Fun Way to Teach Your Kids About Serving Others

When adults try to teach kids about serving others, they try really hard to make it fun. They believe the element of fun will encourage them to serve again – hopefully making it a lifelong habit.

Unfortunately, serving others is not always fun. It can be hard, uncomfortable and exhausting. So you may have pointed out people in the Bible who served God in difficult ways. Your kids may believe that life in Bible times is a lot like life today. Which means watering a bunch of camels or making some widows a few pieces of clothing wasn’t that difficult, right?

Find an empty one or three gallon jug and fill it with water. Tell your children the story of Rebekah watering the camels of Abraham’s servant found in Genesis 24. Ask them how long it might have taken Rebekah to water the four or more camels the servant would have had with him.

Your children will honestly have no idea. They may think Rebekah turned on a hose and watered them. Show them a picture of a well. Explain that Rebekah had to pull up a three gallon jug of water by a rope/chain. Let them feel the weight of one to three gallons of water. Explain that Rebekah then had to carry that heavy jug of water and pour it into a trough for the camel.

Camels drink about 25 gallons of water at a time.That meant she had to make multiple trips with the water jug just to feed one camel. Of courage the servant probably had at least four camels, so that’s lots of more trips! Your kids might want to try and make that many trips with a gallon jug of water (a three gallon jar is probably too heavy for them to handle safely). If you have plants that need watering, they can substitute for the camels!

Afterwards discuss what sort of heart Rebekah must have had to work so hard for a stranger. What other people in the Bible can think of that served others in such selfless ways? How can they serve others when it is hard with the same pleasant attitude Rebekah seemed to have possessed. Have fun with it, but make sure they understand God wants us to serve others – even when it is hard.

Are You Raising “Good” Kids?

Have you ever heard someone talking about a young person, describing him or her as a “good kid”? What did the person mean by the word “good”? Most likely that the child stays out of trouble and is not annoying everyone. The Bible tells us one of the Fruits of the Spirit is goodness? What does God mean when He uses the word “goodness” and does it describe you and your children? More importantly, what are some things you can do as a parent to instill “goodness” in your children?

The secular definition of goodness is being morally good or virtuous. It implies someone who has goodness is avoiding doing anything wrong. Not surprisingly, the biblical definition is a little bit richer and fuller. It, too, refers to the persistent resistance of all moral evil. But it adds two dimensions not specifically mentioned in the secular definition.

The first is a “deliberate preference” of right to wrong. If your children have goodness in their character, that aren’t just being good to avoid punishment. They actually prefer doing what’s right over what’s wrong the vast majority of the time. See the difference in the attitude and the heart? Do your children want to please God or are they doing the bare minimum because they “have to” in order to get to Heaven? Someone who wants to please God is more likely to obey Him – even when he or she doesn’t necessarily understand or agree with a command in the Bible. These young people are also going to have more easily repentant hearts when they do sin. Their hearts’ desire is to please God.

The other difference is described as “the choosing and following of all moral good”. You have probably read that many religions have a version of the “Golden Rule”. The difference is that all of the other versions focus on avoiding doing something evil to someone. The Christian version is the only one that adds the dimension of seeking to purposefully do good to someone. This added part of goodness follows that same pattern.

Biblical goodness is not just about avoiding what is morally wrong. It is actively seeking to do what is morally right and good. It’s fairly easy for me to avoid killing my enemy. It’s much more difficult to pray for my enemy and bless those who curse me. God always calls His people to a higher standard than the world. Why? So Christians stand out in a good way and point people to Him. If you and your children do the bare minimum, you will look exactly like everyone around you. It may make you a bit more popular, but it’s highly unlikely anyone will ask you about God because of your “goodness”.

Talk about goodness with your children. Hammer out a working definition of what goodness looks like lived out in real life. How would they behave differently than they do now? How would their attitudes change? What kind of heart would they have? How would they treat others? How would they respond to God’s commands?

Don’t just have one conversation about goodness. Talk about it regularly. Encourage each other to display more “goodness” in your lives. Talk about how standing out gives you more opportunities to serve others and share your faith. Make goodness a family virtue.

Top 5 Christian Parenting Hacks

Parenting is tough. Christian parenting is even tougher because you are parenting against your culture in many ways. The stakes are so high, the pressure can become overwhelming at times. Parents often want to know what are some basic things they can do to start their family down the right track. There are probably dozens of things that can help, but which will make the most difference if you feel lost in a maze of parenting advice?

My list might change slightly if you ask me again tomorrow, but here are five great things to get your Christian parenting on track.

