Evaluating Your Culture at Home
My parents fought for our culture at home to be Christ-centered. That didn’t mean they ignored worldly topics or dodged our hard questions, rather, my parents made a conscience effort to put Christ at the center of our culture. There are three things that define a person or people group’s culture. Before we dive into this topic, I want to set a disclaimer that neither my family nor myself are perfect and we never claim to be perfect.
1. Our culture is shaped by the ideas and activities by which we make contact with the world.
Going to church is the most important activity we did as a family. I know what you are thinking, “But your dad is a pastor so you HAD to go to church.” Yes! Our parents made us go to church, but isn’t that how it’s suppose to work? The dad and the mom set the standard and expectations for the home because they are modeling how the church is intended to operate. I can remember dad saying, “We don’t skip church!” so he set the standard and we followed it. As a kid and teen, it was not always easy to go to church or church activities, but it cultivated a love for church that you can’t get from a podcast or live stream. Being a part of corporate worship with a family of believers, serving others, hearing God’s word preached, sharing the gospel at outreach events, singing in the choir, acting in every play, dancing lead in the ballet special at Easter (ask Cody about his dance experience), and doing life with one another. These are the activities that saturated our calendars. I am not saying other activities are evil or ungodly, but are they shaping a Christ-centered culture in your home?
2. Our culture is shaped by the way we interpret everything that we interact with.
My dad can be pretty intense at times. I was the kid who would deny doing something wrong, even if the evidence was stack up right in front of me. However, my dad always operated in and extended grace, not just to us kids, but to EVERYONE. Grace is getting something that we don’t deserve, and according to Romans, we don’t deserve life. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). When we interpret ALL our interactions with Grace, we err on the side of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
3. Our culture is shaped by the lens through which we see the world.
My parents trained us to see with a Biblical World View. Jesus used a Biblical World View to see EVERYTHING, because Jesus is the WORD. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16) WARNING: a biblical worldview is controversial and counter-active to the world culture. Living with a Biblical World View will cause trouble, tribulation and persecution, but take heart because Jesus has overcome the world.
Here are three areas and questions to evaluate how you are shaping your culture at home.
What are your kids observing?
- How you interact with people?
- How you spend your money?
- How you spend your time?
- How you using your talent?
- How you worship?
What are your kids learning or experiencing?
- What are they learning at school?
- What role model do you allow to speak into their life?
- What are you teaching them at home?
- What activities are they involved in?
- Who are their friends?
- What places do they hang out at?
What media are your kids consuming?
- What movies are they watching?
- What books are they reading?
- What are they searching for on the Internet? (Usually a clear history is a guilty conscience)
- What are they watching on Youtube?
- What social media are they using?
- What music are they listening to?
- What news are they watching/reading with you?
From Your Camper
Dear Mom & Dad,
We leave camp today. I am tired and I am ready to see you, but I kind of wish I could stay a little longer too. Camp wasn't what I expected. I didn't want to say anything, but I really didn't want to go because I didn't think I would have friends or that it would probably be boring. And that crazy lady at church that gave us our name tags smiled a little too much. There were a bunch of kids I didn't know when we got on the bus. But I sat next to some cool kids. We laughed and sang some songs and we really messed up that bus with our lunch trash. When we got to camp they told us which cabin to go to and we had to drag our luggage and sleeping bag. But my cabin leader helped us. I got to sleep in the same cabin with some of my new friends. I picked the top bunk. YES! Every day we went to a big building called the tabernacle. We sang songs and danced there. That's also where we got our camp mail every morning. We all love camp mail. I would jump up when they called my name and run to the stage to get it. Some of the camp leaders here sent us cabin mail too. Oh yeah.... And we had clean cabin and dirty cabin contests every day. That was fun when we won but when we lost we had to do clean-up and tray duty in the cafeteria. That was NOT so fun to lose, but I kind of liked being nice helping others. I will have to tell you about dumping buckets of slop on one of the games. That was hilarious and gross. I couldn't stop laughing. During the day we had a lot of fun. We ziplined from 60' and climbed rock walls and did a slip and slide