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.
 

Read more...

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.
 


Read more...

Surrounded

If you’re friends with a sports fan, it is likely obvious. Sports will have a way of finding its way into anything. Their favourite team will show up in their decorations, cloths, schedules, and you may even get told “I can’t tonight, the game is on.” They have a way of surrounding themselves in the culture.

 
What kind of culture do you surround yourself in?
 
I love my sports teams, I love coffee, and I love people. You’d probably have to spend about 10 minutes with me and I’ll probably have already mentioned all three. The truth is, I love God. I believe that Jesus is my saviour. And really, my faith in God is more important to me than anything. So how do I surround myself with Jesus culture?
 
Step 1 – Worship God
 
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
 
Here’s a FREE resource from Seeds Family Worship you can use to have Family Worship Time and add to a culture of faith in your home.
 
Step 2 – All the Time
 

This past week I was able to visit Millar College of the Bible, the college I attended, for their missions conference and represent Envision and the missions side of the Christian & Missionary Alliance. It was a wonderful and restful weekend. One of the many things that made it great was an attitude and culture that is focused on Jesus. I know I can’t go back to college at this stage of the game, and it was a special conference. But I can put my phone down. I can go to church and listen to sermons throughout my day (like when I’m prepping supper or relaxing at the very end of the day), I can listen to Christian music, I can read the Word, I can talk to my boys about Jesus’ great love, I can pray with my friends for the unreached, I can love my neighbour and I can give generously.

 
If the women don’t find you handsome, at least they should find you humbly following Jesus.
 
Check out “I Can Only Imagine” Air1 or LHAC on Spotify

Read more...

Next Year

I haven’t heard anyone really talking about New Years Resolutions this year, have you? Have you made one?

Many people look forward to a new year and a new start – that’s fantastic. But others have tried that before and know that they’ve been in line to return their treadmill before their 30 days run out.  I havn’t made a New Years resolution, but I still want to be intentional with the beginning of 2019. This year, I choose to be intentional and enjoy the good old days right here in front of me. I want to live in the moment right here. So what does that look like? Crossing off the things on my bucket list? Trying something I’ve never done before? For me, to live in the moment is to spend every day following Jesus. Many people wonder, “what is God’s will for my life.” I believe his will is for us to follow Jesus, make disciples, and worship God every day. 

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
 
Who knows, maybe Next Year I’ll have a resolution, but in 2019 I will be intentional as I read my Bible each day and desire to spend time with God. I will be intentional to read a book of faith with my children and pray each day. I will be intentional to love and care for the people around me. I will fail, and I will trust in God wherever 2019 takes me. Christmas was over 2 weeks ago, but we can keep the spirit of Christmas alive when we follow the Holy Spirit each day.
 
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
 
Check out this new song from The Hunter Brothers from Shaunavon, SK called Next Year
 

Read more...

Oh Come All Ye Faithful

Christmas is coming and many people make a point to attend church worship services and the Christmas Eve Candlelight service. 

There are many challenges people face at Christmas, but one practical thing is “What do I do with my kids?” At Lawson Heights Alliance, we invite our children into the worship for the first two songs every Sunday, and at Christmas and Christmas Eve, they get to join us for the whole service. Here are some tips that help:

  1. Start with your attitude and pray – you can do it! Remember the goal is to Worship God and Connect with others.
  2. Discuss expectations with you kids. I know that sounds like it’s asking a lot, but many children can help create realistic expectations. “When the pastor asks us to stand, what would be the respectful thing to do? Why do we stand?” “When the pastor is speaking, what are things we can do?”
  3. Get a drink and visit the restroom before entering the sanctuary – this may require you to be early. Bring some snacks and a colouring book.
  4. Help them fill out KidZone sermon notes or Activity Packs that are provided at the KZ table.
  5. Read the passage in their Bible. No one is going to judge you for reading the Bible to your children in a whisper during the service. 
  6. Sit near the front – seriously. There will be fewer distractions in front of your kids and they can see better.
  7. If your child wiggles or doesn’t sing, realize many adults do the same when it’s not their favourite song either.
  8. Explain anything that is unfamiliar, like songs and words they don’t understand. Say things like “Do you know what this song is about? Our God is so awesome, that he is the source of all wisdom, power and love!” “Do you know why we light advent candles – because we’re so excited that the celebration of Jesus’ birth is coming” “Do you know why we do this? Me neither, lets ask a friend after the service”
  9. Sing Christian songs at home with your kids and play them on Spotify or Youtube.
  10. Don’t reward them for what can be “normal” behaviours like listening and not being disruptive. A simple “thank you” and “well done” can go a long way.
  11. Oh yeah, there is no such thing as “Normal” and no kids are perfect! Some weeks will be a disaster, but some weeks will actually be worshipful and you’ll likely hear your kids talking about the sermon or singing the songs at home. 
  12. Be consistent with attendance and expectations, it will enable them to get into a groove – and worship God!
 

