In God in the Wasteland David Wells defines culture as “the set of shared values that are held to prescribe what is normal in society.” As I’ve indicated before, when I first started hearing the words “Family Worship,” I was a little intimidated. It seemed like a weird thing to do, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to try to preach a sermon to my wife and kids or come up with something wonderfully creative on a daily basis. It is so liberating to recognize that all that is meant by “Family Worship” is that we seek to read the Bible, sing a hymn or spiritual song, and pray together on a regular basis. (I think it’s also a great idea to memorize Scripture together and try to learn the answers to catechism questions).
For many evangelicals, it seems normal to watch blasphemous, vain, immoral tripe on television as a family, but it seems strange to even consider singing a hymn, reading a chapter of the Bible, and praying together as a family.
This is a huge problem in evangelical culture, and it shows that we are indeed more conformed to the world than we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.
So I plan to distribute Don Whitney’s booklet on Family Worship as often as I get the opportunity, and I’m also glad that Richard Fields has developed a new tool for us at Redeemer. Those of you who are pastors or serving at churches, I commend this idea to you. We learned from Mark Dever that it is a good idea to plan out worship services in advance. We are a couple months ahead, and as we work ahead this way, Richard is taking our planned worship services and creating devotional guides that correspond to the worship services. This way an individual or a family can read the biblical passages and sing the songs that will be read, preached, and sung the coming Lord’s day.
I praise God that Richard came up with this idea, and I hope it will benefit you. If we are to staunch the hemorrhaging of kids going off to college and leaving the faith of their fathers, we who are fathers must resolve that we will be part of an evangelical culture in which family worship is normal not weird. The two years since our first child was born have flown by. Let’s get to work.
I’m intrigued by what you’re suggesting, thanks. Then again, I’m not sure just exactly what I’ll be preaching that far ahead. 🙂
I’m enjoying your site a lot these days. I have not been posting on my own blog, in part because I moved WordPress to my own site and have been fidgeting with it.
Blessings to you and Jill,
“…in the evangelical culture I grew up in Family Worship seemed weird. It seemed normal to watch blasphemous, vain, immoral tripe on television as a family. It seemed strange to even consider singing a hymn, reading a chapter of the Bible, and praying together as a family. ”
This is a really great point and I’m sure it would be typical of most American evangelicals. I guess that’s why one of the biblical qualifications for church leadership is that a man rule his own house (family) well. It’s too bad we’ve neglected that qualification or at least neglecting stressing it.
Good idea… start them young.
As I was reading the text I realized that this could have been the model the early Church used so long ago. Technology, and other distractions, have become the substitute over the last several generations.
Last week we had a guest pastor named Greg Frizzell. He has a book called ‘Returning to Holiness.’ He has written several books on Prayer and Revival. He did a seminar for the church leaders on prayer and cleansing. He has a new book being releaased soon
‘Releasing the Revival Flood’. Go to http://www.masterdesign.org if you wouild like further info.
This is a series of questions Dr Frizzell asks on our attitude and thought toward GOD.
Optional Questions for Deeper Reflection and Cleansing
1. Do I truly seek to hallow God and exalt His Name in all my attitudes and thoughts?
2. Am I exhibiting a profound reverential fear and awe of God in all my attitudes? Am I in any
area placing my will over God’s?
3. Are my thoughts actually more consumed with work, hobbies or family than with Christ? Do
my motives in prayer or service revolve around some personal gain or interest?
4. Is my greatest affection and excitement more for things on earth than spiritual growth and
serving Jesus? Have I failed to center my thoughts on reaching the lost and unchurched?
5. Do I have any persistent thought patterns that are angry, bitter, resentful or unforgiving?
6. Is there any pattern of dwelling on impure thoughts or looking at unclean images? Do I
watch programs or view Internet sites that feature immorality?
7. Do I tend toward pride and want very much to be noticed by others? Am I always seeking
8. Am I in any way envious, self-seeking and over-competitive? Am I jealous when certain
others are praised?
9. Do I tend to worry and fret more than believe and trust God? Am I failing to claim God’s
promise and cast my cares upon Him?
10. Do I tend to gripe and complain instead of praise and thank God in all things?
11. Am I lukewarm about God and His service? Have I lost my first love and excitement for
Christ? Am I lukewarm about prayer, Scripture reading, service, sacrificial giving or
12. Do I have wrong attitudes and thoughts that have remained in my life a long time? Do I take
sins of attitude lightly? God doesn’t – sins of attitude and thoughts are actually the seed bed
of all sin! (Pride, jealously, lukewarmness, self-will, unbelief, etc.)
I think this is why most people can’t get their prayers answered, they are sick or dying needlessly without hope and they think God should be held in a box (the church building) during the week.
Yes and Amen!
I appreciate your bringing David Wells’ work to the forefront, as well as your earlier assessment of N.T. Wright. I have recently read Well’s book, “Above All Earthly Powers: Christ in a Postmodern World”, and find little I disagree with. I’ll list you on my blogroll.
We just took a group of leaders through Whitney’s booklet on Family Worship. Great stuff. A few found it a little intimidating and really appreciated the testimony of Rick Husband, the astronaut. They felt like they could identify with him because he wasn’t a preacher or missionary.
Great post! It is best to start when they are young. My oldest daughter is now 3 years old and has grown up in our family where singing hymns and praying was a common practice. Now, at 3 years old, her two favorite songs are Amazing Grace and And Can It Be (she also likes Bloody Sunday by U2). Of course, she is as disobedient as the next 3 year old and require much love and discipline, but there is somehting sweet about a small child singing Amazing Grace at the top of her lungs – ‘…saved a-a wetch wike me…’. And its a short step to teach them what all this means when they have all the words in their head.
Great post. I really appreciate the work you all are doing with the family devotionals leading up to the service. Great stuff. May have to “lift it” for folks here at FBC!
Grace and peace,
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