Conversation Starters: Handle Money Wisely

Posted on March 29, 2017 by Karah

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Earning a paycheck is one thing; budgeting and using that money wisely is another thing. Many of us live from paycheck to paycheck. The example of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 and the writings of Paul to Timothy give us an example on managing the money and assets we’ve been given.

Concept: Handle Money Wisely


Acts 16:1-4; 1 Timothy 6; 2 Timothy 1:1-5, 3:14-17

LIFE POINT: A young boy named Timothy grew up with his mother and grandmother. They taught Timothy about God. They taught him verses from the Bible. Timothy listened carefully to the Bible stories they told him. Timothy learned to love God. When Timothy was older, a man named Paul came to his town. Paul was a missionary. He traveled from town to town, telling people that God loved them. Paul wanted Timothy to help him. So Timothy became Paul’s helper. Paul and Timothy traveled to
many towns telling people about Jesus. After Timothy had stopped traveling with Paul, he got a
letter from Paul. Paul reminded Timothy how his mother and grandmother had taught him verses and stories from the Bible. Paul told Timothy to always remember what he had learned. Paul reminded Timothy that the Bible would help him.

LIVE IT OUT: Play a game about right and wrong choices with your child. Name some things your child
may do or be tempted to do. Help him identify which are right choices and which are wrong.


1 Timothy 6

LIFE POINT: Dear Timothy,
Teach others about Jesus. Teach them to live as God wants and teach them to be content.
I want to warn you, Timothy. People who want to get rich may be tricked into thinking money is everything. Loving money is the beginning of all kinds of evil. When people want money more than anything, they may forget about God.
Stay away from greed. Live with faith and love. Work to live the right way. Keep the commandments.
Teach people who are already rich not to trust more in their money than in God. They can hope in God who gives everything.
Teach people to be generous. Teach them to share with others.
Grace to you.

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child understand the danger of greed. When a person is not satisfied with what he has, he may choose any means necessary to achieve more. Pray for your child to trust in God and be content with what he has.


Proverbs 31:13-21

THE POINT: Managing your resources well now, will pay off later. How does being a Christ-follower
impact how we view and manage our money? When have you been most tempted to spend money
impulsively? What obstacles hinder us from acting responsibly with what God has given us? Discuss the following quote:

“If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten out almost
every other area in his life.”1 —Billy Graham

LIVE IT OUT: Encourage your student to do the Live It Out activity for the week. Here are
some suggested ways to help your student:

If he or she plans to complete the Daily Reading:
• Take time to discuss your student’s scripture readings from this week.


Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged , , , | Leave a reply

Conversation Starters: Think Commitments Through

Posted on March 22, 2017 by Karah

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: We live in a culture of instant gratification. We don’t like to wait, and we want things now. Credit cards and loans can make it easy to get something now, even if we can’t afford it yet. Although a debt may seem manageable now, circumstances can quickly change and work against us. The Bible offers dire warning and shows us the consequences of foolishly going into debt or taking on financial obligations irresponsibly.

Concept: Think Commitments Through


Matthew 5:1-2; 6:25-34

LIFE POINT: Jesus was the best teacher. He could tell people about God’s love so they could understand. One day He was with a group of people on the side of a mountain. He sat down with them. Jesus began, “Don’t be afraid that you will not have enough food to eat or enough water to drink. Also, don’t be afraid that you will not have clothes to wear. God knows what you need, and He will give you what you need.” Jesus used stories about His creation to help the people understand. He reminded them how God feeds birds. God also makes flowers beautiful, and they don’t have to worry about how they look. Jesus told the people that just like God takes care of all of His creation, He will take care of people.
Jesus wants people to remember that God knows what we need. God loves us. He wants us to be happy with what He gives.

LIVE IT OUT: Ask your child to name his favorite toy or book. Then ask him to name a favorite friend or family member. Talk about favorite foods your child likes to eat. Comment that God gives all good things. Pray, thanking God for what He gives.