If you’ve tried all these things and they’re still restless, just remember that they are kids, have patience, relax. Real Christians are not judging you based on how well your children behave during a service. We are glad you are able to join us and we don’t mind a few disruptions. We love you. We need you. You can do it!


Read more...

The First Noel

If you could discover what behaviour or practice has the biggest impact on influencing a child’s life, what would you do? 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.

What has the BIGGEST Impact
We leaned last week in my post that #4 on the list is 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.
 
So what do you think? Is it that big of a deal? If you ask any teacher, they will confirm that reading 20 minutes a day is the most important thing you can do at home with your children to help them succeed. This can be challenging because not every family has enough time to read for 20 minutes. So it comes down to one thing – will you make time? Will you read to your kids? Will you sit with them while they read? Will you invest in a Bible and Christian books that are consistent with his/her reading level.* A good Bible is cheeper than a family trip to McDonalds. If you don’t know which books and Bibles to buy, talk to me or your other Christian friends.
Some kids just don’t like reading. It’s a fight to get them to read. Here are some specific things you can intentionally do to help them though: 
 
#1 – Model good reading and prayer habits. It’s never too late to start.
 
#2 – Clear they’re busy schedule so they can develop their own good reading habits. Discover when the best time of the day will be to sit and read.
 
#3 – Avoid distractions and journal if that helps
 
#4 – Make it fun! Go shopping at Kennedy’s Parable and let them pick anything they want. Some kids like to have a reading chart.
 
#5 – Keep on keeping on. It might be frustrating, it might be difficult, but keep praying and trying. Not every kid is a reader and some kids have medical challenges that make it difficult, but you can do your best to help them do their best. He/she doesn’t have to read as many books as the next kids, but we can help our kids do their best.
 

So this Christmas – start with the First Noel – the Nativity. Read the book of Luke 1 paragraph at a time until you get to the history of our Saviour’s birth – and then keep on going! It’s never too late to start. 

“Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian” A.W. Tozer
 
Pastor Tyler’s Favourite Christian Books for Kids:
Aventures in Odyssey Imagination Station Ages 5+
 
*There are so many different Bibles, and kids have different levels of understanding at different ages, what should a parent do? Should we buy a different Bible for them at each stage of their life? Sure, why not!
I know I’ve asked these questions as I began parenting. I’ve decided that I would do whatever it takes to get my kids reading the Bible. So this has meant I start with reading it myself, and I make sure they have access to a Bible they can understand. That means we have, so far, at least 5 different Bibles currently. And we’ve read 4/5 of them!
If you don’t want to spend $20 every 2-3 years on a Bible, get grandma or grandpa to do it. If they’re open to faith, something tells me they would love to have their grandchild get into the Word of God.
 
Deuteronomy 6:5-7: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Read more...

Do You Hear What I Hear

This week, our family began daily Advent verses as we prepare our hearts for Christmas. My son Zeke, in Kindergarten, noticed that John 3:16 is the verse for Christmas day. That surprised me because he is only in kindergarten and doesn’t know how to read. He said, “I hope I get to read John 3:16 verse because I know it.” With a thankful smile I said, “really? Lets hear it,” and he went on to recite it. Then I asked, “That wasn’t your KidZone verse last week, where did you learn it?”

And do you know what he said? “From Seeds Family Worship” Wow. He doesn’t know how to read, but he can listen to Gods Word wrapped in music. That’s amazing! Seeds Family Worship is a ministry that makes great music with professional lyric videos that is made up word-for-word of scripture. Three of their DVD’s are available in our church library and you can listen to a few of their songs for free on Youtube.
In a recent study by Lifeway, 2000 parents of young adults were surveyed to discover what are the largest influences in a kids’ life of faith. Number 4 was… Listening primarily to Christian Music. I don’t know about you, but this is good news because I LOVE listening to music. But why Christian Music? Well, let me ask you the questions:
  • Why do you listen to music?
  • Can music help you turn your attitude around?
  • Can music help you learn something?
  • Does music remind you of anything?
  • Has music ever impacted the people around you?
  • How does music make you feel?

And in all these ways, I desire to fix my eyes on Jesus, and I’ll bet you do too. People may have long discussions about why their genre is the best and the only genre people should listen to. I don’t want do argue about instruments or how old the song is or who wrote it or what genre it fits into. Lets fill our lives with Christ Centered faith filled music.

For this reason, I think the most important App on a Christian’s smartphone is a music app that enables you to listen to Christian Music. Personally I listen to the Air1 app or online every day. If I want to change it up, I listen to the parent station KLOVE. These two stations are rebroadcast hundreds of times throughout the United States, and it’s free to listen. Others like listening to the Christian Music genre of their choice on Spotify, that’s great too. 
 
AND Air1 & KLOVE also have Christmas stations, so you can listen to your favourite Christian artists Christmas albums all… day… long! Want some ideas for your Christmas shopping list? But them some Christian music from iTunes or at Kennedy’s.
 
Next week, I’m going to reveal the top 5 BIGGEST areas of impact in a kids faith from Jana Magruder’s book Nothing Less – Engaging Kids in a Lifetime of Faith. What do you think number #1 will be?

