Growing in the Word, Fear!

GrowingintheWord

As my children prepare to attend a day camp for the first time I see that we are needing to tackle some fears.  My children have generally never been big fans of the unknown.  One result of homeschooling them is that they’ve never really had to go too awful far without Mommy or Daddy or maybe a grandparent.  We have done drop off classes, movie nights, and that sort of thing and they generally go very well.  But being away ALL day, for 5 days?  That’s new.  They are anxious.  Especially, my 5 year old.  So we are beginning to look into what the Bible has to tell us about fear.

I hope and pray our discussions calm and sooth them and they remember they can depend on God to strengthen them.

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Review: Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story from FishFlix.com

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I’m rather picky about the media my family consumes.  In our home television and movie time is actually pretty rare.  We save TV time for educational shows that align with our studies or for the occasional reward.  Sometimes I like to share classic movies with my children just for some fun family time. Sometimes we really enjoy something that helps us build our Christian faith.  Well done faith-based selections can be a bit tricky to find so I was excited to hear about a company called FishFlix.com.  They sent us  Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story for review.

FishFlix.com is all about quality Christian movies for families.  Not only do they have a selection of children’s movies but they also carry comedies, dramas, historical selections, biographies and more. Perfect for family time or study time. 

john wesley_zpsuzhewumnOur family has a great joy for studying missionaries so Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story was the perfect fit for us.  This DVD is part of a series from the Christian History Institute and is intended for children ages 8-12.  Three of kids ages 4-9 all very much enjoyed watching this film.  They were already familiar with the Torchlighter’s series and were thrilled to have the opportunity to watch another one.  John Wesley is a missionary we hadn’t studied before so they were especially eager to learn about someone new.

The 30 minute video portion starts right out with great drama.  Little John Wesley is saved from his burning home! His family rightly praises God for such kindness as to save their son.  They tell little John that God must have some big plan for his life.  This sets the stage for a life where John Wesley grows up feeling as if he has to prove himself to God and be worthy of his great rescue.

John Wesley spends his life trying to live by rules and be what I think of as the perfect Christian.  He does everything he thinks he is supposed to do and often is met with frustration when his plans don’t turn out right.  He lives with the guilt of his rescue as if he wasn’t good enough to deserve it and his life isn’t turning out to be worth it.  Eventually John Wesley comes to a greater knowledge of what his faith actually means.  He allows God’s grace to fill him and transform his life.  Finally he is following God’s will and truly great things do start to happen.

John begins to share how we are all sinners and in desperate need of God’s grace.  Traditional churches aren’t a big fan of this message and they begin to literally kick him out of their assemblies.  It is then that John Wesley begins preaching in fields and bringing this life changing message to people who have no doubt of their own sins.  Many people begin to receive God’s love and so begins John Wesley’s life long ministry.

This DVD doesn’t stop here.  Once the story is done there is much more to take in.  There is a nearly hour long documentary about John Wesley and the beginning of what was eventually called The Methodist Movement that came out of his ministry.  There are study guides that you can access by inserting the DVD into your computer or by downloading them from the Torchlighter’s website.

A Powerful Resource

This story was just the absolute perfect resource to start a conversation with my children about how it is not through our good works that we are saved.  That we don’t really deserve to be saved because everyone is a sinner but how God loves us so much that covers us in His grace.  We talked about how even if we think we are doing God’s work if we aren’t following His will for our lives not much fruit is likely to come from it.  I love using powerful real life people, Godly people, who like everyone else struggled in some way with their faith and yet God used their lives for His purpose.  I think these lessons are incredibly valuable… and they strengthen my own faith too.

The Study Guide

The Study Guide included on the DVD are a great bonus. It is 25 pages long and includes coloring pages, a design your own coat of arms page, scripture word searches, puzzles, and discussion questions.  I printed some of the page for my children to try out and over all they enjoyed the activities.  They are a nice jumping off point for your own family studies.

