Category: Discipling kids

The Exile Began | Jeremiah 36

By | June 27, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 12.54.41 AMFEAR OR FEAR?

In the English language there is only one word for fear. In the Hebrew language, which is the language of the Old Testament, there are two words for fear, pachad and yare. The Hebrew word pachad means to have fear, dread, terror, or to be startled. For example, you would never willingly stick your hand in a fire because you would be afraid of being burned. The other Hebrew word for fear is yare, meaning to stand in awe, to reverence, or to re- spect. For example, you recognize the power and position of God and so give Him proper respect.

In today’s Bible reading, King Jehoiakim failed to have dread or respect of God. The scroll that was read to Jehoiakim contained warnings about upcoming judgment against Judah, but the king was not afraid of God’s judgment. He had such lack of respect for God and His Word, he burned the scroll.

 

Review:  Last week we learned how God called Jeremiah to deliver a message to Judah. At first, Jeremiah was afraid because he was young and could not speak well. God touched and put His words into Jeremiah’s mouth. God told Jeremiah that the entire nation would oppose his message, but then God told Jeremiah to not be afraid.

What does God promise Jeremiah? Although the people will fight against Jeremiah, they will not overcome him because God will rescue him. Even with the entire nation against him, Jeremiah did not have to worry, because God promised to be with him.

Memory Verse: Ezekiel 37:27: “My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

 


TALK

God called Jeremiah to be His prophet while Josiah was king of Judah. Now, about twenty years later, God had a message for King Jehoiakim. Jeremiah had all the words written on a scroll, and had his scribe, Baruch, go to the temple and read the scroll to the people.

  1. In verse 5, Jeremiah tells his scribe, Baruch, that he must go to the temple and read the scroll. What was the reason that Jeremiah said he could not deliver the message? Jeremiah said that he was restricted from going to the temple. We are not told why Jeremiah was not allowed in the temple.

  2. The Lord and Jeremiah both had the same wish for Judah after they heard the message of the Lord. What did both God and Jeremiah desire for Judah? They both desired for Judah to turn away from their wicked ways. What did God say He would do if Judah turned back to Him? “I will forgive their wickedness and their sin.”
  3. How did the officials react after Baruch read the scroll to them? They looked at each other in fear. What did they do? They told Baruch to take Jeremiah and hide. They told King Jehoiakim everything that had been read to them.
  4. King Jehoiakim told the officials to bring the scroll and read it to him. What did Jehoiakim do as the scroll was being read to him? Whenever three or four columns of the scroll were read, the king would take a knife, cut them off, and throw them in the fire, until the entire scroll was burned. Not only did Jehoiakim destroy the scroll, but he also wanted to destroy God’s prophet, Jeremiah. The king ordered that Baruch and Jeremiah be arrested. How did God protect Baruch and Jeremiah? God hid them.
  5. The Bible states that when the officials heard what the scroll had to say, they looked at each other in fear. How does the Bible describe Jehoiakim and his attendants’ response? They showed no fear nor did they tear their clothes. Jehoiakim’s father, Josiah, also had a time when God’s Word was read to him. Read 2 Kings 22:11–13. How was Josiah’s reaction different from Jehoiakim’s reaction to God’s words? Josiah tore his clothes, showing sorrow for the sins of the nation against God. Being part of a family that goes to church and has family worship time means that we hear God’s Word often. Sometimes it is easy to hear the words, but not do anything with what we have heard. We may be able to quote numerous Bible verses, but we never think about how we should apply them to our lives. Read James 1:22–25. What should we do with God’s Word? Do not just listen to it, but do what it says; then you will be blessed.
  6. What was to be Jehoiakim’s punishment because he refused to listen to God’s warning? Jehoiakim would no longer have someone on the throne. This meant his entire family line would be removed from the line of royalty. This judgment was fulfilled when Jehoiakim’s son, Jehoiachin, ruled only three months before he was captured and taken into captivity

 


PRAY 

Use this unit’s memory verse as the foundation for your prayer time.

  • Invite God to dwell among you; to be a part of everything that happens in your home.
  • Ask God to reveal to you any false gods that you may have. Ask God to remove them from your lives, so that He is the only God in your home.
  • Commit your lives to God to show those around you that you are God’s people, living a life that is righteous even if those around you are not righteous.

