We are the Branches – A family worship resource

Home » 2014 » October

Monthly Archives: October 2014

Our Children have a Worldview—What will it be? by Jill Nelson


Our Children have a Worldview—What will it be?

This was an excellent blog by Jill Nelson at http://blog.childrendesiringgod.org/?p=5624.  

“As parents and teachers we sometimes tend to focus almost exclusively on things of a “religious” nature, and not on those “earthier” things—things like sports, friends, school, entertainment, the environment, politics, or… Halloween.  Are we training and encouraging our children to see and interpret those realities within the framework of biblical truth? A biblical worldview sees and interprets all of life through the truth of Scripture.”

Are we intentionally teaching our children and training ourselves for that matter to see “all of life through the truth of Scripture”?  This blog is a short read and there is a great list of topics and Scripture to help us personally dig deeper and to help us lead discussion and teach our families. There is even a handout available to help you as a parent dig even deeper in your teaching.  You can find that here:  http://www.childrendesiringgod.org/documents/events/2011/nelson_worldview.pdf

I am so thankful for this wonderful reminder and resource!   It’s easy to interpret life through our own eyes and assume a worldview that is based on what WE think.   That’s a problem because we are easily misled, sinful, and flawed in our view when left to our own ideas and assumptions.  Our children are the same.  Great news though!  We have a holy and perfect God whom we can trust and He has left us with HIs Word!  We are missing the transforming power His Word has when we neglect to apply it to EVERY aspect of life.  It’s invaluable if we can teach our children to do this as well.  God’s Word will not return void! Isaiah 55:11

Growing with you in love,  -Heather-







I forgot…AGAIN!

I forgot…AGAIN!


I was gazing at my kitchen counter this evening and I was thinking, “Wow!  I really do have a lot of lists. Is that ok?  What’s wrong with me?”  It’s a joke between me and Chris.  He says I have a list for everything.  I really do!  If I don’t have a list, I forget!  I walk into rooms all the time and forget what I am there for.  I say I will call someone later and I mean it, and then I forget.  If that’s you, I do care and I am sorry!  I open the refrigerator door almost every day and pause for a minute as I try to remember what I went there to get out.  Let’s face it, as people we forget things very easily and very frequently.  Our minds and lives are very busy.  Only today did that strike me as something that applied to my life in a deeper way.   I wonder all of the time what is wrong with me.  I am a Christian and I know what I am here for.  I know my life should be one that glorifies God but my mind is easily led astray.  I desire to keep God’s commandments and follow hard after Him.   Why do I find myself like Paul so often feeling that, “…I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”  (Romans 7:15)   It’s because I forget!  I forget who I am and what I am here for!   Can you relate?  I especially forget when life gets super busy.  Should I write it on my lists then?  “Remember who you are in Christ Jesus, Heather!  Remember 1 Corinthians 10:31 ‘So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.’, Heather!  ‘Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things,’ Heather!” (Colossians 3:2)   Perhaps.  What I really desperately need though is to write it on my heart.  Every. Single. Day.

I wondered when I was younger why so many Christians I knew who were older or more mature than me emphasized spending time in prayer and in God’s Word throughout the day.  I knew it was important to spend time with God.  I knew it was the way to know Him.  Sadly, that didn’t motivate me to be diligent about it.  I figured, I knew the truth.  I understood I was a sinner saved by the grace of Christ and I was very thankful, but I neglected my prayer life and I neglected to read God’s Word each day.  I was a new creation in Christ who had been given a set of instructions and I only read them when I thought I needed them.   In doing that I forgot who I was for years.  I made so many mistakes and was prone to depression.  I scrambled to find purpose and wondered constantly what I was doing.  I still struggle with this even to this day!  I realize now why it’s important that I read the Bible every day, multiple times a day.  I realize now why I need to set aside daily time to pray.   I should say that there is more than one reason to do this for sure.  As it pertains to the mind though, I have seen in my own life what happens when I do not to do this!  I forget.  People are forgetful.  We need things like Outlook, calendars, and “to do” lists.  We forget in a matter of minutes, not even days.  We must renew our mind if we are to keep on remembering!  Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  If we do not renew our minds in God’s Word, we begin to conform to the pattern of this world.  When that happens I find my thoughts conforming to the cultures way of thinking.  I find my behavior begins to reflect my desires and not God’s Will.

