A walking advertisement

“Kennedy’s Parable is the best Christian Bookstore in Canada.” I love the fact that we have a good Christian bookstore right here in our city. Sometimes, I know my friends honestly wonder if I’m sponsored by them or work for them. I do know the Kennedy family, but no, I’m not sponsored by them.
 
However, in my research, I have discovered and identified 6 Essentials for the Christian life. 6 things that can influence and impact a life long faith in Jesus. And one of the 6 is Christian Books
 
Reading can be fun. When our fun is also able to keep our eyes on Jesus, it’s a win-win. You might not know which books to start with, there are a lot on amazon and Christianbook.com. That’s why I love heading to a store with a door: Kennedy’s Parable. If you’ve never been, don’t worry, many Christians havn’t. Now is the time to go shopping. 
 
So, how do we incorporate Christian Books into our families and Christian life:
  • Visit our church library or the Public Library. Believe it or not, there are many series’ for kids at the Public Library. Like the “Red Rock Mysteries” series
  • Visit the Christian Bookstore – Kennedy’s Parable
  • Go shopping for Christian books before you go on vacation, for Christmas presents.
  • When the book fair comes to our school, I take my kids to Kennedy’s and let them each pick out one book – almost anything they want!
  • Acknowledge that it’s worth the investment
  • Buy yourself a Christian book and read it instead of Facebook
 
Check out some posts on the other 5 Essentials
 
What have we read lately?

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“When I grow up”


Many of you parents have set up RESP’s for your kids – Registered Education Saving’s Plan. Through this plan, the government will contribute towards your child’s post-secondary education and this amount also collects interest.

We set this up for our kids at the time the government introduced the Universal Child Care Benefit, so we have been able to save up for our child’s education without even noticing it in our monthly budget.

We put time and money away for our kids education. And we hope, and pray, that they will be able to get an education that would match their abilities.

And from an early age, we begin asking, “what would you like to be when you grow up?” This is a fantastic question.

But I think there’s another question, I think it’s more important, that we need to be asking our kids, and ourselves. “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” And “Why?”

I remember when I was about 18 or 19, desiring to become a person of prayer. I honestly still have a lot of room to grow in this area, but it’s important to me.

Asking “who” and “why” is very important because it is something we can influence our kids towards and embrace for ourselves.

As I’ve researched and thought through my experiences, I’ve noticed 6 essentials that are foundational for growing Christians. One of these 6 that can get passed by is a Bible Camp, Youth Retreats and Bible College. These three types of Christian community can be incredible opportunities for all people to grow.

If your son or daughter said they wanted to go to Bible College, what would your reaction be?

Many parents would ask their kids, “why?”

Others would say, “well, if you want to be a teacher, that takes a whole 5 years, and costs a lot of money, so I’m not sure that would be in your best interests”

Or, “do you want to be a pastor? Or missionary?” Because we assume that’s what Bible College is for, after all, all of our pastors and missionaries have attended Bible College.

There are two main reasons to go to Bible College. 1) Vocational Ministry – be a pastor. But MOST people who go to Bible College don’t become pastors, did you know that? Most people who go to Christian Post-Secondary desire to grow in their faith and in community.

I have known many teenagers who have not gone to Bible College and have flourished in their faith. But I also know that Bible College, along side the other 6 essentials I’ve discovered, has been a “game changer” for those that have gone.

Here’s a few testimonies from our young adults who went to Bible College:

Andrew M.

“1. I knew I wasn’t going to go for more than a year even before I went, but I went because i wanted to learn more about the Bible and grow in my faith before going to university. It was something that my parents always encouraged and said would be a good experience too. I think it did help me a lot. Spiritually and biblically I learned and grew a lot, was able to make some great christian friends and the small(er) college like Briercrest really encouraged the importance of fellowship and being part of a christian community.”

“2. On the personal side too I think taking the bible college “gap” year was really helpful, it was a good stepping stone away from home, living (sorta) on my own, learning how to study and other practices in a safe and smaller environment really helped me with my transition to university. I think i woulda been quite lost and overwhelmed as a small town kid going straight to University.”

Tyler B.

“I went to [Millar College of the Bible] in part for the sports that was there and of course to deepen my relationship with God. I also went to make some solid Christian friendships that would last past the college experience, and I did! Some of the biggest take aways I got from college is the importance of prayer and reading my Bible! I have found that the more I’m in prayer and the more I read the Bible, the more I hear god speak to me in different ways in my life that I never would have before! I also learned the key ways in which to interpret the Bible so that I gain the deepest understanding I can get from my reading. One last thing that I took away from college is that it is SO important to be disciplined/diligent in everything I do, from reading my Bible, to praying, to playing sports. Discipline to continue to do it on a daily basis and to do it to glorify Gods name is so important! I’d definitely recommend going to Bible college!”

