Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Family in God's Presence

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This is a second posting on discipling our children that began with this call to parents to take seriously their responsibility toward their descendants.

One of the wonderful ways we can teach our kids is to have them at the Sunday morning service with us. I am grateful to belong to a church where the pastor hates juniour church. We have long believed in the importance of having our children worship with us and learn together with us.

John and Noel Piper, in their excellent pamphlet The Family: Together in God's Presence, express the importance this way:

Children should see how Mom and Dad bow their heads in earnest prayer during the prelude and other non-directed times. They should see how Mom and Dad sing praise to God with joy in their faces, and how they listen hungrily to His Word. They should catch the spirit of their parents meeting the living God. Something seems wrong when parents want to take their children in the formative years and put them with other children and other adults to form their attitude and behavior in worship. Parents should be jealous to model for their children the tremendous value they put on reverence in the presence of Almighty God.

Our children are five anFlickr Photod seven. They have learned the basic skills of singing with us, and sitting still through the message. Our pastor, who loves kids, makes an extraordinary effort to include the children in the sermon, occasionally asking the children questions, explaining key points in simple language, and using compelling and memorable allegories.

To further help them participate in the message itself, we encourage them to write or draw something related to what the preacher is speaking about. The pictures on this entry were taken from the kids' notebooks.

Here is an extract from the five year old’s notebook from a sermon on Romans 8:5:

how can we be justified? Well, we can ask God But if you are in hte flehs you can not be justified. things will not Get you to heaven. But we can repent from our sin.
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Another extract from the same author's notebook, a few weeks later:

God came to us. He deid on the cross. God is the only person who is perecet [perfect]. But on the other hand there is sin. Satan tempts us to sin. But God is good. God has sent blessings. psalm 100:29 says: They provoked the LORD to anger with their deeds, and a plague broke out among them. this is of the scripture. Revelation 22:21 says the grace of the LORD Jesus be with all. Amen. From the ESV. If you dond't understand what I meen I'll explane it to you. What a great God we have. I'v written all this with my owen hand. And no help.

And that's true. No one helped him at all. Those verses he mentioned weren't even part of the service. The kids frequently amaze us at what they are able to understand from the sermon.

Being together as a family before God with the assembled church family is a marvelous priviledge. Don't let your children miss out!
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JLF said...

Amen and amen! Sounds like you've got a great church... I should check it out sometime.

Does anyone else think that John Calvin sure looks a lot like Perry Edwards??

Dan S. said...

Great post! My favorite line from the Piper's pamphlet is "Worship is the most valuable thing a human can do. The cumulative effect of 650 worship services spent with Mom and Dad between the ages of 4 and 17 is incalculable."