Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: Missions

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I first noticed it last December. How I had missed it for forty-something years, I have no idea, but I did. Last December was different, though.

Last December, I heard something that made my heart leap, and filled me with wonder.

I heard hymns being sung in stores and being played on the radio. I heard people who don’t know the Lord singing His praises– “Oh, Come let us adore Him, Christ, The Lord!” “Fall on your knees…Oh, night when Christ was born.” “Joy to the World, the Lord is come!” People who don’t know our God were joyfully lifting their voices in songs of praise to Him at this time of year. I stood in awe.

“How can they sing about what they do not know?” I wondered. And then I realized what an amazing opportunity God gives His people each year to tell them about what they are singing. Do we hear it? Do we take advantage of it?

Many of us have been sharing ideas for things that we can do within our family– Advent reading calendars, decorating trees with the names of Christ as we examine Who He is and what He has done for us, and more– and those things are critically important for keeping our own hearts and minds stayed on Him and for shepherding the hearts of our children to know and love Him wholly.

But, are we missing even bigger discipleship and outreach opportunities, because we aren’t listening?

At this time of year, when people are joyfully singing praise to the Newborn King, wouldn’t it make sense that we would do everything we can as God’s families to introduce them to the One they are singing about?

Easy Christmas Outreach Ideas for Families.

One year, when our children were much younger, we made candy cane ornaments with little gift tags that detailed the legend of the candy cane. They offered us an instant evangelism tool as we left them behind with cashiers we met at stores, gave them to family members, and more. We may never know the impact those little gifts had on the recipients this side of eternity, but it allowed our children to see just how important it is to show people kindness and love and to tell them about Jesus.  Here is a nice article about the legend of the candy cane, including a printable tag you can use when you hand them out.  (Me, not being so creative, simply purchased a couple of kits from Oriental Trading. The kit we used doesn’t seem to be available anymore, but this one is similar.)

Another thing that our family has done through the years at different times has been to bake breads and make homemade apple butter to take out to our neighbors, along with gospel-rich cards. The kids always enjoyed the baking and preparation time as much as they did the visiting with neighbors time, and they still ask me each year if we’re going to bake for the neighbors. Especially the first time we did this, we were taken aback by just how much this simple act meant to those we were blessing with our little gifts.

You could host a Christmas Caroling party at your home. Open your doors and invite your neighbors to go Christmas Caroling with you. This is a great way, not only to help people reconnect with the Christmas story, but also to help your family engage your community through God’s love. Pray that God allows you to open natural conversation with them about some of the lyrics they are singing. You may be surprised to find hearts wide open for the good news of the gospel during this season, and at the very least you will be building relationships that God can use to open more doors throughout the year.  Your children will see the importance of reaching out to those God has placed closest to you, and they will have a fun evening to remember as well.

I have heard of church groups setting up Christmas present wrapping stations at local malls and shopping centers, perhaps your family could do the same. Or, perhaps you could simply offer your services within your neighborhood. Once again, this expression of kindness can be used to open doors for gospel conversations both this month and then continuing throughout the year as you build that relationship. This doesn’t take a whole lot of preparation, time or money, but it would definitely be a great way to show God’s love as you bless others during what can become a busy stressful time for many.

Minister to those in need this Christmas season. The days and nights are long and very cold for those who are in need, and this time of year provides a natural way for believers to meet those needs physically which often opens the doors for us and others to meet spiritual needs as well. In our community, there are rescue missions, donation stations, and more that can use our help. Perhaps, your family could open your hearts and home to widows in your church or neighborhood, military families who are separated this holiday season or who are adjusting to a new way of life after a deployment is over, college students who don’t have the money to go home for the holidays, young couples who find themselves alone this Christmas, etc. Perhaps you and some friends could carol at a local nursing home or retirement community. There are needs all around us, and this season provides a wonderfully natural platform for God’s people to meet them as we celebrate the greatest gift ever given.

