I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith on to your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week: 3 Legged Race

“Don’t be proud at all. Be completely gentle. Be patient. Put up with one another in love. The Holy Spirit makes you one in every way. So try your best to remain as one. Let peace keep you together.” Ephesians 4:2-3 (NIRV)

Create your own 3 legged race, tying one leg of two people together. You can use pantyhose, rope, rip an old towel into lengths,even a long sock.  Have a bucket at one end of determined “track” (if weather is decent, outside is better) and teams must carry one marshmallow at a time and drop it in the bucket before turning around to go back for another.  When they have placed 4 marshmallows in the bucket they must run back and cross the finish line. Declare a winner or celebrate everyone’s achievements, whichever works best in your family.
Stay tied as “one”, and debrief by asking how it felt to be connected to another person you couldn’t control. As an example, have one person try to be first ahead of their partner to show how it slows us down. Model how difficult it is to move forward when somebody is pulling you in a different direction. It’s tough for the other person to move ahead when you’re stalling. Alternatively, lock arms with your partner and notice how much easier it becomes to be successful when we’re united.
three-legged race
Look up Ephesians 4:2-3 together and really tie in the wording to the lesson: be gentle, be patient, put up with another.  The Holy Spirit helps us “lock arms” and have unity, so we will move together in the same direction.
We need to choose to work together with those God has put in our lives. That means our brothers and sister, parents, classmates, coaches and friends. Let peace keep us together this week!

When you see kids choosing peace and working together, you can praise their willingness to put up with each other 😉

Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done. How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

Welcome to the easiest family devotional you’ll ever come across- Marshmallow Madness! There are many wonderful devotions available, but these are for those of us ~myself included~ who have the best intentions but just can’t seem to get it together. We can do this!

I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith onto your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week: Wise Words

applesnewYou’ll need mini-marshmallows, an apple and something sweet and sticky like honey, jam or peanut butter.. For younger children, slice the apples yourself just before the snack, and provide each child with their own “lips”, some marshmallows and whatever sticky ingredient you’ve decided on. Not only are these mouths fun to make, they taste delicious. Personally, I recommend peanut or almond butter.

It’s a good idea to look up the Bible verse BEFORE the assemblling of the snack, or else have cloths available to wash up sticky fingers. If you look up the verses together before hand, it’s handy to be able to discuss them during snack assembly.

Study the scriptures below with the kids. Have a contest to see who can find the verses fastest. Younger kids can be paired up with older siblings or parents. Ask them why these verses go with the snack. You might be surprised at the insights your children have on the subject of kind words. What are sweet words? How can words be healthy for our bodies?

Psalm 119:103 (NIV)   How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)  Kind words are like honey—  sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

For older kids, challenge them with an extra twist:  In addition to the tasty treats, create one apple snack but instead of spreading the apple with a sweet sauce, use hot sauce instead. If you have a child in love with hot sauce you could use vinegar, baking soda, or worchestershire perhaps? Challenge them to have a bite. What’s the principle here? A little bit of harshness ruined all the sweetness. We can’t mix good and bad words, praise and cursing.

James 3:10 (NIV) Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

Here are some more scriptures for discussion, if time allows:

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 5:4 (AMP) Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God].

Colossians 3:8 (ESV) But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Let’s use our mouths to bring sweetness and life to others!

Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives, let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Keep a prayer journal and each week add in your prayers. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.

How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

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Ding! Ding!

In this corner, we have “Getting out the door in the morning!” In the other corner, we have “Bed time!

Standing in the other corner is “Coming home from school!” and in our final fourth corner, we have… “Meal Times!

These can be fun family moments, instead of what feels like 12 rounds for the heavyweight title. This two hour training session will show you how to create a realistic routine, that will tear down the boxing ring! Get equipped to win for your family!

Monday, January 20th at 7pm at at Regina Apostolic Church (808 Assiniboine Ave. E.)

If you would like more information about the workshop or have any registration, payment, or childcare questions, please call 306.789.1772 and ask for Mackenzie (Family LIFE Administrative Assistant). Cost is only $20 per person or $30 per couple and supervised childcare is included so register the kids! Register online today at www.familyliferegina.com or phone Regina Apostolic Church 306-789-1234.

“When you’re a grown-up, you go to work and come home and eat supper and then… you watch tv!”

The quick answer you may hear if you asked a child… “What does a grown up do?”

Are we letting our lives slip by? Apparently our generation has more free time than ever. But it seems to me, we’re not actually happier. What kind of future do you want for your family tree? Do you talk about your hopes excitedly with expectation of success?