Luke 12:13-21

LIFE POINT: A man asked Jesus to make his brother share his wealth and property with him. Jesus told the crowd, “Don’t be greedy. Your life is more than what you own.” Then Jesus told this story: A rich man’s land grew a big crop of grain. The man thought, “What should I do? I don’t have any place to store my grain. I know! I will tear down my barns. I will build bigger barns. I can store my grain in them. Then I will tell myself, ‘You have enough to last many years. Take life easy!’ ” Then God spoke to the rich man. “You are foolish. You will die tonight. Then who will own the grain? That’s what happens when men think more about their wealth than they do about God!”

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child memorize Hebrews 13:5. As you read the verse together, assist your child in understanding that God should be the most important part of his life.


Proverbs 6:1-5; 22:7

THE POINT: Evaluate commitments now, so you aren’t over committed later. Why are so many people willing to over commit their time? How do we navigate the tension between avoiding entanglements and wanting to help those in need? How can obeying the principles in these passages free us to serve and honor God in our daily lives? Discuss the following quote:

“All these toys were never intended to possess my heart. My true good is in another world, and my only real treasure is Christ.”1 —C.S. Lewis

LIVE IT OUT: Encourage your student to do the both Live It Out activity. Here are some suggested ways to help your student:

If he or she plans to complete the Daily Reading:
• Take time to discuss your student’s scripture readings from this week.

1. C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: HarperCollins, 1940).

Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged , , , | Leave a reply

Preparation Tips for Camp Parents

Posted on March 17, 2017 by Phil

Camp is right around the corner! While your kids are experiencing many different emotions as they prepare for Camp, we know that you too find yourself excited, then nervous for them, and maybe even a bit scared too. These are very normal emotions that we all experience as parents. As you prepare, I’d like to share these 11 Tips to consider as you get ready for this summer’s camp experience. See you soon!
– Phil Berry, Director and Camp Parent

1.       Plan together. Instead of planning the entire event for your child, involve your son or daughter in the choice to attend camp, what kind of camp to try, and how long to stay. Children who feel some control over their camp experience are more likely to enjoy it than children who feel forced to attend.

2.       Express enthusiasm. From the start, your discussions about camp should be positive, even if some of your own childhood memories of camp are not quite stellar. Sharing that story about the time you and your cabin mates narrowly escaped a treacherous lightning storm while rapelling a sheer stone wall in the Canadian Rockies won’t inspire junior to take the plunge. Instead, talk about camp in truthful, glowing terms in order to instill a positive attitude about the experience.

3.       Shop together. Part of giving a child some ownership over his or her camp experience involves reading the camp’s packing list and shopping together for key items. Perhaps a new flashlight, a toiletry kit, or bottle of shampoo is on the list. Rather than picking up these items on behalf of your child, bring your son or daughter with you to the store.  Lay out a budget and let them do the shopping. It’s another great way to instill positive attitudes (and ensure you don’t buy the nerdy underwear or the dorky-colored toothbrush).

4.       Label everything. It’s really easy for kids to lose stuff at camp, but if you want it back, it has to have your child’s name on it. The iron-on labels are OK, but they rarely withstand more than six or eight trips through the washer. I like laundry markers (such as the Sharpie “Rub-A-Dub” marker) and indelible stamps. Most big-box, office-supply stores can custom-make a rubber stamp. Blot it on a permanent ink pad and voila! You can label just about anything with your child’s full name and phone number. Label tapes (such as the P-touch) also work well for labeling items like tennis racquets and sunglasses. Yes, you have to label everything.

5.       Spend practice time apart. The best way for your child to learn how to cope with the separation from home is … you guessed it … spending some practice time away from home. As I talk about in my DVD-CD set for new camper families (The Secret Ingredients of Summer Camp Success), both parents and children benefit from arranging a long weekend at Grandma’s or several overnights at a friend’s house. Children who learn how to cope with their normal feelings of missing home will arrive at camp confident and enthusiastic.

