Fun and Easy Ways to Keep Kids Busy This Summer

Monday, June 21, 2021 by Ruth Shwenk

It's the first day of summer!


During summer it can be hard to fight the near-constant chorus of “I’m bored!” and “There’s nothing to do!” But as parents, it can be hard to strike the balance of creating magical summer memories with our kids while also staying sane, staying on-budget, and keeping our homes and families running smoothly.


Check out these easy resources to help your kids bust boredom without breaking the bank!


And if you haven't registered for our summer camps (for grades 1-7), please click here to register as space is limited.


Free Resources to Keep Kids Busy This Summer


6 Summer Projects for Your Tweens and Teens: In this post, you will learn how to make life-time memories, while also seizing the moment to train your teens and tweens up with the skills you would like to see them take into their future. Connect with your teens and tweens while expanding their skill sets! 


13 Summer Boredom Buster Ideas for Kids: Write fun summer activities for your kids on slips of paper and have them pull ideas out of the jar when you hear the inevitable sigh of “I’m bored!” Busy hands and busy minds keep children out of trouble and this jar might just save your sanity this summer.


50 Summer Bucket List Ideas for Kids: In this post, you will find 50 ideas to have the best summer ever with your kids. Cut out the options and put them in a bucket and pull out one each day. Or pick your top ten favorite things to do before summer ends. Be diligent to use these ideas to connect with God in nature and connect with friends and family. As you do you're creating wonderful summer memories!


5 Screen-Free Summer Activities: If you are struggling to peel the iPad out of little hands or encourage your kids to play outside instead of on the Playstation, this post will give you fun and easy ways to encourage a screen-free summer! 


5 Practical Ways to Serve with Your Kids This Summer: While summer is a wonderful time to slow down and soak up family time, it’s also a great opportunity to look around and see how we might bless and serve others. Here are five practical ways to bring our children alongside us as we seek to love and serve this summer.


100+ Ideas for Free and Frugal Summer Fun: I'm sure you have wonderful plans to make extraordinary family memories in the coming months. The Better Mom wants to make these upcoming months a breeze for you and your family. In this post, you will find a go-to list of free and frugal Summer fun ideas.

FREE Father's Day Printables and Crafts? Yes, Please!!!!

Friday, June 18, 2021 by Anna Joy Lowell

Father's Day is this Sunday! If you are looking for some FREE Father's Day Printables and Crafts, check out Kids Bible Teacher.com - there are several printables and activities to choose from. 


​The Bible Verse Bookmarks are great for kids of all ages to give to their father's or any men in their lives. You could have younger kids cut these out and paste them to colorful paper, color them, or even write a special message to their dads on the back. These are also great laminated.


How much do your kids know about Fathers in the Bible? Find out with these fun activity pages.


These cute cards are easy enough for young children to make. They can be printed in black and white outline and colored, or printed in full color. The front of this card says, "Fathers are a gift from God", while the inside says, "I am so glad God gave me you!"


​These MiniBooks are always a favorite - and this year there is an additional edition. (Try saying that fast five times!) There is a "For My Dad" book, a "For My Grandfather" book, and a "For You on Father's Day" book - great for kids who are not with their biological dad on Father's Day or who want to celebrate a father-figure in their lives. When you click on your preferred Bible version, you will get access to all three minibooks in full color or black and white outline to color.


Click here for some GREAT ideas on how to bless the men in your life!


May God bless you!


P.s. If you are ever looking for holiday printables and activities, you can find them all here: https://kidsbibleteacher.com/holidays.


If you have more fun Father's Day ideas, we'd love if you share them here.

10 Prayers to Pray Over Your Husband

Monday, June 14, 2021 by Rachel Wojo

As we approach Father's Day, what better gift for your husband than to pray for him?


Do you spend time each day praying for your husband? Determining what prayers to pray over your husband can be an eye-opening experience. Years ago, I decided to consistently pray for my husband. While that sounds really mature and wonderful, the choice was a selfish endeavor, though I thought I was being helpful. In my immaturity, I wanted a few things to change in my marriage and so I called on the Lord to change them. Funny how I discovered the one who needed to change was ME! Ever been there?


Through God’s work in my heart, I discovered the importance of praying for my husband and the power of praying for him. Over the years, God has shown me his work in my marriage through prayer time and time again. Prayer is a life-changing, uninterrupted connection to our heavenly Father and oh how he loves to hear his children pray! Check out these 10 prayers to pray over your husband using God’s Word.


1. Pray for his work.


“Lord, I pray that You would bless my husband’s work. That he would be diligent and prosperous. That You would give him wisdom and discernment. God, I pray You would give him strength to walk the opportunities you provide. Thank you, Lord.”


Do you see a person skilled in his work? He will stand in the presence of kings. He will not stand in the presence of the unknown. Proverbs 22:29 CSB


2. Pray for his heart, soul, and mind.


“Father, I praise You for my husband, Your unique creation. Please guard his heart and mind, Jesus. Protect him from temptation and fill him up with the good things he needs. You’ve promised to fill his soul with what he needs and I ask You to do just that.”


For he has satisfied the thirsty and filled the hungry with good things. Psalm 107:9 CSB


3. Pray for healing from the past.


“God, would You heal the wounds of my husband’s heart? You’ve promised healing to those who submit to You. Lord, please smooth the scars of past hurts and brokenness. May Your healing permeate his being, inside and out.”


Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me, and I will be saved, for you are my praise. Jeremiah 17:14 CSB


4. Pray for courage.


“Lord, You are gracious and merciful, yet You are all-powerful and understanding. This world can be a fearful place and I pray that You would give my husband courage. Lord, infuse his character with courage for daily decisions and the difficult ones as well.”


The fear of the Lord leads to life; one will sleep at night without danger. Proverbs 19:23 CSB


5. Pray for his leadership.


“God, You have provided Your Word and I am so grateful. May Your Word guide my husband as the leader of our home. May his leadership skills be empowered by your wisdom. I trust that You will lead in his hand and heart in our relationship, his work, our home, community and church.”


Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him. James 1:5 CSB


6. Pray for wisdom in finances.


“Lord, money yields the greatest potential to cause problems in a home. Please give my husband wisdom as he seeks to honor You with finances. I praise You for the blessings You’ve provided and I pray that You would help him, help us, to always honor You first.”


Keep your life free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for he himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you. Hebrews 13:5 CSB


7. Pray for a heart for the Lord.


“Father, please give my husband a pure heart for You. May he seek to love You and trust You with everything he has and is. Protect him from opinions intended to sway him from Your Word.”


Don’t work only while being watched, as people-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, do God’s will from your heart. Ephesians 6:6 CSB


8. Pray for his speech.


“Father, in a day when the world speaks with complete corruption, keep my husband’s words pure before You. I pray that he would use his words just as You would have him to. I praise You for his personality and pray for purposeful conversations in our marriage.”


No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29 CSB


9. Pray for his friendships.


“Lord, I pray that You would provide encouraging friendships for my husband. That he would know he is never alone because You are with him, but I ask for others to speak into his life and sharpen him as he sharpens them.”


Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 CSB


10. Pray for your husband to be a good father.


“God, I thank You that You are the good, good Father. Would you help my husband’s parenting to reflect You? May his children know Your heavenly love personally and experience it through their earthly father.”


Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 CSB


This list of 10 Scripture-based prayers is a perfect place to start exploring how to pray for your husband. If you know someone struggling or feeling disconnected in their marriage, share these powerful prayers with them and use this article to encourage their hearts. If you know someone who longs to strengthen her marriage and build up her husband, these prayers would be the perfect tool to do so!


Let us know your thoughts and comments by clicking here.

Avoid Screen Time Battles in 4 Steps

Friday, June 11, 2021 by Rachel Norman

Summertime can get hairy. 


Just today, for example. 


There I am, innocently eating a salad, and I look out the kitchen window just in time to see my boys fully naked playing in a mud hole. This is life in the country when you have no neighbors and a lot of boys.


They showered in the outdoor shower and we went about our business.


But the struggle is real…


girl looking at a screen outside during summer

When you’ve got all the kids home for the summer and it’s blazing hot outside it is So Tempting to resort to more screen time than we’d like.


I decided that having some type of plan about how we’ll do screen time this summer would help prevent the inevitable backlash that comes with too much screen freedom.


  • Irritable and impatient attitudes
  • More difficulty napping and sleeping (due to over stimulation and less exercise)
  • More acting out after cartoons (refer to my friend’s post on schemas)
  • Less imagination and creative play


There are more, but you get the picture. 


If you, like me, don’t have a total screen free home, it’s a great idea to set up some routines and ground rules at the beginning of summer before things get dicey.



Codes & Controls… STAT

If you haven’t already put controls and codes on your devices, please read about the dangers of the World Wide Web and then get on it, mama!


The best way for you to control screen time is to control access to devices.



  • Have a rule: No screens turn on without your okay.
  • Passcode or pattern: Create a passcode for the devices and don’t give it out unless your child is old enough to understand the rules and has the self-control to follow them. For those younger kids… just don’t give them the code. This will cut down significantly on battles.
  • Control location: My Montessori friend sometimes stores her kids’ iPads in a kitchen drawer until she’s ready to bring them out. If you know there are certain times your kids cannot get on devices, keep them out of sight.
  • Collect at tend of the day: Adults aren’t even able to control their own screen time very well, much less kids. If you want to help your child build their own self-control, then set them up for success. Collect any and all devices at a certain time each evening.
  • Get filters: There are a lot of ways to go about this, but you can cut to the chase and get something like Circle With Disney which affects every live device within range of your router.


While we do watch TV, we don’t have iPads or any form of table in our home.


This started because we were cheap, then we just didn’t ever buy one. If you feel yours are causing more trouble than they’re worth, retire them for a week and see what happens.


Chores First, Play After

One of the best things you can do to avoid battles, pouting, and resistance is to order things correctly. 


Instead of letting the kids have screen time then turning it off so everyone starts flailing and you’re yelling, “Let’s do chores with music, it’ll be fun!” it’s much easier to simply model work first, play later.


  • It doesn’t matter so much what time of day this happens, just that you don’t put chores after something they never want to stop.
  • Get some chore cards or a chore list and use them to help kids learn to work independently and learn cleaning and tidying skills.
  • Choose a time of day or day of the week and attempt consistency. Once it works it’ll be easy to keep the routine up.



Choose Screen Time Of Day Wisely

I am a big fan of screen time around the 4:00 o’clock hour while I’m trying to cook.


The time you choose is up to you!


For your summer screen time rules, you want to choose a time that works WITH your family life, not against it.


Instead of letting the kids choose the time of day, be pro-active. If you find it difficult to cook with kids under your feet, use screen time while you’re cooking.