and went swimming and we made these cool t-shirts and we did mini-golf and there was this big field where we played games like dodgeball. Oh yeah, and there was this rubber chicken we had to find. It was fun, but we might have got a little carried away when we chased a camp leader around the camp to try to get it for our own team! I was tired every day because we played so much. And you know what? I didn't even miss my electronic games or a TV shows. Most of the camp leaders were nice, but they did tell us "stay with your leaders" and "get in line" a lot. They also like water around here. Every 5 minutes someone is saying "Where is your water bottle? Fill up your water. Drink lots of water. Did you drink water today?" The camp nurse was nice too. I was surprised how many kids had to take medicine all the time. They also made us rest every day after lunch. Sometimes I took a nap and sometimes I just layed there thinking of things. One day it rained, but there was not lighting so they lit us keep playing. It felt good because it made it not so hot. And we got wet and a little muddy but I liked that part too. The 4th grade girls won the ice cream party tonight because they got the most camp bucks. I actually like the food. We ate chicken fingers and pizza and if they ever had something I didn't like, I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Oh, and send me more money next year because I really like the camp store. I can buy cool t-shirts and ice cream and necklaces and stuff. Me and my friends would go in there every day. At night we would go back to the tabernacle before we went to bed. I didn't think I would like it every time, but it was my most favorite part of camp. One night I was singing and dancing to this cool song we learned called "Look-up". There's this one part that we sing really loud, "Jesus, living big inside of me!" I got this weird fluttery feeling and I got goose bumps. I kind of cried just a little, but I wasn't sad. My camp leader told me that's the Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit is my helper and I should listen to what it tells me to do. Sometimes I felt the Holy Spirit really big in my heart. But I wasn't afraid of it. It made me feel good and I liked it a lot. Have you ever felt the Holy Spirit? I never want to lose the Holy Spirit in my life. Mr. Geoffrey would pray for us and Pastor Cody would always tell a story from the bible. Did you know that a really little guy named David knocked out a great big Giant called Goliath? He used a little rock to kill him! I learned that with God, I can knock out giants in my life. I prayed about my "giant". I knocked it out with my slingshot just like David. I know with God, all things are possible. Some of my friends really needed this. Like one girl was crying really hard because her dad does drugs and is mean to her mom. And she was sad and crying a lot, but tonight she said she is not afraid anymore and she was smiling and looked really happy. And there was this one boy that doesn't know his dad. And he wishes his dad would visit him one day. He learned that our real Father is in heaven and can help us when our parents on earth are not there for us. Remember my friend at school whose parents are getting a divorce. Well, she is here at camp and I saw her crying and crying. Her camp leader asked her if she wanted to pray about it. The leader listened to her and then prayed with her. And later on she told me she doesn't want them to divorce but she knows God will take care of her no matter what happens and to not be afraid. There were so many of my friends that have big problems, but they taught us how to leave it at the alter and give it to God. I am glad I have you mom and dad. But sometimes when you fight, it makes me scared and really sad. I accepted Jesus into my heart and now I feel happier and I don't feel so afraid. I know you would love to have Jesus in your heart too. It would make our whole family better. Maybe we can start going to church so I can keep seeing my friends and keep talking to God. I know sometimes we can only go on Wednesday, but I really, really, really want to see my new friends on Sunday too. PLEASE! I know you would like it at church too. I am praying you will take me even if you don't want to go right now. I almost forgot, they did this alter call thing where they said if God has called you to be a doctor or a teacher or a minister and stuff like that, that they would pray for us. They told us not to stand up and go to the stage just because our friends are doing it. I jumped up and ran to the stage when they called for kids worship leaders! I want to use my singing and dancing to help other kids know Jesus. I know on my heart that's what God wants me to do. And one of my friends wants to be a missionary and travel the world helping people. It was so cool. I had no idea what i wanted to be when I grow up, but I just knew God was telling me what I am supposed to do. It was so awesome! There are so many things to talk about. But I will probably be home soon. Yep, church camp was not what I expected. But I sure loved it. And I want to go again next year. PLEASE! Maybe you can come with me? I love you.
