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A Simple Guide to Family Worship

June 4, 2011

[This article is not unique, as it is distilled from larger works for the use of my beloved people, with certain adjustments. Download PDF]

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A Simple Guide to Family Worship

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“Because the Christian is not his own, but bought with a price, he is to aim at glorifying God in every relation of life. No matter what station he occupies, or wherever he be, he is to serve as a witness for Christ. Next to the church of God, his own home should be the sphere of his most manifest devotedness unto Him. All its arrangements should bear the stamp of his heavenly calling. All its affairs should be so ordered that everyone entering it should feel ‘God is here!’ ” – A. W. Pink

I would like to set before you briefly the Biblical reasons and a few guidelines for family worship. Sadly, it seems that few Christians can remember having daily family worship times in their homes. Yet the thought of beginning this new pattern of worship can be daunting for those just beginning. This guide is written to address some of the most basic questions concerning family worship. I pray that you will feel more emboldened and more equipped to lead your family in worship through using this guide.

Our 1689 Baptist Confession highlights, “…God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth: as in private families daily…which are not carelessly nor wilfully to be neglected or forsaken…” (22:6)

What does the Bible say about Family Worship?

The importance of the home in discipleship is prominent throughout the Scriptures, which includes Family Worship. In the Old Testament, we read that discipleship is something ongoing, throughout the day: (Deut. 6:6-7). More formal instruction is seen in passages such as Ps. 78:5-7.

In the New Testament, fathers are given the command to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition (i.e. discipline and instruction) of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). Timothy a disciple of Paul was discipled first by his mother, Eunice and his grandmother, Lois (2 Tim 1:5). In summary, family worship in the Bible is rooted in the idea of responsibility. Parents, especially fathers, are primarily responsible for the spiritual instruction and vitality of their families. We must also take special note, that the Lord openly rebukes the families who do not offer up worship in their homes, (Jer. 10:25). The 80 year old Joshua announced to all Israel, “As for me and my house we will serve [also means in Hebrew, worship] the LORD” (Josh. 24:15).

What are the Benefits of Family Worship?

Family worship brings glory to God. God is most glorified when His people value Him above all other things. Family worship is a visible reminder for all in the home that God is worthy of our time, attention, and affection. Furthermore, family worship glorifies God as His followers are conformed more and more into the image of Christ. The love of Christ will more easily abound in a home where worship is central. Through it we demonstrate that, as well as worshipping God privately and in the gathered assembly, we also worship God as a family. Taking the longer view, think about the incredible value of family worship in the lives of children once they are grown. They’ve heard thousands of passages read and explained, seen God answer countless prayers, sung so many songs of the faith and memorized more Scripture than many Christians do in a lifetime. This is a foundation that will stand the test of time and will bear gospel fruit in generations to come.

Who should Participate in Family Worship?

The participants are all who constitute a particular family. In other words, it may mean a young husband and wife without children, or an older couple whose children have already left home. It includes both believing and unbelieving spouses (as much as possible), and certainly family worship can be led by a single parent (Acts 16:1). It is to include all of the children who are at home regardless of their ages. All can derive great spiritual benefit, even the very young and this also helps to train our children to participate in our corporate gatherings of worship together. By just listening and watching, they are learning the priority of worship in their lives. Remember that the practice of family worship could blossom into the very instrument that brings them to Christ (2 Tim 3:15).

Key Elements of Family Worship

Worshipping with Scripture:

The Word of God is to be central in family worship. Our goal should be to help the members of our family to develop a love for God’s Word with the hope that they will begin to live upon every word of it. Do this by reading of the Bible methodically, and by wisely dividing sections of verses to read each day. Also with this include, Scripture memory and review, i.e. repetition of key verses over and over till learnt.

Worshipping in Prayer:

We are to teach our children to pray not only by example from the very words we use in our prayers, but also by supplying them with the information to be prayed about. Pray often for the needs of your family and extended family (especially the unsaved), for the needs of families in your local congregation, the spiritual needs of our nation, the persecuted church, missionaries, and for the dire needs of a lost world (both locally and internationally). The list is endless. This illustrates to our children our dependence upon God in every aspect of our lives. The Church Members’ Prayer Diary might be helpful here.

