What I Learned This Christmas…

Until December 3, 2017 I thought I had a Spiritual ‘handle’ on Christmas, and my method of teaching my children it’s true meaning. But four messages capsulized below revealed the fragility of my grip.

I learn best by listening to audio messages then transcribing them, of which most of this blog site is composed.  This one is an excerpted composite of four separate sermons given by Pastor Dan Borget, at Kirkmont Presbyterian Church in Beavercreek, Ohio.

What follows is a ‘labor of love’ which I intend to apply not just at Christmas, but every day for the rest of my life. I hope you will join me in in this venture to sharpen our “swords” and put on our “full armor” because Christmas has become a battle… a battle between two competing stories: one that is seductive and attractive but fundamentally untrue; and the other that is deeply humbling but what every person everywhere needs.

Gold Dividing Line


AUDIO (30 min):

Worshipping Jesus Christ More Fully
In that past I thought I was fully celebrating Christmas by teaching my children that it was about GIVING, not receiving presents. Then I realized that while there’s nothing wrong with giving each other gifts, we’re not giving them to Jesus. Imagine a birthday party in your honor where everyone gave their gifts to each other, but none to you.

The very first Christmas was filled with WORSHIP–the worship of baby Jesus. Perhaps the closest thing we have in our culture of worshipping someone or something are images of people at a concert… and that teen star, or that super handsome young man or beautiful woman comes out on stage. We can picture groups of people pushing their way to the front, reaching their hands up, longing to touch them in some way, crying that they’re finally seeing this marvelous person in person — worship.

Or consumerism ‘worship’–the new iPhones come out, people in line for days, camping out, and they finally get their hands on the new one, and they’re crying over it, or they are crying because they didn’t get one… perhaps that idea of ‘worship’. But when one thinks about people in the church worshipping… well, it’s just different to most people.

When the Magi came, their level of passion and enthusiasm to worship this baby, this child, the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS… doing something like this in public is something that would make many of us very uncomfortable.

I used to think I was showing the world I knew that I was zealous by saying “Merry Christmas” (not ‘happy holidays’).  I’d even write ‘Merry CHRISTmas” with Christ in red, and put the manger scene in my yard because after all “I knew what Christmas is all about.

And while those are good things, I was still not worshipping fully as the Maji did.
It’s possible to do all the things on the surface that show we understand Christmas intellectually, but never move into this place the Maji did.

Like what’s happening today, King Herod wanted to introduce a new story to hide the real story; he wanted to kill baby Jesus and hide the truth of the Christmas story from the world around him. And while we may not have a King Herod walking around in the American culture today, we do have an evil one who has introduced a different story for the purpose of concealing the real story.

Warning: Christmas Is Coming!

“There’s an ongoing WAR which will define our children’s beliefs about who they are, what they need, and what their lives are about.  We must ask ourselves, will they experience the true Christmas Story, or the one our culture has introduced?

The war signs are already appearing, and we should consider ourselves warned. Our family is about to be attacked. Not physically by terrorism or fire… no, this attack is much more subtle, seductive, and attractive, but infinitely more dangerous.

Our family is about to be attacked by a holiday season which should be a peaceful time of remembering God’s response to his lost and rebellious image-bearers. That response wasn’t to condemn, but to give the ultimate gift—the gift of himself—in the person of his Son. But instead of a peaceful season of worship and celebration, it has devolved into a spiritual war with our family at the center.

There’s nothing wrong with beautiful decorations, family feasting, or giving gifts. The Christmas season can be a time when families gather again, renew relationships, and express love for one another. But we should be concerned because there is a war for which story will define our children’s beliefs about WHO they are, what they need, and what their lives are about.

The “Christmas story” our culture tells our children puts them at the center instead of God. It looks to creation for fulfillment rather than worship of the Creator. It makes physical pleasure our primary need rather than the rescuing intervention of the Redeemer. It’s dominated by the comforts of the moment rather than eternal priorities.
In every way, the story our children will hear over and over again during this season is dangerously wrong when it comes to who they are and what they need. It calls them to find comfort where comfort can’t be found, to place their hope in things that will never deliver, to think they can accomplish what only the Messiah can do.

But unlike this false “Christmas story,” the true “Advent Story” is humbling and unattractive. It’s a sad story about a world terribly broken by sin, populated by self-centered rebels who are willing participants in their own destruction. It’s about beings created to live for God but who in every way live for themselves. This story is about the dethroning of the Creator and the enthroning of his creation. It’s about conditions so desperate that God did the unthinkable, sending his Son to be the sacrificial Lamb of redemption. And why did Jesus come? Because we were so lost, so enslaved, so self-deceived that there simply was no other way.

Until our children hear and understand the bad news, the good news won’t be attractive to them. The news that Jesus came on a glorious mission of grace to live, die, and rise in our place is only worth celebrating when you understand it’s our only hope.

