Redberry Family Camp

I’ve been wanting to take my family to Family Camp for a long time. It is a great way to have a faith-filled vacation. Plus, in my studying I’ve discovered that when students have an opportunity to head to Bible Camp, it has a significant impact on their faith journey as they follow Christ their whole loves.
This past week, I had the privilege of being the guest speaker at Redberry Bible Camp and we talked about some of the Essentials to our Faith as we lead our families. Our family really enjoyed the meals, not having to do dishes, not having to cook meals, playing street hockey, pony rides, basketball, archery, tuck, swimming, illusionist, board games, jungle swing, and chapel. It was a LOT of fun and I really encourage families to consider going to family camp in 2020.
Here are some of the downloads and resources that I was talking about during chapel:
  • The Jesus Storybook Bible
  • The Story for Kids
  • The Story


Memorizing the Map

This morning I took a quick glance at the map on my phone, then started driving towards Victoria Ave and then Living 
Hope Alliance Church in Regina. Then I used Siri and bluetooth to call home to my family. As I started to get closer to LHAC, I realized I’m not sure I’m on the right road, maybe I should pull over and end the phone call. Then I realized I was actually taking a shorter and more direct rout to LHAC. It’s amazing how God takes us where we need to be, even when we don’t realize it.

So where are you headed this summer in faith?

If you have a map and God’s help, it’s a whole lot easier to get to where you’re going!

Here’s a plan that my oldest son and I are journeying on for the summer – It’s the NT portion of the Foundations 260 Bible Reading Plan from Robby Gallaty and it includes memory verses. Jari and I usually read the passage after breakfast, before he goes to school and before I go to work and then we pray for friends who we can invite to Fun Camp and/or who need Jesus.
Now what do you do with the passage you’ve just read? Here’s a free download of what I call the Discovering the Bible Bookmark to guide you through some reflections you can use for many passages, especially narratives (stories).
On another note, we’ve started implementing a rule in our house, BEFORE summer his – No screens until cloths are on, teeth are brushed, you’ve read for at least 10 minutes (preferably the Bible), and you pick up toys. So far, it’s a bit of a battle, but a necessary one. 

17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:17



Too many Bibles?

When I stated parenting, I faced an internal conundrum… how many children’s Bibles to I really want on my shelf? Do I want to buy my son a Bible at every stage of his life? If I purchase one every 2-3 years, that could get expensive.
As we started reading to our son, two things became apparent. 1) Different Bible have different vocabulary, reading levels, and pictures. 2) Any money spent on a Bible or faith books is money WELL spent. If parents are willing to read the Bible to and with their kids, I’m not sure we can have too many Bibles.
So on our shelf we have 5 different children’s Bibles, along with a bunch of other good Christian books. Every child is different and he/she may enjoy different Bibles and books at different levels of their understanding. Here’s a list of some we like and which age they’re best for from our experience:
We use this Bible in our younger KidZone classes. It has pictures that are easy to see and short chapters that are great for their attention spans. The only down side to this Bible is that it’s kind thick and doesn’t really hold up to kids tossing it around.
The artwork in this Bible is very creative and I love how every chapter accurately points to Jesus.
The Story for Kids – Age 6-10 
This Bible uses large selections from the NIrV to cover the the overarching story of the entire Bible.
Hands On Bible NLT – Ages 7-12
Once kids are able to read on their own, they can spend time in this complete Bible and continue to enjoy the Word.
These Bibles look great, are well used around the globe, and are also relatively affordable. 
NIV Student or Study Bible
The Student Bible a lot of study notes that can help a person understand more of the content and important thoughts that are going on. The Study Bible is almost the same, but has more study notes and is a little bigger. 
Other notes: I always keep an eye on how big a Bible is. These dimensions are idea: 14.3 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm. We also like the Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible. My personal favourite is the CSB translation, but it’s not very common, my next go-2 is ESV.


Coffee Breaks and Daddy Days

We all know that it’s important to spend quality time with our kids. But how do you do it? And what do you do. I knew someone who didn’t spend that much time with his kids, and when he did, they would watch a movie. I think the guy just didn’t know how to spend time with his kids. Here’s some of the things I’ve discovered along the way.
1) Me and my boys have a “Daddy Day” or “Coffee Break.” Each week try to take one of my boys out for coffee (winter) or for a walk or bike ride (summer). Just the two of us. These are some of my most precious memories, ever! “It’s just you and me old man” – Jari
2) Sometimes I leave my phone at home – that’s why there’s “No Picture Available.” Then I’m not distracted and can give him my undivided attention.
3) It might cost you a few bucks to go for coffee once a week. $3 a week – they’re allowed one treat, either a donut or hot chocolate. If you can’t afford that, maybe you need to revisit your spending habits.
4) Help them memorize one of the verses: one they’ve learned in KidZone, at church, or one of your favourites. Then discuss what it means and how to live it out. KidZone verses are often on FB or a link to a verse calendar is often on the KidZone site. 
5) Pray together – ask “If God did a miracle at your school, what would it be?”
6) Smile and say “I love you”
7) Find something to celebrate in their personality or character “I love how creative you are”
8) You can do it! 