 

(June 28th lesson)

Be unconditional: by more deeply connecting with your kids

By | June 9, 2015

Your kids pay attention to what you pay attention to.

They notice how you listen to them when they’re talking to you (especially when you ignore a phone call or text alert so you can keep listening to them).

They like it when you take them to a park and play with them versus sitting on a bench and passively watching.

Your kids recognize the subtle-yet-significant things you do to engage them; to see them, know them, and understand them. By being seen, they can then be known. By being known, they can then be understood.  And when they feel better understood by you, they just might begin to feel better understood by God.

Watch how this plays out as you lean into what your son or daughter is experiencing and wondering to ultimately love and lead them into a deeper connection with God.

 

unnamedEngage the questions your kid is asking, noting how one leads into the next:

  • “Do you see me?”: Give your kids your full attention many times throughout each day. Pay attention to the words they use, what they talk about, who influences them and what entertainment they’re into. Asking open-ended questions can communicate that you like talking with them, which creates a social connection between the two of you.
  • “Do you know me?”: Tangibly remember the important things your kids said were coming up, like handing them a note of encouragement the day of a big test or recording a TV show they enjoy. Suggest new things that they might be interested in trying based on this knowledge, such as a particular restaurant or movie. When your kids feel like you know what they’re interested in or are working through, they’ll feel like you’re personally bonding with them.

 

  • “Do you understand me?”: As parents we can often see what’s happening with our kids before they realize it themselves. Use such knowledge humbly, like hugging them when they’re feeling down without demanding a conversation about it. Your quiet compassion speaks volumes about your understanding and can even open them up for conversation later.
  • “Do I understand God?”: As kids feel understood, they become more open to new ways of understanding God himself. Their questions may deepen beyond what you feel you’re able to address. Again, let your presence and love be consistent as you explore the answers together. Share your own stories as a way to help them enter God’s story.
  • “Do I know who I really am?”: Your kids have a true identity that only God can reveal. The more they hear how he’s working in others, they more they can sense him at work in them. This requires multiple moments of growth, as faith is not just a one-time salvation decision but several decisions along the way. Spur this on by helping them plug into a church with loving people who will help them propel forward spiritually.
  • “Do I see others like God does?”: Even kids who regularly take part in church may not necessarily see others as God does. Help them realize the significant role they can play in others knowing God better, perhaps by praying for friends at dinner or hosting a monthly pizza night where your kid can practice the gift of hospitality by serving the other kids they invite.

Nahum, Prophet to Ninevah | Nahum 1–3

By | June 6, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.13.53 AMSometimes when people read the Old Testament prophets, they develop a false view of God. They read about God’s judgment, not only for the people of Israel, but also for other nations. They may think God is quick-tem- pered and always watching in order to punish, when the exact opposite is true. The Bible tells us that God is pa- tient and slow to anger (Numbers 14:18; Psalm 103:8; Psalm 145:8; Nahum 1:3). God did send words of judgment through His prophets, but there was always time for repentance. For example, Noah was told about the earth’s coming destruction, but judgment did not come for 120 years. God told Moses that the Canaanites were wicked people, but they did not receive judgment for 400 years. The Northern Kingdom had 210 years before their exile, and the Southern Kingdom, Judah, did not experience God’s full judgment for over a century.

God is holy (Isaiah 6:3). He is unable to tolerate sin, yet He shows patience for the purpose of bringing people to repentance.


 

Review:  Last week we learned about the prophet Habakkuk. He had a conversation with God about why God was allowing Judah to go unpunished for their sin. When God told Habakkuk that Judah would be punished with the invasion of Babylon, Habakkuk was shocked that God would use such a wicked nation. In the final chapter, Habakkuk’s words change from questions to praise.

What lesson did Habakkuk learn from his conversation with God? Habakkuk learned to trust God no matter what the circumstances, even when he did not understand.

Scripture Reading:  Nahum 1–3


 

TALK

The prophet Nahum was a prophet to the Assyrian capital city, Ninevah. His prophecy came over a century later than Jonah’s first proclamation of judgment on this city.

  1. What does Nahum say is the reason Ninevah is being judged? (1:2–3) The guilty will not be unpunished. Although Ninevah repented when Jonah was sent to them, they had returned to their old sinful ways, and they were a constant problem for Judah.
  2. What things happen in verses 4–5? The sea and rivers dry up; blossoms fade; mountains quake; earth trembles. Just as God caused the Red Sea to part for Moses and the people of Israel, God can do with the sea as He wishes. Without water the flowers and trees would dry up and die. God brings the flood, and He also brings the drought. When God cuts off the water supply, plant life dies. God is in control of everything; He is

    all powerful.

  3. What does God promise in verse 7? The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust
    in Him. Do you trust in God? Have you asked Jesus to come into your life? The Bible tells us that we will be judged by God. He wants us to come to Him and let Him be in charge of our lives. He wants us to be in Heav- en with Him. There is only one way to do this. We must ask Jesus to come into our life and believe that He died and rose again to pay the punishment for our wrongs. We must trust in Him.

The book of Nahum is about God’s judgment against Ninevah, but there is much more to the book. It talks about God’s patience and compassion. He does not take pleasure in sending judgment on anyone, even if they are not following His ways. God always did and still does make a way of salvation for anyone who turns to Him.


PRAY

John 3:16 is a very familiar verse, but it is a wonderful summary of the main message of the Bible; the message of God’s salvation offered to all. Read or recite the verse together. Use your prayer time in praise and thanksgiving to God for His precious gift.

 


DO

Directions: Have two family members role play the following:

Instruct family member #1 to tap the other person on the shoulder with their finger over and over. Have family member #2 (the one whose shoulder is being tapped) ask family member #1 to stop. Family member #1 should say he or she is sorry, but then after stopping for only a second, start tapping again. Have the family members repeat this process a few times. Finally have them stop. Talk about whether the person who was tapping was really sorry. Why do you think the person played by family member #1 wasn’t really sorry, even though he or she apologized? Explain how our actions show whether or not we are really sorry. Discuss how God is a forgiving and patient God, but there is a point when God chooses to bring correction to those He loves.

 

Lesson: June 7th

Be unconditional: investing in your teen takes time

By | June 5, 2015

You are your teenager’s biggest influence.

It’s statistically true, even if some days it feels hard to believe. The investments you make in your son or daughter will shape him or her for life.

No pressure, right?

According to Psychology Today:
“Parents vastly underestimate how closely they are observed and how constantly they are evaluated by their child. The child tends to idealize the parents, the adolescent tends to criticize the parents, and the young adult tends to rationalize the parenting received.”

It’s no wonder why parenting can wear us out. Toss in teen insecurities with our crazy schedules and we may begin to doubt our effectiveness as parents altogether.

Hang in there. You are able to make a difference, one moment at a time.

Become the go-to person for creating and making the most of family time together.

Here are some tips for creating the space to connect.

5 Routines of Family Time

  1. Daily: You can only give so many great bursts of energy and attention each day, so make sure your family gets one of those bursts. Aim for eating at least one daily meal together. Ask open-ended questions as you chat, like “What has you excited or concerned today?” or “What’s a question you’d like me to give you a clear and honest answer about?” Prioritize starting or ending your day in prayer. Never give up on this!
  2. Weekly: Arrange a regular “family” night or morning time that you all agree to honor. Give each member of the family the chance to rotate ownership of any choices that may be involved, like watching a movie, playing a game, or eating together.
  3. Monthly: Find something special to do each month, be it repeating activities you’ve enjoyed in the past or trying new ones. Ask local friends for ideas, and encourage your teen to likewise brainstorm among his/her own peers to deepen ownership of the final plans. It’s not always necessary for this to be an outing as much as a special time together.
  4. Quarterly: Every season requires new investments in who you each are and how you all live. Pick a day each quarter to spend all day investing in your home or yard, and then discuss what might be needed for every person to contribute as they can.
  5. Yearly: It’s healthy to plan a yearly event with each one of your kids, especially if there is a large age span between them. Teens may have special interests that can’t be explored with their younger siblings through typical family outings, such as rock climbing or a ski trip. Plan a unique outing that considers the uniqueness of your teen, even if it takes months to plan. As always, involve your son or daughter in the process.

Just a Phase.

By | May 30, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 8.38.53 PM

If someone has ever told you, “It’s just a phase,” chances are it was intended as a consolation or a word of encouragement. More than likely, what they meant was, “Don’t worry. You can survive this. It won’t last forever.” When I first became a mother and my colicky son was crying for hours after each feeding I needed to know there was hope for a different tomorrow. I needed to know there would come a day when I didn’t smell like baby vomit and when the child I loved didn’t cry for hours.

