Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Project Connect - Talking Openly with Kids (continued)

...facing today's tough issues.

What follows is excerpts from a booklet produced by Lutheran Hour Ministries. The purpose of the booklet is to give parents practical advice on how and when to address difficult topics with their children. The questions listed on pages 14 - 15 challenge parents to think about their beliefs, expectations and attitudes. 

"Effective parenting takes work, energy and practice!" 
One of the most challenging responsibilities and joys we have is the rearing of our children. People may think that parenting is an instinctively natural function of adult human beings. The truth is effective parenting requires study and practice. It involves work and energy. It is the most important 'job' we'll ever do. Parenting provides tremendous opportunity for personal growth and joy.

Gathering and sharing information often helps us decrease our anxiety about dealing with difficult situations. The better we know ourselves and our beliefs, the better equipped we will be to help our children understand their behaviors and establish their own beliefs.

Since your beliefs, expectations and attitudes determine how you deal with issues, you will find it helpful to examine what you believe children face, as they move into the preteen and teenage years. Consider the following question...

What expectations do you have for your child during these years?

How do you view the world of preteens and teens today?

What are four to five issues you think your child will face as a teen?

How do you feel your teen will react to peer pressure?

Where do you get most of your information about children and teens?

What kind of relationship did you have with your parents as a teenager?

How would you describe the relationship you have with your child?

***Were most of your answer to the questions above positive or negative with regard to the preteen and teen years?

**Were your responses and expectations realistic?

If you believe that the teenage years will be filled with frustration and fighting, they probably will be. When parents expect the worst from their adolescent, they often get it. Some beliefs enhance the relationship; others limit it. We tend to look for behaviors that prove our beliefs were right. Our beliefs drive the system and determine our perspectives. Understanding ourselves is very important, before we begin the journey of teaching our children.

My days of raising children is somewhat over, they are all in their thirties and have children of their own. Looking back, having a resource like this booklet could have been helpful for us. We made many decisions based on our childhood experiences, beliefs and attitudes without fully understand the peer pressure that our children faced. We didn't always understand our children or take the time to understand them. We struggled to communicate with them and failed to see the world through their eyes. 

They survived, as did we. Our hope is that they, and you, can avoid some of the conflicts that we experienced as you raise your children. 

Next time I will highlight some helpful tips in talking with your children... until then to download your copy of the booklet go to Project Connect Booklets - Talking Openly with Kids. This booklet is distributed by Lutheran Hour Ministries, 660 Mason Ridge Center Dr., St. Louis, Missouri 63141-8557  www.lhm.org 

Parents, talk early - talk often! Your children want to know that you care!

DCO Peter

Friday, November 18, 2016

Project Connect - Talking Openly with Kids

...facing today's tough issues.

This booklet is part of the Project Connect series from Lutheran Hour Ministries. It is filled with valuable insights that can guide parents to have positive conversations with their pre-teen or teenage children. This is the intro on the back cover...

"There are scores of books for new parents or parents of toddlers, but none of these will prepare you for communicating with your pre-teen on the issues of peer pressure, sex, drugs, violence and death. Recognizing the signs of trouble in your children as well as understanding your own nonverbal messages are two areas necessary for establishing effective communication patterns.This booklet offers practical advice on how and when to address these subjects with your children."

Our community of Little Falls, Minnesota has a drug free communities coalition called StandUp4U. One of the primary initiatives is to encourage parents to talk to their children about the dangers of using drugs and alcohol. The campaign is called "Parents, Talk to Us." Statistics have shown that children whose parents talk them about their expectations concerning drug and alcohol use are less likely to use drugs or alcohol as minors.

This booklet can help parents have those conversations. The booklet lists 13 essential rules of thumb for talking with kids about anything.

  1. Create an open environment.
  2. Consider your child's temperament.
  3. Respect your child's feelings.
  4. Understand the question.
  5. Always be honest.
  6. If you don't know something, admit it.
  7. Don't leave big gaps.
  8. Use age-appropriate language.
  9. Get feedback.
  10. Be patient.
  11. Say it again and again.
  12. Give them your undivided attention.
  13. Speak separately to kids of different ages.
The booklet expands on these and many more specific topics. I will highlight those in future blogs and add my two cents. 