The battle of Advent isn’t about whether we should sing silly seasonal tunes versus gospel carols, or have worship times versus big family feasts. No, this war is about what story of identity, need, meaning, and purpose our children will believe and give their hearts to pursue.

Life really is a battle of stories, and the battle rages most fiercely when the true story is meant to be told most loudly.

So enjoy the gifts, the decorations, and the delicacies, but start preparing our family early this year for the battle to come by telling them the true story. Before you begin to get distracted by all the traditions of holiday fun, take up the battle for the hearts of your children.

Here are five ways to help our children focus on the true Advent story:
1. Start early.
We can’t start early enough or tell the true story often enough, since the false story is everywhere to be heard. Don’t wait until Christmas Day to point your family to God’s Word.

2. Tell the bad news.
Protect your family from fake news by telling them of the bad news: their sin and separation from God. Good news isn’t good unless it’s prefaced with bad news, and redemption becomes beautiful when we understand the depth of our need.

3. Warn them about the false story.
Enjoy traditions and fun, but take opportunities to point out how and why the false story your children will hear again and again isn’t true.
I learned that whether we realize it or not, there’s a battle for the souls of children. It’s between the illuminated brilliance and ‘present’ presence of the world’s false Christmas… and the real story of Christmas.

If we’re trying to uphold both stories, the cultural one is going to win–especially with a four-year-old child for example. While fun, the false story is going to make a more indelible impression on than the real one.

Santa Claus is an example. We don’t need to avoid his name, or talking about him to our children, but we also don’t want to pretend that he’s real. We can treat him like Dora the Explorer… we watch her on television, but she’s not real.

Below I’ve scanned a book I read to my students every year. Perhaps you’ll find it useful in your understanding too. https://www.facebook.com/levans999/media_set?set=a.10150470684698819.384262.580248818&type=3

4. Present Jesus as the gift of gifts.
Express love by giving gifts, but remind your children that creation can’t satisfy, and that our only hope is found in one Gift—the person, presence, work, and grace of Jesus.

5. Embed the Advent story everywhere.
The Advent season gives you a wonderful opportunity to help our children understand themselves and everything in their lives from the vantage point of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

The Advent story tells them who they are, what they need, and what their lives are about. This story is the only reliable way they will ever make sense out of the story of their individual lives.

Nothing is more important than helping your children understand that the grace of Jesus shines brighter than any gift the world has to offer. It’s a light that will never go out and will never be put away.”


AUDIO (of above 30 min):

ADVENT CONSPIRACY INTRO VIDEO” played in audio link above (3 min)



The second thing I learned was that I need to spend LESS on material things and spend MORE in the currency of TIME with others.

1. We should spend less at Christmas because we don’t honor Jesus’ birth by buying temporary things.
 For those of us who’ve come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, it’s the most life changing thing we’ve ever experienced–we wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s not only radically transforms who we are now, but who we will be for all of eternity.

And there’s nothing that someone else could give us at Christmas that would even come CLOSE to not only rivaling it, but even even being in the same ballpark. The temporary stuff we get for Christmas really just doesn’t even match the occasion.

2. We should spend less at Christmas because we don’t honor Jesus’ birth by buying so much that we go into debt.
Realizing the amount of debt we’re willing to go into in order to somehow please our spouse or our children or grandchildren, we may see that we’ve actually made little gods out of them. And so we don’t honor Jesus’ birth by buying so much that we go into debt.

3. We don’t honor Jesus’ birth by buying each other gifts.
Again, imagine at your birthday party everyone else received gifts but you.

When God acted in history to ensure that his people were freed not just from physical slavery, but from spiritual slavery, He instructed us not to do anything that would overshadow that. Ultimately when we fill our Christmas with presents for each other it doesn’t do anything to remember God.

4. We should consider spending less this Christmas so that we don’t honor Jesus’ birth by BUYING our children another Christmas story.
Eventually present after present after present just becomes stuff after stuff after stuff… and eventually all that stuff becomes stuff that competes with the real story of Christmas.

Which one is a six year old going to walk away with and remember?

Do we really want them to remember that at Christmas they got a certain toy? Is that life changing? Can we save our own kids? Have we ever died on the cross for them? Is the new sweater, the is the new game… are any of those things going to get them through life? 

None of it will.

But a precious powerful transforming relationship with Jesus Christ absolutely will every single time… and so that’s what we should impress upon our children. 

AUDIO of above (26 min)



Week 3 – GIVE MORE:

AUDIO (26 min):

Scripture shows that in his travels, Jesus was always pausing and stopping if only for a moment to give people true relational time.

He shows his relational character through those with whom he engaged–they were the social outcasts of society, those who other people had deemed unfit for a relationship. Jesus invests in those people.

God is a relational God… and we see it never more clearly than in the story of Christmas when he comes to be amongst us. His gift to us is a gift of himself.

