10 items tagged "Discipleship"

  • "What's in the Bible?" VBS coming soon!

     

    Things you need to know:

    -A FREE family friendly dinner is at 5:30, Monday-Thursday.
    -The event starts at 6pm and will end at 7:30PM.
    -This is a FULL family event! When we say family, we mean it. Bring everyone! There will be nursery options for the little ones, worship and lesson is ALL together, and then parent/family small groups that meet while the kids are participating in their own groups.
    -Pre-registration begins July 10th (online & at VBS booth)  To register online, click here
    -Quick little video on the curriculum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ceyJeGGJuk

    Check out below what you and your kids will gain from being apart of our VBS:

    For Kids:

    Elementary-aged children will experience an exciting rotational model VBS and walk away from the week knowing the BIG story of the Bible – God’s Great Rescue Plan! – and what it means to live as a Christian.

    For Parents:

    Parents will walk away with a new understanding of the Bible, how to lead their families through the tricky parts of the Bible, and how to engage their family in God’s redemptive mission in the world. Parents will also be receiving several take home resources that can help you keep the experience alive while at home!

    This is a great way for you to wrap up your summer to move into the school year with momentum and excitement!

  • Be Anxious for Nothing

    Read Together:

    “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  - Philippians 4:4-7

     

    Main idea:

    Worry can steal the joy and peace right out of our lives!  Rather than ruminating on our troubles, begin the habit of praising God and calling on Him in prayer.

     

    Preschool & Early Elementary Takeaway:

    He doesn’t say rejoice and celebrate on your birthday, or just on holidays, or just when something happy or fun happens… He tells us to rejoice and celebrate always! 

    --What is something you want to thank God for?

     

    Student & Teen Takeaway:

    Many of our thoughts come from worry. We stress out about life, but we don’t have to. God is going to take care of us, and He is with us. He wants us to tell Him about our anxiety and fear. When you are worried, tell God about it. When we talk to God about our problems, we can experience His peace for us.

    --What things in life cause you stress?  How can you trust God with these?

     

    Couples:

    We love feeling we can have control; that we’ve reduced all risk of danger or threats.  However, we know better. Circumstances can change in a moment, revealing the places in our lives we need God to touch.  Our call here is to choose to rejoice…no matter the circumstances…no matter what! 

    --Why is it hard to give up control?  What do we need to surrender so our hope is in Christ alone?

     

    Pray Together:

    Lord, no matter what comes our way, our eyes will be fixed on you.  We choose to praise You for who You are.  You’re good, faithful, and in control!  We love You, and we choose to have our hope and joy in You!

    Amen

     

    Sing Together:

    “Joy of the Lord” - Rend Collective

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVIhb-c_4Tw

  • Be the spiritual thermostat

    “Prayer turns ordinary parents into prophets who shape the destinies of their children, grandchildren, and every generation that follows.” -Mark Batterson

    One of the greatest gifts you can give your children, or grandchildren, is to show them what it means to love Jesus with your own life. Be a living example of a life shaped and anchored in prayer. There is a laundry list of reasons why we may not take prayer seriously, or only go to prayer during those ASAP moments. We need a fresh love again for prayer! How about as parents, we lift the bar on prayer in our homes, and teach our children what it means to call upon the name of the Lord, no matter what our circumstances? If we want our children to follow Jesus as adults, then let’s make it a priority for ourselves to follow and love Jesus with authenticity and passion.

    You are the spiritual thermostat in your home. Let’s keep it hot by persevering in prayer!

    How have you been shaping your children and grandchildren’s destinies?

