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“God has entrusted me with the things and people around me that He has created.” N T H L CREATE p. 10–11 BLESSING p. 15 HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | RESPONSIBILITY


GOD’S WORD p. 8–9

respon sibility O




Illustration by Anne Berry

a family resource VOL. 2, ISSUE 7


How 1 to 2 Use

It’s as easy as 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 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!)

this Resource


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

Editor’s Note

In a culture that screams, “It’s all about me,” the environment of Responsibility is an uncomfortable fit. To put others’ needs before our own is not something that comes naturally to most of us. However, throughout Scripture, God calls us to be responsible for the needs of our brothers and sisters, in our own neighborhoods and around the world. Jesus even goes so far as to tell us in Matthew 25 that when we take on the responsibility of meeting others’ needs, it is directly showing love to Him. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:35–40 The President of World Vision, Richard Stearns, writes in his book, The Hole in Our Gospel, “If we are honest,

© 2011 David C. Cook. TruResources are developed in partnership with ROCKHARBOR Church and a national network of family and children’s ministry leaders. All rights reserved.


Look through the HomeFront Monthly and see what stands out. Choose one or two experiences that you would like to incorporate into your family times this week. Don’t feel burdened to complete all the activities at once, but carefully select which ones will fit your family best. Each month’s issue provides more than enough experiences to last you throughout the month.

our response to being responsible for the needs of others might sometimes be better described by this irreverent version of Matthew 25: “For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved.” It was very convicting to me when I understood that God has clear expectations for those who follow Him in regards to being responsible for the needs of others. This issue of HomeFront Monthly will give you some tangible ways to introduce your family to the unique way that God has gifted each one of us to meet the needs of others.

DEBBIE GUINN | EDITOR the Tru Team | Costa Mesa, CA



RESPONSIBILITY Open your mind and your heart to what He has to show you about taking responsibility in the kingdom He has entrusted to you. THIS MONTH, as we focus on creating an environment of responsibility within our families and explore the responsibilities God has charged us with, we recognize that it covers a variety of areas. First, this concept of responsibility captures the idea that God has entrusted His kingdom to us! Next it takes a look at our ability to take ownership for our life, gifts, and resources before God. In addition, our families must be challenged to take responsibility for our brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as for those who are spiritually lost. Our hope is that the Holy Spirit would use this environment to encourage each member of your family to be nurtured within a kingdom-minded worldview. As you explore the various facets of Christ-centered responsibility this month, we pray you will experience God in ways that will lead you to celebrate the responsibilities that He has entrusted you with.

VERSEs OF THE MONTH Memorizing Scripture can be an incredible practice to engage in as a family. But words in and of themselves will not necessarily transform us; it is God’s Spirit in these words that transforms. We come to know God more when we are willing to open our hearts, receive His Holy Spirit, read His Word, and memorize it. Have fun with these verses and think of creative ways to invite your family to open up to God as they commit these verses to memory.


“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 PRES/KINDER

“Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” 1 Corinthians 10:24

Michelle Anthony FAMILY MINISTRY ARCHITECT the Tru Team | Costa Mesa, CA

© 2010 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.


Before you begin exploring this month’s edition, take some time to set aside your previous ideas about responsibility. While most of us associate that word with the burdens in our lives, the responsibilities that God has charged us with are exciting and life giving!


by Natalie Venneri

Family Food Time Recipe

One of the most vivid memories I have of summer was eating my mom’s ice cream cake. I knew that when our cul-de-sac planned to have a potluck, my mom was always the one in charge of bringing an ice cream cake.

Summer Mint Ice Cream Cake


I remember sitting in the kitchen with her as she whipped the dessert together, layer by layer. As the years passed, she gave me some of the responsibilities of helping her make it. The process started out with crushing the cookies, then adding the ice cream, and spreading the whipped topping over it. Eventually, I could make the whole thing on my own. Now, when I go to potlucks with family and friends, I am the one who is responsible to bring the ice cream cake. Each time I make the cake, it brings me right back to those times spent with my mom in the kitchen watching and learning, layer by layer.