I don’t, but I wish I would.

I’m sure you feel the same.  So busy that we feel as if we’re spinning through this world. Juggling all the needs of a family doesn’t leave much time for wishes and dreams.

time-to-dream-bigger

Let’s elevate our expectations. If late nights have splintered the dreams of your youth, select a fragment and dust off those goals that once gave you energy and passion. Pray about what God would have you take on, and would work with your family and not against it. Let your kids see you striving nervously for that impossibly hard thing. Let them see you fall and get back up. With time and practice, your hard work will become successful.

“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”— Mario Andretti

And there is good reason to make time for this. Our children are afraid of failure, and frankly they don’t see their parents overcoming tough obstacles. We need to teach through example.  It will give our children confidence to stretch along with us, and really live out Phil 4:13 and do everything through Him who gives us strength.

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”— Dale Carnegie

I want my children to appreciate when I am nervous about an upcoming speaking engagement, a difficult health program I attempt, a potential blog topic idea, or when I feel God is giving me a difficult instruction (like fasting). They will see that we don’t know everything, that we don’t always have it together. We do our best, and sometimes we fail. Ouch.

Hebrews 10:35 “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”

Talk about your child’s future with them often, as if it is their mission in life. Relate all the possibilities imaginable, and when age appropriate even write down some of their dreams and aspirations. Of course with kids their own goals for their future can and should change often. It is not a sign of mediocrity, but actually a signature of healthy curiosity. Discuss famous people who changed the world for good or bad, and  get books on the library on real missionaries, now and long ago.

Older kids may already have some firm ideas for their lives. It is helpful to help them break it down into smaller chunks. When I was young, I had a dream to go and do missions for a summer. This was before the internet, and trying to coordinate all the details for the trip overwhelmed me. I gave up before I got through the initial planning stage, and to this day, I regret it.

Help your young person organize his or her dreams into sizeable bites of awesomeness, and they will have an easier time swallowing it.

So, when is the last time you did something that was so challenging it scared you? Tell us about it!

TRY THESE ACTIVITIES:

 

Do the impossible! Go a day without electronics. Make it as hard as you want, but be sure to discuss it first as a family. Try giving up tv, internet, cell phones, video games. Whatever would be a challenge for you. Encourage the kids to go for this challenge with you, and make it a mission, not a punishment.

Have a meal without saying a word. See who can go the longest without talking. It sounds easy, until you want some more potatoes! To make it extra exciting have the meal without using cutlery.

To encourage dreaming big, try some improv with your family. Put a few ideas in a bowl or pieces of paper. “Once upon a time”, “strange day at the zoo”,  “at the bottom of the ocean”, “I heard a strange sound” or “One day while I was playing outside.”  One person in the family starts it off and each person has a turn continuing the story.

Have fun!

This New Year brings new choices. We have an opportunity to invest in ourselves and others. Set yourself up for success.

 

Just like God’s grace for us, we have a clean slate to begin anew. Many of us are disheartened by the failings and missed goals of previous years, however. We can become cynical and forget that oftentimes those failings are the vehicle to push up to success when the time is right. 

A new year is a great time of reflection. Consider the good and the ugly of the year before: perhaps we need to relinquish our great expectations and focus on just 1 or 2 baby steps. Improve on what is already working well, or maybe start a whole new routine? 

Whatever you resolve, know that there is a reason most people fail. IT IS HARD! The full-bellied determination we feel while relaxing beside a fire dissolves in the 6 am gloom. We eat a rice cake while reading/sleeping through the Book of Exodus. We are hungry and tired. Like the children of Israel in the desert- we are little children ourselves. We don’t want to do our chores, We don’t want to do our reading and prayer, we don’t wanna eat the food that is best for our bodies!

BUT if you can persevere you WILL reap untold benefits. Your confidence in yourself will grow because you will have accomplished that hard thing. Your children will be rewarded with more time and attention. Your body will become energized and strong. And most importantly, your loving Father will reward your diligence and grant you wisdom and peace, the greatest treasure of all.

Pray and ask what He wants you to work on this year. And then DO IT! Know that it will be difficult but worth it, and that if you feel peace after praying about it then rest in the knowledge that if God says you are ready, than you ARE!

A fun family activity is to discuss the purpose of resolutions together and pray for God to give each of us wisdom in setting our goals. Have each family member write them down separately on a piece of paper and seal them individually. (Young children can draw a picture of something they would like to work on this year.) We store ours with our Christmas decorations so they won’t be lost or forgotten, and next year we will open them up and celebrate our achievements.

 

What are YOU going to do this year? Do you have any tips for success?