Pastor Chad's Itinarary

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Disciplining Your Family"

Deuteronomy 6:7) "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Moses speaks to the congregation of Israel with the great responsibility they have as parents to their children. This command is for God's people and it has not changed. When you read the text Moses does not say, this command is something to consider, meditate on, or even pray about. Rather, he says it is a direct command from the Lord Himself, to do! So, why is it so few Christian fathers fail to take heed to this command? James 4:17 tells us, "so whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin."
I would like to say at the outset of my post, I am not perfect in this at all. I struggle at times to discipline my own self, let alone my children and wife. I believe often why we fail as husbands and fathers in disciplining our families is because everything competes for our time. Lets face it, when we get off work, come home, eat supper, (if our children are active in other activities) we take them to practice or games, do homework, and get them ready for bed you are completely wiped out. I believe we get so busy with the things of the world the last thing on our minds is disciplining our children in God's Word, as men of God this should not be so.
Our men spoke of this in our men's small group Sunday morning, that our children will NOT be discipiled in God's Word in our school systems nor should we expect them to. It is our responsibility as fathers to "teach" our children (Deut.6:7). There is great joy reading God's Word together as a family in the living room. Taking one verse or a whole chapter reading together and discussing the passage as a family. It is also a great time to memorize scripture together and the books of the Bible. I wonder how many Christians today know the 66 books of the Bible.
I am wanting to encourage you as you read this and to encourage myself to be faithful to disciple our families God has entrusted to us. So I want to give you some things we do as a family. Please remember, I do not admit to have this figured out perfectly but I try by God's grace to disciple my family in God's Word and I have found this to help me in doing so.

NOTE: When we meet for family devotion, family worship, family time (whatever you want to call it) we do not have t.v., computer, iphones, ipods, or anything else on that would hinder our time together as a family. By the way if you are "empty nesters" you can still disciple your wife or grandchildren in God's Word together.

1. When we gather we all have our bibles. Usually we read from the ESV (English Standard). This allows all our children to participate, regardless the age.

2. We usually read systematically through a book of the Bible but not always. Sometimes we'll take a character (i.e. Abraham, Moses, David, Paul) and study how God used them. Right now our family is reading through Proverbs. You can read a Proverb a day for each day of the month. Here is a reading plan to use and print off if you need one:

3. We usually break down the chapter, so each family member has their own verses to read. If a chapter has 25 verses we have 5 in our family each of us reads 5 verses at a time.

4. After each person reads their verses, we pause to meditate upon those verses to apply it in our own lives and the life of our family. Meditation and application is very important. Wrestle with the text to find out what the author means as he writes it. Apply it to your children's daily lives and your life as well. Use yourself or family as illustrations. Your children will appreciate you willfulness to be used as an illustration:)

5. Something we started sometime ago but failed in continuing as part of disciplining for ourselves and our children was memorization of scriptures. We started back a few weeks ago making it a priority in our time together. Now, me, my wife and our children are having fun in memorizing scriptures together. By the way, we have encourage them by giving them incentives for learning scriptures! By the way, Charles Spurgeon was encourage to learn hymns by his grandfather by receiving incentives for learning them. Here is a great resource in helping you and your children memorize scriptures. All our family has just memorized Isaiah 53:6 and Acts 16:31. Here is a helpful resource in memorization:

6. Our family is not musically incline, so we do not play the piano or guitar during worship but often we do sing to the Lord. We sing some of the old hymns we are familiar with or sometimes we'll read them out of our hymnal at home.

7. The last thing we do as we conclude is to seek the Lord in prayer. I ask if our children has any special prayer concerns. Then we pray for pastors, missionaries, church members and those with out Christ. Then we pray!

You might be saying, I bet that takes along time. Well, maybe, I guess, but whose keeping up with time any how? Your spending time with God and your family who would want to keep time? Your child might have to miss their favorite show on the t.v. or us fathers might have to miss SportsCenter. What is more important? Your children's souls depend upon it and it is our responsibility as fathers.
Let me encourage you tonight, to get your bible before supper and read Proverbs 29 with your family and then pray. Or before bedtime, turn off the t.v., phones, computers and gather as a family to read the Bible and see the blessings of God be upon your family!
What do you think? You agree or disagree? Let me know how it goes!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Doing Good To Everyone, Especially the Household of Faith"

Galatians 6:10) "So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith."
As the Apostle Paul closes his letter to the churches at Galatia he reminds them of their responsibility for each other in Christ. He reminds them, "if anyone is caught in sin" those who are "spiritual" (those who are repentant) are to go and confront them. Paul also reminds these churches "to bear one anothers burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." Then he moves to those who preach and teach God's word, that they should be taken care of by those who receive the Word. He sums all of it up with the responsibility of the church "as opportunity comes, do good to everyone" but "especially the household of faith."
The last several weeks has been a trying season for the family of faith at Pleasant Hill. We have been attacked on different sides by satan. Knowing our adversary, "the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)" God often allows satan to attack His people to strengthen, test, and to prove the genuineness of their faith. But through it all (conflicts, sickness, death) I have seen God's people manifest nothing but the fruit of the Spirit which Paul speaks about earlier in Galatians 5:16-26.
The past two months I have been preaching on the "works of the flesh vs. the fruit of the Spirit." It has been such a joy, as I have spent the last few weeks taking each cluster of the fruit of the Spirit and preaching each one individually. Yesterday, I was given the opportunity to make some application to "goodness." "Goodness" (agathos) means the working for the benefit of others. I was able to commend God's flock here at PHBC in their "goodness" toward those who have been sick and the families who have lost family members the last few weeks.
As I commended the church as their pastor, I don't think it really sank in on how God had used them until they heard it from the family members themselves. As one sister (her husband had suffered cardiac arrest over a month ago) stood and gave testimony of how God had used the church to minister to her family through cards, calls, and visits during his time of sickness. Another gentleman (whose mother passed away two weeks ago, who was a member of the church) stood and thanked the people for their "goodness" through meals and visits toward his family during their loss. I believe it has begun to sink in a little bit just how God has used them (the church) to serve others.
With all that said, I often remind our people, we will never be a "big church", we will never have the "most money", nor "all the bells and whistles" in our congregation...but I tell them, "we can be the most loving-est church." We can manifest the grace of God through Christ and the love of Christ as we are constantly reminded of what He has done for us by bearing our sin upon the cross. I see God working in such an awesome way through His people...and I am honored to be called their pastor!