I’ve started a new blog that I’m calling, Pursuing Godly Manhood. Below are a few highlights from this week’s postings. I would love for you to take a look around it and let me know what you think… what’s missing… etc.
Fathers & Daughters
Work & Vocation
Here are the rest of my notes from this past Sunday’s lesson on family worship. Click here to get the notes from part 1.
Possible outline for your family time together…
Caveat: What I have provided in this packet is a variety of different resources for Family Worship. By no means would or should you try to do all the things I have provided. I tried to include things that would be appropriate for the various ages that might be around the table in a variety of families. In fact, it might be better to use these resources throughout several days, not just during one day. Here’s a sample of what you might include during your time of Family Worship…
Open in prayer (it might be a good time to pray for the Lord’s blessing during your time together and to thank God for the opportunity to get together.)
Read something from the Bible. (in your packet I have included a chapter from the Psalms as well as a Bible story from the book of Acts). Not all children’s story Bibles are created equal. Of course, the best book to read is the Bible itself. But there are some fine Bible story books that faithfully capture the biblical text and yet communicate the text in a way that is helpful to children of a variety of ages (including the adults). Click here to learn more about the one that we use.
Sing a hymn or praise chorus (or even the Doxology or Gloria Patri). Remember this is Family Worship. Worship includes singing. When your kids are young, they think you sing great, no matter what the truth is. Worry less about how you sound and more about doing it. If you need to, buy some CDs with songs you know. As my children get older, we’re able to sing hymns from our hymnals. You can purchase used hymnals at used bookstores, flea markets, etc. Buy one whenever you see one. Old hymnals are great spiritual investments.
Read a devotional. (the good thing about devotionals is very often they come with questions, prayers, etc. You can really get the children involved with these.) One of our favorites is called, Sticky Situations. A moral/spiritual dilemma is presented for each day of the year. And for each dilemma, four or five possible responses are offered along with an appropriate Bible verse to help your family reflect on what the right choice should be. My kids LOVE doing this.
Apostles’ Creed, Lord’s Prayer, or Catechism. Work on memorization. Catechisms were used throughout most of Christian history to teach children (and adults) through a sequence of stated questions and answers (with scriptural support). There are some good children’s catechisms available. You’ll be amazed at what your children can memorize. Memorizing is key (understanding it will grow as they get older). Of course, memorizing Scripture should be your top priority.
Prayer – Have time of prayer. Initially mom and dad lead. Take prayer requests. Remember the church, the sick, family, friends, etc. Also, pray for the day (or the next day). Start teaching your children to be thankful. Find things to thank God for. Also, start teaching your children how to pray for forgiveness (repentance). You’ll also want to spend time praising God for who he is. We also pray for missionaries and Christians around the world.
You don’t need to cover every aspect of prayer every single time you pray. But throughout a week, you ought to cover most of it. You don’t want your children growing up thinking that the only time you pray is when you need something from God.
Offer your family a benediction or blessing at the end. Make up something your family might remember and that will be meaningful to them throughout their lives (it could become a family tradition… as well as comforting). Or even better, find a blessing in the Bible and tweak it to make it your family’s official blessing.
Again, you won’t always cover all of these components every single time you gather for Family Worship. Sometimes you might. It might be that you do different things throughout the day (in the morning, at dinner, before bed, etc.).
At the end of the day, there’s no magic formula or resource. What will work best for your family will be what you follow through with. In other words, no matter how many resources you have, if you don’t use them, they won’t work for you. Find what works! Don’t stress out. But do something. Be intentional. Trust God.
Grace and Truth,
Here’s an article by Tony Woodlief, entitled, “Don’t Suffer the Little Children: A father of four explains the realist approach to parenting” Excellent!
And here’s another excellent article by Mr. Woodlief…Boys to Men
Mr. Woodlief’s blog is called Sand in the Gears.
Boys [should be] inured from childhood to trifling risks and slight dangers of every possible description, such as tumbling into ponds and off of trees, etc., in order to strengthen their nervous system…. They ought to practice leaping off heights into deep water. They ought never to hesitate to cross a stream over a narrow unsafe plank for fear of a ducking. They ought never to decline to climb up a tree, to pull fruit merely because there is a possibility of their falling off and breaking their necks. I firmly believe that boys were intended to encounter all kinds of risks, in order to prepare them to meet and grapple with risks and dangers incident to man’s career with cool, cautious self-possession…. —R.M. Ballantyne, The Gorilla Hunters
This coming Fall, I’m going to begin a very long journey of teaching fathers (and, probably, mostly learning from them) on how to raise their sons. We’ll eventually cover those of us who also have daughters, but I think we have much to learn about how to raise boys in this day, age, and culture so that we can help them become the godly men that God desires them to be.
As a father of four, I have occasionally paid attention to what has worked and not worked with my own children and have actually learned a couple of things along the way. But I have also been reading everything I can get my hands on by “the experts” about raising children (and sons in particular). I have also been looking for great curricula and study material that will aid us in this pursuit. There are some really fine resources available that I’ll be sharing in the days ahead. But, I hope it goes without saying, that the greatest material is what we learn in God’s Word as his Spirit leads, instructs, and encourages us.
We do not live in a Christ-cultivating-culture. Far too many influences in our world communicate the very opposite of what God’s Word teaches. If it’s hard enough living as a Christian adult in this atmosphere, can you imagine how tough it must be for our children?
God’s Word teaches us that God has ordained that both the family and the church are responsible to pass down the Christian faith from generation to generation. The purpose of this class is to help educate, equip, and encourage fathers to do precisely that for their families, particularly their sons.
While parents have the primary responsibility in raising their children in the Christian faith, we, as a church family, are in this together. We promise this very thing every time a child is baptized. In other words, we are called to serve each other in the raising of our sons.
Boys are future men. The statistics tell us that unguided (un-shepherded) boys (and men) can make a real mess in this world. Yet we want the very best that God has to offer for our sons. We know that we have them for only a short time. We want them to know Christ, live for him, become like him, and make a difference in this world for him. That’s what this class will be all about.