(SERVES 6–9)

Prep Time: 15 min. Cook Time: Freeze for 30–60 min. 1 package cream filled chocolate sandwich cookies 1 quart mint chocolate chip ice cream, slightly softened 1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1. Open the package of cookies, dump them onto a clean counter, set six whole cookies aside for use later, and split the remaining quantity in half. 2.  In a large plastic bag, crush one half of the cookies and place in the bottom of an 8” x 8” cake pan. This will be the “crust” on the bottom. 3.  With a spatula, spread half of the softened mint chocolate chip ice cream over the crushed cookie crust. 4. With a spatula, spread half of the whipped topping over the top of mint chocolate chip ice cream. 5. In a large plastic bag, crush the remaining half of the cookies, and spread them over the layer of whipped topping. 6.  With a spatula, spread the remainder of the mint chocolate chip ice cream over the crushed cookies. 7. With a spatula, spread the remaining whipped topping over the top of the mint chocolate chip ice cream. 8. Place the six whole cookies on top of the final layer of whipped topping for decoration.

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

9. Place the cake in the freezer for 30 min.–1 hr. to harden the ice cream and whipped topping. With a knife, cut square pieces (like a cake), and serve frozen. Enjoy!


Sitting down to have a family meal is one of the best things you can do for your kids and a great way to bond as a family.

As you gather around the table, share with one another the ways you have seen how God has gifted each family member. For instance: God has entrusted you with the gift of being able to forgive quickly. Or God has given you the gift of speaking truth into others’ lives. You can even talk about how God has given a family member the gift of being a beautiful dancer or an artist. Don’t stop at just one.

Be creative with the things you see in the lives of your children, and listen as they share the gifts they perceive God has given you. When you are finished, ask each other, “How are you using your gift(s) to honor God?” Then remind your children that God is the One who gave us our gifts. Share with them how He has entrusted us to use our gifts for His purposes.


by Debbie Guinn

Conversation Starters

Cook with your kids If you are caught between finding time to prepare meals and spending quality time with your children, try cooking with them. Children enjoy helping and often are more willing to eat foods they help prepare. It’s important that you give kitchen tasks appropriate for your children’s ages. Two Year Olds 

Elementary Age Children 

Have them bring ingredients from one place to another, wipe tabletops, tear lettuce or greens, break cauliflower, play with utensils.

Can do all that the preschool age children do, plus … assemble sandwiches, read recipe directions to you, roll dough, grate cheese, crack and beat eggs, and more.

Three Year Olds 

Middle and High School 

Can do all that two year olds can, plus … wrap potatoes in foil for baking, pour liquids, mix ingredients, shake liquids in a covered container, spread soft spreads, and put things in the trash.

Involve them in meal planning, shopping, and even completely preparing the meal for your family night.

Four Year Olds  Can do all that two and three year olds can, plus … form round shapes with dough, cut parsley or green onions with dull scissors, mash bananas with a fork, and set the table.

Five to Six Year Olds  Can do all that two, three, and four year olds can, plus … measure ingredients, cut with a blunt knife, and use an eggbeater.

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.



Older Games

House of Cards



For the younger ones, a simple game of Jenga is a great way to show them that every choice they make affects another person’s move. ®

Setup One player puts the Jenga® blocks into the loading tray in crisscrossing layers of three. Once the blocks are set, he turns the tray upright and moves the tray away, leaving only the stacked blocks.

Order The player who stacked the blocks is first, with play following clockwise.

For the older ones, Jenga can work as well! An activity that might take a little more time and effort is building a house out of cards together. Remind your children that they need to think carefully about each move they make, and the slightest movement can ruin the whole thing! Here are some simple instructions on how to get started.


by Lauren Francis


• Clear a level, sturdy surface to begin building your house. • Pick a new deck of cards to work with. • Choose 2 cards from the deck. • Put them about 2 inches from each other. This pair will form the base of your house. • Lean the 2 cards towards each other making an upside down “V” or a teepee shape.

Object Each player must pull a wooden block from a row below the top row and replace it on the top of the tower in the opposite direction of the blocks on top. He may only use one hand. Play continues until one player causes the tower to fall. The last player to have placed a block on top successfully is the winner.

Timing A player’s turn ends 10 seconds after he has placed a piece or as soon as the next player goes.

Considerations Players may touch blocks to test how loose they are, but if not selected must be put back in place. In addition, players must not stack a new layer on top without completing the previous layer of three pieces.

© 2010 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

• Position another upside down “V” next to the first one with about 1 centimeter of space between them. Continue building teepees or upside down “V”s on the ground level as wide as you want to make the base of your house. • Lay a card horizontally on top of the 2 points. • Build more upside down “V’s” on top of the horizontal card. • Continue building around and up as high as your imagination and your cards can go. • Use this game time to instill in your children how everything they do in their lives impacts something or someone else!


by Kit Rae


Who are you influencing? A childhood next-door neighbor found my brothers and me on Facebook. She had grown up with my younger brothers and had moved away during her high school years. She brought us up to speed on how she and her husband were living in North Carolina, and then began to share how her life was transformed by Christ.


