How to protect children when using devices

How to protect children when using devices

I just want to say to all you new homeschool parents out there, We made it through the first week of distance learning!!! WAY TO GO!!! That is an achievement to celebrate. Our teachers don’t get enough credit for all they do for our kiddos. If you haven’t already, send your child’s teacher a thank you for all they do. They are amazing!

This last week as I was helping my kids with their school work, I realized the amount of time they are now on devices has significantly increased. The amount of time they are given unsupervised is also more than usual. While you are going from one child to the next helping them navigate the new programs and make sure they have completed all the assignments, there is another child left unsupervised. Now our kids for the most part know what is acceptable. There are things they can type in innocently and something inappropriate might pop up with no wrong intention of the child. The schools do a great job protecting our kids with all the safety measures they have in place, but when they are home and on a different network it is our job to protect them.

We as parents need to do our due diligence and set safety measures in place for our kids. God has entrusted them into our care, so let’s make sure we take the proper steps to set them up to win!

There are a number of different apps you can put on your child’s device so they can’t accidentally go onto the wrong websites or download the wrong app. There are also apps that allow you to shut their tablets down when they have been on there for so many hours and also able to see what they are looking at.

I have a great resource below for you to look at and get some ideas of how to protect your kids. Towards the end of the article they will give different apps with a brief description of what they are used for. Then you can decide which one would work best for your family.

I hope these resources are helpful to you all. Happy homeschooling! We got this!

https://pluggedin.focusonthefamily.com/tech-guide/

Pastor Jen

3 Creative Ways to Love Your Aging Loved-One During Coronavirus Season (…Or Anytime)!

3 Creative Ways to Love Your Aging Loved-One During Coronavirus Season (…Or Anytime)!

3 Creative Ways to Love Your Aging Loved-One During Coronavirus Season (…Or Anytime)!

Living in a digital age, there are so many forms of instant communication, from Instagram stories, Snapchat filters, to Facebook likes. Trying to keep up – it’s no wonder we can be a tired and stressed-out society! We live in a time where staying connected is easier than ever, yet deep connection and relationship is hard to find. What if we could go back to simpler times?

Like the times some of our parents and our grandparents lived in. When TV only had 3 channels, and a phone was something that was corded and definitely couldn’t fit in your pocket. During this season, I’m grateful for the technology that keeps us connected! But for many of the seniors in my life, these are technologies that leave them feeling more disconnected than connected to those they love. Add to that, health risks may prevent you from being able to visit in person.

So, here are 3 creative ways to show your parent, grandparent, or any other loved-one, how much you care for them:

Write a Letter. There’s something so special and heartfelt about a handwritten letter. Even if you can’t be with your loved one, a letter from you is something they will hold on to and treasure forever. It’s something they can stick to the fridge or put on display and will serve as a great reminder of how much you love them!

Send a Care Package. It’s easy to get a little stir-crazy when we’re locked in our homes. And no doubt your loved one is feeling some of those same feelings. Why not brighten their day with a care package filled with handpicked items from you? You can order items off of Amazon, so you don’t have to even step foot in a store. Here are some fun ideas of what to include for a box delivered to their front door:

  • Popcorn & a New Movie to pop in their DVD player for a fun movie night at home.
  • A gift card for groceries and hand-written recipe cards. Or maybe you want to check with them on what needs stocking in their fridge and surprise them with groceries delivered straight to their front door! 
  • A “cozy box” with hot chocolate packets, some fuzzy socks or slippers, and some old family pictures (that you haven’t had the time to print until now), that will be sure to bring back happy memories. 

Whatever you decide to put in your care package, don’t forget to include your handwritten letter to them!

Make the Call. Whether it’s a regular call or a chat on FaceTime, make a point to call your loved one and check in. Ask them how they’re doing and what they’ve been hearing on the news about the coronavirus. Often talking with those we love about the concerns they have been carrying helps bring clarity and comfort. Take the time to listen and hear the tone in their voice.