6.       Pack together. You’ve planned and shopped together … now it’s time to get everything ready to go. Double-check the camp’s packing list and be sure you’ve labeled everything. (Did I mention that already?). Once again, joining your child in this important preparation, rather than doing it for him as a “favor,” will instill a sense of pride. Be sure to pack in the recommended container (e.g., trunk, duffle bag, suitcase, etc.). If your camp recommends a trunk or footlocker, I suggest rolling your clothes and arranging them like pencils in a can. That way, your child can see everything she has all at once. The traditional fold-and-stack method of packing hides everything but the top layer.

7.       Never make a pickup deal. It’s normal for any child to ask, “What if I feel homesick?” But research shows that almost all children have at least some feelings of homesickness during their stay at camp. So, please, don’t ever say, “If you feel homesick, I’ll come and get you.” The subtext of such dreaded pickup deals is: “I have so little confidence in your ability to cope with this normal feeling that I think the only solution is for me to come and rescue you.” Not surprisingly, pickup deals make homesickness worse. When your child asks, “What if I feel homesick?”, tell him: “You probably will miss some things about home, but your practice time away has taught you how to deal with those feelings. Plus, your cabin leader or counselor will be there to help.”

8.       Make a letter-writing kit. If you want any chance of correspondence this summer, you’ll need to grab a large, zipped freezer bag and pack it with paper, pens, and a stack of pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelopes and postcards. Your child is going to be having a blast at camp, and chances are that he won’t be thinking much about you or home. (Sorry.)  Don’t worry. When it comes to camp, no news is generally good news. But, letters are fun to give and receive. I recommend you send two or three letters a week.

9.       Express confidence. “You’ll do great at camp” is something every parent should say to their children, whether they’re headed to day or overnight camp. Of course, there will be some challenges. Making friends, spending time away from home, and adjusting to a new routine aren’t easy. But they are possible. And when your child accumulates a pile of small successes at camp, she will start to feel even better about herself. Remember, self-esteem is borne of actual accomplishment, not parental platitudes. What your child needs going into camp is your vote of confidence. It’s normal for you to be a bit nervous about the time apart, but share your own jitters with a partner or spouse, not with your child.

10.    Be honest on your child’s health form. Yes, some well-intentioned parents will withhold crucial medical and psychological information from their child’s camp health form. (Not you, of course, but other parents.) Leaving out critical data about any diagnoses, conditions, or medications cripples the camp’s doctors and nurses. Instead, fill out the health form completely—even add a supplemental narrative if you want—so the camp’s healthcare professionals are in the best possible position to support your child. And if your child takes a helpful medication—such as a stimulant medication for ADHD—please keep him on that medication during camp. He will need to pay attention and control his impulses at camp just like at school. Withholding helpful medications only puts your child at a behavioral and emotional disadvantage. (And if you want some extra brownie points with the camp nurse, send in the completed health form when it’s due, rather than bringing it on opening day.)

11.    Eleven? Yes! A free bonus tip! Be on time for opening day. Nothing throws a family’s mental state off more than arriving late on the first day. (I’ve even had parents arrive on the wrong day.) Believe me when I say that it’s a good idea to read all the correspondence you get from camp, including information about the day and time for opening drop-off. A lot of introductions and orientation happen in the first hours of camp, so it’s important your child is there on time to begin integrating into the camp community. It’s equally important that you be on time for closing day. No child likes to be the last one to be picked up, so plan for traffic and weather, and know that even if your child is a bit sad to leave camp, he sure is glad you were on time. My own mother still reminds me of the first words that came out of my mouth when she and my dad picked me up after my first overnight camp stay: “Next summer, I want to come for four weeks, not just two!”

These eleven steps are from an except written by Dr. Chris Thurber, and were featured in an article in CampBusiness magazine. Also consider Dr. Chris Thurber’s book Summer Camp Handbook which can be found easily with a google search.

Dr. Christopher Thurber is a board-certified clinical psychologist and father of two. His preparatory materials for new camper families include the bestselling Summer Camp Handbook and a DVD-CD set called The Secret Ingredients of Summer Camp Success, which has been shown to lower the intensity of first-year campers’ homesickness by 50 percent, on average. Visit to order these materials or learn more about Chris’s work with kids and camps.