Whether we speak the gospel or simply live it out, Christ has given us the responsibility to make him known and to share His love with those around us. The following is a true and truly amazing story written by Jim Burns. In 1858, Mr. Kimbell, a Sunday school teacher, prayed with one of his students (a shoe salesman) to become a Christian. The salesman, Dwight L. Moody, became a great evangelist. In 1879 Moody was sharing the good news of Jesus and a young man, F. B. Meyer, met Christ; this young man became zealous for preaching the “good news.” While preaching on an American college campus, F. B. Meyer brought a student, J. Wilbur Chapman, to Christ. Chapman later employed an exbaseball player, Billy Sunday, to do evangelistic work. Billy Sunday became one of the greatest Christian preachers and evangelists in the early 1900s. Once after Billy Sunday preached in Charlotte, a group of local business-men were so enthusiastic, they decided to bring another man, Mordecai Hamm, to preach. In that revival meeting a young man, Billy Graham, yielded his life to Christ. Billy Graham has since preached to more people in person than any person in the world. And so, the story goes on and on. It all started with a faithful Sunday school teacher: Mr. Kimbell. Few people will ever know his name but, in reality, look at how many people this one man’s witness has affected. (Jim Burns. A Great Story. HomeWord. 2/01/10.)

© 2010 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

As a parent, imagine what God might do through your witness to your children. Think for a moment: Have you ever shared your faith story with your children?

This week, tell your kids the story about how you came to faith. Who told you about Christ. How did Christ capture your heart? Share with them how you came to know HIm.


s she shared, she began to thank my family and me for how we lived out Christ in front of her throughout the years. As I read this email, I was blown away by how God used us to transform the life of this neighbor.


Saul to Paul

Anyone familiar with the New Testament probably knows who Paul is. He was a radical, passionate, and compelling preacher of the gospel. Until the day he died, he made it his life mission to point people to Christ—no matter the cost. But it is often easy to forget exactly how bad it was for Paul before he was converted to Christ on the road to Damascus. In Acts 8:3, it says, “As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.” In Saul’s crusade against the Christians, he did not spare even the women or children. Also, Saul stood by and watched as the first martyr, Stephen, was stoned to death for proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures say that Saul gave consent for his death. This word “consent” can be translated to the Greek idea of suneudokeo, which means, “to approve or be pleased with.” Simply stated, Saul took pleasure in the persecution of Christians. He was ruthless and passionate for his cause.

As Saul traveled the road to Damascus, Jesus appeared to him in a mysterious and miraculous way. Saul was immediately confronted with the Person he had been persecuting. Surprisingly, Saul knew this right away. In Acts 9:5, Saul asked Jesus, “Who are you Lord?” After this moment, these questions become the core of Saul’s (Paul’s) life—seeking Jesus’ plan for his life, and encouraging others to do the same.

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

Although it was Jesus Himself who transformed Saul, He included a man named Ananias in the process. Ananias was an ordinary man who simply responded to God. God entrusted Ananias with Saul’s transformation in the physical sense—through the laying of hands and baptism in the Holy Spirit. Saul (now referred to as Paul) was blessed by God as he began his ministry. Though he was obviously a gifted speaker and passionate preacher, he would not even be allowed to preach in the synagogue if he were not recognized as a respected Jewish man. As a young man, Paul studied under the great rabbi Gamaliel and was also known in his community as a Jewish scholar. God had given him the Jewish knowledge and theological background to grant him the platform for ministry to Jews. Even so, when Jesus talked to Ananias in his vision, He said, “Go! This man [Paul] is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel” (Acts:9:15). So God entrusted Paul with sharing the gospel to Jews, but also to the Gentiles—a group which had not yet been reached out to.

“Paul is a great example of someone who used his gifts, abilities and talents in a humble manner to further God’s kingdom. He relied on God to get him through every trial in His life.”