Amanda N.

“1. I went to Bible college [Ambrose University] because I wanted to be able to study in a Christian environment. I wanted to learn, grow and ask questions about my beliefs surrounded by fellow believers. I felt that it was important for me to take a year after high school to learn the history behind what I believe and why I believe it. As well as learn how to study my bible and be able to share it with those around me.”

“2. Bible college was what jump started my faith journey. I learned how important prayer, worship, studying my bible, ministry, spiritual conversations and Christian fellowship is in my daily life. I mainly took ministry classes, but even my non-min. classes were taught and shaped through Christian perspective. I think that really helped root me in my own beliefs once I continued into later schooling and now a career with many unbelievers.”

So parents, what can we do, right now, to encourage our kids to go to Bible College?

  • Talk about it at home
  • Research Bible Colleges and discipleship schools
  • Listen to a Bible College’s podcast or watch their videos on YouTube 
  • Talk to people who have gone
  • Find out if there are any conferences or opportunities to get your family on campus
  • Look for opportunities to support these college’s, like fundraisers or information nights
What are the other 5 Essentials I’ve discovered? Prayer, Bible Camp, Christian Books, The Bible & Community

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Every Roll Wins!

It’s a coffee drinker’s favourite time of year – Roll up the Rim to Win! That is, if you’re not too snobby for Timmy’s coffee. I love it even though I seem to have a knack for helping my friends win as more than I win. This year, they’ve switched to digital rim rolls. Now I know that it’s different and many people like the way it used to be, but honestly, this switch was inevitable and I like the rewards. 
Rewards are powerful motivators. That’s why virtually every large company has some sort of reward system. Do you have rewards in your home? Would you reward your spouse or kids for doing regular tasks or their extraordinary effort?
 

Would you reward your kids for reading or memorizing the Bible?

I remember talking to a mom named Darcy about 12 years ago. She rewarded her kids with $1 for each verse they memorized. 
This can be a wise investment. Giving monetary value to what we eternally value. 
Some families choose not to reward their children for, what can be, regular Christian living and discipleship.
If you were to reward your kids financially as they invest in their spiritual growth, there’s some suggestions:
1) Pray
2) Be willing to follow through
3) Think about what motivates your kids – some kids like money, others like candy
4) Set a good example – this may be the most important key to making any reading or memory plan work.
5) Be strategic. Find or create a Bible Verse Chart. Use a Bible Reading Plan or choose a Bible at their Reading level
6) Talk about what they’ve read: “Tell me about what you’ve read.” “What did you learn about God?” “Who did you read about today?” Reading along with them will help you discuss with your family.
 
In our house, using rewards has inspired my oldest son to read all of The Story NIV, 450 pages, in less than two months. I know Christian adults that haven’t opened their Bibles in 2 months. My other son loves candy, so he’s willing to memorize Psalm 23 for $2 in candy. 
I also have a habit of taking my boys for a “coffee break” or “daddy day” once a month, one-on-one, and we will discuss our Bible reading and memory verses while we enjoy each other’s company.
 
To me, these are valuable investments in our families spiritual development. How do you encourage your kids to read their Bibles and memorize the Word of God? Let me know, email me: tylerlhac@hotmail.com 
 
Psalm 119:11 – I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Deuteronomy 6
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.a] Love the Lordyour God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
 
The Story for Kids – selections from the NIrV
The Story – selections from the NIV

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Forget this, let’s plan for summer

Are you loving the ridiculously cold weather?

We had a great January with pleasant winter weather, but lately it’s been cold. 
We don’t know what summer is going to look like with vaccines, policies, and all that jazz. But we DO know that summer is coming. So I’d encourage you to keep your eye on what the government tells us in the area of Bible Camps. If we plan our summer vacay and then camps open up, many people will not have time for Bible Camp. However, if we keep our plans flexible and our eyes on Bible Camp, we can adjust our plans and send kids to camp. Yahoo! Or better yet, we can take our whole family to Family Camp.

Why go to Bible Camp?

  • Campers get to basically experience church 5+ times in one week!
  • Campers get out of the house and get exercise
  • Campers get to socialize and bring friends
  • Campers have a week full of Christ-centeredness
  • It will be a life changing experience
  • It’s one of my 6 Essentials for Disciples who Walk with Jesus (now you’re wondering what the other 5 are…)
  • And lets be honest, it’s great to have our house a few decibels quieter
 
Why do you love camp?
 
 
 
 
 
On another note, since it is cold, and this happens every year, make the most of it and invite some friends to your favourite sledding hill, skating rink or to your backyard. Or stay home and play a board game on Zoom with your friends after the kids go to bed. You can do it!
 
