Nicaragua Family Rhythm Conference Highlights

12 11 2014

My wife, Daphne, and I recently travelled to Nicaragua to train family ministry leaders. We were privileged to be invited as part of a pastoral training team working with Threefold Ministries. We taught two family ministry conferences while the remainder of the team organized details and collaboratively led the ministry couples conferences.

One conference group holding Jim Jackson’s Disciplina Que Conecta (Discipline that Connects) handbook.

One conference group holding Jim Jackson’s Disciplina Que Conecta (Discipline that Connects) handbook.

The people attending the conference were extremely receptive, teachable and enjoyable to be around. The fact that we were training ministry leaders is especially important as many of them will in turn train their churches. One participant, in his appreciation, shared a verse from Deuteronomy 1:11, where Moses expressed a desire that God’s family would multiply. Indeed, may the discipleship of children in families multiply in Canada, Nicaragua and all over the world.

We thank you for your prayers that helped us present this material cross culturally, share transformative experiences and equip ministry leaders with tools for family discipleship.

Photo booth!

Photo booth!

God provided us with Irvin and Davinia, a fantastic translation team. They were not there to simply parrot our words, but communicate our heart while working diligently to ensure understanding for the participants as well as our understanding of participant contributions.

Another prayer request answered in different ways, was that there would be personal blessing and true transformation. They were eager to learn, willing to apply lessons immediately and demonstrated true understanding and changed hearts. Parents learned new training approaches for child connection, discipline and development. Children’s ministry leaders learned unique ideas for teaching the Gospel. Our goofy photo booth helped participants laugh. Our team games energized and inspired them to unite as families. Our group work focused their attention to take ownership of their own family discipleship plan.

Team games! Engaging experiences and memorable moments.

Team games! Engaging experiences and memorable moments.

Alicia and Manuel are starting a church plant. Pray for ministry leaders like them who are seeking to be a blessing to hurting families.

Alicia and Manuel are starting a church plant. Pray for ministry leaders like them who are seeking to be a blessing to hurting families.

Daph and I were particularly touched with the outpouring of responses to one exercise where we asked participants to create something from two bandaids illustrating how God loves to fix what’s broken, mend what’s torn and restore what’s worn out. They shared their stories of family pain while also holding on to their hope in Christ.

May the Gospel multiply throughout the world as families embody Christ’s grace and truth. Thank you for your support!

The conferences team. From left: Steve, Daphne, Helen, Wayne, Janice, Bruce, Doug, Detra.

The conferences team. From left: Steve, Daphne, Helen, Wayne, Janice, Bruce, Doug, Detra.


What’s REALLY Behind Kids’ Misbehavior? – Connected Families

10 01 2013


What’s REALLY Behind Kids’ Misbehavior? – Connected Families.

Worth a read! Sometimes as parents, we feel satisfied to just deal with the situation and move on. Raising a child is about much more than dealing with inconveniences, it’s about training a child in wisdom!

The Power of Persistent Parenting

29 11 2012

A big difference between effective and ineffective parenting lies in the word ‘persistence.’ 

My three children were playing with cards contentedly at the dinner table when out of nowhere my oldest starts crying. Now sometimes, when she cries, I dismiss it as an episode of ‘crying wolf.’ This situation was a bit different. Perhaps she could have cried less and maybe she exaggerated a bit, but the tears were genuine. I quickly found out that my two year old full out punched her older sister in the nose. Now she’s a little tike so a full punch for her isn’t too bad.

[Feel free to debate my chosen approach, but remember the main goal here is persistence.]

My littlest cutie, Selah

Sometimes I don’t want to deal with one more fight at home, but then there are times when I remember why an engaged parent is so critical to raising children. When one of my children does something wrong I have them make a statement of what they did wrong and have them ask forgiveness. Now at two years old this needs to be very simplified. So with her I required her to say, “I will not hit.” (In retrospect, this may have been too many words as she’s not quite putting full sentences together quite yet.) However, she refused to say anything and I could see in her little heart a stubbornness that refused to feel remorse. So when my children aren’t being cooperative they go to sit on the stairs to have a little break until they’re ready.