Ask about what is going on in their life and tell them about the new happenings in yours. Ask how you can pray for them. Share with them a scripture verse God has been highlighting to You or something He is teaching you. Ask how you can pray for them and if they’d like prayer today.

We have a unique opportunity in this season to be intentional on how we love those around us. Take the time today to make a call, send a surprise gift in the mail, or write a heart-felt note to someone you love.

With Love,

Pastor Chelsea

Parenting

Parenting

Parenting is not for the faint of heart. It can be very hard and challenging. It can also be the most rewarding thing you will ever do.

With our kids home with us every day, parenting is what we do all day long. Now more than ever is when we need to press in and engage with our children. Not just fix the behavior but get to the heart of the behavior.

Before we had kids, I always dreamed about what it will be like. I thought we would have this amazing neat and clean home. Windows open smelling the freshly cut grass while my children are playing nicely on the floor. Our children would always say yes mom and dad, pick up when told to without asking twice, clean the table off as a family and then sit down in the living room to hang out together before bed. This is the picture perfect family, right?

Then you have your first child and realize that’s not too far off but not exactly what you dreamed of. Then you have one or two more and realize that dream you had is definitely just a dream.

Kids are messy, wild, throw tempertantrams, and always think their way is right. Correction is needed, but you have to get to the root of what is going on or it will just continue to happen. If you pull the weed and don’t pull the roots it will just keep coming back.

I had to look at their heart instead of just trying to correct behavior in the moment. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” I needed to see what was going on in my child’s heart and teach from there. What is in their heart is what will come out in their actions. Beginning with the heart is where you will see true change.

In a book I am reading called *Shepherding a child’s heart*, It says this, The heart is the wellspring of life. Therefore, parenting is concerned with shepherding the heart. You must learn to work from the behavior you see back to the heart, exposing heart issues for your children.

I have attached a link for you to read a little more about what Tedd Trip says about Shepherding a child’s heart. It’s really good and I encourage you all to read it. There is also a link to the book I have been reading if you are interested.

I hope this blesses you and your family as we raise children to have a heart more like Christ.

Love Pastor Jen

Link to article
Book on amazon
United While Distanced

United While Distanced

This week my mom came out with a fantastic post on her blog about being engaged worshipers even when we are missing our church family and being the church in a more isolated environment.

Link here:

https://walkwhole.com/2020/03/25/missing-your-church-family

This was a great reminder for me that even though it can feel like I am alone at church in my pj’s, we are part of a global movement. Imagine for a second that while you tune in online this Sunday- you are joining millions of people across the world who are lifting up the name of Jesus from their living rooms. You are the church to your kids or your spouse, or that elderly neighbor you are helping to get their mail.

We may be socially distanced, but spiritually we are unified. We stand together, we lift up the name of Jesus TOGETHER. The power of our worship is not hindered just because we worship miles apart!!!

Engage – Enjoy the presence of God filling up your home as we church together from our homes!
We won’t let fear or distance keep us from His presence or from our mission!

Ephesians 4:16
From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

In Times of Crisis How Do You Make Decisions?

In Times of Crisis How Do You Make Decisions?

What do you make decision based upon…the facts around you or the feelings inside of you?

It seems like the the facts around us are changing on a daily basis… which often times affect the feelings inside of us. All of which make it very challenging to make healthy and sound decisions. So back to the original question…

In times of Crisis how do you make decisions?

I personally believe that the best way to make healthy and sound decisions in the midst of a crisis is from a place of Core Values.

Core Values are the values by which you base your life upon and see all of your decisions through. Core Values are the values that you’ve discovered about yourself through in-depth thought and prayer. Your Core Values are developed over time as you deploy them into your everyday life.

When you live by and make decisions based upon your Core Values within you rather than the Crisis around you…you and everyone who looks up to you as their leader, win.

