Family Worship

October 19, 2011

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FAMILY WORSHIP by Donald S. Whitney (CHAPTER 3)
ISBN:0978523806

“Read, Pray, & Sing” The Elements of Family Worship
Basically, there are three elements to family worship: read the Bible, pray, and sing. Only three syllables to remember-read, pray, sing. Jerry Marcellino, in his useful booklet, Recovering the Lost Treasure of Family Worship I uses three S’s as a reminder: Scripture, supplication, and song. But the elements are so simple that you probably will not need any reminders about what to do.

Read the Bible. 
Chapter-by-chapter, read through books of the Bible together. The younger the children, the more you will want to use narrative passages and shorter sections.’ As the children get older, set a goal of a complete reading of the New Testament, and later of the entire Bible. Read enthusiastically and interpretively. Explain words the children may not understand. Clarify the meaning of key verses. To improve their understanding, ask the children to explain a particular verse or phrase to you.

Pray. 
Whether prayer is offered by the father only, or by one he designates, or by the entire family, be sure to pray together. Some people keep a prayer list. Some simply ask for prayer requests from the family. Whatever your approach, pray about at least one thing suggested by the passage you have read. Many families go to the book of Psalms and turn the words of a few verses there into a prayer. If praying through the twenty-third Psalm, for instance, after reading the first verse you might thank the Lord for being your Shepherd, asking Him to shepherd your family through certain events or decisions before you, and so forth. As you have time, continue through the passage line-by-line, speaking to God about what comes to mind while reading the text. By so doing you will not only pray for your family (in fresh and unique ways), but also teach them by example how to pray.

Sing. 
Get hymnals for everyone. Your church may have some unused or older ones you could acquire. Your pastor or another worship leader at your church may be able to recommend other songbooks. The lyrics of many older, public domain (that is, not copyrighted) songs are available free on the Internet. Some people sing a different song each time; some sing the same song for a week so they can learn it. As to music, some families sing along with recordings, while others utilize family musicians, and many simply sing without accompaniment. Remember: with this and all other elements of family worship, some preparation is worthwhile, but not necessary. Just sit down and read, pray, and sing.

Spurgeon concurs, “I agree with Matthew Henry when he says, ‘They that pray in the family do well; they that pray and read the Scriptures do better; but

they that pray, and read,
and sing do best of all.

Some other helps in family worship

Catechize. Used for centuries by Christians in virtually all traditions, catechizing is a question-and-answer approach to teaching biblical doctrine. I have seen catechisms used successfully with children as young as two. For example, “Who made you?” is the first question asked in one catechism for very small children. Then the children are taught to answer, “God made me.” The questions are reviewed and new ones are learned incrementally so that over time the children absorb a tremendous amount of biblical truth. A good, age-appropriate catechism is as valuable for learning the Bible as memorizing multiplication tables is for learning mathematics. Ask your pastor for recommendations, or search for catechisms on the Internet.

Memorize Scripture. Family worship is a great time to review Scripture the family members have learned separately or collectively. Some families choose to work on one or more verses from the book of the Bible they are currently reading, others use different plans. Even learning just one verse per month is valuable and takes little time. 


Read other books. If time allows, you might begin your gathering together with some general family reading, after which you enter family worship. Or, at the close of family worship, you might take advan- tage of the opportunity to read a Christian book or biography to your family.

Beyond these content-related guidelines, consider these three reminders for your family’s daily worship of God: 


Brevity. Be brief. Otherwise the experience can become tedious. It is always easy to lengthen the time if the occasion seems to be especially meaningful. 


Regularity. Try to have a regular time each day for family worship. For some people it works best early in the morning before the family scatters. For others, the most convenient time is at the close of the evening meal. If this is your choice, part of setting the table might include putting the Bible and songbooks close at hand. I would also recommend that you not allow anyone to get up from table until family worship is finished. For once someone says, “Just let me do this first,” the others can become impatient or think of things they also need to do, and the sense of family togetherness is lost. A third popular time for family worship is late in the evening or at bedtime. 


Flexibility. Whatever time you choose, consider the wisdom of adapting a time when the family is already accustomed to being together, rather than trying to create another routine gathering during the day. Of course, a set time for family worship each day does not fit the schedule of many families. Every family has to flex its worship time sometime. Just make sure that your flexibility does not lead to inconsistency. Nevertheless, if developing an entirely new family routine is what it takes to begin family worship, the benefits will be worth whatever it costs.

