Christmas IQ quiz

December 24, 2018 by  
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How well do you know the Christmas story?

Most of us know the general outline because we’ve heard or sung it or watched it being enacted in the Christmas programs that most churches offer during December. We know about the shepherds, the angels, the “Wise Men,” the star, the innkeeper, the long journey of Mary and Joseph, the baby in the manger, and we know about the gold, frankincense and myrrh. But how much of what we know is tradition and how much comes from the Bible?

For the last several years David Langerfeld, associate pastor of Harrisburg Baptist Church in Tupelo, has given a Christmas IQ test to his Sunday School class. I should warn you that this is a tough quiz. When I took it, I missed several questions. Try taking it first without checking the Bible to see how well you know the real Christmas story.

Scroll to the end to read the answers (along with a few additional comments from me).

1. Joseph was originally from… (Luke 2:3)
A. Bethlehem
B. Nazareth
C. Hebron
D. Jerusalem
E. None of the above

2. What does the Bible say that the innkeeper said to Mary and Joseph? (Luke 2:7)
A. “There is no room in the inn.”
B. “I have a stable you can use.”
C. “Come back later and I should have some vacancies.”
D. Both A and B
E. None of the above

3. A manger is a…
A. Stable for domestic animals
B. Wooden hay storage bin
C. Feeding trough
D. Barn

4. Which animals does the Bible say were present at Jesus’ birth?
A. Cows, sheep, goats
B. Cows, donkeys, goats
C. Sheep and goats only
D. Miscellaneous barnyard animals
E. None of the above

5. Who saw the star in the east?
A. Shepherds
B. Mary and Joseph
C. Three kings
D. Both A and C
E. None of the above

6. According to the Bible, how did Mary and Joseph get to Bethlehem?
A. Camel
B. Donkey
C. Walked
D. Joseph walked, Mary rode a donkey
E. Horse-drawn chariot
F. Who knows?

7. How many angels spoke to the shepherds? (Luke 2:10)
A. One
B. Three
C. Multitude
D. None of the above

8. What did the angels say/sing? (Luke 2:14)
A. “Glory to God in the highest, etc.”
B. “Alleluia”
C. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given”
D. “Joy the world, the Lord is come”
E. “Glory to the newborn King”

9. What is a heavenly host?
A. The angel at the gate of heaven
B. The angel who serves refreshments in heaven
C. An angel choir
D. An angel army
E. None of the above

10. There was snow that first Christmas…
A. Only in Bethlehem
B. All over Israel
C. Nowhere in Israel
D. Somewhere in Israel

11. What is frankincense?
A. A precious metal
B. A precious fabric
C. A precious perfume
D. None of the above

12. In Matthew, what does “wise men” or “Magi” refer to?
A. Men of the educated class
B. Eastern kings
C. Men who studied the stars
D. Sages

13. What is myrrh?
A. Middle Eastern money
B. A drink
C. An easily shaped metal
D. A spice used for burying people
E. None of the above

14. How many wise men came to see Jesus?
A. 3
B. 6
C. 9
D. 12
E. We don’t know.

15. Where did the wise men find Jesus? (Matthew 2:11)
A. In a manger
B. In a stable
C. In Nazareth
D. In Saudi Arabia
E. In a house
F. None of the above

16. When the wise men found Jesus he was… (Matthew 2:11)
A. A babe wrapped in swaddling clothes
B. A young child
C. A boy in the temple
D. A grown man

17. The “star in the east” that the wise men followed… (Matthew 2:9)
A. Stayed in the same place their entire journey
B. Disappeared and reappeared
C. Moved ahead of them and stopped over the place where Jesus was
D. Was just a mirage
E. None of the above

18. The wise men stopped in Jerusalem… (Matthew 2:2)
A. To inform Herod about Jesus
B. To find out where Jesus was
C. To ask about the star
D. To buy presents
E. None of the above

19. Where do we find the Christmas story?
A. Matthew
B. Mark
C. Luke
D. John
E. All of the above
F. Only A and B
G. Only A and C
H. Only A, B and C

20. When Joseph found Mary was pregnant, what happened?
A. They got married
B. Joseph wanted to break the engagement
C. Mary left town for three months
D. A and B
E. B and C

21. Who told (made) Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem? (Luke 2:1-5)
A. The angel chorus
B. Mary’s mother
C. Herod
D. The shepherds
E. Caesar Augustus

Answers are below. Your comments are always welcome.

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.

***ANSWERS***

Here are the answers to David Langerfeld’s Christmas IQ Quiz. I have added my comments to a few answers.

1. A. He worked and lived in Nazareth, but he was returning to Bethlehem – “his own city” (See Luke 2:3).

2. E. The innkeeper didn’t “say” anything (See Luke 2:7). The Bible doesn’t even mention an “innkeeper” because the “inn” was probably more like a guest room in a house.

3. C. Feeding trough – Interestingly enough, most mangers in New Testament times were made of stone. If you visit Israel today, you can see stone mangers used by Solomon to feed his horses at Megiddo.

4. E. The Bible doesn’t say, we just assume that since Jesus was born in a stable that there were various barnyard animals present. This is really a double assumption because the Bible doesn’t mention a barn or a stable. However, the feeding trough was used by animals so a stable or barn adjoining a home would be a reasonable inference.

5. E. This is a “trick” question. The “magi” saw the star. However, the Bible doesn’t say how many there were and they were not kings, but astronomers (see answer 14).

6. F. Although the modern “pictures” in my Children’s Bible show Mary on a donkey with Joseph beside her, the Bible doesn’t say!

7. A. Luke 2:10. A semi-trick question because verses 13-14 record what the angel company said as they praised God together. However, only one angel spoke directly to the shepherds.

8. A. Luke 2:14.

9. D. The word means “army” – literally thousands. Now, since there was a “multitude” of the heavenly army” (hosts), there could easily have been from 10,000 – 100,000 angels there that night! No wonder the shepherds were “sore afraid”! I missed this one when I took the quiz because I thought the word “host” referred only to a large multitude, but D is correct. It refers to a heavenly army of angels.

10. D. Another trick question. There is always snow on Mt. Hermon. I thought this was a very good question that I missed when I took the quiz.

11. C. Frankincense was used in the temple worship of the Lord. It represents his deity because he is truly God born in human flesh.

