On the OffensivePublished by jon_gc on Thu, 04/12/2012 - 4:39pm
From Pastor Mac on April 12, 2012:
Dads, if we are to be obedient to Ephesians 6:4 and train up our children in the knowledge of the Lord it will take intentionality and creativity, mixed with a lot of dependence on the Lord. With life moving at the speed of light it’s hard just to find time, let alone create an environment in which our children will actually pay attention, to say nothing of what to cover.
My situation is that I have two sons, 10 and 8 and my girls are 5 and 3. I first attempted to do family devotions after dinner with the whole family, but almost went insane because I encouraged them to ask questions and my 5 year old Kada kept asking, “why is the grass green,” and “how did God make trees”.
After doing some praying and brainstorming with my wife we decided to divide and conquer due to the differences in age, I would spend most of the time with the boys in the evening between 3 to 4 nights a week.
My wife spends most nights with our daughters reading children’s books and children’s Bibles.
Last year I read through Genesis and most of Exodus with my sons, we dipped out after it began listing the measurements for the tent of meeting. We’ve since moved onto Matthew. However, back while I was working through Genesis with them one night I went to my bed and felt convicted that reading and memorizing the Word wasn’t enough. So I prayed and reflected a bit and wrote out three phases of discipleship that I am currently implementing with my sons. It goes like this…
Phase 1 - In the Word: I read a chapter with them and I pick out one or two verses a week for memorization. The great thing about kids is their ability to memorize is far better than ours, so don’t be afraid to push them. This gets the Word firmly established in their young impressionable minds.
Phase 2 – Theology & Great Books: I know theology sounds academic. But it is the study of God and how He interacts with us. Therefore, phase two is helping my children understand what God is saying to us through the verses they are memorizing. In other words, it’s helping them get the Word from their heads to their hearts. It is especially effective to share personal stories of how God has worked in our lives. This helps make God, and His Word real for our kids at an early age. Also, don’t underestimate great books, and their ability to work as an ally in sharing biblical truth. The Chronicles of Narnia, and the Lord of the Rings are but a couple of great series that kids love.
Phase 3 – Putting it into Practice: Lastly, now that we have the text in our children’s minds, and are working at getting it to sink into their hearts. We can devise a strategy to help our kids live out the truth that they are internalizing. Brainstorm with them how you can put what you’ve taught and they’ve learned into action, as James says, “faith without deeds is dead.” Kinda like a screen door on a submarine. Dads, may God richly bless you as you bring your children up in the knowledge and instruction of the Lord!