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Family Time Recipe


Environment Serving


Family Time Recipe


Tot Time


Editor’s Note


Kids in the Kitchen Candy Sushi Rolls


Tough Topics


How to Use Family Time and the Family Verse


Conversation Starters


The Middle


God’s Word

A New View of Martha













Rejoice in Our Confident Hope


Spiritual Parenting


Game Time



Spiritual Grandparenting



The Everyday Parent


10 Environments



Posture of Prayer Connect with a Cause

Hot and Cold/Scavenger Hunt Kuvina



Lettuce Wraps Turkey Wraps

Get Your Children Talking

Uniquely Made

Is Jesus Really the Only Way?

Gifts for Service


Clothespins of Love and Service Malawi

Sit at Home

Vitamins for Your Marriage Inbox

Diapers, Drama, and Damage Control

Secret Service Agents


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We believe that the Holy Spirit is God’s chosen teacher. It is He who causes spiritual growth and formation when and as He chooses. As such, we have articulated 10 distinct environments to create in your home. We desire to create spiritual space, which we refer to as an environment, in which God’s Spirit can move freely.

The environment of SERVING encourages a posture of the heart that asks the question, “What needs to be done?” It allows the Holy Spirit to cultivate a sensitivity to others and reminds each of us that we’re called to a cause bigger than one individual life. It helps fulfill the mandate that, as Christ followers, we’re to view our lives as living sacrifices we generously give away! “What needs to be done?” What if you, I, and our kids walked into every situation with every person, no matter what, and simply asked this question of ourselves? Somebody’s crying—what needs to be done? Does she need to be left alone? Does she need to be hugged? Does she need to talk to someone? Does she need to be prayed for? Out of my own selfishness I don’t always want to answer that question the way I know the Holy Spirit wants me to. But when we hear it and respond to it, this becomes a very rich environment for us to lead an others-centered life. What might it look like if we started pursuing this posture with our children from an early age … teaching them to walk into any situation asking, “What needs to be done?” Wow—we’d live in a different world!

Michelle Anthony Family Ministry Architect David C. Cook

Follow Michelle: @TruInspiration

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF SERVING (excerpt from Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony)

In my home we chose not to have chores. You’re probably thinking, “Wow, your kids must have enjoyed that!” Well, actually we still implemented the concept, but instead of referring to them as chores (which they would see as something to “get done and out of the way”) we decided to call them acts of service. This might sound silly to you to think that we merely changed the name, but I wanted them to understand that what they were really doing was serving our family. I remember the morning when I knew the idea was taking root. Around 6:30 a.m., I heard my son shouting in the hallway before school. Now, my son is not by nature a person who shouts or is easily upset, but that morning he was. As I lay in my bed I heard these words resonate through our upstairs hallway: “Mom! Chantel has not done her act of service, and now I have no underwear for school.” Although I then heard the argument that ensued as my daughter suggested that he was capable enough to wash his own underwear, I snuggled down in my bed with the satisfaction of knowing that not only had my son referred to the laundry as an act of service at 6:30 a.m., but that they had both seen how dependent we were upon each other for our needs to be met.

Design, Layout, & Photography by Brad Claypool


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EDITOR’S NOTE “Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it.” “Well, why don’t you ask, then?” “Because I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.” —Anonymous We live in a society that considers serving and social justice to be hip. The media blitzes us with images of needs around the world as well as right in our own backyards. It’s become trendy for families to take vacations with a purpose. While all of this may seem good to someone looking in from the outside, as Christians we realize that SERVING is a response to what Jesus calls us to do.

Debbie Guinn

HomeFront Managing Editor David C. Cook

Jesus invites us to serve others, not just to “get a job done.” He desires to develop hearts of mercy in us. Hosea 6:6 says, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” a spiritual parenting resource

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This month’s issue of HomeFront focuses on what happens inside each of us while living in the environment of SERVING. This issue is filled with activities and situation challenges that will assist you in instilling a heart of service in your kids—even the youngest ones. The environment begins in your home and encourages your kids to see the world with a heart for others' needs above their own. It gives you tools to help you to cultivate eyes, ears, and actions that answer the question, “What needs to be done?”

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Follow us on Twitter @HFfamily for updates and encouragement as you spiritually parent your children.


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sy as a e s a It's ONE TWO THREE


Start by deciding on a day and time that works well for your entire family. It can be an evening, afternoon, or morning. Just commit to building this time into your family’s natural rhythm. It’s usually best to build this time around a meal.

