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September 23, 2013, 10:40 AM

Growing Champions Part III

Nugget:  Effective discipleship is life-oriented.               

 If we want our children to follow God, we must make God a part of our everyday experiences. It's more natural and fits the way we really learn.  It helps our kids see the "big picture" as they see how God relates to every aspect of life, not just those that are church-related.

 As Israel was in its infancy stage as a nation, God told Moses the most effective way to enjoy God’s favor and blessing was to teach and train the children in the nation how to love God. As you read the passage below, listen to all the action verbs parents are instructed to do with their children:

4 Attention, Israel! God, our God! God the one and only! 5 Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that's in you, love him with all you've got! 6-9 Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates. (Deut. 6:4-9, MSG)

I try to walk through every open door I find into my kids’ hearts and seize the "teachable moments."As a teenager, I remember the “bubble boy” that filled the news.  The young lad’s immune system was so weak he had to live encapsulated or die. Unfortunately, many parents do the same thing with their children.  Afraid of the evil lurking outside, the danger is to focus more on protection than preparation. 

Our goal should be to prepare our children to think and act Christianly so they will be equipped to engage with culture and society. As our kids mature, the emphasis on preparation and internalization of truth and one’s relationship with God must be developed. Otherwise, they will be dependent upon us and will not learn how to “own” their faith and how to stand strong in the Lord when they are out of our sight and care.

 Practically speaking:

  • Discuss movies, shows, music, pop culture, current issues and ask what message/values are being communicated.  How would Christ respond?  What is the loving, merciful, right thing to do?  How can we make a bad situation better and be a part of the solution?
  • Don’t ignore or sidestep the real questions of life. Tough questions shouldn’t be avoided. (evolution, sex, marriage)  In fact, they offer some of the best opportunities to teach a biblical worldview. You may not have all the answers and that's OK.  Tell them you'll learn together and then research or talk to someone and find the answer.

 When we skirt the tough questions, we send the message to our kids that we do not have the truth, know the truth, or the answers to those real-life questions lie outside the Bible in some other belief system.  Message Sent:  Our faith is not relevantIF YOU DON'T ANSWER THE QUESTIONS SOMEONE ELSE WILL. 

Seize the opportunities afforded you to disciple your kids.  Your grandchildren will thank you one day! J

Shaping hearts and minds,

Dr. Chris




September 16, 2013, 1:12 PM

Maximizing Your Child’s School Experience

 I don’t know about you, but I often check my mileage on my vehicles to see how well I’m doing on fuel economy.  Low average mileage alerts me to see if anything else is going on—something I might be able to fix or adjust to better my car’s performance.  Just as we check “under the hood,” we should also check on a regular basis what’s going on in the hearts and minds of ours students.

 We cannot take for granted the type, quality, or measure of academic and spiritual formation occurring in our children’s school, and, more importantly, in our students.  We must work together with our children’s educators, set high expectations, and hold ourselves accountable so that the purposes and plans God has for our children will be realized.

 WHAT CAN YOU DO TO ENSURE YOUR CHILD IS GETTING A GOOD EDUCATION?

1.   COMMUNICATE THE BIG PICTURE--we are to do all things, including school, for the glory of God.  We are to approach our studies as an act of worship to bless God, our teachers, and the world around us.  We don't want to just be consumers in this world, but contributors.  We want to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength.  The world doesn't need any more fluff or nice cliché's.  The world is looking for real, authentic, meaningful expressions, of Christianity that addresses human need with the amazing love of God

2.    ENCOURAGE OWNERSHIP--many students today give up far too easily.  Most things that are valuable and worthwhile in life, however, come with discipline, tenacity, and perseverance.  Challenge your child to take initiative and responsibility for their learning, to ask questions, to go above and beyond, to give their best effort.  When we learn to take ownership of our education and cooperate with God, we're placing ourselves in a position to see God's influence grow in our lives.

 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col. 3:17)

3.   CELEBRATE EFFORT, NOT JUST RESULTS--God has gifted us each in "many diverse ways" (1 Pet. 4:10), with different skill sets, aptitudes, and abilities.  It is unfair to expect everyone to obtain the same results (i.e. each child receive the same grades).  I will never be able to dunk a basketball or play as well as LeBron James.  It is totally fair to expect your child to give school their best effort.  In the Parable of the Talents, the master did not hold his servants accountable to all achieve the same results (as this would not be fair since each started with different amounts--gifts and abilities).  Instead, he held them accountable to how they used the gifts they had received.  In essence, they weren't competing against others, but against themselves to be the best that they could be whatever that might be.

 4.   INSPECT WHAT YOU EXPECT--If we want our kids to love God with all their heart, mind and strength, to approach all of life as an act of worship, to make the most of their opportunities then we must demonstrate this by our actions.  What is important to you will be important to your kids.  What you live by you impart.  What you permit, you promote.

  • Ask questions about school. 
    • What are you learning?
    • Who are your friends?
    • How are you making a difference and being a blessing?
  • Inspect their work.
    • How are their grades?
    • Any missing assignments?  Behavioral comments?
    • How about attendance & tardies? --are they demonstrating responsibility?