For more packing tips, visit our #AskCamp Video FAQ Wall…. available April 2017

Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a reply

Conversation Starters: Only God Brings Lasting Satisfaction

Posted on March 15, 2017 by Karah

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: In our current economy, no one is guaranteed a “sure” thing. The economy can falter. A secure job this year may not be so secure next year. All these reason can motivate us to earn and build as large of a financial nest egg as possible. Nothing we try to do, though, offers us complete security. The Bible directs us to have the right perspective on our money and look to God for the security we need.

Concept: Only God Brings Lasting Satisfaction


Mark 10:17-27

LIFE POINT: A man hurried up to Jesus one day with a big question. The man asked, “What can I do to learn how God wants me to live?” Jesus answered the man by telling him that he needed to follow God’s laws. The man told Jesus he always did so. Jesus knew the man had a lot of money and possessions. Jesus told him to go home, sell everything he had, and give the money to the poor. He then told the man to come back and follow Him. This answer made the man very sad. He loved his money and things more than he wanted to become a follower of Jesus. He left Jesus and went home unhappy. Jesus turned to His disciples and reminded them that money and things can get in the way of loving and following God. He told them they could make right choices about loving Jesus and understanding what Jesus would do for them.

LIVE IT OUT: In the center of a sheet of paper, write the name Jesus. Give your preschooler stickers
and crayons to decorate the page. Talk about how much Jesus loves her. Tell her God wants people to
love Jesus.


Mark 10:17-27

LIFE POINT: One day, a rich young man came to Jesus. “What must I do to have eternal life?” he asked.
Jesus reminded the man of God’s laws: “Don’t murder. Keep your marriage promises. Don’t steal. Don’t lie. Don’t trick others. Honor your parents.” “I have done all these things,” the man said. Jesus loved the man. He said, “Do this. Sell everything you have and give the money to the poor. Then, follow Me.” The rich man was very sad. He walked away from Jesus. Then Jesus told His followers, “A person can only enter the kingdom of God with God’s help. God can do all things.” Peter said, “We have given up everything to follow You.” “Those who give up things for Me will gain even more,” answered Jesus.

LIVE IT OUT: Does your child have too much “stuff”? Suggest that your child give away some items as a way of remembering we should love Jesus more than our possessions.


Proverbs 23:4-5; 30:5-9

THE POINT: Contentment and security rest in God, not in our accomplishments. How would you summarize our culture’s view of possessions and being content? If God’s Word is reliable, why do we
often struggle to follow its truth? How would you describe a lifestyle of godly contentment in today’s
culture? Discuss the following quote:

“You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were
doubled.”1 — Charles Spurgeon

LIVE IT OUT: Encourage your student to do the Live It Out activity. Here are some suggested ways to help your student:

If he or she plans to complete the Daily Reading:
• Take time to discuss your student’s scripture readings from this week.


Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged , , , | Leave a reply

Conversation Starters: Transformed in My Choices

Posted on March 8, 2017 by Karah

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Our culture overwhelms us with choices. Even soft drink vending machines in restaurants are now offering up to 127 choices. Choices may encourage our individuality, but choices—especially too many choices—can be stressful. The biggest choice we must make, however, does not need to be hard. Life boils down to one choice with two options: take the road that leads to life in Christ or take the road that leads to destruction.

Concept: Transformed in My Choices


Ezra 2:1, 68-70; 3:1-13

LIFE POINT: God’s people had disobeyed God and had been taken away from Jerusalem. They were sad and wanted to go back home. God made a way for all of these people to go back home. They were so glad to go back where they had once lived, but they were sad when they saw how God’s temple had been torn down. They began to make plans to rebuild the temple. They started working with people who knew how to build with stone and wood. They worked hard to get a new floor in place for the temple. Once the work was done, the church helpers led the people to sing songs. They let God know how much they loved Him and how glad they were that He keeps His promises. They made music with trumpets and cymbals. They sang loudly. They thanked God for taking care of them.

LIVE IT OUT: Encourage your child to sing songs of praise to God. Play music in the car while driving or at home while working. Let your child hear you sing songs of praise, and he will sing along.