There’s a lot of truth to the idea that your current relationship with your child is “Just a Phase.” But that’s not to suggest that, as parents, we should grit our teeth and hold out for the next phase to come. A phase isn’t something to wish away or hurry past. Because once a phase is over, it’s over.

We only have the opportunity to know our child once as a three-year-old. After 52 short weeks, they turn four. Sure, moving to the next phase means they will stop throwing catastrophic tantrums when you insist they cannot finish the half-eaten breakfast bar they just discovered under their car seat. But it also might mean fewer spontaneous giggles, loss of imagination. It might mean they finally discover “bilzoder” is actually pronounced “bulldozer.” It might mean you have to start answering some questions you weren’t quite ready for.

Whether your child is a toddler, an elementary age kid, a middle schooler, or a high schooler, they’re in a phase.

And the phase won’t last for long.

Every phase is a timeframe in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future. But in order to leverage the opportunities of each phase, you have to show up for it.

That may sound obvious, but it can be incredibly challenging at the same time.

It’s easy to get stuck in the phase that came before. It’s baffling at times when you realize your child isn’t the same person you thought you knew last year. When their interests change, or their preferences change, it can be hard to keep up.

It’s easy to rush into the phase that should come later. Maybe it’s because we’re ready to watch a new movie, read a new book, or play a new game, so we stretch the age-limit just a touch. Maybe it’s because—let’s face it—if we can get our son to shoot a basketball through a ten-foot goal when he’s six, we’ve earned serious bragging rights. But childhood isn’t meant to be rushed. If we’re always in a hurry to get to the next phase, we can miss what is unique about the phase our kids are currently in.

So, whatever phase you’re child is in, remember there is something remarkable happening right now. This phase won’t last forever. Don’t rush the clock. Don’t wish away the moments you have.

At Vista we value Parent Equipping, coming alongside of families supporting and assisting parents to develop the Kingdom attitudes and practices of their children. This is an important concept to fully understand and embrace. Christian schools and the local church’s Sunday school have traditionally been looked to as the places where children learn about God, the Bible teaches us that children really need to learn from their parents. , Deuteronomy 6:7 instructs us to take God’s Word and …repeat it again and again to our children. We are to talk about it when we are at home and when we are away on a journey, when we are lying down and when we are getting up again. This is a basic model for teaching children about God in the home. The perspective taught in this passage is that the parents are primarily responsible for the spiritual development of their children.

We know that this is not easy. We know it can be overwhelming. We want to partner with you and your family in the development of worshipful, relational and missional children. You don’t have to do this alone so we have created ways to be on this journey with you:

  • Yearly: Milestone Celebrations – Child Dedications (twice a year) and Baptism
  • Monthly: talk.pray.do – a monthly resource based on Deuteronomy 6, encouraging families to teach their children about God as they go through the ordinary experiences of life. It’s about intentionality within the rhythm of your everyday life. We encourage you to TALK with your children for 15 minutes a day. PRAY at least twice a week in meaningful time together as a family. Then we simply ask that you DO one family night a month. Each month we provide instruction and tools to serve as a springboard for your family time.
  • Weekly: “What did they learn?” email follow ups to allow your family to continue the discussion at home regarding the lesson taught that Sunday. If you ever miss a week, check the Vista Parents Blog for more information.
  • Groups: Family Discipleship small groups that study a particular subject for 6 to 10 weeks. Check the Vista Parents Blog for groups forming or email me if you would like more information, to lead or host one.
  • Vista Parents Blog: As mentioned several times before the Vista Parents Blog is a hub of information for your family with everything from helpful tips, resources, lesson follow ups and important Kids Community updates.
  • Serve: We all go through seasons where serving is hard and requires sacrifice. Jesus is worth that sacrifice — and so are our children. We can trust Him to provide rest and Sabbath while we also serve. Whether it is teaching kids, chaperoning a student event, or serving in Kids Community, let’s remember that little eyes are seeing our actions and believing that they too are called to serve the body of Christ.
  • Family Sunday:  We offer Family Sunday, every 7 weeks or so to allow time for your family to worship and serve together.

Let’s do this together! Its just a phase and we don’t want to miss it.

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