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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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

Family Worship

May 2, 2010

When it comes to books about theology and the Christian life it has been said for every new book one should read two old books. Wonderfully rich theology is contained in them. I wanted to mention one such book.

Thoughts on Family Worship by James W. Alexander
Which can be read for free at the link below.

http://books.google.com/books?id=n4gQAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=thoughts+on+family+worship&source=bl&ots=sHudzZLa8n&sig=rG6dkvGwoMdcjH35MacTDIP8uwk&hl=en&ei=vRXdS4n_HpTWsQP517XBBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

I am the worship leader in my home

One of the primary reasons worship is misunderstood, misconstrued or otherwise neglected in the church is because it is being neglected in the home. Family worship as the name communicates is the collective worship given to God by the members of one household.

It would be incorrect to say that leading in scripture reading, singing of hymns and spiritual songs or in prayer, would be in addition to the responsibilities of a husband and father. More correct would be that these activities are the outpouring of a healthy family whose leader is fulfilling his responsibility to those entrusted to his care, through family worship.

Leading and modeling

After the initial understanding of the call to family worship many efforts in such an endeavor fall short still. A great leader once said I never ask my troops to do something that I would not myself do nor know nothing about. Family worship time should be an expression and an indication of each member’s personal worship and devotion time. In most cases, neither family nor individual worship will exceed that which is modeled by the father/husband as the shepherd of his family.

Methods of family worship

The author gives a suggestion and example of how a family devotion time might be conducted. Inquiries of the family as to the particular graces extended to them throughout the course of their day for which collective praises might be rendered and or further supplications of continued grace in those matters. The father/Husband might turn the family’s attention to a hymn that has blessed his own devotion time during the week. He might teach the hymn if necessary, lead the family in singing and probe the depths of the theological truths within the hymn and consult the scriptures for edification.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the father/husband has a particular role in molding the worshippers entrusted to his household. This is no small task and one that he does not go at alone. God has been using the godly examples of fathers, since creation, to teach their children what an acceptable sacrifice looks like. Able learned how to prepare his sacrifice to the Lord, no doubt, through the teaching and example of Adam and it was acceptable in the Lord’s eyes.

Blessings,

Alvin

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After church services yesterday, I called Jonathan to come to the car so we could drive home.  He approached with a pensive look on his face.  He went on to clarify the “new terms” of our relationship. 

“Daddy, when you don’t tell me what to do, I’ll do it.  And, when you tell me what to do, I won’t do it.”

…Sigh…  Part of me wanted to crack up laughing.  Part of me wanted to weep. 

I love my little boy so much it hurts.  Jonathan, like all of us in our fallen nature, does not want to have an authority over his life.  He wants to be the captain of his own ship. 

I went on the explain to him that God made him.  God is his authority.  God has entrusted him to Kristy and I as authorities over his life as well.   And God has called  him to live in the circle of obedience to his parents. 

In Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Tedd Tripp has identified objectives for parenting during three stages of a child’s life.  This book and these principles have been very helpful to Kristy and me as we lead them in God’s ways.  We recommend the book to you for further equipping and support.  

~Jeff

Here is a glimpse of these three stages and objectives for each stage: 

Read the rest of this entry »

Parenting Seminars

July 23, 2009

Covenant Life church, the flagship church in the Sovereign Grace family of churches (CJ Mahaney and company), recently hosted various parenting seminars. I’m expecting them to be excellent. Here they are:

Parenting Ages Infant to 5 (by Brian Chesemore)

 Parenting Ages 6 to 10 (by Kenneth Maresco)

Overall Outline (PDF)

Additional Resources:

Parenting Ages 11 to 14 (by Greg Somerville)

Overall Outline (PDF)

Parenting Ages 15 to 18 (by Kenneth Maresco)

Overall Outline (PDF)

Parenting Ages 19 to 22 (by Bob Kauflin)

Overall Outline (PDF)