If you have a lot of young families in your neighborhood, perhaps you could use this time of year to host a Christmas craft party for some of the children. When school gets out, many families struggle with the lack of routine. Hosting a fun morning for the young moms and their children could become a fun tradition in your neighborhood, and could open some great doors for building relationships and sharing your faith.

For Unto Us Is Born This Day

These are just a sampling of ways your family could take advantage of the open doors that are all around us this month. Will you? Will you (and I) make it a priority to look outside of ourselves and step out of our comfort zones to share the good news of this miraculous birth with those all around us? Will we tell them the true good news of this season– about the greatest gift ever given? Will we model for our children what love for God and others looks like when it is lived out? Will we take a break from the busy-ness we create for ourselves this season (and all year long, really) to truly focus on others and on the open doors God provides for us?  Will we allow our soul to thrill as we hear the big, professional voices singing praise to our God through the loudspeakers of the grocery store and shopping centers, and will we be moved by His great gift to us to share His love with everyone we can?

Looking for more Christmas Outreach ideas?

Here is an article we published several years ago by Ann Dunagan about having a Mission-Minded Christmas. Here is a good reminder from Rachel Jankovic about keeping your priorities in order this Christmas.  And, here is a very short article, featuring a Christmas essay written by one of my children several years ago that is sure to turn all of our hearts and minds right onto what we should be focusing this month.

Your Turn To Share!

Share some of your family’s best Christmas outreach ideas and traditions in the comments below. I would LOVE to hear from you!

 

O Holy Night

O Holy Night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine
Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name

 

Register for the Homeschool Convention Today
Operation Christmas Child
OCC What Comes Out of the Box
Every year, people in the U.S. pack shoeboxes for needy children overseas. Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes are packed with toys, school supplies, hygiene items, and prayer. What goes into the box is fun. What comes out is eternal. Through the power of Christ, one shoebox gift can inspire pastors, multiply congregations, plant new churches and inspire children to share the Gospel with family and friends.
Flourishing Churches
When churches use shoebox gifts to reach out to their communities, God often blesses them with dramatic growth and a great harvest of souls. Nothing energizes a church like a generation of children who love Jesus.
Opening Doors for the Gospel
Through Operation Christmas Child, Samaritan’s Purse has established church networks in over 100 countries to empower pastors, train teachers, supply Bibles, and prepare the way for those who preach the Gospel.
Redeeming Families
Children often invite their parents to attend the churches where they received their shoeboxes. Many struggling families and broken marriages have been restored as mothers and fathers discover how deeply Jesus loves them.
Making Disciples
Samaritan’s Purse developed The Greatest Journey, a 12-lesson Bible study, especially for children who receive shoebox gifts. We teach them how to live for Jesus and share their faith, multiplying the Gospel among their family and friends.
National Collection Week is November 17–24!
Visit our website to find everything you need to share good news and great joy with children around the world, including how to pack a shoebox, and where to find your nearest drop-off location. You can discover the destination of your gift by making your shipping donation online, download free resources from our resource hub, and learn more about The Greatest Journey, Operation Christmas Child’s follow-up discipleship program.
Church-to-Church video
Watch as churches around the world connect through Operation Christmas Child, working together as the body of Christ.

We are thrilled to have Operation Christmas Child as a Change The World Sponsor at Teach Them Diligently 2015. We will be talking more about their involvement and ways you can get involved in this special ministry in the days ahead.

 

Register for the Homeschool Convention Today
Here I Am

Here I Am. Send Me.

The legacy of a nation is the legacy of its family and when the family breaks down, everything that is built on that sacred foundation falls down with it.

If you look about you now, we are reaping the “rewards” of family disintegrate.  We are living in a day where the norm is not to see the parents married to their original spouse.

Here I Am
Here I Am

We are living in a day where the kids are bounced from house to house for their turn with mama or daddy.  We are living in a time when kids are raising parents rather than parents raising their kids. The Bible speaks of this in the book of Isaiah

Isaiah 3

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
4 “I will make youths their leaders,
and the unstable will govern them.”
5 The people will oppress one another,
man against man, neighbor against neighbor;
the youth will act arrogantly toward the elder,
and the worthless toward the honorable.