If you like having an hour to read and prepare for the day in the morning, allow screen time in the morning.


  • Avoid screen time right before naps or bedtimes as it prevents proper wind down.
  • By choosing a time that works for you, screen time serves two purposes (entertaining them and freeing you up).
  • As mentioned earlier, have screen time after they’ve done some type of chores or tidying, etc. Work happens much faster that way, try it out and see!



Teach Routine Independence

Any post of mine would be remiss without mentioning one of my favorite things… routines.


Having simple morning and evening routines give children touchstones throughout the day. More gets done, the home stays in better order, and you don’t have to give instructions constantly because the kids already know what needs to be done.


Include screen time in your routine.

  • For small children you can be the Holder of the Routine.
  • Kids young as toddlers can learn to use the routine cards and preschoolers and early elementary kids (pre-readers) can learn to follow their own routine independently. (Here’s my post on how my kindergarteners got themselves fully ready from waking up to walking out the door)
  • Use pictures, words, or even simple morning or evening routines for yourself.
  • Position screen time after other tasks that help build responsibility and character


Let us know your thoughts by clicking here.

Pointing a Rebellious Child to God

Monday, June 7, 2021 by Kim Sorgius

Should we point a rebellious child to God? How do we do it as parents? Does it even work? Here are some keys for pointing the rebellious child to truth.


Angry fists and hateful slurs flew deadly in the living room. I peeled the perpetrator off the victim and sent her to her room. She bolted her feet to the floor and hissed, “You can’t make me.”


Have you been there, stuck in that moment between, “Did she seriously just say that?” and “Uh-oh, what on earth am I going to do?” If you haven’t been there, mom, trust me when I say your time is coming.


This child isn’t some horrible brat who no one pays attention to or holds accountable for her actions. She has never been to juvenile detention. For that matter, most people think she is an angel. But she does disobey. In fact, at times she is all-out defiant. She has actually been that way as long as I can remember her cute little self. As a baby, when I would tell her not to touch something, she would smile and stick her hand right back on it.


Of course, back then I was a “perfect-know-it-all-parent” and was certain that a lot of good discipline would cure her of that. I was dead wrong. It sure hasn’t worked. Granted, she is generally characterized by obedience, so there is some gain in discipline, but there are still plenty of times when that old defiant spark sends electrifying jolts straight through my heart.


So what does one do about defiance?


WHY OBEDIENCE IS IMPORTANT


We’ve talked a lot about obedience around here. When I wrote the post, Teaching Your Child the Importance of Obedience, I had no idea that any parent would be in opposition to the concept of obedience. It really had never occurred to me that obedience was an option in a functioning society. I mean, if no one obeyed, our entire world would be in complete chaos. Drunk drivers would kill innocent families on a constant basis. People would freely murder their neighbors over small annoyances such as a dog barking at 6am. And children would be abused without recourse.


Why? Well, if there is no reason or desire to follow any sort of rule, we can all do whatever we wish. And the Bible is clear about the things our hearts “wish” to do. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…” Certainly this is the reason why authority, laws, and rules have been in existence since, well, the beginning of time.


We need rules. We need authority. And we need obedience. Otherwise, a rebellious child grows up to be a rebellious adult.


But there is something we need MORE than obedience. We need for our children to understand that they can’t possibly do it.


Yep. You heard me right. Your child, my child, cannot possibly obey 100% of the time. We have to remember that this is a process. It’s a process born out of our desire to please the Lord, but that won’t happen overnight. Nor will it happen all the time.


Just think about it. Do you obey God all the time? Ahem, I can only speak for myself here, but if God were giving out grades, I would fail miserably.


If I expect God to have patience with me, as a parent, I need to expect to have patience with my kids. And no, I don’t mean that I should just throw up my hands and let them do what they want. God doesn’t do that with me. But it does mean that I want to be patient with my rebellious child just as God is patient with me.


INTENTIONAL PARENTING WITH THE REBELLIOUS CHILD


We need to practice intentional parenting that is full of the right kind of grace. When our children do struggle with wrong choices, we need to be there to guide them through it. We need to help them understand they don’t have to be defeated by wrong choices (sin) and there is a way to listen to the right voice.


So let’s take the example from above. The perpetrator (name will remain unmentioned to protect the innocent) has now told me I can’t make her go to her room. Is she right? How do you even respond to that?


Well, she is right. I can’t make her. Sure, I could pick her up and carry her there, and I would certainly do that if she was 4 or 5, but she is twice that. And she has hit the nail on the head as to why parents so desperately feel out of control. We can’t MAKE our kids do things. Aside from physically enforcing something (which only works for a few years), we have no real power here. At least not the forcing kind of power.


If we are to have any success in a situation with a rebellious child, it’s going to have to be something that will change WHO they are. Let me explain what I mean by sharing our conversation. (Please note, I remained very calm and quiet while talking to her, despite her behavior.)


Me: You know, you’re right. I can’t make you and I won’t. You are going to have to make a choice here. But before you do, I want to ask you a question.


Child: Silence. Arms crossed, eyes rolled back in head and fire breathing out of her nostrils (ok, maybe not the fire part).


Me: Who are you pleasing right now, yourself or God?


Child: (having been asked this question before and with clenched teeth) MYSELF.


Me: I can understand why. I don’t like it when people annoy me either. But I also don’t like it when people punch me. Don’t you think that is why God wants me to obey his Word in Ephesians 4:32 when He says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another”?


Child: Silence.


Me: I also understand that it’s hard to face it when you know what you are doing doesn’t please God. That’s why I think we should go into your room and have this discussion. So, would you like to try and obey this time?



TWO KEYS WHEN ADDRESSING REBELLION


Of course there is no magic in my words. The key is two-fold.


1. Ask “Who are you pleasing right now?” Because this draws their attention not to you or the sibling or whatever the problem was, but to God. And all matters should be taken up with God.


2. Relate to the child. Don’t act high and mighty or perfect. What do you do when the clerk charges you too much or the neighbor destroys your property? Do you feel angry? Of course! You can absolutely relate to what your child is feeling, so rather than judging his/her choice, help them understand that it’s normal to feel that way, but God wants us to make a right response to our feelings.


The goal is to point them back to the truth of the matter, not condemn them. <—-Did you get that?


I think the worst thing a parent can do with a rebellious child is shame him or her to the point of hopelessness. And I’ll be the first to admit that we as parents can do this unintentionally.


We have to remember that they CAN’T do right all the time. Their sinful flesh just won’t let them. So rather than offering them a heap of shame and defeat, we want to offer them questions they can use to help them remember why they really want to do right.


Otherwise, I fear we will be the parents of one of the infamous 76% who will someday walk away from the church (see foot note). After all, what is the point of working so hard to be Christ-like if we are always going to feel full of shame and defeat?


You’re probably wondering if my little talk worked. The truth—> it did, but it doesn’t always make her do what I tell her to do. You see, sometimes I can talk through the wall of selfishness she has put up around her decisions, and sometimes I can’t. But I won’t stop taking this angle to solve the problem, because it’s the only real solution. One day, she is going to be in a position where she has to make all her own choices and where she will face very adult consequences for those choices.


If I am consistent now to point her to the only real answer (God), when it really matters in her life she will not forget that He is the answer.


For now, it doesn’t matter if she went to her room. The first few times I tried this with her, she refused. Little by little, I have seen a change in how long it takes before she comes to her senses. Her apologies have become very sincere and these episodes are much less frequent. I love that it’s so clear God is working in her heart and that she is letting Him! I love it much more than whether or not she actually went to her room that day.


*Studies have shown that 2/3 of today’s Christian teens are leaving the church (the infamous 76% mentioned above). I would highly recommend reading Already Gone, if you have not heard of these studies and their implications.


STRUGGLING WITH OBEDIENCE IN YOUR HOME


By the way, if you are struggling with obedience in your home, I would recommend that you take a look at this Bible study. It is written to help children explore WHY, HOW, and WHO we should obey. Take the pressure off your own authority and put it back in the right place by helping them understand what God’s Word has to say about this vital topic!


Let us know your thoughts by clicking here.

Back to Basics - Faith at Home

Friday, June 4, 2021 by Christina Embree

We’re home. I mean, a lot. I’m assuming you are to; whether you’re reading this in America or Australia or South Korea, a global pandemic means we are all spending a lot more time at a place we call home.


Being home has caused me to do some reflecting and I realized that in doing so, I found myself going “back to the basics” in regard to faith at home. 


Some people have said "I don’t even know how to get started. I don’t think of those things like you do. Where do I start?”


It’s a good question and one that I have heard expressed many times before. 


If this is a new arena for your family, I encourage you to start with these four small but powerful “baby steps” that begin to shift the focus of the home towards Christ.


Morning Prayer/Blessing


In Deut 6:4-9, God tells parents to “impress” His commands on the children and provides four times in which to do that. One of those times is “when you rise.” Mornings can often be rushed, crazy times as everyone is trying to get shoes tied, hair brushed, coffee guzzled and breakfast consumed. In the middle of it all, take just 30 seconds to stop with each child and pray a simple blessing. 


This prayer doesn’t have to be long or eloquent. In fact, simple is good; it’s easy to remember and repeat daily. Something like, “Lord, be with Grace today. May she know that you are with her, that you love her and that you have called her by name and may she return home full of joy and wisdom.”



Dinner Discussions


Another time God encourages us to engage with our kids is “when you sit.” It’s rare to have families in a place where they all sit down together, but sometimes dinner still gives us that opportunity. To center our conversation during those nights, our family asks four questions: What was your high today? What was your low? What mistake did you make? Where did you see God today?


We have had more “teachable moments” at dinner than we could have ever imagined. Sometimes we only get two questions in before we begin discussing something related to our faith, God, family or church. And what’s great is that everyone, even Mom and Dad, gets to participate.



Drive Time


God tells parents to share with their kids as they “walk along the road.” This doesn’t happen as much as it did but we do drive along the road an awful lot. If you have to travel frequently, might I suggest downloading or purchasing some Adventures in Odessey programs from Focus on the Family? These radio dramas provide a great platform for discussion with kids and they will love listening to them (you will too – they’re pretty great!). We have had many conversations with our children brought on by topics discussed in the episode and as an added bonus, the episodes all have Scriptures to go with them so you don’t have to figure it out yourself!



Older children/teens? Podcasts! There are some great podcasts out there that explore history and story. Remember, Jesus is with us everywhere and He is the greatest storyteller. Listening together to these podcasts can open up conversation that allow us, as parents, to introduce our children to a providential God who shows up all through history.



Bedtime Blessing


The final time God specifies is “when you lie down.” Kids are fantastic stallers when it comes to bedtime. Wouldn’t it be great if you got them at their own game and turned their stall time into a time for discussion and blessing?