If you’ve never heard of or taken the time to discover, develop, and deploy your Core Values, don’t feel bad, just take some time to start the process. And with so much down time as we’re confined to our homes as the Covid-19 crisis continues on, there’s probably no better time then now to begin this process.

If you’re wondering a good way to start this Core Value discovery process, I encourage you to ask yourself these 4 guiding questions;

Is it Personal?

Often times when we take personality test, we answer based upon what we WANT to be rather than WHO we really are. When we answer this way, it skews the results. So I encourage you as you consider your Core Values, be sure that they’re really WHO you are.

Is it Applicable?

Ask yourself…”Will this Core Value apply to any and every situation that I may find myself in?”

Honor is the key Core Value upon which I live my life by. It applies to any and every situation that I find myself in. It applies to how I conduct my interpersonal relationships. It applies to how I conduct my public and private life. It applies to how I father and lead my 5 children. I believe that if I apply the Core Value of Honor to every situation that I face, not only will I give myself a better chance of navigating well, but I’ll respect myself afterwards.

Is it Scaleable?

When you choose a Core Value to live your life by, that Core Value should last a life time. You accomplish this by asking…”Is this Core Value able to Scale with every Age and Stage of life?” If you’re a husband and father, you need to consider this question for your wife and children as well. As I’ve discovered, developed, and deployed my personal Core Values, I’ve asked myself, does Honor scale so it makes as much sense for my 5 year old son as does for my 15 year old son as it does for my 43 year old self? If the answer is yes…then it’s Scaleable.

Is it Biblical?

This is the most important question to ask, because if you’re going to base your life upon anything…is needs to be the Bible. Every one of your Core Values, and I suggest that you have at least 5 and no more than 9, should be able to be tied back to a specific Bible verse. As and example, here are the Wendt Family Five Core Values and the Bible verses that they’re based upon;

1) Kingdom 1st

+“Matthew 6:33…Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

2) Honor

+Ephesian 6:2-3…“Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3)If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”

3) Excellence

+Colossians 2:23…”Whatever you do, work at it wholeheartedly as

though you were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people.”

4) Strength

+Psalm 27:1…”The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

+Philippians 4:13…”For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

+Nehemiah 8:10b…”…for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

5) Growth

+James 1:2-4…”Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

In this season of our ever changing global reality, I encourage you, even if there is a crisis happening around you, you don’t have to have a crisis happening within you when you choose to live your life according to your Core Values. So make the most of your time in quarantine to discover, develop, and deploy your Core Values…I promise they’ll help you navigate these unprecedented times and uncharted waters that we now live in.

In Love,

Pastor Jeff

 

How To Talk To Your Kids

How To Talk To Your Kids

With everything that is going on with the Corona virus and all the changes our kids are going through right now they could be feeling a little worried, scared, sad, or even fearful. We as parents might even be feeling that way. We need to have some conversations with our kids. We need to be a place that our kids can come to and talk to us about how they feel or about what’s going on. This may seem a little intimidating for parents you may even avoid it because you don’t know what to say. As parents, even when it’s uncomfortable we still need to press into these conversations. I heard 4 simple steps from another kid’s pastor, and I wanted to share them with you.

1. Be honest with your kids. Let them know that they can come to you and that you will tell them the truth. There is a lot changing in their world and they might be scared. Speak truth and life into them.

2. Allow your kids to ask questions, be honest but remember they are still kid’s so give them information that is appropriate for their age.

3. Remind your kids we do not live in fear. God did not give us a spirt of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. Read scripture over them and remind them who God is and that no virus is bigger than God.

4. Lastly but most important, pray together. Pray with your kids and seek God. Pray for the people that are affected by the Corona virus. Pray for the doctors and nurses, pray for our leaders and pray for God to show you how he wants to use you during this time.

This is for sure a challenging time to navigate as parents, but I believe that God wants to bring families back together and unite us. I pray that during this season you and your family would draw closer to God and closer to one another and we would see God move in amazing ways.

We love you all and pray for your families daily. Have a blessed day!

In Love,

Pastor Jen