No, this is not like an Elvis sighting but you have probably guessed what I am getting at. Would you put a sign on your lawn that says: “Jesus lives here?” Probably not and neither would I but if he doesn’t live at our house we are probably in more trouble than we know. Now, more than ever, it is important that Christ be a reality for teens in their homes. How do we do this without making our homes as weird as the title of this blog?
I don’t think that we have this completely figured out, but I think that we have learned some things from other great families that help make Jesus come alive in their homes. Here are some ideas that work.
Making Jesus a Part of Your Routine
God told his people to make faith part of everything they do. It’s not just the posters, pictures, nick-knacks, fish, crosses and doves. Lawrence Richards taught that the Bible interprets life. Even in the teen years we are told to talk about God “…when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”( read Deuteronomy 6)
Pray Actual prayers about issues instead of “Dear Jesus” prayers.
I worry that we are sending high school grads to college with a Sunday School faith. No wonder so many young adults abandon their faith at this age. It is difficult to move teens past rote prayers but so essential. Try praying about issues in the community, the nation and other countries.
Read Chapters of Scripture instead of just blessings and promises
I don’t want to step on any toes and I can’t say that we are fantastic at this but I challenge my kids to read a chapter a day and not just from the Psalms. It has been tough going, and it hasn’t been everyday but we have been going through the Old Testament and are in the middle of 2 Chronicles. A friend of mine has been playing the bible on MP3 in his car as he drives his kids to school. They have worked their way through huge chunks of the Bible.
Volunteering as a Family
Jesus come to life in your home when you find a ministry that you can do as a family. Some families I know run “food and fellowship after church.” Another gives sandwiches to the homeless. Others go on mission trips or volunteer at Vacation Bible School. Maybe as a family you could host a small group for teens in your home
Create Meaningful Traditions
When I was in Israel I was able to see the lighting of the candles at the beginning of the Sabbath. When the Sabbath ended I was able to observe the families filling the square. For teens in those homes there was no way to escape the idea of God.
Besides waking up for church or saying grace, what are some ways that Christ can be more central to everyday life in the home with teenagers coming and going? Cultural Christians go through the motions on the holidays but committed Christians make prayer and bible reading central to these events.
Times like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter even New Years provide opportunities to bring even older teens back to the understanding of these events. Include teens in the traditions but keep the focus on God.
Serving others is a powerful way to make Jesus come to life in a home. It is a hassle to have to clean up and prepare for company. Some families hardly ever cook or have organized meals but to have someone over once a week or twice a month can communicate care and concern for others. This could include having your teen’s friends over to the house for a meal.
Challenge: If Jesus Lived At Your House
There is a poem that asks how your life would change if Jesus came to stay at your house. Most people are uncomfortable with house guests. We have to change our language and behavior until they leave. The challenge is to make sure that he is not a guest who we hope would leave but everything we do revolves around Him.