For young children, check out the Jesus Storybook Bible which tells the stories of Scripture in a unique way and points out where Jesus can be found in every story.


For older kids, before they go to bed, simply ask them if anything is on their mind that they need to talk about before bed so they can sleep well. It will shock you what they are willing to share in that safe place with you. These moments will be the last thoughts before your cherub slips off to sleep; can you think of a better sendoff?


Once these four practices become habitual for you, you will find it much easier to put Christ in the center of your family activities. Your kids won’t think it’s “weird” when you take time to schedule a Family Faith Talk because you’ve already invited Jesus to the dinner table. It won’t feel difficult to turn to Scripture in everyday moments because you’ve been listening to it in the car and reading it before bed. And before you know it, your baby steps will become faith-forming strides as discipleship happens… at home.


What are some ways you share your faith with your children? Click here to let us know and we'll post it below.

Taking Care of Yourself: Is Peace & Quiet Really Possible?

May 31, 2021 by Erika Dawson

Our Biggest Obstacle


We all have obstacles to face when trying to develop self-care in our lives. The most obvious obstacle being our children and their many needs. However, I would suggest that sometimes we are our own biggest obstacle. Guilt, fear of judgment from others, busyness, distractions, and rationalizations get in our way.


Think about the last time you did (or almost did) something for yourself. What fears did you have?


Did you feel guilty leaving your children with your husband or a sitter?

Did you feel bad about needing or wanting time alone?

Is it easier for you to buy clothes or things for your children than for yourself?

How about your house? Is it anxiety producing for you to rest or take a nap when there are still chores to be done?

All of the above are daily conversations we have with ourselves whenever we feel our own needs or desires creep in.


I Can Handle It


We tell ourselves that we don’t really need a break, that we can “handle” it.


We don’t tell our spouse what we need because we think they should just know (which is usually never true), or we think that they will not honor our needs.


I am saying “we” because I have personally battled all of these obstacles myself. At this very moment I am recovering from minor surgery, but the procedure was intense enough to land me in my bed for five days. I think I must have said “sorry” to my husband a hundred times the first two days! I literally could not do anything for anyone while recovering, and my natural tendency was to revert to guilt.


After the 120th “I’m sorry!” My husband finally said, “Stop saying sorry, just let me take care of you!”


Sheesh. I finally realized that my job, at that time, was to rest, relax, and care for myself. My actual job was to just take care of me!


I hope and pray it does not take surgery or a serious illness for any of us to pay attention to our needs and desires. Our personal health, emotionally, mentally, and physically directly impact our husbands, children, and community.


If we don’t care for ourselves, then what do we really have to offer those around us?

 


Filling our Tanks


How do we fill up our tank? How do we make sure there is enough to go on each day?


One way is to establish times of peace and quiet daily or several times a week. I truly believe that we must make peace and quiet a priority in our lives.


Every day we make choices on how to spend our time. Some things you can’t negotiate like paying bills or changing diapers, but most things we actually do have a say over.


Remember that even Jesus, in the midst of His intense ministry looked for places of peace and quiet. He knew in His humanity that rest was crucial. His heart, mind, and body needed restoration. Establishing a peace and quiet time is important to the self-care process.


“Even Jesus, in the midst of His intense ministry looked for places of peace and quiet. He knew in His humanity that rest was crucial.”


Take a few minutes to think about an average day. Are you always searching for distraction? The internet and social media provide a brief escape for us from our lives, offering us a sense of connection when we feel lonely or bored.


There is nothing wrong with the internet or social media, but consider how much time you spend there and why? I recently did a 40 day Facebook fast, and it was very eye-opening for me.


The internet and social media caused me a lot of anxiety. I was always checking it, seeing if someone read my status update. I found myself comparing my life to others or freaking out when a close friend posted that her kid had a stomach bug. When I took a step away from my computer my anxiety level went down, and I also had more time! I started to fill those empty spaces, when I would have been online, with other things.


I was able to notice my need to escape or to connect. Instead of hopping online, I would actually call a friend or spend time with people. Sometimes I painted my toe-nails, blow dried my hair, or sat outside on the back deck and soaked up some Vitamin D.


I listened to music or read a chapter in a book. I lit candles and opened up the windows. I did five minutes of stretching or exercise. I did all of this while my kids were around, playing, watching TV or jumping on the furniture!


Peace and quiet does not mean that your children are sleeping or at day-care.


Peace and quiet means that I practice things that bring peace to my heart and quiet to my mind. Sometimes it does mean true peace and quiet — when the kids nap or I have an afternoon to myself.


Make Time to Be Quiet


Let me encourage you: make time to actually be quiet. The laundry can wait, the weird stain in the carpet can wait, and the Bible study you need to plan can wait.


If a quiet moment is there for you, take it! If your kids don’t nap but can have quiet time in their rooms, do it, or teach them to do it. Peace and quiet is good for everyone. Sometimes when naps do not happen or the day is just too crazy I tell my spouse I need to take a walk. I walk and breathe and let the cares of the day go. Other times, I take a long shower or bath — and I definitely lock the door!


My encouragement to you over the next 7 days is to pay attention to where you spend time. Your time is precious. It is a hot commodity!


The next time you reach for your phone or computer, is it because you need to send an important message or is there a deeper need there? Identify that need.


Instead of hopping online do this: sit cross-legged on the floor, relax your body and breathe deeply three times, focusing on drawing out the exhale. Keep repeating until you feel yourself calm down. Pray and ask God to calm your heart and mind. Thank Him for a few moments of calm and ask Him to show you more times of peace and quiet. Sometimes my oldest son does this breathing exercise with me. The amazing thing is that self-care is contagious. If our kids see us do it, they will want to learn it too!


 


Questions for You:


The last time you did something for yourself (or wanted to), what fears or emotions did you face?

What distracts you from making time to actually be quiet?

What activities are most refreshing to you (reading, walking, nature, pedicures, etc.)?


What helps you have peace and quiet? Let us know by clicking here.


Why I Force My Kids to Go to Church

Friday, May 28, 2021 by James Uglum

“My parents forced me to eat three times a day growing up. No joke. Three times. Every. Single. Day. And it wasn’t always stuff I liked, either. Matter of fact, I complained a lot about what my mom made. ‘Ewww, gross! Meatloaf? Seriously? Mom you know we hate this stuff!’ So as I approached adulthood I made an important decision. Since my parents forced me to eat while I was growing up, I decided I was done with meals. Oh, here and there I’ll eat out of obligation. I mean, family traditions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, yeah, I’m there. But daily eating? No way. I’m done.


Set in any other context, excuses people make for not going to church sound completely ridiculous. But set in the context of Christianity, people say these things in all seriousness while others nod sagely in somber agreement.


My son told me a few weeks into school that he didn’t like the teacher. He wasn’t getting excited enough about learning, and he didn’t really feel connected to the other kids in his class, so I told him he never had to go back to school again. Who wants to waste their time going somewhere they aren’t being fulfilled?


We’ve never forced our daughter to stay off the road when playing. We don’t want to restrict her imagination. We allow her the freedom to make her own choices in life.”

– Ruth Meyer


Now maybe the above analogies sound ridiculous. I’m sure you’re probably thinking, “No loving parent would let their kids decide whether to go to school or not, and they definitely wouldn’t let their kid play in traffic. That’s endangering their lives. It’s a matter of life or death.” And that is exactly the point. This is a matter of life or death for your child. Eternity is at stake.


In our family, church is a non-negotiable, even for my kids. It’s a non-negotiable because we understand that how we raise our children, and what we teach them (or don’t teach them) about Jesus carries eternal consequences. And as parents, we have a responsibility to share with them what God has done in our lives through the love of Jesus. So we read the Bible together at night and we pray together. We go to church. We talk about God at home and in the car and at the park. Will they always be excited about getting up and going to church? I hope so, but I doubt it. But regardless, my wife and I still make them go because we are their parents and we know what’s best for them. And so, when they complain we will tell them why gathering together with other believers is a non-negotiable. Just like when they complain that we serve them healthy meals we explain why we eat vegetables and not just cake. We take them to school every morning; no matter how much they complain or bellyache. And we explain why school is so important. We set boundaries and limits while they are playing outdoors. My kids know to look both ways when they cross the street, not because we said so, but because to do otherwise means possibly being hit by a car. We do these things because we love them and we are looking at the long-term outcome, not what will make them happiest in any given moment.


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


Will all of that ensure that they turn out to be the model upstanding citizens that my wife and I hope? No. It’s even possible for children to be brought up in a loving Christian home and still turn away from Jesus later. That is out of our control. As parents, our responsibility is to teach our children about the world and about God. We teach them how God created this world perfectly. We teach them how the world became broken through that first sin of Adam and Eve. When their own brokenness shows itself, we point it out, and then we point to the One who came to heal that brokenness; Jesus. And they are never too young to begin learning these things. Each of our children learned to pray while still in highchairs. Our responsibility as Christian parents is about so much more than just taking our kids to church on Sunday mornings.


To say, as a parent, “I won’t force my kids to go to church. I’ll let them decide on their own.” sounds so enlightened. But it’s the most dangerous thing a parent could say. It would be safer for you to let your children play on the highway in rush hour traffic than to let them decide whether or not they wanted to go to church. One of those options carries temporary consequences (if you let your child play on the highway in rush hour traffic they will die), and the other carries potential eternal consequences.


Church isn’t just one good choice among many. Church isn’t a building. Church, properly understood, is the body of Christ; the gathering of believers in a specific place. And as such, it is a place where we all belong. We are all equally sinful before God and equally in need of a Savior. Church isn’t just a place you go to. It’s not a place that you go to feel better about yourself. It’s not entertainment. Its purpose is not to give you ten easy steps to fix your marriage. Church is the gathering of believers to receive what God has come to give in Jesus.


Jesus himself said, “Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.” – Matthew 18:20


So when we come together as the body of Christ, the Church, we confess our sins. My kids will know that. Then, having confessed our brokenness and need, we hear those great and unfathomable words of forgiveness. We hear that, though our sins are many, and we in no way deserve grace, that God in Jesus has forgiven us. We hear God’s word spoken to us as Scripture is read, and we speak those words to each other through various parts of the service. We sing songs and hymns praising and proclaiming what Jesus has done for us. We hear sermons that proclaim the good news of forgiveness in Jesus and I want my kids to know that good news.


Don’t give up and don’t give in to those outside voices that tell you how much more important sleep, or schoolwork, or band, or sports, or anything may be than coming together for worship each week. Instead, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23-25)


How can we help you or pray for you today? Let us know by clicking here

A Powerful Friday Prayer to Start Your Weekend Off Well

Friday, May 21, 2021

Prayer is our gateway to God, the way in which we can connect with Him best. Just as connecting with another person daily will help us know that person better, so is prayer with God. Paul encourages us to pray without ceasing that we may come to know the will of His heart and His love for us (1 Thessalonians 5:17).


