Friday, March 28, 2014

Fantastic Family Friday: The Family Altar

One of the marks of the life of Abram was the regular building of altars.  As he moved from place to place, he built new altars:  From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent . . . .  There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD (Genesis 12:8).

What takes place at an altar?  Worship occurs.  People commune with the Lord.  An altar is a place where you meet with God.

Our families need altars.  They need times and places where we stop and give attention to the Lord.  In our day so many things clamor for our attention!  So many modern distractions (that were non-existent 100 years ago) threaten to steal our time and focus. 

Our children grow up in a culture where they regularly see television, have constant internet access, use smart phones habitually, and experience an abundance of means of communication.  However, in spite of all of that they still need altars to meet the Lord.

Dads and moms, one of our roles as parents is to build habits and experiences into the rhythms of our routine where we and our families encounter the Lord.  Some people call that a "family altar" or "family worship."  It is a time when the family turns aside and focuses on God.

Children need to see their Dads and Moms open the Bible and read to the family.  They need to hear us pray - for them and with them.  They need to hear us open our mouths and talk about the Lord and how God relates to life in our world.  Their spiritual development requires that we model for them how to turn off all of the modern devices at times and listen to the still small voice of the Lord.

Donald Whitney suggests three reminders when thinking about leading family worship: brevity, regularity, and flexibility.    Keep it simple, keep it habitual, and remember to adjust and bend.

Dads, here we are in the last days of March.  I have learned that without a plan, I often fumble at family worship.  Why not take a few moments this weekend, quiet yourself before the Lord and ask him to guide you in planning some family worship for the next month?

Some days this year I have taken my family through parts of the story of Old Testament Joseph.  Other times this past month I have used pages from Charles Stanley's simple book How to Listen to God as fodder for discussion.  Or at times I find it helpful to share with them what I have read that day in my own Bible reading.  Remember, something is better than nothing.

There is no such thing as perfection in leading family worship.  The goal, though, is to be faithful, which involves making it a habit in our lives.

Charles Spurgeon put it well:

If we want to bring up a godly family, who shall be a seed to serve God when our heads are under the clods of the valley, let us seek to train them up in the fear of God by meeting together as a family for worship.

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