Conversation Starters: Called to be Fishers of Men

Posted on August 14, 2013 by Teeny

 

And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.  Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.”  Matthew 4:18-20

How can you keep this conversation going at home?  Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:

For Preschoolers
What makes you one-of-a-kind?

What makes me one-of-a-kind?

What makes our dog one-of-a-kind?

What makes Jesus one-of-a-kind?

For Children
How was Jesus different from other people?

How were Jesus’ followers one-of-a-kind?

How can you show people that Jesus wants you to be different in how you live?

For Students
In what areas should Christians be different from un-believers in what they don’t do? (speech immorality, etc.)

In what areas should Christians be different from unbelievers in what they do?  (love, honesty, etc.)


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Conversation Starters: Seeking Him

Posted on August 7, 2013 by Teeny

“You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:12-13

How can you keep this conversation going at home?  Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together.

For Preschoolers
Have you ever seen Mom or Dad fix a broken toy you didn’t think could be fixed?  How did you feel?

For Children
What’s the worst thing about having to wait for something?

When you know what you are waiting for is going to be really, really good, does that make it easier or harder to wait?

For Students
Do you think it is easier to build something from scratch or to repair something after years of neglect?

Do you think it is easier for someone to begin following Jesus, or to start following Jesus again after falling away from Him?

How can you pray for friends who have fallen away from God?


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Conversation Starters: He Disciplines the One He Loves

Posted on July 31, 2013 by Teeny

“Don’t be deceived:  God is not mocked.  For whatever a man sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirt.” Galatians 6:7-8

How can you keep this conversation going at home?  Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity or even while you’re shopping together:

For Preschoolers
What are some of the rules we have in our house?
Why do we have those rules?  Are they because we don’t want you to have any fun, or because we don’t want you to get hurt?

For Children
What do you think would happen if you were never punished when you did something wrong?
Do you think if we (your parents) loved you more, we wouldn’t discipline you as much?  Why or Why not?

For Students
Talk with your teenager about the worst trouble you ever got into.  What did you learn from it?  How did your own parents discipline you?


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Conversation Starters: Our Calling to His Purpose

Posted on July 24, 2013 by Teeny

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

How can you keep this conversation going at home?  Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:

For Preschoolers
What do you want to be when you grow up?

How can you show people you love God in that job?

For Children
In addition to the above questions, ask, How do you think you can tell if this is something God wants you to do with your life?

For Students
When you work on a group project, hod do you decide which idea to go with?

Is it sometimes hard to admit someone else might have a better idea than you?  What do you do about it?


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Dads: Make Every Day Count

Posted on July 10, 2013 by Phil

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi was well-known for a lot of things, most notably his passion for teamwork, commitment and success. Lombardi was driven to succeed, and he knew that winning required hard work and sacrifice.

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour,” Lombardi said, “the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”

As a father, my wife and children dominate the list of the things that I hold dear, and I will gladly lay exhausted on the field of battle for the cause of protecting and serving my family. I worked with at-risk kids for more than 20 years, and I’ve seen the positive role that dads play in the lives of their children. I’ve also witnessed firsthand the devastation that can occur when a child has no father figure in his or her life.

Assessing victory or defeat on the football field is relatively straightforward. It’s simply a matter of knowing the rules and how to keep score. Fatherhood is different. There is no off-season. No signing bonuses. No referees.

Yet victory is still possible.

One of the most effective parenting game plans is to simply take advantage of everyday opportunities to love our children and instill the right values in them. To be the best dad we can be is to make every day count.

So, where do we begin? We start with five key behaviors of a healthy, thriving family. These five behaviors demonstrate that small daily investments can make a big impact in a child’s life. They are prayer, laughter, time, conversation and dinner. Let’s look at each one:

Prayer: More than just praying for our children, prayer allows us to model for them the importance of taking our requests to a loving and gracious God. A few years ago, when I was without a job and our housing situation became unstable, our entire family sought the Lord together every day, and God provided for us in amazing ways. We continue to seek the Lord as a family (we have three young kids) to this day. Family prayer has drawn us closer to each other and to God.