Here’s a prayer to pray as we go into this long weekend. Wishing you and your family a blessed long weekend!


Father, thank You for this Friday. Thank You for seeing us through another work week and bringing us to the weekend. Father, we pray that this weekend will be filled with rest, refreshment, and quiet time with You. Our lives can seem so overwhelming and confusing, but we know that You are there by our side always.


Lord, thank You for guiding our path. We know that You are doing 10,000 things in our lives, even if we are only aware of a few of them. Lord, help us recognize Your Spirit. Bring us deeper into a knowledge of You, so that even in times of adversity, we can rest in the knowledge that You are with us.


Holy Spirit, please wash us with Your love. We repent of our sins, and we pray for help to do better in time. We rejoice that You are forgiving and full of such a grace that ushers us forth into freedom. Our times and our days rest in Your hands, and we know that even in anguish, You have a plan for our benefit and the glorification of the kingdom. Help us to trust You in such times and be filled with overwhelming peace.


Thank You, Lord, for this beautiful day. May we increase in You, may we come into an abundance of Your love.


In Jesus’ name, Amen.


The Importance of Daily Prayer

Praying daily is like eating daily: it sustains a healthy life. A deeper, intimate connection with the Creator of the world will center us in a world full of distraction.


God desires to hear from you and to speak to you. It does not need to be overly formal or full of articulate words; only honest and sincere. The Holy Spirit can even translate sighs as prayers to the Father! Carving time out daily to just simply be still will make a remarkable change in your life.


7 Encouraging Bible Verses for your Friday:

1. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)


2. “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit.” (1 Thess. 5:15-19)


3. “Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)


4. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)


5. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)


6. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)


7. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)


How can we pray for you today? Let us know by clicking here.

Crazy Cool Family Webinar Reminder

Monday, May 17, 2021

Hi Everyone


Just a reminder of the webinar by Cool Crazy Family, available today, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and next Monday May 24th. You just have to reserve a spot with your name and email address. The details are on Friday’s post or click the button below. Hope you get a chance to listen to it.


HTTPS://BASECAMP.CRAZYCOOLFAMILY.COM/WEBINAR-REFADS


Here are 5 Bible verses that would be great for you and your family to memorize together. Write them out and hang them up around your house (on the fridge, the mirrors, the inside of the front door). Hiding God’s word in our hearts and the in the hearts of our children is such an important thing to do. And your kids will love memorizing verses with you! Have fun!


Love God: Matthew 22:37– Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”


Obey God (and your parents): Colossians 3:20– Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.


Be Kind and Forgive Others: Ephesians 4:32– Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.


Trust God: Psalm 56:3–When I am afraid, I put my trust in you, God.


Worship God: 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18– Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.


Share some of your favourite memory verses by clicking here.

How to Raise Kids Who Love Jesus & Each Other

Friday, May 14, 2021 by Crazy Cool Family

Wanna know the ONE key strategy that will change the way you parent forever?

If you desire to raise kids who love Jesus, love you, and love each other, this is for you!

Do any of these sound familiar?

😤 Your kids are constantly fighting with each other.

❌ You feel like you are always saying “No.”

👂 You can’t get your kids to listen and obey.

✝️ Your kids aren't interested in pursuing their faith.

😡 You’re tired of the bad attitudes.

😄 You want your family to ENJOY being together.

In our FREE, live training, we’ll show you the one key strategy to raising kids who:

  • Love Jesus
  • Love you
  • And love each other.

It IS possible!

All seven of our kids love the Lord, love us, and love each other.

We all have great relationships.

But it wasn’t always that way.

It took what we’re about to teach you for us to get to where we are now!

We could have never guessed that what we’re about to teach you is as important as it has been for our family and hundreds of other families we’ve taught over the years, too!

If you’re ready to change the way you do family, register for one of our LIVE trainings here 👇👇👇 

https://basecamp.crazycoolfamily.com/webinar-refads


Let us know your thoughts and comments or prayer requests by clicking here.


Bring the Gospel to Your Child

Monday, May 10, 2021 by Scott Slayton

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--” EPHESIANS 2:8


God tasks parents with the holy calling of raising our children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” In this our greatest task is to help them understand the Gospel so they might trust in Christ and be saved. The problem for parents is that we often have a difficult time discerning when our kids have truly come to Christ. Either we get excited that our kids are showing interest in the Gospel and pronounce them Christians too quickly or we are so afraid of them making a false profession of faith that we go a long time without treating them as a brother or sister in Christ.


As parents we do have some guidance in knowing if our children are truly in the faith. Everything that would be present in an adult’s conversion will be present in a child’s conversion, but it will show itself in a different manner. I was 19 when I came to Jesus, and was aware of my new life in Christ the moment it took place. At the same time we have stories like John Piper’s. He does not remember his conversion, but his mother was convinced he came to faith and he does not remember ever not believing since then.


We can never know beyond a shadow of a doubt if our child has actually trusted in Christ, but we can see evidences that point to a genuine conversion. Here are some questions we can ask as we attempt to discern whether or not our children have trusted in Christ.


Does Your Child Know He Needs a Savior?


Awareness of sin and the need for a savior is an absolute necessity in conversion. While a child will not have years of drunkenness or debauchery for which they should be ashamed, he will know he has sinned and needs to be forgiven. In Romans 2, Paul talks about the law being written on the heart of every person. We instinctively know we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.


When your child tells you he wants to become a Christian or starts talking about baptism, ask him why he is thinking about this now. Draw out of him, in his words at his age level, whether he feels conviction for his sins and knows that he needs a Savior. Unless he is convinced of his sins, he cannot know that he has a problem from which he needs to be saved.


Does Your Child Understand Jesus’ Death and Resurrection?


If your child shows awareness of and conviction for sin, begin to talk to her about Jesus. You will not be looking for her to give a discourse on the hypostatic union or penal substitutionary atonement. Does she know Jesus is the son of God? Does she believe that he is real, and that he lived the perfect life we could never live?


Then you should move into a discussion about Jesus’ death and resurrection. Can she articulate the basic facts about Jesus’ death and resurrection? Again, you are not looking for a doctoral level treatise, but in her words can she tell you about what Jesus did for her. What you are looking for here is illumination. As she talks about Jesus, do you see an awareness that she understands and knows this at a heart level?


Does Your Child Believe She is Saved by Repentance and Faith?


The other night we read about the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment so she could be healed in our family devotion. Jesus told her that her faith made her well. I took that opportunity to talk to our daughters about salvation being by faith alone. Their Dad is a pastor, their Grandfather is a pastor, their Uncle is a pastor, and their Great-Grandfather was a pastor. They never remember a time when they were not gathering with the church each Sunday and never remember a time when they were not hearing the Gospel in family devotions and in discussions during everyday life, so I wanted to make sure they heard a clear reminder that none of these things make them a Christian.


When your child approaches you about becoming a Christian, you must make sure that she gets this. “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves.” The Scripture’s testimony is clear, and while your child may not be able to give you an excursus on justification by faith alone and imputed righteousness, you do want her to evidence that she knows she must repent and trust in Jesus. Does she understand that her works or her baptism don’t make her a Christian, but that repentance and trust in Jesus do? Does she have childlike faith in Jesus Christ alone?


Is Your Child Showing Signs of New Life?


Seeing signs of the work of the Spirit in your child’s life is not as evident as it would be in an adult. Your six-year old is not going to have the same kind of testimony that a man with a notorious past would have, but his salvation is just a miraculous. If he has trusted in Jesus, he has been born again and the Holy Spirit indwells him. He will shows evidences of conversion.


If believers grow in conviction over our sins, compassion for other people, and display the fruit of the Spirit, then this will be present in your child’s life. It will be there in childlike form, but it will be there. You will also start to see the lights come on for him spiritually. He will start to understand more of God’s truth and demonstrate a greater awareness of God’s work in his life. As you observe his life, do you see signs of the Spirit’s work in him?


Is Your Child Free from External Pressures?


The invitation system, a pressure-packed VBS or kids’ camp, and friends getting baptized can start putting pressure on your child to make a profession of faith without actually understanding the Gospel. Often children want to know why they can’t take Communion, and hear the answer, “because you haven’t been baptized yet.” In their minds the solution seems simple, “then let me get baptized so I can take Communion.”


You can never know for certain that your child has pure motives in his desire to become to profess Christ, but you should examine to the best of your ability any outside forces that may be exerting pressure on him. Ask him what made him start thinking about this. It may have been a friend’s baptism, but what about the event made him start pondering it for himself? Communion may have sparked an interest in him, but does he just want to take the bread and juice, or did hearing the meaning of Communion draw him to Jesus? These are all factors for you to ask about, think through, and pray over.


Always Bring the Gospel to Your Children


Your child does not get a visible mark on her forehead or a stripe on her back when she comes to Jesus, so you have to talk, pray, and discern. Invite your pastor in to talk to your child and ask questions. They may be able to see and hear things you don’t.


Most of all though, keep putting the Gospel in front of your children. Talk about it in everyday life, in family devotions, and around the table after Sunday worship. Sing songs, pray over your kids, and repent to them when you have wronged them. God’s word never returns void, our labor in the Lord is not in vain, and in due time we will sow if we reap, so take every opportunity to tell and show your kids that Jesus is better than life.


Prayer


Dear God, please remind me daily that it is not through my saving works as a parent that my child will be saved. It is through their faith and trust in you alone that only YOU can reveal to them in your perfect time. Help me to bring the gospel to my home in a way that my children see the living Savior in their midst. In Jesus’ name, amen.


We'd love to pray with you and for you. Please let us know how we can pray by clicking here.

A Tribute to Moms

Friday, May 7, 2021 by Crazy Cool Family - Don & Suzanne Manning

Happy Mother’s Day to ALL the women out there who build into a child’s life. You have no idea how influential and important you are. I hope you’re encouraged by this podcast and are blessed by the difference you’re making.


Mother’s Day is May 9th (aka THIS Sunday) and we are taking time this week to celebrate every mom out there! Honoring and celebrating a mom is one of the greatest privileges on earth.


Are you looking forward to Mother's Day? Are you expecting flowers? All the dishes to be done? An uninterrupted nap as your afternoon present 😋?


Expectations often loom over every Mother's Day and we are here to say, it doesn't have to be this way! Mother's Day can be filled with joy for everyone!


How Do We Celebrate Mother's Day?


​In today’s episode, Suzanne talks about the value of celebrating mothers daily. Motherhood is so much bigger than one holiday a year!


