“…those who understand the gospel cannot possibly look down on anyone, [or boast] since they were saved by sheer grace, not by their perfect doctrine or strong moral character.” ~ Tim Keller
Archive for July, 2010
“Acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ, as He is offered to us in the gospel of His redeeming work, is saving faith. Despairing of any salvation to be obtained by our own efforts, we simply trust in Him to save us; we say no longer, as we contemplate the Cross, merely ‘He saved others’ or ‘He saved the world’ or ‘He saved the Church’; but we say, every one of us, by the strange individualizing power of faith, ‘He loved me and gave Himself for me.’
When a man once says that, in his heart and not merely with his lips, then no matter what his guilt may be, no matter how far he is beyond any human pale, not matter how little opportunity he has for making good the evil that he has done, he is a ransomed soul, a child of God forever.”
—J. Gresham Machen, What Is Faith? (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1991), 154
Tags: Dave Libbon, Family Discipleship, family worship, Youth Ministry
Dave is the head of youth ministries at St. Andrew’s Mount Pleasant. We had a brief conversation a few weeks ago about the challenges facing parents in regards to family worship and discipleship. Though Dave’s in ministry, my hunch is many of you will connect with his hurried life and frenetic schedule. He offers some valuable insight on this very important topic. Thanks for the contribution!
Family discipleship for me is a hot button topic right now. It seems that ever where I look there are 5 steps to discipling your kids, or the perfect plan to a time of family worship. I even found a 30 page manual on how to lead your family in a time of worship. It included this little gem… “If you have a difficult child, follow this simple rule: no scripture, no singing, and no praying means no food.” Now there’s an idea that won’t embitter the child against Jesus!
If I worked a nine to five down at the factory I’d jump at that kind of stuff (except the “no food” manual) because of the routine it offers. Routines are safe. The truth of the matter is that I don’t work down at the factory I work full time in youth ministry. Ministry, by large, is evening and weekend job so my nights with the family vary from week to week and season to season. When it comes to leading my wife and daughter to the cross here’s some things that I have found helpful.
- Lead do not push. This goes for anyone. I care more about my family at the feet of Jesus then if we hit our quota of quiet times this week. A little background for me personally is that I’m 29 got a hot wife and a cute daughter of 17mo. It’s taken me years to figure out the little ways I can encourage my family to treasure our time together seeking after Christ.
- It’s about movement not molding. For a long time I had in my brain a model of what my family should spiritually look like. How we should operate and what we should value. What I’ve come to find is that model had become an idol where I sacrificed things so we’d fit the mold. Then holding us in that mold took center stage. Where I have grown is that as we try different things we celebrate the growth and not the destination. One recent growth we celebrated was as we sat down to a hurried meal together and started eating we heard the sweet voice of my daughter simply say “pray” and she lowered her head and folded her hands. This memory still brings a smile to my face.
- The “what” is not as important as the time. We must have tried a billion different family devotionals, couples prayer manuals, book studies, and reading plans but none of them ended up being the perfect fit. Either it was good for my wife and boring me to tears or feeding me and not my bride. Where we have landed is that we have learned that celebrating our differences is an act of worship. The time we spend seeking Christ together is what matters even if it is imperfect in content.
When my daughter was born it rocked my spiritual world in both an amazing way and a hard way. The times I treasured with scripture in the early mornings were now taken up with bottles and diapers. It was a hard lesson to learn that my relationship with my creator is more dependent on him then my ability to have a consistent quiet time. This goes for our family time as well. What works for us, for now, is as we get up and have breakfast we read a quick devotion together and pray before we start the day. This happens as best we can. It’s not a legalistic daily thing but it is a priority for us. The night’s I’m home when my daughter goes to bed my wife and I pray for her, us, and her future husband. It’s a simple format that we hold loosely. Two books I’ve found helpful as I’ve wrestled with this are P. Tripp’s book “The Age of Opportunity” and Bruce Ware’s book “Big Truths for Young Hearts”.
Sin has made us God-haters at the core of our souls so that we are all by nature at enmity with God. In order for us to do what God would have us to do, we need to be who God wants us to be. And in order for us to be who God wants us to be, we need new natures. And because we cannot change our own nature, no more than we can push a bus while we are riding in it, we are in need of the sovereign hand of grace to change it for us. We cannot do what pleases God because we will not do what pleases God. And the reason we will not is because we don’t want to.
Nothing against Chef Brad, but I know a couple hundred people at 3000 N’ Kings Hwy pulling for Will! Will, his wife Hatton, and son Thomas are members of Trinity. Nevertheless, I suppose we’ll pull for both Chef Brad and Will since they both work at Croissants, home of the Trinity Men’s Bible Study on Thursday mornings at 7:30 a.m. We appreciate all they do for us!