We can rejoice all ways

Anxiety, in the greek: to be in pieces; coming apart. Do you every have times in your life when it feels like things are coming apart – or when it feels like something or everything is in pieces and something or everything is falling apart?

“We are broken people in a broken world, looking for the Creator to restore.” Walt Mueller
 
1 Thessalonians 5:16 “rejoice always”

When we’re stuck in anxious thoughts or in the midst of a significant challenge, likely the last thing we want to do, and the most difficult thing to do is – rejoice.

What does “rejoice” actually mean? The Greek definition of that word is: to be cheerful; calmly happy or well-off; as a salutation, be well: farewell, be glad, God speed, greeting, rejoice.

Nehemiah 8:10 “…for the joy of the Lord is your strength”

Ways to Rejoice

  1. Read the Word “God’s Word is the only thing that can put human anxiety into perspective” Walt Mueller
  2. Meditate upon the teachings of Jesus – Go over the teachings of Jesus again and again
  3. Spend time with other Christians
  4. Lead others to Christ, for they will be a great source of joy – especially in the midst of tough times
  5. Sing praises to God
Psalm 100:1-5: Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

“The amygdala of the limbic system is the area typically linked to negative emotions such as fear and is normally inhibited when listening to music.” (Livestrong)

And I would add that positive and upbeat music will have a great impact. And music that is Christ-centered and helps us to rejoice in the Lord is likely the best medicine. 

Fear is normally inhibited when listening to music – Maybe this is why music has such a unique role in sports. When players are in the dressing room, they listen to music. When they’re on the court for pre-game – they listen to music. I’m a bit of a snowboarder and when I think of the Olympics, I’ve always found it cool and interesting that, just before they head down the pipe, they take a moment to get their song on and then they head out the shoot. There are probably a variety of reasons they do this, but whether they realize it or not – music inhibits fear.

As Christians, we’ve know this for thousands of years! And now more than every, we have instant access to high quality Christian music! What are you listening to? Maybe it’s time for a new playlist or app.

When fear starts to creep into your life – turn up the music, sing and rejoice. 

When you’re in your car – you can sing God’s praises. When you’re getting supper ready, when you’re at work, when you’re going for a walk, when your relaxing – we can sing praises to God – you don’t even know how to play a piano or guitar! So when we gather to worship together – we sing God’s praises. We were created to worship!

Even if you find yourself being a prison singer – you know, behind a few bars – you can sing to God!

Fear: a distressing emotion aroused by impeding danger, evil, pain, etc. whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

Anxiety: distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune

The difference between fear and anxiety is fear is derived from danger or a threat and it can lead to anxiety – distress or uneasiness of the mind. 

Happiness and fear are both processed in the amygdala – fear is processed quicker and bypasses the prefrontal cortex. But happiness, thankfulness, gratefulness, joy, love are all processed in the amygdala and can overpower fear – it just takes a few hundred milliseconds to process.

While I was studying this on Thursday, I was listening to K-Love Christian Radio and then I heard their tag line “If you’re feeling stressed – Positive Encouraging K-Love” That statement is actually scientifically true!
 
This post is part I of a sermon called Rejoice, Pray & Give Thanks

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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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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! 
 

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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
 

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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!

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