Every day we can celebrate motherhood! Wanna know how?


"The impact we (mothers) have on our kids is everlasting! We are the molder and shapers of their very lives! Their thoughts, lives, feelings are all things we get to pour hope into! Once I understood the incredible influence we have over our children I laughed out loud at the thought of it being celebrated in one day!" - Suzanne


The value moms bring to their kid's lives cannot be bottled into just one day! This podcast will help you flip your thinking about Mother’s Day and focus on what really matters!


Click here to listen or read below how to create a Crazy Cool Family!


Moms, This One is All About You.


Mother’s Day is coming up and we are taking time this week to celebrate every mom out there! Honoring and celebrating a mom is one of the greatest privileges on earth. 


So, here’s the question, are you looking forward to Mother’s Day? Are you (Moms) expecting flowers? All the dishes to be done? An uninterrupted nap as your afternoon present? 


Suzanne takes over the podcast this week and shares about her love hate relationship with Mothers’ Day.  


She shares how expectations can cover the day and even when the kids put in amazing efforts to make her feel loved, she struggles to see it! Burnt breakfast in bed, hand-picked flowers, and gifts created in school were all gifts she received each year!  


What she really loved on Mother’s Day was a nap. Any moms of littles saying, “AMEN!”? The whole family would jump through hoops to make this happen. You see, the expectation was for the family to serve her on this one day. She serves us 364 days of the year, can’t we serve her for one!?  


She had an expectation regarding the kids. She thought if they acted perfect, her role as mother would be honored and glorified. She thought this day would fill her up and provide affirmation for the rest of the year!  


If you are like Suz and have fallen to these expectations, Mother’s Day may have not been the most peaceful.  


Is This Your Perspective? Let’s Flip it!  


Perspective is powerful. Suzanne shares how life’s circumstances flipped her view of Mother’s Day.  


“Two events happened back to back and caused me to reevaluate Mother’s Day. The year my mom died (In January) and my oldest daughter also went away to college shook me. These two events caused me to see Mother’s Day completely differently.”


“You see, the role of a mom eventually comes to an end. Kids become self-sufficient and move out! Once I realized this coupled with my mom’s death I stopped thinking about the little details. I stopped focusing on myself and all the moms I was tirelessly trying to honor.”


“The first mothers’ day after my mom’s death was so special because it wasn’t about what flowers, or gifts, or how much time I would spend with her that day because she wasn’t here. All I had was memories. It was there in those reflective thoughts I saw the power of moms!” 

Moms, you have crazy power! Power beyond your time here on earth. You have influence and it is completely impossible to be honored as a mother in just one day.  


It’s going to take years and years to honor a mom. It’s going to take a lifetime.   


Everything fell into place and this is what Suzanne realized…. 


It is completely impossible to honor or be honored as a mother on just one day

It takes years and years to honor a mom, as it should

It takes a lifetime because that’s what a mom gives

Bottom Line: Moms give their life to allow her kids to have the time of their lives. 


The reality is, the impact moms have on kids is everlasting! Moms are the molder and shaper of their very lives! Their thoughts, lives, feelings are all things moms get to pour hope into!


Once you catch this perspective you can laugh out loud at the thought of it being celebrated in one day! The role as mom is wayyy bigger than anything we can celebrate one day a year.  


So, What Do We Do? 


By all means be celebrated on this day! Enjoy the breakfast in bed, the flowers, gifts, and homemade cards. Embrace every extra hug, and hopefully you will even get a nap or time away from the responsibilities of being a mom.   


Pull the expectations off this day and start seeing every day of motherhood as valuable.


Remember, Mothers’ Day is Found in Everyday! 


It’s in the memories we make, the laughter, the sweaty hugs, dirty faced kisses, the clean up the house after everyone’s in bed, and seeing all the great things accomplished throughout the day.  


Mother’s Day is found in the fat little elbows of a toddler or the successful day of potty training. Motherhood is found in a 100% on a spelling test or the text from the teenager saying, “Thanks mom.” 


That’s our thanks and gratitude. It’s in the little things.  


Bottom Line: See the little things happening each day and elevate them in our hearts so we are satisfied.  


Remember this giant, overwhelming, too much to do role of being mom deserves payment! These little things are the payments. The gifts we are given throughout this season of motherhood!  


There is no way it can be packed into just one day! There are not enough flowers in the world to recognize and thank you for the job of being mom!  


Flower Challenge!

So, every time you see a flower take it in and remember you are loved. You are doing an amazing job. It is worth the time, effort, and energy to invest in the little people. 


All flowers are for you! Allow every flower to be a tiny thank you for all you do as a mother.  


Remember Moms, You are Building Something Beyond Valuable!  


You are building the most valuable thing of all, a generation of Jesus loving, kingdom building contributing members to our society (and boy does our society need them)! 


Yes, enjoy the one day in May. Don’t let disappoint or expectations rob you of this day set aside for you! BUT on the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and every day after Mothers’ Day look for the tiny little gestures, the hugs, smiles, laughs and deposit those into your heart remembering how every day is really Mothers’ Day.  


Wrap Up

In Luke 2, Jesus is born and all the people come to see Him. Verse 19 it says, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” 


Just a few years later, Jesus is in the temple and forgets to follow his parents home. They do not know he is gone and panic. They go back to find him and at the end of the scary event, Mary does the same thing at his birth. Luke 2:51 says, “But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.”  


Moms, this is what we are invited to do with our kids. We treasure things up in our hearts! We are reimbursed for all the sacrifices we make as moms with these moments.  


Examples of “Treasures”:


We ponder how Macy called herself, “Macy Blah blah” because she couldn’t say her middle name

How Madeline would spell out “I love you” with hand motions  

How Mollie had to have the blanket smooth on the floor when she was little

When Mollie held McCade for the first time and cried because she was 17 and knew she wouldn’t be living in the house to watch him grow up

How Michael had a head full of curls and was all boy even though he had 4 big sisters

How Maddox worked so hard at his basketball skills

Mother’s Day Challenge!  

So, our last challenge is to make yourself a mothers’ day gift.


Make a list of all the things you treasure in your heart

Add to it as more treasures are given

Put the list in your bible, journal, on the fridge, or a bathroom mirror

Treasure this list in your heart

If you are really brave, put your list on social media and tag CCF, so other moms can be encouraged by your treasures

Happy Mother’s Day! You are loved and cherished! Thank you for all that you do! 

Love God with Your Strength

Thursday, May 6, 2021 by Rick Warren

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.” Colossians 3:23 (GNT)


Jesus said the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” (Mark 12:30 NLT).

As we’ve learned, God expects every one of us to mature in all of these areas. But he also knows each one of us tends to lead in one area. This means God has shaped you to most naturally be a talker (heart), feeler (soul), thinker (mind), or doer (strength).


Today we’re going to focus on loving God with all your strength.


Doers love God with their strength. They’re energetic activists—the achievers, the accomplishers, the workers. They push things forward and make things happen in practical ways.


What is the purpose of doers in the world? Doers are here because the world needs contribution—and doers can get the job done! They have initiative, energy, action, and a drive to achieve. In a practical sense, they often serve as the hands and feet of Jesus in the world.


But we all have flaws, and for doers, it’s overwork. Doers are always working. They have trouble stopping to think or feel. They are always busy!


Psalm 127:2 says, It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?” (The Message). If you’re a doer, that would be a good verse to put up on the mirror in your bathroom. God wants his loved ones to get their proper rest.


When you become a believer, your past is forgiven, you have a reason for living, and you have a home in heaven. But there’s something that doesn’t change when you come to Christ: Your personality doesn’t change. God doesn’t slow a doer down when you come to him. He just changes your direction. In fact, he wants to empower you. Remember, you got your personality from him. 


Colossians 3:23 has great advice for doers: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people” (GNT).


If God made you a doer, then he wants to use you to get stuff done in the world. But you’re not meant to do it all, and you should never try to do it in your own strength.


It’s okay sometimes to do less—not less for God, but less in other areas so you’ll have more time to do what matters most.


PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick


Talk It Over


In what ways have you loved God with your strength?

Psalm 127 says that God enjoys giving rest to those he loves. How have you experienced God’s rest?

If you tend to be a doer, in what areas do you need to do less so that you have more time for the things that really matter?


Give hope, prayer, and encouragement by clicking here. We'll post your comment to encourage others..

Loving God with Your Mind

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 by Rick Warren

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

James 1:22


We’ve been looking at Mark 12:30: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” (NLT). One way to restate this verse is love God with all your talk, all your feelings, all your thinking, and all your doing.


Although every person is called to do all of these things, God created each person to be stronger in one area. That means God has shaped you more naturally to be a talker (heart), feeler (soul), thinker (mind), or doer (strength).


Today let’s look at the thinkers, who most readily love God with their minds.


Do you know that you can love God with your intellect? When you develop and strengthen your mind, it’s an act of worship.


One way you can recognize a thinker is by this: When thinkers become believers, they fall in love with the Bible.


Psalm 119:97 says, “How I love your law! I think about it all day long” (GNT).


There is no other book in the world like the Bible! It has the answers to life’s questions, including why God put you here on earth.


We need thinkers—because the world needs consideration. Somebody has to be thinking through complex issues and the implications of what the rest of us are doing. We need people who think through tough problems and bring solutions to the table.


But thinkers need to be careful to also practice humility. The Bible says, “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom” (Proverbs 3:7 NLT). Why? Because God is God, and you’re not.


Humility is a choice. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord” (NIV). Humility is something you do to yourself. And it’s not denying your strengths; it’s being honest about your weaknesses.


Thinkers also need to be careful to practice what they know. If you know it, then do it! James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (NIV).


Your personality is unique and precious to God. When you use it to serve him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, you bring him glory!


PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick


Talk It Over


Is it harder for you to acknowledge your strengths or to be honest about your weaknesses? Why do you think this is so?

Make a list of the things you believe in. Are you acting on those things?

How are you developing and strengthening your mind as an act of worship?


Give hope, prayer, and encouragement by clicking here.  We'll post your comment, which helps others talk about it.

Loving God with Your Soul

Tuesday, May 4, 2021 by Rick Warren

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.”

Psalm 42:1


We’ve been looking together at the different ways you can love God. You can find these ways in Mark 12:30: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” (NLT).


We all love God in all four of these ways, but each of us tends more naturally toward one than the others. God has shaped you primarily to be a talker, a feeler, a thinker, or a doer. Talkers most easily love God with their hearts. Feelers love God with their souls. Thinkers love God with their minds. Doers love God with their strength.


Today we’re going to focus on the feelers—people who are strongest at loving God with all their soul.


The world can’t get by just on communication from talkers, consideration from thinkers, and contribution from doers. We also need the compassion of the feelers who love God best with their souls.


