Friday, January 04, 2008

Family Worship in the New Year

by Jonathan@

I am not the kind to make New Year’s resolutions. Maybe I am more cynical than most, but all I see myself doing is making a promise that I am pretty sure I will break in a couple of months. So I console/justify myself by not even traveling that road to save some heartbreak. Yet, every year I still plan out goals (resolutions) I would like to accomplish, don’t call them resolutions, all in the hopes to make me feel better if I don’t end up keeping them. Yes, lame, I know.

Aside from my warped resolution logic, if the beginning of the New Year is good for anything, it is at least good for using the day as an annual marker to look back over the past year to gauge where and how you have been made more into the image of Jesus, and to see if you have grown/changed at all. If you look back and see absolutely no change or no desire to be molded into the image of Christ you have a bigger issue to deal with in your life other than sanctification. For me looking back over the past year provides ample opportunity to see how I have blown it several times (insert being angry over stupid things, being impatient with wife & child & employees, not loving unconditionally, loving other things and prioritizing them over my God, etc. In general not loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, every day, all the day).

As I have been looking back over the year and looking forward to the new year coming one thing that I desire to grow in and mature in is the area of Family Worship. My wife and I desire with all our heart to raise Godly children. This desire for our children manifests itself in a fairly-semi regular bible reading, song singing, and prayer time with our child. It is not always easy or convenient. My daughter seems to live in perpetual motion and so getting her to settle down for 5-10 minutes of bible reading, song, and prayer is difficult most of the time. As the husband and spiritual head of my family/home I have walked away from family worship sessions dejected, beaten, down-and-out, and left wondering if this is even doing any good. But as time progresses I am learning by God’s gracious revealation and from other godly men who have traveled this road before me that it isn’t quite necessary for my 2 year old to be able to memorize and understand the doctrine of propitiation and it’s proof texts…at least not yet. However it is important for my 2 year old to see Daddy and Mommy consistently setting aside time during their day to seek their Sovereign and Omnipotent God and wanting to do so with joy and gladness.

For a good article on family worship you can read Joe Thorn’s interview of Tom Ascol on the subject. Here is a snippet from that interview.

Thorn: What advice would you give to those who have/are starting young families?

Ascol: Make family worship a priority. Don’t let pride keep you from asking for help. Ask men and women who are doing it to give you suggestions. Get Don Whitney’s booklet on the subject (now available as a message on CD, as well) and read it together. Don’t be intimidated with unrealistic goals or visions of what family worship ought to be. Start simple. Read the Bible, sing a song or a chorus or a verse of a song, and pray. Then do it again the next day. Recognize that there will be days that you are not able to worship together as you like. Recognize that there wiil be days that you are able and you simply choose not to due to laziness, neglect or blatant sin. When that happens, repent, believe the Gospel, and start over, and do that the rest of your life. Once you incorporate family worship into the regular pattern of your life, don’t let house guests divert you from your schedule. Include them, or at least invite them to join you. Evangelism happens during such times. So does discipleship. Your example and testimony can be powerfully used by God in the lives of others who witness it.

Here is a great gift to give to your children–a memory of always worshiping God in their home. What a blessing to bring a child into a worshiping family! His or her earliest memories will be framed by this God-honoring practice. Children blessed with this gift will never have a memory of a time where this was not a regular part of your family’s life.

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