Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Guest Post #3 - Suggestions for Family Worship

At least several times a week we try to have some type of family worship. (that's right - we don't do family worship every night - I would like to...I would think it to be best...but it's just not a reality right now) You will soon see that when I say "some type", I'm stretching that as thin as I can! :o) Here are just a few ideas - nothing profound - that we have used at some time. We will use some of these some of the time, but not any one of them all of the time. It's pretty informal and sporadic at best.

MacArthur Study Bible-NKJV
First - um...well...we read the Bible. Ingenious, huh? Some evenings we just read a passage of Scripture. In the past we've read through the Gospel of John (it took a while!) and now we've been sloooooowly going through the book of Acts. The length of the passage you read should just depend on your children's age & attention span - and this is a good time for them to practice self-control (and for you to practice discipline when they don't).

After I read, we'll do a bit of a review where I'll just ask some simple questions. Nothing elaborate - no preparation - just some simple questions based on the facts of the story. Narratives like Acts and the Gospels make these questions easy to come up with. BTW, I'm not a not a NKJVO guy...this Bible just happens to be the one we have at the kitchen table.

If you don't know what to do for family worship - READ THE BIBLE. That's the easiest thing you can do - and it's the BEST thing you can do.

Egermeir's Bible Story Book

If we don't read the Bible from a traditional translation, then we'll read a story from Elsie Egermeir's Bible Story Book. Nancy Leigh DeMoss gave this to us as a gift, telling us that it's a "classic". It's a collection of several hundred Bible stories, many with full color pictures, told in story form without losing any of the content. It's very well done and the kids love it. We don't use this a lot, because Anita often uses it in the morning to read to the children while they're eating breakfast.

Jesus Freaks: DC Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs - Stories of Those Who Stood for Jesus, the Ultimate Jesus Freaks

Bet you're wondering about this one! I'm not sure why we started reading this, but I'm glad we did. This is the first of several books put out by Voice of the Martyrs and dc Talk. It's like a modern-day Foxe's Book of Martyrs, containing stories of those who were imprisoned, tortured or killed for their unwavering faith in Christ. Some of the stories are only a decade old. Many of the stories I have to edit or simply avoid because of the violence suffered by many of our brothers and sisters.

So why? Why read stuff like this to my children? Why would I tell them the story of Nikolai Khamara, whose pastor was brought before him by Russian authorities in the 70's and ordered to disclose information about their underground church. The authorities threatened to gouge out Khamara's eyes if the pastor didn't talk. After losing his eyes, he proclaimed "Praise the Lord Jesus Christ", just before they cut out his tongue.

Here's why: we live in a country where it costs nothing to become a Christian. I want my children to know what Jesus meant when he said, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 16:24-25. I hope that by knowing that others have died for the Lord, it might help them live for Him.

Ok. Now let's sing!

Hymnal for Worship and Celebration

We have a hymnal nearby for when we want to learn a new hymn. Again, this is not often, and again, Anita sometimes does this during the day with them. But every now and then, we'll try to learn a verse or an entire hymn. A couple of years ago we learned "Take My Life" to this tune (but without the cheesy organ!).

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.

Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.

Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.

Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

So there you have it. Nothing fancy, just a humble attempt at teaching our children diligently. Hopefully my lower standards :o) have encouraged you to stay persistent in the leading of your family. But, if you're wanting something even more (and I hope we all are!) here's a few other resources:

Family Worship by Don Whitney (or listen to his interviews on FamilyLife Today here)

Rediscovering the Lost Treasure of Family Worship by Jerry Marcellino

Thoughts on Family Worship by James Alexander (excerpts and order link here)

The Duties of Parents by J.C. Ryle

Also, in a category FAR BELOW the men linked above, are two messages I gave at a parenting conference several years ago. You can stream them here, or RIGHT CLICK on the title to download to your computer.

Evangelizing Your Children Faithfully

Aaron is the husband to Anita and is blessed with four incredible children - Aaron Job, Abby, Anna & Ava. He works at FamilyLife, where he is a Broadcast Producer for Revive Our Hearts. Visit Aaron anytime at his blog - I Am Chief.

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