty and majesty of the truths it holds. If you are a parent looking for a great devotional check out “The Good News We Almost Forgot.” It is written to be read as a weekly devotional but can be read as frequently as you desire I read it all as quick as I could. Such a great book. Highly recommend it. If you are a fan of the Catechism this book will deepen your love for it. If you are skeptical or new to the Catechism it’s worth checking out.

Excited to be a part of CPC again this year. I will  be a Breakout Speaker.  I will be presenting 2 Breakouts:

  1. Be a Pastor- Not Just a Leader
  2. Theology and Kids Ministry

Looking forward to connecting with Kids Pastors and leaders from around the country. Leave me a quick note if you are planning on going this year. I would love to meet you.

Date: February 16, 2015—February 19, 2015
Event: Children’s Pastors Conference West
Topic: Theology and Kids Ministry
Sponsor: INCM
Venue: Ontario Convention Center
(909) 937-3000
Location: 2000 E Convention Center Way,
Ontario, CA 91764
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

4 keys to talking with your child

If you make up answers your kids will find out because they can Google it with their nintendo DS. Crazy! The result of this onslaught of information is that we have to be pro active and not reactive with our parenting and with our information dissemination. It is sometimes tempting to lie to your kids but the problem is they will find out and more than likely sooner than later. If you lie to your kids or don’t satisfy their curiosity they will begin looking to other sources to find answers. You will lose a golden opportunity to build trust and establish much-needed lines of communication you will benefit from your entire life.

To give your kids direct answers to their questions you need do 4 things.

1. Know your kids -

If you have more than one kid you know that each kid is unique. It never ceases to amaze me that two kids growing up in the same house with the same parents eating the same food can turn out so differently. Pat answers frustrate kids because they know you are just trying to get out of a conversation that you are either to busy for our frustrated with. When you really take the time to know each of your kids their strengths their weaknesses you will know how to answer the questions they are asking.

Youth Culture and the New Relevance

christianity_orthodoxy_1920x1080Having served in kids ministry for 15 years and working in youth ministry for much of that time, it seems there has come a shift.  There has been a shift is our country as well as the Christian subculture.

You will often hear cultural experts talking about kids leaving their faith and how these kids need to be reached. We need to stem the rising tide. In our eagerness to solve this dilemma, we are making the wrong conclusions. We think the problem is a lack of relevance. We think our faith is not “hip” enough for the kids. So we create these algorithms of success that sounds like this: cool music + awesome lights + the perfect amount of fog = Jesus might be ok after all. Lights and music aren’t the problem it’s that we have prescribed the wrong medication. We have misapplied relevance and have actually given kids more of what they don’t need and less of what they are actually looking for.