Healthy Homes play a vital role in producing spiritually healthy hearts. We could define Healthy Homes in many different ways. For this Mothers Day sermon I chose to encourage spiritual conversation within the home. Do your conversations bring God’s presence into the consciousness of others?
Some lessons require us to sit down in order to listen, focus, concentrate, write, or remember. In my previous post I made the point that thoughtful people can do a lot of teaching on the run. Jesus’ parables provide a great example of using everyday events and situations to teach profound points.
After I wrote the last post I also came across this observation in a commentary. In John 7:37-38 Jesus says “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” That’s a remarkable statement, but the context is also important. The opening of v37 sets the time as the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles.
On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles the priests conducted an elaborate ceremony that involved the pouring of water and wine as a sacrifice to God. It acknowledged his provision of water when the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. According to D.A. Carson (PNTC, 322) this ceremony also anticipated “the Lord’s pouring out of the Spirit in the last days.” Jesus used the events going on around him as an opportunity to proclaim a truth about himself and the kingdom of God.
But how do we learn about the Feast of Tabernacles? We learn by sitting down and reading a book or a blog. Perhaps we learn about the feast in a Bible Class. It’s extremely unlikely we will learn the details of the Feast of Tabernacles in a casual conversation traveling from one place to another.
I suspect that when we think of formal spiritual education most of us think first of our church’s Bible classes. That’s not a bad thing. Churches should have the goal of providing top notch Bible education, both accumulating knowledge and putting it into practice. When Christians fail to take advantage of the educational opportunities churches provide they seldom substitute those opportunities with something more spiritually beneficial. (I also accept that not all church offerings reflect the same quality.)
However, first and foremost families/parents bear the responsibility for the spiritual education in the home. In Ephesians 6:4 fathers are given the specific responsibility to “bring [your children] up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” It doesn’t say “Fathers drive your children to church” it tells fathers to train and teach their children. And just because the passage doesn’t specifically mention mothers doesn’t mean that they have zero responsibility in this area.
So how do you study and teach the Bible within your home? Throughout my childhood Dad would make sure we sat down to read a few Bible verses and pray together most mornings before we ran out the door to catch the school bus. With our 3 year old daughter we now make sure he children’s Bibles are part of the books read at bedtime. We also deliberately make sure that most of the songs we sing with her are Christians songs.
Maybe in your family it’s a time of prayer after a meal together or a discussion of the sermon over Sunday lunch. Whatever works best for you, I encourage you to take seriously the task of having formal spiritual instruction as part of your families routine.
I’m not saying that parents have a responsibility take 50 weeks holding long boring discussions of the book of Jeremiah while memorizing 26 separate passages per year. I like this suggestion from Mark Driscoll,
To be a good teacher, dad should use his imagination, particularly when his children are small. A wise dad makes up fun bible questions for kids to answer and buys props and secondhand clothes so that his children can dress up in costumes and act out the Bible stories with full drama while he serves as the narrator.
A wise dad may realize that a personal quiet time for himself is unwise; rather than hiding away in a quiet place to read the Bible, it is often best to do so in the noisy living room where the kids can see and climb on their dad while he reads his Bible. (Pastor Dad, 27-28)
Driscoll may put a little too much pressure on all parents to teach super-creatively, but he provides a great goal. It’s well worth looking around for resources to help guide family discussions. Christian bookstores have all sorts of devotionals for couples, for teens, etc that may help guide these times of family spiritual sit downs. Here’s a list of some websites you might also find helpful:
- A few BOOKS recommended to me as helpful: CLICK HERE.
- WEBSITES: Crosswalk.com has a page for parents with articles that might prompt conversation.
- FocusOnTheFamily.com has some resources for what they call “Mealtime Devotionals”.
- Here’s a longer list at ThrivingFamily.com.
- FamilyDevotions.org has a new post every day. They don’t seem very creative, but may provide a starting point for you to mold for your families needs.
That’s just a short list. I would really love for you to leave a comment and suggest websites or books that you have found helpful for your family. It seems these resources are pretty sparse.