The Documentary

The longer documentary of John Wesley’s live and the Methodist movement is certainly geared more toward adults than children. However my older children (ages 7 and 9) still enjoyed it and learned much from it.  They focused a little more on John’s mother Suzanna Wesley.  She has a pretty inspiring story of her own as the mother of 19 children (10 of which survived).  Her spiritual example to her children is something I can aspire to.

Overall

FishFlix.com is an excellent source of Christian media for entertainment and study.  I know I’ll be using them as a resource in the future.  Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story is a high quality DVD that is sure to enhance any study of missionaries.  My children adore the Tourchlighters series and after we watched John Wesley we went and purchased 3 more videos in the series.  They are all fantastic.  

Connect with FishFlix.com

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Live Today! Lesson’s Learned In Changes of Life’s Seasons

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Our family is in a readjustment phase.  My husband has been gloriously blessed with a new job that so far, after 2 weeks, he seems to adore.  Unfortunately the downside of his new gig is his new schedule.  He is not home nearly as much as we were used to.  Over the past couple of weeks as we’ve made our adjustments I’ve learned a few lessons.

  • I have to plan!  I HATE to plan!  I’d rather just go with the flow and relax.  You know the old saying… “Failing to plan means planning to fail.”  Yeah… I get it!  Without a solid plan in place for each week we end up in chaos.  Meal planning, chore planning, schedule planning, homeschool planning… at least for the time being I feel like almost every detail of our lives has to be planned!
  • I hate 5am but I need that time more than EVER!  Yes, I’m back to waking up before the birds! I hate it!  I thought I left the working world in order to avoid it.  But it works.  I get some time with hubby before he leaves for the day.  I get some reading and prayer time in.  I get my PLAN for the day finalized.  Those hours before my children rise are a gift.  It is worth the sacrifice.
  • I LOVE my crockpot!  Meals made ahead of time, hot and ready to serve despite a time crunch?  Yep, the crockpot is God’s gift to me right now.
  • Maybe cooking isn’t so bad!  My hubby is our chef and our 6 year old is following in Daddy’s footsteps.  I have always really loathed cooking.  Too stressful and too messy! These days though, with a plan… a crockpot… and a little time to think about it… I might just come to like cooking.  At least a little bit.
  • My kids really are amazing helpers.  I sort of think of myself as an orchestra conductor.  I get the whole shebang going and keeping us moving but it is my kiddo’s that really do the work.  They are such a blessing to me.
  • I need Christ more than ever!  I need to lean on Him and draw my strength for my Lord.  If I try to do this all alone though my own power, I will fail.

What is my point?  Why am I sharing this with all of you?  Because I want to inspire you!  I can do more than I ever thought I was capable of and so can my children!  It isn’t all sunshine and roses.  Yes I’ve lost my temper more than a few times this week. My three year old had her share of blood curdling temper tantrums.  My 8 year old gave me his best anti-math tantrum!  Yes, I even had harsh words with my husband. Surely I’m incredibly exhausted.  I did fall asleep at 8pm the other night.  Over all though… I can do this!  I’m very proud of my family right now.  Somehow over the last two weeks we have grown closer to one another and closer to God.

Most importantly, I’m learning that I need to Live for TODAY!

Yes I’m planning planning planning to make every day go as smoothly as I can.  It is in those plans that I am learning to truly love and enjoy each moment with my children (well, maybe not the tantrums) and my husband.  I never know God’s plans for me.  I want to enjoy his blessings as I travel the road.

Now, off to plan NEXT week!

 

Growing In The Word… Reaching Our Children

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Reaching my children for Christ… it’s been on my mind a lot lately!  And I mean A LOT! I often wonder if the Holy Spirit himself is badgering me about it.  Articles on the topic keep popping up in my Facebook news feed. Nearly daily I see headlines about millennials leaving the church.  I read about children from “good christian homes” fleeing the faith.  I see articles that blame the church/Sunday School/youth groups that strive to entertain instead of build disciples.  The voices of the web blame parents for not truly living and teaching the faith.  Other voices condemn our schools and culture.