P.S. I’m in the process of getting the details for KidZone Fun Camp, July 19-23. iWonder what it will be 🙂

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Pop Up Websites

We’ve had the unfortunate experience of having inappropriate content pop up on our computer. It’s not good, especially when my young boys are around.
The first time, we were looking for colouring sheets (we do that A LOT). And the second time was when my son was at school, his teacher was teaching from the Smart board, looking at some research and something popped up.
 
1) What do you do? Stay calm and don’t panic. It unfortunately happens to many people. Don’t blame the computer or get defensive.
 
2) How can you protect against it? 
  • Get a family friendly router – we had one that could limit the time and content that devices were allowed to view. Bestbuy has a bunch to choose from. If you choose the Circle router, it has amazing features, but requires a subscription at some point
  • Keep computers and devices in public places
  • Don’t EVER let young kids take a phone to bed – you probably don’t want to know what age boys have their first experience with porn
  • All phones charge in a main room – not in bedrooms (parents included)
  • Set clear boundaries for screen time (no games/devices after supper, no devices in bedrooms, 1 hour a day, etc.)
3) Pray for your family each day – that they would be young men and women of purity
 
4) Brett Ullman has a video for parents on this and many other important topics – and they’re free!
 
Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heartthat I might not sin against you.”

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The New Year is Almost Here!

The new year is near and many cannot wait to flip the calendar and start fresh. This last year has had a lot of crud in it. In fact, for many, it feels like layer upon layer of crud. And for others, there have been a lot of precious moments and victories.

When I was on summer vacation a little while ago (back in the day when you could travel) it was +40C and I was amazed at how green the grass was – it looked amazing. Upon closer inspection, I realized two things:

The grass is greener where you water it

The grass was full of weeds

1) As you look ahead to the new year, how will you begin to water it and help it be a flourishing year?

2) Weeds will creep into our lives, but we can still thrive as we are surrounded by God’s love and grace.

As the clock strikes 12, or whenever you head to bed, many people have traditions and activities they like to do. Some like to set off fireworks, shout “happy new year,” or give a hug and kiss. Let’s start this new year with prayer and praying through our life networks.

Family – pray that your sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, spouse, and parents may be strong and courageous (Josh. 1:9) and follow Jesus all the days of their life.

Friends – pray that your friends and neighbours will embrace the hope we have in Christ

Work/School – pray that your coworkers and peers would embrace God’s love and grace. Pray that you will live in such a way that would point them to forgiveness in Jesus.

Interests – as you encounter people throughout your activities, pray that you will lead people to Christ

Church – pray that we would continue to celebrate and share the Good News that Jesus Christ changes lives forever as we make disciples

World – pray for our international workers, like Heather and Andres, that they would build relationships for God’s glory, lead people to Christ, and plant churches of disciples
 

Colossians 1:3-14

3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. 7 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf,8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.


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Hope – You Can Do It

Many of us have to go through some difficult challenges. This is my friend Michaela. She was a student that attended the youth ministry I served in 9 years ago. She is one of the amazing people I was able to serve (and serve with) in Virden, Manitoba. She got Ecoli and got worse. She’s on dialysis, has received blood transfusions, is nauseated and has headaches constantly. On top of that, she hasn’t been able to have any visitors, not even her husband or 8 month old son, for over a week. She’s got tubes to help her breath and hardware coming out of her neck. 
 
You wanna know what Michaela said on Instagram @michbgray and Facebook recently? “I think God can use this.” God is going to use her struggle to bring hope to her friends and family. In the midst of her crummy days, she is able to find a handful of things she is thankful for. My heart is broken for her as I think about her situation and I couldn’t actually write this post earlier in the week. But I am also encouraged as I share this story with my family. 
 
As our family makes adjustments to covid restrictions, I find so much encouragement in Michaela’s life. As I read Philippians 4:10-14&19 this morning, I am reminded of Michaela:
 
 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry,whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles… 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
 
As we look ahead to Christmas, there is hope as we trust in God. As we fill our minds and hearts with “whatever,” we can walk by faith trusting God to renew us, transform us, and give us strength for each day. 
 
“Oh and also, if you  know a health care worker, give them an extra long socially distanced hug today. They are heroes.”

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We’ve got lots of time

Christmas is 43 days away, Christmas is coming… Eventually. We’ve got lots of time right?

Even though we have lots of time, for some reason Christmas always seems to creep up and surprise me and at some point I rush a little bit or just concede and let go of some of my plans and preparations. But not this year!