Worshipping in Praise:

The Lord is to be worshipped in songs of praise. In family worship we should lead our family in singing to the Lord because He is pleased when we praise Him! The Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs which are often sung in the public worship services of our church should be sung. Aim to memorize Psalms and Hymns as a family. This could be done by repeating the same praise each day until you can all sing them without the use of the hymnbook. You can then move on to the next, but remember to go back and review the previously memorized songs. This will be great help for the children to participate in public worship, and in any place you may be without your hymnbooks!

Time of Day:

In a general sense, family worship should be going on all the time in a spiritually healthy home (Deut. 6:6-9). It is crucial to have a specific regular time, which fits each particular family’s daily schedule. The key is to make it part of your family’s daily schedule to show that family worship of the Lord together is a priority in the home.

Some families worship each morning and evening, others have one specific time. However, whenever you might decide to worship God as a family each day, it should normally include reading, prayer and praise.

Finally, be flexible especially when children are younger, or when visitors and unconverted people who are not used to Family Worship visit your home. Yet do not neglect it, but use it as a means of witnessing and showing the reality of your walk with God. Always look for ways to make this time of worship meaningful and edifying to the family by being prepared and reading on the subject.

If you have any questions or need help or resources in getting started, please speak with the Pastor.

May the Lord bless you in your daily worship.

We will not hide them from [our] children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” (Ps. 78:4-7)

Thy Word O LORD is Good Indeed

December 14, 2010

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A poem by one of our young ladies, Miss Hollie Wilkinson.

Thy Word, O Lord, is good indeed,
It is our guide to life through grace.
It teaches us and lights our paths,
It shows the glory of Thy face.

Thy Word, O Lord, is good indeed,
It tells us how the world began.
That all that Thou didst make was good,
And in Thine image formedst Thou man.

Thy Word, O Lord, is good indeed,
It tells us how we lost our way.
How we rebelled against our God,
And so we sin unto this day.

Thy Word, O Lord, is good indeed,
It teaches us Thy sovereign law.
Which in our sin we daily break,
And our obedience still is poor.

Thy Word, O Lord, is good indeed
It shows that there is hope for some
The prophets tell us of a man
The Mighty God, to earth would come

Thy Word, O Lord, is good indeed,
It tells us of our Saviour’s birth.
A mediator to redeem,
His people throughout all the earth.

Thy Word, O Lord, is good indeed,
That very Saviour came to die.
Endured the wrath of a just God,
To save poor sinners such as I.

Thy Word, O Lord, is good indeed,
It shows us death has lost its sting.
The grave no more has victory,
For Jesus rose and He is King.

Thy Word, O Lord, is good indeed,
It teaches us that we can claim.
No righteousness before our God,
And we must call on Jesus’ name.

Thy Word, O Lord, is good indeed,
It shows that Thou hast named Thine own.
Before the world began and they,
Are justified by faith alone.

Thy Word, O Lord, is good indeed,
It shows that when the world is done.
The Judge will bring our deeds to light,
As we all kneel before His throne.

Thy Word, O Lord, is good indeed,
It shows Thy justice will prevail.
The wicked will be turned away,
Their words will be to none avail.

Thy Word, O Lord, is good indeed,
For those who’ve lived their lives for Thee.
Will welcomed be with open arms,
And will be Thine eternally.

Thy Word, O Lord, is good indeed,
Its author well deserves our praise.
I pray, O Lord, for gifts of grace,
To love Thee and Thy Word always.

Afghan Christian Fellowship – An Urgent Letter

June 19, 2010

Letter to the Body of Christ around the world, written by members of the Afghan Christian community on June 9, 2010:

To the Body of Christ:

This letter is written by the Afghan Christian Community in New Delhi, India which is a small community of 150 Afghan Christian refugees and asylum seekers.

We left our country because we were sentenced to death on the account of our Christian faith (conversion), as Afghanistan is a Muslim Country, the Afghan Government is an Islamic government, and Islam is the only formal religion of the country, and according to the Constitutional law of the Afghan Islamic Republic, conversion is considered as a big crime, Christian are called pagans and infidels and are sentenced to death by the Afghan Government. Christians are considered criminals. Death penalty is waiting for all those who want to leave the darkness and come to the true light, repent from their sins, and put their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Lord and Savior of all human being.

We believe that you (the Body of Christ) have already heard that some pictures and movies of the Afghan believers (from Delhi and Kabul) were shown by an Afghan Private TV (Noorin TV), this TV channel showed these picture in a especial program (Sarzameen Man), and the Government and people were encouraged and provoked to think about the issue of conversion, to make a stand against it and to take serious and practical measures and actions to destroy Afghan Converted Christians (Sons of God) and those who share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Lost.

