Take Me Back

What do you tell your kids when they ask, “Do we have to go to church?” Or “Why do we have to go to church?”

My response is, “We don’t have to go. God is good, he has saved us by his grace through Jesus, and we choose to worship him with the church.”

Christ established the church and it is God’s chosen vehicle for His kingdom mission.

Matthew 16:18 “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” 

To the early church, “church” wasn’t a building. The Church is the gathered body of believers, both thought history and in local expressions, that assemble with the purpose to worship God, edify each other, and carry out his mission on earth.

“Fundamentally, the church of Jesus Christ is neither a building nor an organization. Rather, it is a people, a special people, a people who see themselves as standing in relationship to the God who saves them and to each other as those who share salvation.” (Gernz)

We were created to live in community, with other Christians, and worship God in the beauty of his holiness. And as we worship, we also gather together as one body, Christ’s church, to bring glory to His name together.

“We do not enter into a building and then commence to worship. If you are not worshipping God on Monday morning, as you worshipped him the day before, perhaps you are not worshipping him at all.” (A.W. Tozer, My Daily Pursuit, p.27)

The church isn’t perfect, its full of people who are saved by his grace who gather together to worship God. If you haven’t been to a church worship service, maybe it’s time to “go to church” – check out this song from Cochren & Co – Church (Take me back)


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Taking Attendance

I recently heard someone say the average Christian family attends a Sunday worship service 1.5 times a month. A regular attender is someone who attends a worship service 2 times a month.
 
Do you agree with that stat? I hate stats, but I think this tells us something about the priorities of many Christians, even myself. 
 
If we attend a worship service once a week, that would basically be 1 hour out of 168 hours in a week = 1/168. So 2/672 would be how much time an average Christian family attends church in a month. 
 

If you sat down and plotted your attendance, what would it honestly be? Are you happy with that?

 
As I ponder these thoughts, there are two things that come to mind:
 
1) God Doesn’t Take Attendance
 
He doesn’t take attendance like a teacher who is looking for who is present. He doesn’t take attendance in such a way  that we would get a  credit or a grade for showing up. God desires us to follow him with out whole heart.
 
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” Matthew 22:37
 
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1

Our lives, lived out as a living sacrifice for God’s glory, is also extremely important was we aim to disciple our children and instruct them in the ways in which they can follow God. 

You are the primary influence in your child’s life.

 
2) What’s the Point of a Church Worship Service?
I believe, first and foremost, we gather together on Sundays to worship the Lord God together. I can sit on my couch, turn up the Rend Collective and enjoy the Word of God. However, there is something special about meeting together to worship God. I think this might be the focus of my next post, but in the mean time, consider Hebrews 10:19-25:
 
19″Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
 
Personally, for my own life, 1/168 is not enough! 4/672 is not enough either. 
 
God fill me with your Holy Spirit today that I may walk with you, love my neighbours, and make disciples wherever you send me.

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Switch it Up

After Christmas, my boys seem quite motivated to save up their money to buy a Nintendo Switch. Jari has been trying to do some extra chores and memorize a few extra Bible verses so he can save.
They’ve also been to a few birthday parties in which the birthday boys just ask for money consistent with their age. So turning 9 would equal $9 per friend X 10 friends = $90.
While we were walking to the bus stop today, we had quite the interesting conversation about potential birthday money and how it relates to our memory verse of the day.
 
“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops” Proverbs 3:9
 
So we discussed, “If you received $90 from your birthday, how would we honour the Lord with our wealth?”
One response was, “If I have any money left over from buying the Switch, I could donate it to missions or the church.”
To which I responded, “But what’s the second part of the verse? It says, ‘first fruits.’ Think about that and we’ll talk later.”
We didn’t have time to finish the conversation, but I really look forward to discussing this more.
 
I’m thankful for this verse and the opportunity it opens for us to discuss our finances, giving generously and worshipping the Lord with all our heart.

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5 Family Prayers for the New Year

For many of us, the New Year is a time for setting goals and making resolutions. Especially this year, as we flip the calendar on a new decade, the new year can feel like a fresh start—365 blank pages just waiting to be written. No matter what happened in 2019, we can move forward to 2020 with a renewed sense of purpose and passion for living the life God intended for us and our family.

The New Year can also be a time of looking back on all that God has done for us in the last year. Or for a year like 2020, the last decade. The relationships He has given us or restored, the opportunities He has provided, and the forgiveness He has extended. The way our children have grown and the way we have grown. When we take the time to look back, we can see God’s hand in all of it, even the hard things.

