Back to School Blessing

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PrayerApp

Another summer has flown by, and school has started again.  As you settle into your routine, it is a great opportunity to reestablish faith in God as the center of your daily lives.  Despite the busy-ness, we can be grounded if we are purposeful.

In this printable we have a Back to School Blessing that you can speak over your kids, some Back to School Scriptures that may speak life into the challenges and opportunities that come from a new school year, and a Daily School Prayer that your family can use every day as they get ready for school or drive to school.  Prayer is powerful, and it is even more powerful when you model a God-centered life for your kids.

Enjoy!

Printable: | PDF_Picture  Back to School Blessing |

 

Here are a couple more posts about back to school.

School Time Is Here

First Day of School Prayer

Learn more about OPL’s take on parenting by clicking on the Family – Parenting menu.  And don’t forget to follow us by email by putting your email address in the Subscribe box on the right.  One step and you’re finished!


Planting or Pruning?

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DSC_0882

I am a farm boy and I love planting things.  We live in the suburbs, but I have a house with a half-acre lot.  We have a decent sized garden, and I have planted blueberry bushes, raspberry bushes, blackberry bushes, and pear trees.  I have also planted dozens of decorative trees, bushes, plants, and flowers.  I love planting things!

I am getting ready to attend a Ransomed Heart event called “Become Good Soil.”  We received a few assignments to complete before we came, and one of them was to plant a tree.  So naturally I was stoked!  Permission, no, the requirement that I plant a tree!  “Morgan told me I have to buy a tree and plant it,” I told my wife.  As you know, God often uses the Holy Spirit in your spouse to break through to you.  “Where?” she asked.  I won’t go through the whole discussion, but after that conversation I opened myself up to God’s leading and realized that I didn’t need to plant a tree – I needed to cut one down.  We have a big yard so I could have easily planted a tree, but any additional trees I would plant would be in the way of our baseball/football/soccer games. Continue Reading…


I Thirst

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Cross

Without thirst, you would be dead.

As I type this, I am eating some delicious, salty pretzels, and these pretzels are making me thirsty!  And that is how it should be. God made our bodies with a complex system to balance the sodium and the water in our cells and blood, primarily through our urge to drink.  Long before Dr. Oz and our Facebook friends were around to tell us to drink water, God wired us with that longing to ensure our survival.

Have you ever noticed, though, that sometimes you can misinterpret the thirst desire?  Sometimes when I am thirsty I will reach for a snack, thinking I am hungry.  Some people have found that they can lose weight if they drink a glass of water when then feel hungry, because they have simply misinterpreted their body’s thirst and thought that it was hunger.

But sin took thirst and twisted it.  People let thirst run their life.  Coffee, beer, Diet Coke – like a toddler with a Sippy Cup, we reach out for our one little shot of happiness to get us through the next hour.  One more coffee to get us through the next meeting.  One glass of wine to get us through the evening.  Continue Reading…


Holiest Week With Your Kids

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Cross

Traditionally this is called Holy Week, which is a great name for it.  “Holy” is the only word that can begin to describe what Jesus did for us 2,000 years ago.  But I would challenge you that this week is not the only week that is holy.  Every week can be holy.  If our year is a song, holy week is the crescendo of the chorus, which is followed by many more verses of quieter, but equally beautiful music.

Holy means ‘set apart,’ or ‘consecrated.’  Next week when your daughter gets an A+ on her math test, that is an opportunity to make something holy.  When your son is terrified of going to bed in a dark room, you can make that holy.  When you lose your temper and yell at the kids for goofing off instead of doing what you told them to do, there is holiness there too.  When you invite God into a situation, you make it holy.  When you talk about Who He is, what He has done for you, who we are in Him, and what we can do as a response, that makes it holy.

Every week is holy, if you are purposeful.

Here are some resources to make set aside this week and make it holy with your family.

Passover and Easter Fun

Crafts, food, activities and more!

April Storytime – Easter Week

Great stories and activities with your kids.

Passover With Your Kids – Simplified

Passover is an amazing tradition that reminds us of our heritage.  This is the ‘short version’ for you and your kids.

