Family Devotion: How Loud Is Your Life?

Loud

If you ever met Andrew, you would never have guessed how loud he could be.  I met him the year I taught a 5th grade boys’ Sunday School class. In case you don’t know any 5th grade boys, let me assure you, they have no problem being loud.  It turned out, though, by the end of the year, Andrew was the loudest one of all.

But like I said, you would have never guessed it by meeting him.  Andrew wasn’t shy, but he was definitely soft-spoken, polite and never acted up in class.  One day, at the end of the school year, however, his mom took me aside and told me just how loud Andrew could be.  

She told me how his teacher asked him to stay after class one day because she wanted to talk to him.  If you’ve ever had a teacher want to talk to you after class, you know that rarely goes well, but Andrew’s case was an exception.

The teacher said, “I’ve been watching you all year, and you are different than every boy in this class.  When the other boys make fun of someone, you stand up for them. When others complain about homework, you don’t join in.  When I ask for someone to help, you’re the first person to volunteer. You’re kind and loving to everyone in class. I just have to know, why are you so different?”

Andrew shared with teacher that he loved Jesus and just tried to be like him and treat people the way Jesus would.  His teacher wasn’t friends with Jesus, but she asked Andrew where he went to church and said she’d like to visit sometime.  

That was twenty years ago.  I don’t know whatever happened to that teacher or to Andrew, but I bet he kept on being loud.   See, Andrew knew how to be loud even when he was being quiet. His life and actions told people about Jesus without even saying a word.  

The Bible talks a lot about living like Andrew.  Jesus’ friend Peter once wrote, “People who do not believe are living all around you. They might say that you are doing wrong. So live good lives. Then they will see the good things you do, and they will give glory to God on the day when Christ comes again” (1 Peter 2:12 ICB).

In a world full of selfishness, a person who lives a quiet life serving Jesus and others can really stand out from the crowd.  Think about your own life. If you had a been a 5th grader in Andrew’s class, what would his teacher have said about you?  What would your life tell her about God?   

This week, think about how you can be loud with your life without even saying a word.  Then, if you do get a chance to tell someone about the hope you have in Jesus, your life will prove that your words are true.

 

For more family devotions sent straight to your inbox, sign up here.

A Sneak Peek at God’s Big Adventure 2

In God’s Big Adventure Volume 1, we dove into the big story of the Bible, a story about a King who’s on a mission to save the world. This King wants to be our Dad in Heaven, and He invites us to join the adventure too!  God’s Big Adventure Volume 1 told the story of creation through the birth of Moses.

But, of course, the story doesn’t end there!

Today, my publisher gave me my first sneak peek at the next installment in the God’s Big Adventure series, which picks up where the first book left off.

God’s Big Adventure Volume 2 goes from desert to desert.  The book begins with Moses encountering God in the desert with the burning bush and ends with Jesus facing off in the desert against the temptations of the enemy.

In Volume 2 we see how God rescued his people from slavery, gave them a land of their own and eventually came to earth in a manger in Bethlehem.  Along the way we’ll meet characters like Moses, David, Daniel & Esther, Mary and Jesus Himself.

The release date is still to be announced, but you can be the first to find out the details by signing up for the God’s Big Adventure mailing list here.

In the mean time check out these fun sneak peeks from God’s Big Adventure Volume 2!

godsbigadventure2burningbush

godsbigadventure2plaguesgodsbigadventure2manna

 

 

Guarding Our Kids’ Hearts

enemiesIt’s amazing the lengths we will go to protect our kids.  We strap them into car seats to protect their bodies, give them bike helmets to protect their heads and slather them up with sunscreen to protect their skin.  We shop for organic food and check ingredient lists. We tell them to look both ways before they cross the street, don’t run with scissors and never ever take candy from strangers.

All good things.

The Bible, however, says that when it comes to protection, our number one concern should be our hearts.  Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (NIV).  Above all else.   

Why above all else?  Because the heart is the wellspring of our lives.  Everything flows out of that.  As the New Living Translation put it, “it determines the course of your life.”  If we want our kids to have lives that honor God and bring them joy, we need to teach them to pay attention to what’s going on inside.

Of course this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t protect our kids physically, but it does remind us that we should be teaching them to guarding their hearts with at least as much effort as we teach them to wear a helmet or buckle up.

In his book called Enemies of the Heart, Andy Stanley says, “One of the best ways to train our children to guard their hearts is by asking questions.”

According to Stanley our questions not only show our kids that the condition of their heart matters, but it shows them how to examine their own hearts to see if there are issues they need to deal with.

In the book Andy talks about a bedtime routine he established with his kids and some of the questions he used with them to begin training them to think about matters of the heart.  Here are some of the questions he lists:

  • “Is everything okay in your heart?”
  • “Are you mad at anybody?”
  • “Did anybody hurt your feelings today?”
  • “Did anybody break a promise to you today?”
  • “Is there anything you need to tell me?”
  • “Are you worried about anything?”

You can imagine how over time, asking questions like these would spark conversations that can help us get our kids thinking about the condition of their hearts and the work God wants to do there to center their lives on Him.

So give them a shot.  Try one of Andy’s questions or some of your own at bedtime tonight and see where it leads.