We see Saul’s passion in the fact that he and his companions took a 130mile journey to Damascus from Jerusalem. That journey would have taken Saul and his companions six days to complete. Saul was so serious about wiping out all the followers of Christ that he was willing to travel the country to do so.


by Lauren Francis


Three years after his conversion, Paul was able to join the disciples. However, even they were afraid of his past and were reluctant to believe he had been transformed. If it had not been for Barnabus, another


When Jesus told Paul on the road to Damascus that he would suffer for His name, there is no way Paul could know at the time what that would actually entail. In 2 Corinthians, chapter 11, we find out some of what that meant. Paul gave an extensive list of all the things that he had endured for the sake of Christ: beatings, shipwrecks, bandits, hunger and thirst, to

name a few. But in chapter 12, Paul made it known that he did not highlight these things to boast, but to show his weakness. His ability to persevere was something that he could not have done on his own. He understood that it required him to surrender to utter dependence on God. Paul is a great example of someone who used his gifts, abilities, and talents in a humble manner to further God’s kingdom. He relied on God to get him through every trial in his life. His life was an incredible testament to the transforming and empowering Spirit of God. God entrusted Paul with much. Because of this, Paul left a powerful legacy that points us to the knowledge that our Lord is a God who gives His people the responsibility to show others who He is and the strength to follow through on the task.


vessel the Lord used in Paul’s life, the disciples would not have accepted him. Without Barnabas, Paul would not have had the support he needed to continue with his journey.

HEAR IT Read Philippians 3:7–11 with your children. Before you read it, let the kids know that the author of this passage was the same Paul who killed Christians, but it was written after Jesus had changed him. After you read this, ask: In light of everything you know now about Paul and the course of his life, how do you think his words, thoughts, actions, etc., were different from his words before he became a Christian? How do you think his words, thoughts, and actions were the same—i.e., how did God use Paul’s personality to spread the gospel? How does it make you feel to know that Jesus can change someone’s heart so fully?

DO IT In the Create section of this month’s issue, you will have a tangible way to discover who was responsible for your faith. Praise God together that He takes our hearts, transforms them, and then sends us out to spread His gospel! He can use anyone of us, regardless of where we are in our lives. Seek comfort and encouragement in that fact this month.

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.


by Kayla Adams


Faith Family Tree One of the best conversations I’ve had with my parents came from asking questions about how they came to know the Lord. Neither of my parents was raised in Christian homes, and they didn’t start going to church until after my younger sister was born. back your faith family tree goes. As you trace back the line, have your kids fill in the blanks of the faith family tree, on the next page, so they can see how many people have played a role in impacting their lives. If you are the first generation of believers in your family, like my parents, remind your children that they will be at the top of the faith family tree for future generations.

One of the greatest responsibilities we have as believers it to share God’s Word with the people He has placed around us. What better way for kids to see how their words can be used to further the Gospels than to see all the people that have had a part in their faith story. This month, sit down with your kids, and share your salvation story with them. Have them get on the phone and ask their grandparents to tell them their stories. See how far


© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.


Both of my parents say that God used one couple in particular to guide and mentor them through their questions and concerns. To this day, my parents are still amazed at the grace God showed them by bringing this couple into their lives to share His Word with them. Shortly after my mom was saved, she shared the gospel story with both my sister and I and we made the decision to ask Jesus into our lives as well. It is so amazing how God uses His people to bring even more to Him.








(full name)

My Faith Family Tree

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

by Debbie Guinn


Gifts and Talents In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he tells us that we all have been given different gifts from God. He reminds us that it is our responsibility to use those gifts wisely and to work together with one mission in mind.

Our gifts and talents can be different but complementary; the way we each worship can be different but harmonious as well. Take some time to discuss some of the tangible ways you can worship God using the gifts He has given to each family member. It might be that someone has a great voice and would like to sing a worship song. Another might love to paint or draw and would like to paint

a beautiful picture to God. And still another might decide to serve a family member or neighbor by helping with a need. Use this time as a way to help each other discover the gifts that God has given you. After discussing and discovering what gifts everyone has been given from God and how they might want to use these gifts to worship Him, play your favorite worship CD and gather any supplies needed to encourage each person to worship God in their own unique way. After some time has gone by, have everyone come back together, and discuss how each person worshipped God. Close your worship time by praying together and thanking God that He has uniquely gifted each of you. Ask Him to help you be responsible with the gifts He has entrusted you with. Pray the Holy Spirit will help guide you to discern who in your life might be spiritually lost. Pray for power from the Holy Spirit to help you tell them about Jesus.

We often think of worship as singing, but we can worship God in many different ways: prayer, silence, art, dance, giving, sharing, and thanksgiving — just to name a few. Make plans for your family worship time, but prepare yourself to hold these plans loosely if the Holy spirit leads you in a different direction.

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.


Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Romans 12:4–8


Popsicle Stick Prayer

Praying for others is a very important part of our responsibility as Christians! For this month’s prayer time, try this fun activity with your family. As you explore this prayer exercise, consider making it a tradition in your family. Use this activity to encourage and guide even the littlest family member to be praying for other people. HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | RESPONSIBILITY

by Lauren Francis

Traditions & prayer

• Get a bag of craft sticks. • Get a coffee mug or some other sort of container that you can place on your dining table. • Have your family decorate the craft sticks so that one end is colored and the other end is not. • Write the names of people in your lives (family members, family friends, friends from the neighborhood, people at work, etc.) on one side of the stick, and place all the completed sticks, colored end up, into the mug. • Whenever you pray as a family—mealtime, bedtime, etc., have each member choose a stick from the mug. • Pray for those people by name! Ask God to help them, heal them, or even just to be with them. Encourage the older kids to truly let the Spirit guide their prayers. Encourage them to listen for what they may be hearing from God! • Once you have prayed for someone, make sure that you place the stick back into the mug with the colored end facing down. When all the sticks are facing down, you know it’s time to flip them over and start again! • Add more sticks to the mug as needed. The more, the merrier!

A tradition is the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, or customs from generation to generation. What traditions are in place for your family? What would you like to pass down to the next generation? It is always fun to create new traditions with each generation.

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.


In some ways, my husband and I are incredibly similar. We share the same heart for Jesus, we strive after the same things in life, we laugh at the same dumb jokes, and we both have the same idea of the perfect date (dinner by the beach, then home for a great talk by the outdoor fire pit). But, in other ways we are very different. I’m scatterbrained and lose things all the time. My husband is the ultimate list maker and is always on top of things. I am a total extrovert; Casey is an introvert. I share openly and honestly all of who I am, but sometimes forget to make space to really listen to others. My caring husband is a generous listener, but has to work to open up and share vulnerable parts of himself. As I’m sure you can imagine, our differences have caused conflict in our marriage. I wish I could tell you that when we got married we immediately thought, “Wow! We really complement each other with our different gifts.” But we didn’t. Instead, we spent far too much time trying to change each other. When our different personalities bumped up against each other, we both had a tendency to try to make the other person more like us. Many fights have been started because one of us said something like, “Why can’t you be more like me?” or “Why do you do it that way? Why can’t you do it my way?”

As we both have continued to submit our marriage to the Lord, He has reminded us that we have both been given different gifts. Different gifts … imagine that. Casey has been created differently than me. In the environment of responsibility, I am reminded that none of us are called to be like another person—rather, we are responsible for using our individual gifts and the life that we have been given. So, to truly love my husband is to empower him to be himself. The best gift I can give my husband is not to try to help him be more like me—it is to give him the freedom to take responsibility for the life and gifts God has uniquely given him. And when I actually let go of control, and give him the space to do this, I find that his gifts are pretty great. Actually, they fill in my holes perfectly. If we each take responsibility for using our own gifts and encourage the other person to do the same—together, we are far more complete. This month, when you’re out on a date or, maybe, when you can grab a little alone time after the kids are in bed, spend some time doing the following things as a couple: 1. Share what gifts each of you feel like God has given you. 2. Share the unique gifts each of you notice in each other. 3. Ask each other, “How can I empower you to take responsibility for your life and gifts?” Really listen to the answer you hear! 4. Spend some time praying for each other. Pray God will give each of you the courage to take responsibility for your gifts and give each of you the love and grace to encourage each other to use your individual gifts.

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.


by Laura Weber



Others First

This month give your child a “benediction” or blessing before bedtime. BLE SS As your children are blessed, tell them that they have the opportunity to also be a blessing to others. Encourage them to freely share with others the joy and love they have received from God. While giving the blessing, encourage your children to hold their hands in front of them, palms up. This posture is meant to symbolize a willingness of heart to respond to God’s Holy Spirit and receive what God has for them. Invite them to remain in this posture as you bless them. As you read the following Scripture, encourage them to listen closely to the words. Read it slowly.

“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

Christians are often offered a blessing at the end of a church service as a benediction. The word “benediction” literally means, “good speaking” and is most often translated “blessing.” Numbers 6:22–26 records the Lord instructing Moses to bless the people with these words, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

HomeFront Weekly: Don’t forget to grab your HomeFront Weekly: A resource to get parents and kids talking about God’s Word together.

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.


by Debbie Guinn



What’s Happening in Your


Faith Community?


© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

December Monthly Homefront 2011  

This resource is designed to allow your family to have time in God's Word before your children attend the weekend service.