The Afghan Parliament, Senate, Religious Council and Islamic Parties and leaders made statements that the Afghan Government has to search, find, arrest, deliver to courts and executes all Afghan Christians, and the Christian NGOs and Organization have to be stopped too. University students protested against Afghan Christians in Kabul and Herat Provinces, and the Afghan Government also made a statement that all Afghan Christians will be arrested and executed, and the Christian NGOs and Organizations which involved with the issues of conversion will be closed.

Mr. Mujajdi the Chairman Of Afghan Senate said that if the Afghan Government does not take serious action, he and other Islamic leaders will call and request the Afghan people to take practical measures to kill all Afghan Christians. President Karzai himself showed his personal interest in this regard and said that all Afghan Christians will be arrested and executed and Christian organizations which are involved with this issue will be stopped. He ordered the Afghan security organs to take serious measures in this regard. The Afghan Home Minister and the Chairman of the Afghan Intelligence told  the Afghan Parliament that 4 Afghan Christian individuals and one family have been arrested and they are under investigation, 13 NGOs have been named and suspended, the names of Afghan Christians have been listed, and the Afghan Intelligence agency is trying to arrest them. Two Church organizations by the names of WCA and NCA have been closed.  As we are in contact with our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, many believers are arrested, our houses are checked by police and intelligence people in Afghanistan, our families and parents (though they are Muslim) are under investigation and even arrested, and all Afghan believers are misplaced.

  1. So, We (Afghan Christian Community) along with our other Afghan Christian brothers and sisters who are in Afghanistan request you to:
  2. Please pray for us and for this critical situation, pray for those who are arrested, and those who are under investigation.Please come together and help your Afghan brothers and sisters in Christ, as we are sentenced to death, we are arrested, we are under investigation, the Afghan Government kills us because we believe on Jesus Christ, we know that we should consider it pure joy when we suffer (James 1: 1 -4), and we are enjoying all suffering all joy. But we also know that faith without deeds is useless (James 2: 14 – 17), and this is the time to raise your voice for your brothers and sisters, for our children, for our old parents, for the execution of thousand Afghan believers. This is the day that all of us should come together and pray, think, help and raise our voices to the International Community, to put pressure on the Afghan Government to stop killing, persecuting and executing Afghan Christians, to give us freedom of religion, to respect and accept us as Afghan Christians.
  3. We do not know how the whole world and especially the Global Church is silent and closing their eyes, while thousand of their brothers and sisters (Body of Christ) are in pain, facing life danger and death penalty, and are tortured, persecuted and called criminals because they believe in the Truth.

We need to wake up, get up and speak up today, and to prove it that we are really in concern, and care for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we should help the persecuted part of the body of Christ, for His Glory. If we really believe that Lord Jesus Christ is God, then, He commands us to love Him and to love our neighbor, if our own brothers and sisters, are in pain and suffering, and we are silent and we ignore them and their suffering, then the question is that do we really obey Lord Jesus’s commandment to  love Him and our neighbor?

So, dear brothers and sister (the Body of Christ), we (Afghan Christian Community in New Delhi) on behalf of all Afghan Christians request you to support us by your prayers and practical measures, let us tell the Afghan Government that we are not pagans and infidels, we are not criminals because of our Christian faith, and let us tell them not to sentence us to death.

May God bless you!

Afghan Christian Community
(Obaid S. Christ)

Here are some links to reports on the situation of Christians in Afghanistan.

New York Times: Afghanistan suspends two aids groups. May 30.

Reuters: Afghanistan to probe NGOs after “preaching” report. May 31

International Christian Concern: Afghan parliamentarian calls for execution of Christians. June 2

Christian Today: Afghan parliamentarian calls for execution of Christians. June 3.

Elizabeth Kendal Blog: Afghanistan: what chance do ‘apostates’ have when their government is pursuing peace and reconciliation with an ascendant Taliban? June 10. – A VERY GOOD OVERVIEW

World Magazine: Kill the Christians.  June 18.

Barnabas Fund Report: Afghan Christians plead for help as they are exposed and threatened with execution. June 18.

Barnabas Fund: Letter from Afghan Christians in India. June 18.