So how do give more and still spend less? … by giving more of ourselves relationally in the currency of time.

God gave himself relationally at Christmas and so should we.

Shut-ins, or those living in retirement homes, for example, have more years behind them than they do ahead of them. What dominates their memory is not the stuff that people bought them throughout their lifetime, but rather their memories are flooded with precious times they’ve spent with people whom they love and cared about. 

On the other side of the coin, the majority of regrets they might be carrying with them over the years are not centered around things that they didn’t buy people, but rather regrets with the time they didn’t spend with people.

Adding to all that, the relative little effort it takes to give quality time with people shows the value of the “currency of time“.  

We model the character of God when we make the transition and are spending less on presents and spend more on giving ourselves away relationally to one another.

Gold Dividing Line

Yes, time is the most effective currency that we have to express and demonstrate love towards one another, but it would be
 almost irresponsible not to mention one other aspect that might be keeping us from giving ourselves away relationally with others and that would be the whole idea of technology.  Think about often technology allows us to be partly but not fully present.. and ultimately and then fall short of giving yourself away relationally.

Some images to consider when we think about technology…



Our modern culture paints this illustration that when we walk around with our phone, it’s like the end of our world… we don’t see what we’re missing.


Some of us may be tempted to blame the whole idea of being distracted just on modern technology, but this next picture will add perspective.

While our obsession with the cellphone is part to blame, it’s not just the cellphone. The cellphone just draws out an aspect of the broken condition inside each of us. I makes it easy, to use that part of our brokenness.
The top picture reveals that it’s ingrained in us as part of the enemy who would love to keep us isolated and out of these wonderful intimate relationships… that God has come and died for to restore.

God’s people are are relational people, and we give ourselves away relationally. It’s the cultural norm not to be present relationally … and this message is to encourage us to be counter-cultural, and not settle for some in-part giving of ourselves–but to be fully present in the moment… not just be there physically, but when we’re there to put the phone down, put the whatever down and invest in one another’s lives–to give ourselves away to them as God has given himself away to us.

AUDIO of above (26 min):


Week 4 – LOVE MORE

AUDIO (31 min):

The humble circumstances of Jesus’ birth reveal that all_are_loved, and we are to love ALL… four examples that point to the humble circumstances of Jesus’ birth:
1.  MARY
The Bible says Mary
, mother of Jesus, is a servant, a humble servant from humble circumstances who focuses on the reality that she is not up on the throne of a person of great significance and importance and her society in the fact that she’s relatively poor.

God takes our normal social order and construction, and flipping it completely upside down and saying he brings down those who are rulers and rich and lifts up those who are poor and not considered significant in society.

The birth of Jesus Christ and his humble circumstances reveal that no one is below his love–the fact that he was born to Mary and Joseph in these circumstances is reassuring.

Some of us grew up with parents that we would consider to be in very humble circumstances by the way that we were raised. But it’s reassuring to realize that those things don’t disqualify us, in fact nothing about who our parents were disqualifies us, or put us below the line of being a part of God’s rescue mission.

The fact that Jesus was born in Bethlehem points to his humble circumstances.  Bethlehem was a very humble city of no real significance and yet God chooses here for Jesus to be born. 

In today’s culture we would call this “the wrong side of the tracks” or from the “South” or the “Eastside”.

Bethlehem lies not in the city of itself but in the one who are to be born in the city because the one who would be born is born into a city that is otherwise a very humble city and of no suit real significance and yet God chooses and here of all places to be born today in our culture society we have expressions like oh he was born on the wrong side of the tracks or she’s from the wrong side of the tracks or oh he’s from the south side or I don’t go over to the east side.

We have you know all these associations about people, or where they’re from, and we realize right that sometimes those things actually get in the way of ability to love and how we perceive people… and Christmas just comes along and reminds us that all of that just gets flipped upside down–that no one is below the rescue mission of God. No one falls below the line of God’s love,

The manger points to the most significant of the humble circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ.

Most likely Joseph, and all of his other relatives who had moved away and now were required to go back to Bethlehem, most likely they would have gathered together in a family home of some kind at some relatives who were still living in Bethlehem.

When you consider that relatives would have opened up their homes to them, and now you start thinking about it, it starts to feel really weird because which one of us would tell them, “No, you must sleep outside.”

Even if our bedrooms are full we’d let them sleep on the floor or the hallway, unless… they had brought disgrace to our family, and they included a child… a young woman who was pregnant outside of wedlock, and letting her come into the family home was not a good idea.

And so most likely scenario is that Joseph and Mary are turned away, not just because there’s like no place literally to put them in the family home… but because there’s no room for them.

And so then you add in not just the physical dimensions of the humble state of Jesus’s birth, but the reality of us parents at the very least whether they are rejected by their family in this moment or at the very least alone.