This year I’m going to start preparing my heart and my home early. I put up my Christmas Lights on Nov. 4 – when it was +5 in the evening. But don’t worry, we won’t plug them in and set the timer till Nov. 12 at the earliest. I’ve got my Christmas Devotional book, and I’m already brainstorming what kind of Christmas activities I’m going to do with my family.

The truth is, Christmas is going to be very different this year and this year, and this year we need Christmas more than every. Our world has been through a lot and it’s taken its toll. There’s a lot of brokenness all around us. But we don’t have to wait till Dec. 25 to celebrate the Good News that Jesus Changes lives forever. God sent His Son so that through his life, death, and resurrection, we can be forgiven, transformed, and made new!

How are you going to “Keep Christ in Christmas” And keep your eyes on Christ TODAY? “I don’t know” isn’t really a great answer. You can avoid Christmas fomo (fear of missing out) so here’s a few to get the ball rolling:

  • Stop by Kennedy’s Parable and pick up a devotional book, gift, or decorations. I have a few extra copies of Come Let Us Adore Him by Paul Tripp I’d love to give you
  • Start reading one of the Gospels a little each day, it’s OK if you read about Jesus birth even if it’s not Dec. 24 or 25. In fact, if you start now, you’ll likely get to the reason he came by Christmas Day.
  • Decorate your house intentionally in a way that points your family and your guests towards Jesus. Honestly, we don’t do Santa or Reindeer, but plaid is a must.
  • Embrace the people and activities in the Nativity rather than Santa’s workshop: Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Angels, Shepherds, Sheep, Wise Men, Stars and Bethlehem.
  • Download a free devotional
  • Make your own advent calendar (those cheep chocolate ones taste gross anyway)
  • Pray for your family and friends who don’t know the Good News yet. Pray every day!
  • Invite people to your home (abiding by the provinces guidelines of course)

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October 31 is almost here, yay!

After hosting a watch party for our Online Missions Conference, we’re definitely thinking about missions more than ever. As we look ahead to what’s next on the calendar, October 31st is right around the corner, and you know what that means? Reformation Day! Although that’s not the first thing anyone thinks of, its actually very very important.

Martin Luther wrote a thesis against the sale of indulgences and nailed to to the door of All Saints church in Wittenberg in 1517. At the time the Catholic Church and Pope had created a large sum of wealth from the sale of indulgences that would allow someone to go to heaven and/or get out of purgatory. Although they are unfortunately still for sale online.

Thanks to Martin Luther, the heresy of the Pope and the Catholic Church was exposed and people were able to discover that we are saved by God’s grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).
 

“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” — Romans 1:17 (NIV)

Today, we have an incredible opportunity to be thankful for salvation, teach that truth to our kids and our life networks, and celebrate and share the Good News that Jesus Christ changes lives forever.

How can we remember and celebrate Reformation Day without dressing up like Martin Luther for Halloween?

  • Listen to or Sing Martin Luther’s song A Mighty Fortress is Our God
  • Share the Good News with someone
  • Start or continue praying every day for a person that hasn’t found salvation in Christ yet
      • Ask your kids which friend they’d like to pray for and then plan on having them over to play at your house
  • Read Ephesians 2 with your family and memorize Ephesians 2:8-10 with them as well
  • Romans 5:1-2 is another great passage to read, and you could memorize Romans 5:1
  • Pray with your friends or family and ask God to reveal a person of peace, neighbour, or people group that we can share the Good News with

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Busy, Busy, Dreadfully Busy…

There’s a few of you who probably recognize that the title of this post is from the song in the classic VeggieTales episode Are You My Neighbour? 
Do you ever feel like you’re too busy. Too busy to get everything done on your “To Do” list, too busy to spend time with people, too busy to get the projects done around the house, too busy to rest, too busy to read your Bible and pray.
 
This summer, our family was quite busy, but thankfully we were able to use our vacation time to rest and be refreshed in our faith. Then kids went back to school and we bought a different house and moved. In the week before and after our move, I found myself so consumed, busy, and tired, I was getting a little weak on my daily Bible reading and rest.
 
It can be SO easy to get distracted and “dreadfully busy” that I focus on my jobs and myself. Now we’re into the fall season and it’s a great time to re-establish some healthy rhythms of rest, reading and praying. Here’s a couple practical tips I find helpful for myself and my boys.
 
  1. Keep you Bible and books in a convenient place
  2. Stop working and stop cleaning and stop fixing at a reasonable time so I’m not too tired to wake up earlier
  3. Kids are loud and need attention, so you may have to wake up before them to focus
  4. Make a plan and keep truckin’ along
  5. Pray for others
I’m also reminded of the three points from Pastor Mike’s message last week on Genesis 13:
  1. Comfort in life is not a basis for godly decisions
  2. Consequences follow every decision
  3. Blessing & Worship follow godly decisions
Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

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