Laughter: Modern science tells us that laughter has many benefits. It can increase blood flow, reduce stress and even help suppress pain. Laughter also has a profound impact on social interactions: Laughter connects us with others. Having fun as a family strengthens your relationships with your children and helps create positive memories. One of the regular ways we have fun is by watching our family videos. We make popcorn, laugh and reconnect as a family while we recall some of our favorite times together.

Time: We all have to choose how to occupy our limited free time, but you will never regret spending extra time with your children. (Watching TV together is not enough!) Ask yourself: Is the time we spend together as a family positive? Does it draw us closer together, or are we simply in the same home at the same time? In our home, Friday evenings are our regular family time. The kids look forward to it and each pick out a game for us to play. I also set aside one-on-one time with each of my kids. We call them “Date Nights With Dad,” which include activities like fishing, an evening at the park (with ice cream to follow, of course!) or a wagon ride around the neighborhood. Most of them involve little or no money – just lots of time together. Regular date nights also pave the way for a deeper and trusting relationship as our children grow.

Conversation: Talking is not always the same as conversing. A lot of family communication centers on superficial aspects of our lives such as managing daily schedules and whether or not we are keeping up with our regular duties (chores, homework, etc.). Do you ever set aside time to learn more about your children, to exchange ideas and opinions free from the regular interruptions of life? Can you name the “one thing” that gives meaning to your child’s life? Most parents can’t. Dads, if we don’t ask these questions – and actively listen to the answers – then we may never know our children’s fears and dreams.

Dinner: Researchers have found that family members who eat dinner together at least four times a week exhibit improved communication, healthier eating habits, higher grades and fewer problems with at-risk behaviors. The key to family dinners is keeping them free from distractions. Unplug from the world and pay attention to each other. One of the ways my family does this is by having everyone around the table share his or her “highs” (best thing of the day) and “lows” (low point of the day). Use dinnertime to engage in some of the other thriving family behaviors: time, prayer and conversation (and maybe even some laughter).

If your family is lacking in these behaviors, don’t despair. We all fall short as parents, but it’s never too late to start. No matter the ages of your children, begin today to take advantage of everyday interactions.

Maybe your children are grown and out of the house. You can still pray with them and for them, even if it’s over the phone. Invite them to dinner if they live nearby. Take the time to have a conversation about something other than the weather; maybe you’ll even get to share a few laughs.

It’s time to make every day count.

by Roy Baldwin To read the complete article, visit Focus on the Family…

Copyright © 2012 Focus on the Family.


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Conversation Starters: Obedience to Him

Posted on July 3, 2013 by Teeny

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 7:21

Conversation Starters
How can you keep this conversation going at home?  Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:

For Preschoolers
What are some rules that keep you safe?
Why do we have rules like this?
What are some of God’s rules?  Did God give us rules to keep us from having fun, or because He loves us?

For Children
What are some rules you know we should follow?
Why should we obey these rules?
Is there more to being a Christian than just following rules?  What else?

For Students
Why are relationships important?
How do rules protect relationships?
Honestly, how would you feel about a parent who had no rules or expectations for his children?


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Top Priority: Remembering Your Spouse

Posted on June 12, 2013 by Phil

“…When we were dating, it was very easy to make our relationship my number one priority, second only to God.  I would anxiously await the mail every Tuesday because I would get letters or cards letting me know that I was being thought of.  The weekends were spent hanging out with my now-husband and his best friend.  We would rollerblade, go to the park, and spend time at the beach…building memories to last a lifetime. …

Then we got married…first one, then two, and then three kids came.  Work got busier, schedules filled up, and then we added the kids’ activities too…well, I don’t need to remind anyone about how crazy life can get.  And, even though my husband is still the most important person to me besides God, I don’t always do such a great job showing him that.  By the time the kids’ problems are resolved, laundry and other chores are completed, dinner cleaned up – where is there any time to make the one I love feel special? ”

Read more…. at Crosswalk.com


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Baby Sitters and Body Guards

Posted on May 8, 2013 by Phil

What do the following positions have in common?