And then finally the shepherds invited to the birth of Jesus. Shepherds were social outcasts of their day. As they travelled and moved about they would often supplement their low wages with thievery and stealing. And so they had a reputation for being cheaters and stealers and so that eventually led to the place in society where they couldn’t even testify in court. or serve as a witness in the legal judicial system because they were considered such an unreliable group of people… and yet they’re the first ones who go and visit Jesus after his birth and the first to go out and tell other people about his birth.

This isn’t by accident.

God is flipping our societal norms completely upside down through the birth of Jesus Christ.

A modern parallel could be someone who’s been in prison for crimes. But through maybe just good enough behavior have been allowed to be in some sort of a work program. Prisoners who are out on the side of the highway cleaning up the trash that people throw out the windows. Just not a group of people in society that many people care about… certainly don’t want to hear their testimony.

And for some reason is a good dark God decides to come and communicate to them this wonderful news.

And what’s he telling the rest of us by telling them and not us?

That even them. Even them.  Even they don’t fall below the line of God’s rescue mission. Even they are to be loved by God and the recipient of his love.

  • – – – – – –

This reality, that the humble circumstances of Jesus’ birth reveal that no one is below God’s love, is first to be received by us as the church as wonderfully good news–the assurance that comes from that reality… for some of us have been taught a competing message.

Some of us have heard a different story than that. Some of our parents or our past churches, or past friends, or whoever it might be have told us a different story that said no for whatever reason, because of where we’re from, or who we were born to, or what we’ve done, or what we didn’t do, we’re below the line somewhere.

And the good news of the birth of Jesus Christ is that reminds us and lift us up and helps us to see that we’re above the line.

Some of us have been struggling with sin and the certain areas of our life long enough that we’ve eventually believed the lie that maybe we’re below the line… and this good news of the birth of Jesus Christ lifts us above the line and reminds us that no we’re not.

Some of us have loved ones that we wonder that maybe God has given up on. We care about them. We love them, but they’re making dumb decisions repeatedly in their life and we wonder, are they below the line? Has God given up on them?

And the good news of Jesus Christ and the humble circumstances of his birth remind us no they’re not either.

But not only is this reality a message I think should be heard by us as far as good news, but I think it’s also an eye opening challenge as well.  Because it teaches us not only that all are loved by God… but the humble circumstances of Jesus’ birth also reveal that we are to love all. 


And this becomes the challenge that comes out of the Christmas story.

In a moment I’m going to go through a list of examples of groups of people that you may have unintentionally allowed in your mind to slip below the line of your love. And I’m going to go through this list and it I think will be maybe potentially offensive to some of you.

And I will pray of course that you receive it with humble hearts and grace and mercy.

And I want to be clear about something… as I go through this list of people that should receive our love even though maybe some of us have left them out and put them below the line, I’m not claiming that the Bible says there’s no difference between right or wrong or there aren’t bad choices or good choices or anything like that.

But I am suggesting to you that our love for people is in no way at all conditional or based on how other people behave. So saying that we should love them is not saying that we think that they’re doing the right thing, it’s just saying that we should love people whether they’re doing the right thing or the wrong thing.

So what I’m talking to you about of the idea that we should love these groups of people.

So what I want to suggest to you is that some of us have allowed people to slip below the line in our life and that does not parallel the character of God at the Christmas story

So regardless of someone’s skin color; regardless of their race or ethnicity; regardless of their religious practices or beliefs; regardless of their political party; regardless of their view of America; regardless of how they got into America; regardless of their sexual orientation; regardless of their moral decisions and lifestylesthey ought to be above the line when it comes to who the church loves.

And it doesn’t matter, if everyone else in your family, or in your circle of influences has taught you otherwise… the birth of Jesus Christ tells you they are above the line. God could not have communicated it any clearer–they should be the recipient of the church’s love because they are the recipient of God’s love.

Gold Dividing Line

AUDIO of above (31 min):

Link to all Pastor Dan Kirmont Sermons:



Kirkmont Closing Pic Combo

Kirkmont Composite Pic

Link to Kirkmont Presbyterian Church Website

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The Bedtime Hoops: 4 Important Questions to Ask Your Kids Every Night

The Bedtime Hoops: 4 Important Questions to Ask Your Kids Every Night

by Christine Leeb

I love my kids, but by bedtime, I’m just exhausted.  At 8pm, my patience shuts off.  It’s like I have some sort of glitch in my mommy code, or maybe I just missed the patience upgrade with each kid or something?

So when I have to jump through so many drinks-of-water hoops, tickle hoops, tuck-in hoops, bedtime-song hoops, pee-pee hoops, and brush-your-freaking-teeth-already hoops, I feel that if they don’t get away from me as soon as possible, I’m going to jump through the I’ve-lost-my-mind hoop and escape into a dimension where only brownies, beaches, and books exist.