FAMILY VERSE Memorizing Scripture can be an incredible practice to engage in as a family. But words in and of themselves won’t necessarily transform us; it is God’s Spirit in these words who transforms. We come to know God more when we’re willing to open our hearts and receive His Holy Spirit through the words we memorize. Have fun with this verse, and think of creative ways to invite your family to open up to God as they commit this verse to memory.


Look through HomeFront and see what stands out. Choose two or three experiences you would like to incorporate into your family times each week. Don’t feel burdened to complete all the activities at once, but carefully select which ones will fit your family best. This resource provides your family with more than enough experiences to create transforming environments in your home throughout the month.

My brothers and sisters, you were chosen to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to live in sin. Instead, serve one another in love.

Galatians 5:13 (NIrV)


Family Time ideas!

Remember to HAVE FUN! Strive to make each gathering unique to your own family as you enjoy spending time with God and each other. 5

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family time

g o d ’ s wo r d

A NEW VIEW OF MARTHA by Justin Fox Like many stories in the life of Jesus, the story of Mary and Martha contains many levels of understanding, and truth. It’s a short read, only a few verses in Luke, but in it we find much to ponder. Jesus was invited over to the home of Martha and her sister Mary, who were very excited to welcome someone so special into their home. Each sister responded to the occasion in contrasting ways: Martha stayed busy getting the house in order, preparing the food and other things. Mary, on the other hand, simply stayed near to Jesus, content to just listen to His voice. Martha, seeing that Mary wasn’t helping with the preparations around the house, confronted Jesus and her sister. “Jesus,” she said, “tell Mary to get up and help me!” Jesus replied by saying Mary was actually doing the more important thing.

Often, when we read this passage, Martha gets a bad reputation. We quickly dismiss her as doing something wrong. But a few things remind us otherwise.


First of all, Martha was the one who invited Jesus in the first place. Without her, the divine visit would never have occurred. The Bible says she “opened her home to Him” (Luke 10:38). That’s hospitality and a servant’s heart on display. Also, we have to realize that preparations, cooking, and other hosting activities have to be done when inviting someone over. Martha’s activities weren’t bad; someone had to do them. Perhaps Mary felt thankful for Martha’s generous heart and passionate service.

• What kinds of preparations do you think Martha was making?

Where Martha went astray, though, was when she ordered Mary to leave Jesus’ side and join her in the kitchen. Martha’s serving was needed, and so was Mary’s attentiveness to the guest. That day, Martha learned how important it is to simply be with Jesus.


As we live in the environment of SERVING, may we not forget the power of resting at Jesus’ feet and listening for His voice. In all of our activities, may we charge ahead with energy and vision, being careful not to criticize those who aren’t joining us in the tasks at hand, for they may be responding in a different way to God’s call and invitation.


Read Luke 10:38–42 as a family. Then reflect on the following questions:

• What needs to be done when you invite over a special guest? • How would you describe Martha’s attitude? • Jesus told Martha that “only one thing is needed.” What do you think that one thing is? • What do you think Jesus meant when He said, “It will not be taken away from her”?

Consider hosting a guest in the weeks ahead. Talk about it with your family beforehand: Will you invite one special person or several people? Plan your meal and what you will make (for example, bake a cake together for a dessert-type visit). Assign roles and jobs for everyone to do, and make sure to talk about how you will intentionally spend time with that person or people during the visit. Afterward, talk about how it felt to serve in comparison with sitting down and talking with the guest.

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family time

p r ay e r


Use me here Where I am I’m not gonna pray anymore That You’ll change your plans Despite my fear, I place my life in Your hand The future can wait Tomorrow might be too late, so Jesus, use me here

In today’s culture, our calendars get filled with countless “to do’s.” The story of Mary and Martha demonstrates the need for followers of Christ to seek relationship with God and others through quiet dependence and expectant seeking. Jesus calls us to slow down and seek His direction. We should expect moments where we will be called to display acts of true service, such as washing one another’s feet. “After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, ‘Do you understand what I was doing? You call me “Teacher” and ‘“Lord,” and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.’” (John 13:12–17 NLT)

I lay my heart's desires At your feet, oh Lord Take the plans I’ve made and all my dreams Blinded by triumphs of tomorrow I’ve let sin control today So many drowning within reach Lord, it's time You heard me say Use me here

I tell myself I want to know Your will, oh Lord Still, I confess I’ve had plans of my own But, from now on, I plan to listen to Your will and to obey No matter what the future holds I’m gonna live for You today Use me here

This month, take some time to pray together as a family. Using Mary’s posture as an example, kneel as you recite the following lyrics. For older children, you can read this together, while younger kids can repeat each line after you.