The word “soul” is used many different ways in the Bible. But most of the time, it’s used as a synonym for emotions. You see this a lot in the Psalms.


Psalm 42:1 says, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God” (NIV).


Every emotion known to humanity is in Scripture. The Bible talks about souls that are downcast, disturbed, satisfied, yearning, troubled, forlorn, joyful, bitter, thirsty, hungry, rejoicing, and delighted. Can you hear the passion in those words? Soul people feel their emotions.


Can you guess who else feels emotions? God. He gets angry, happy, sad, and everything in-between. You have emotions because you were made in God’s image.


God is passionate, and feelers represent that part of him in the world. They care deeply about issues, about people, and about knowing God. They can empathize with other people’s pain and problems.


They’re great examples of Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (NLT).


Feelers offer God’s compassion to the world. But, just like every other personality, they have their weaknesses. Feelers tend to be manipulated by their moods. Instead, they need to let God lead them.


The Bible says, “Let the Spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature” (Galatians 5:16 NLT).


When feelers are led by God’s Spirit, they still have feelings—but they’re not controlled by them. They let God’s Spirit lead them in deciding which feelings to follow and which to resist.


If you’re a feeler, be a Spirit-led one. Let God guide you to share with the world the passions he’s given you.


PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick


Talk It Over


How has God used a feeler—a soul person—to minister to you?

If you’re a feeler, what can you do this week to be more Spirit-led rather than controlled by your emotions?

If you’re not primarily a feeler, what steps can you take this week to love and worship God with your soul too?


Give hope, prayer, and encouragement by clicking here and we'll share it below.

Loving God with Your Heart

Monday, May 3, 2021 by Rick Warren

I’m excited to share this short devotion series by Rick Warren on my favourite verse from the Bible. It’s my favourite verse because I believe it’s the answer to all the problems in the world. If everyone would love God with ALL their heart, soul, mind and strength think about how amazing things would be. This is what we’re going to experience in heaven, but as Jesus followers, we have the opportunity to show others the difference it makes in our lives. Is it hard? Yes! Do we mess up every day? Yes! But thankfully we serve a God who knows our heart and helps us every day to become more like Jesus, if we let Him.  


May White Rock Baptist Church be a church filled with Jesus followers who love God with ALL their heart, soul, mind and strength.


Lisa


Loving God with Your Heart


“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength." Mark 12:30 (NLT)


One day a man asked Jesus which, of all the commandments, was the most important. Jesus answered him like this: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” (Mark 12:30 NLT).


That’s what it all comes down to. God didn’t put you on this planet to mark things off your to-do list. He put you here to learn to love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. But what does that really mean, and how do you do it?


Loving God with all your heart often happens when you’re talking—it’s how you share the gift of communication with the world. Loving God with your soul happens when you’re feeling—when you’re sharing compassion. You love God with your mind as you’re thinking—when you’re giving consideration to people or ideas. And, finally, loving God with your strength happens as you’re doing—when you’re making a contribution to the world.


Another way to say it is that you can love God with all your talk, all your feelings, all your thinking, and all your acting.


God calls each person to love God in all four of these ways. The world needs communication, compassion, consideration, and contribution from every follower of Jesus.


But the reality is that your personality causes you to tend more naturally toward either the heart, soul, mind, or strength. For the next few days, we’ll take a look at the strengths and pitfalls of each of these four areas.


Today we’re going to focus on the communicators—the people who most naturally love Jesus with their hearts.


Heart people are talkers, and they have a hard time being quiet. When you’re a heart person, you’ve got to let it out. You’ve got to tell other people. Heart people love to tell stories. They love to sit and converse, especially in heart-to-heart conversations.


The world needs people who are communicators. We need people who can lead discussions and who can verbalize what the rest of us feel. We need teachers, counselors, and coaches who can teach us and direct us. We need comedians. We need preachers. We need all of these people who are built on verbal skills and who are able to move the world forward.


The Bible says, “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (Ephesians 4:29 NLT).


When talkers use the right words at the right time, they can restore, encourage, build up, and heal broken hearts. They can also use their abilities to guide, direct, and point us in the right direction. But God’s warning for talkers is this: You also have to act.


Proverbs 14:23 says, “Hard work is worthwhile, but empty talk will make you poor” (CEV).


This means you eventually have to act on what you’ve been talking about. Some people never get past the discussion stage.


What things have you been talking about doing? How long have you been talking about it?


Don’t just talk about it. Start doing it! And see how God uses your words and actions to make a difference in the world.


PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>


Talk It Over


Is it most natural for you to love God with your heart, soul, mind, or strength? How do you and others see that in the ways you worship and serve?

We all can love God with our hearts and with the ways we communicate. How are you using your words to build others up and help them move in the direction of their purpose?

What have you been talking about doing for weeks or even months? What steps can you take today to move forward?



Let us know your thoughts or comments by clicking here.

How to Serve God Out of Delight

Friday, April 30, 2021 by Rick Warren

We were created, by God, to serve. And how wonderful that He wants us to serve in ways that fill us with joy!


Once we’re allowed to have church again, there will be lots of different ways for you to serve. Spend time in prayer now asking God to show you where He’d like you to serve at WRBC.


And remember, White Rock Baptist Church seeks to be a loving community of hope, in Jesus Christ, worshipping God and growing in faith to impact the world.


How to Serve God Out of Delight


“Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves.”

Romans 12:3 (NLT)


Listen to your heart.


That sounds like pop culture fodder, but the Bible says that’s what God wants you to do. He wants you to look at what you’re made to do in order to know what he wants you to do. But most people these days are moving so fast that they don’t have time to listen to their heart anymore.


People all over the world are speeding along with no direction. They’re in such a hurry, stressed with too much to do—and they won’t realize until it’s too late that they didn’t have to do so much.


This isn’t the plan God has for you. He wants you to slow down and listen to your heart. Romans 12:3 says, “Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves” (NLT).


I suggest you get alone with God and ask yourself these questions:


What do I love to do?

What do I dream of doing?

What fascinates me?

What can I talk about, think about, and study all day without getting bored?

Where have I been most effective in my life?


I once baptized an 80-year-old woman after a service at Saddleback Church. She wanted to be a small group host. That’s pretty cool—an 80-year-old small group host! She said, “I just wish I learned years ago that we serve God out of our design, not out of duty.”


I wish everybody could learn that truth. That’s what SHAPE—your Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences—is all about. You serve God out of your design and the way he shaped you. You serve God not out of duty, force, or guilt but because you love him. Because when you do what he wired you to do, it brings glory to him.


Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you’ve been given—in other words, of what God put you on earth to do. Then serve God out of delight and gratitude. That’s the way to live.


PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>


Talk It Over


What has been your motivation to serve in ministry? How did this affect your attitude toward ministry?

What do you believe God put you on earth to do?

What steps can you take today to serve him using your gifts and to work toward your purpose?


Where would you like to serve? Let us know by clicking here.

Exhausted From Parenting?

Monday, April 26, 2021 by Don & Suzanne Manning (Crazy Cool Family)

The answer to your parenting struggles is not to do more..... 


That may come as a shock to you, but for almost every parent we see, that is our advice. That may not have been true forty years ago but in today’s world, we don’t see many neglectful parents. But we see a lot of neglected kids. 

Why is that? Simple, really. The parents are working hard at the wrong things. They are actually working hard at things that are pushing their kids away feeling neglected, unheard, and unloved. We see so many kids whose parents love them so much but these kids feel like their parents might love them but certainly don’t like them. 


Why do these kids feel that way? Because they can’t do anything right. They feel like their parents are on them all the time and, depending on the age, putting them in timeout, lecturing them, taking away their phone, grounding them. Yet these parents are doing these very things because of their love for their kids and their intense desire to help their kids be their best. 


At Crazy Cool Family, we show you how to change all that. How to work on the right things so that you can have high standards for your kids without all the conflict. How to instill obedience and character and motivation while still letting your kids know you love them and think they are amazing. 

Easy? No. Possible? Absolutely. 


​Click here to listen to our podcast to learn more!​


Creating Family Values & Lasting Change


Ready for a Change?


Are there certain things you would like to see happen in your home? Things you would like to change but it seems like no matter how hard you try, it doesn’t work?  


A silly example is shoes. Where do shoes constantly end up in your house? Are they all over the floor? Are your kids looking for them as you rush out the door? In the Manning family, we designated a basket for all shoes to go in at the foot of the stairs. We asked all the kids to put their shoes in the basket or in their rooms. We valued the kids taking care of their shoes and knowing where they were, especially when we needed to leave the house.  


The basket created a change. The change was based on a value. What is a value? It’s an important concept to your family. 


Here are some examples: 


Kids loving each other and playing together

Kids cleaning their own rooms (without you nagging them) 

Kids engaging more with the family and less on their phones


For an individual kid: 


Your three-year old asks for what they need instead of throwing a fit  

Your grade schooler completes their homework without procrastination

 

How to Create Awesome Values in Your Home?  


If you want to build a Crazy Cool Family, you have to know how to build values in your family. Parents you are the leaders. You are the influencers of your home. You can change the values in your home but you need to know how to do it. Today we are going to talk about how to build this lasting change into your family. 


Bottom Line: You can change the values in your home if you don’t like them! It is possible!  


Why Build Values in Your Home?

Matthew 11: 28-30, gives us the vision. 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble

in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  


Family becomes so much easier when you build the right values into it. You are a team and God designed the “burden of family” to be lighter when we surrender it to God and do it His way!  


I’m Convinced! Where do We Start?  

  • Ask God


Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the Lord builds a house, they who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.“


Ask God, “’What values do you have for our family?” The values your family will have is different from ours. You have a unique family and God will give you the right values for your family.  


  • Values Can be Big Or Small


Bottom Line: The bigger the value, the longer it takes to implement


Example: Brushing Teeth


With our first 6 kids, we continuously sold them on brushing their teeth (a value for our family). We were given wisdom early on that if you will train your children to brush their teeth, you will save money later down the road. Our 7th kid (McCade) didn’t get the same amount of reinforcement and vision. He has seen lots of dentists in his time and now brushes his teeth without us asking.  


The point is, a value takes time to develop and they need to be able to adapt as your family does. The whole goal is to put the value inside them. Remember parents, anger and forcefulness does not create a safe culture. Kids will rebel and lie if the value is forced upon them.  


You sell the value with affirmation, encouragement, 

and creative questions that come alongside the kid to

help them build the value inside them.  


  • Real Change Takes Time


Examples: Girls Don’t Say Shut Up


When we first got married, Mollie was 2. We had 3 girls in 3 ½ years which made us a family of 6 (Don & Suz and 4 little girls). One thing we did not like is the phrase “shut up.” We would constantly remind them not say it, yet it continued. We questioned our kid’s intelligence at certain points, but in the end the phrase left our house. We looked up one day and the girls were no longer saying this rude phrase.  