To download your copy of the booklet go to Project Connect Booklets - Talking Openly with Kids. This booklet is distributed by Lutheran Hour Ministries, 660 Mason Ridge Center Dr., St. Louis, Missouri 63141-8557  www.lhm.org 

Parents, talk early - talk often! Your children want to know that you care!

DCO Peter 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Lutheran Hour Ministry presents: The Great Deceiver

A video Bible Study series for small groups.

The Great Deceiver: Video Study Series. I have used this material as a resource to lead a men's small group. It is found under the Men's Network study guides on the Lutheran Hour Ministry website. http://www.lhm.org/studies The series includes several downloadable resources: a pdf study guide and videos. The videos are well done and captivating. The study guides helped us to engage in thought provoking conversations on a topic that typically isn't addressed very often. Here is the promo for the study.

The Great Deceiver - Promo  

By: Rev. Michael Newman
(Includes subtitles in English) - It should come as no surprise that an adversary fit to be called the "god of this world" and the "power of darkness" is a force to be reckoned with. And so he is. In The Great Deceiver explore a being so diabolical he will stop at nothing to separate us from God. 

Hosted by Pastor Michael Newman (Death ... Then What?), this four-session Men's NetWork Bible study examines the most perverse character in Scripture: Satan. "Beast," "accuser" and "evil one," this "roaring lion" as the apostle Peter calls him, is adept at changing his appearance and cunning in his deceit. Popular culture may portray the devil as a cartoon character in a red jumpsuit, as needing our sympathy, or has having gone down to Georgia, but those characterizations only muddy the waters.

When it comes to Satan it's a no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners approach. Twisting and distorting God's divine imperative to Adam and Eve early in the book of Genesis (to our complete despair), he's been wreaking havoc and maligning mankind ever since. Centuries later, going toe to toe with Jesus in the wilderness, he must have sensed, however, things were not going to end well for him. By the very cross that took Jesus' life, God conquered Satan and sealed our redemption over sin, death and the devil by raising His Son from the dead, promising newness of life to all who believe in the saving Name of Jesus.

Though defeated with his end certain, Satan is still on the prowl. The Great Deceiver from the Men's NetWork-spend some time getting to know him ... from the Bible's point of view.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Life, Love and God - a place for teen girls to find answers.

Meet Jessie Minassian

I recently was introduced to the resource page of Jessie Minassian. She has a great site and a passion to help young girls safely travel through the pitfalls that can easily swallow them up during their teen years. I will let Jessie speak for herself, lifeloveandgod.com
Welcome to Life, Love and God—a place for teen girls to find answers!
Hi, I’m Jessie! I’m an author, speaker and the resident “big sis” right here at LifeLoveandGod.com, a Q&A website for teen girls. I’m passionate about helping girls embrace the God who loves them, and to help them apply His truth to their everyday lives. If we’re going to be friends, I guess I should tell you a little about myself, huh? Fair enough. Here are some of the top questions girls have asked me, and a few just for fun!  lifeloveandgod.com - meet-jessie

What really caught my attention was Jessie's new book called, Backwards Beauty. It is designed to help girls see the inner beauty they have been given by God and not to be concerned about "beauty" that comes from society or peer pressure or media, glamour magazines and the like. Here is the promo for the book and a link to more resources, videos, and other helpful books by Jessie Minassian.

Have you ever wondered why you want to feel pretty? Or why it’s so easy to compare, put yourself down or freak out over a number on a scale? Get answers to these questions and more in a completely illogical way: by learning 10 steps to feel your worst. Join me on a journey of becoming the confident, fun-loving girl you’ve always wanted to be!   lifeloveandgod.com/backwards-beauty

From a man's perspective there is nothing more attractive than a woman who lives for Jesus and has Jesus Christ living in her her heart. 
Blessings from DCO Peter

Friday, March 11, 2016

Discovering Your SHAPE for Ministry

Subtitle: Finding & Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for Life

For the past six weeks I have been leading a small group of people through a study developed by Erik Rees titled SHAPE. The basic principle of the study is that God has prepared us for ministry and uses our experiences as a part of that developmental process. 