As we reflect on all that has happened in the last year and look forward to all that will happen in 2020, one of the best ways to start our year off right is with an intentional family prayer time together.

5 Prayers for the New Year

Thanksgiving for the Past

Before we pray for God’s hand on our new year, we can thank God for all that He did for us in 2019. As a family, make a list of all of the ways that God has worked in your lives this year, both the ways that He blessed you and ways that He challenged you. Thank God for all of it—the joys and the struggles.

Dear God, Thank You for all of the ways You worked in our lives in 2019. You have blessed us with good things, comforted us in hard times, and challenged us to grow more like Jesus every day. We know that even when we can’t see it or feel it, You are always working. Help us to look for Your hand in our lives every day and be thankful. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1(NLT)

Vision for the Future

Just like many people make New Year’s resolutions, many families set goals for their family at the beginning of every year—anything from saving more money to arguing less to giving and serving more to having a regular family devotion. As a family, decide on a few goals for 2020 and pray for the Lord to help you meet those goals.

Dear God, Give us the strength to work on these goals for our family. If these are not the goals You have for us, give us Your vision for the future of our family. Help us to encourage each other to grow rather than criticize. Lord, change us from the inside out to be more like Jesus every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“Put off your old self . . . be made new in the attitude of your minds, and put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)

Patience with One Another

So many of us seem to have the least patience with those in our families. We spend all day being kind and gracious to everyone else and when we get home, we lose it. Or it may be just because we are around them the most or because our family members really know how to push our buttons. As you enter the new year, pray for your family to have the same patience with each other that God has with you.

Dear God, Thank You so much for Your patience with us when we are not behaving as we should. Please forgive us for our impatience with each other. Fill us with Your love and kindness, so that we can be patient with one another no matter what is going on or how we are feeling. Help us to bear with each other in love and gentleness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

“Be completely humble and gentle. Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)

Trust in God’s Protection and Provision

In so many ways, the world can seem like a scary place these days. Some of us don’t even feel safe sending our kids to school or to a friend’s house to play. We worry about finances, that we won’t be able to provide for everything our children want or need, or that we aren’t saving enough for retirement. And there is always a chance that one of us will get a sudden and scary diagnosis. Whether it’s physical safety, our family’s health, spiritual warfare, or financial security, we really can’t trust in our own strength to handle everything that may come our way in 2020. We have to rely on God’s protection and provision. As you enter the new year, pray for God’s protection and provision for your family, and pray for you to have faith to trust in Him.

Dear God, Thank You for all the ways You protect our family and provide for us. We know that You are in control and that You have us in the palm of Your hand. Lord, protect us from evil, keep our family safe, both physically and spiritually. Help us to trust in You to provide all that we need and not to worry about the rest. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

Generosity Toward Others

Over and over again in Scripture, God reminds us that we are blessed to be a blessing. We are put on this earth to love God and to love and serve others. Our families exist not just to love each other, but to love and serve the world. As we start the new year, turning your family’s hearts and minds outward to how you can be generous to others will help your family to develop God’s heart for His people and to live as Christ did. As a family, make a list of people you know who are in physical need, people who need Jesus, people who are hurting or scared or alone, and places you can serve others. Pray for those specific people and places and for God to show you how you can serve others every day.

Dear God, Thank You for sending Your Son to earth to serve. Give us a heart like His for Your people. Show us how we can serve others in our community. If anyone is sad or hurting, help us to show them love. If anyone is in physical need, show us how we can help. If anyone needs to know You, give us the words to tell them about You. Fill our hearts with a spirit of generosity and an attitude of service. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“Serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command – ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Galatians 5:13-14 (NIV)

There is nothing more important we can do for our families than to pray together. Praying with kids is one of the best ways to instill faith in them that will last a lifetime. No matter what 2020 holds for your family, if you pray together, keeping yourselves centered on God and His will for your family, it could be your best year yet.
 
– This post is from the Editorial Team at Minno Parents

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What a Mess!

Let’s just say that more than once I’ve looked around my house and thought – what a mess! How did it get so messy? And some days it seriously feels like I spend all day cleaning up after my boys. I know my house isn’t spotless, but I really like it when it’s close to tidy and the floor is clean. I know we should train our kids to clean up after themselves, but I’m still working on that and that will have to be a post for another day.
 
But there are some thing you should leave lying around. In many relationships, spouses may leave things lying around as hints for one another. What I’m talking about is what you should leave lying around for your kids or grandkids.
 