Bottom Line: Real change takes time, so be patient and keep investing in the value.  


  • Sometimes Values Need Consequences to be Solidified


Honesty is a value we had, so lying was not acceptable. When our kids lied they received a consequence.  


When our kids would say “shut up,” we would wash their mouth out with soap. We told them we needed to wash out dirty words. It was a small, temporary consequence but it created lasting change in our family.  


At the end of the day, the only way your kids will know the family values is by you telling them. Find ways to share the values. Weave it into the fabric of your family. Consequences is part of the weaving, but not the only one! Find ways to talk about it along the way.  


“The deeper the value, the longer it takes to implement.”  


Remember the Steps  


  • Decide and define what you want
  • Talk about it along the way (Look for opportunities to weave it into conversations)
  • Realize it is going to take a while
  • Sell it consistently
  • Praise when someone does it right


The deeper the value, the longer it will take to implement. But it’s worth it because when you build a value, it sticks. Eventually the kids run with it and build it into themselves and each other!  


It is worth it to know, enforce, and live your values. Remember, the values are helping lighten the burden and create a team within your family.  


Values create a vision for your family and

get everyone going in the same direction!  


Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.”  

 

We invite you to build values today! It truly does build lasting change in your family! Creating values takes time and energy. The deeper the value, the longer it takes. But it’s worth it. Family becomes easier as you build values into it. 


CCF Challenge: Decide on a value you want to implement in your family and go for it! 


Let us know your thoughts by clicking here.

A Prayer for Overwhelmed Parents

Friday, April 23, 2021 by Gini

Parents, we know the job of raising kids can be overwhelming, at times, but the rewards of leading your kids to life (eternal life with Jesus) instead of death is the most important thing you’ll ever do.

The Lord is there for you and in your corner.  Just call out to Him when you need His help and know that we’re here to help support you in any way we can.


A Prayer for Overwhelmed Parents

By Gini


It’s true—being a parent is amazing and rewarding, but at times, it can be just plain scary. And there are times when being a parent is so overwhelming, There are moments when you think to yourself “is this really happening right now?”—and all you can do is approach God in prayer. For instance, when you find yourself arguing with a toddler about why it’s important to wear both shoes as you stand in your toy-infested living room, knowing you’re already 30 minutes late to work when all of sudden your other toddler decides she is not happy with her choice of breakfast and now wants waffles instead of yogurt. And, it is in these moments where we have a decision to make. Do we run screaming for the hills or do we face the situation, accept it for what it is and do the best we can not to yell “just get in the car” while throwing their favorite stuffed animal across the room? And, let’s face it, we don’t always make the best decisions.


While we all know the best plan is to stay constantly tuned in to our Lord and Savior, looking to Him for guidance, strength and patience, sometimes in these moments it’s easy to let the situation get the best of us. With this in mind, let us pray together, asking God to intervene during these overwhelming moments in this season of parenthood so that we can be the parents He created us to be.


Dear God,

Thank you for my beautiful children and for all the love and joy they bring to my heart. Lord, I long to be the parent that you want me to be, but sometimes I just get so overwhelmed with the tasks at hand that I forget to lean on You. Lord, please use these times to remind me of your loving arms—remind me to be as patient with my children as I know you have been with me. Remind me to rest in You, Lord, and give me the strength and wisdom I need to carry out your will for my life. In Jesus’ Name I pray.

Amen


Do you know a parent (or two) who needs to be reminded of Who to lean on? Share this article with them. Maybe it’s time to schedule that long overdue lunch date, or if they don’t live close, you could send them an encouraging card or small gift to lift their spirits. However you plan to go about it, sometimes just saying “I know,” or “I’ve been there,” can make a huge difference, turn someone’s day around and help put things in perspective.


Dear Lord, remind me to rest in You.


If we can help you in any way, including praying for you or with you, please let us know by clicking here. Our pastors are available to talk and pray with you, and we have a list of volunteers ready to assist you. 

The Power of a Parent's Words

April 19, 2021 by Don & Suzanne at Crazy Cool Family

Ever heard the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?”


It is what’s said to bullies on the playground to show them they did not hurt you…but the reality is words DO hurt our feelings, emotions, soul, and heart. Words penetrate our mind and effect our thinking.


And this is especially true with our children.


Your words are a superpower!


They can change attitudes, behavior, beliefs, perspectives, ideas, lies, choices, plans, and direction.


We are literally holding a weapon that can be used to protect our family and to fight the enemy or that can be used to hurt our kids.


When we understand the power of our words, we will choose what we say out loud more carefully.


We can change the course of our children by what we say to them.


God created the world WITH HIS WORDS. He set the example that our words are powerful.


James 3:9 – “The tongue is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.”


Proverbs 18:21 – “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it eat its fruits.”


Matthew 12:36-37 – “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”


Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”


Colossians 4:6 – “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”


How do we hurt our kids with our words? Here are a few examples:


Excessive correction – Be careful with your correction. Many parents rely on criticism and negative language believing that it will make their children responsible.


Comparisons – Parents also use frequent comparisons with siblings, sarcasm, and threats in their conversations.


How are we hurting our kids with our words?


Negative words work in the short-term, but the damage they cause in the long-term can effect our children’s self-esteem, their identity, and their relationship with God, with you, and with others.


Parents need to know to be careful what they say to their children because they may agree with you.


We must ask the question, “Is this how I wish my child to experience him- or herself?”


Some examples of when our words hurt and we don’t even know it:


(Suzanne:) One time my dad said that a friend’s little girl was just so cute with all her curls (and my hair was straight as a board.) In my little girl mind, I interpreted that as, “Dad liked her curls better than my straight hair.”


When Macy was a little girl, she had the softest finest hair. When she would wake up, she’d have a giant mass of tangles all in her hair. I called it a little rat’s nest, not thinking anything of it. I found out years later how much it hurt her feelings when I said it.


When Kenzie was little, she would say, “I love you mom,” and I would sometimes respond with “Uh huh.” Not because I didn’t love her back, but because she said it all the time and I often wasn’t paying attention to her little voice. (Remember, she was our 4th girl, and I had mastered the ability to tune them out.)


(Don:) I am a coach and a teacher. When the kids started playing basketball and baseball, I coached their teams and wanted to work with them to be their best. Every time I worked with them, after every game, I wanted to tell them how they could improve. But with the best intentions, I was crushing their spirits because they interpreted my coaching as they could never be good enough for dad. It made them not want to try at sports and not want to be around their dad. As I learned the power of my words, I started to criticize less and inspire more to accomplish my goals – to help them get better.


On the flip side, our words are also super powerful in building up our kids and giving them confidence in life.


Remember the world is constantly telling them they are not enough. They are not fast enough, smart enough, pretty enough. They need to hear encouragement from you to counteract what the world is telling them!


The reality is, words are like sticks and stones being thrown at someone – and they DO hurt.


Watch your kid’s countenance change, and “get addicted” to speaking encouraging words to them.


​Listen to this podcast episode all about "The Power of a Parent's Words" 


Let us know your thoughts by clicking here.


How to Get Older Kids toTalk About Life

Friday, April 16, 2021 by Focus on the Family

Hey Crazy Cool Parents!


We hear parents say, “My little kids always talk to me, but the older kids (pre-teens - high school) never do!”


How Do We Get Them to Open Up About Life?


We say often, if you listen to them when they are five, they will talk to you when they are fifteen. The harsh reality is, If you didn’t listen to your kids when they were little, they may not listen to you now.


Remember, parenting is a marathon, not a sprint. There is always hope! Wherever you are on your parenting journey, we believe this information will radically change the way you parent and create openness in your home.


​In today’s episode, we explore barriers to openness. We share practical and powerful solutions to breaking down those barriers. If your pre-teen or teenager cares more about what's on their phone screen then a conversation with you, you may have a barrier in the relationship.


Here are a few things we believe cause these barriers:


The Enemy

The World

Wounds

We believe you can have a great relationship with any of your kids at any age! Click the link below to learn how to start breaking down barriers in your relationships with the older kids in your family!


Last thing, if you know someone who has an older kid and struggles to connect with them, pass this podcast onto them. Send some encouragement and powerful practicals their way!


Click the link below to listen or read!


How to Get Older Kids to Talk About Life


Let us know how we can help you by clicking here.

Impressing Faith on Your Kids

Monday, April 12, 2021 by Lisa Streu

The past few posts have been focusing on the importance of teaching and leading your children to have a personal relationship with Jesus. As a parent, in my opinion, nothing else you do will be more important than this.  


I’m reading a book by Mark Holmen called ‘Impress Faith on your Kids’ and just wanted to share a few of his thoughts.


  • People think they’re great parents if they spend lots of time with their kids, attend all their games or activities and provide them with better stuff. This can make us a better parent but there’s more. These things aren’t the most important things.
  • A great parent is one who leads his/her child(ren) into life (eternal life) not death through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 
  • Deuteronomy 30:19-20: ‘Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
  • The way we parent and what we choose to make our priority will influence who our children are and what they become.
  • To help lead our kids to eternal life we have to parent God’s way and not the world’s way. That will mean making some tough choices. But the rewards will be eternal.
  • Deuteronomy 6:1-9 are some of the instructions God has given us in His Word. ‘These are the commands, decrees, and regulations that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you. You must obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, 2 and you and your children and grandchildren must fear the Lord your God as long as you live. If you obey all his decrees and commands, you will enjoy a long life. 3 Listen closely, Israel, and be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 4 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord-alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
  • Deuteronomy means ‘repetition of the law’ and we all need repetition because we may recognize the ways of God, when we hear them, yet we continually fall away from them. God is so patient and loving with us and is totally in our corner and wants us, our kids, our grandkids to live joy-filled, blessed and pain-and suffering-free lives forever! All those things may not happen, here on earth, but God’s children are promised that in heaven.


Parenting is the hardest job you’ll ever do, but what a privilege the Lord gives us through the gift of our children to raise them up in the ways of the Lord.


Be blessed and encouraged and know I’m here if you ever need to talk. We can’t get through the job of parenting on our own. Click here to let me know how I can help you.


In His Service, Lisa

Are Your Kids Interested in God?

How to Create Spiritual Interest in Your Kids?

Friday, April 9, 2021 by Don & Suzanne Manning

Hey Crazy Cool Parents!


How do you talk about God with your kids? Are the conversations open, transparent, and life-giving?


Wanna know how to create spiritual interest in your kids?


​In today’s episode, we share the powerful effects of spiritual conversation within family. Do you know how to have spiritual conversations in your family? Do you want to learn more?