It’s not legalistic to commit to daily prayer and reading of God’s Word.  It’s necessary.  Our minds need this so we don’t forget…again.

His love, Heather

I read this blog by Tim Challies after writing this. Coincidence? I think not!  Check it out! It’s a short read and very worth while! “God’s Word is precious, pleasurable, protective, and profitable. What a gift it is!” http://www.challies.com/articles/a-great-reward

Family Worship is one of the ways that God has helped my family to renew our minds together so we do not forget who we are and what we are here for.   If you want to discuss what your Purpose is as a Christian with your family there are 7 days worth of lessons and activities you can do here.   https://wearethebranchesfamilyworship.com/purpose/

Taming the Covet Monster + Free Family Devotional

blog header

Taming the Covet Monster + Free Family Devotional by Jill Nelson

This is a really great resource for teaching!  There is a free family devotional on coveting plus you can view a sample of “The Righteous Shall Live by Faith:  A Study for Children and Adults on the Ten Commandments.” Great!

Coveting is something we all struggle with, constantly.  I was just coveting someone else’s crock pot last night at a chili cook off!   Take a look at the key themes for this devotional.


  • Coveting is forbidden.
  • God is our greatest treasure.
  • Where your heart is, there is your treasure.
  • In forbidding coveting, God is claiming
  • authority over our hearts; we sin in our thoughts

    and imaginations, not only in our actions.

  • Loving God produces the contentment that

    cures coveting.”  Yes!


The Study on the Ten Commandments is by Sally Michael.  I can’t say enough about how much we enjoy using her writing and lessons in our family!  If you haven’t checked out the four books written by her on the resources page, please do!  They are wonderful resources you can use again and again, year after year.

From grouchy to glory – Individual lessons

I woke up this morning kind of grouchy and very tired.  I got Gracie’s breakfast ready and then started eating mine.  My computer was on the counter and I wanted to spend some time in God’s Word together but was unsure about where to start today.  Honesty, I just wanted to zone out and roam the internet and postpone the day as long as I could.  I figured, hey, I made a website to help with this!  So, I went to wearethebranchesfamilyworship.com and clicked on the Individual Lessons page since that is what I was looking for.  I saw the Discover God 4 Kids @ http://dg4kids.com/ link and remembered how great the lessons were.  I clicked on the link about the holiness of God (http://dg4kids.com/attribute/god-is-holy/) and went to the letter “B” for The Bible Time (http://dg4kids.com/bible-time/day-one-god-is-holy/) and started teaching “Part 1 : God is Holy – Through and Through“.  The lessons are written so you can just sit down and begin.  Wohoo!  So thankful for resources to help us stay in The Word and grow!  Give them a try!  There are 4 more days of discussing the holiness of God I can still do with Gracie in the morning.  She loved the story, questions, discussion, and we started memorizing the verse.  She even suggested afterwards that we sing “Holy, Holy, Holy”  so we did that too.  We had ourselves a family worship time this morning!  We did what God made us to do and it turned our grouchy morning into a time of giving our God the glory He deserves.  



Why I Didn’t Want To Do Family Worship – by Chris Carter

Here is an honest post written by my husband about why he didn’t want to do family worship and how trusting God changed Him, and changed us.