~ Donovan

HT: Justin Taylor

It’s been a busy week, and I haven’t had a chance to post anything. I have come across several good posts on-line though, and since I don’t know which to link to, here’s a smorgasboard of good stuff from around the web (as usual, I found most of this stuff thanks to Tim Challies and Justin Taylor!):

  • John Piper wrote a thought-provoking post entitled, “Why I Don’t Have a Television and Rarely Go to Movies” . This post also includes a wonderful example of humbly confessing sin. 
  • Keith and Kristen Getty have released a new album of modern, celtic-style hymns. Their lyrics are saturated with Scripture and their music is beautiful! You can listen to samples and/or order the CD here.
  • Sovereign Grace Music has released another children’s album entitled, To Be Like Jesus. Read about it here.
  • Tim Challies asked John Bell, pastor of New City Baptist Church in Toronto, to share about his experience sharing the gospel with the gay community in his city. It is well worth reading – to help us think biblically about homosexuality, and to help us in God-honoring evangelism and church life. There is also some very interesting discussion in the comments, especially involving a number of men who struggle with homosexuality but turn from it because of their commitment to Christ. Read this post here
  • If you’re compiling a summer reading list, you might find these 2 posts from David Powlison to be of interest. Powlison is a bilical counselor, professor, and author, and he spent some time this week discussing some of his favorite literature with CJ Mahaney. You can read part 1 here, and part 2 here.  
  • What does Kurt Warner, a Christian who plays quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, like most about being a professional football player? His very encouraging answer is here.   

Blessings…

~Donovan

Al Mohler:

“A teenager I happen to know quite well (seeing that he lives in my house) announced last week that summer is time off for his brain. Well, nothing fires up the parental learning plans like a teenager who announces his plans to learn as little as possible over the summer. Suffice it to say that the young man has a wonderfully enriching summer on his way. And — I promise you this — he will enjoy it. Like I say, I know the kid.”

This article is full of good ideas for maximizing parenting over the summer. The principles presented are excellent and apply year round… Read it here.

~Donovan

HT: Tim Challies 

NPFNoel Piper has written a new book for children entitled, “Do you want a friend?”

Justin Taylor:

“Written for kids ages 3-7, it shows that there are potential friends all around us, but leads to the truth that Jesus is the best friend we could ever have…

You can browse the book online for free.”

Thabiti Anyabwile recently blogged about few things he really appreciates about this book. Read them here.

~Donovan

HT: Justin Taylor

Russel Moore’s much anticipated  and widely endorsed book, “Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches“, has just been released.

 Tim Challies:

It might be easy to write off a book like this one, assuming that it only has relevance to families who are actually considering adopting a child. But Moore’s ambition goes beyond asking young families to adopt orphaned children. “In this book I want to call us all to consider how encouraging adoption—whether we adopt or whether we help others adopt—can help us peer into the ancient mystery of our faith in Christ and can help us restore the fracturing unity and the atrophied mission of our congregation.” As Moore explains, “The gospel of Jesus Christ means our families and churches ought to be at the forefront of the adoption of orphans close to home and around the world.” It is the gospel that calls us to adopt but it is also the gospel that teaches us how to understand adoption. In fact, “as we become more adoption-friendly, we’ll be better able to understand the gospel.” And so this book is for anyone and everyone.

Read Tim Challies’ full review here.

I’ve ordered a copy and look forward to reading it.

~Donovan

Jelly Telly

April 28, 2009

Ministry-To-Children.com:

“Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales, has a new web-based ministry for children. It is called Jelly Telly. The essence of the website is to provide a safe-haven for children to “surf” the web. There is a daily “television” show with puppets, computer animated characters, and live actors teaching a God-centered lesson… Ultimately, this is a resource worth checking into for your children in your home as well as an aid in your children’s ministry.”

You can read their whole post about Jelly Telly here

The video below will give you a glimpse into what is offered by the Jelly Telly website:

~Donovan