In our Mama Heart Like Jesus series we are studying how Jesus discipled His followers as a model for discipling our own children. This month we will look at how Jesus built close relationships with his disciples and earned their trust. First, let’s look at three ways Jesus built close friendships with his followers.
One of my favorite things about Christmas is the spirit of love and generosity that embraces our hearts this time of year…We tend to look for ways to bless others by serving together as a family, and by doing so we are blessings Jesus in the process. Serving others with our kids not only demonstrates the heart of God and shares His love with His people in the process, but it is a great way to develop meaningful family traditions and foster a strong family identity.
One of the parenting books I have loved and recommend on my website is Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life’s Biggest Yes. The book is written by Kristen Welch, blogger at wearethatfamily.com, and I had the privilege to interview her about her thoughts on entitlement and more about her book and ministry.
Kristen, tell us a little about yourself, your family, your blog, and your ministry.
“A farmer went out to sow his seed….Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.” Matthew 13:3, 5-6 (NIV) This month we are looking at the seed that fell on the rocky places and how that seed sprang up quickly because it had little soil. When the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they hadn’t developed roots… So how do we provide good soil for our kids?
Jesus sent the disciples out to share the good news and minister to others once they had been equipped to do so. Likewise, once we give our kids a sense of purpose, equip them to bear good fruit, and model sharing Jesus’ love with others, it’s time to send them out. Just like Jesus used a boy who was willing to share his lunch to feed 5,000, God can use our kids too. In fact, children have a unique position and faith that allows them to impact the world around them in significant ways.
This week we will look at how Jesus modeled ministry with His disciples as a way to teach them to share God’s love with others. “And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people” (Matthew 4:23)
When my daughter was twelve-years-old she started serving on our preschool worship team at church. One day I let her lead the large group lesson with our preschoolers. I was absolutely amazed by how well she did on her first try! I noticed her teacher-like intonation with the kids, how she kept them engaged throughout the lesson, and how she naturally spoke at their level without me even telling her to do so. Then it hit me. She had been watching ME teach the preschoolers since she was a preschooler herself! I didn’t need to teach her anything- she had been learning all along just by watching me.
Guest Blog: Beth Meverden
Every day on the way to school, I quote the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:14-17) and the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) with my children. I throw in others to make sure they’re still hidden in their hearts
Why do I focus on those passages with my children? Because when times get tough and they start to wonder if God is with them or how to handle a specific situation, my prayer is that the Holy Spirit will bring those verses back to mind and give them encouragement and guidance.
When the disciples heard their purpose, to be fishers of men, they were so excited that they dropped their nets to immediately follow Him. It’s interesting that in Jesus’ first encounter with His disciples, rather than work on their sin issues or build their flawed character, Jesus calls them to a purpose of making disciples. Oftentimes we think that our children need to be fully mature before God can use them. We think they have to fully know and understand God’s Word and work through their many character flaws, and then when they are older, God will give them a purpose in His kingdom. But Jesus shows us a different model.
Rather than taking more of a passive role and worrying but not taking steps to help them along the way, if we are INTENTIONAL to guide them in making good choices from the beginning, I believe they will have a greater chance at doing well and following God’s ways.
When I was in the first grade, I remember an interesting story that occurred in my class about lunchbox notes. We would bring our lunches to school every day and eat at our desks, while our teacher would eat at her desk. One day, a girl named Emily went up to our teacher with a small folded note and asked if she would read it to her. The teacher looked over the note and began to read it in front of the class. It was a sweet note written by Emily’s mom. Emily beamed while the teacher read her note and proudly sat back down at her desk to finish her lunch.