Blessings,
Pastor Alvin

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Dr. Albert Mohler
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

15 things that you already know about God’s will for your life. (God’s prescriptive and desirous will)

That we were already born. It was God’s will that we were born into all the circumstances that we were born into…because it happened.
That we die…beause it will happen. Hebrews 9:27.
That you grow. Phil 1:6. He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. Hebrews 10:14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
That you were made male or female. God is destinct and complimantary in his creation of humanity.
That you believe in Christ. It is a command. REPENT AND BELEIVE.
That you Follow Jesus Christ. We ought to be His disciples.
That you trust and obey the word of God. Obedience. “Trust and obey for the know other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to Trust and obey”
That you obey and respect all authorities. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Romans 13:1 Also respecting authorities in the church.
That you be married! The test if you have the gift of singleness is the question “can I serve God without bitterness, without lusting after flesh and sex.”
That you stay married and look to raise children, biological or adopted.
That you Invest your spiritual gifts and abilities to the glory of God.
That you be involved in Local Church.
That you Lead. All believers either by authority, office or example.
That you share the gospel in every situation and take advantage of opportunities.
That you do everything for the glory of God. Soli Deo Gloria!

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Recently I had the opportunity to teach one of my children about substitutionary atonement. As is the case for any parent who loves their children, I found myself in the position of needing to hand out some discipline. On this particular occasion the sin was of the nature that not only required the withholding of blessings (no treats) but also needed to be preceded with a swat. The parties that were sinned against had been talked to and reconciliation had been achieved. It was time for the dreaded walk into the bedroom. As I explained what was about to happen I also explained that God punishes every sin. I explained that I had to do what was right and give a discipline in the form of a swat. With an understanding head nod, my child laid across my lap, eyes closed and teeth clinched, waiting for the pending punishment to be delivered. Swinging with more power and force than normal, I connected with my own hand that was covering my child’s bottom. “You hit your own hand!” Pleased but confused was the response. Putting my child on my lap we took a look at the welt that was now rising on my hand. I immediately thought of Isaiah 53:5 “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”

With tears streaming down both of our faces I explained that Jesus takes our punishment upon Himself. The punishment that we should have received because of our sin.

I explained that I wouldn’t always take the punishment, but this time I wanted to show that God loves us so much that even when we were sinners Christ took our punishment on the cross. Kind of like Daddy taking the swat that you deserved.

As my child rubbed my welted hand in consolation, I knew that on some level the lesson made sense.

It was a good bonding time for us and turned into a wonderful time for me to worship at the foot of the cross once again as I thanked My God for taking upon His body the wages of my sin and the wonderful healing that comes from trusting in His shed blood for me.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Blessings,

Alvin

“That’s mine!,” “Hey give that back!,” “I’ll never forgive him!,” “I can’t talk to them any more!,” Conflict is all around us. Conflict is in us! Our sinful hearts constantly produce excuses to be in conflict. And I suspect you have heard some of these things recently. It may even be a part of your normal speech or a regular occurrence in your home. James 3:10 “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

Conflict, while it is inevitable, is against God’s design—especially for the church. Jesus puts a high emphasis on being a peacemaker as He teaches that being at peace with your brother is a prerequisite to true worship. Matt 5:23-24.

That is why I highly recommend the Peacemaker books by Ken Sande. The Peacemaker, geared towards adults, The Peacemaker Student Edition and, Peacemaking for Families, are wonderful books to aid you in your pursuit of peace that puts Jesus Christ on display in all your relationships.

Conflict is a restless evil that seeks to undermine the very prayers of our Lord. Consider. John 17:20-21.

Our unity and peace communicates the love of God and the radical transformation that He has done in our hearts. And, if indeed He has done a work in our hearts, the way we deal with conflict ought to look more like Christ and less like the world. Our unity puts Jesus Christ on display and quite the opposite is the case when we are in consistent un-reconciled conflict with each other as believers.

