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KIDS IN THE KITCHEN cupcakes

GOD’S WORD

the good samaritan

CREATE children of the world

RESPONSIBILITY “God has entrusted me with the things and people around me that He has created.”


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God’s Word

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Kids in the Kitchen

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Create

The Good Samaritan

Cupcakes

Children of the World

CONTENTS FAMILY TIME

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Worship

EQUIP

Whatever You Do …

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Environment Responsibility

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Family Food Time

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Tot Times

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Editor's Note

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Conversation Starters

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Tough Topics

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How to Use Family Time & the Family Verse

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Kids in the Kitchen

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The Middle

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God's Word

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Create

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Prayer

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Global

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Traditions

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Blessing

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Game Time

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Storytelling

The Good Samaritan

Look & Listen

Blessing Bags

I Spy

The Gift of Mobility

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Mac & Cheese

Get Your Children Talking

Cupcakes

Get Up

Natural Disasters

Awakened

SUPPORT

Children of the World

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Marriage

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Spiritual Parenting

INSPIRE

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Spiritual Grandparenting

The Everyday Parent

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10 Environments

India

Loyalty & Kindness

A Gift from God

Four Steps to Responsibility

Inbox

Finding the Balance

Design, layout, & photography by Brad Claypool

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Responsibility | HomeFront


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.

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 this concept 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 with which He’s entrusted you.

Michelle Anthony Family Ministry Architect David C. Cook

Follow Michelle: @TruInspiration

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF RESPONSIBILITY I can still remember vividly a time when God was awakening my daughter to responsibility. In this environment, we realize that God has entrusted His world and the people in it to our care. Although I participated in this amazing moment, God was the One working in my daughter’s heart. My daughter, Chantel, was only five years old at the time. My husband and I had taken her to Mexico to visit the children who lived in the garbage dumps. There we would give each child a warm bath and a new set of clothing. My little girl helped that day until we’d served the last child—or so we thought. As we began to pack up the bathing station, my daughter shouted that we’d forgotten one little girl! We saw Chantel lead in a young girl with tears streaming down her face. One of the workers on our team kindly told my daughter that there were simply no more clothes. My daughter indignantly replied, “Well, then we all better start giving her some of our own clothes!” She ran to our car and pulled out her new pink coat with its white fur hood and brought it to the young girl. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing! Where did this passion, justice, and generosity for others come from? Clearly it came from God moving in a kindergartner’s heart so she could see her part in God’s Story—her role in serving those around her with the love and grace of Jesus.

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EDITOR'S NOTE As parents, our list of responsibilities can seem daunting at times. Providing for my children’s basic needs includes giving them food, water, shelter, and more. Then I’m charged with creating a safe environment, instilling good morals and values, providing effective discipline, being involved in their education, and spending quality time together. The list could go on and on. It’s literally a full-time job! Now add to this list the fact that God calls us to be responsible for our neighbor and to show our children how to do this. It doesn’t just feel overwhelming; it feels downright impossible!

Debbie Guinn

HomeFront Managing Editor David C. Cook Follow Debbie: @HFfamily

a spiritual paren ting resource

So for whom am I actually responsible? Who is my neighbor? That may sound like a silly question, but because it’s important to Jesus that His followers understand the answer, He tells the parable of the good Samaritan (recorded in Luke 10). Jesus describes our neighbor as anyone with a need, no matter what that need might be (a kind word, a hug, financial support, and more). Jesus calls us to use our time, treasures, and talents to serve our neighbor in any circumstance to which He calls us. Living each day in the environment of RESPONSIBILITY helps us become aware of the needs around us and encourages us to ask God how we can show His love to others. And responsibility for our neighbors isn’t burdensome—in fact, it’s a joy! In this month’s issue of HomeFront you’ll find creative ideas for how to recognize your God-given responsibilities. By praying and listening to the Holy Spirit, we can receive the awareness to see all God has entrusted to us—both inside the walls of our homes and beyond our neighborhoods.

at your fingertips

Have spir itual pare ntin Go to Fac ebook.com g questions? /HomeFro join the fo ntSP and rum. Rem ember to us too!