A Mom's view on Kidscamp
- The camp grounds will be exclusive to Trinity Church and Trinity staff/volunteers
- Background checks are completed for all staff and volunteers
Busses leave from the Trinity Church parking lot at 8:00am on 6/23
$50 deposit is all that is required to lock-in the early bird rate
They have some need-based scholarships available
On Dad's Shoulders
Many children in Texas took the STAAR test this week. All of their hard work and all of the teachers’ efforts for the year were put to a test. That can be a lot of pressure for everyone. The school sent home a reminder sheet, “Prepare for Testing Day”:
1. Get a good night of sleep;
2. Eat a good breakfast;
3. Arrive early;
4. Use your testing strategies;
5. Double check your answers.
The morning of the first testing day, I loaded up the car with my three elementary school children. Their bellies were full and they had their sharpest No.2 pencils in hand. On the way to school, I gave them a pep talk. “Take your time. Don’t get nervous. Do the best you can do. You’ve worked hard all year. I know you’ll do great.”
As we approached the school, there were the usual parents scurrying here and there. Children with backpacks were scampering out of cars and making their way to their classrooms. I waited at the intersection while the crossing guard protected the line of children trotting across the crosswalk.
Then I noticed a very tall and youthful dad with his son on his shoulders. His son was smiling and laughing as his dad took the time and effort to trot towards the school. He even stuck his hands out like an airplane in full trust that his dad would not let him fall. This child was about to take the same test as the rest, but he did not have anxiety on his mind. He was focused on the comfort and joy that his dad had to offer.
And then it dawned on me. Our Father! He lifts us up so we can soar on wings like eagles! So I am offering a new “Prepare for Testing Day” list:
1. Pray for wisdom;
2. Have faith that your Father has your back;
3. Do not be anxious, but instead rest in His comfort and have peace;
4. Rejoice in everything; even testing day, because this is the day the Lord hath made;
5. You worked hard all year, so go rock this test and do it for His glory!
My kids and I said a prayer before we exchanged our usual morning hugs, kisses, “I love you” and “Have a great day!” His peace and glory were upon them as they rushed to their classrooms.
We all go through tests in life. Some tests are academic, some are related to work and others are a life test of some sort. And yes, good sleep, good food and good strategies are good things to do to prepare. But let’s not forget our Father! When we have a test, he is always there waiting for us to climb on His shoulders and rejoice. We can do all things through Him who strengthens us. No matter the test, we can soar on wings like eagles.
Do You Worry About Your Children?
Children are God’s most precious gems. The Lord knits a baby, fearfully and wonderfully made, in a mother’s womb. And it is our job as parents to raise our children in a life of full-faith so that they may bask in our Lord’s splendor and glory. But the enemy wants to interfere with such plans.
Do you recall a time before your children were born when you were carefree, bold and courageous? Whether it was a life of full-faith or being youthfully carefree, the enemy likely did not haunt you with worry, fear and guilt near as much as he did the moment your first child was born. Sure, there is some healthy wisdom and responsibility that comes with parenthood, but the enemy also plants seeds of doubt in the hearts of parents the moment they bring God’s baby into this world. And it is up to us to prevent those seeds from flourishing.
All parents wrestle with anxious thoughts when it comes to their children. Some days are better than others. But if you are losing sleep and wringing your hands from worry and fear when it comes to your children, then you are under attack from the enemy. As parents, we must boldly claim our children for our Lord and rebuke the enemy’s seeds of doubt. We shall stand strong and not allow the enemy to steal the joy that comes from raising our children for God, through Jesus and with the help of the Holy Spirit. After all, “if God is for us, who can ever be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
So set out today and every day to cast away the plague of parenting worry. Instead, stand confidently in full-faith of the Lord’s cover, provision and glory for our children.