Written by Darin McWatters and Tim Brinkman. © 1997 Antimony Music/Luminosity Music

by Ashley Anderson


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family time



This month's family verse encourages us to serve one another in love. As you think of ways to show love, consider starting a monthly “Box of Love” to collect food and other items for those in need. Start by connecting with a local organization or ministry group in your community that can distribute the items you will be collecting.

month and then use the change to purchase the needed items. Maybe you will choose to purchase one or two items for your box during each shopping trip. Whatever method you choose, plan to have all of your items collected and your box filled by a particular day of the month. Choose one day of the month to pray for the people who will receive your items and deliver them to your chosen destination.

Many groups will be able to provide you with a list of items with which to fill your box. Alternatively, sit down as a family and come up with a list of items to put in your box. Post this list in a place where the whole family can see it.

Periodically, check in with the organization your family is supporting. Discuss with your children where your items are going, and allow them to hear the stories of lives changed, which they’ve been a part of through this act of service. by Alyson Crockett

Once your list of items has been established, consider how your box will get filled. Perhaps your family will choose to collect spare change all

A tradition is the handing down of statements, beliefs, or customs from generation to generation. 8

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family time

game time

HOT & COLD YOUNGER Bring your children into a room in your home with a few things that need to be done. This can look like toys that need to be picked up, clothes that need to be folded and put away, dishes that need to be taken to the kitchen—any task in which your child is able to participate as an act of service. Encourage your kids to look for even small acts of service, since even small things are helpful. by Heather Kasparian


TIME TO PLAY! Play a game of “Hot and Cold” with your kids to help them find things that need to be done. As your child gets increasingly closer to a task, call out “Warm,” “Warmer,” and “Hot,” and if she

begins to stray from a task, call out “Cold,” “Colder,” and “Freezing.” Once your child finds what needs to be done, encourage her to help serve the family by completing this act of service.

After your child becomes more in tune with being able to recognize things that need to be done around the house, reverse the roles a little bit. This time, allow your child to find an act of service on his own and complete it while you’re not looking. After he’s finished, your child gets to play the “Hot and Cold” game with you, guiding you to the act of service he accomplished!


As a family, drive around your neighborhood or town in search of things that need to be done. Completing tasks such as raking up your neighbor’s leaves, picking up trash, planting flowers for an elderly neighbor, and giving food to the homeless are all ways to help serve your community. As you drive around, designate a parent or older child to write down acts of service as they’re called out by the family. Once you’ve created a list of what needs to be done, head back home.



When your family arrives home, gather around a table and encourage family members to draw or color the different acts of service they listed. Once a picture has been drawn for each task, as a family, pray over the things God may be asking you to do. This may be one thing or all of them, but allow time for God to guide your family to where He wants you to serve.

After following God's guidance and choosing the things you’re going to do, go out and serve! Remember, acts of service aren’t just for the people at your home. God calls us to serve all people!


by Heather Kasparian

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family time

sto ry t e l l i n g


Kuvina is an auction in which one-of-a-kind art pieces, created by the children of Newsong Church in Orange County, California, are sold to build a well in Malawi.

a very real way. Creating art is a tangible expression of SERVING. Children as young as two years old participate and learn what it means to serve the least, lost, and last.

The event was inspired by a mom of two young boys who wanted more for them than a comfortable life. She wanted her boys to have an opportunity to look outside of themselves and feel empowered to make a difference by SERVING. She named this art auction Kuvina because it means “to dance” in Chichewa, the native language of Malawi.

The learning goes much deeper for the older children. One particular fourth grader was so empowered by the Kuvina experience that he decided to earn money to build a well all by himself! Camden deeply with the Malawian families as he learned about their needs. His heart ached for them, and as his awareness grew, so did his desire to want to help them even more.

When drilling teams strike water, entire villages erupt in celebration and dance because a clean water source can cut a community’s child mortality rate in half. The picture of a village dancing is one that our children in our own community can completely relate to.

The Kuvina experience taught Camden how a simple act can make an impact on so many in Malawi. With support from his parents, Camden began raising money by selling his old video games and recycling cans and bottles. Eventually he raised $800 on his own.

The children of Newsong have a goal to raise $6,200 to build a 60-foot deep well for the families in Nkhoma, Malawi. Last year was the first annual Kuvina event, and the kids met that goal! That success fueled the kids to keep going. Another Newsong mom shared her six-year-old daughter’s hope to participate in building more than five wells for Nkhoma families before moving on to the middle school ministry.

Kuvina is a wonderful example of how one person’s passion can set into motion a ripple within a community to empower and celebrate the strength of what children are capable of. Share with your children a time when you served and the people whose lives were affected by that.