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HOW TO USE FAMILY TIME ...

FAMILY TIME

y as s a e s a It’s ONE TWO THREE

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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 will not necessarily transform us; it is God’s Spirit in these words who transforms. We come to know God more when we are 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.

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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 the ones that will fit your family best. Each HomeFront provides your family with more than enough experiences to create transforming environments in your home throughout the month.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

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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

THE

good

S AMARIT A N

The story of the good Samaritan in the gospel of Luke has worked its way deep into our society. We use the phrase “good Samaritan” to describe any person who goes out of his way to help another. However, this parable isn’t just about doing good deeds—it’s about taking responsibility for our neighbor.

In Luke 10, Jesus encountered a lawyer, a legal expert skilled in interpreting the Jewish Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament). The lawyer asked Jesus an important question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (v. 25). Luke tells us the lawyer asked this to test Jesus. But Jesus turned the question around by asking the lawyer what the Law says. “[The lawyer] answered: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Luke 10:27). The lawyer recited what Jesus called the greatest commandment: to love God and love your neighbor. Jesus’ response to the lawyer? “You have answered correctly … Do this and you will live” (v. 28). Wanting to justify himself, the lawyer asked Jesus another question: “Who is my neighbor?” (v. 29). And here the parable of the good Samaritan begins. The road from Jerusalem to Jericho was approximately 17 miles long and descended more than three thousand feet. It was known as “The Bloody Way” due to the thieves and bandits who would attack unsuspecting travelers. Jesus placed two well-known classes of society in His story: priests and Levites. Both saw a wounded man on the road but passed without stopping. They saw this man’s need but choose not to help. Then Jesus introduced the Samaritan into His story. Samaritans were particularly hated in Jesus’ day; however, in this story, a good Samaritan was the one who stopped to show mercy. He took pity on the man, bandaged him up, and paid for his accommodations. Jesus then brought His point home by asking, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” (v. 36). The lawyer was forced to reply, “The one who had mercy on him” (v. 37) In this parable, Jesus wisely turned the tables on the lawyer trying to evade his responsibility. Jesus made it clear that our neighbor is anyone in need. He commands us to do the same as the Samaritan—to show mercy to our fellow man. by Debbie Guinn 6

HEAR IT Together as a family, read the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25–37. When you’ve finished reading, ask: •W  hy do you think the priest and the Levite crossed to the other side of the road, ignoring the man who’d been attacked by robbers? •W  hat were some ways the Samaritan helped the man? • Has there ever been a time when you saw someone in need but chose to ignore him? A time when you chose to help someone in need? •W  hen Jesus said, “Go and do likewise,” was He just talking to the lawyer, or was He talking to us too? •W  hat are some ways we can follow Jesus’ words as a family? DO IT See the Prayer section in this issue of HomeFront.

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family time

p ray e r

LOOK & LISTEN by Debbie Guinn

One year, each member of our church staff received $100. As we all began to get excited, thinking it was a bonus, we were told we needed to spend this money on someone else who needed it. We received only one guideline: pray and listen to the Holy Spirit’s direction about how to use the money. Two weeks later our staff reconvened, and the stories that came out of this challenge were amazing. One team pooled its money together and sent a mom from a battered women’s shelter and her kids to Disneyland—complete with a camera to capture every memory and money for food and souvenirs. Others gave to family members going through tough times, blessing them with gifts. The stories were filled with inspiration, and we were excited to see how the Holy Spirit had specifically directed each staff member. One story that truly stood out came from the business office director. He went into a large department store, stood in the men’s section, and prayed. As he did, he felt the Lord tell him to give the money to a young man and his mother looking through some clothes. As he handed the young man the money, he told him he felt God directing him to do so. The young man began to cry and shared that he’d just been released from prison and was getting ready to start his life over. The church staffer invited the young man to church, where he received the opportunity for a real life change to begin.