From Psalm 91 (NLT), let’s confess the following in full-faith for our families and our children:
We live in the shelter of the Most High so
We will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This we declare about the Lord:
He alone is our refuge, our place of safety;
He is our God, and we trust Him.
For He will rescue us from every trap and
protect us from deadly disease.
He will cover us with his feathers.
He will shelter us with his wings.
His faithful promises are our armor and protection.
We will not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
Nor the arrow that flies in the day.
We will not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
Nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at our side,
Though ten thousand are dying around us,
These evils will not touch us.
We can just open our eyes, and
See how the wicked are punished.
We make the Lord our refuge,
We make the Most High our shelter,
So no evil will conquer us;
No plague will come near our homes.
For He will order His angels to
Protect us wherever we go.
They will hold us up with their hands so
We won’t even hurt our feet on a stone.
We will trample upon lions and cobras;
We will crush fierce lions and serpents under our feet!
The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life and
give them my salvation.”
What do your mornings look like before school and work? If it’s anything like my house, it is usually scurry, scurry, hurry, and scurry some more! We have seven people running different directions with a dog barking at the cat who taunts him from high places! We try to fit in a morning devotional, but sometimes it’s simply me whispering “Lord, please help me” under my breath. It really is an organized chaos…. Well, mostly organized.
One morning we were all running later than usual. I hear my 10-year old daughter holler from her bedroom to no one in particular, “Has anyone seen my pink sneakers?” I begin to think of all the places I might have seen her favorite pink sneakers, “Living room floor? No. Entry way? No. Backyard? No. Laundry room? YES!” So I holler back at her, “Check the laundry room!” Then I start to become a bit frazzled when my 9-yr old son says, “Mom, have you seen my hoodie? I can’t find my hoodie.” Now you can imagine what my self-talk was at this point. And please don’t lecture me about night before preparations. We actually do pretty good most mornings, but this was just an off day and my exasperation was growing.
As I am giving the “FIVE MINUTES UNTIL WE LEAVE!” shout-out, I am feeling like we really need to get going. In all my hurriedness, I look up and notice my daughter running through the kitchen and sliding in her socks around the corner singing as loud as she can with a big smile on her face. She gives a little jump of glee and exclaims “There you are!” as she sees her pink sneakers.
I furrowed my brow and thought to myself, “We don’t have time for such nonsense. Doesn’t she know that we are in a hurry?” And then it struck me like a lightning bolt. Time is going to pass at the same speed and we are going to accomplish the same things we need to accomplish no matter our attitude. We can be hurried and scurried or we can be happy and glad. My daughter had it down. She was being joyful and expressing glee. She was not going to focus on the fact that she could not find her sneakers. Rather, she preferred to express joy for finding them! She made me smile. Of course we have time for such “nonsense”. I felt ashamed that I was the window for the enemy to bring impatience and frustration into our home where it did not have to be. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we could all be as joyful as our children? All too often we trade our glee for the hurrying and scurrying of our world. And then as parents, we can sometimes use our exasperation to stifle the joy in our children’s hearts.
So the next time your child is being joyful amongst the chaos, just remember, the expression of glee is Jesus in their heart! Embrace that joyful “nonsense” and maybe sing along with them!
Luke 10:21 (NIV):
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.”
It is our purpose to serve you and your family. You have one the the hardest jobs in the world - raising Godly children who live Christ-centered lives. We want you to know that we are here for you. We want to provide a safe and secure environment for your families. We want to strengthen and grow your families. We want to partner with you in raising your children. What good is a partnership with out communication? That is why we want to stay in touch with you. We want you to know that we are available to talk with you, listen to you, pray with you, and bless you. We use several modes of communication and we wanted you to be aware of them all:
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Your Kidsplace Team Alexis Head and Geoffrey Winkler