12. C. The word “Magi” literally means “star-gazers”. Although there is no Biblical record of exactly who they were or their point of origin, I personally believe that they were descendants of the “wise men” of Babylon. I believe that God, in His great providence, used Daniel (while he was in captivity in Babylon), to teach these men about future events – including the birth of the Savior of the world. Read Daniel 5:11 – Daniel was put in charge of these men! David chose “C. Men who studied the stars” so that’s the answer we’re going with. But A or D would work also. Who were the magi? They were the professors and philosophers of their day. They were trained in history, religion, prophecy and astronomy. They were also trained in what we would call astrology.

13. D. Herod was buried with over 150 lbs. of Myrrh wrapped in his burial clothes. Myrrh was used in embalming in those days. John 19:39 tells us that Jesus’ body was bound in linen wrappings along with 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes. The gift of myrrh pictures his suffering and death.

14. E. We don’t know. They were magi, not wise men – but the Bible doesn’t give the number. Many people assume that there were three because of the three gifts. However, in ancient times these men usually traveled in caravans of ten to twelve, along with a full entourage for protection.

15. E. Read Matthew 2:11 (see next answer)

16. B. Read Matthew 2:11 When the Shepherds found Jesus (Luke 2), he was a “babe” in a manger. The Greek word used in Luke 2 is for a “newborn baby”. However, by the time the Magi appeared, Jesus had been moved from the manger to a house (verse 11) and the Greek word used in Matthew is for “toddler or young child”. He was probably somewhere between 12-24 months old. David is totally correct on this point. In many of our Christmas programs, we bring the magi and the shepherds to worship Jesus together at the manger. Nice thought and it makes for a beautiful scene, but it didn’t happen that way. The shepherds were there the night Jesus was born. The magi came months later.

17. C. Read Matthew 2:9 Most people miss this question. The star did not stay stationary over the manger or the house. This verse makes it clear that the star moved “in front” of the magi and guided them till it “stood over where the young child was.” I missed this one because I chose “B. The star disappeared and reappeared.” I think you can infer that from Matthew 2:9, which can be read to say that they saw the star in the east, knew from prior study that the baby was to be born in Bethlehem, and made the journey across the desert. And then the star reappeared when they journeyed to Bethlehem. That’s a possible reading of the text. But “A. Stayed in the same place” is clearly wrong. So here’s the deal. We’re going with C. because that’s what the quiz says. B. is possible but you get no credit, only my sympathy for missing it with me.

18. B. Read Matthew 2:2. They assumed Herod would know. I find it fascinating that although the scribes knew exactly where the Messiah was to be born (according to Micah 5:2), they were not interested enough to travel the four or five miles to Bethlehem to see for themselves. (Several commenters note that the Magi wouldn’t have known Jesus’ name. Very true, which is part of what makes this quiz tricky–and so much fun. They were looking for the one born “King of the Jews.” They would have found out later that his name was Jesus. But that aside, B is still the only possible answer.)

19. G. Isn’t it amazing how God divinely inspired these two gospel writers to write His exact words, but he used their interests and professions to recall different aspects of Jesus’ birth. Matthew, a tax collector, records the genealogy of Jesus (used for taxation) and the “magi” – men of means from a foreign country. Luke, a physician, records the pregnancy and birth.

20. E. Joseph wants to “put her away” secretly and Mary left town to see her cousin. Matthew 1:19 and Luke 1:39, 56 The phrasing here is ambiguous. This question is really asking what happened first because A, B and C all happened eventually. D would be correct if you reversed the order. The correct order is probably C, B, A. David’s answer is E so that’s what I’m going with, but if you prefer C, that works too.

21. E. “There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus… everyone into his own city… “ (Luke 2:1-5). This is a tricky question because Caesar Augustus never met Mary and Joseph and almost certainly never even heard of them. He “made” them return to Bethlehem only in the sense that he gave the order for the census, forcing Joseph and Mary to make the difficult journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in the latter stages of Mary’s pregnancy.

– cross walk

18 affordable ways families can celebrate Christmas

December 18, 2018 by  
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Need a little Christmas spirit that doesn’t break the bank? Check out these low-cost and free ways to commemorate the reason for the season.

In these times of economic uncertainty, many of us yearn for a simpler, less stressful holiday season. “There is a universal wish to end the year with a festival of renewal that rekindles our faith, brings us closer to the people we care to ward off the commercial excesses of the season and create an authentic, joyful celebration in tune with our unique needs and desires,” write authors Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli in Unplug the Christmas Machine.

How can you accomplish this? First, think about what children really want for Christmas, such as time with family, an unhurried holiday and family and cultural traditions. Then keep your focus on the real meaning of Christmas.

Pick a few of the following low-cost and free ways to celebrate the season with our families and friends, or use the ideas as a starting place to create your own unique holiday traditions.

Christmas is More Than One Day

Want to enjoy Christmas all month long? Then check out these ideas for celebrating Dec. 1 through 25 and beyond.

Marking time. Advent calendars are a great way to help children count down to Christmas Day and to interject the true meaning of Christmas in the process. Have your children count off numbers and then rotate those numbers to avoid squabbles over whose turn is it to place the star of Bethlehem in the heavens. Cost: Low-cost or free.

Reading Christmas. Each Dec. 1, we get out our Christmas books and holiday movies. Each day during December, one child picks a book or movie for the entire family to watch or read together. Variations of this include wrapping the books and movies separate and having the kids pick something sight unseen. Rebekah Hammer of Tijunga, Calif., does this with her family. “Books can be gotten free or cheap on eBay, Paperbackswap or used book stores,” she says. Also consider a holiday-themed book swap with friends to get an influx of new material or visit your library to snag some books to read. Cost: Low-cost to free.

Deck the Halls

Decorations can bring cheer to any occasion and Christmas is no exception. Check out these fun ideas that revolve around decorating your home.

Decorating party. Get the whole family involved in putting up the tree and other Christmas decorations by planning a specific time. Serve hot chocolate, play Christmas music and turn lose your decorating muse. Cost: Free.

Remembering our animal friends. Pop plain popcorn and string the popped kernels with fresh cranberries. Place the ropes on an outside tree or bush near a window and watch the birds enjoy their Christmas treat. “Paint” pinecones with peanut or other nut butters, attach a string and hang up in a tree for the squirrels to enjoy. Cost: Low-cost.