FOR YOUR PRAYER ACTIVITY THIS MONTH: Do this activity with your family! Together decide on a dollar amount to be given to each family member. The amount can be as small or as large as is comfortable and appropriate for each person (taking age into consideration). Then charge each person to pray about how and where God might have him use the money. Encourage everyone to be on the lookout for someone in need. Remind everyone of the parable of the good Samaritan and how he used his own money to care for the man who’d been attacked by robbers. After you’ve given away the money, celebrate how each person heard from the Holy Spirit. Then pray, thanking God for giving us the opportunity to be His hands and feet on the earth today.

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tra d iti o ns

feed hungry Work hard to s of sfy the need people. Sati n rushed. The c re a o h w those ght up your li l il w g in s s my ble of nd the night darkness.
A l become as il w g n ri e ff u your s n. noonday su bright as the NIrV) (Isaiah 58:10

hi

by Stacy Igaras

Many families struggle with what to do when they see someone in need. Do we give him money? Do we give him a ride? Whose responsibility is this person? “Blessing Bags” could be the answer to your questions and a great tradition for your family to start. Together as a family gather items you think will be a blessing to someone in need, and keep those items in your car. This way, if you see someone with a need, you can be the immediate solution. The bags can be large or small—whatever is financially feasible for your family. Encourage your children to be on the lookout for someone to bless, and urge them to recognize their God-given responsibility for their brothers and sisters. IDEAS FOR BLESSING BAGS ITEMS

• beef jerky

• 1-gallon zip-top bag filled with toiletries

• 1 sweet, nonperishable item (such as pudding or hard candy)

• throat lozenges

• plastic utensils and napkin

• hand sanitizer

• small Bible

• hand or face lotion

• bus schedule

• packaged hand wipes

• prepaid phone card

• lip balm

• gloves, knit beanie, socks

• soap/shampoo

• resource list for the homeless in your area

• card or note of encouragement (preferably containing Scripture)

•A  LWAYS REMEMBER TO PRAY FOR THE PERSON

• blanket • gift cards to fast-food restaurants

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

• juice boxes • packaged cheese and crackers • energy bars • packaged tuna (no cans requiring an opener)

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g am e tim e

ALL PLAY

i spy

Choose the Spy

Each player should get at least one chance to be the spy. One of the best ways to connect with Use an arbitrary method to pick the first spy: draw names from your family is to let your guard down a hat, flip a coin, etc. Once you choose the spy, instruct the rest of the and have fun together. This game provides that opportunity and players to sit quietly while the spy selects an object nearby. 

 reinforces another way to make your children aware of their Choose the Object surroundings. Remind them The spy must look around the room and pick something visible to all players. Then the spy must to always be on the lookout declare, “I spy with my little eye something (adjective or alphabetical letter).” For example, if the for how God wants to use spy chooses a green alligator, she might say, "I spy with my little eye something green" or "I spy with my them in the lives of others. little eye something that begins with the letter 'A.'"

 by Angelina Pavone

Take Turns Guessing Have the players take turns guessing the object until someone guesses correctly. If the players get stumped, have the spy offer more clues. The person who guesses the spy’s object becomes the spy for the next round. However, to ensure everyone gets a turn, make sure no players monopolize the game. Keep playing until each player has had a turn being the spy. 
 To make the game a little more challenging for older kids, have the spy use slightly more difficult phrases, such as “I spy with my little eye something beginning with ‘RABSM’” (for red and brown sock monkey.) Two more ideas to make things more challenging: First, use a “word graveyard.” Place common words (such as simple colors, shapes, and “plain” adjectives)

yellow flowers

in the “graveyard.” Tell the spy the graveyard words are “dead” and therefore can’t be used to describe the object. Second, don’t allow the spy to use the first letter of the word when describing an object. This will force the spy to really use his imagination.

sock monkey rubber ducky

alligator

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sto ry t e l l in g

THE GIFT OF MO B I L I T Y by Mike Kenyon

Ruby lives in Georgetown, Texas, a small community just outside of Austin. When she was just five years old, she overheard a conversation about Free Wheelchair Mission, a nonprofit organization that provides wheelchairs to the disabled poor in developing nations. When Ruby heard that more than 100 million people in these countries can’t walk and must crawl on the ground or be carried by loved ones, she decided she needed to do something. So Ruby took it upon herself to begin collecting coins she found around the house. When her mother noticed and asked why she was collecting money, Ruby answered, “I’m saving to buy a wheelchair for someone who can’t afford one.” Ruby’s mom agreed this was a worthy cause, so she set up a chore and reward system for Ruby to earn $63.94 to buy a wheelchair. It worked so well they decided to share the news at Ruby’s school. The excitement grew, and Ruby’s Tiger pre-kindergarten class took on the challenge, using their spring break to raise money for wheelchairs. 


