Monday, December 31, 2012

Wanting God's Best For Your Children- Part 2

So with my previous post in mind, here are 7 steps for use to pass on to parents how to desire God’s best for the inhabitants of their homes.

1. Establish who’s the king of the castl

Joshua 24:15 says “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose
for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

What does this look like for your family? (It’s more than attending church once or twice a week! It’s getting involved on a daily basis. Every educator knows that the students whose parents are involved in their education do better! What changes need to happen for Jesus to be the king of your home.

2. Parents set the example…(it starts with you!) The church cannot do this for you. The church has it’s part to play.
Deuteronomy 6:6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Be an example of living the scriptures. Be an example of serving, going to church. Let your children see you praying, speaking the word, and needing the Lord!

3. You home should be a place of learning God things!
Deuteronomy 6: 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.
t’s our job to take back the time you have with your children. This calls for consistent, intentional actions, Watch out for mix signals and too many voices in your home.

4. Keep your marriage strong. If you’re not married, keep your relationships pure. INCLUDE JESUS IN EVERY RELATIONSHIP!

Establish house rules that line up with scripture-

Ephesians 4:32 is a great place to start…Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

A second is…Don’t let the sun go down on an agreement.
Ephesians 4:26 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 
Remember it’s your job to model love /true love, to your children!

5. Be willing to parent each of your children differently…
This doesn’t sound fair… All kids are not the same…
Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
That way is different for each child. Be willing to let some things go… (Major on the majors…, minor on the minors…) Your child may never make an A in Biology…
They make not ever make their bed automatically without being told. But they need to love the Lord with all their heart, and all their soul, and all their mind. (This was number one at the Wideman house over anything else!)

6. Have fun as a family.
Laugh together, sing together, play together, read together, eat together, pray together! Invite God in the middle of all good times!

Proverbs 17:22 (MSG) “A cheerful disposition is good for your health; 
 gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.

7. Make church, small group, youth group, and serving a priority…

 Hebrews 10:25 (CEB) Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.
A great habit to develop is as soon as you get home…talk about what your learning as a family!

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO MAKE RIGHT DECISIONS, It’s never too late to prioritize and create a plan to help the families that you serve and the children at your house to desire a deeper relationship to Christ and to truly love the Lord with ALL their heart and ALL their mind and ALL their strength!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wanting God's Best For Your Children

Psalm 112:1-8 (NIV) tells us…”Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, 
who finds great delight in his commands. 2 His children will be mighty in the land; 
the generation of the upright will be blessed…
6 Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. 
7 He will have no fear of bad news; 
 his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. 
8 His heart is secure, he will have no fear; 
in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.
This is hard to walk out as a parent let alone lead other parents to walk this out for their families. The world can be a cruel place, it can be an unsure place. This is our time but they are hard and troubling times for the church.
 A large percentage of Americans believe it will get worst before it gets better. When you look at what’s happening in the news, on TV and even in the church it’s pretty scarey out there but it’s times like these that makes us ask the big question, do you really believe and practice what you teach and preach? As for me… I BELIEVE THE BIBLE!...
            John 16:33 tells us “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Man that’s good news for busy Children’s leaders. Families need God’s peace not just his plenty!
 Also in Proverbs 14:26 it tells us…He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge. This is what the homes of us in the church should be. A secure fortress for our children. Is what you are doing for families in your church doing this? That’s a great question to use as we evaluate our programs
Home should be a place of comfort, a place of safety, a place of refuge. A place where those who lead it, get to control what happens…  that also means They are responsible for the behaviors and outcomes of those who live there!
God’s Plan has always been the same…

            Deuteronomy 4:9-10 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. 10 Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”

Remember yourselves & teach the children. Every feast and every holiday was the same. I have had a blast this year telling my Grandson the God story of our family. I am going back though our lives and bringing him up to date with all that God has done for us. I will retell him those stories every opportunity I have, as long as I’m alive for two main reasons. So I can remember myself and so I can pass it on to Sparrow. God’s done some amazing things in Widemanville and I believe with all my heart the best is yet to come!
            Deuteronomy 6: 1-8 says “These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 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.

