Family Friday Links 8.4.17

Here's what we've been reading online this week and found helpful:

Andy Naselli recently had a post on disciplining your kids. In this post he provides his sermon notes on the topic, preaching from Hebrews 12:4-11. It's a helpful outline that parents need to think through and talk about.

Nick Batzig wrote a post about kids that stray away in rebellion. He wrote, " Godly parents should pray that the Lord does whatever is necessary to save their children. Better to have redeemed children who’ve suffered hardship than healthy and prosperous children who perish eternally." Parents, especially parents of teens, this is a helpful post, read it.

Desiring God had a post asking which is better to memorize, catechisms or Scripture? This link is  a video with transcript. This simple answer is both, but I'll let John Piper explain why (... because he does a better job than I ever could).

Scott Kedersha repost a series he did in 2015 of intimacy. This is something most couples don't talk about. He comments on why this is, "Most couples don’t know how to talk about intimacy and may not even know that they can and should talk about intimacy." No matter how long you've been married these posts will enrich your marriage.

What have you found helpful online lately? Leave us a link in the comment section to check out.

Family Friday Links 8.12.16

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Our friends at Story Catechism are starting a 30 Day Back to School Challenge. They will be posting everyday on social media and on their blog. The Story Catechism site says, "Would you consider joining us for a 30 day back 2 school prayer challenge? For the next 30 days you and your family will embark on a journey to discover the heart of God. Prayer has a powerful way of connecting us to the three most important questions we can ever answer: who is God? what has he done? what is He doing? Join us Monday August 15th!"

I came across this blog post entitled There Is Grace in Disability by Kara Dedert at the site Special Needs Parenting. Kara says ,"God’s grace has sustained us in deep lament. God’s grace has kept us from walking away in deep struggles of faith. God’s grace allows Calvin to be filled with joy and happiness in his disability. God’s grace has shown us more of His love for us as we care for Calvin. God’s grace has surprised us with unexpected joy in difficult places. God’s grace has made eternal reality more clear and our hope in Christ more urgent."

Christina Embree at Refocus Ministry wrote a blog on welcoming children in your ministry. Christina writes, "But what if we thought, “How can I let this child who is coming to worship service, to Sunday school, to Kids Church, to small group, know that they are wanted, missed, and loved?” 

Jason K. Allen at For The Church wrote a Blog on Balancing Ministry and Family Time. Dr. Allen writes, "If we really believe in the glory of the church and of the splendor of God’s call to ministry, then it is not something from which we shield our families. We should expose them to it. I have learned that often times choosing between family and ministry is a false choice. Why not just bring them along?"

Do you have any thoughts on these articles? What are you reading this week? Please comment below.

Family Friday Links 7.3.15

Here's what we've been reading online this past week:

Knowable Word had a post helping parents teach their children to have devotions. It reads, "... when your child is old enough to read, give him a Bible and train him to use it." Parents this is our honor, privilege, and responsibility.

Sam Luce had a great post about the movie Inside Out and why sadness matters. He says, "Sadness matters because it refines us and biblical sorrow matters because it defines us." I've seen the movie and couldn't agree more. Thanks Sam for the reminder (... and for putting to words what I was thinking ... and for saying it better than I would've). Parents how are we teaching our kids to deal with sadness?

Hannah Anderson had a post on Gospel-Centered Discipleship on how catechisms create wonder. She says, "As you go about discipling your children, as you teach them their Bible verses and correct them when they disobey, do not neglect the sacred discipline of awe." Parents (& pastors) it's not just about information, but transformation (through application).

What have you been reading online? Leave us a link in the comment section and we will check it out.

North Star Catechism: An Interview with Jared Kennedy

Jared has been writing a lot about using catechisms over the past month. So I wanted to give him an opportunity to answer some questions about the one he's had a part in developing, The North Star Catechism. Here is my interview with Jared. 

Jeff: Who are you? 

Jared: I am the husband to Megan and dad to three girls--Rachael, Lucy, and Elisabeth. I lead SojournKids as Pastor of Families at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, KY. I also blog here at gospelcenteredfamily.com.

Jeff: There are several different catechisms out there why create your own? 

Jared: We'd been using catechism with our kids at home and with our church community for quite a while. At one point in the past, I simply updated the language from the Catechism for Boys and Girls and added memory verses from the New Living Translation. But the North Star Catechism came about at the initiative of our lead pastor, Daniel Montgomery. He'd been working on a 28-point theological vision for our church and church planting network. The 28 points teach key truths about God’s glory, the gospel, the church, and God’s mission in the world. The vision is holistic and action-oriented. That is one of the key advantages of what we've put together. Much of the devotional material for other catechisms we're familiar with focuses merely on memorizing doctrinal knowledge. Our desire is to develop tools for our families and church planters that empower them to put their faith into practice. 

Jeff: What is your hope for the North Star Catechism? 

Jared: Our kids need to have their faith firmly rooted in doctrine that has weathered the centuries. My friend, Sam Luce, has described it this way, “I know that I find myself drawn to cleverness and cutesieness when what our kids really need is to understand the doctrine and the truths many early Christians gave their lives for.” For thousands of years, travelers have been guided on their journey by a fixed point in the night sky: the North Star. While other stars appear to shift with the passing of time, the North Star remains anchored. This gift allows travelers to know where they are and where they need to go. Like its celestial namesake, our prayer is that the North Star Catechism will like be a faithful guide for the next generation. We want to root kids in the deep truths of the faith and empower them to live out that faith in the real world. 

Jeff: What about catechisms do you believe help you form your kids in discipleship vs other methods? 

Jared: What I like about catechisms is that they give us a basic outline for learning Christian doctrine-- a basic reference point to go back to when there is a need for clear definition. To be honest, learning the catechism isn't nearly as inspiring as telling a great story. I don't think that catechism is a great method for discipleship on its own. But a catechism provides us with clear, simple definitions that help the stories make sense. When a child arrives at a concept or term in the biblical story that is confusing, a catechism often gives clear definition.

Jeff: What does it practically look like for your family to sit down and do the catechism? 

Jared: We try to review a question per day at the dinner table. We keep a chalkboard nearby to write the verse up. I let our daughters (who are able) read it to the family. Then, I'll either turn the board around or erase a word at a time and keep reciting it until we've memorized it. We do something similar (except with a PowerPoint slide)  in our worship assemblies with the kids at church. Our daughter Lucy who was diagnosed with Autism at age 3 reviews the questions daily as part of her ABA therapy routine as well. I'm not always as consistent as I'd like to be at dinner time. Recently one of Lucy's tutors asked me if I'd been reviewing the catechism lately, because it seemed like Lucy wasn't as quick during her therapy times. That was really convicting to me, and it reminded me tools like this are a lot more meaningful when they are used as a part of a shared experience with your family or church community. 

I'd love to invite all of our readers to check out The North Star Catechism. There is a free PDF download on the sojournkids.com website, and there are flash card and Scout book resources available for order as well.