These 5 posts go a little bit deeper:

Passover: Deep Meanings Behind the Tradition

Passover From Moses to Me

Passover Meal – How To

Passover: The 4 Cups

Passover: The Seder Plate

Uncomfortable, Humble, Stinky, Beautiful Servant Leadership

Before the last Supper, Jesus showed us what “leadership” truly means.

Why We Celebrate Holidays

We love holidays – here’s why!


Label Change

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LabelChange

Have you ever done something that earned you a nickname? Maybe something you did that wasn’t so smart?  Or maybe there is a nickname from your High School years that has stuck with you? For Halloween one year my daughters dressed up in their Little House on the Prairie costumes. When a friend saw them at our church’s Trunks of Treat they decided to call Rebekah “Half Pint,” which was the nickname that Laura in the book was called. Now every time he sees her he greets her with, “Hello Half Pint!” Because of that one Halloween, she now has a label.

Do you feel like you have been labeled by one single act? Or maybe it was by two or three incidences but that is not how you want to be remembered. But it seems like the harder you try to shake that label the stickier it gets.  Oftentimes we find ourselves labeled, and whether we earned it or not, we want to shake that label off so that we can wear a new name. Have you been there? I know I have. I want my actions and words to truly display what is in my heart, but sometimes it is so hard to overcome others thoughts and opinions towards you. Continue Reading…


You Don’t Know How to Pray

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Prayer

That Is Something We Shall Have to Remedy, Isn’t It?!?

Would you like to learn how to pray from an expert?  In his new book Moving Mountains, John Eldredge unlocks the power of prayer in ways I have never read or experienced.  Infused with Scriptures and personal stories, this book is both grounded in truth and true to life.  It is part “How-To Manual,” part diary, part letter of encouragement, and part a call to action.

He sets the stage by explaining what is available to us.

Powerful, effective, life-changing prayer

Conversational intimacy with God

These are available to you and me!

Let’s stop there for a moment.  Deep down, every Christian longs for these 2 things, but that longing has been unfulfilled. Time, experience, experience, frustration has led us to believe that the descriptions of prayer in the Bible are no longer valid to the Christian experience.   At some point, many of us have given in to complacency or bitterness, savvy cynicism or theological explanations, casual indifference or caustic denial.  We think to ourselves “I tried that and it didn’t work.”  Continue Reading…


Reagan, Lincoln, Washington

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Lincoln

I love to learn about leadership through the good and bad decisions of people throughout history.  Although we probably won’t ever be President, we still have an important role to play.  What kind of challenges is God preparing you to face?  Will your leadership qualities and skills be ready for the task?

Coincidentally, 3 of my favorite Presidents were born in February, so it is a great time to think about their leadership through incredibly challenging times.  Here is a recap of our 5 favorite posts about leadership and history.

Lincoln: The Learning Martyr

Growing up in the Land of Lincoln made me biased, but I have a lot of respect for him.  Here is one reason.

Lincoln:  Sharpened on the Anvil of Leadership

What does Servant Leadership mean to you? For Lincoln, it meant sacrificing his life for justice and unity.

Good History

Includes my favorite history DVD and  a cool timeline of the history of everything.

Monumental Thanksgiving

I also love this documentary about some of our nation’s founders!

MLK Day

Not a President, but influential and a good person to study.


Lent – Another Chance to Get Beyond the Blur

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Cross

Have you ever stared out the side window of a car?  Even if you are only going 35 mph, the scenery is a blur.  No matter how hard you try to focus, your eyes can’t keep up.  Trees and signs and houses all go past you in an indistinct mix of shapeless colors.

Sometimes life feels like that.

I’m sure that every age has considered themselves busy, but I think that this generation has taken it to a new level.  Never before has it been so easy to sign up for everything and focus on nothing.  If we don’t say “No” five times a day then we will find ourselves enrolled in more events and opportunities than our calendar can handle.  And so, life becomes a blur.