For an entire month before the Kuvina auction, the children at Newsong learn about the basic needs of Malawian families and how they can serve them in

by Julie Chung

For more on Malawi, check out the Global section of HomeFront (page 16).


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family time

wo r s h i p


As we dive into what it means to serve Christ and serve others, it’s important that we heed Jesus’ warning: “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:1). Here, Christ calls us to a life of secret service to Him and others—asking that we do good, but not simply for the purpose of being seen. He wants us to serve out of obedience to His calling on our lives and as an act of faith in Him. As an act of worship this month, give your family the mission of being “secret service agents,” secretly serving wherever they see need. Remind them that serving is a way of worshipping God. Share with them Romans 12:1. Then encourage them to find different


Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

ways of serving around the house and the neighborhood, and to be constantly looking for situations in which they can serve others. Also encourage them to find some way for the whole family to serve together. Be sure to explain the “why” behind the whole secrecy element. This is a great opportunity to open God’s Word with your kids. Matthew 6:3–4 says, “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.” Read this passage with your kids so that when you commission them to be the secret agents, they can serve with excitement toward the One whom they’re serving—the One who will also reward them for doing so. by Joel Stanton

Romans 12:1


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family time

fa m i ly t i m e r e c i p e SERVING begins with the heart. It is when our attitude is coupled with our actions that we begin to generously give to others. It’s what’s happening on the inside that counts. Remember that God looks at our hearts. by Cristi Thomas The following recipes are filled with all kinds of sweet and savory goodness inside.


wrap it up

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7b)

Prep Time: 40 min.



- Lettuce leaves - Chopped veggies (e.g., carrots, celery, red cabbage, zucchini)

1. C  ook chicken in a skillet over medium heat. Season to taste. (Or purchase already prepared chicken breast pieces.)

- Cubed chicken breasts

2. A  llow young children to wash the vegetables.

- Mandarin oranges - Crispy Asian noodles

3. Encourage older kids to chop vegetables by adding to a food processor or using a child-safe kitchen knife. Cook the noodles, strain, and set aside.

- Sesame or Asian salad dressing

4. P  lace each ingredient in separate bowls and set aside. 5. Encourage family members to build wraps for one another.


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family time

fa m i ly t i m e r e c i p e


full of


Prep Time: 20 min.



- Sliced turkey - Sliced cheese

1. C  hop lettuce, tomato, avocado, cilantro, and red onion and toss with salad dressing of your choice.

- 1 package large flour tortillas

2. S  pread sour cream on tortilla.

- 1 cup sour cream

3. L  ayer sliced turkey and cheese and top with salad mixture.

- Salad mixture: a vocado, cilantro, red onion, lettuce, tomato

4. W  rap tortilla around all ingredients. 5. E  ncourage family members to build wraps for one another.

- Vinagrette or family favorite salad dressing

If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. —Mother Teresa


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family time

k i d s i n t h e k i tc h e n

Kids in the Kitchen features simple, kid-friendly recipes that encourage families to spend time together while creating yummy treats.

! p a r W a ' s t a h T H Y SUS CAND



Prep Time: 30 min.

º INGREDIENTS º • 1 cup butter • 4 cups miniature marshmallows • 5 to 6 cups rice cereal • fruit roll • favorite candies (e.g., gummy bears, gummy worms, small chocolates)

º DIRECTIONS º 1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and marshmallows.

6. Choose your favorite candy fillings and place them in the center of the marshmallow rectangle.

2. R  emove from heat and stir in the rice cereal. Pour mixture onto a large sheet of wax paper. Smooth and let cool.

7. Roll your dessert sushi.

3. W  hen cereal mixture has completely cooled, use the rolling pin and smooth out to a one-inch thick rectangle. Use a pizza cutter to cut into four- by six-inch rectangles.

8. U  se a child-safe knife to cut sushi roll into individual bite-sized pieces. 9. Enjoy!

4. G  ive each family member a piece of wax paper, a fruit roll, and a marshmallow treat rectangle. 5. S  et the fruit roll on the wax paper. Place the marshmallow treat on top of the fruit roll.

CONVERSATION STARTERS Get your children talking …

him at mealtime. It could be making a sandwich for the other child or clearing his place setting at the table, etc.

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be a king or queen for a day?

