Have you ever talked with your kids about centering their lives around God? Do they know what it means to view the world through the lens God would want them to use? There’s a fun activity you can do with them that can help them better understand what happens when you use God as the foundation of your life and when you don’t.
Grab your kids, a Bible, some scrap paper or other materials. Read them the story of the wise and foolish builders found in Matthew 7:24-27. If your kids are younger, you may want to ask them to sing the song that goes with this story.
Explain that the story may be hard for them to understand since they have probably never built a building. Put out the stack of recycled paper. Give each child a pillow, heavy sweater or anything soft that will create an unstable foundation. Tell your kids they are to build the tallest tower they can using only paper on the foundation you have provided.
Give them a set amount of time to build their tower. Explain that you will now be a hurricane and see how strong their towers are. Go to each tower and blow on it, fan it, whatever you need to do to get it to start falling apart. Then have them repeat the experiment using the floor as their foundation. Can they build a stronger tower on this firmer foundation? (Realize your “building materials” are weak too, so go easy on the “wind” for the firmer foundation!).
Talk about what happened. Ask why Jesus wants us to build a firm foundation on God. Discuss what having a firm foundation in God means. What will they do differently than someone whose foundation is not in God? (Note: For younger children, keep it very simple.)
If you have more than one child, you are no stranger to sibling conflicts. There are all sorts of reasons why siblings often disagree, but the impact of handling their conflicts poorly during childhood can weaken their relationship as adults.
So why not have fun making dinner and discussing the relationship of the famous Bible siblings Jacob and Esau? Grab your Bible and gather your kids. You will find the story of Jacob and Esau in Genesis chapters 25 and 26.
As you tell the story, have your kids help you make some lentil stew. We don’t know for sure what sort of stew Jacob was making that was so good (or Esau was so hungry!), Esau was willing to trade his birth right for it. Most likely, it was some form of lentil stew. (Here’s one recipe you can try.)
While the stew is simmering, have a discussion with your kids about sibling relationships. With older children, begin discussing some of the dynamics that can cause siblings to dislike and/or take advantage of each other. Ask them to think of scriptures that could remind them to treat each other with love and kindness. Brainstorm ways to help them break bad habits and develop a more loving relationship.
After simmering for enough time, serve the stew and some rustic or pita type bread. Share with them the rest of the story, when Jacob and Esau finally reconciled years later (Genesis 33). Point out that Jacob not only asked Esau for his forgiveness, but he did so humbly and offered to make amends by giving him gifts. Talk about the ways they can truly heal their relationship after conflict.
Have fun with your kids cooking dinner and learning about Jacob and Esau. Who knows? The devotional might be the beginning of better sibling relations in your home!
For a variety of reasons, many first responders have been criticized a lot recently. While some of the criticism may be justified, the reality is most are honest, hard-working people who risk their lives to help save the lives of others. Your family can have fun learning a little about someone in the Bible who had interesting relationships with authority figures and do something to serve first responders.
Grab a Bible and tell your children the story found in Genesis 37. Review how the Midianites sold Joseph to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s captain of the guard. Potiphar held an important position in Egypt and may have been in charge of the region’s safety. Review authority figures in your community who help promote safety. Discuss the roles of policemen and firefighters. Explain that they work very hard and often have to cook their own meals even after a long day at work. Many times they spend the night at their station so that they are ready to help citizens in need if they get an emergency call. Baking muffins for them to have on hand as a snack or with breakfast is a helpful treat.
Prep your baking space before you start the activity and have all materials accessible (older kids can help you gather needed supplies). Give each child a special assignment such as stirring (they can take turns with this), pouring, cracking an egg, setting the timer, placing cupcake liners in tins, etc. As you work, discuss the many specific services that our community helpers are responsible for. This helps keep your kids engaged while they wait for their turn. (You also want to emphasize cooking safety as you work and keep a safe distance between the oven and young children).
While the muffins are baking and cooling, have your kids create handmade thank-you cards.
Take your children to deliver the muffins and cards. Often firehouses are eager to meet kids and may even let your children take pictures and see the firetruck. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon together as a family.
Do your children understand nothing is impossible for God – even today? There’s a fun family devotional and activity you can do to get your family talking about the amazing things God has done and can continue to do in the future. You will need a Bible, some art paper, sidewalk chalk and buttermilk.