  1. Daily family devotional times. You can’t go wrong spending time together reading scripture, discussing it and praying together as a family. If you haven’t been doing this, it’s okay to start small. At the same time every day (and connected to something you always do, like a meal), start with reading a verse or two, asking your kids what it means and how they can use the verse that day and praying together.
  2. Attending worship and Bible classes weekly and in person. This is crucial for so many reasons. If you are regularly missing worship services and Bible classes or only watching online, your kids aren’t going to have the strong faith they need to make it through life.
  3. Sleep 9-12 hours a night. That’s right. Even through the teen years, your kids need an average of 9-12 hours of sleep a day. They will make better choices, have improved moods and your job will be easier. Want to really improve things? Get 8-9 hours of sleep a night yourself. Everyone can take naps if they need extra hours, but I promise sufficient sleep can be transformative.
  4. Eating daily meals together as a family and periodically with family and friends. One of the Nordic countries believes their children never stray far from the beliefs of their parents. Why? Breakfast and dinner are eaten together at the table, as a family. Every day. Regardless. Secular studies show that kids who eat daily meals with their families are much less likely to participate in high risk behaviors. Want to raise kids to be faithful, active, productive Christians? A study found that one of the keys is hospitality. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Having your children’s friends over or extended family counts. Just open your doors to others on a regular basis.
  5. Long daily family walks. Want kids who are healthier, happier and talk to you more? Take a long daily walk together. A social worker I met called these walks “magical”. Aim for about 5k or 3 miles to also benefit things like sleep. If you can’t go the distance yet, even a few blocks can start yielding minor benefits.

If you feel like you are struggling with your parenting, starting with these five basics can help you get on track. Then search our blog for other topics where you could use some additional advice. You can raise faithful, productive Christians!

Fun Activity for Teaching Kids About Perseverance

Let’s be honest. The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. Those who don’t have perseverance won’t make it to the end and spend eternity with God in Heaven. History is full of stories of people who perhaps started out as Christians, but quit when it became too difficult. If your kids are going to be faithful, productive Christians, they need perseverance.

Perseverance requires a good kind of stubbornness. A willingness to keep living the Christian life even when it gets hard or seems less fun than sinning. The problem is how to help your children develop perseverance before they need it to live the Christian life. Fortunately, there’s a fun family devotional you can do to help your kids begin to understand the importance of being perseverant.

You will need 5 straws, a piece of paper, a plastic fork, one soda can, 6 inches tape and a rubber band for each child. Call your children together and tell them the story of the walls of Jericho found in Joshua 6:1-27. Point out that the walls didn’t fall the first time the Israelites marched around them. Or the second. Or the sixth. And even on the seventh day when the walls finally fell, they had to march around the walls seven times before they fell.

Ask your kids why they believe the Israelites didn’t give up and quit before the walls fell. Ask them to explain perseverance to you. If they are younger, you may need to explain it to them. Have your kids think of examples when perseverance can help. Explain that being a Christian is not always easy. People may tease them or refuse to do things with them because they worship and obey God. They will have to be perseverant in order be a faithful, productive Christian for their entire lives.

Give your kids the items you gathered. Tell them they are to use the items to design something that can shoot a rubber band at a target three feet away and hit it. Give them several minutes to try. When the time is up, ask if they would like to continue or give up. After you’ve had fun with the activity, talk about the perseverance needed to succeed. How can they be more perseverant when things get tough?

Fun Family Devotional on Obedience

Obedience is crucial for your children to live a faithful, productive Christian life. If your children obey you, it also makes your parenting job a lot easier. Yet, it seems that from a very young age, children want to do what they want to do – even if it means disobeying you and God.

Part of the problem is that children don’t have enough life experience to understand that rules are meant to protect them. When they disobey, there will often be negative consequences in the moment or at some future time. When those consequences are delayed, your kids are even more likely to believe they can disobey at will – leading to all sorts of serious issues.

There’s a devotional you can do to help them begin to understand that obeying God’s rules and yours is necessary for living the best possible life. You will need some light weight or origami paper and instructions to make various origami figures. It can be helpful for you to practice making them ahead of time if you’ve never done it before.

Call your kids together and tell them the story of the twelve spies in Numbers 14. Instead of focusing on the lack of faith at the beginning of the chapter, look closely at the end of the chapter when the Israelites tried to take Canaan against the word of God and Moses. What happened when they disobeyed? Why is it important to always obey God? What did Moses and God know that the people chose to ignore? What do parents, God and other adults know that kids don’t know? Why do adults and God make rules for kids? What are those rules usually designed to do? What happens when kids break those rules? Your goal in this conversation is to help your children understand that rules are not made to keep them from having fun, but to protect them from something they aren’t wise enough from which to protect themselves.

Give each of your children a piece of paper. Don’t show or tell them the origami figure they will be making. Do not demonstrate how to make the folds, but read the verbal instructions, one by one. In most cases, the finished figures won’t resemble what was supposed to be created. Show your kids what they were supposed to make. Talk about how disobeying the instructions – even a little – changed the intended result. Point out that when we disobey, our lives often don’t turn out the way God had wanted them to be. We can end up with a big mess when we insist on doing things our own way and disobeying God.

Have fun making additional figures adding visuals and help when needed. Talk about how much easier life can be when we listen to God and obey Him. It’s still not perfect, because everyone doesn’t obey God all of the time, but it is much fuller and richer than living a life of disobedience.

You can revisit this topic regularly using other Bible stories and any activity that requires following instructions. Spend time making sure your kids understand the importance of complete obedience to God.