Afterwards, ask “king” or “queen” how it felt to be served. Allow all of the family members to take a turn at being “king” or “queen” while other family members serve them at mealtime throughout the month. by Jeff Fernandez

What does being served look like? To put this into action, give your child the role of being “the king” or “the queen” for the day. Have family members serve


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family time

c r e at e


Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3–4) A simple act of service is a thoughtful and purposeful way of telling someone in your family “I love you.” It’s also a powerful way of putting faith into action. This month, gather your family and engage in this fun, creative, and intentional “acts of service” project.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED: • Ribbon, yarn, fishing line, or packing twine • Clean glass jar for each family member (you may choose to re-use jam jars, pickle jars, mason jars, etc.) • Labels • Pen or permanent marker • Wooden clothespins

*OPTIONS* For young ones, you may want to use a plastic or unbreakable container. You may opt to have one jar for your entire family and write each person's name on the clothespins.


HOW TO •H  ang ribbon, yarn, fishing line, or packing twine (about two or three feet long) on a place in your home that serves as the “family hub” (e.g., mantle on your fireplace, bookshelf in the family room, refrigerator in the kitchen, etc.) • Label jars with each family member’s name. •G  ive each person five to ten clothespins. Have each family member write down on one side of the clothespin the best ways other family members can serve him. For example, Mom might write for herself, “Unload the dishwasher” or “Fold laundry,” and Dad might write for himself, “Take the dog for a walk” or “Take out the trash.” 15

Parents can help little ones with their clothespins (e.g., Mom or Dad could write, “Read me a book” or “Sing me my favorite song” for the babies, toddlers, or preschoolers in the family). On the other side of the clothespin, have each person write her name. • Put the clothespins in their respective jars. • Encourage family members to pick a clothespin from each person’s jar, hang it from the clothesline, and bless that person by doing this act of service. Do this throughout the month until all of the jars are empty and all of the clothespins are hanging from the clothesline.

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family time

g lo b a l

Where in the World Is ...


Awakening a compassionate heart and a global mindset in children for people beyond the boundaries of their own neighborhoods.



 alawi covers 45,747 square miles, making it M smaller than the state of Pennsylvania. Malawi is bordered by Zambia on the west, Tanzania on the north and east, and Mozambique on the east, southeast, and southwest.

POPULATION 15 million




80% Christian (Catholic and Presbyterian) 13% Muslim

 There are 15 million people who call Malawi their home. If you lived in Malawi, you would eat a lot of porridge made from corn meal as well as vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash. You might also eat something called biltong, which is meat dried like beef jerky.

DID YOU KNOW? • Malawian women don’t ever show their knees in public. They wear a wrap called a chitenje to cover them.

If you went to church in Malawi, you would most likely go to a Christian church.



pronounced (mo-nee) When you talk with friends in Malawi, you would speak Chichewa.


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family time



Read Romans 12:9–13 as a blessing over your child and ask God to not only fill him with a desire to serve but also create in him the good attitude God calls us to have while serving.

God doesn’t just call us to serve as His hands and feet. He also wants us to serve with the correct attitude and desire in our hearts.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

A blessing can be a prayer of commission, a Bible passage, or words of encouragement. Blessings can be spoken over a child for the purpose of declaring God’s protection, joy, and wisdom over him.

(Romans 12:9–13 NLT)


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INSPIRE Parenting stories and devotions to spur you on and motivate you as you spiritually parent your children.

EQUIP Resources to prepare you as you navigate through tough ages and tough topics.

SUPPORT Walking alongside you to promote healthy marriages and answer your spiritual parenting and spiritual grandparenting questions.


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You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

by Rebekah Pogue

t h e e v e ry day pa r e n t


ver find yourself trying to balance that thin line between encouraging your child to serve and just being obedient? The difference lies in your perspective as a parent. Are you praying and asking God to help you see your child’s specific gifts to best determine how she can serve? Once we see our kids as God does, we begin to recognize the unique way that He created each of them. We are then equipped to pray with them for ways they can answer the question “What needs to be done?” This month, sit with your children and explain that their heavenly Father created them with their own special gifts. Share with them that they are good at what they do because of how God made them, not because of themselves. Be intentional to talk about everyone in your family and the special gifts God has gifted each one with. Then pray with them about ways they can use their God-given gifts to serve others. Explain to them what that might look like. If they're encouragers, maybe they can look for ways to include a new kid at school or at the park. If gifted as artists, they could make a card or paint a drawing and pray about whom to mail it to. Whatever their gifts, we have the privilege of coming alongside them to pray with them and encourage them to enter every situation with eyes looking for what needs to be done.

(Galatians 5:13–14)

UNIQUELY MADE by Sue Funkhouser

It was a spectacular day for our five-year-old son, Steven. Who would have guessed that our timid little boy would step up to the plate and become the “T-Ball Home Run Champ”? Steven’s face lit up when the coach praised his talent and placed the shiny trophy in his small hands. The entire family celebrated over lunch at his favorite restaurant, McDonald’s. According to Steven, nothing was better than a “Happy Meal” when you feel happy. “I’m going to grow up and be the best baseball player in the world!” he exclaimed after munching on a few french fries. “Wow!” my husband replied. “You must really love baseball!” “I do!” Steven answered. “And I’m really good at it. I’m probably better than all my friends.” Our younger son, Kevin, shouted, “You’re not better than ME!” Steven begged to differ. “YES, I AM!” he screamed back. “Boys,” I interrupted, “You’re forgetting something.” This got their attention. “What?” they asked. “You’re forgetting that you are both God’s children. He created each of you in a special way with talents, gifts, and abilities. Kevin, you love to play music on your keyboard, and Steven, you enjoy solving puzzles. You both have many talents, and God gave them to you for a purpose.” “What purpose?” Steven asked. “For the purpose of using them to serve God and others,” I answered. “Everything comes from God, and He will lead you to discover what His plan is for your life. It is very exciting to follow God and see how He uses your gifts.” Steven smiled. “I need to thank God for giving me all those home runs and my brain to solve puzzles.” Then I smiled. “That’s right! God deserves our thanks, God deserves our praise, and God deserves the glory for all He has done.”


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tot t i m e ( ag e s 3 & u n d e r )

Repetition is fundamental to almost any learning style, so when you’re attempting to teach your children, use repetition! lie down

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

g the roa lon


at home sit


get up

(Deuteronomy 6:6–7)

sit at home

This month, teach this rhyme to your children while you’re sitting at home. You may choose a meal time or a family gathering time. Call out the following lines and encourage your children to repeat each one. Use a different verse for each week of the month. 


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to u g h to p i c s The Christian claim that Jesus is the only way to God raises eyebrows in this “live and let live” society. But Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Other religions like Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism require humans to work to get to God. Cults may talk of Jesus but add their own “works” or rules. Pluralism, which says all paths lead to God, is touted as tolerance but has its own religious absolute—the idea that having one belief system doesn’t mater because everyone gets to God anyway. For the Christian, it’s foundational to understand that relationship with God is a gift, earned by God Himself at the cross, and not a reward for our works.


Jesus related to people who believed and behaved differently than Him by demonstrating two values: relationship and respect. He didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it (John 3:17). He delights in everyone He has made. He longs for everyone to repent (2 Peter 3:9). Help your child express God’s love for people of other faiths. Talk about ways to share her faith story. Encourage her to pray for unbelieving friends. Help her offer friendship and dignity, showing God’s love through her actions.


the middle (6 t h


8 t h GRADE)

GIFTS FOR SERVICE Serving is an environment that can often take anyone, especially your middle school child, out of her comfort zone. Service can often feel unnatural and make your child feel awkward and uneasy. However, it’s in those moments God is doing some of His best work in her life. One Sunday morning I was on my way to deliver a message to a group of middle school students about the idea of Christcentered service. As I drove to church, my mind was busy thinking about all of the things I needed to do that morning to get the message perfected. Then, out of the corner of my eye, a homeless man stood motionless on the sidewalk. His back was to the street as he gazed into an area filled with bushes. It was like he was wearing a red flashing sign on his back that read O-P-P-O-R-T-U-N-I-T-Y.

I tried to convince myself that I had a lot of things to accomplish and prepare for. I was pretty sure another person would take care of him. Not to mention, I didn’t have anything in my car to give him. Right then and there, God’s spirit was personally helping me realize the mandate that as Christ-followers we are to view our lives as living sacrifices that we generously give away. I had no choice but to stop and help. I believe your child is faced with similar opportunities to serve every day. I am even more convinced that they probably have a similar reaction to service as I did. Jesus’ life is the ultimate exhibition of service. As Philippians 2 tells us, the God of the universe came to earth to be a servant. Jesus understood that through His service,


we would experience God’s love and grace. In the same manner, God can use our service to reveal His love and grace. This month, sit down with your child and have a discussion about what time, talent, or treasure God has given him. Then discuss how he could use those gifts to help others in need. (Keep in mind the age of your child when brainstorming opportunities.) At first your child might feel serving others as uncomfortable. Remind him that as he serves, he will begin to see how God is using him to reveal His love and grace to those around him. by Bryan Pogue

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m a r r i ag e

for your

For more than 15 years my wife, Becky, and I have practiced what we call “The Daily 5As.” They are Affirmation, Affection, Ask, Apologize, and Amen. The daily practice takes only three to five minutes, but it gives us a way to connect every day. I use the analogy of a vitamin pill for our marriage. We affirm one another for something we appreciate or admire in each other. We give each other a hug, or a kiss, or a short back rub. We ask each other if we have irritated, frustrated, or hurt the other and then we quickly apologize. We also ask this question: “Is there anything I can do for you today?”

Tirabassi by Roger

We have found that it is easy to miss the small things in life that can make a big difference if they are done consistently. Sometimes our “asks” are as simple as being willing to help with dinner or helping organize a closet or the garage. Other times it might be picking up clothes from the cleaners or helping a child with their homework. As a counselor I have had clients who have a hard time asking for what they want. They told me that doing the 5As has made that easier for them and has enriched their marriage. Sometimes the Holy Spirit shows us what we need to do without asking, but 22

other times the Holy Spirit speaks through our spouse. The final A is Amen. Ask your spouse how you can specifically pray for him or her. Then take a minute and end your 5As with prayer.

Try the 5As for 30 days and see the difference a vitamin pill for your marriage can make.

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s p i r i t ua l pa r e n t i n g

Inbox w/ Michelle Anthony Each month we choose questions for the Inbox from the HomeFrontSP Facebook page. If you have spiritual parenting questions, go to Facebook. com/HomeFrontSP and join the conversation. Remember to us too!

Q: A:

 ow can I teach my younger children the difference H between serving and being obedient?


Obedience and service are both attitudes of the heart but are distinct in that serving is motivated by God and spiritual maturity, while obedience is often motivated by parents or others in leadership. Obedience tends to deal with doing those things that we are told to do, while service keeps an eye on what God wants us to do, often without being told. It is a condition of our hearts that is cultivated over time. Ultimately, kids will learn the importance of serving by seeing their parents modeling it and providing opportunities for them to participate in how God might be prompting them.

Q: A:


 hat are some practical ways I can invite our kids into W the process of serving as a family?

I like to inspire kids with the phrase, "What needs to be done?" This phrase is a fun way to allow kids to take ownership in the home (and outside it too) with a heart posture of service. When our family members enter a room or situation and ask, "What needs to be done?" they immediately have eyes to see the practical ways that they can serve and take initiative to do those things. Imagine a family, after a long day, who asks this question when the house is messy, the dog needs to be fed, and dinner needs to be cleaned up. Each family member works together to get all the tasks done, not leaving this to one person. In doing so, this family is spending time together, serving one another, and ultimately serving the Lord. This question can also lead a family member to pray for another, make breakfast in bed for a sick brother or sister, or mow the lawn without even being asked. As our children leave the home, this phrase will allow them to keep on serving in any situation that they find themselves.


 hat verses can I point my children to as a reminder to W have a heart for serving everywhere—not just in their home or church?

These are some of my favorite verses to remind us that we are called to a life of serving:

C  olossians 3:23–24 W  hatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

R  omans 12:10–11  e devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another B above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

H  ebrews 6:10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

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s p i r i t ua l g r a n d pa r e n t i n g

DIAPERS, DRAMA, AND DAMAGE CONTROL Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s exhausting hard work. “No, don’t pull your sister's hair,” “Do you need to go potty?” and “Get down from there” hundreds of times a day can be wearing. Somehow the further we get away from those years in the trenches, the more we begin to forget how difficult the day-to-day sameness of this season can be. It is like God created in us a coping mechanism

of sorts. A way to forget and move on, like any other stressful event in our lives. Our children, however, are on the front line and living in land of diapers, drama, and damage control. This month, as we live in the environment of SERVING, let’s take a moment to reflect on those years. As you do, place yourself in the lives of your children and ask the question,

ns: Some suggestio

Good Idea!

“What needs to be done?” Think back carefully on ways someone could have served and blessed you during your parenting years. Ask God to give you creative ideas on how you might serve your children who are living in this challenging period. by Debbie Guinn

out. can have a night so that no Babysit so they tes and utensils pla e lud inc to re ll in delivery. th a meal. Be su town or state, ca r he ot Surprise them wi  an in live u on their end. If yo cleanup is involved the park. d invite them to Pack a picnic an t—jammies and all. morning breakfas y da ur at S r fo Invite them over ow up to clean. or better yet, sh y— da e th r fo r pe Hire a housekee purchasing a gift. them money or ing giv by er ith need—e Meet a financial . opping for them d go grocery sh an t lis e y er oc gr lk while you bath Take their nd them for a wa se en Th e. . im em dt th with op by at be ading and praying Ask if you can st sure to include re Be in. em th ck and in tears. the kids and tu ey’re frustrated th en wh n te lis fer advice; just best therapy. Don’t always of  the phone is the of d en r he ot e on th your Sometimes you you” for raising t or a “thank en em ag ur co en . card of eets for the kids Send them a  s and coloring sh er ick st de clu n I Skype to build grandchildren. time to call or ide as t se , ts wn grandparen For out of to  n. your grandchildre ent time. For relationships with ng this a consist ki ma r ide ns Co . before it’s needed Offer babysitting e night a month. and y mornings or on example, Tuesda asis on spoiling e with less emph tim ur yo of t gif ids the Give your grandk  u might do it treats. style—even if yo d an les ru ing ildren’s parent Respect your ch  o need love, differently. still your kids wh ’re ey th , up n– ow ’re gr the weight even though they n imagine to feel ca u yo an Remember that th re an mo d care. It will me encouragement, an for a moment. ly on f —i ility lifted of their responsib



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10 ENVIRONMENTS Below you'll find a brief explanation of each environment: 1. Storytelling—The power of The Big God Story impacts our lives by giving us an accurate and aweinspiring perspective of how God has been moving throughout history. It is the story of redemption, salvation, and hope and tells how I have been grafted into it by grace. It further compels us to see how God is using every person’s life and is creating a unique story that deserves to be told for God’s glory. “God has a big story, and I can be a part of it!” 2. Identity—This environment highlights who we are in Christ. According to Ephesians 1, we have been chosen, adopted, redeemed, sealed, and given an inheritance in Christ … all of which we did nothing to earn. This conviction allows children to stand firm against the destructive counter-identities the world will offer. “I belong to God, and He loves me!” 3. Faith Community—God designed us to live in community and to experience Him in ways that can only happen in proximity to one another. The faith community serves to create an environment to equip and disciple parents, to celebrate God’s faithfulness, and to bring a richness of worship through tradition and rituals, which offer children an identity. Our love for each other reflects the love we have received from God. “God’s family cares for each other and worships God together.”

4. Serving—This posture of the heart asks the question, “What needs to be done?” It allows the Holy Spirit to cultivate a sensitivity to others and focuses on a cause bigger than one individual life. It helps fulfill the mandate that as Christ followers we are to view our lives as living sacrifices that we generously give away! “Asks the question, ‘What needs to be done?’” 5. Out Of The Comfort Zone—As children are challenged to step out of their comfort zones from an early age, they learn to experience a dependence on the Holy Spirit to equip and strengthen them beyond their natural abilities and desires. We believe this environment will cultivate a generation that, instead of seeking comfort, seeks a radical life of faith in Christ. “God transforms me when I step out in faith.” 6. Responsibility—This environment captures the ability to take ownership for one’s life, gifts, and resources before God. A child must be challenged to take responsibility for his or her brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as for those who are spiritually lost. Our hope is that the Holy Spirit will use this environment to allow each child to understand that God has entrusted His world to us. “God has entrusted me with the things and people He created around me.”


7. Course Correction—This environment flows out of Hebrews 12:11–13 and is the direct opposite of punishment. Instead, biblical discipline for a child encompasses a season of pain, the building up in love, and a vision of a corrected path for the individual with the purpose of healing at its core. “When I get off track, God offers me a path of healing.” 8. Love/Respect—Without love, our faith becomes futile. This environment recognizes that children need an environment of love and respect in order to be free to both receive and give God’s grace. Innate in this environment is the value that children are respected because they embody the image of God. We must speak to them, not at them, and we must commit to an environment where love and acceptance are never withheld due to one’s behavior. “God fills me with His love so I can give it away.”


9. Knowing—Nothing could be more important than knowing and being known by God. We live in a world that denies absolute truth, and yet God’s Word offers just that. As we create an environment that upholds and displays God’s truth, we give children a foundation based on knowing God, His Word, and a relationship with Him through Christ. God is holy, mighty, and awesome, yet He has chosen to make Himself known to us!

An Awakening for Today’s Families BY MICHELLE ANTHONY

“God knows me, and I can know Him.” 10. Modeling—Biblical content needs a practical living expression in order for it to be spiritually impacting. This environment serves as a hands-on example of what it means for children to put their faith into action. Modeling puts flesh on faith and reminds us that others are watching to see if we live what we believe. “I see Christ in others, and they can see Him in me.”


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Invite your Kids into God’s Big Story

God created us to be in a relationship with Him,

but that perfect relationship was tainted at the beginning of the story. But there’s great news! It all ends the way it began in the garden—we get to have a relationship with God because of His redeeming love for us. When you read this book to your kids, they’ll discover that they can have a part in God’s Big Story too!



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A Spiritual Parenting Resource is a magazine that gives families ideas for creating fun, spiritually forming times in their homes—setting as...


A Spiritual Parenting Resource is a magazine that gives families ideas for creating fun, spiritually forming times in their homes—setting as...