Grab a Bible (preferably NIrV to make it easier to understand) and tell your kids the story of Elisha and Jehoash found in 2 Kings 13:1-14:22, and 2 Chronicles 25. Focus on the part of the story of Jehoash with Elisha and the arrows. Explain that although Jehoash had been evil, God still loved the people of Israel. When the king humbled himself enough to go ask Elisha for God’s help, Elisha gave him some instructions.
The king evidently did not have enough faith in God (or humility, the Bible doesn’t really tell us why he stopped so quickly) to strike the ground five or six times. As a result, the King would not be able to totally defeat his enemies and they would continue to cause trouble for the people of Israel.
Explain that sometimes it is hard to believe God will really take care of us and keep His promises. It is important to remember that God can do amazing things – even today. God wants us to trust Him and pray to Him – even if we think it would take a miracle for God to say “yes” to our prayer. It’s important to believe God still works in amazing ways.
Ask your kids to share some of the amazing God works in the Bible. Older children may also be able to share stories of how they have seen God answer their prayers in amazing ways. With younger kids, you may want to share some amazing things you have seen God do.
Give everyone a sheet of paper on which they can draw. Tell them that normally when you draw with chalk it gets very dusty and makes a mess. If you dip the tip in buttermilk first though, the result is a creamy, dustless, no-smear drawing – amazing. (Older students may be able to understand the analogy of us adding God to our lives to make our lives richer and fuller.) Have everyone use the technique to create drawings to remind them God is amazing. Have them title their artwork so they will remember the theme and display the finished works where everyone can see them.
According to the latest research, 47% of Millennials believe it is wrong to share their faith with anyone who is not a Christian. That’s a huge disconnect from what Jesus called us to do in the Great Commission and what we know happened in the early church.
When almost half of a generation believe it is wrong to do the very thing that is supposed to be one of their top priorities, the church is in trouble. And it may only get worse, if something doesn’t change dramatically. Why? Because Millennials are also most of today’s young parents. Which means they are teaching another generation the lies they have believed from our culture and ultimately Satan.
If you are a young parent, you can change things – even if no one else in your generation does. Don’t forget that even with those depressing statistics, 53% still understand their call to teach everyone about Jesus. They understand becoming a Christian is the only way to spend eternity in Heaven. It may not be politically correct, but it is God’s Truth – woven throughout scripture.
So what are some things you can do with your kids to help them become courageous sharers of their faith? Here are some of our favorites:
Encourage them to invite their friends to Church and Church events. Sounds old school, but that’s how many of us started. We were encouraged by our parents to invite friends to come with us to anything we did at Church. It’s amazing how many kids and teens will agree to come to church if asked. They probably won’t bring it up, but are often quick to agree when asked.
Take brownies to new neighbors and invite them to Church. Get your kids to help with the baking. Take the brownies over as a family. Not only may your kids meet some new friends, but you can also help your neighbors find their new Church home.
Challenge your kids to find the opportunities God gives them to tell others something about Him. Often we totally miss openings others give us to talk about our faith, God, church, etc. Have your kids help you notice opportunities and give you a secret signal so you don’t miss them. Afterwards, talk about what you shared and why you decided to share that particular piece of your faith with the person. Eventually, they will be able to do the same when they aren’t with you.
Role play common scenarios. What are some of the things that might happen during their normal day that would give them a great chance to share their faith? Role play some of the things they could say, while you pretend to be the other person and respond in various ways. They need to become comfortable when people are interested and when they aren’t.
Teach older kids apologetics. There are a lot of great videos and books that deal with answering the common questions seekers have about God and Christianity. Apologetics will give them well worded responses that are possibly more effective than how they might answer those questions in the moment.
Go on a mission trip. Most churches have local and foreign mission opportunities. The younger your children are when they go on mission trips and the more often they go, the more likely they are to become more comfortable telling others about Jesus.
There are plenty of ways to encourage your kids to become Christians who share their faith regularly. The key is making sure they have a heart for helping others spend eternity in Heaven. When they realize on a deep level the wonderful gift they are truly sharing when they share their faith, the lies Satan has told them about variable truth will usually begin to fade away. It’s definitely worth your time and effort to raise a generation who is comfortable and passionate about sharing their faith.