Monday, June 21, 2010

Family Worship? Does it Matter?

Family devotions! For some reason those two words often strike fear into the heart of every father and or mother. And I think their fear is on multiple levels. Fear that you won't have the right things to say. Fear that you don't know enough about the bible. Fear that your children will be bored. And I think more often times than not it's not that we are afraid as much as we just don't know what to do or we simply forget and time slips away from us.

This past week I had a conversation with my kids one night while my wife was working a few hours at the hospital. We discussed what we can do to make our time in family worship beneficial to all involved. I asked them what I could do so that they would be able to engage in this thing called family worship. I received various answers. My son said he could draw a picture of whatever we were talking about from the Bible. My daughter, the quiet one, didn't say a whole lot but what she did say was profound. She simply said,"it's important that we do it!"

There in lies our difficulty. I think we have forgotten that family worship is important. I know there are times I forget. There are those times that life happens, time goes by fast and I forget. That tells me that I have not given the importance due to family worship that it deserves. If Jesus is truly the Bread of Life, and we always find time for breakfast, lunch and dinner and probably a snack in between. Than why wouldn't we find time for the nourishment of scripture and worship of our Lord. Ultimately it comes down to letting our call to lead our families become to casual.

So in an effort to refocus on the importance of family worship I thought I would take my wife's advice and wright a "how to" for family worship. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list but more of away to get started and keep it started. But remember, it really comes down to us not being so casual in our calling but instead embracing the importance of it. So her it goes!

Let's start with Sunday: Family worship doesn't have to be a class in theology. It's about worship! So start off the week by making sure you are with the body of Christ. There is something good and refreshing when you are with the body. However, for worship to be family worship on Sundays you have to do it together. So mom and dad, resist the urge to send the little one off so you can pay attention to the sermon or the songs. Worship is a family thing and must be the course you set your children on.

Monday: Pick a book of the bible and read some from it! It doesn't always have to be "kids story". Our children are smarter than we give them credit for, so don't underestimate what they can glean from the scripture. Sing a song. A hymn or one of those new fangled praise songs will work great! Pray! Let each member of the family pray. Help them pray. Model prayer for them.

Tuesday: Pray for the church! Pick out some people from you local body to pray for. Then write a note to that person telling them you are praying for them this week. Read a passage of scripture that deals with the church.

Wed: Read another passage from the book of the bible you picked out on Monday. Ask questions. Let the little ones draw pictures of what you read. Sing!

Thursday: Pray for each member of the family! Have each member of the family pray for one another. Read a passage that deals with family.

Friday: Read about a faithful servant of God. Read through a book or find information on line about some of the precious men and women of God that served Him with their whole life. Missionaries, Apostles, preachers, etc. All have stores that should be passed on about God's faithfulness. Then encourage your family to have a legacy that will live on.

Saturday: Pray for the service to come! Ask God to prepare your heart and the heart of your family for worship.

These are just some of the ways you can engage your family in worship. Again, this is not exhaustive and there is always room for expansion. There are no hard and fast rules. Only that it is a part of your life so that your family can see the value in growing and leading their families some day to Christ.

You want to change your family tree? Try doing family worship!

Don't be afraid to change your family tree!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Monday, June 14, 2010

Don't Be A Coward!

Father's Day is coming up this Sunday so I thought I would take a few moments and say thank you! Thank you to all the fathers who take the time to invest in the lives of their children. So many times we hear on the TV reports and in the Newspaper about the dead beat dads out there. And unfortunately it seems there are more dads out there that fit into this category than those that are concerned about the raising up of warriors for the Kingdom of God. So I think it is important that we say thank you to those dad's that love their children and the wives more than themselves. I also thank we need to say thank you for the lessons we have learned from our fathers.

Over the years I have learned many things from my father. I've learned the importance of hard work and working until the job is complete. I have learned that if you want to get better at something, hang out with people that do that thing better than you. I've learned that a good name is important, so carry your name well. I've learned that leadership is not entitled but you must earn the right to be called a leader. I've learned that it is OK to show affection to your spouse in public. I've learned that family vacations are important. I could continue going on telling you some of the things I have learned, but let me tell you one thing I have learned that I think is more important than all the rest. My father has taught me that there are no cowards in heaven!

Over the years I have seen my father stand up in the face of opposition because it was the right thing to do. I have seen him stand toe to toe with the enemies of God as he was giving someone the opportunity to accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. I have seen him go through battles with people that called themselves Christians but yet did not demonstrate any fruit of being Christians. It's these kind of things that have taught me there are no cowards in heaven only people that stood up in the face of the opposition and gave their lives for the cause of Christ.

As we approach Father's Day this Sunday let me encourage all the dads to remember there are no cowards in heaven! Stand for the right things! Let your family know that there is nothing more important to you than they are. Protect them from the evil of this world. Guard them from the impurity that exists to steal their hearts. Show affection to your family with many hugs and kisses (even in public)! Teach them what it means to love the Lord with their whole heart.

I know that typically Father's Day is a day when things are done for the dad or gifts are given to the dad. But this year dad, why don't you flip the switch on your family and do something for them. Tell them how much you love them and how grateful you are for them. Tell them that you will never be accused of being a coward because you love them to much and want to spend eternity with them. Remember there are no cowards in heaven, only those that truly understood what true love is.

Change your family tree dad, by not being a coward! Stand for what is right not what is popular. It seems the popular things to do is to be a dead beat. I challenge you to be a trouble maker and do the unpopular thing. Instead, be the hero! Someday your family will thank you for it when you all lay your crowns down at the feet of Jesus!

Don't be afraid to change your family tree!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Don't Underestimate!