Only by purposefully slowing down and focusing on what is important are we able to escape this rat race.  This change of focus is like looking through the front windshield instead of the side window.  By focusing our eyes on things far ahead of us, we will notice that the scenery slows down.

Paradoxically, by looking farther in the distance we see the important things more clearly.  

For Christians, Resurrection Sunday, aka Easter, is the high point of the year.  Don’t let its significance get lost in the urgency of the daily routine.

Spend some time in the next 40 days to focus your mind on Easter so that you can get beyond the blur.

 

Related Posts and Other Thoughts:

“Part of celebration is anticipation.”

-Pastor Phil Ellsworth

 

Lent: From 60 to Zero

How good are your brakes? Let’s slow our lives down as we approach Easter – we don’t want to miss it!

Lent:  A Family Tradition

Irenaeus celebrated Lent.  Do you?  Everyone knows that the pace of life gets out of control sometimes .  Lent is one way to take back control and slow down.  What are you planning to do?

Focus

When life’s pace pulls you along like whitewater rapids, what do you do to stop and focus?

Why We Celebrate Holidays

For those of you who are forgetful, distractible, and need to be entertained…have I got a deal for you!

Slowing Down at Christmas

Is it a fairy tale to think that you can slow down at Christmas?  Here are a few ideas and compromises we have made to take the hectic out of the holidays:


Valentines Day Recap

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ConversationHearts

As Christians, we know that we are to love.  Jesus said that our greatest and second greatest commands were to love God and others.  So, in some ways, Valentine’s day is as important of a holiday as any of the rest, because it celebrates Christianity’s primary characteristic.

If we are to love each other, we might as well get good at it!  Here are some of our favorite posts about how to show love to your spouse and kids.  Enjoy!

God’s Love

Happy Valentine’s Day 

God loves you!  So what else matters?!?!?!

Valentine’s and Parenting:

We love our kids, and this is a great time to show them.

Valentine’s Promises For Your Kids

Valentine’s Wreath 

Vital Words For My Girls

Vital Words For My Boys

Conversation Hearts of Love

The 1 Corinthians 13 Mom

Valentine’s and Marriage:

Here are a few of our posts about marriage.  You can find more by hovering over Men and clicking on Husband or hovering over Gals and clicking on Wife

The Foundation of Marriage Series

These books and concepts have been foundational to our marriage.

The Foundation of Marriage

Foundations of Marriage: Sacred Marriage

Foundations of Marriage: Your Most Important Customer

Foundations of Marriage: Proceed With Caution

Foundations of Marriage: Love and Respect

Foundations of Marriage: For Men and Women Only

Other Fun Marriage Posts

Guys – Creative Date Nights

It’s hard to think of good ideas, so here are a few to get you started.

Marital Intimacy Troubleshooting – Men

“Marital Intimacy” is a code word so that our posts don’t get blocked by your internet filters.  This topic is critically important to every marriage, so it stands to reason that we should try to tackle problems in this area.

Warning Husbands: T Minus 8 Days to Valentine’s

Don’t mess this up guys – it’s the same day every year.  Right after Lincoln’s birthday.  Right before Washington’s birthday.

Fun Game to Play – Spouses Only 😉

This may leave you blushing.

Gift Ideas For Your Hubby!

This may also.

Love

Valentine’s Day is a great time to reach out to the ones you love.  We hope some of these ideas are helpful.  What ideas do you have?


When Tragedy Strikes

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Tragedy

In the life of a child, sometimes tragedy strikes.

It struck our home a few weeks ago when our oldest was unable to find her shoes for the first day of school after Christmas break.

What, is that less tragic than you were expecting?

Before you laugh at her, remember that many of your own ‘tragedies’ are of no greater importance.  I don’t know about you, but I almost lose my mind when I lose something that’s important to me. I can’t think of anything else. Even if the thing I’m looking for is not all that important, just the fact that I’ve lost it drives me crazy! I’m a 35-year-old man, so I have a different way of reacting to this frustration than a 10-year-old girl, but her reaction (tears ) is just as natural as mine is.

But we are called to be supernatural, aren’t we!

Continue Reading…


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