But that’s not reality! (Oh how I wish it was sometimes though—minus the losing my mind hoop).    The reality is that motherhood doesn’t stop at 8pm.  And even though some of the hoops I jump through annoy me, there are four hoops that I would never miss jumping through no matter how tired or impatient I feel…The 4-Questions Hoops.

I started asking my kids these four questions every night and it has changed our relationship.  It has brought us closer.  It has created a more positive shift in their focus throughout their day and in mine.

  1. What was your favorite part about your day?  This question allows us to jump through the hoop of positivity together.  It helps my children focus on the best parts of their day, and gives us another opportunity to reflect on them, laugh even more about them, and find joy in those special moments one more time before they close their eyes.
  2. What was your least favorite part about your day?  This question allows us to jump through the hoop of reality together.  No one is perfect.  Everyone makes mistakes, so it’s great to have the opportunity to be real and talk about those things in their day that didn’t go well—bad choices, disrespect, being irresponsible.  This question has allowed for me to model unconditional love and has given me many second-chance teachable moments.  Even if I lost my temper the first time around, I have one more chance to walk them through what they should have done differently.  It’s great for kids to be reminded that tomorrow is a new day to try again.
  3. Do you have any questions about your day?This question allows us to jump through the honesty hoop together.  It establishes a habit of always letting them know that they can ask me anything and can trust me to listen and love.  It shows them that I’m a “safe” person who isn’t going to judge or get angry or be upset if they want to talk about the tough stuff.
  4. How did you show kindness or love today?This question allows us to jump through the integrity hoop together.  It encourages them to be kind and loving to others even when no one is watching.  It is the most powerful, life-changing question I have asked!  My kids have learned just how simple it is and how capable they are of showing kindness or love every single day.  When I first started asking this question, my eight year old had trouble coming up with an answer, so I would step in to tell what I saw him do–he was thoughtful to take his plate to the sink, he played with his sister nicely, he gave his little brother a turn with his squirt gun, he washed his hands the first time I asked him to.  Creating an awareness of the little ways that he can show kindness and love has empowered him to do even more.  Plus, I find myself looking for those positive things that each child does throughout the day so I can share it with them that night.  They love hearing all the great things they’ve done.  Kindness and love…this is the focus I want my kids to have throughout their day!

The 4-Questions hoops have helped me learn more about my kids: baseball game play-by-plays, storm fears, favorite colors and movies. But I have also taught more to my kids:  answering questions about abortion, smoking, appreciating the differences in others and I’ll never forget the night we cried together about a little boy in a wheel chair.
Because of jumping through the 4-Questions hoops of positivity, reality, honesty, and integrity every night, I have laughed louder, cried more, snuggled closer, and taught lessons about life that I would not have had the opportunity to do in the busyness of the day.  Dear mom, at bedtime, won’t you join me in fixing that glitch in your mommy code, upgrading your patience level, bending your knees, and jumping through these four extra hoops with me every night too?  I promise that these are the hoops you will never regret jumping through for your kids.

Source: http://herviewfromhome.com/the-bedtime-hoops-4-important-questions-to-ask-your-kids-every-night/

Instead Of Asking “How Was Your Day” –by Leslie Means

Instead Of Asking “How Was Your Day”

Written by Leslie Means

  1. What made you smile today?
  2. Can you tell me an example of kindness you saw/showed?
  3. Was there an example of unkindness? How did you respond?
  4. Does everyone have a friend at recess?
  5. What was the book about that your teacher read?
  6. What’s the word of the week?
  7. Did anyone do anything silly to make you laugh?
  8. Did anyone cry?
  9. What did you do that was creative?
  10. What is the most popular game at recess?
  11. What was the best thing that happened today?
  12. Did you help anyone today?
  13. Did you tell anyone “thank you?”
  14. Who did you sit with at lunch?
  15. What made you laugh?
  16. Did you learn something you didn’t understand?
  17. Who inspired you today?
  18. What was the peak and the pit?
  19. What was your least favorite part of the day?
  20. Was anyone in your class gone today?
  21. Did you ever feel unsafe?
  22. What is something you heard that surprised you?
  23. What is something you saw that made you think?
  24. Who did you play with today?
  25. Tell me something you know today that you didn’t know yesterday.
  26. What is something that challenged you?
  27. How did someone fill your bucket today? Whose bucket did you fill?
  28. Did you like your lunch?
  29. Rate your day on a scale from 1-10.
  30. Did anyone get in trouble today?
  31. How were you brave today?
  32. What questions did you ask at school today?
  33. Tell us your top two things from the day (before you can be excused from the dinner table!).
  34. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
  35. What are you reading?
  36. What was the hardest rule to follow today?
  37. Teach me something I don’t know.
  38. If you could change one thing about your day, what would it be?
  39. (For older kids):  Do you feel prepared for your history test?” or, “Is there anything on your mind that you’d like to talk about?” (In my opinion, the key is not only the way a question is phrased, but responding in a supportive way.)
  40. Who did you share your snacks with at lunch?
  41. What made your teacher smile? What made her frown?
  42. What kind of person were you today?
  43. What made you feel happy?
  44. What made you feel proud?
  45. What made you feel loved?
  46. Did you learn any new words today?
  47. What was the hardest rule to follow today?
  48. If you could switch seats with anyone in class, who would it be? And why?
  49. What is your least favorite part of the school building? And favorite?
  50. If you switched places with your teacher tomorrow, what would you teach the class?