Why is it every time we talk to our children about spiritual things we immediately think they will never understand what we just said? I am specifically talking about our younger children. We assume a lot about our children that simply isn't true. I think this is do to the fact that we underestimate what the Holy Spirit can teach them and quite frankly, we don't give our kiddos enough credit. For example, why do we think that when we go to church our children should go to some other place to worship called Children's Church? Who's bright idea was this? At this point we need to be honest with ourselves and realize that when you put 20 plus kids in a room with a couple of adults, it doesn't take long to see those adults have no chance and the children are the ones missing out. They miss out on hearing the Word because they are to involved with the other children around them. They miss out on being with their parents and learning how to worship. So why do we try to justify "children's church" by saying things like, "in children's church the lessons are more age appropriate." Again we are not giving them enough credit and, if I'm being honest, it is easier as a parent to abdicate our God given role as disciple maker to someone else.

There in lies our problem! We assume that our children could learn better from someone else. We assume a paid children's minister or pastor or youth minister knows better than us when it come to disciplining our children when the truth is no one knows your children better than you. We also underestimate how powerful it is to have our children with us. You see, Christ did not give us these blessing, in case you didn't know that's our children, to have someone else receive the joy of teaching them the truths of God's Word. He gave that joy and responsibility to you and to me. The family was God's initial tool of evangelism. God gave you and me the opportunity to let our children see Christ in us. Therefore, opening the door for God to save them through His Son, Jesus.

Which leads me to one final point. Don't underestimate the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can take the hardest most difficult concepts and bring them into the world of a child so that they can understand. The Holy Spirit has the ability to open the eyes of a child so that they can even know things better than us. But we as their parents have to put them in places that will give the Holy Spirit a chance to work. So if we as a family are not in worship together, how are we going to grow together. If we as a family are not involved in worship at home, how are we going to have those time when we learn sound teaching and instruction from God's Word together. How are we going to be able to teach to our children how an adult is to act in a corporate worship setting if we are not teaching it at home. How are we going to give the Holy Spirit a chance to call our children if we are not planting the Word in their hearts. All these things are a part of training up a child in the way they should go.

If you truly want to change your family tree, don't underestimate the power you have to bring little ones to Jesus. You can't do the saving but you sure can bring them to the throne! And you can stop underestimating what the Spirit can do.

The greatest privilege we have as parents is to see our children come to saving knowledge of Jesus the Christ. It is our responsibility to serve them Jesus.

Don't be afraid to change your family tree!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

This week my wife Angela and I will celebrate our 16Th wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe that we have been married that long even harder to believe that we have been together for more than 20 years. We were High school sweethearts, College sweethearts, young adulthood sweethearts and now parenting sweethearts. God has blessed us tremendously! I am so thankful that God has allowed Angela to be a part of my life. In fact, I have been with her longer than I have been without her and that is truly a blessing.

16 years ago we did not know all that God had in store for us. We had no idea that God would lead us down so many different paths. All of which have been for our good! We also had no idea that we would be the parents of 3 wonderful children. But that is what God did, and again it is for our good. But, it is also for His glory!

So many times we see things go on in our lives and we do one of two things. If it is a good thing that has happened we say, "Thank you Lord!" If it is a bad thing sometimes we say, " why me Lord!" But what I think we fail to say is, "It is for your glory Lord!" Because it is all truly about Him! His glory, His fame, His name, His will, His direction, His grace, His mercy, His love! It is all about Him. So as I look at my life this far can I say it has all been about Him. Unfortunately not! I wish I could say that all I have ever done was done with Jesus in mind. But that would be a lie. In fact, the truth is because I am a fallen individual in constant need of a Savior very rarely do I do things with only Jesus in mind. Most of the time I do things we me in mind. And I would bet I am not alone in my dealings. I am like many of you in that I wish I would do more for His glory and not my own.

Which leads me back to 16 years ago! Because 16 years ago when my beautiful fiance' said yes and became my wife that was something God did to bring glory to Himself by starting a family that would seek to glorify Him. I must say we have not always been successful in our desire to glorify Him, but we are trying. And that is all He asks us to do. Keep trying! Keep trying to glorify Him with our words, our actions, our thoughts. Keep trying to glorify Him with our marriages, with the training of our children, with our work. This is the job of the Christ follower!

The path that we must take to change our family tree is to seek to glorify Him! If we are doing everything as unto the Lord, it will change what we do and how we do it. For most people in society today, they are satisfied with the status quo. "If it was good enough for me when I was growing up, it will be good enough for my kids." Really! I know my parents did a great job of teaching me and training me, but I think they would even say they want better for their grandchildren than what they gave their children. And so do I! I want them to Love the Lord God with all their heart, soul and mind. With all that is in them I want them to praise Him. During the good and the bad, because He deserves to be glorified. For that to happen I have to change my family tree. I have to decide to live like no one else! I have to decide to glorify the Lord because He will be glorified!

Moms and dads let's decide today that the status quo is not alright for our children. Challenge them to be more for the Lord than we are. Encourage them to love the unlovable as Christ did! Teach them of the great faithfulness of our God and that He is a jealous God who longs for us to love Him with our whole heart, soul and mind. Let's change our family trees together for His glory! Deut. 6: 1-9 gives us clear instruction on how to change your family tree. So be couragous and act!

Finally, I would like to say to my wife, Angela thank you for saying "I will" 16 years ago! Thank you for encouraging me to not settle for status quo! Thank you for joining with me to change our family tree! He is worthy and worthy to be praised! When I look at you, Angela, I am filled with praise for what He has done! Happy Anniversary!

Don't be afraid to change your family tree!

Paul Kersh
Family Tree Ministries