Ken Sande seeks, not only to expose this conflict as utterly sinful but disciples his readers through biblical resolution, restoring relationships that are currently in conflict and helps us build a God-honoring framework for dealing with conflict in the future. He does a superb job of this, communicating as if he were sitting across from you at your local area Starbucks speaking the truth in love to you and tenderly discipling you toward love and good deeds.

Ken goes about this in four parts or the four G’s of peacemaking:

  • Glorify God (I Cor. 10:31)
  • Get the Log out of Your Eye (Matt. 7:5)
  • Gently Restore (Gal. 6:1)
  • Go and be Reconciled (Matt. 5:24)

The chief of all of these, and perhaps the reason for its placement as first, is Glorifying of God. This is the most important aspect of understanding biblical conflict and making steps toward resolution. We are called to glorify God in all that we do. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Ken reminds us that conflict provides opportunity to be true peacemakers rather than breaking peace or faking peace. One of the most valuable tools that Ken uses is his model of The Slippery Slope of peacemaking.

PEACE FAKING: Those of us that find ourselves on the left side of the slippery slope tend to deny that there is conflict at all, wrongly thinking that any kind of conflict is dangerous or thinking that it will damage relationships beyond hope. All of these escape responses are counter productive to unity in the body and glorifying God.

PEACE BREAKING: Those finding that they tend to lash out in anger either physically or with words, slide this way when faced with conflict. These folks tend to see conflict as an opportunity to assert themselves or defend their rights. Ultimately these individuals are more interested in being right than considering others as more important than themselves. The ultimate extreme here would be murder. Before we write that off as impossible, let us all stand guilty under the Lord’s words in Matt 5:21-22 “…everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable.”

PEACEMAKING: These responses are commanded by God. The first three responses are the personal peacekeeping responses. The principle here is to overlook the offense. Proverbs 19:11 A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression. The next three Peacemaking responses are called assisted peacemaking. If two people are unable to come to reconciliation on their own, they may need to seek out wise counsel to assist them in the process.

Sanctification doesn’t happen in a bubble. The Lord brings situations and people into our lives to expose our sin. The question is, when that ugly monster sin shows himself will you take the opportunity to wage war with him or will you feed him and pretend that he is not dangerous? What are you doing now? Who is it that the Lord has brought to mind even as you have been reading? Will you leave your offering and go and be reconciled or will you continue the charade? If you need to be reconciled with someone or you recognize that conflict is the theme of one or more of your relationships, then go and pick up a copy of Ken Sande’s book
The Peacemaker. Start today, as much as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

May God be glorified in all your relationships!

Blessings,

Alvin

Ten Point Test

August 4, 2010


This is Todd Friel. He is one of the speakers for the upcoming Transformed Conference.

With so many in the evangelical community ascribing to easy believism and telling church attendees to”pray a little prayer, ask Jesus into your heart and walla, you’re a Christian”, it’s refreshing to hear this practical application to the biblical mandate for professing believers to test themselves to see whether they are in the faith. 2 Cor 13:5.

For a visual of what Todd is talking about download this Ten Point Test.

Blessings,

Alvin

New Book by Dr. Michael Fabarez

Have you ever either asked that question or wondered, how should I be praying for my Pastor? Certainly pastors have myriads of things that the body could be praying for. However, no prayer that you take before the throne room of grace has as far reaching and blessing potential than when you pray for the pastor’s time in the word and delivery of that word. Here is something from Pastor Fabarez that outlines specific ways to pray for the study, delivery and response to the word of God.

Interceding for the Sermon
“…pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word…” Col. 4:3


Pray for the Crafting of the Sermon

1. Pray that the message your pastor is preparing to preach would be an evident part of his own life.
2. Pray for the protection of your pastor’s sermon preparation time.
3. Pray that your pastor will be given grace and illumination to rightly divide God’s word.
4. Pray that the words your pastor chooses to frame the outline would be effective and powerful tools for the Holy Spirit to employ.
5. Pray that your pastor would have insight into the needs of the congregation as he prepares the sermon.

Pray for the Delivery of the Sermon

1. Pray that people will attend the preaching event.
2. Pray that the congregation will arrive in the right frame of mind.
3. Pray to God would guard against preaching distractions.
4. Pray for clarity and power in the pastor’s vocabulary.
5. Pray to God would give understanding to all who hear this week’s sermon.
6. Ask God for the most effective and fruitful sermon your pastor has ever preached.