Why I Didn’t Want To Do Family Worship – by Chris Carter

I did not want to do family worship at first.  Something about it didn’t feel right.  I was uncomfortable leading my family in worship.  It felt awkward.  Plus, I had never seen anyone do this before.  I felt like it wasn’t a big deal.  After all, isn’t this what we are supposed to do on Sunday’s?  Maybe on Wednesday nights or special events…AT THE CHURCH!!  You see I wasn’t raised doing this at home.  Worship was something reserved only for that building down the street.  It kind of felt wrong.  Heather and I attended a class at our church where a great family decided to lead a Wednesday night study on Family Worship and it was compelling.  So we decided to give it a try.  We chose dinner time because it seemed to be the best time to teach Gracie.  She was locked into her chair eating food.  She couldn’t go anywhere and had to listen.  That was 3 years ago.  I wish I could say that it was easy but it wasn’t at first.  As I said, I did not want to do this.  But something amazing happened.  Over time, I started looking forward to it and then I couldn’t wait to read God’s Word with my family each day.  The times we spoke gradually got longer.  We pray, study, and sing.  As I’ve been thinking about this I’ve noticed something else.  We not only do family worship after dinner…we do it throughout the day.  While out in the yard it comes natural to us to point out God’s amazing creation.  Gracie is pointing His works out to us as well.  While staring out over the horizon of probably one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen yet, Gracie said, “Isn’t God Awesome Daddy?”  The point is, by starting this…by forcing myself to do it…God has not only made it comfortable but natural.  I like talking to my family about  Him!!!  It doesn’t feel awkward anymore.  He has become a bigger part of my life and theirs.  And He did it by taking me out of my comfort zone.  Remember in Exodus 3 and 4 when God speaks to Moses and tells him to go to Egypt and ask Pharaoh to let His people go.  Moses says, “God, no not me.  Get someone else, I’m not the right person to be asking to do this.”  You know the story, God gives Moses a bit of a talking to and puts him in his place.   He also gives him Aaron to do the speaking for him.  Now Moses, not comfortable but has Aaron, is ready to go and talk to Pharaoh.  The first three plagues are done through Aaron.  Gen. 7:19, 8:5, 8:16  “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron,…'” Here you see God instructing Moses on what Aaron is to say and do with the staff.  But notice what happens in Gen. 8:20.  “Then the Lord said to Moses…”  Wait, what happened?  Where is Aaron?  You will see that Aaron’s name is mentioned, but from here on out it’s Moses speaking directly to Pharaoh.  It’s Moses raising the staff in the air and calling on God to do amazing and powerful things.  So what happened?  Moses gained confidence in God.  At some point he began to really trust God.  As a result, God works mightily through Moses.  I’m not saying that a long brown box is going to show up on your doorstep this week containing a wooden staff that you can command your family with.  That would be awesome, but don’t count on it.  However, when you trust God as Moses did and lead your family through His Word, you are allowing His Spirit to work in your life, and theirs, and He will be faithful.

IMG_7886 IMG_7895 IMG_7897

thrivingfamily.com activities & devotions!

Do you know about this resource online from Focus on the Family @ thrivingfamily.com? It’s great! They have things for the entire family. There is even a page dedicated to family activities, devotions on the go, meal time devotions, and age specific faith activities. Check it out! Great stuff for you to help your little branches growhttp://www.thrivingfamily.com/Additions/family-faith-archive.aspx



Here is a sample devotional on accepting differences.

Family Devotion: Accepting Differences by Karen Schmidt

Talking to God

Ask God to show you people in the body of Christ who are different from you. Pray that you will accept and respect them.

Diving In 

Play a quick game of “Who Am I?” Rather than guessing people by name, explain that you will be guessing types of personalities (shy, inquisitive, mature, goofy).

Write different personality types on slips of paper. Drop the slips in a bowl. Then have each family member draw one. Take turns acting in character as other family members ask questions to figure out the personality type you are pretending to be.

Going Deeper

Talk with your child about how the different personalities your family acted out could complement one another. God created each of us with unique personalities, and our differences can draw us closer to one another and to God.

Jesus connected with people of all kinds. His closest friends included the passionate and sometimes short-tempered Peter, the loyal and devoted John and the pessimistic and wavering Thomas. Jesus said in Mark 3:34-35 that whoever does the will of God is His family. To be like Jesus, we must choose to accept all who make up the body of Christ. Respect for our differences has the potential to bring us together to serve Him.

Talking to Each Other

  • What kinds of people tend to frustrate you? Why do you think they are hard for you to accept?
  • How can you show acceptance to people in the body of Christ who are different from you?

Finishing Well

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)