Parents, we want to invite you to change your thinking when it comes to talking about spiritual things! You get to show your kids how following Jesus brings abundant life! It's the best possible life and so much better than what the world offers.


Most kids will have a natural "curiosity transition" in their life. It is a time where they decide for themselves what to believe. All kids are different, but this usually happens within their teenage years.


If you have a teen who is struggling with their faith, this podcast is designed specifically for you!


“If a child doesn't question their faith, I would be more concerned than if they do. Not being curious could mean they have a religious or apathetic spirit. They could also have a fear of offending you (the parent)." - Don


We believe God wants to capture the hearts of all your children. As parents, we want to encourage their hearts, not shut them down. There is so much life offered to them and we, as parents, get to show them how to discover it!


We highly encourage you to share this podcast with someone you know! There are so many parents unaware of the impact this topic can have on their kids. Go listen and share today!


Click  here, or the button below, to listen or read more about Creating Spiritual Interest in your Crazy Cool Family!


Listen to Podcast


Go be crazy!


Don & Suzanne


If we can help in any way, or pray for your kids, or  pray for anything you're going through, please let us know by clicking here

Parents, Point Your Children to God Before the Waters Rise

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 by Melissa Edgington

Parents, the most important thing you can ever do is to teach your kids about Jesus and live a life that shows them you are totally devoted to Him.


Can’t wait for us to be able to be at church together again. But don’t let that stop you from teaching and learning with them every day.


Lisa


Parents - Point Your Children to God Before the Waters Rise


My husband Chad and I have talked several times through the years about how strange it is that the most horrifying event in human history has become such a sweet and fuzzy children’s story. Noah and his ark are plastered all over church preschool areas, baby bedding, and children’s Bibles. There’s even a funny children’s song that says:


“God told Noah to build Him an ark-y, ark-y

Build it out of Gopher bark-y, bark-y…”


Strange, isn’t it, when you think about the terrifying nature of the story? The earth was populated by descendants of Adam and Eve. They had turned their backs on God, and God decided He was just going to get rid of them and start over. But, there was that one fella, Noah. He was faithful to God. And he and his family were saved.


I know we usually focus on the big boat and all the animals and imagine what that must’ve been like, traveling on that huge floating menagerie all over the earth. But, I can’t help but picture what it was like on the ground.


Families, moms and dads who loved their children, babies, toddlers, teenagers, grandparents. They had mocked God. They had decided they didn’t need Him. Or maybe they were just indifferent and placed higher priority on other things. Whatever the case, they were down there, living life, thinking they were right, probably believing they were good people.


Then the rain started.


And, at first maybe they weren’t that worried. But, it kept coming down. And soon there was no place for it to go anymore–all the valleys of the earth were full and the water began to rise. Imagine the moment when the waters could no longer be held back. When parents and children knew that disaster was upon them. Panic set in. Moms and Dads clung to their children and their babies’ cries rang in their ears. In that moment, don’t you think those parents wished they had chosen another path? When the terrified screams of their children rose up. When their little ones were asking for help and the parents knew there was nothing they could do. They had made their choice, and it led to this moment. And their children were paying for it.


point your children to God


How often do we consider how our devotion to God (or lack of devotion) will affect our children? Do we send messages that other things are more important than God? Do we rely on our own goodness to guide our kids to the right path?


I pray that we act now, before the storms of this life pummel our kids. We have to be real about devoting ourselves and our families fully to God. It’s too late for us to help them once they’re already drowning. We will have missed our chance.


The good news is that God can do anything. But, we have a responsibility to prepare our kids for a life that is about clinging to Christ, not some flimsy life raft that the world presents as acceptable. Nothing the world produces will hold up against the storm. So, do this: take your kids to church. Teach them about the love of Christ. Live your life to show them that He is the most important thing. Then when life’s storms hit them full force, you will have no regrets, knowing that you did all you could to throw them the life-saving Truth.




















































How to Engage Your Kids in Online Church in 3 Easy Steps

July 9, 2020    by Christie Thomas

Let Sunday, my family sat in the basement during our livestream church, and in the course of the hour-long service, one or more of my boys participated in the following:

  • asking for snacks
  • flipping through a photo album
  • playing with the dog
  • racing back and forth across the basement
  • hiding under a blanket
  • climbing the telepost
  • begging for a kids show

It’s not that my kids are “bad”, and it’s not that our church service was boring. It’s that…well, they’re KIDS. And most kids aren’t great at sitting still through a whole sermon, even when it’s on TV. The novelty of “church-on-TV” seems to have worn off, at least for my boys.

 

Why should they participate in “adult church” anyway?

When I first posted this idea online, several people suggested churches that have dedicated online children’s ministry programs on Sunday morning. That’s fine. I have nothing against children’s ministry. In fact, I worked in paid or volunteer children’s ministry for over 20 years. Our church has a weekly online class for kids too.

While there are definitely benefits to age-appropriate teaching, I firmly believe that inviting our kids into full participation in the service has benefit too!

Participating TOGETHER in church makes our kids feel included right from the start. There has been a lot of chatter recently about why teens leave the church, and it seems that part of the mass exodus may be related to our age-segregated programming (aka Children’s Church and Youth Group).


They’ve been separated for so long, they don’t know how to be part of the bigger church family. When they’re not specifically catered to anymore, they leave because they no longer feel a sense of belonging.

 

Our kids and teens need to know they belong in the greater Body NOW, not just when they turn 18. To do that, we need at least some aspects of our church life to be intergenerational.


As parents, you an I have the choice to let our faith become intergenerational. We can continue having our own church services, OR we can do something different…something revolutionary.


We can worship TOGETHER.


But since your kids might be a lot like mine, I’m going to share 3 easy steps you can take to help your kids engage in online or Livestream church services (even without a kids program).


Intergenerational church doesn’t need to be exhausting!

 

1. Be all there.

Be all there. For real.


I mean us, as parents. It’s tempting to answer texts during the service since the pastor won’t notice the white glow on your face.  But you know who will notice? Your kids.


If you’re not fully there, they won’t be either. (This article goes more deeply into preparing your own heart for online worship.)


2. Manage Expectations

Sitting through a whole sermon can be hard for kids, especially if they’re not used to sitting through sermons. Or maybe your kids ARE used to sitting through sermons, but they need the expectations (and mild peer pressure) of the church family to help them focus. In the safety of your home, they won’t sit still.


As parents, we need to recognize that it can be weird to sing out loud at home or to sit quietly on the couch watching the pastor speak from the computer.


We need to decide what we will expect from our kids.


Do we want them to sing?

Do we want them to take notes during the sermon?

Do we just want them to stop begging for snacks?


It helps to know our kids. If you have a child with ADHD, expecting him to sit through the sermon is unfair. If your preschooler is always hungry at that time of day, make sure she has a snack. Thankfully, you’ve been stuck at home with these kids for a couple of months now, so you should know what they can and cannot do!


3. Encourage Active Listening

I started homeschooling this year (in September, before it was mandatory 🤣) and here’s one thing I’ve learned:

My kids can sit and listen for a VERY long time when they’re listening to something engaging AND their hands are busy. I keep a bin of Lego in my living room for read-aloud time, and my 6, 8, and 11-year-old boys will happily create while I read for an hour, and still beg for more when my voice is exhausted.


I know my kids are not alone in this. In fact, I got the idea for “active listening” from other homeschool moms.


Friends, active listening WORKS.


So here’s what you do:


Set out some supplies on the floor or table. (See my list below for ideas. )


Instead of begging your kids to sit-down-and-listen-already, simply ask them to create something that reminds them of the service.


For example, if your pastor is preaching on the parable of the sower, ask your child to create something that reminds them of the parable. A young child might glue pompoms to a page as seeds, or scribble a picture of dirt. Older kids might draw or paint the story or set up a re-enactment with building blocks. Teens who might normally be disengaged might enjoy journaling in their Bibles or drawing out the Scripture text in funky lettering.


As they create, your children will be listening better AND they’ll have something concrete to remind them of what they learned. (Also, you’ll get to listen to the sermon for once). Win-win-win!

 

You may find that you get drawn into the activity as well, and connect more with the service than ever before!

There are MANY ways you could encourage active listening, which I’ll list below. Just know that you can change the type of toy/art supplies each week or just use the one type that works best.


If you like to have a visual reminder that it’s okay to worship God through crafting and journalling, you can print this poster of all the ways kids can engage in Scripture.



8 Types of Supplies To Encourage Active Listening During Church


Here’s a list of possible supplies you could set out:


1. PAPER AND PENCILS.

Young children can draw pictures, and older kids can draw or write out the text in fancy lettering. Throw in some markers and some kids will be sad when the sermon is over!


2. PLAYDOUGH.

Allow your kids to pound and roll and sculpt while they’re listening. This little gem was created by my 8-year-old in response to the Easter lessons at church.

 

3. WIKKISTIX

These ingenious little craft supplies are perfect for keeping hands busy on long drives, and it turns out they’re also perfect for church! Turn them into glasses so you can see the world through God’s eyes, shape them into little people or animals, or make buildings. WikkiStix are easy for kids of any age to shape, which actually makes them better than playdough, in my opinion.

 

4. RANDOM CRAFT SUPPLIES

Set out scissors and glue, then add whatever you can easily access: popsicle sticks, string, beads, pipe cleaners, rubber bands, etc.


5. BLOCKS OR LEGO

Kids can use blocks to spell words, create scenery, or re-enact Bible stories. My own kids have used blocks to create a lion’s den and to finish the phrase, “God, you are amazing because…”

Find the perfect block set for your family!

 

6. ART SUPPLIES.

Set out a cup of water, washable paint, brushes, and paper and ask your child to create a piece of art that reflects the service.

 

7. NATURE SUPPLIES.

One sunny autumn day, my preschooler rushed into the house demanding that we come outside to see his altar. My husband and I were a little shocked at first (I mean, an ALTAR??) but it turns out that he had set up the scene of Elijah on Mount Carmel. He built the altar out of sticks and was throwing colorful autumn leaves onto it to depict the fire coming from heaven.

If you can watch your online church outside, why not let your kids use what’s around them to respond to the service?


8. JOURNALING BIBLES

One of my boys loves to read a portion of text and then draw his interpretation right in his Bible. I let him color the entire page because he has a second Bible. I love that he will have this journaling Bible as a keepsake, and it is also a great learning tool!

 

Find a journaling Bible!

 

So that’s it! When you try this at home, please let me know how it goes. Leave a comment here or connect with me on social media!


May God give you the wisdom to know your child 
and the grace to set their imagination loose 
to experience the wonders of God 
even through online church.


Love,

Christie


Please let us know if any of these helped you and if you have more suggestions!


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