Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Family Worship by Donald S. Whitney.
Family Worship: It’s perhaps one of my greatest regrets that we didn’t do a better job in this area.
We did other things we believed were important. We took our children to church every Sunday. We made sure they were involved in the children’s and youth ministries.
We set boundaries as to where they were allowed to go and with whom. We made sure they knew “the rules,” that is, what Christians should and shouldn’t do.
We didn’t take cruises or buy expensive personal items. We made Christian school and family focused activities a priority. We put in a pool so the kids could have their friends over where we could get to know them and we’ve seen some of those young people come to the Lord. We took family vacations. We tried to be good examples morally.
It’s not that we did any of these things perfectly … far from it, but we worked at it. We also read our Bibles and prayed, although again, haltingly and imperfectly.
But our attempts to live the Christian life, while important and a part of what we should have been doing, coupled with what we were taught and taught our children was too much about keeping “the rules.”
Let me say here that, at that time, we didn’t attend what you would call a conservative or fundamentalist church. On the contrary, we attended a contemporary church where “freedom in Christ” was talked about on a regular basis! Yet, in retrospect, our understanding of Christianity wasn’t really about the freedom of the Gospel lived out on a daily basis.
I wish I had been familiar with books and teachers like Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick and A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love by Milton Vincent. I wish we had understood the importance of understanding that the Gospel is something we must preach to ourselves every day and that it should be understood in the grace and freedom of the Gospel lived out and talked about in our home in more effective ways.
God, in His faithfulness has grown us and exposed us to better, more biblically sound teaching through the years. And we continue to grow in that area. We understand the importance of sharing the Gospel, properly understood and applied, in our home. But our children are grown with children of their own. A couple of our grandchildren are even married and have little ones. (Yes, that makes us great-grandparents!)
My prayer is that someone out there reading this will seek to understand and do that a little bit better as a result of my testimony.
One thing I believe can be an important part of good parenting and our own personal growth in Christ is regular, Gospel-centered family devotions. I believe this is important whether or not we have children and whether or not they are still at home.
I first heard Donald Whitney talk on this subject at a biblical counseling conference. I was both blessed and convicted. But more than anything, I was motivated to share the importance of all this with those God puts in my path both inside and outside the counseling room.
Dr. Whitney’s book can be a huge help in that area, but I’ll let you hear from him: Continue reading