Source: http://herviewfromhome.com/50-questions-to-ask-your-kids-instead-of-asking-how-was-your-day/


70 Faith-Focused Question to Ask Your Kids Each Day – by Leslie Means

70 Faith-Focused Question to Ask Your Kids Each Day – by Leslie Means

  1. Is there anyone who needs your prayers today?
  2. What is something you want to thank God for today?
  3. How did you show the love of Jesus today?
  4. Is there anything happening in your life today that you need to ask God for help?
  5. Are there any worries or fears that you need to release to God?
  6. Who do you see everyday that needs to have a friend like Jesus? How can you be that?
  7. How were you like Jesus today?
  8. What was the kindest thing you said or did today? Who needs an extra dose of your kindness?
  9. Are there any things you said or did today that you need to ask for God’s forgiveness?
  10. Did you notice if anyone was having a rough day today? How did you help them?
  11. Who did you talk to about Jesus today?
  12. Did you ask anyone if they needed you to pray for them today?
  13. Did Jesus put anyone on your heart today at school?
  14. Was there a need that you saw and how did you or could you meet it?
  15. How did you demonstrate a servant’s heart today?
  16. What did God do for you today?
  17. What did you do for others today?
  18. What’s one way you know mommy loves Jesus?
  19. What’s one way you struggled to obey?
  20. What’s one thing you are grateful for?
  21. What do you have that lots of other kids around the world don’t have?
  22. What’s one beautiful thing in God’s creation that you saw?
  23. How did you see that you need Jesus today?
  24. We don’t necessarily ask a daily question but rather encourage them to build relationships with others on a daily basis. In light of this, we encourage our girls to be invitational, whether to a play date to get to know the kiddo better or to a church event or activity. When an event is coming up, we will ask our girls, “Whom do you think would be interested in going with us to ____ (event/activity name)?” This only works, of course, if you first have the relationship.
  25. God loves you each minute of every day. Do you remember that when things are hard?
  26. Who did you see Jesus working through and what were they doing?
  27. Jesus calls us to love one another. Can you think of a time you saw someone showing love?
  28. What did you do to make God smile today?
  29. What do you want to pray to God about that is worrying you?
  30. What did you do this week that impacted eternity?
  31. Did you love the unlovely today?
  32. What do you think is the coolest thing God ever made?
  33. What is your favorite animal God made?
  34. What’s the funniest looking animal God made?
  35. When you’re scared, what can you remember about God to help you trust Him?
  36. Who do you think is stronger, God or _________?
  37. What are things God has blessed you with? How can you use that to bless others?
  38. How would people know you follow Jesus today without you having to tell them?
  39. Do you have any prayer requests since I last saw you and we prayed this morning?
  40. Is there anyone God placed in your path who needs prayer?
  41. How did God show up in your day today?
  42. Are you struggling with anything we need to pray about together? (I always pray with my kids on the way to school- both go to different schools at different times, so each gets a send-off prayer from me… sealed with them saying “Amen” right along with me. This is one of the best things I’ve ever started with my kids. I hope it will carry on well into their older years when they can begin their days with prayer on their own. I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to start the day, than to pray for protection, guidance, and the ability for them to shine the light of Christ in all their decisions that day. It gives ME great peace to know they are covered in prayer, and I truly believe it gives them peace too. Those rushed days when I forget- they remind me every single time!
  43. What’s your favorite Bible story?
  44. Who’s your favorite character in the Bible?
  45. What’s your favorite memory verse? Would you like to hear one of mine?
  46. What’s something I can pray about for you tonight? Is there anyone at school you’d like me to pray for with you?
  47. I sent my kids off every day – through the last day of high school – with a modified version of the Jabez prayer: “God bless (kids names), expand their opportunity for learning, friendship, faith, joy, love, happiness and understanding. Lay your hands on them and protect them from evil so they don’t feel pain or cause pain. Amen.” And I have to tell you ladies, I believe this prayer was a main reason for God’s protection over all three of my kids the day we had a school shooting in their high school. We can never underestimate the power of prayer. 
  48. I have a friend who, instead of saying goodbye to his kids says “don’t forget to let your light shine!” – How did your light shine today?
  49. What did you do today that Jesus would have done?
  50. My kids are little so when we pray we often follow Philippians 4:6, New Living Testament: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” When we are worried, we decide to pray. Then I say, “What do you need?” and then I say, “Now, what has God done? Let’s thank Him.”
  51. Was there anyone you struggled to love? Why? And how did you push through that? What was the outcome?


  1. Did you stop and ask if your attitude and actions were pleasing to God throughout the day? What did he say?


  1. In what ways did you see God move on your behalf today?
  2. What prayers is God answering in your life right now?
  3. Are there prayers that feel “too big” or “too selfish” to pray?
  4. Do you feel like God is with you always, or just some of the time?
  5. Did you feel shame or condemnation at any point today?


  1. What temptations did you face? Are you proud of the choices you made in those moments?


  1. What do you feel your peer group is learning from you?


  1. What scriptures did you stand on when you felt attacked?


  1. What are you and your friends specifically praying over your school right now?


  1. What burdens are you carrying? What do we need to lay at the cross?


  1. What have you been exposed to that we need Jesus to wash off?


  1. What did you do today that Jesus would be proud of?


  1. Do you feel sure of who you are and how loved you are by God and us?


  1. Is there anything that happened today you feel nervous to talk to me about, like it might shock me? Because it won’t.


  1. You remember nothing can break my love for you, or God’s love for you, right?


  1. How can I best support you as you go be the man God’s called you to be today?


  1. When my 3rd grader has had a tough day at school, I always ask him if he helped somebody else and I usually find that lifts his mood. We talk about his big heart and how that is more means more to Jesus, Mommy, and Daddy than test scores.


  1. Every day before school my dad would tell each of us kids to “have a good and godly day.” I thought it was kind of silly back then, but have adopted it as something I frequently say.


Source: http://herviewfromhome.com/not-just-bedtime-prayers-70-faith-focused-questions-to-ask-your-kids-each-day/


“PEACE”… we’ve all used the term, we all want it, but most of us not only do not have it, we don’t even know how to get it. Click link below for a powerful 24 minute message Pastor Dan Borgelt gave last Christmas Sunday morning. I’ve transcribed his delightful opening about a childhood Christmas Sunday morning where he had the opposite of peace.

Just 24 minutes to PEACE…
Audio: [24:16]

Pastor Dan:
“I remember as a child one particular Christmas that was extremely un-peaceful in my life. It happen to be on a similar occasion such as this where Christmas fell on a Sunday. My parents got the brilliant idea that it would be more honoring to God if we waited to open our Christmas presents till after church.
I grew up in a family where on Christmas morning, we’d wake up, and my father had taken a mattress and put it in the hallway to barricade our way to the Christmas tree, so that not only could we not get to it, but we couldn’t even see the presents under the tree.
When it was time, my two older sisters and I would plow down the mattress, trip over each other, and run to the tree. And now all the sudden, in one year they say, “Let’s wait till after church” 🙂 .
Now, I really liked the pastor but that morning every word he said just made me so furious… he said, “And now I have another point…” and I’m just thinking the whole time, like, “I_DON’T_CARE” 🙂
That particular Christmas was everything but peaceful for me, and sort of ironic. In the middle of this Christmas story there is this announcement from heaven itself that says…
“With Christmas comes PEACE.”.

And so this morning I want to talk to you about the the peace that is available to us because Christmas happened

I get a little nervous using the word ‘peace’ and making a whole subject of a sermon about it, because peace is sort of an eroding word in our culture today.  I mean we don’t really use the word peace anymore.

If someone says the word peace we think of someone saying, “Hey, like peace man”… like a hippy.

Or maybe some of us might walk past someone and after we finish talking to them will say “peace”, or something like that, and really what we mean is sort of “see you later”.

But we don’t have any real rich understanding of what it means to have peace.

This morning I want to talk to you about the idea of “Three-fold Peace” that the Christmas story talks about.

First and most importantly peace with GOD.

Second this idea of peace with OURSELVES, or inner peace,

And then finally peace with OTHERS as well.  All of that because Jesus was born.”

LARRY’S NOTE: I’ve not the time to transcribe it all, but here’s a few more juicy slices from this superb sermon. To get the full impact of this message, please listen to it all (link below).

First… “Peace with God”, it’s the most important one. Peace with God is not a given… there is such a thing as NOT being at peace with God.

The Scripture tells us that our previous existence, our default setting from our birth, is NOT to be at peace with him, but instead is says to be alienated from God as his enemy.

So what has changed? What has happened that this army of God is now offering a message of peace.  And of course the answer is Jesus’ birth.. He is the key to our peace with God.

However, this Peace with God doesn’t automatically come upon us simply because Jesus has been born. No, the Scripture is clear and says, “Peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

And those “whom on his favor rests” are those who enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ then you have ultimately rejected God’s offer for peace with you… you have no more peace with God than if Christ had never been born in the first place.