We Survived Winter!

I don’t know about you, but I’m sure thankful it’s spring and I’m looking forward to the new season with some fresh enthusiasm and fresh ideas for KidZone

Supervised Gym Time
Sometimes our kids come to KidZone with a lot of energy. If we could find some parents to supervise, I would love to see if we could have supervised gym time from 9:50-10:20 each Sunday. Would you be willing to help out? Would you like to help create a schedule?

Grade 6 Serving Sundays
Our Grade 6 students will be moving up to youth group this fall, and I would love to begin giving them opportunities to serve before or during the worship service. This could be decorating, preparing crafts, praying, stuffing bulletins, greeting, and any other ideas we can think of.

Schedule in Planning Centre 
Our worship team schedule uses an app called Planning Centre and I will be transitioning our KidZone schedule into it as well. This will enable all leaders to see when they’re on the schedule and open the door for moving towards online check-ins for kids.

Download the Celebrate Songs free from the Grades 1-6 KZ Class

Play Cafe April 24 or 25
1:30pm-3:30pm bring you kids and invite friends to the church building for an afternoon of gym time and snacks. Coffee will be available for parents. Let us know if one of these dates works for you
KZ Friends and Families BBQ May 19 (Long weekend) 
I would like to invite all the KidZone families to join us for a Hot Dog BBQ in our backyard so kids can play and families can hang out together. 12pm-2pm


Millennials & Teens who Follow Jesus

Going to McDonalds doesn’t turn you into a Big Mac, and going to church doesn’t turn you into a Christian. So how do you become a Christian? Long story short, turn and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Romans 10:9). This is an amazing truth, but how do we bring that into the home to raise our kids to become disciples of Jesus? There is no magic answer that will guarantee if you do these 15 things you will child will be a disciple, but there is hope! 
“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:22-23
I recently attended a Children’s Ministry Conference in Sasktoon and heard from a number of incredible speakers (I would love for you to come next year). One of the local breakout speakers, Maureen Brown, shared some of her research that shows 5 things that are common in young adults who continue to follow Jesus. Again, this isn’t a guarantee, but when we intentionally focus our hearts and families on faith, we are creating opportunities for kids to place their faith in Jesus and become his disciples.
  1. Ate dinner 5-7 nights a week as a family
  2. Serve with your family in a faith-based ministry (with a humble attitude)
  3. Have at least one significant spiritual experience in the home during the week – This will likely include authentic times of: prayer (not just at meal times), reading the Bible daily, discussing faith, fasting, Bible Camp, Family Camp
  4. Trust with  responsibility in a ministry at a young age
  5. Have at least one other adult in their lives, other than parents, who believe the same things as parents
Personally, there are a few things that I think are extremely important as we seek to incorporate these 5 things into our parenting: Bible Camp and/or Family Camp (Ranger Lake or Redberry), Christian Conferences, reading Christian books and the Bible daily, Praying, listening to Christian music and authentic Christian community. 
Looking for more hints like this to make a kingdom impact in your own life and the life of your child? Check out my post called The Number One Thing
Parenting is tough and it is wonderful. I need all the help I can get and I’m also praying for you!


Youtube Autoplay

The other day, my two youngest boys wanted to listen and sing a song, and the only lyrics they new were “glory.” Great, that really narrows it down. Then the song came on thanks to Youtube autoplay and they got really excited.
What is “autoplay”? When you pick a song or something to play on youtube, it will automatically play a similar video right after. But eventually the videos can change bit by bit, and before you know it you’re watching something totally weird and maybe even inappropriate. For this reason, people often turn autoplay off. And if you don’t plan on paying attention to what your watching, that’s probably very wise.
However, in this case, it was kinda neat. We were listening to Seeds Family Worship music and then The Rizers came on with another scripture song for 2 Peter 3:18
Youtube and the internet have a lot of junk on them, and we need to closely monitor and pay attention to what we watch. There is a lot of great content available as well. 
“Above all else guard your heart, it is the wellspring of life” Proverbs 4:23. Pay attention to what you and your children are listening to and watching. 
It brings me GREAT joy when I hear my kids singing Christian music, especially when they start singing along in the bedroom while the tv is on in the living room. Sometimes I even sing out loud in our kitchen, knowing that they are listening. Sure enough, they start singing and humming in the living room. Our kids are watching us and following our example, lets fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2)! 
On another note, this week there was a lot of talk about Momo videos that would come on during autoplay selections and they were inappropriate. Apparently, these Momo videos actually don’t exist and people have nothing to worry about. 