Ruby’s mom spurred on the other parents to give their children ownership of the project, encouraging them to be creative about how to raise the money to give others the gift of mobility. 
One of the boys in the class organized a lemonade stand and called it “Lemonade for Love.” At the end of two weeks, this class of four and five year olds earned enough money to purchase four wheelchairs! Four lives around the world would be transformed because of one preschooler’s compassionate heart. And that compassion spread into the community, inspiring others to give.

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For more information about free wheelchair mission, visit: www.FreeWheelchairMission.org.

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family time

wo rs h i p

Whatever you do ...

In Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, we read about a man named Dr. Henry Jekyll. Jekyll deduces that if not for all of the hideous evil within him, he would be empowered to be far more productive and responsible than ever before. Jekyll begins to take a special potion daily to separate the good and evil within him—Dr. Jekyll, the good, and Mr. Hyde, the evil. Then, one day, he sits down and starts to reminisce about what a good man he’s become. Suddenly, something strange happens— he discovers that he’s once again become Mr. Hyde, but this time without the aid of the potion. Trying to “do good” out of our own strength can become a slippery slope. The more good deeds we perform, the more self-righteous we can become. As we live in the environment of RESPONSIBILITY, it’s crucial for us to remember we’re not doing good deeds in order to save ourselves. Instead, we do these things as an act of worship to the one and only God. “Whatever 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” (Colossians 3:23–24). This month, as an act of worship, read together Colossians 3. Then discuss all the ways Jesus wants us to be responsible with our lives. Remind your family that anything good we do should be in God’s power and in response to all He’s done for us. by Joel Stanton

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.

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family time

fami ly fo o d tim e

When I get to know a person’s likes and dislikes, I show her how much I care about her. And when I get to know what kinds of foods she likes, I’m able to bless her by taking responsibility for one of her most basic needs: food. With these recipe ideas, encourage family members to show how much they care for one another by being “responsible” to top each person’s macaroni and cheese or cupcake with their favorite toppings. by Amanda Hunt

TOPPING IDEAS: BACON • CROUTONS HAM • TOMATOES BROCCOLI • HOT DOGS SALSA • CAULIFLOWER GREEN ONIONS RED PEPPERS ROASTED GARLIC

MAC & CHEESE INGREDIENTS:

1 (8 oz.) package elbow macaroni

½ tsp. salt

2 tbsp. butter

½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

2 c. milk

DIRECTIONS:

Prep Time: 20 min. Cook Time: 20 min. (Serves 4)

 repare pasta according to package 1. P directions. Keep warm.

2. M  elt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly for two minutes. Gradually whisk in milk and cook for five minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in salt, pepper, one cup shredded cheese, and cooked pasta.

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3. S poon pasta mixture into a lightly greased two quart baking dish; top with remaining cheese.

4. B  ake at 400° for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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family time

fami ly fo o d tim e

Conversation Starters

Kids in the Kitchen

At a mealtime, set a timer for one minute and tell everyone to be completely silent for that minute. No talking or making noise—just eating, drinking, and listening to the sounds in the room. (You may need to guide your family at first, but this will be a fun exercise.) After a minute, let the youngest person begin by telling everyone what he heard. Go around the table to find out how many different sounds everyone heard (e.g., humming refrigerator, chirping birds, plane flying overhead). Then ask: Did you hear anything you didn’t expect to hear? Did anything sound really funny? Did you hear a sound you didn’t recognize?

by Amanda Hunt

Kids in the Kitchen features simple, kid-friendly recipes that encourages families to spend time together while creating yummy treats. SUPPLIES: paper cupcake liners box cake mix (any flavor) frosting (any flavor)

Topping Ideas: • Sprinkles • Nuts • Strawberries • Chocolate Chips • Crushed Cookies • Chopped Candy Bars • Gummy Candies

Use this experience to remind your children that God presents opportunities to take responsibility in our everyday lives—but sometimes we’re just not looking for them. When we’re awakened to what God is doing all around us, taking responsibility becomes taking part in something much bigger than ourselves.