If you are interest in having peace with God, the perfect place to start is with a basic prayer that simply says,

“God, I want to have a relationship with your Son Jesus Christ.”

LARRY’S NOTE: Ya gotta hear his “It takes two to tango” illustration and how it’s not always true… how ‘Isis’ in our world tells us that you can have a lock of peace with only one side who’s willing to fight.

A LACK of peace is more natural… In fact, it takes two to have peace, not not the other way around.

There are a lot of people who THINK that they are at peace with God… they don’t have a problem with God, no real issues with him, they’re pretty OK with the life that he’s given them… so they would say,

“Yeah I’m at peace with God, I don’t have any problems with Him, but it takes TWO to have peace with one another, and so you should be asking yourself the question,

“How is my standing with God?” … is God all right with me; and the only way to answer that question in the affirmative, is to say, “I have a relationship with Jesus Christ, my life is hidden in him… God’s offer for peace with him.”

There’s a lot of people out there who think they have peace with God, but who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and therefore they’ve rejected God’s peace offering, and even though they’re OK with God he’s not OK with them–there’s no peace between them and God.

And to a degree, that works in the reverse as well… there are some who have a relationship with Jesus Christ… who God has declared you righteous… as his children, he has adopted you into his family; you are a Child of God, He is at complete peace with you, but maybe you grew up in a church environment where you heard: THE LAW and GUILT and SHAME, far more than GRACE and FORGIVENESS… and so you cannot accept the peace that he’s offering you to its fullest degree.


Peace with God is not the only type of piece that the Christmas story alludes to the Kingdom of God coming to earth and he’s going make life the way it was meant to be in the first place–that someday we will experience life the way God intended it to be… that someday we will be able to have complete peace with ourselves and peace with others.

The lack of peace that we feel inside and the lack of peace that we have with others is not the way that God designed life.

It’s important to realize that these 3 “peaces” are in this order for a reason:  Peace with GOD; then
Peace with OURSELVES; and then
Peace with OTHERS.

They’re in that order because that’s the order in which they need to happen in our lives.  It’s not possible to have true inner peace with yourself without having peace with God.  It’s not possible to have peace with others unless you have peace with yourself, and peace with God.

There’s an order in which these things have to happen.

The first and most important relationship to get right is our relationship with God; and once we have peace with God then we can consider the idea of having peace with ourself as well.

If we’re still walking around, and we feel guilty about something we’ve done in the past, if we’re still carrying the burden and the shame, and is still causing a hindrance in our relationship with God… then there’s no way we’re going to ever move on to having peace with ourselves.

But once we reconcile with God and we trust in Christ, and we trust in our standing with God, we can start talking about having peace with ourselves as well.

“INNER PEACE” is a term that gets misconstrued by other religions. and and society, but it has a Biblical definition as well.

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”


The Scripture is telling us that when we get our relationship with God right, all the things that come our way, that normally would have robbed us of our peace–an economic situation, a relational problem, a health situation… whatever it might be… all the things that would’ve robbed us of our peace we can take all of that and give it to God, once you make peace with Him.

And that will allow you, it says, for the peace of God then to come and to “GUARD YOUR HEART” <3.  What a beautiful expression.

So some of us don’t have peace with ourself because we don’t have peace with God.

And if you don’t have peace WITH God, then you’re not going to receive peace FROM God.

The Scripture tells us that we can receive an immense amount of peace from God once our relationship with him is right, and we start taking our daily situations and circumstances to Him in PRAYER.

For those who don’t have peace with yourself even though you have peace with God, it’s because you haven’t heeded the wisdom of Philippians 4:6,7… you do not have peace with yourself, you do not have inner peace but you already have access to the relationship of the One who can give you that.. and the Scripture saying, “Go to him”.

You have a problem in your life and your default option is to try to fix it yourself.  And the Scripture saying, ‘no take all of those things that would threaten your peace, and bring them to the one whom you have a relationship with in Jesus Christ’… and you will have peace with yourself–He will give it to you.

Again, the order of these “peaces” is key, because we cannot have peace with others unless we have peace with ourself, and we can’t have peace with ourself unless we have peace with God.

When Jesus shows up, He begins moving his followers in the direction of restoring the Kingdom of God. And our broken relationships with one another are part of the things that’s going to be restored. And so he starts asking his followers to live in such a way that we begin to restore in the Kingdom of God, and one of the way we do that is to be committed to living at PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER.

Scripture tells us then ultimately, in Revelation 21:4, that one day God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain…”

Just think about all the ways that those things have come through broken relationships… He says, “But that’s all going to be over with… “for the old order of things has passed away.”

God will ultimately some day, usher in the full Kingdom of God, which will not only give us a full measure of peace with HIM, a full measure of peace with OURSELVES, but also a full measure of peace with OTHERS as well.”

Just 24 more minutes to PEACE…
Complete Audio: [24:16]


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