Lego Movie Music

My son was invited to a birthday party and they went to Lego Movie 2. I figured I’d go along and watch it too, cause I like animated movies (aka cartoons).
I was kinda curious how they would handle the music side of things.The original Lego Movie had an extremely popular song that I won’t mention because you may have just got it out of your head. So, could they find a new song that would instantly be that popular?
The answer is… maybe.
Time will tell, but our family has discovered two things: 1) The original Lego Movie song is now stuck inside our heads and 2) There are at least 2 new songs that can easily get “stuck in side your head.”
So in an effort to get them singing something else, here are some links of our go-2 favourites or things that I want to focus them on:
  1. KidZone Youtube Playlist – I update it once in a while to keep some newer songs on top. 
  2. LHAC on Spotify
  3. Air1 “Worship Now” App
  4. KLove Radio App
  5. Love the Lord lyric video by Crossroads Kids
  6. Bethel Music Kids
  7. City Bible Kids on youtube


The Number One Thing

What has the BIGGEST Impact on influencing a Child’s Life?

Janna Magruder published the book Nothing Less – Engaging Kids in a Lifetime of Faith – It is a survey of 2000 parents of young adults by Lifeway. In it she discovers the top ten influencers in children’s lives that develop them into mature believers. Here’s a list of the top 4:

#4 listening primarily to Christian music.
#3 Child regularly served in church – notice it doesn’t limit this to parents who serve, but children who serve.
#2 Child regularly spent time in prayer
And #1 – Child regularly read their Bible while growing up.
Where do we start?
I’d suggest starting with the record of Jesus’ life, the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.
Another place to start is at the beginning.
Foundations 260 Reading Plan (F-260). The F-260 is a two hundred and sixty day reading plan that highlights the foundational passages of Scripture that every disciple should know. Print it out, check off what you’ve read, and read at the pace outlined or at your own pace.
Read Scripture App – Bible Reading mixed with introductory videos
Don’t Give Up! You may make a plan and then get distracted for a day, week or year. When that happens, pick up the Word and keep on reading.
Bibles for Everyone – Get every person in your family their own Bible to read daily.
The Story – Using the clear, accessible text of the NIV Bible, it allows the stories, poems, and teachings of the Bible to read like a novel in 31 chapters. The Story for Kids is also available.
God’s Story for Me – Excellent for toddlers and pre-schoolers
The Jesus Storybook Bible – For preschoolers and early elementary kids
Hands On Bible – A Fun Bible for kids that can read, especially kids that like crafts, experiments and discovery.
NIV Study Bible – Great for anyone that can read, this Bible includes footnotes and helps that can help you dive deeper.


In Summer

     In the Bible, we see Daniel (this Sunday’s KidZone lesson) had almost everything taken away form him. He was taken captive, given a new name, new language, and new education. In the midst of all this, what does he do? We don’t really know every detail. What we do know is that he did all that was asked of him with excellence and faithfulness, until the people in power forced him to act a certain way (eat the dreaded king’s food). David had foundation that was firm and not swayed by his educators, captors, or the culture around him. That’s what I want to strive for, a heart and attitude that are focused on Loving the Lord God with all my heart (Mark 12:30) even in the midst of extreme circumstance.
     It’s been cold outside, like really cold. We don’t want to spend too much time focusing on the days when the grass will be greener (or even visible), but now is the perfect time plan ahead when we are thinking about our summer plans.
     Will you intentionally plan your time so that it helps your family grow in faith? Usually if we wait for later, it doesn’t happen, and if we don’t plan, nothing also happens. 
A. This summer is likely the best time for you and your family to consider Bible Camp. There are lots of great camps in the area – Redberry Bible Camp, Ranger Lake Bible Camp, and Camp Kadesh to name a few. Maybe you want to take your holidays and rest in God during Family Camp. So far, it looks like our family will be heading to Redberry’s Family Camp. And if Bible Camp isn’t in your families budget, LHAC can sponsor you – talk to Pastor Tyler. Bring your friends, and especially non-Christian friends, to camp. And lastly, when it comes to camp, encourage your kids to share their faith and make friends with someone who doesn’t know Jesus, especially if they’re from the same neighbourhood.
B. Plan to go to Church on holidays. Almost every where you go has a church. You may have a great experience, or you may have a challenging one. Either way, it is awesome for your family to continue to worship God.
C. Read your Bible and sing songs. Holidays are a great time to spend extra time in the Word, be refreshed, and listen to songs that focus your heart on Jesus.  Listen to LHAC Sunday Songs on Spotify, tune in to a local Christian radio station, download some Adventures in Odyssey, or listen to the Air1 App.