DIRECTIONS:  reheat oven to the temperature indicated on the cake mix packaging. 1. P 2. P  lace paper cupcake liners into a muffin tin. 3. M  ix cake batter as directed and pour evenly into the pre-lined muffin tin. 4. Bake as directed. Let cool.  ncourage each family member to frost and decorate a cupcake for another member E of the family with the topping she thinks the other person will like. 13

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family time

c r e at e

lie Lisk

by Nata

Some children have been separated from their moms or dads. Some children don’t have parents because their moms or dads have died. It’s heartbreaking to think of the many orphans around the world, but we know Jesus has a special place in His heart for them. James 1:27 specifically tells us to “look after orphans and widows in their distress.” Those children fortunate enough to be sheltered and fed in orphanages often receive very little or no help dealing with their deep emotional and spiritual needs. They find it hard to imagine God as “Father” when their biological fathers abandoned or abused them or aren’t there because of illness or death. The Bible has much to say about these “fatherless” ones. David C. Cook is working with orphanages, local churches, and experts on at-risk children to create a comprehensive multi-

year program that will transform young lives. Orphanage workers in Hyderabad, India, use the program while meeting with hundreds of orphans each week to comfort and counsel them.

CREATE IS A TIME TO ENGAGE YOUR FAMILY IN A COLLABORATIVE RESPONSE TO HEARING GOD’S WORD. These counselors, whom the children refer to as “aunts” and “uncles,” take time to gently uncover the hurts the children carry from abandonment, loss, and past cruelty. The program allows three years of constant contact with each child to help each one establish a healthy spiritual foundation and learn practical skills. Most of these children need tutoring in ordinary life skills such as

basic hygiene, shopping, getting a job, using money, and much more. This intensive program began in India because more than twenty-five million orphans live in this country. Today, eighteen thousand Christian orphanages exist in the country, and still many more are needed in order to care for the overwhelming number of children. David C. Cook’s program is a direct response to the biblical mandate to care for orphans and to see that justice is available to the fatherless. While we’re not always able to physically care for the widows and orphans by traveling to them, we can learn about their needs and pray for them. To find out more about David C. Cook’s work with orphans in India, visit globalchurch.com.

Encourage each family member to cut out and decorate the paper people (found at the end of this HomeFront) to represent the orphans in India. Make sure to place them in a prominent place in your home—on your refrigerator, in the bathroom, or somewhere else where you’ll see them daily. This will be a great reminder for your family to pray for the orphans in India!

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family time

g lo b a l

Where in the World Is ...

INDIA

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

INDIA

N   India shares its northern border with Jammu W E and Kashmir, China, Nepal, and Bhutan. S It’s bordered on the east by Myanmar, Bangladesh, and the Bay of Bengal. The Indian Ocean is south of India, and the Arabian Sea is west of India. Its northwest border is Pakistan.

POPULATION 1.2 billion

LANGUAGE

NOW THAT WE KNOW WHERE INDIA IS, LET’S MEET AND GREET ITS PEOPLE.

Hindi-Urdu

RELIGION

80% Hindu 13.4% Islam 2.3% Christian

 Approximately 1.2 billion people call India their home. It’s the second-most-populated country in the world. Half of the people in India are younger than 25. If you lived in India, you would eat a lot of rice. Rice is a staple for almost every meal and is served in a variety of ways: boiled, fried, sweet, and salty. You might also eat something called a samosa, which is a potato-stuffed pastry. A popular fruit in India is mango.

DID YOU KNOW? • I ndia has more post offices than any other country in the world, but it’s still not unusual for a letter to take two weeks to travel 30 miles. • Cows are considered sacred and can be found wandering the streets of India’s cities.

If you went to church in India you would most likely go to a Hindu temple.