  • Bedtime Prayers

    Bedtime routines with little ones can be exhausting! There is bath time, finding the “perfect” pajamas, brushing teeth, cleaning up toothpaste smeared on the sink, kids arguing over which book to read (which always leads to reading more books than planned), tucking them in, and finally, you’re ready to turn off the lights! It’s a busy, tiring, and at times frustrating routine, and it has also become one of my favorite routines of the day. In these chaotic moments, God has provided a window of opportunity for us to connect to the hearts of our children and to pray with them…right in the middle of this busy routine! Since my oldest was born, every night after I tuck my kids in, I pray a simple prayer over them. I have prayed the same prayer now for seven years over each of my children. It’s the most important part of our bedtime routine. It’s rarely ever missed, and my kids now make sure of that. Deuteronomy 6 gives instruction for parents to impress truth upon the lives of your children at home, as you go, and when you lie down and get up. We must seize these moments as opportunities to model to the next generation what it means to follow Jesus Christ. ‘Seize the moment’ means you need to grasp hold of it’; no matter how tired, frustrated, annoyed, etc. you may be…seize these bedtime moments to impress God’s truth and pray with your children. They’ll love it and keep you going. Couple suggestions to pray with your kids:

    Pray for…

    • Peace

    • Forgiveness

    • Patience

    • To know God intimately

    •Family members, friends, and neighbors.

    Your bed-time prayer does not have to be long or flowery; just allow it to be genuine and intentional. Just for fun, here is the prayer I do with my kids…

    “I pray the Lord opens your eyes, so you can see Him. That He opens your ears, so you can hear him. He touches your mind, so you can know Him. He touches your mouth, so you can speak of Him. He opens your heart, so that you may love Him. He blesses your hands, so that you may do His work!”

    I have said this simple prayer at bedtime over 2,500 times since becoming a father. I trust the Lord has not only heard them but will continue working in my children’s lives in response to them. There is tremendous power in prayer! So, before you turn off the lights, make sure to seize the moment and bless your children!

  • Grandparents Matter

    Grandparents, you’ve done it! Your kids are adults! They have their own careers, and they are starting their own families. The many years of relentlessly leading and guiding your kids are paying off, and it may appear your job is done. It’s tempting to celebrate; to kick back and enjoy this new season of your life. Well, you definitely deserve some much needed rest…but don’t celebrate too early. You’re not done yet.

    Research shows that the #1 influencer in a child’s spiritual life is their parents. No surprise there. The runner up though, at #2, is a close family member, specifically grandparents. This makes sense, and is supported in scripture. Check out Deuteronomy 4:9. “Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren.”

    As grandparents, you have a tremendous opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of not only your kids, but of your precious grandbabies! Don’t celebrate too early. Make sure your kids and grandkids love Jesus more than anything. Once that happens, celebrate away!

    Looking to make an intentional impact on your grandkids? Click herefor some great resources and encouragement.

  • Launching Battleships

    Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV)

    Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

    The passage shares God’s command, not suggestion. God intended it to describe an educational process for families to disciple each generation. These few verses shaped the lineage of Israel, significantly impacting each generation. For them, every generation plays a role and is just as significant. Putting it simply, God has a plan for each generation to know and love Him. The key piece to this plan is through the family!

    When it comes to raising your children, are you “skipping stones” or launching “battleships”? No matter how hard you throw a stone and no matter how many “skips” you get, that stone is always going to sink. Many young people today will identify with the “skipping stones”. Sure, they start off great, moving with a lot of speed, but they eventually lose power and sink right to the bottom, never to emerge again.

    When following the commands of Deut. 6 we are not preparing our kids like skipping stones, we are slowly but surely building up battleships. Though battleships take time to build and are obviously much heavier than rocks, they will not easily sink! Battleships cruise through the water and waves with ease and are not afraid to take on what is ahead of them. They are built to last and move in power. Generational discipleship is not dumping sermon after sermon on your kids, it’s intentionally investing in them in everyday scenarios. It’s living genuine and passionate lifes for Jesus Christ every day! When you’re at home, it’s about Jesus. When you’re at the store, it’s about Jesus. When you’re on vacation, it’s still about Jesus. Our kids are learning how to live for Jesus by watching you. Don’t spend too much time lamenting over mistakes, let’s correct what needs to be corrected and begin living the D6 (Deuteronomy 6) lifestyle!

