Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Family's Heart - Family Worship

I am currently working through a Bible study using a book entitled The Family's Heart - ten actions that will make your family and your church stronger.

As a Christian homeschooler, my greatest job and desire as my children's mother and teacher is their discipleship. There is no greater work during the day than this. Sure, we cover the subjects, yes we enjoy the benefits of homeschooling which are too numerous to list and include things like "jammie days" when we never get our of our pj's. But, while those are great benefits to home education, my only desire is that I disciple my children throughout the day.

Each struggle that we encounter -whether academic, relational, personal or spiritual is addressed from scripture in the natural, comfortable setting of home. For instance, if we (as individuals or as a family) are having problems relating to someone else (in a co-op class, a tutorial teacher, someone at church, in dance class, etc...) we look at Matthew 18 and determine what our role is in the relationship. We seek to be living examples of Christ and His church as we walk by the way, as we sit down and as we rise up (Deut. 6:4-9); and to disciple our children throughout the day to do the same. It is a difficult calling at best, because our children see our flaws daily, and as I say regularly, "My sin is ever before me."

One thing I've struggled with over the years is "family devotion" time. Through this Bible study, I am learning what it means to worship together as a family. I always thought that "family devotion time" was a necessary part of a healthy Christian family. As well, I thought that it should look like a miniature church service - you know - singing, Dad doing a devotional reading, and prayer. Well, we are not a "singing" family and dad doesn't really get excited over devotional readings, so for years I struggled with feeling like our family worship didn't measure up to what I thought it was "supposed" to look like.

However, during my Bible study this week, I came upon chapter 2 of the book I'm reading, "Develop Ways to Have Inspiring Family Worship Experiences." As I began to read through the material and the scriptures, I was convicted that I had set up something like an "idol" in my heart about what family worship should be. Then, every time we fell short of that, which would be daily, I would feel frustrated and condemned. Now, we all know that condemnation is not from the Lord, so wonder where that was coming from? (Romans 8:1) The "accuser of the brethren" who constantly tells us that we don't "measure up" to some particular standard? (Revelation 12:10).

Family worship includes a lot of things:
1) It includes your time in worship with your church. This is why we have always chosen to keep our children with us during worship time rather than having them participate in children's church programs.
2) It includes finding ways to focus on God and His worthiness throughout the day.
3) It includes finding ways to use the things you enjoy doing as a family as an opportunity to worship God.
4) It includes having a family ministry/mission. It can be divisive for family members to be involved in varying ministries, but unifying when you can find a way to minister together as a family.

So the study posed a couple of questions, and I will share my answers with you here:

1) What are some ways we can remind ourselves and our families of God's worthiness every day? (Hmmm, that kind of sounds like worship...)
Call to memory scripture verses as they pertain to the details of our daily lives.
Memorize scripture together as a family.
Listen to Christian music cds during the day and evening.
Daily personal Bible study, and reading the Bible with our children.
Enjoying virtuous books that feed the soul as well as the mind. (We like the Lamplighter series for this purpose.)

2) Jot down 3 activities your family enjoys doing together:
* Working on special projects together
* Family movie and pizza night
* Entertaining friends in our home

Then I began to think, I know - that can be dangerous :O) - how can we worship God while doing the things we enjoy doing together as a family?
1) Special projects: See God's creativity in the way He's made us to be creative individuals. Focus on having a servant's heart when we have the opportunity to work on special projects that benefit someone besides ourselves. This pleases the Lord.
2) Celebrate God by watching virtuous movies (I know they're hard to find), and point out un-Christlike behavior, discussing matters from a Biblical point of view, and teaching discernment to our children in the process.
3) Show hospitality and the love of Christ in our home, by the way we relate with one another. Be willing to be hospitable even when things aren't "perfect" - the house neat and clean, a fancy meal to share, etc... I've often wondered what sort of example we set for young believer's if we only entertain when things are "just so". I would not want to make other's feel unable to be hospitable because they can't live up to the examples others have set for them.

So, here's what I learned about family worship -
It won't look the same for every family, because every family is different.
It doesn't have to be a "mini" church service.
"Continual" worship is pleasing to God, and He is worthy of our worship.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from this particular lesson:

"If you attended a worship service and you were not changed, refreshed, or renewed, then you didn't really worship at all. You may have had a nice time seeing all of your friends, you may have balanced your checkbook or read three more chapters in your 'Read the Bible Through in a Year' plan, but you did not worship"

"Worship is so easy to do. It is simply coming to the understanding that God is worthy of our loving dedication. God doesn't need our love, but He is definitely worthy of it! The act of worship is geared toward reminding US who is worthy!"
Revelation 4:11
"Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power,because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created."

All glory be to Him! Abiding in His grace,


john john said...

Me and the boys like to go to the gym, thats our family time!

Lori McGuire said...

Well, certainly caring for our bodies is a form of worship.

It makes little difference if we present our bodies as living sacrifices - holy and exceptable - but completely unhealthy!

See there, you can find way to worship - even in the gym!!