Do You Desire To Bring Your Child Into The Kingdom?

It's hard enough to be a Christian parent in this world. How do we combat the forces of evil while at the same time raise our children to desire to walk in God's light? By seeking His face, His Word and inspiration from each other as we stumble through this parenting process together. You will find all the instruction, encouragement and resources you need right here at The Greatest Mission Trip You'll Ever Take to help you be the most effective witness to your child that God would have you be. Look around and come back often. Let's learn together.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

52 Ways To Teach Your Child To Be Charitable - #13

Photo by laudu

Does your family, including your child, receive magazines? Do they tend to collect in piles, collecting dust or lay scattered under beds or toys?

Donate the magazines.

The waiting rooms in doctor’s offices, children’s clinics and hospitals oftentimes use donated reading materials. Children’s magazines are especially helpful for keeping little ones busy while waiting to be called back. Call around, and if you find a place that will accept them, make a point of having your child deliver them with you.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

52 Ways To Teach Your Child To Be Charitable - #12

photo by Suzi T

Are you thinking of starting an allowance program with your child?

Don’t forget to teach tithing.

Establish an allowance of a dollar for a young child, but present the allowance as ten dimes. Then explain that all the money we earn is a blessing from the Lord, and that He wants us to give a portion of it (the first portion) back to help His kingdom grow. Teach that we give a tenth, or a tithe, of what we earn, so one dime of the ten your child receives should be given back to God.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

When God Shows His Hand

photo by The US Army

A church friend of ours, deployed for his second tour of duty in Iraq, is home finishing up a fifteen-day furlough. He returns tomorrow, but we got to spend a little bit of time with him and his fiancée over lunch today. It was a relaxed affair over sandwiches, tortilla chips and salsa as we got caught up and shared stories and news.

Our family comes together in prayer almost every day over Chris, and we told him we’d continue doing so, asking God to place a bubble of protection over both him and his unit. My husband even joked that the other soldiers had better snuggle up real close to him to take full advantage of that protection.

I ran into Chris’ dad at church a couple of Sundays ago and shared how glad I was that Chris had been located in a fairly safe area of Iraq, since in all our Skype and Facebook conversations he hadn’t mentioned any danger. His dad, a veteran of Vietnam, quickly put things into perspective for me.

“That he’s willing to tell us about.”

During our get together Chris substantiated his dad’s statement. One day recently, before leaving on his furlough, while he was on Skype with his dad and fiancée, Chris heard and felt some strange noises.


He wondered aloud what they were, and within a few minutes there came a knock on his barracks door. Setting his laptop down on his bunk to answer it, his dad and fiancée could see the whole thing play out through the webcam mounted on his computer. Chris’ demeanor noticeably changed as he received some kind of notification from the person at the door. He then quickly excused himself from his dad and fiancée and shut his computer off.

Four Iraqi missiles had landed in the middle of his camp. None of them had exploded. Personnel were being evacuated so the EOD unit could come in, disarm and safely remove them. Chris had not been willing to share that bit of news at the time, for obvious reasons.

Prayer is a powerful thing, but even more powerful is seeing God’s divine intervention play out in such a palpable way. As our children sat around the table listening to Chris share his story, there were knowing looks exchanged among us. Our prayers had been effective, God had been faithful. It was a potent lesson.

Pray with your children, but more importantly, share when God has responded. Watch your children’s faith grow as they see the magnificent omnipotence of God’s hand at work.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

The Day From Hell

photo by Tacit Requiem

It had been one of the most trying days in his little life. From the moment my youngest son awoke, every fiber of his two-year old self screamed for attention.

I mean that in the most literal sense.

Nothing that day escaped a pitched battle or a temperamental melt-down. Meals. Snack time. Playing with his sister. Playing alone. Going outside. Staying inside. Rough-housing. Quiet time. Nothing.

By dinner time I was mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted, and there were still three hours left until his bedtime. I was seriously contemplating duct taping his little body to his big boy bed, shutting the door and drowning his preschooler throes with really loud heavy metal music. After all, I needed some kind of rhythm to which to bang my head against the wall with.

What was I doing wrong? We read almost every day from the Bible story book, we played children’s praise songs on CD, I pointed out God’s hand in nature when we played in the back yard, and doggone it, I sang him to sleep every night with “Jesus loves me, this I know.”

So why did this particular day feel like it would have been easier if I had been fed to the lions?

Having raised and turned out the first two children and bringing up the rear with the last two, I’ve acquired a modicum of wisdom and a healthy dose of perspective. Here’s what I’ve learned:

This too shall pass
Fortunately days have only twenty-four hours, seasons come and go, and children either outgrow or mature into the next stage. And with each stage come new challenges and more creative ways for using duct tape. Blessedly there are moments of calm between transitioning. Stake those moments, thank God for them, and lay the rest of them at the feet of Jesus. Have faith that He’ll see you through.

God provides
Just when you think your sanity is about to go on a permanent vacation, God will provide the respite you need. It may be a calm day placed among the chaos, a gracious gift of spousal intervention, or a friend who offers just the right words of encouragement. Your child may even surprise you with a spontaneous gesture of affection that catches you off guard. Consider these all gifts from a merciful God who knows what you have need of before you even ask.

Making Christ the center of your home works
Nothing is ever guaranteed. Holding family devotions, filling your home with worship music and praying for, over and with your child doesn’t assure a profession of faith during his formative years. However, God promises that His word will never return void. At some point the truths of God will pierce your child’s heart, and the foundation you laid for that child in your home will be the bedrock of his decision to follow Him.

That day from hell happened thirteen years ago. My son is growing into a fine young person, along with his brothers and sister. I wasn’t so sure, that day, that he was even going to live past his third birthday. As I finally tucked him into bed, too exhausted to attempt singing “Jesus loves me,” I was thankful to watch his eyes grow heavy and his body slip off into a deep slumber. Before he did he reached his little hand to my face, stroked my cheek, and softly spoke three words that changed the memory of the entire day.

“You’re beautiful, Mama.”

Thank you, Lord.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Secret" Easter Codes

photo by Per Ola Wiberg

Here are a couple of super simple ideas to help bring the hope of Easter, a risen Savior, to the forefront for your children. Since kids enjoy using passwords, you can incorporate these ideas into your usual activities over Easter weekend.

Open Sesame
Before a family member may enter a room or through any doorway, there has to be an exchange in order to get in:

“He is risen!”

“He is risen, indeed!”

This is a common greeting around Easter time and will prepare your child to respond if your pastor or your child’s youth leader happens to announce it to the congregation. It also helps put the focus of the holy day squarely where it needs to be: on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and not some pink rabbit with a basket full of goodies.

Do You Know The Secret Code?
During the early church, when persecution was rampant and often deadly, believers had to be very careful about with whom they shared Christian information. If a believer got a sense that the person with whom he was speaking was a fellow believer, he would take his foot and draw a curved line in the dirt.

If the other person was a fellow believer he would know the meaning of the symbol and would then use his foot to complete the picture.

Spend Easter weekend prompting each other with “the code”. Draw half the fish symbol on a sticky note and post it in a conspicuous spot, maybe the bathroom mirror, and see who completes it first (don’t forget to leave a writing utensil nearby!). While waiting for your food to be served in a restaurant pass the code between you and your child on a napkin. You can even use the dust accumulating on the back end of your car (a great use of God's dirt to evangelize the world, if you ask me).

Super simple, super easy, and a fun way to make Easter more meaningful for your child.

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