    Go Deeper:

    http://d6family.com/

    The DNA of D6

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Seize the Moment

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” -- Deuteronomy 6:6-7

    “We will not hide them from their descendants, we will tell the next generation, the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.” –Psalm 78:4

     

     

    Scripture clearly articulates the duty of parents, grandparents, and invested adults to instruct children in the things of the Lord. Every generation of Christians bears the responsibility of handing down what they have received—the testimony of who God is and what He has done—to the next generation. When it comes to passing on this precious story, we don’t need to over-complicate it. In Deuteronomy 6, Moses doesn’t give us a program, manual, or an overcooked strategy for discipleship. Moses simply encourages us to seize the moment.

    Life is busy. The thought of adding something else to your already full schedule generates more anxiety than anticipation. Here’s how you keep your priority to impress truth upon the hearts of your kids. Your greatest mission will be best accomplished through this simple, daily practice. Just seize the moment.

    Here is what this can look like…

    • As you drive your kids to school, turn the radio off and pray for them. It’s probably going to be short and simple, but it opens the opportunity for them to share their concerns with you. Seize the moment to impress their hearts that God cares about our daily struggles.
    • It’s time for dinner and you finally get a chance to sit down together…Put the phones away and seize the moment. Let them know what you read in the Bible today or how you handled a conflict with patience.
    • It’s Sunday morning at church, and you notice a couple of teens in service. Seize the moment! Introduce yourself, get to know them, and ask how you can pray for them.
    • It’s been a long day. You left work, cooked dinner, brought your kid to practice, picked them up, convinced them to finish their homework, and now you made it…it’s bed-time. Before you turn off the lights, seize the moment. Ask your children (no matter their ages), “What is God doing in your life?” “Do you have anything you would like to talk about?” Pray for them and let them know that God is good and always near.

    These verses bring tremendous encouragement. Reaching and discipling the next generation doesn’t have to be complicated. Just seize the moment. Read scripture together, play your family’s favorite worship music at home, and share how much you love Jesus. Kids will always catch what we project!

     

     

  • Teach Me to Pray

    Read Together:

    In this manner, therefore, pray:

    “Our Father in heaven,
    Hallowed be Your name.

    Your kingdom come.
    Your will be done
    On earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread.
    And forgive us our debts,
    As we forgive our debtors.
     And do not lead us into temptation,
    But deliver us from the evil one.
    For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

    Matt. 6:9-13

    Main idea:

    Jesus often retreated to a quiet place to spend time alone with His Father. Prayer refreshed Him after a long day of ministry. It was His source of strength. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us how to pray and offered the Lord’s Prayer as an example.  We too, can find our strength and be refreshed in the Lord as we turn to prayer.

    Preschool & Early Elementary Takeaway:

    Jesus taught us to pray because it helps focus our thinking on God’s will, not our own. The Lord’s Prayer declares God as our provider. It acknowledges that only God can forgive our sins, ease our anger and to protect us. 

    Why is it important for us to forgive others?

    What does it feel like when someone forgives you? 

    Student & Teen Takeaway:

    It’s important that we move beyond prayer as a means of obtaining our personal wants and needs and to focus it as a time to increase our desire for God and to get on board with His mission (reaching the lost). Prayer not only draws us closer to God, but gives us compassion for our family, friends, and neighbors. 

    What does the Lord’s Prayer tell us about what’s important to God?

    What struggles have you experienced in prayer?

    What do you think it means to persevere in prayer? Why would this be important?

    Couples: Each day brings it’s own challenges, some easier than others.  We often forget to protect our hearts from the worry, stress, anxiety, frustrations, disappointments, etc. that we experience throughout the day.  Turning to prayer, particularly as a couple, can help us get our eyes off our circumstances and to fix them once again on Jesus Christ!

    How can I pray for you today?

    Who in our family should we be praying for?

    Pray Together:

     Lord, we need you.  We know you’re the provider, savior, and protector of our family.  We pray that you continue to soften each of our hearts, help us to be sensitive to the leading of your Holy Spirit.  Forgive us for trying to live out of our own strength.  There is nothing that You can’t do.  We will trust in you!

