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home is where the heart of discipleship is (part two)

Hey! Hope you have had a super great week! It is super busy because it is graduation season so we traveled to Tennessee last weekend to watch my youngest sister graduate from college. Lovely to see her for a few hours before she left on a mission trip that night, but looooong drive in three days. If you are a MOMMY, Happy Mother's Day! My applause for YOU because your job is not for the faint of heart! You work extremely hard, physically, spiritually, and mentally with no overtime or weekends!

In the spirit of Mother's Day, with Father's Day coming next month, I want to express again how important the role of mom and dad are again in their students' lives! Following my las blog, I want to include the rest of some practical ways to incorporate discipleship into home lives. Enjoy my thoughts on the matter and be encouraged in how you can make positive life changes in your homes! You make the difference in the lives of your students. These ideas are more geared toward teenagers but I want to include practical ideas for families with little ones later!

Discussion – Keep communication open about everyday issues. In Ephesians 6:1-4, Paul instructs parents to bring children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Communication is a perfect way to lead and guide. Ask about quiet time, school, Bible study groups, and friends. Show interest in what they do and who they know. Much information may not come out of your busy socialite, but he or she will know you care and you will create opportunities for when they want to share.

Schedule family dinnertime when everyone will be at home and be intentional about the discussion that happens. Family dinner every night would be ideal, but as children grow older, activities and jobs happen in the evenings, so it becomes more challenging. Intentionality to create this time is meaningful to the family and is a place for laughter and meaningful conversation.

Discuss topics going on in the world and allow expression of opinions freely without judgment. Discuss local news, national news, and topics going on in the country. Their brains are changing from concrete thinking to abstract thinking, so it is a perfect opportunity to guide them to think critically, especially when it comes to right and wrong. Whether you agree or not, let them talk and think through issues aloud. As a teaching opportunity, encourage them to open up Scripture, even as a family, and discover what God has to say regarding social issues and controversial topics. Be gentle and allow God to speak through His Word. There is no need to be shy about real life topics, since they are most likely hearing about social issues at school and with friends. It is beneficial to chat about them at home, at an age-appropriate level, from a Godly point of view. This will ensure they do not just hear information from a worldly perspective, but parents have an opportunity to shine light from a holy perspective.

Family priorities – Live out your priorities to your children. Teenagers are excellent at perceiving real or fake. They watch parents and know if they are living what they are saying. As a family, evaluate and talk about where time is spent and why. Include your teenagers in the conversation and ask them what they think about where your family spends time and if there are any changes needed. Where time is spent shows what is important in life.

Media – Be involved in media at home. Jesus prays in John 17:15-16 for protection of the disciples as they live in the world, though as believers, they are not a part of it. The comfort of television, fun of social media, and entertainment of music is a blessing in America, but can also be used negatively. Be sure to keep communication open about television, movies, music, and social media, as many teaching opportunities will be presented. Teenagers will encounter topics that cause them to question their stance on issues, which lead to excellent opportunities to guide them to figure out what God says and help them to own their faith. It is difficult to make choices that glorify God, especially when it may not be easy or a popular choice. Leading them to be brave and face tough choices will benefit them later on when mom and dad are not there to guide them daily.

Service – Show teenagers what it means to serve. Paul, in Galatians 5:13, instructs believers in Galatia to serve one another. It is no secret that teenagers are naturally egocentric due to the brain’s state of growth. Serving others guides them to be aware of the needs of others and outgrow a me-centered mindset.

Let them create ways to show God’s love to those around. Everyone loves having a place and a purpose, so actively participating in serving is personal and makes a lifetime impact. Bake cookies and take them to the homebound. Take a meal to the local fire station and serve the first responders. If a family at church is moving across town, grab a cleaning bucket and scrub the new house before they move, or build some muscles by helping carry some furniture. When actively looking, opportunities to serve are everywhere. Their lives are only going to become busier, so learning to take time to serve now, they will already be in the habit of serving when they live independently.

God has given parents an honor to teach children to follow Him! According to Barna Research, 59% of 18-29 year olds with a Christian background have dropped out of attending church after going regularly. Parents have a chance to change that statistic with their teenagers at home. Difficult as discipleship may seem with people and activities vying for attention, in eternity, what we do for Christ is all that matters!



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