It is amazing to me that parents want better for there children than they have had in every area of LIFE but one. We want them to have more opportunities financially, educationally, and socially. We want them to have a better marriage, drive a better car, wear nicer clothes, live in a better house, and the list could go on forever. But when it comes to spiritual things we don’t want them to go overboard…
We’re happy if they turn out just as spiritual as us. As long as they are not bad….VERY FEW PARENTS HAVE A VISION OF THEIR CHILDREN TO BE SPIRITUAL DYNAMOS! It’s not the same priority and desire we have for them in other areas.


More to come...

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Here's Help To Make Your Volunteers Thrive...

There’s no shortage of great children’s ministry conferences. But usually they’re too expensive and too far away for your volunteers to experience their power.

Imagine if there was a Kidmin conference that was close enough and affordable enough that you could bring your entire volunteer team. Imagine if that very same conference had many of the same speakers as the other national conferences like Reggie Joiner, Sue Miller or me. Imagine the bonding and growth that your team could experience as you learn how to more effectively embody Christ for the kids in your ministry.

We imagined too. And we crafted the Illuminate Conference because we wanted this dream to be reality. It’s the opportunity for you to make the affordable, powerful investment you’ve wanted in your volunteers.

Thousands of church staff, leaders, and volunteers hungry to experience this same dream will gather in cities all across the United States for this premier children’s ministry event.This is the “volunteer-focused” conference where you’ll hear from internationally-known kidmin leaders who will equip, encourage, and empower your ministry teams. This is the kidmin conference where bringing your entire volunteer team is not only encouraged but actually possible. This is Illuminate.

I've told you the what... Here's the where...

Birmingham, AL – Saturday, January 26, 2013

Dawson Memorial Baptist Church
1114 Oxmoor Road
Birmingham, Alabama 35209

Austin, TX – Saturday, February 2, 2013

Gateway Church
7104 McNeil Dr.
Austin, TX 78729

Nashville, TN – Saturday, February 16, 2013

Longhollow Baptist Church
3031 Long Hollow Pike
Hendersonville, TN 37075

Fort Lauderdale, FL – Saturday, March 2, 2013

Church by the Glades
400 Lakeview Drive
Coral Springs, FL 33071

Memphis – Saturday, April 6, 2013

Central Church
2005 Winchester Boulevard
Collierville, Tennessee 38017

Don’t worry Kids Pastors, directors, and staff. Although this is a “volunteer” conference, we haven’t forgotten about you either. We have specific breakouts for you that will challenge you in your leadership and the issues you encounter in your unique ministry position.

Speakers this year include:
Reggie Joiner: Orange - Cumming, GA
Sue Miller: Orange - Cumming, GA
Jim Wideman: World Outreach Church - Murfreesboro, TN
Gina McClain: Faith Promise, Knoxville, TN
Jonathan Cliff: Athens Church - Athens, GA
Matt McKee: Orange/ROAR - Cumming, GA
Jason Underhill: Long Hollow Baptist Church - Hendersonville, TN
Jenny Golden: Church of the Highlands - Birmingham, AL
Meaghan Wall: Stonebriar Community Church, Frisco, TX
Dan Scott: Orange - Cumming, GA
Kenny Conley: Gateway Church - Austin, TX
Adam Duckworth: First Baptist Ft. Lauderdale - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Andy Savage: High Point Church - Memphis, TN
Dale Hudson: Christ Fellowship - Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Jenny Funderburke: West Bradenton Baptist Church -Bradenton, FL
Amy Fenton: People's Church - Franklin, TN
Cass Brannon: Calvary Baptist Church - Tuscaloosa, AL
Annette Boorman: Hill Country Bible Church - Austin, TX

What an incredible lineup! You can read the bios of this year's communicators here.

You can see all the breakouts here.

These are just a few of the breakouts, more will be listed on the breakout by the end of the week. So much great content. How amazing is this for volunteers? Why wouldn't a church send as many volunteers as possible to engage in this kind of conference?