To learn more about India and the work being done there, see the CREATE section (pg. 14) of this issue and visit globalchurch.com.

TO GREET SOMEONE, YOU WOULD SAY:

“Namaste”

pronounced (nuhm-uh-STAY) When you talk with friends in India, you would speak a language called Hindi-Urdu.

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family time

b l e ssin g

to Take time ids k bless your g by readin 4 :3– Proverbs 3 . m e over th

s s e n d n i k & y t l a loy Developing a sense of responsibility for others begins with learning to love those around us. As our children begin to love and serve others in their everyday lives, they can begin to experience the blessing of God. After praying this blessing over your children, talk about practical ways they can love and care for those around them. Encourage them to find opportunities to practice love and faithfulness this month. by ALYSON CROCKETT

(Child’s name), never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation. based on Proverbs 3:3–4 (NLT)

A BLESSING CAN BE A PRAYER OF COMMISSION, A BIBLE PASSAGE, OR WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT. AS YOUR CHILDREN ARE BLESSED, TELL THEM 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. BLESSINGS CAN ALSO BE SPOKEN OVER A CHILD FOR THE PURPOSE OF DECLARING GOD’S PROTECTION, JOY, AND WISDOM OVER HIM.

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INSPIRE EQUIP SUPPORT 17

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inspire

by Rebekah Pogue

t h e e v e ry day par e nt

H

ow often, in the midst of whiny voices, tantrums, or complete exhaustion, do you forget that God entrusted your child to your family? God knew you would be the ideal dad or mom for your son or daughter. Before He created the world, He chose you to spiritually parent him, to be responsible for them. But responsibility can carry weight that can be misinterpreted as a burden. Our kids aren’t a burden, but a gift. If I could wrap an encouragement box and have you open it today, the gift would be to see your children through God’s lens. The child looking up at you is truly a reflection of what you unwrapped: a gift! Pray that God’s Spirit would renew an intentional focus for living each moment of today with a heart of gratitude for the responsibility you’ve been given to parent your child. Once you put on God’s lens, the story He is writing in your child will become clear! Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

A GIFT FROM GOD by Debbie Guinn

Through a series of tragic events, my son received full custody of his two children, ages three years and seven months. The impact of this situation rippled though our family with a myriad of emotions. Because I’ve walked the road of parenting, I understood completely the overwhelming responsibility facing him. I knew that without God’s help, the task would be nearly impossible. One night, as I gave my grandson a bottle, I was overcome by the reality of my son’s situation. I began to worry about where he would get the money to purchase diapers and formula. I had no idea how he would figure out daycare. And I was especially concerned about how the emotional trauma of this situation might impact my grandchildren. As I sat in my anxiety, my granddaughter, Grayson, came to cuddle up with the baby and me. She leaned in, kissed the baby, looked up at me smiling, and said, “Mimi, my baby brother is a gift from God, just like me!” Wow! I knew God was speaking to me through my granddaughter. It reminded me that the children weren’t problems to be solved or a situation to figure out, but rather gifts to be cherished and appreciated. I remembered God’s promises and knew He’d prepared a way to get us through this. Even though the situation wasn’t the perfect family picture I had dreamed about for my son and grandchildren, I was confident in that moment that God was with us. He has entrusted these children to my son, and He will give him what he needs each day to meet their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

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equip

tot tim e ( ag e s 3 & u n d e r )

Repetition is fundamental in almost any learning style, so when you’re attempting to teach your children, use repetition! by Alyson Crockett

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

d

at home sit

a

get up

(Deuteronomy 6:6–7)

get up

Start each day by reminding your children of how important it is to tell others about Jesus. Have your children repeat each line and action along with you as you have fun learning this rhyme together.

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equip

t h e mi d d l e (6 t h

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8 t h GRADE)

AWAKENED Your sixth- to eighth-grade child may be starting to express his desire for freedom. You might start to notice that he’s looking for space to roam and be free. He wants to make his own decisions and do what he wants to do. Life seems to be all about his wants and desires. Without your direction, your child can grow self-centered and inward-focused, only caring about himself.