  • The S stands for Spiritual gifts which we have been given or are given at various times in our lives to carry out the ministry to which we have been called.
  • The H stands for our heart or passion that moves us to action.
  • The A stands for the nature abilities we have been given that make us uniquely suited for specific ministry roles.
  • The P stands for our personality traits that help us ministry to others in specific ways.
  • The E stands for our life time experiences. Each experience prepares us for the next leg in the journey. The highlights and low points of our lives collectively are used to minister to others in specific and unique ways.
I remember reading the autobiography of Dr. Oswald Hoffman (former speaker on Lutheran Hour Ministry). He related that every step in his career of ministry prepared him for the next step or another ministry experience later in life. This study builds on a similar principle. God gives us tools to work with and then sharpens those tools through the experiences and interactions that we have with others. Each of us has a unique design and purpose in life but these are not static but dynamic. As we work with the gifts God has given to us He blesses us with more gifts and opportunities to serve others in His name.

Do you need to get in S.H.A.P.E.? Let Saddleback's Erik Reeshelp you discover your unique Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities,Personality, and Experiences! A companion follow-up to The Purpose-Driven Life, this empowering guide will show youhow to unlock your potential, find your spiritual goal, and explore God's plan for your life. Christianbook.com/finding-fulfilling-your-unique-purpose-life/erik-rees

Our class is coming to an end but the relationships and ministries are just starting to take root and grow. I recommend this resource for your use and pray that it is as much a blessing to you as it has been for us.

DCO Peter

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Staying Connected to God's Word

My Favorite Choice for Daily Devotions

I have used several daily devotionals throughout my lifetime and in my ministry. Some are good, some are better, and some are my favorites. These are ones that speak to my heart, my struggles, my passions, and above all draw me into the Word of God. Often times it is easy for the devotion to take the place of reading God's Word, but the best devotions are written in such a way that I am compelled to go back to the Scriptural text and re-read it again with a new insight into the circumstances or emotional perspective of the author.

A few years ago I came across a series of devotions written by Charles R. Swindoll. (He is the pastor with the daily radio program called Insight for Living.) This particular series was based on a series of books that were compiled into a devotional collection called "Great Days with the Great Lives" (2005). At the time I was working in a challenging position and needed to see, hear, and read about God's provision for those whom He had called into His ministry service. This book became my best friend. I would read and re-read the devotions and then read and re-read the adjoining text for the day. God used this book to speak to me and to draw me into a deeper understanding of His Word. The book lived up to its sub-title. It gave me "daily insight" into the way God worked to carry out His mission in the lives of those whom He had called and it also gave me a sense of peace that God would work through me to fulfill the mission to which I had been called.

Great Days with the Great Lives is a collection of biographies taken from the Great Lives from God's Word series. Each day provides a Scripture reference and devotional thought based on the experience of some of the greatest heroes of the Bible. These are men and women whose authentic walk with God will teach us, encourage us, and warn us.

I found a link to purchase the book on google books although it may also be available in other stores and locations and in ebook formats. (Chuck Swindoll has written several books and devotionals but I personally believe this is his best.) If you are interested you can google (chuck swindoll books) and find links to many other resources that will enrich your walk of faith through his ministry of Insight for Living.

I pray that you find these resources encouraging and that they will draw you into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.  DCO Peter

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

God's Word of Encouragement

My favorite pocket resource!

Several years ago I was introduced to God's Word to the Nations, www.godsword.org . The resources that this group produces are designed to be used to share Jesus with people in simple, easy to read, and relative formats that connect with people where they are at today. 
My personal favorite is God's Word of Encouragement. This 32 page booklet addresses issues that most people have had to deal with at some point in their life.

  • Anxious or Impatient
  • Discouraged
  • Lonely
  • Sick or Suffering
  • Facing Difficult Times
  • Afraid of Death
  • Tempted
  • Fearful
  • Prayers for Everyday and Special Needs
The booklet also addresses God's Love & Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Salvation, Real Peace, Real Hope, and Real Joy. The booklets are very inexpensive and are easy to carry in your pocket to be shared with others in their moment of need.

Go here to check out the site. They have Bibles, tracts, other booklets, media, and much more to help you share your faith with your friends. www.godsword.org 

DCO Peter