Babysitter.

Body Guard.

Manager.

Safety Net.

Advisor.

If you’re a parent, you’ve held them all or you will by the time your children dive from the nest. One day they will pay for their own phone lines and car insurance, schedule their own dentist appointments, drive through and pay for their own take-out, and do laundry in their own dorm rooms or apartments.

Read more …. from crosswalk.com


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Should I Be Sending My Children to Camp

Posted on May 1, 2013 by Phil

An interesting article from Michael Thompson Ph.D

Some six million children in the United States are preparing psychologically to go away to sleepaway camp. Whether these departing children are camp veterans or nervous rookies, they are mentally rehearsing being away from mom and dad, their comfortable beds, their pets, favorite meals and, of course, their beloved iPhones, Facebook and video games.

During the winter their parents made the decision — and found the money — to make it possible for their kids to leave their families and their comfortable homes so that they could spend a week or two or four in a rustic, more-or-less uncomfortable cabin getting bitten by mosquitoes. They will live with a bunch of other kids, some of whom are fantastic, others quite annoying. They will eat a balanced diet of grilled cheese sandwiches and Fudgesicles with the occasional corn dog for good measure. They will play fun but aimless games like “Capture the Flag” and sit around campfires watching hilarious, dumb skits that almost no one remembers two days later (except the authors, of course). They will master skills such as archery and kayaking, horseback riding and waterskiing, none of which will impress their varsity coach or their AP Bio teacher when they return to school.

While the campers are messing about in the woods, many of their peers will be attending summer school or specialized skills programs. Their responsible, if sometimes Tiger-ish, moms and dads will be investing their money in their children’s future differently, sending them to one-week soccer and lacrosse programs, SAT prep courses and unpaid internships designed to polish skills, boost scores and impress college admissions officers. Instead of spending three weeks at an all-around camp, these children will be focused on skill-building, sometimes in three different specialized programs to which their parents drive them every day (allowing time for that all-important debrief in the car going home).

Which set of parents has it right? Or more to the point: Does an overnight camp experience still make sense in this competitive, resume-building world? From this psychologist’s point of view, the answer is a resounding YES. I believe that children develop in profound ways when they leave their parents’ house and join a camp community.

Learning to sleep away from home is, of course, a critical step on the way to independence. Part of the challenge is beating homesickness, which may be hard for some children, and which, by definition, your parents cannot help you do. Kids know they have to do this sooner or later. As my son once remarked with horror, “If you can’t learn to sleep away from home, you have to live with your parents for the rest of your life.” But beyond that, there are things that, as a parent, you cannot do for your children, as much as you might wish to. You cannot make them happy (if you try too hard they become whiners); you cannot give them self-esteem and confidence (those come from their own accomplishments); you cannot pick friends for them and micro-manage their social lives, and finally you cannot give them independence. The only way children can grow into independence is to have their parents open the door and let them walk out. That’s what makes camp such a life-changing experience for children.

Finish the Article by clicking here…

by Michael Thompson Ph.D
Author “Homesick and Happy”


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Conversation Starter: Let Your Heart Be Broken

Posted on April 24, 2013 by Phil

Jeremiah 8:4-13,18–9:1
join God in His concern for the moral/spiritual condition of others

Conversation Starters

How can you keep this conversation going at home? Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:

For Preschoolers
What makes you sad?

What does it feel like to be sad?

How can you be nice to people who are sad (and broken hearted)?

For School-Age
Ask you children what makes them sad and how it feels to be sad?

Invite your children to discuss what it means to have compassion and a heart that is broken for the needs of other people.

How can we as a family reach out and care for and serve the broken hearted?

For Students
Who are the people you know who have experienced heartache and a broken heart?

How do you care for someone and serve someone who has experienced great pain and loss?

What are the things that break your heart and cause you to feel great compassion? How do you think God feels about those things?


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