Pray for the Response to the Sermon

1. Pray that all, including yourself, will put the sermon into practice.
2. Pray that the sermon will not be compartmentalized.
3. Pray that the application of the sermon would be contagious.
4. Pray that the sermon itself will be repeatedly delivered.

Praying for Sunday, You, Your Pastor, and the Next Sermon, Dr. Mike Fabarez

Gripped by Grace,
Alvin

valley

I love this song. The choir encouraged us with this song during last Sunday’s service and my heart was being stirred by the Spirit. Rod and Tavi led this song at Junior High Bible Study last night and my heart was bursting.

I’ve been reflecting on these lyrics all week long.  This song communicates what our church is all about.  We are here to fill Southern California with the glory of King Jesus by spreading God’s Word and making Spirit-filled disciples.  I think this should be the theme song of Bethel Grace. I love this song!

Reflect carefully on these lyrics:

Your glorious cause, O God, engages our hearts
May Jesus Christ be known wherever we are
We ask not for ourselves but for Your renown
The cross has saved us so we pray,
Your kingdom come

Let Your kingdom come
Let Your will be done
So that everyone might know Your Name
Let Your song be heard everywhere on earth
Till Your sovereign work on earth is done
Let Your kingdom come

Give us Your strength, O God, and courage to speak
Perform Your wondrous deeds
Through those who are weak
Lord use us as You want, whatever the test
By grace we’ll preach Your gospel
Till our dying breath

Awesome.  Wonderful lyrics.  Is your heart engaged?  That song was inspired by this prayer in the Puritan book on prayer, The Valley of Vision.  Let’s pray this prayer lots:

Sovereign God,
Thy cause, not my own, engages my heart,
and I appeal to thee with greatest freedom
to set up thy kingdom in every place where Satan reigns;
Glorify thyself and I shall rejoice,
for to bring honor to thy name is my sole desire.
I adore thee that thou art God,
and long that other should know it, feel it,
and rejoice in it.

Follow this link to download a free mp3 of the song.  On that page, the Bob Kauflin of Sovereign Grace music explains how the Puritans’ passion to advance the gospel inspired the song.  Get the song while you can.  Get it into iTunes and listen to it lots.  Pray it lots. 

I can’t wait for this Sunday in Mark. We will hear Jesus’ first sermon: “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.”

~Jeff

Deacon’s Fund this Sunday

September 4, 2009

Deacons Fund-1
Perhaps you recall the massage in James 5:1-6 from last Sunday.  James spoke words of stern judgment for those who hoard resources with no sympathy for the people around them in need.  A heavy and challenging passage of Scripture!  And the Spirit used it to stir many of our hearts toward generosity. 

Here is one way you can help people in the Bethel Grace family who are in need.  Give to the Deacon’s Fund.  This fund is separate from the operating budget of Bethel Grace.  It goes directly to assist members of the congregation who find themselves in need.  It provides financial assistance for rent, food, medical care, utilities, and other expenses.  

It was reported at the August 16th Quarterly Business Meeting that our Deacon’s Fund is currently running a deficit in the range $1,700.  That’s indicative of how many people are turning to Bethel Grace for support during tough economic times.

This Sunday, as with every communion Sunday, a collection will be received at the close of the service for the Deacon’s Fund.  Please consider giving to this worthy cause!

~Jeff

Read Jack

April 13, 2009

Read Jack. That’s the advice given by Desiring God ministries, and we’re following it in our men’s and women’s groups… The book we’re currently reading in these groups is called A Faith Worth Sharing, by C. John “Jack” Miller. David Mathis of  Desiring God Ministries describes this book as “the best resource I’ve found on gospel-telling.” You can read what else he has to say about it here.

If you are not currently in a men’s or women’s group, I encourage you to join for our next round! Details will be announced soon…

~Donovan

Bethel Grace on facebook…

October 20, 2008

More and more Bethel Gracers are joining facebook.com: an on-line networking site that allows you to create a profile in which you post pictures and information about yourself, and interact with other users… One of the most enjoyable features is the ability to “tag” pictures – linking pictures to users who are in it and notifying them about it.  Bethel Grace has a group on facebook called “Bethel Grace – Past and Present”.  Sign up and join our group!

~Donovan