Take the story of the good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25–37. Jesus says the Samaritan didn’t stop to help the robbed and beaten man out of duty or obligation. Instead, the Samaritan was moved to help because there was something greater going on inside of him. He saw a unique opportunity to take responsibility for someone and extend grace and love to them.

W  hy does God want us to be responsible for the people He’s placed in our paths?

While we live on this earth, we’re daily entrusted with what God wants us to say or do. Your middle school child needs to be continually awakened to the responsibilities uniquely entrusted to him by God.

As parents, we need to help our children recognize opportunities to step out in faith and be responsible for what God has entrusted to them. Here are a few questions to get the conversation started:

Once you have helped your son or daughter identify opportunities to be responsible, empower him or her to take action.

What people in your life do you think  you’re responsible for? What things has God uniquely entrusted to you? What are some ways you can use those things to be responsible?

equip

to u g h to p i c s

NATURAL DISASTERS Hardly a week goes by without a news report of natural disasters. These calamities claim lives and leave destruction in their wake. Because natural disasters can wipe away everything that gives a child security, such as a home and possessions, a child may find these events extremely frightening. She may hear about a tsunami in another country and assume it could happen to her. Talk to your child about natural disasters and why they happen. For example, “There was a forest fire in California because the trees became too dry from the hot summer sun. Firefighters warned people to leave their homes before the fire got too close.” If you live in an area prone to a certain type of natural disaster, talk about your family's plan in case of an emergency. Most importantly, remind your child that God has complete control over natural forces and everything that happens on earth. Natural disasters will happen. But when they do, God cares deeply about the people affected. He’s an ever-present help to those in trouble (Psalm 46:1). As a family, pray for the people impacted by a natural disaster. Consider donating money, supplies, or even your time and relief efforts. God can use you to help those who are suffering.

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marriag e

four steps to r e s ponsi bility As parents, we realize how important it is to teach our children responsibility, but often it’s easier to teach something than to actually do it ourselves. The challenge for us is to take an inventory of how responsible we are in our families and marriages. Let me suggest four areas to consider: 1. Responsible to communicate in loving ways 2. Responsible to set a tone of joy 3. Responsible to meet our spouse’s needs 4. Responsible to provide for our family Each week this month, choose one of the following areas related to the environment of RESPONSIBILITY and read them together as a couple. Ask the Lord to help you in each of these four areas. Take some time to sit quietly, go over each area, and write down what you feel God is showing you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, support, and prayer from your church, a small group, or a counselor if needed. RESPONSIBLE TO COMMUNICATE IN LOVING WAYS Ephesians 4:15 says, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things

grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” Being responsible for the way we communicate will set the stage for our home. When you’re frustrated, irritated, or hurt, do you use harsh words and body language? What’s one way you can increase your ability to speak in a more loving way? RESPONSIBLE TO SET A TONE OF JOY 1 Thessalonians 5:16–17 says, “Be joyful always; pray continually.” We’re responsible as parents to provide an atmosphere of joy in our homes. When you’re under stress, do you set a tone of anxiety for your spouse? We used to teach our son to perform an “attitude check” when he became negative or presumptuous. Can you call an “attitude check” on yourself this week when you lose your joy? RESPONSIBLE TO MEET OUR SPOUSE’S NEEDS 1 Corinthians 7:3–5 says, “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and 21

for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” Are you meeting the needs of your spouse throughout the week? Do you know your spouse’s love language? Are you asking your spouse what you can do to increase marital satisfaction? RESPONSIBLE TO PROVIDE FOR OUR FAMILY 1 Timothy 5:8 says, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” In this day of economic difficulty, it becomes important to work together to be able to provide for our families. When we watch our spending and work on our budget, we’re being responsible parents. What might you consider doing to increase your ability to provide adequately for your family? by Roger Tirabassi

Responsibility | HomeFront


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s p irit ua l par e ntin g & s p irit ua l g ran d par e ntin g

Finding the Balance

Inbox w/ Michelle Anthony Each month we choose questions for the Inbox from the HomeFrontSP Facebook page. If you have Spiritual Parenting questions that you would like answered please go to Facebook.com/HomeFrontSP and join the forum— remember to us too!