Read more...

Christmas is Coming

“Christmas is coming, the bells are rising, hope comes alive as music fills the air.” Christmas is Coming by Jason Gray

Every year, many people have the conversation about when to put up the Christmas tree and start decorating. Some wait till after Nov. 11, others wait until Dec. 1, and others just make sure they have it done by Dec. 23.
As we get ready for Christmas, we will celebrate advent, which is a common practice to prepare our hearts for Christmas and focus our attention on our Saviour. What are your favourite ways to celebrate the Nativity and focus on Christ at Christmas? I’ve made a gift guide that you can look at to think about Christian gifts for your friends and family.
 

Ideas to Keep Focused on Christ every Christmas:

  1. Ask Good Questions and find Good Answers

    This is very important. Start by asking yourself questions “Why do I do this? Why do we celebrate this way? What does this Christmas Carol tell us about Jesus?” These questions can also be opportunities to have Faith conversations with your family. “What do you think this song means? Why do we do this tradition? Why do we give a little bit more at Christmas? Why do we bake for our neighbours?” Then seek out answers in the Bible.

  2. Pray for your neighbours

    Pray that they would have hearts and minds open to the Good News of Jesus during the Christmas season.

  3. Serve in your community

    Call the Salvation Army and volunteer to ring bells, especially close to Christmas, serve Christmas dinner at City Centre Church, give gifts for toy & winter coat drives.

  4. Love Your Neighbours

    After you pray for them, invite them over for supper, dessert or Christmas Dinner or the Church Christmas Banquet, bake for them, shovel their walk, or do whatever you can to be loving and caring

  5. Read Luke 2 Read it multiple times, asking God to teach you something new from His Word.

  6. Get a Christmas Devotional Book For yourself or your family

  7. Give gifts from the Alliance Justice and Compassion Catalogue that can make in impact around the world

  8. Go shopping with your family and purchase decorations and gifts, maybe from Kennedy’s Parable, that point to the Savior.

  9. Set Realistic Expectations You may not be able to bake 12 different kinds of cookies, take the perfect family photo, invite every neighbour over for Christmas dinner, buy the perfect gifts and ring the bells at the mall. So do what you can, guilt free, always fixing your eyes on Jesus.

  10. Worship God Be sure to take time to attend the worship service, the Christmas Eve

    Service (6:30pm), and spend time in genuine rest with God and in His Word

  11. Make a plan to live out your Christian faith throughout the whole year by being generous, serving and loving your neighbours.

 
 

Read more...

What Lies Beneath

Best for: Ages 6 to 12
Stuff Per Child: A large coffee filter, scissors, a black nonpermanent marker, and water

The Experiment

Ask: Can you find a rainbow in a black marker?

Cut out the center bottom of a coffee filter and color a coin-size black dot in the center. Have kids hypothesize about what’ll happen when they add water to the dot. Drop 10 drops of water onto the black dot and watch as a rainbow of colors spreads.

Scientific Facts: Black marker ink is made of colored pigments and water. When water’s added, the pigments dissolve and spread through the filter, revealing the colors that mix to create black.

Talk About It: Ask: Was your guess correct? What happened when you added water? Were you surprised by what you saw? How is this experiment like or unlike you? Read the Scripture. Do you have qualities others don’t see? Explain. Do you think God sees those qualities? Explain. How does it feel to know God looks at your heart rather than outward appearance?
Bible Connect: 1 Samuel 16:7

Read more...

Last full day in Mexico City

As we began the last full day in Mexico City, a few of our team members spent some extra time in prayer for personal victory over the struggles. And we praise God that he leads us beside still waters and is with us always to the very end of the age.
We travelled to an area of the city called Xochimilco where we had the opportunity to continue our debriefing and discipleship along the canal’s of Mexico City with our friend, Heather Hahn de Cabesas. It has been so wonderful how Ray has led our times together so we can celebrate what God has been doing and reflect on how we can continue to follow Him.
When we got back to the ministry centre and guest house, we continued to spend some time celebrating the victory we have in Christ and Dan (the C3 youth pastor) shared with us some encouraging gifts he received for us during his morning prayer time. As we were about to conclude, I was praying and asking God, “what would be the best way to transition from such an encouraging time of reflection and discipleship towards supper. Would it be fitting to sing “Holy, Holy, Holy,” together?” Almost immediately, I heard Dan say those exact words – it seemed like a clear indication that singing that song would be a great way to continue to focus our attention on God as we went for supper. I scampered off to get the laptop so everyone could see the words as we sang it together from youtube. 
Then off to Taquearte for one last round of tacos. 
We concluded our official ministry time with an evening at the English Conversation Group that takes place in main level of the ministry centre that is used for the C3 church.
Praise God for the good things he’s been doing in the hearts of our team!
L-R: Nic, David, Aaron, Tyler, Ray, Dan
L-R: Cindy, Janice, Janaya, Shawna, Jessi
 
 

Read more...