I'm excited about being a part of 2 of the 5 events. Go ahead and sign up now and take advantage of the early bird discounts for each event. Get all the details here
So what are you waiting on? Go ahead and register now!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Have You Heard About Give God 12?

I've known Gregg Johnson for more than 20 years. He's a true friend and a mover and shaker in the world of preteen minitry. He's also the founder of J12. I just found out about a wonderful event that will begin on December 12th, 2012. (12/12/12) for families, preteen kids, and kidmin leaders. I wanted to find out more and help Gregg spread the word on what He was doing so I caught up with one of his staff Stephen Hibdon who serves as the Creative Director of J12 Here's what Stephen had to say...

If Give God 12 is just now launching December 12th, 2012, why do we seem to hear so much buzz about it already? What is the backstory?
"Give God 12 is a seed that was planted in the heart of Gregg Johnson, J12 founder exactly 12 years ago. Give God 12 is practiced and celebrated effectively in J12 local church ministries all over the world. Through the materials, curriculum, and tools already developed Give God 12 is stoking the fires for thousands of families to have healthy devotional lifestyles. 

This year, “Give God 12”  becomes an official movement launching December 12, 2012. 
As part of the launch plan, 12 years ago, Give God 12, among many other initiatives,  will be intentional in helping families and churches learn and be inspired to spend daily time with Jesus."

Why are you launching Give God 12 at Christmas?
"Christmas is every believer’s favorite holiday. During this season we are celebrating God sending us the greatest gift history will ever know. Jesus.

What a better way to GIVE back to Him than by GIVING Him our time this month.
That is what 12/12/12 is all about. 

Jesus came here to get close to us, and He loves for us to desire to draw near to Him. 
This Christmas season, why not teach our families all over again to spend time with Jesus? And, in the journey, we might find a simpler focus too."

Who is the perfect audience for Give God 12 on 12/12/12?
"Preteens is our passion. So of course, we are reaching out to preteen ministries everywhere and they are joining us this 12/12/12 through the internet, by getting the 12/12/12 Kit, and by holding events where they challenge their preteens and families to #GiveGod12. 

However, the desire to make a renewed effort to spend time with Jesus is universal. Youth ministries, families, parents, leaders, and even whole churches are joining us in this challenge."

Explain the challenge a bit and why thousands are already doing it?
"It’s simple. It’s clear. It’s even easy, really. Give God 12 - twelve minutes a day. 
Through prayer, reading His Word, meditation, journaling, waiting, and listening. 
I guarantee you’ll run out of time if you do all of those. Sometimes it’ll be just one. Sometimes it’ll be lived out in other ways. The point - Give God time."

Is there a particular strategy that is used?
"How does one Give God 12? We’ll have tips, ideas, and tools that might make it more fun for tweens and even for adults. But the truth be told, nobody can lay out the right formula for everyone. The best strategy characteristic is faithfulness. Give God time and watch what He gives you in return." 

Talk about what the actual 12/12/12 event will look like. Is it a physical event or a virtual one?
"On 12/12/12 ministries, families, and individuals are joining together to re-commit to spend time with Jesus. Some through church events, others through a family devotion time or just a personal commitment. 

Then over the next 12 days, the 12 days of Christmas so to speak, they will be challenged to practice the Give God 12 challenge, culminating on Christmas Eve with the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. During those days, Gregg Johnson, will be presenting 12 short videos through many social networks, to encourage and inspire action to Give God 12 even after December 25th!"

How can the average leader or family participate and what is the message you want to leave us with regarding 12/12/12?
"Give God 12 will naturally create stories of how God brings blessing when we spend time with Him. We will encourage leaders and parents to share and post the videos, pictures, and testimonies of their families and churches and what God is doing there. We will also encourage them to share what they are being inspired to do that makes their Give God 12 effective through and connected networks over the 12 days and beyond."

Thanks Stephen! I hope you'll click on the link above and order your kit today and let's give God 12!