 Your school’s online grade book and student management software is a great tool to assist you in monitoring your children’s overall performance and experience.

GOD WANTS US TO LOVE HIM W/ ALL OF OUR BEING EVERY DAY, IN EVERY WAY, WHEREVER WE ARE.

Shaping hearts and minds,

Dr. Chris




September 11, 2013, 1:09 PM

Start This Way

Start This Way

 It has been said that if we aim for nothing we will hit it every time.  Life is best when we live life on purpose.  The start of a school year is a great time to establish goals to guide your family.  At Faith Academy, our goal is to experience Prov. 3:5-6 in our everyday lives. 

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,And He will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3:5-6, NLT)

 As a school we want to create a culture where God is supreme. Every day, in every way, whatever we are doing we will acknowledge Him.

We instill within our students the “3 R’s”--Reverence. Respect. Responsibility. Reverence means that God is HERE, God is PRESENT (Jn 1:14). Our school, therefore, is holy (special) and must be treated as such.  We can encounter God in our studies, extra-curricular activities, and in our interactions (Matt. 25:40).

When we live this way life becomes one big altar to encounter, experience, and worship God.  Every activity becomes more meaningful when it is redeemed.  Homework, studying, conversations, leisure, athletics all can be acts of worship when we do them for the glory of God.

Let’s cultivate this life-attitude together--“In all your ways acknowledge Him.” Cultivate means to “tend to,” to be intentional. I know we will enjoy the fruit such a commitment will produce in our lives as He directs our paths.  We’re going to have a great year!

Shaping hearts and minds,

Dr. Chris

 




September 10, 2013, 11:02 AM

Growing Champions Part 1

We are cleared for take-off and are heading down the runway right now.  2013-2014 will last approximately 10 months.  We may experience some turbulence along the way, but are confident you will enjoy the destination: total life growth—spirit, mind, body, and soul.

As we start the year, I encourage you to live life with the “big picture” in mind.  God has given us—parents—the privilege and the responsibility to disciple our kids, to teach them what a fully devoted life looks like.  Simply put, we are to:

Teach our children what a fully-devoted life looks like

  • Not just what, but why

 Train them to follow God whole-heartedly

  • Not just why, but how

 This requires intentionally “leaning into” our children: modeling devotion, right behavior, and right-thinking. Discussing real, relevant issues and tough questions and affirming the place God’s Word, the church, and communicating with Him should have in our lives.  It is not uncommon to feel intimidated, ill-prepared, or unqualified when it comes to leading our families spiritually.  God’s grace is sufficient and the most important thing is that we “grow as we go” together with our families.  There is no one better suited to be your child’s parent than you!  God chose you & placed you with your family.

The pay-off for “leaning in” is huge.

“How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.” Ps. 112:1-2 (NLT)

Each week I’ll sure thoughts to help you along the way as we grow together as a school family.

Shaping Hearts & Minds,

Dr. Chris Royael
 




September 10, 2013, 10:49 AM

Growing Champions Part II

Parenting is one of the most challenging, humbling, rewarding endeavors you or I could ever under-take.  Raising godly kids who love the Lord and are serving Him takes a lot of work, grace & strength from the Lord. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing nuggets on how you and I can lean into our kids & grow champions by parenting on purpose.

1. Be intentional & consistent  

" Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives."  (Gal. 4:19, NLT)

Spiritually growth & maturity is a process… a life-long process. Paul likens it to giving birth.There are joys, excitement when they baby kicks, but there also nights when you can't sleep, when the demands & responsibilities become inconvenient & uncomfortable. When we think about our families we must remember that creating a God-honoring family environment requires an intentional, consistent, sustained effort on our part. We're not tinkering, we're transforming & life transformation takes time.

Practically, speaking:

  • Pray
    • Ask God for guidance regarding the topics you want to lead your family through, the timing of when to address these areas, & the resources you might want to use.  There are many resources available on line at Focus on the Family, www.christianbooks.com, and other ministry sites.
    • Pray for receptive hearts and minds, an ability to seize “teachable moments,” and God’s wisdom.  Remember, He wants you to disciple your kids and He WILL help you.
  • Plan
    • We want growth to be a matter of choice, not something we leave to chance.  Planning is simply us intentionally scheduling or creating opportunities to grow just as a teacher plans educational experiences for his/her students. This may be as simple as praying with your kids at night, a weekly devotional time, or serving together as a family at church or in the community.
    • It can be a formal or informal time.  Remember, one size does not fit all.  What works for one family might not be best for your situation.  Keep in mind today’s schedules and do what works best for your family.  If you aim for nothing you will hit it every time.
    • Make the time enjoyable, not dreadful and have age appropriate expectations.  Keep in mind attention spans and the needs of your children at the different stages of life.
  • Persist
    • It takes time to establish new habits (21 days to be precise).  Once you have made a decision to start, be prepared for setbacks and challenges along the way.  This is just life.  Don’t quit.  Work around it.

God promises us in Psalm 1:2-3 (NLT):

“But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”

God is growing something good in our homes…champions.

Dr. Chris Royael


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