Here is where persistence comes in. She knew she had to go to the stairs, but wouldn’t let me take her. She trotted over there by herself and plopped herself down. After a few seconds she came back and I asked her if she was ready to say, “I will not hit.” She was not so I sent her back to her spot. She willingly trotted back and then a little later came back, but she again was not ready to make her statement. Cute right? However, this happened at least five times, but I’m thinking about eight times. This gets a little frustrating and the temptation is to just give up and move on. Giving up would have significant consequences down the road. Each time you make an expectation of your child, then fail to follow through, it becomes far more difficult in the future. So persist! Persist until the job is done, an expression of remorse is made and relationships are restored.

I did (thankfully!) persist. And it did pay off. She eventually said, “Not hit.” Then our next step is asking forgiveness. For my littlest, this will take some more time to develop, so for now, saying, “Sorry,” and giving a hug is sufficient for me.

So why persist? Because if I didn’t I would have missed out on seeing my children be restored in their relationship, my littlest would have learned that it’s ok to hit and both my girls would have sustained a small little scar in their lifetime relationship. And most, importantly, I would have missed a moment in time to teach my children that when relationships are broken, they can be restored. Doing this leaves a little hint in our home that, apart from Jesus, relationships could never be fully healed.

Persistence leads little ones to Jesus!

Babies help unlock the origins of morality – CBS News

19 11 2012

Babies help unlock the origins of morality – CBS News.

Do babies have an innate sense of right and wrong, justice and desire for punishment, bias towards others who are like them and against those who are not like them, greed for personal gain at the expense of others?

Evolutionary thinking and theological preferences aside, this little video is fascinating. It shows that while these pieces of morality seem to be there from early on, the familial and cultural influences can ultimately shape how those values are embraced or reinforced.

6 ways to get kids to do housework

24 09 2012

6 ways to get kids to do housework – Kidspot Australia.

Thinking with my wife about our kids and chores led me to this link. Make responsibility fun as well as required.


A Comprehensive Plan for Mentoring Families

7 06 2012

I’m attaching here a project I worked on for my seminary class: Ministering to Families. It is essentially a walk through of a system for mentoring families that promotes relational restoration. The principles are based on the story of the Gospel as the best plan not only for a restored relationship with God, but also restored relationships with each other. It is inspired by my previous post entitled: The Life Rhythm You MUST Groove To.

Click here for the pdf: Gospel Saturated Families Project

Three Factors that Shape A Child’s Life

3 02 2012

Wikipedia Image

How a child develops is a complex wonder. There are so many variables like family history, environment, peers, location and more that play a special role in the formation of a child. Here are three factors you can zone in on and leverage as you train up children to be fantastic citizens and faithful followers of Jesus.

Motor Development
I was intrigued recently with the motor development section of Laura Berk’s book entitled, Development Across the Lifespan, as I am running a games event at my church over March break. It’s been a memorable event that uses a lot of gross-motor skills along with some fine-motor. A few quotes caught my attention:

“[Games with rules]…contribute greatly to emotional and social development.” (296)
“[Child invented games]…permit children to try out different styles of cooperating, competing, winning and losing with little personal risk.” (296)
“…these experiences help children construct more mature concepts of fairness and justice.” (296)

There seems to be a bit of a debate over competition and cooperation in games. I’ve particularly noticed two different approaches from the camps of Group Publishing (Thom and Joani Schultz) and Roger Fields (of Kidz Blitz). On one side, there seem to be the people that avoid competition saying it can hurt self-esteem or cause hurt feelings or create the undesirable feel of winners and losers. On the other side, I find people who would say competition is helpful for building up confidence and that positive attitudes and character development can be learned whether a winner or a loser. I would tend to lean towards a good mix of both. I think a child should not be crushed emotionally because they lost a game, but also that they ought to be taught how to handle difficulties with a right attitude. I also find the connection to justice very intriguing as it seems the evangelical world is talking a lot about social justice these days. I’m feeling some teaching points coming on for the games event! And not only that, but giving kids opportunities to use their bodies promotes healthy living.

Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: