For years we have heard the importance of family devotions. Taking time as a family each night to read a passage of God's word, spending a few moments in prayer, and growing as a family all sounds good and exciting but, we suck at it!
Anyone else in the same boat?
It's not that we don't want to do family devotions, believe me, we've tried. Over and over, we have tried to create some kind of regular opportunity to explore God's word with our kids. Some seasons we've done well, using various books, object lessons, or holiday themed devotionals. But in other seasons, well, we just failed.
But worse than not being able to lead family devotions, is the guilt and shame we often feel when we hear that we SHOULD be having family devotions. EPIC fail!!
1. Go To Church Together
As a family, we make every effort to be at church together as a family. Attending church together is our first act in training up our children. We've determined that our Sunday morning priority is worship. We believe that the role of discipleship is from parent to child and it begins as we attend church together. Worship, Sunday School, and youth group in the evenings. For us, Sunday means we are in church.
When parents make church a priority, it demonstrates the level of commitment they have in their relationship with God, and places God at the forefront of all things family. But more than church, or corporate worship, as parents, you need to also put a priority on Sunday school, Bible studies, the children's ministry, junior high ministry, and high school ministry among other church related activities. It's not just attendance, but participation. Involving yourself and your family, helps to show your children the importance of establishing a lifestyle that puts God first. It also emphasizes the significance of corporate worship, bible study, fellowship and what it looks like to be a part of the body of Christ.
Does it mean church is the ONLY thing we do on a Sunday? NO. But, it's the first and most important thing. Our teenagers know that they cannot work their part-time jobs on Sunday mornings. And while there have been one or two occasions, for the most part, they have been able to keep that commitment. Sports, very rarely have our kids missed church for a sporting event. We either miss the game or make arrangements that we attend an earlier service.
2. Use Seasonal Devotional Resources
One of the fun holiday traditions that we practice throughout the year is making use of holiday devotional resources. Whether it's a storybook or short devotional booklet, we use different resources that help our kids focus on the season or holiday that we preparing to celebrate. For example, each Christmas we read one of the Advent books associated with Jotham's Journey. We shared these books in a blog post titled, Celebrate Advent With One of These Books. These books are an incredible way to help your kids prepare for Christmas. There are a number of resources like these, and they are perfect for short-term family devotions.
Aside from published storybooks or devotionals, seasons like Advent and Lent, allow for the setting aside of the normal routines for something a little more holiday related. Both seasons have a time of preparation, four Sunday's in Advent, 40 days in Lent. As a family, you might decided to set something aside during this time. Maybe you choose to go out somewhere to serve as a family. Perhaps this it just a time where your families unplugs from their devices and committees to family dinner hour or game night or movie night.
However you decide to spend your time, be sure to take advantage of the time to talk about what that holiday season means to you, your family, and your faith. Explain why your faith tradition celebrates Advent or Lent. It's not always easy, but with a little work, you can create new traditions around the holidays.
Just this past week, our meal started with our daughter making the comment, "Did you know that when we poop, it's our body's way of getting rid of the waste? It's what we're learning at school!"
3. Engage with Your Kids as they are Growing Up.
Dinner time can be a special time for your family, and a great time to engage with your kids to talk about the things that are happening in the culture around them. Just turn on the TV and listen to the news, go to the movies, watch a TV sitcom or pay attention to the commercials; you will find plenty of material to talk about. From current events to music, movies, even products, our kids are growing up in difficult times. The dinner hour serves as a great way to talk about some of the issues and topics their seeing in the media. It might take a little homework on your part to educate yourself, but it will be a benefit for you and your time as a family. As you talk, you can discuss what they see happening from a Christian worldview.
Does it mean that every dinner is a topical debate or lecture? No. We don't have serious conversation at every meal. Just watch our family vlog as we sit around the table. It's not always hard hitting discussion. In fact, just this past week, our meal started with our daughter making the comment, "Did you know that when we poop, it's our body's way of getting rid of the waste? It's what we're learning at school!" Is poop appropriate talk at the table? Well, if it's what they're learning at school, yes!