You should leave your Bible and Christian books lying around house. I don’t mean on the floor or stairs or right beside the stove; I mean you should leave these books in convenient spots.
 
1) When you keep their Bible and Christian books in convenient spots, it can make it easier to find and read at a moments notice. I’ve seen my boys just grab the closes book and ask, “Dad can you read this?” It almost doesn’t matter what the book is, they just grabbed it because it’s close.
 
2) When you keep your Bible in convenient spots, you are often more likely to read it. Plus, kids may also notice that you’re Bible is out and assume you’ve been reading it.
 
This is important because when parents read their Bibles kids are likely to follow your example. Not all the time, not every time, but there’s a reason my kids like to make coffee and donuts any time they’re near a play kitchen. 
 
Modelling authentic faith is one of the most important things a parent can do to help their children discover faith for themselves. 
 
There is one thing that is assumed in this post – that you have Christian books. If you don’t have much of a Christian book library for your kids, now is the time to start one. 
 
a) Ask your friends what they recommend
b) Head to Kennedy’s Parable and let your kids pick a book. We do this during the Book Fair and I let them pick any book they want. I honestly don’t care if it’s a Berenstain Bears Christian book for $4.99 or the Indescribable Devotional Book for $21.99. It’s a wise investment – seriously!

Wondering what to read in the Bible?

Check out the F-110 New Testament Reading Plan for Kids or the F-260 Bible Reading Plan for Busy Believers – and keep a copy in your Bible so you can easily access it and post a copy on your fridge and in your reading spot


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Do Cell Phones and Social Media control you or the people around you?

We use our phones a lot more than ever before. They are so helpful, but they can also be harmful to our relationships, development and spiritual journey.
 
Wouldn’t it be great if someone made a parents guide for social media? Axis.org did! Email me (tylerlhac@hotmail.com) and I’ll get you a free copy! They have other amazing little books you can buy for only $3.99 US!
 
Here are some of my personal thoughts:
  • Parents need to model self control
  • It isn’t fun, but parents need to be CONSISTENT with boundaries
  • Don’t buy your student a phone or let him/her use your old one until they are ready
  • Use internet filters and devices that can limit usage: kidswifi.com 
  • Don’t ever let yourself or your kids take their phone to bed – ever
  • Be aware that if you end up taking your student’s phone away, you will likely get a very negative (and mean) response. That’s psychologically normal unfortunately. So plan ahead as much as you can to avoid those scenarios.
  • Set guidelines to “Start your day right” that include important tasks before kids get screen time
  • Read your Bible more than you read your own social media. Try using a paper Bible instead of digital one.
  • When looking for news, don’t use social media. Use news channels or apps
  • When you go away on vacation, turn off data and use a real camera to capture life’s precious moments
  • Lastly, put down the phone, set a good example and pray
 

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And they’re back

Well, kids are back to school. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a little while, but you likely know that things get a little busy around the beginning of September.
Something we discovered last year, was that back to school can be very stressful for kids. One of our boys was starting kindergarten and had a really rough time. On his very first day was very sad all day. In fact, the teacher even emailed us about it.
We asked him why he was so sad, and he said “I miss you too much.”
So we tried a few things to help him relax and feel safe while at school.
At first he demanded that we stay with him all day. So I said I would stay outside his classroom for a while (send some emails on my phone) and then say “goodbye” and head to the office.
He quickly realized that when I said goodbye, he would get sad, so he asked me not to say goodbye.
At first I waited 30 minutes, then each day a little less. After a few days, I didn’t need to say anymore.
This was quite the challenge, but there was hope…
 
Our key learnings from his separation anxiety:

1) Pray every morning with your kids and read the Bible with them before school

2) Talk to your kid and ask good questions

3) Help them feel safe – remind them that their teacher is a professional who is an expert in caring for kids their age

4) When possible, assure them you are close by and only a phone call away

5) Don’t make promises and reward them for accomplishing the goal, but celebrate and be thankful. 

6) Plan as much in advance so that the mornings can be as stress free as possible

7) Talk to Professionals

 
Every kiddo is different, but the struggle is real. This fall has been way smoother than I anticipated, but something tells me we’ll be continuing to take special note of anxiety in our household. Most mornings we still hear, “I’m never going to school.” But with a lot of patience, he’s never been late.
 
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
 
 

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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:
Bibles
  • The Jesus Storybook Bible
  • The Story for Kids
  • The Story

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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

 

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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.

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