A Musical Season

Music has a way of lifting hearts and getting everyone into the Christmas spirit. Here are some musical ways to enjoy your holiday season.

Caroling, caroling through the neighborhood. Gather together a group of songbirds from your family and friends for an afternoon or evening spent serenading neighbors. Practice four or five Christmas hymns and end the concert with “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Consider visiting area nursing or retirement communities, hospitals or hospices and even your local mall (with permission!) to spread some holiday cheer. Cost: Free.

A musical Christmas evening. Sit by the tree and sing Christmas carols, have children or adults play Christmas favorites on instruments and read “The Night Before Christmas” or other holiday poems or short books aloud. Serve holiday cookies and wassail to get into the spirit of the evening. Cost: Free.

Attend a Christmas concert or play. Many churches put on free, beautiful productions of the Christmas story in songs and plays. Call area houses of worship, check local newspaper listings, and ask family and friends for recommendations of performances. Cost: Free.

Bright Lights

Christmas also can cheer up our lives with the many light displays that range from the simple to the eye-popping. Here are some suggestions for enjoying the brightness of the season.

Neighborhood lights. One evening, have everyone get into their pajamas and pile into the family car for a drive around the neighborhood to ogle the handiwork of your neighbors. Wrap up a plate of holiday baked goods to give to the owners of the house voted by your family as the most Christmasy. Cost: Free.

Light shows. Most localities have a light show within easy driving distance. These shows are generally in a park and feature large and innovative light displays. Weekends are peak visiting time, so if you don’t like crowds, pick a weekday evening. Our family has a tradition of going to see the local light show after Christmas to avoid the crush. Most venues charge by the car-load. Cost: Low-cost.

Handmade from the Heart

Here are some ideas for spreading Christmas cheer you can make yourself.

Ornaments. Tree ornaments can be made from almost anything, including things you have around the house. Most of the raw materials are inexpensive to purchase and instructions for a variety of homemade ornaments abound on the Internet. (Here’s a craft site with dozens of ideas.) Some ideas of things that can become tree decorations include clothespins, Mason jar lids, pine cones, lightweight photo frames, buttons, fabric scraps, etc. Cost: Low-cost.

Holiday cards. Have your little ones get creative and draw festive scenes, scan and print on card stock for handmade Christmas greetings. Using holiday stamps on card stock will work, too. Cost: Low-cost.

Homemade wrapping paper. Turn your kids loose with stamps, glitter, markers and their imagination on a roll of butcher paper and use it for wrapping presents. Cost: Low-cost.

Video cheer. Record an original family Christmas presentation with skits and songs. Make DVD copies and sent to far-off relatives and friends. “We live quite a distance form family,” says Deborah Tate of Lake Worth, Fla. “So to compensate, when our children were young, we always starred in our own homemade, family Christmas video production. The grandparents and everyone else always enjoyed seeing our family Christmas show.”

Christmas is Giving

At this time of year, it’s also important to focus on those who are struggling. Helping others can boost our own holiday spirits.

Adopt a family. If you’re able, consider sponsoring a family in need this holiday. Area nonprofit groups like food banks often have programs that link a needy family with a sponsor. Our family does this each year and our children love to go shopping for that family’s children. Cost: Low-cost.

Volunteer. Soup kitchens, food banks, and other nonprofit groups have need of extra hands during the holiday season, so consider signing up as a family to help out. Cost: free.

Smile. Just having a cheerful countenance can make someone’s day. Try to smile as you go about your errands. Treat each sales clerk and cashier with kindness. Don’t be a Scrooge with your face—smile. Cost: free.

Christmas Day

When December 25 finally arrives, here are some ways to keep the true meaning of Christmas front and center.

Read the Christmas story. No matter which Gospel you pick, reading the Christmas story with your family around the tree can be a special time. Hearing the story of God incarnate becoming man sounds as fresh today as when it was new more than two centuries ago.

Birthday of Jesus. Singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus or baking Jesus a birthday cake can help everyone remember Dec. 25 is celebrated as his birth date. Nancy Swarthout of Kasson, Minn., bakes a cake for Jesus at Christmas. “It reminds my family that Jesus is the reason for Christmas and it is not about Santa. We also say a special prayer before we have the cake thanking God for sending us his son,” she says.

No matter how you celebrate Christmas, keep in mind that your family is not like anyone else’s—and your holiday traditions don’t have to be, either. Use these ideas to develop your own Christmas traditions and cherished holiday memories.

– cross walk

3 ways to take criticism with grace

December 9, 2018 by  
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Heat filled my cheeks as she spoke. Her words pressed harder and harder until my heart felt trapped beneath them. What had I done to deserve such criticism? I sat in silent astonishment without a clue how to respond. I just wanted the conversation to be over.

We have all experienced times when a friend, co-worker, or relative offered harsh judgments. But there are also times when the words spoken, though hurtful at first, are exactly what we need to hear. So how do you discern between the two? How do you know if this person is giving constructive feedback or condemning your actions?

“When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group” (Galatians 2:11-12 NIV).
In Paul’s instruction to the Galatian church, he tells about a time he corrected Cephas (also known as Peter.)

Paul noticed Peter acting one way around Jews and another way when he was only with the Gentiles. I can imagine how difficult it was for Paul to address this matter with Peter. After all, Peter was one of the twelve disciples. He was a bold proclaimer of the gospel before Paul became a believer. Yet Paul followed God’s instruction and tackled this difficult topic with Peter.

So how do we handle these situations when they come up? Paul’s story gives us valuable insight into these often uncomfortable moments. The following three tips will help us determine a course of action when someone we know offers opinions we don’t want to hear.

1. Listen up, and listen well.

I was stunned that day by the unexpected turn in the conversation with my friend. For that reason, I missed part of what was said. Certain phrases stood out louder than the rest. You hold on to control… let other people help… more communication. I focused on the negative and blocked out most everything else.

So often we miss the message in its entirety because we don’t hear everything. As the discussion begins, let’s determine to focus our attention. Ask questions. Create open dialogue and keep the exchange going. Above all, we must resist getting defensive. Like Peter, God uses people of like faith to teach us valuable lessons. But we could miss the opportunity if we don’t listen.