The point is, make the effort to have dinner together as a family, but instead of stuffing our faces, take the time to slow down and talk! If you can't have a regular family dinner hour, use the time in the car, driving to and from sporting events or school activities or even while you're running errands to talk with your kids. Turn off the radio and have them take the ear plugs out, and talk. They might reject the idea at first, but keep at it. When they see that you are interested in what's happening in their world, they will begin to open up.
link for FOR THE FAMILY. There we have shared books, devotions, and other resources that we have found helpful!
As always, we want to hear from you. What do family devotions look like for you and your family? Do you have regular family devotions? Have you found an incredible resource that your family loves? We'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and share your story. Perhaps your story will encourage another family! And that's what this blog is all about!
- the higham family
Yesterday was November 1st, a day that has become known as the first day of No Shave November. For the next 30 days, men will delay their normal practice of having a clean shaven face in attempts to grow a beard. Like many, I too have participated in the month long event. But this year, as I prepared to put down my razor, I thought that I would take a look at the birth of No Shave November.
When I got online to begin to search out the origins of No Shave November, I found a number of different reasons for No Shave November. While no one article contradicted another, it interesting to see so many variations. So here is what I found.
For many in the college years of life, November is a month of cramming and preparing for the end of the semester. Papers, finals, and the busyness of the end of classes can keep a diligent student pretty busy. Some time ago, guys started put down their razors during the month of November. While there doesn't appear to be any real connection between the shaving strike and the end of the semester, it seemed like a great excuse to avoid shaving for a month.
Along with No Shave November, you might hear of Movember. According to one source, the term, Movember, was coined in 1999 by a group of Aussies who instead of growing out all of their facial hair focused on just growing a mustache. In 2004, this group of 30, created the mustache event to raise awareness for prostate cancer and depression in men. That movement has since grown and become a sizable fundraiser for various cancer research projects.
Today, No Shave November has grown into a month of awareness for men's health issues. Along with the cancer awareness, many use the month to highlight and promote routine check ups, healthier lifestyle choices and education for men. In instance, the Today Show (NBC) runs a month long series that looks into mens health. www.today.com/health/how-check-yourself-no-shave-movember-t104550
Now all of that is great. I think it is good that men are encouraged to care for themselves. But let's not focus on just the physical health of men. Let's also consider the spiritual health of men. If November is a month where men can embrace the manhood, then let's also embrace our spiritual manhood! Let's explore what it looks like to be godly-men who are passionate about their faith, family, and responsibility to lead. Let's talk about what it looks like for men to be godly husbands and fathers. Let's talk about what it looks like when men sharpen iron with iron.
As a man, a husband, a father, a pastor, and a leader, I find that I am often craving manly relationships; godly men to mentor me, good guys to hang out with, close friends to confide in. Guys need guys, whether we realize it or not. The trouble is, we don't allow ourselves the time to forge those types of relationships. And sadly, we're the one who suffer.
So what can we do? Well, if we can make November a month to talk about a guys physical health, why not use November to also talk about our spiritual health? Let's make some time to be guys. Let's get open and honest and realize that we need each other.
Women, encourage your man to seek out other godly men. Pray for them that they might build new relationships. And together, maybe we can help men become spiritually healthy as well.
- the higham family
What say you? Could you or your husband use a little attention in the spiritual health department? Have you benefitted from a godly mentor, a small groups, or just some good guy time? Share your thoughts and experiences and encourage someone today! Comment below and share your story! Thanks!
Amy and I are always on the look out for tools and resources that will help our teens develop a passion for God and His Word. As a youth pastor, I am often asked by parents, what resources I would recommend for their teenagers. So when a tool comes along that I like and use, it makes good sense to me to share it with parents.
So on today's blog post, I want to share a resource that I really like, and have given to my own teens to use in their spiritual journey. The resources is the, One Minute Bible for Students, from Doug Fields and John R. Kohlenberger iii.
Each of our two teenage boys have received the One Minute Bible for Students and a journal. And in full disclosure, they never really took to the journal. However, they have used the One Minute Bible for Students. Likewise, the One Minute Bible for Students is still a resource that I often pass along to parents of students in our ministry.
So if you are looking for a way to encourage your teenagers to read God's Word, have a quiet time, and begin developing a life of prayer, Let me recommend to you, the One Minute Bible for Students, and a simple prayer journal.
We have provided links to the One Minute Bible for Students and a couple journal options here for you through our Amazon.com affiliation. You should know that when you click on these link and order the One Minute Bible for Students or the journals offered, we receive a percentage of the sale as payment for recommending these items here on the blog. That small percentage is then used as income which allows us to continue to operate TheHighamFamily.com blog. So thank you for helping us provide quality resources to families! To learn more, please see our disclaimer by CLICKING HERE.
- the higham family
Hi we're Jay & Amy, and we've been married for 19 years and are super blessed to be busy raising our 5 kids; 4 boys and 1 girl. AND are now expecting number 6 in June of 2016!! We juggle the adventures of life and ministry and share what we are learning as it relates to marriage, family, raising kids, serving in the church, and chasing after Jesus. Raising a family is hard work, especially in today's culture. But our hope is to encourage you and your family, as we live for the glory of God.
It's November in western Pennsylvania which usually brings about crisp, cold days. But we've been experiencing some beautifully warm days this past week and I am soaking it up. I am blessed to be able to take morning runs with my sweet dog on one of the local trails in our community. Since this is a new phase of life for me with all 5 kids in school all day, I have been enjoying the alone time I have in God's creation as I exercise. I usually put my headphones in, find a good Bible-teaching podcast to listen to, leash up our dog and away I run.
As I was running one day this week, I started to pay attention to my surroundings and the season of we are in. Lots of leaves were on the trail leaving just a little color left on some of the trees. I started to think about the seasons and how each one has a beauty of its own. Then my mind wandered to how each season of our lives also has a beauty all its own. In some ways I couldn't wait for the season where all 5 were in school all day, and yet part of me dreaded it. I loved having little ones at home with me all day. Yes, there were many challenges along the way, but for the most part I truly cherished it. Now I find myself in a new home with new surroundings and by myself most of the days. Jay and I have discussed and prayed about me looking for employment outside of the home but feel that for now, I have enough work to do to keep our home running. So we we will continue to make the sacrifice of living on one income.
Lately I have been struggling with the reality that my kids aren’t little anymore. I’ve also been dealing with the challenge of leaving a church where I had grown to love the people dearly, and quite frankly, the pain of how our season there came to an end. But as I ran, looking at the rolling green hills and the fall colors still left on the trees, I felt God’s presence and peace fell upon me. Soon the trees will be bare and brown, and we will wait for snow to brighten up what’s become dingy and dead. It was in this moment that I was reminded of the life that comes out of God’s love for His children. As God continues to shape me, I am more and more aware of His presence and peace during tough times. While it may look like things around my are dying, He is preparing to bring new life from within my circumstances.
In my heart I could hear His loving voice tell me to enjoy the life that is around me and the new season He is bringing me into. To watch as His hand creates something new and exciting out of something that was lifeless and dull. Only a loving Creator can do that.
In Ecclesiastes 3:11, we read, “He makes all things beautiful in His time.” And it is in His time, not ours. So I will be thankful that I have a Heavenly Father who takes the time to show me His love over and over again; and who gently reminds me through His Word and His creation.
Sometimes we have to go through seasons where we watch things come to end. But praise God, that He brings beauty and life even out of death.
Hi we're Jay & Amy, and we've been married for 19 years and are super blessed to be busy raising our 5 kids; 4 boys and 1 girl. We juggle the adventures of life and ministry and share what we are learning as it relates to marriage, family, raising kids, serving in the church, and chasing after Jesus. Raising a family is hard work, especially in today's culture. But our hope is to encourage you and your family, as we live for the glory of God.
Have you ordered Jay's Christmas book?
Thanks for taking the time to read The Higham Family Blog. Each week we try to share new content about something we are learning, something we love, or something to offer encouragement to the family. We love to hear from our readers, so please share your thought in the comment section of each post.