Q: A:

 o you have any creative ideas to make the Blessing portion D of HomeFront come alive for my children in a tangible way? Jacque A. Phoenix, AZ

I 'm so glad you asked this question! Blessing our children with words of truth is one of the most powerful ways to put our children in the very presence of God and His love for them. I recently discovered a blog where a mom and children's leader shares ideas from HomeFront and Spiritual Parenting. In her April 26, 2012, entry she shows a chalkboard wall that she put in her kitchen where she writes out the blessing and the Scripture verse each month. You can check out this and all of her great ideas at spiritualparentingtogether.com.

Q: A:

I find that no matter how much I expose my children to the needs of others and give them opportunities to take responsibility for them, my children are unresponsive and even, at times, selfish. Do you have any advice about ways to help cultivate a more sensitive heart in my children for the lost, the poor, or the needy? Teresa S. Cincinnati, OH  irst of all, I must tell you that you are not alone. Because of our sin F nature, all of us struggle with feelings of selfishness or even apathy. In our children this can seem accentuated at different periods of their lives due to their honesty. Think about it … we don't always, even as mature Christian adults, jump to the need of another, but we may have better ways of hiding our selfish tendencies. The other thing to keep in mind is that a genuine heart for living in the environment of responsibility is cultivated by the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. As parents, we can partner with what God's Spirit is doing by giving our children opportunities to respond as well as modeling a heart for others in our words and actions. So, my advice is to stay the course in what you are doing and continue to trust God to complete His work in your children.

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by Debbie Guinn

As grandparents, one of our most important roles is to find ways to support and encourage our children as they spiritually parent our grandchildren. Living in the environment of RESPONSIBILITY reminds us that God has entrusted to us the lives of those He has placed around us, and that includes our children and our grandchildren. Even though times may have changed since we raised our children, the fundamental truths about God remain the same. We have seen and experienced God working in mighty ways, and we now possess a broader range of knowledge than we had when we parented our own children. The tension, however, is to find the balance between supporting and encouraging versus criticizing and trying to control. I find that at times I tend to “over share” my own ideas about how I think my children should be parenting my grandchildren. I once saw a definition of grandparents that read: Grandparents: The people who think your children are wonderful even though they're sure you're not raising them right. Our role as spiritual parents doesn’t stop when our children have their own children. It just looks different. And it still requires us to rely on the Holy Spirit to tell us when to speak and when to hold our tongues and pray. Our children need to feel our approval as they take on the tough job of parenting and passing down their faith to their own children. Always be transparent enough to share situations where, given the knowledge you have now, you might have parented a little differently. Remind them that living a life of consistency and transparency speaks louder than words. And champion them as they teach their children to take ownership of their lives, gifts, and resources before God.

Responsibility | HomeFront


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 that He has created.”

IT IS OUR PRAYER THAT HOMES AND CHURCHES WOULD CREATE THESE ENVIRONMENTS FOR KIDS TO LIVE IN SO THEIR FAITH WILL GROW IN A COMMUNITY OF CONSISTENCY, COMMON LANGUAGE, AND PRACTICE. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW THESE ENVIRONMENTS CAN IGNITE A TRANSFORMING FAITH IN YOUR FAMILY, WE SUGGEST YOU READ:

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! “God knows me, and I can know Him.”

SPIRITUAL PARENTING:

An Awakening for Today’s Families BY MICHELLE ANTHONY

©DAVID C. COOK

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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Awaken the families in your church! Spiritual Parenting is a six-part program that empowers parents in your church to be the primary nurturers of their children’s faith. Families will be transformed as they learn how to create space for God-encounters in everyday life. Perfect for parenting classes, mom’s groups, mid-week programs, retreats, and more!

GET STARTED TODAY WITH A FREE VIDEO LESSON www.davidccook.com/parenting

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Only cut black dotted line. If the black dotted line stops, DO NOT CUT (e.g. hands and feet). Fold Before Cutting: ACCORDION FOLD

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HFSPR: RESPONSIBILITY SEPT 2012  

HomeFront is a FREE monthly resource that gives parents ideas on how to create fun, spiritually forming times in their home.

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