2. Consider the source.

After the exchange, let’s ask ourselves these questions. Is she coming to me with her concerns for the right reasons? Is she someone I trust to give wise counsel? If the answer to these two questions is yes, then we should allow our hearts to be open to her words.

Paul demonstrated his leadership ability and his devotion to God’s call on his life through years of commitment to ministry. No doubt he was someone Peter could trust. Peter knew Paul, and he knew the Holy Spirit guided Paul’s heart and actions. For this reason Peter could accept Paul’s concern with confidence.

3. Be receptive and appreciative.

As co-laborers for one cause, we must remain united with other believers. Whatever action steps you decide to take or not to take, reassure her. Renew your commitment to the common goal. Let her know you appreciate her. Gratitude eases tension and builds relationships.

The bold woman who challenged me to evaluate myself and seek God’s direction took a risk. She risked hurting my feelings to bring about change that would ultimately improve our relationship. She became a trusted voice and gentle admonisher. After taking the matter to God in prayer, I resolved to work toward bettering myself as a servant and a listener.

As women we are called to love. And let’s face it – confrontation creates discomfort! But we can find wisdom in Paul’s exchange with Peter today. Criticism can hurt if we allow ourselves to be offended, but we can grow in Christ by making the most of it. Paul and Peter worked through many obstacles in ministry, and we can too. Sometimes submitting to God’s plan means daring to listen.

– cross walk

7 questions that will make you ready for advent

December 4, 2018 by  
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As the autumn leaves dance and twirl, I’m reminded that it won’t be long before we celebrate the holidays. To avoid the last minute hustle it is good to think ahead.

Many shop early and get their Christmas cards ordered and signed. Others bake Christmas cookies for weeks to prepare for guests and gifts. Whatever we do to prepare for the holiday, when we are intentional it can reduce stress.

Preparing our heart and keeping our focus on Jesus takes planning too – otherwise the weeks fly by in a blur before we rein in what’s important. Using an advent devotional or activity is a wonderful way to engage the whole family with the central message of why Jesus came.

Having a plan for your family celebrations minimizes stress and helps you to focus on the things that are important to you. Begin by adding the events and traditions most important to you and your family.

Asking yourself these questions during this season of your life will help you to focus as you celebrate from the heart. Questions like:

1. What traditions do I value most during this time of year?

This may be a family party or a cookie swap at your church. You may enjoy the live nativity or reading Scripture on Christmas Eve. Be sure to put these on your calendar first to help when responding to other invitations and opportunities. One of our favorite activities revolves around the reminder of what Christmas is all about. So, we watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas on Christmas Eve as a family. Christmas Eve is really big in our home. We have special foods, play Christmas music, eat while we watch Christmas movies, and end with Charlie Brown before bedtime.

2. What other events will I include in my celebrations?

This includes church events, concerts, school programs, community events, parties and gift exchanges. Do you decorate the tree as a family? Plan a special Christmas breakfast? Visit shut-ins or go caroling? When we are purposeful in deciding on what is included on our calendar, we will have more insight into what we can and cannot do.

3. What things can I let go of because of busyness or a change in my life situation?

Maybe in the past you’ve spent days baking dozens of kinds of cookies for cookie trays but due to finances, change in family dynamics, a new living situation, or illness you can’t do this the same way. Every season of life is different and we need to give ourselves permission to adapt to the changes. Giving ourselves grace will help to overcome guilt and fear of disappointing others. Each new season brings new ways to celebrate. Instead of wrapping gifts, use gift bags or reusable shopping bags for each family.

4. How much decorating will I do this year?

When my children were all at home, they helped with the decorating. Since my husband and I have an empty nest, I have simplified. I love a wreath on the door and candles in the windows. I decorate my hearth and have a tabletop Christmas tree. Pine cones and glass Christmas balls in a bowl on the table is simply beautiful. I find it is easier to set up and quick to take down after the holiday. Simple can also be festive.

5. How much will I spend on gifts for each one on my gift list?

Being realistic about our resources alleviates stress. Planning ahead may give you time to save for gifts or decide that you may try giving more handmade items. Create your gift list early and jot down ideas for each person. Be intentional, shop early, and don’t overspend. Order online and have gifts shipped directly to family living out of state. This article on low cost gift giving may help.

6. Am I able to do all the cooking for dinner guests or do I need to ask others to contribute items to the feast?

Do you host Christmas dinner for family and friends? Ease the burden and create community by asking family dinner guests to bring an appetizer, vegetables, dinner rolls, beverages or a dessert to help with your dinner preparations. Simply provide time for everyone to pop their dish into the oven for warming. Most of the cooking can be done ahead of time, allowing you to spend Christmas morning enjoying your family time.

7. How will my family prepare for the Advent season?

The Advent Season reminds us of His Coming – both as the Messiah, born as a baby – and as the Coming King of Glory. We anticipate the second Coming of Jesus in the same way the Jewish people watched for their Messiah. This first and second Advent have something in common—they mean, Someone is Coming!

When my children were very young we had an Avon Advent calendar so our children could count the days to Christmas Eve. We also read the Christmas story together from a children’s Bible and other story books.

If you have children, Focus on the Family has a free Advent resource for you to use this Christmas. It is filled with downloadable activities and lots to learn about the meaning of Advent.

– cross walk

Are you looking for your identity in your wallet?

December 2, 2018 by  
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We’ve all heard the saying, “They are just trying to keep up with the Joneses.” Who the heck are the Joneses? And what do they have that’s so worth keeping up with? If you ask me, Mr. and Mrs. Jones are responsible for creating a culture of lust and desire drawn directly from the world’s concept of success.

The world says pursue wealth, then you will be happy; pursue youth and you will have many friends; move to a bigger house and drive a better car, and then you will have arrived. More, more, and more stuff is not going to satisfy an empty soul. You will just be an empty person with more stuff.

Working closely with successful families and individuals has allowed me to see, up close and personal, their habits and hearts. I have found for most, their success is normally driven by intentional focus and maximum passion in their area of specialty and giftedness. The level of success they achieve slowly brands “who they are” in their company, career, and community. What they have achieved, how much they have earned, and their self-identity become tangled together as they measure “who” they are by the world’s standards.

Jesus gave us an example of one such rich man. The man asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered, “One thing you lack. Go sell everything you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, and then come follow me.” At this, the man’s face fell. He went away sad because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:21-23 NIV).

Let’s look at the similarities of the rich man and today’s ‘Joneses’.

It starts with the heart:

When I think of Mr. Jones, I see a highly driven person placing value on the wrong things. The rich man determined his value was found in eternal life. We must set our hearts toward eternity while meeting our daily financial needs.

We all seek to be affirmed:

The Mr. Jones’s of today will continue to look to the world’s standards by purchasing and obtaining the “in things” in hopes of filling their need for affirmation. In contrast, the rich man, aware he needed to be fulfilled with something more, approached Jesus asking for eternal life. We must recognize, only Christ, NOT our finances will fill the need in our hearts to be affirmed.

Money becomes our Identity:

Mr. Jones status is determined by his mounds of cash and investments making wealth, in his eyes, the driver of his worldly influence. In the same way, the rich man went away sad because he determined his identity was also defined by wealth. In fact, scripture makes reference to him as a rich man, not a man from a certain city or region. Our identity must be secure in our personal relationship with Jesus, NOT in the world’s concept of success.

It is not wrong to be successful and wealthy. In fact, it is a wonderful blessing from God. The challenge becomes effectively managing the assets by utilizing them to glorify God rather than building an earthly kingdom.

The world’s standards tell us to respect and honor wealth above everything, including God. If managed poorly, money can become our God. When managed from a Godly perspective wealth becomes an opportunity to impact the world for God. True identity comes from God alone; money will never give eternal security or an authentic identity.

We must understand before one can properly value stuff, one must properly value self. Value comes by looking into God’s mirror to determine self-worth and self-value rather than looking into the world’s mirror.

– cross walk

4 signs you may be addicted to busyness

November 29, 2018 by  
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The year I lived just outside of Washington D.C. was one of the most stressful periods of my life. In large part it was due to the culture of the area—everyone was busy, all of the time. Seeing anyone outside of work required several weeks’ notice; no one had time for anything that wasn’t already on their calendar. I felt a lot of pressure to do as everyone else did and pack my week with activities. Doing so left little time for the relationships that mattered most to me—particularly my relationship with God.

Thankfully, I’ve since moved and settled into a slower pace of life. But the habit of busyness that I picked up still lingers, and every once and awhile I’m forced to do a reality check and ask—am I overcommitting again?

Brady Boyd, senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, wrote a fantastic piece called Signs You May be Addicted to Busyness, offering some great insights into what drives us to be busy. In it, he bravely shares the tipping point for his addiction to being busy—the afternoon his wife packed her bags, ready to leave him unless he changed. 24 hours later he had resigned from every role he held—a drastic step that helped him see just how deeply his addiction to busyness ran.

Since that day, Boyd has thought a lot about some of the warning signs of being too busy. Here are 4 red flags he found are often prevalent with those who lean toward being over-scheduled.

1. You feel like you’re in your glory when you’re busiest.

“I like how success feels,” Boyd writes. “I don’t want to unplug.” If you fear any whitespace on your calendar, your priorities may need refocused.

2. You’re more fascinated with gadgets than with God.

Ever leave your phone at home and feel like a part of your body has been disconnected? Or sit down to read your Bible and pray, but can’t seem to focus because your phone is dinging and your computer keeps alerting you to another email in your inbox? Huge red flag! Satan would love nothing more than for you to be so consumed with technology that you find time with God dull in comparison.

3. Your favorite compliment has become, “Wow, you’re so busy.”

Boyd writes, “I have a theory on this, which is that busyness is our means to impress. If I’m busy, then I’m important, and if I’m important, then you’ll be impressed. That’s the reason I spend so much time being busy: to impress you, so perhaps I’ll feel like I matter.” Everyone wants to be needed and feel useful, but when it becomes your identity, that’s a problem.

4. You don’t have time for the ones you love.

This may be the worst sign of all, Boyd writes. Don’t let it get to bags packed at the door—if you’re struggling with busyness, start taking steps to slow down and find rest today.

“God is not merely a peaceful person; God, in fact, is peace,” Boyd says. “When you and I sit in God’s presence, we’re sitting in the presence of peace. And when we sit there—actually stay there, quiet, still—we come away breathing differently.” If we’re to be more conformed to God’s image, that means desiring to live out the values and priorities that God embraces, including rest.

As Christians, our identity hinges not on what we do but on what Christ has done for us. Check your heart—are you finding your worth in a busy calendar and people depending on you? It may be time to reevaluate why you’re so busy. Ask God to help you move away from glorying in your busyness and instead toward glorying in His rest.

– cross walk

5 ways to free your whole family from the bondage of phone addiction

November 27, 2018 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

A masked 17-year-old in California was arrested after lurking outside several homes, intimidating the owners, and eventually breaking into a home, waking the residents and demanding something from them: their Wi-Fi password.

Yes, it’s a true story; I can’t possibly make this stuff up.

When this kid ran out of data, he put on a mask and began wandering from house to house in his neighborhood in Palo Alto trying to find a Wi-Fi signal. Most people today have become smart enough to add passwords to their Wi-Fi, so he didn’t have any luck, and after trying several houses, he eventually broke into a house and woke up the couple living there.

“Give me your Wi-Fi password!”

He was chased out and eventually arrested.

Perhaps smartphones are a little more addicting than we thought.

Addicted?

I probably don’t have to convince you that today’s young people like their screens. Some go through withdrawal symptoms when they’re without it. 56% of teens associate the absence of their cellphone with at least one of these three emotions: loneliness, being upset or feeling anxious.

Why is this? Maybe it’s because they don’t remember life without it.

Let’s review:

· 89% of 12-17-year-olds have a smartphone and they check their devices an average of 86 times per day.

· 97% are on social media. 45% say they are online almost constantly.

· Teens spend almost 9 hours a day on entertainment media, over 6 hours of that (6:40) is screen media (the rest is music, magazines, etc.)

But before we all start saying, “Kids these days…” consider this:

· Parents spend more than 9 hours a day (9:22) with screen media, the vast majority of that (7:43) with personal media .

So that means parents actually average more screen time than our kids. Consider what this looks like in your typical American home: Dad’s watching the big flatscreen, Mom is scrolling through Facebook, teen daughter is up in her bedroom checking her Insta-feed, brother is playing Fortnite…. and the Golden Retreiver is on the treadmill because no one will walk him!

So what can families do to prevent become screen-obsessed?

Don’t worry, you don’t need to all throw your phones away and move to Amish Pennsylvania (I’ve spoken there several times, and they’re actually experiencing the same struggles). But maybe we should learn a few ways to become a little smarter with our smartphones.

Here are five ways to free your family from becoming screen-obsessed:

1. Screens at Fourteen

The biggest question I’m asked from parents is, “What age should I get my kids a phone?” And my answer is always the same: high school.

I know, I know… but when your daughter was 11 she told you, “Mom, all my friends have phones!”

And most of them do. The average kid gets a smartphone at 10.3 years old. But that doesn’t make it the wisest choice. In fact, most experts agree that teens don’t need screens at thirteen. In fact Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Common Sense Media’s President Jim Steyer both waited until their own kids were 14 and in high school before they got their own phones. Dr. Jean Twenge, author of iGen recommends, “Put off giving your child a smartphone as long as you can.” Why? She will be quick to tell you, “It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.”

Tweens don’t need screens. They don’t need them in their bedrooms, they don’t need them in their pockets… and they certainly don’t need them for social media (more on that in a minute).

So don’t be afraid to say, “Sorry, not yet.”

You don’t have to say no… just not yet. Which is the same thing you can do with social media…

2. Delay social media

When your 12-year-old son asks to have Snapchat or Instagram because all his friends have those apps, just reply honestly, “Sorry, it’s against the law.”

It’s the truth. The FTC doesn’t even allow social media sites like Instagram, SnapChat or Twitter to collect data from anyone under 13 (it’s called COPPA, the child’s online privacy protection act); so kids who are under 13 literally have to lie about their age just to get those apps.

Don’t be in a hurry to inflict this kind of drama on young people’s lives.

In my recent research about bullying I discovered an overwhelming amount of cases of 11 and 12-year-olds who were being ruthlessly harassed on social media. Most of these tragic stories ended with these victims switching schools or even attempting suicide. The sad fact was, most of these parents knew their kids were being harassed on social media… even though they weren’t even old enough to be on social media.

Delay social media to at least 13. And once they’re on social media, it doesn’t have to be 24/7.

3. The docking station

For years the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Sleep Foundation and countless others have been recommending kids keep smartphones out of the bedroom at night, not only because it effects their sleep (which it does dramatically), but because many find it a distraction.

57% of young people admitted that using social media often distracts then when they should be doing homework. Others admit that mobile devices allow them to do things that their parents don’t necessarily know about. For example, 54% of teens admit if their parents knew what actually happens on social media, they’d be a lot more worried about it.

Smartphones have only extended the reach of entertainment media, social media and the Internet. Accessibility has increased and accountability has decreased. This is a lot of pressure to put on a teen or tween. I’ve worked with teenagers for 25 years and I’ve never seen the permeation of porn like I’ve seen in the last 6 years.

How much self-control would you have if you were sitting in your bedroom alone with a bowl full of candy right next to you?

Give your kids a needed break from their technology come bedtime. Buy a docking station and charge their devices in your bedroom. Tell your kids, “It’s a free service we provide. No fee whatsoever. We’ll have this charged and ready for you in the morning.”

4. Talk about the elephant in the room

Young people like their phones, but they are beginning to recognize many of the problems phones are creating.

A recent study of teenagers revealed that the majority of them actually felt worried about the time they interacted with their smartphones:

· 52% experience times where they are sitting with a bunch of their friends and no one is talking because they are all staring at their phones.

· 60% claimed their friends were addicted to their phones.

· 65% wished they were better able to limit the amount of time they spend on their phones.

· 69% would like to spend more time “socializing face to face” than online.

Let that sink in for a moment. Almost two-thirds of kids wished they were better able to limit their own screen time, and even more of them would like more “face time.”

Have you ever talked with your kids about this?

Ask them, “Have you ever wanted to talk with someone and you couldn’t because they were so busy staring at a screen? How did that make you feel? How can we prevent this from happening?”

If you read an article about this (like this one, or the countless studies I’ve cited in this article), try reading a paragraph at the dinner table and simply ask, “Is he right? Do you notice this among your friends? How can we make sure we avoid doing this to others?”

These conversations might be simpler when we practice…

5. No tech at the table

Make dinner sacred. No screens… even you, Dad. Work can wait 30 minutes.

In my research for my book, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, I asked hundreds of empty nester parents one question: If you could go back in time and change just one parenting practice, what would you do over?

The answers were eye opening. And the number one answer by far was, “I’d spend every possible moment with my kids.” The answer came in many forms, but most people mentioned that they’d turn screens off and spend more time in face-to-face conversation.

That sounds like a big ask, turning screens off for a given period.

Is it?

In 2018 a group embarked on a study of a group of 12-16-year-olds who went to camp for several weeks in an area without Wi-Fi or cell service. Researchers predicted that this Generation would go insane without their devices.

The results were the exact opposite.

In fact 92% of the teens and tweens experienced greater satisfaction or “gladness” being away from their devices while only 41% felt any kind of frustration at any time. This is just one of many studies of its kind.

Is there a chance that your kids might be craving real live face-time?

Which of these 5 practices can you implement this week?

– cross walk

How to stop watching… and start living your life

November 22, 2018 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Watching the Wind

“I’ll start Monday.”

“Once work slows down, I’ll have more time.”

“Too much going on with the holidays. I’ll start when they’re over and kids are back in school.”

Let’s face it, we are busy people. There are always things going on and there are no signs of life slowing down.

Kids. Work. Sports. Church. Spouse. Friends. School…

This ever-growing list is the perfect excuse for not taking action.

I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news first: there is no perfect time. Your calendar isn’t likely to suddenly unschedule itself, like the parting of the Red Sea.

Now for some good news: there is no perfect time.

Why is that good news? Because it frees you from searching for something that doesn’t exist. It removes the excuses you’ve been telling yourself to avoid taking action. It brings honesty front and center and forces you to deal with it.

And you know what else? It’s Biblical. Solomon talks about facing the uncertainties in life in Ecclesiastes.

“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.”
– Ecclesiastes 11:4 (NIV)

When you wait for everything to line up just so, you’ll be waiting forever. The Living Bible translation puts that same passage this way: “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”

As a personal trainer, I hear the time excuse maybe more than any other excuse. I get it. We all have a lot going on in life.

Yet just because I understand the excuse doesn’t mean I agree with it. I have a maxim that you may not want to hear: We do the things we most want to do.

If it’s important enough to you, you make time for it. That’s why I don’t ever say, “I don’t have time for _______.” Instead, I’ll say, “I won’t make time for ________.”

The time excuse certainly isn’t limited to fitness. Perhaps you’ve put off daily quiet times because you can’t create the ideal schedule for them. Maybe you’re not having regular date nights with your spouse because the calendar is packed with other stuff. Or maybe you’re not in church regularly because you’re too tired on the weekends from all your activities during the week.

Keep in mind, this is part of the enemy’s strategy, to keep us “busy,” too busy for things that matter most.

He’ll even deceive us into wearing our busyness as a badge of honor. It’s as if activities equals productivity and productivity equals worth.

He will also trick us into thinking that if your fitness (or quiet times, date nights, weekend worship, or ___________) isn’t happening every day without fail, it’s not worth doing.

And to top it all off, when you do skip it, he’ll heap some guilt on you for caving. Insult to injury.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We serve the Great Redeemer. Our God is the God who put the hands of time in motion. He has the power to slow the clock on our behalf so that we can honor Him mind, body, and soul.

If you truly want the things you say you want, the things He wants for you, stop watching the wind.

Don’t stare at the sky or wait on the weather.

To reap you must plant.

The day has come.

There is no better time to live life than to live it today… by His strength… for His glory.

– cross walk

1 Question to ask before your kids get a smartphone

November 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

If you’re thinking about buying your kid a smartphone this Christmas, ask yourself: are they comfortable having tough conversations with you?

Too often, all that joy, laughter, and spending time together that the holidays are supposed to be about, are interrupted by smartphones. It’s one of the great ironies of our age: The devices that keep us connected are the ones that most often disconnect us.

So, if you’re thinking about getting your kids a smartphone this Christmas, check your list twice. As Internet accountability site Covenant Eyes points out, giving a smartphone or some other internet-connected device to your kids without being fully prepared can be devastating. Yesterday on BreakPoint I talked about the awful return of distraction, addiction, and attitude too many parents get on their three- to four-thousand dollar-a- year smartphone investment. If you missed it, you can find it linked at BreakPoint.

One thing all parents can, and should, do is put filters on their kids smartphones. The good news is that the newest Apple operating system, iOS 12, has a new feature called “screentime,” which gives parents amazing control over the time and use of their kids phones. I learned that from David Eaton at Axis, by the way. But as he also points out, far more important than filters are the relationships and the conversations we have with our kids.

Kids are resourceful. If they really want to, they will find a way to get around any filter or program or boundaries we put in place. So we need to ask, as Josh McDowell has been saying for years, do our kids understand our rules within the context of their relationship with us?

According to the Bible the two greatest commandments aren’t to obey, or comply. The greatest commandment is to love. That’s because, as Augustine said, we are “love-shaped people.” So the most important thing about us and our kids is whom or what we love. What is it that our kids love most? And what do they know about our love for them?

You may have heard the phrase, “The stricter the parent, the sneakier the child.” This can be true, but not necessarily. After all, it assumes that parents don’t have their kids’ best interests at heart and don’t have a strong, open relationship with them.

Are we communicating to our kids that we love them and that God loves them? Do they understand that God’s way is not only true, but also good and leads to their life and flourishing? Do they see us as quick to forgive and eager to be gracious?

What kind of example are we setting for them? If we want our kids to love God more than anything else, are we? Do we lead the way when it comes to confessing and repenting of our sin? Are we following the technology principles that we expect of our kids? We can give our children the best boundaries in the world, offer the most helpful advice, and implement the strongest filters—and all of that means nothing if they don’t trust us.

That’s why we have to flip the typical narrative about smartphones on its head. These devices that so often get in the way of important conversations with our kids must become the catalyst for important conversations with our kids.

As I mentioned on yesterday’s BreakPoint, the Axis team has identified over one hundred different conversations you can have with your kids about smartphones. Some are edgy. If your kids have found porn online, or been involved in sexting, or have seen some of the darker parts of cyber-bullying, your conversations need to be edgy.

If you’re just starting out, start conversations about how to look people in the eyes, how to use the phone to help relationships and not harm them, and just basic philosophical questions like: are smartphones good or bad?

– christian post

How to know when your child’s school is not right

November 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

School is underway, and you’re concerned about your son or daughter. Perhaps you’re seeing failing grades, anxiety over the workload, or spiraling self-esteem. Although kids will feel a full-range of emotions during their school-age years, if your child’s personality and confidence about school teeter toward the worrisome or dangerous, take a closer look into the situation and determine whether or not your child’s school is a good fit.

I have been in this spot several times, which always prompted us to advocate for change within our child’s school or look for better options. I know the nights of sleep you’re losing over this decision, the prayers, and the school visits. Don’t despair—here are a few things to help you narrow your criterion.

Is school the problem?

Truthfully, you may or may not need to change your child’s school. As a teacher and a parent, I’ve researched and experienced firsthand the weighty pros and cons of pulling a child from one school to try another. Here are some things to consider as you determine if your child’s school is a bad fit.

Atmosphere.

School is critical to a student’s development as a person, as well as a learner. Not only is the educational component important, but school provides kids a place to socialize and problem-solve with their peers. It’s where they learn to cave or stand up for values, choices, and injustice. At school, kids compare their beliefs, traditions, and family dynamic to other kids’ families; they make conclusions about their values, relationships, self-worth, and image of success.

An ideal school situation is one that affirms your family values and culture. However, a school that opposes your family values and culture might still not be the wrong choice; you and your child will just need to approach it from a missional, intention perspective, which is actually a Biblical way to live (Matthew 5:13-16).

Don’t jump to conclusions.

A parent’s natural conclusion to an unhappy or unsuccessful student is to find fault with the child, the school, the curriculum, the teachers, or any combination. This is hasty and unwise, and it can often lead to premature decisions about changing schools or imposing punishments. Take each possible factor and ask some important questions. When your child’s behavior and/or personality traits cause concern, stop and ask:

What does your child love?

Is he/she getting that at school? (artistic, conversation, teacher attention, friendships, active learning, etc.)—if none of the things children love to happen during their school day, they are going to be unhappy, angry, or discouraged about school. While we try to help our kids improve in areas that aren’t natural for them, kids must also spend time growing in the areas where they are gifted. Many high schools have honed this aspect of education by providing specialty centers, but as with many specialty requirements, a student’s GPA or teacher recommendations could interfere with gifted students getting in to programs they would actually excel in.

What upsets them?

Nobody likes to fail at something; however, a child who is upset by teachers, grades, or friendships has other issues that should be addressed. Prolonged anger, resentment, worry, fear, and depression point to social issues like bullying, marginalization, betrayal, abuse, or low self-esteem. When these symptoms manifest themselves, seek professional counseling and hold off on making big decisions about your son or daughter’s future.

Who do they talk about?

Do they speak positively about other students and friends? Do they lack respect for teachers and administrators? Are the classes too easy or too hard? Your student’s perspective about his/her school will tell you a lot about how they fit in at school.

In what areas are they improving or succeeding, and how easy is it to develop?

Combined with the previous questions, this question will help you determine if your child’s struggles are scholastic, personal, or both. If your child has always loved math, but now hates math, is doing poorly, or complains about the teacher, you can surmise that he or she has had a miscommunication or personality conflict with the math teacher, which is affecting his/her listening and learning. In the areas of success, determine if they are doing well because the teacher likes them/doesn’t want to grade them down or because they actually have mastered the material. As a tutor, I see large numbers of students who have scored well in school yet lack basic skills. Eventually, a poor grasp of material catches up to students, and they begin failing in subjects they believed they understood. Make sure your student is getting teacher feedback on problems and papers; better yet, read his/her work—is it good, terrible, or overlooked

Life preparation.

Your child’s educational experience is life preparation. You must weigh good and bad influences with your child’s need to grow through hardship and success. Assess the school environment, academic focus (is the focus test scores or learning-based?), classroom size, teaching styles, interaction with students, strength of arts and sciences, variety of extra-curriculars and field trips, demographics, and overall sense of school identity.

Does the school feel like a family? Are teachers and staff interested in assisting your family, or do they expect you to conform to theirs? This will indicate the approach they will take with your child (Romans 12:1-2). Teachers who speak encouragement and support into your child are helpful components in his/her growth. On the other hand, teachers who belittle, ridicule, ignore, or disapprove of your child will sow self-doubt and discouragement into your child’s heart during his/her formative years (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Solving problems.

School environment affects children emotionally, creating either stress or security in their lives. An important part of determining if your child’s school is not a good fit happens when you figure out the overall climate of the school. If high stress occurs because of the overall environment, you could work on improving the school or look for another school. If, however, your child’s stress is associated with a particular class, teacher, or fellow student, that problem can be handled by approaching teachers, administrators, or parents and problem-solving together for the benefit of your child. Stressful situations happen everywhere, so changing schools might not solve the problem in the long run.

As much as possible, teach your kids how to advocate for themselves, how to take responsibility for their own mistakes, and how to assume the best about people (their teachers probably don’t hate them). Parents and kids can both learn a few basic questions to get discussion with teachers or administrators off to a good start:

  • My child has been having difficulty in your class. What have you noticed?
  • How can he improve? What do you suggest?
  • How can I help facilitate improvement? How can I help you as a teacher?
  • How can we work together to increase my child’s success and confidence concerning your class?

Most teachers will attempt to accommodate families who talk like this. In addition to helping solve school-related problems, this approach develops children who can problem-solve relational issues, which is an increasingly neglected characteristic in our media-saturated culture. Because your kids will not grow up to live perfect, stress-free lives, you should never remove a child from an environment simply to avoid problem-solving stressful situations.

Choosing academics.

Academics are naturally an important aspect of a child’s education. Choose a school based on academics, as well as environmental qualities. Investigate schools with multiple levels for learning with as wide an offering as possible, since we never know exactly what skills or deficiencies might surface as our kids age.

We assessed our school and class options for each of our children because they all learned differently and had different temperaments and skills. Make choices based on your kids’ learning styles, interests, and motivation, as well as the practical considerations like location and cost.

If children fail academically, analyze their work ethic, but don’t be afraid to explore other possibilities. Poor grades are not usually evidence of disobedience but rather symptoms of other problems. Follow this procedure to investigate:

  1. How much do you see your child studying and doing homework? What is his work environment like? Remove all distractions.
  2. Does your child ask the teacher questions, stay for tutoring, study with a stellar student, and plan ahead? These are proactive measures that tell you your student is doing his best to improve.
  3. Have you talked with the teacher? What is his/her perspective and solution? If your student is unwilling to take the teacher’s recommendations, find out why.
  4. What is your child’s attitude about his homework and grades? If he is uncaring, resistant, or hostile, he is probably overwhelmed and insecure about his ability to do the work. If it were easy for him, he would just do it (unless there are other emotional issues at play here). Don’t assume he is lazy or stupid. Find out what’s going on in his heart.
  5. Advocate for your child’s needs to his/her teachers and administrators if the problem cannot be solved on your end. Ultimately, you know your child best and know what damages his self-worth and personality. Once you have collected data, professional opinions, done testing when needed, and had discussions with your child, you might consider moving him/her to a school scenario that matches your student better than his/her present situation.

The most important thing.

Ultimately, a child’s heart condition is more important than his/her GPA or college choice. Parents can and should appeal to a child’s heart regardless of his/her school. Always keep in mind the importance of establishing a Godward orientation in your children, teaching that everything they do and say should glorify God and advance His kingdom (Deuteronomy 6:5-9).

Is your school right for your child?

You, as the parent, are the right person to make that call. Whenever we made changes to any of our children’s schooling, we invited our child into the decision through prayer and discussion. We used the discussion as an opportunity to not only better our child’s learning environment, but also to teach him how to participate in his own development. Praying together over it also modeled how to access wisdom and follow God’s will.

And try not to stress over school. Kids are resilient, especially when they have loving, involved parents. Best of all, God uses all things together for good (Romans 8:28).

– cross walk

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