Take a look at just 3… 3 Common Traits of Youth Who Don’t Leave the Church , 10 Reasons Kids Leave the Church, Youth Are Leaving the Church, Many Never Return, According to Hope College Study.

Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, he is the guy who made that huge Creation Museum blames it on a lack of literal interpretation of the Old Testament of the Bible, specifically the story of creation.  He and a fellow researcher wrote a whole book on this issue of loosing the youth called Already Gone!  They argue that we don’t teach our children Apologetics, which wikipedia defines as is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of information.  Therefore when children are saturated with mainstream ideas about science and God their faith crumbles and they fall away.

What a mix of voices.  Who is right?  I mean, we are  talking about the salvation of our children here for all of eternity!  We can’t get this wrong.  Some say seventy percent of youth ages 18 to 22 leave the church and only 50 percent of them return later in life.  Personally I believe it is going to to get worse.

So what do you do as a parent?  Honestly I haven’t a clue.  There are so many families that THINK they are doing it right and then one day they discover their children no longer believe in Christ as their savior.  And even if you DO do things perfectly right (and we don’t even know what perfectly right would actually be) it’s really up to God and your child in the end.  There are no guarantees that no matter what you do your child will hold onto his/her faith.

The purpose of this blog post is to start a discussion.  What are you doing in your home to do everything you can to ensure your children’s salvation?  Why do you do it?  I’d love for you to leave me comments here, on Facebook, or email me directly at crystal@crystal-starr.com.  I intend to continue this conversation weekly and I want to include your thoughts.  So don’t leave me hanging and send me your thoughts!

Victor’s Crown!

GrowingintheWord

Then Jesus came outside, wearing the victor’s crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate told them, “Here is the man! John 19:5

Jesus has overcome the world.  By His grace we live and breath to worship him! Every high thing must come down.  Every stronghold shall be broken!  The grave could not contain Him! He has overcome!

Jesus Is…

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Growing in the Word, Proverbs 6:6-8

GrowingintheWord

The topic of laziness hasn’t exactly passed in our home but our study of the scriptures on this topic as really made a difference.  My house is cleaner than it typically is and we are battling over the clean-up less and less.  Last week I shared with you a scripture that is making a difference in the hearts of my family… including Mommy!  It is Proverbs 15:19 which reads…

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A simple reminder that we’d like to stay on the highway generally produces enough motivation to get my kiddos to get through the task Mommy just asked for.  The verse continues to tug at my heart each time I’m tempted to procrastinate myself.  Amazingly my To-Do list has grown shorter with each passing day.  Praise God for that!

Now I’ve noticed something else about all of us in our home.  We tend not to get something done until someone tells us to do it.  Now how typically is that?  My children are children and picking up their rooms or getting their chores done without being told isn’t their forte! Mommy realized I’m not much better.  I often enter a room knowing I should do something productive in there but then since I can’t decide what to do (and since I’m an adult and no one is going to tell me WHAT to do) I walk on without doing it.  My terrible habits shine through at the computer.  I will sit down to blog, or email a client, or edit, or whatever and I find myself cuising Facebook.  In other words, I’ve got to squash some bad habits myself!

Proverbs 6:6 spoke loudly in our home this week.  It reads…

Proverbs 668

It’s true isn’t it?  Ants are some of the hardest working creatures God created! Yet they have no commander or overseerer telling them what to do. They just DO IT!  And always to the best of their ability.  This week I sat down with my children and we discussed this verse.  So far I’ve seen them making their beds and at least picking their clothes up off of the floor without reminders from Mommy.  That is a huge start!  How about me?  Well I’ve implemented a To-Do list system that prioritizes my tasks.  In those moments when I just don’t know what to do next… I now know exactly what to do next!  Oh and there is an added benefit!  I share my list with my husband.  As a result he knows what my priorities are and he has actually tackled a thing or two on the list without me asking!  Now that makes for a happy Mom!

Do you have a tried and true plan that gets everyone in the house doing at least SOME things without being asked?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!


 

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