Ezra 2:1, 68-70; 3:1-13

LIFE POINT: Some people sang. Some people shouted. They were all happy. The temple was being built again! The people who came back to Jerusalem had been sad. The temple had been torn down. Some of the men rebuilt the altar. Now people could bring special offerings to God. They began celebrating the special days God had given them. They brought offerings. They started rebuilding the temple. As soon as the foundation was made, the people sang for joy. The temple helpers played trumpets. Some played cymbals. Everyone gave thanks to God. They praised God for loving them. The people gave a great shout of praise that could be heard far away!

LIVE IT OUT: We can worship God by singing to Him. Remind your child that the Book of Psalms is a book of songs. Help your child memorize Psalm 9:2 and set the words of the verse to music. Sing this song together to worship God.


Matthew 7:13-27

THE POINT: Choose to follow Jesus. What have you found difficult about the road that leads to life? What does God’s Word say our role is in producing fruit? What are some difficult “foundation”
choices you are facing right now? Discuss the following quote:

“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”1 —C.S. Lewis

LIVE IT OUT: Encourage your student to do the Live It Out activity. Here are some suggested ways to help your student:

If he or she plans to complete the Daily Reading:
• Take time to discuss your student’s scripture readings from this week.

1. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: HarperCollins, 1952) 50

Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged , , , | Leave a reply

Conversation Starters: Transformed in My Actions

Posted on March 1, 2017 by Karah

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Tolerance is a word that gets tossed around a lot by both Christians and non-Christians, even though both sides have differing definitions for tolerance. In spite of the high value placed on tolerance, we still tend to judge people and criticize their opinions or behavior. Jesus calls us to a far higher standard. Even if our viewpoint is the correct one, Jesus calls us to treat people as we desire to be treated.

Concept: Transformed in My Actions


2 Chronicles 24:1-14

LIFE POINT: On the day that Joash was seven years old, there was great excitement. The priest called the people together in the temple court, and before them all Prince Joash was crowned King of Judah. The trumpeters blew on their silver trumpets, the musicians played on harps and cymbals, and the people sang. When he was older, King Joash wanted to repair the temple. He had a wooden box made with a hole in the top. His helpers placed the box by the temple doors. The people could place money in the box to help make the temple beautiful and clean. Then Joash sent for stone workers to make the walls strong and firm. Carpenters made new doors and tables. Metal workers mended the broken ironwork. Soon the temple was strong and clean and beautiful again.

LIVE IT OUT: Include your child as you work at church. Give her jobs to do that are appropriate for her
age. Emphasize that it is people’s responsibility to take care of the church building.


2 Chronicles 23:11-13; 24:1-14

LIFE POINT: Joash became king when he was only 7 years old! The Bible says that Joash did what was right. When he was older, King Joash saw that the temple needed to be fixed. He put a special box near the temple gate. The people brought their money. They were happy to put their money into the special box. When the leaders opened the box, it was full! They set the box out again. The people kept bringing their money. Each day the box was emptied. Finally, enough money had been given to fix the temple.
The king and the head priest gave the money to the workers. The workers fixed the temple. King Joash used the rest of the money to make items needed inside the temple. The people now had a better place to worship.

LIVE IT OUT: Does your child give money to church? Think together with your child about a special
event at church that requires extra money. Help him develop a plan to donate to that cause. Remind him
that giving is a form of worship.


Matthew 7:1-12

THE POINT: How we treat others reflects our belief of how God treats us.

-What’s the difference between judging others and talking honestly about sin?
-When have you benefited from being persistent in your prayer?
-Why do we struggle to treat others the way we want to be treated?
Discuss the following quote:

“By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”1 — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

LIVE IT OUT: Encourage your student to do one or both Live It Out activities. Here are some suggested ways to help your student:

If he or she plans to complete Relationship Report:
• Talk with your student this week about the people he or she sees every day and how to pray for them.

If he or she plans to complete the Daily Reading:
• Take time to discuss your student’s scripture readings from this week.


1. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (New York: Touchstone, 1995) 185.


Posted in Just For Parents | Tagged , , , | Leave a reply