    Sing Together:

    Lord, I need You.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuvfMDhTyMA

  • The Importance of Warmth

    The first emotional bonds we form are with our parents, and the nature of these bonds influences us throughout our lives. For many young adults, parents have been the primary influence on their spiritual and religious development, and relations with parents are linked to their first conceptions of God. Instilling Christian truths into our children and inspiring them to pursue their own relationships with God is of the upmost importance for Christian parents. But what exactly promotes or hinders this spiritual transmission to the next generation?

    Research collected by Vern L. Bengtson in the book, Families and Faith: How Religion is Passed Down Across Generations, states that the quality of parent-child relationships, is strongly associated with the passing on of the faith from generation to generation. Vern identifies four different parenting styles that help promote or hinder spiritual transmission:

    #1- Warm, affirming parenting: This is perceived by the child as a consistently close relationship with one or usually both parents. This type of parenting can be described as loving, supportive, and respectful. The methods in this parenting style for religious socialization involves teaching, modeling, and living in a community that affirms their faith. This isn’t perfect parenting, and it is not without some bumps and bruises. Bengstons’s research shows though, that these parents are living consistent, Christian lifestyles. Throughout the research, it reveals the better the relationship one has with their children, the better the likelihood of their children embracing their faith as adults.

    #2- Authoritarian Parenting: The other extreme of warm parenting would be a parenting style perceived by the child as cold, distant, or authoritarian. With this style, even the most dedicated efforts by parents, to pass on their faith, can be undone. Many young adults in Bengston’s findings report they no longer adhere to any religious affiliation due to their parents, and other well-meaning adults, being highly critical and having fractured relationships.

    #3-Mixed Message Parenting: Sometimes a parent, usually a father, appears to shift between criticism and nurturance, creating an ambiguous image in the child’s eye. The child can also perceive parents occupying two extremes, one being very excited about their faith and the other more ambivalent. In Bengston’s research, they’ve found when there is “mixed-message parenting,” there is less intergenerational continuity of faith.

    #4- Preoccupied Parenting: This type of parenting refers to parents who are distracted by marital, financial, or health problems, occasionally even substance abuse. These parents mean well, but when preoccupied for a long period of time, in which the children are not near the center of the parents’ attention, the research shows that it does not typically lead to a successful passing on of the faith.

    In summary, in families of faith, warmth matters. The quality of the parent-child relationship directly affects how much influence mothers and fathers have on their children’s spiritual temperature in adulthood. The young adults in Bengston’s study who felt particularly close to one or both parents not only continued in the faith, but have many positive experiences of their own too!

    If interested to learn more about this study, check out the book Families and Faith: How Religion is Passed Down Across Generations

  • What is Family Worship?

    What is Family Worship?

    And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” —Deuteronomy 6:6–7

     

    One of the primary responsibilities God gives parents is to raise their children in the instruction and discipline of the Lord. God calls parents to lead and love their family diligently; regularly reminding their children of the faithfulness and glory of God found through the Lord Jesus Christ. Family worship is simple: you read God’s Word together, pray together, and sing.  It does not have to be super-spiritual or deep.  In fact, there may be sometimes you wonder if it is having any effect at all.  Be careful with those harmful thoughts.  Let us remember to not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.  The power of Family Worship is not in an evening, but in the work of the Holy Spirit through the sowing of the Word of God over time. Keep sowing, keep watering, impress God’s truth, no matter what!   

    If you haven’t started Family Worship, we’re here to help!  Soon we’ll be providing some Family Worship guides for your family to use at home.  In the meantime, here’s a way to begin incorporating the Bible into your family’s routine.  One of the best and most fun ways to kickstart spiritual conversations and reading scripture with your family is around the dinner table.  What I have found helpful when doing this is to first make sure everyone has their food and drink before we begin. (Even after getting everyone settled, there will always be distractions. Keep going…patiently.)  Then, I simply share with my family what the Lord revealed to me during my morning devotional time.  I read the scripture, share what it means to me, and I ask them what they think about the scripture read.  Depending on the age, this is where it can get interesting!  Hang in there and trust that the Lord will do His work. Add this simple routine to your family dinner…tonight!

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Located in Bourbonnais, Illinois, we are a praying church dedicated to the transformation of our community and the world by the powerful message of Jesus Christ.

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