The reason that we are seeing this happen is the same reason that it has happened before. Look a bit further in Isaiah chapter 3

8 For Jerusalem has stumbled
and Judah has fallen
because they have spoken and acted against the Lord,
defying His glorious presence.
9 The look on their faces testifies against them,
and like Sodom, they flaunt their sin.
They do not conceal it.
Woe to them,
for they have brought evil on themselves.

Today in this great country abortions are preformed every single day at a rate of 1 every 26 seconds, the people have forgotten what it means to blush, and they flaunt their sin into the face of a God they no longer believe in.

Who dad, who is responsible for this result of where we are now? Us. The dads. The spiritual leaders of the house that have either backed down from our job, or never knew the job qualifications, or knew the qualifications and just did not care. But there is a new day dawning men and it’s time to do something about it!

If you keep reading through Isaiah, you will come to the part where Isaiah takes responsibility to do something about the way things are. He says five words that change everything.

Isaiah 3

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying:
Who should I send?
Who will go for Us?
I said:
Here I am. Send me.

Here I am. Send me.

I am not perfect, I make mistakes, I will stumble, but here I am, send me. Dads, this needs to be our mindset for our family. Your wife needs you to be there, to stand in the gap, and declare that no matter what happens in the house, you are there. Your kids need to know beyond any doubt that you have their spiritual back, and that can only be done by a dad who is training and teaching them.

Here I am.

That can be hard sometimes. Here is a personal example. In my job, I have recently been asked to assume a temporary duty of state construction engineer/assistant state engineer. In taking this job I would receive a temporary pay raise and earn about $2,000 over the next four months when you add up everything.

That sounded great at first. Then comes the other part of you will need to be here three days a week. I would have to do one of two options of either driving six hours round trip three days a week or spend the night one or two days a week. Both options would leave my house in a place where I am not here. I would have the ‘send me’ part down, but not the ‘here I am’.

Although this would be a great opportunity for my career, I did not take it. Because my first and foremost job in life is that of dad. My second is that of children’s pastor, and taking this opportunity would also stretch me rather thin in that area. The primary place of a dad is at the home, not the office, not the gym, not in a video game, not the ball field, not the golf course, it is home!

Send me.

Send me to do what? Your job at home is to teach your kids diligently!

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
4 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One.
5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart.
7 Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
8 Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.
9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

It is the responsibility of the dad to make sure that your kids know who God is. We are to saturate the lives of our kids with Gods words, his actions in our lives, how he leads us, and how he sustains us daily. You may say “Steve, this was never done with me. I don’t know how.” Well good thing you are reading this, because here is a list to start with.

  • Pray for your family
  • Study God’s word
  • Share God’s word with your family
  • Pray as a family

It’s not easy men.  It is a change that will rock you to the core if you have never done it before. It is also something that will effect your kids for the rest of their life in a positive way.

You must remember, God placed you as the head of the house, you are given the responsibility of what happens in the house. So stand up and say here I am, send me.  Just let the first place you go be your own house!

I’m just a Husband Of A HomeSchooling Mom,
Steve Blackston

Register for the Homeschool Convention Today
Homeschooling Parents

About David and Leslie Nunnery

Leslie Nunnery and her husband David founded Teach Them Diligently, the nation’s premier source for gospel-centered homeschool events. With seven years of homeschooling experience from preschool-high school and a passion to encourage and equip homeschool families, this mom of 4 shares her know-how and insights weekly through Teach Them Diligently media and on TeachThemDiligently365.com.

Yes, I want more from this Homeschooling Community!

Questions?

800-223-9491

Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention
2435 East North Street, Suite 1108 PMB 363
Greenville, SC 29615
teachthemdiligently.net

Homeschool Blog

Homeschool 365