Addresses to which readers might consider sending a letter of protest:

US Ambassador to Afghanistan
Ambassador Karl Eikenberry
Afghanistan
C/O Department of State
22101 C St NW
Washington DC 20520
USA

Afghan Ambassador to the USA
Ambassador Said T. Jawad
The Embassy of Afghanistan
2341 Wyoming Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20008
USA

How to Destroy Your Family and Church

April 14, 2010

Listed below are a number of verses that I have been meditating on.  They all deal with the sins of the tongue, especially in relation to gossip.  God’s Word declares clearly that the Lord hates the sin of talebearing and gossip.  It is an abomination in His sight.

The sad but realistic truth is that, this great evil has become respectable, and thought of as a lesser sin. It is relegated to the secondary sins, begining in families and then happily practiced among church members and ministers at home, on the phone, on Skype, on blog sites, facebook and other social networking places.

When our children/church members hear the parents/ministers in the home, they follow their footsteps in gossiping.  This has a deadening effect upon family relationships, and the Church of God, for which Christ died.  Also, this is one of the fastest way of destroying the local church and family relationships, and to diminish the fellowship among God’s people.

With pain I have seen this being done quite effectively among the families and the churches of our Lord.  When you look at the life of the talebearers, the gossips and the murmurers, you see a man or woman who is miserable.  Sin does not produce real happiness, neither in this world, nor the world to come.  The Word of God has an answer in the method of dealing with sin, but Gossip is not the way.

Let the Word of God simply convict us.

prov 18 - 8 the words of a talebearer are as wounds - small

Lev. 19:16 – Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.
Psa 34:13 – Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
Psa 101:5 Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
Prov 6:19 – A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Prov 10:18 – He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
Prov 11:9 – An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.
Prov 11:13 – A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
Prov 16:28 – A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
Prov 17:9 – He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.
Prov 18:8 – The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
Prov 20:19 – He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.
Prov 26:20 – Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
Ecc 10:11 – Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.
Matt 12:36 – But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
Eph 4:29 – Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Eph 4:31 – Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
2 Thes 3:11 – For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
1Tim 3:11 – Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
1 Tim 5:13 – And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
Tit 2:3 – The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
Tit 3:1 – Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
Tit 3:2 – To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
Jam 4:11 – Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
1 Pet 2:1 – Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
1 Pet 3:10 – For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

Dabney on Political Compromise and Conservatives!

April 9, 2010

Some interesting insights from another generation. Robert L. Dabney being long buried in another country and context is yet speaking.  Much of what he says is very applicable to the current election rallies in the United Kingdom.

You can safely insert “Homosexual agenda” or “Same-sex Marriage” in place of “women’s rights” for the current British Conservative Party, and it will be true!

It may be inferred again that the present movement for women’s rights will certainly prevail from the history of its only opponent, Northern conservatism. This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt bath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom. It always, when about to enter a protest, very blandly informs the wild beast whose path it essays to stop, that its “bark is worse than its bite,” and that it only means to save its manners by enacting its decent role of resistance. The only practical purpose which it now subserves in American politics is to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it “in wind,” and to prevent its becoming pursy and lazy from having nothing to whip. No doubt, after a few years, when women’s suffrage shall have become an accomplished fact, conservatism will tacitly admit it into its creed, and thenceforward plume itself upon its wise firmness in opposing with similar weapons the extreme of baby suffrage; and when that too shall have been won, it will be heard declaring that the integrity of the American Constitution requires at least the refusal of suffrage to asses. There it will assume, with great dignity, its final position. – [Robert L. Dabney – Essay on Woman’s Rights.

Pastoral Confessions (2) – My Speech

April 9, 2010

The under-shepherd has been called at least in two ways.  Firstly, The internal calling unto salvation.  The union with Christ through His blood which has bought our soul back from the kingdom of darkness.  This radical translation!  Being called a Christian, a disciple and follower of Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter.  What a privilege it is to be joined to Him, to be called sons of God.

Secondly, The high calling to the ministry of the gospel, the weekly preaching of Christ and Him crucified.  Being the under-shepherd of God’s people, and all that it entails.  Who is sufficient for these things?!

And then, with all of these privileges and responsibilities, I find that so much of my speech, conversation, words, and the thoughts before it is articulated into words to be of base nature.  Too much light conversation and words that are, empty, idle, vain, light.  Statements are made that have not been prayed over, that have not been thought through, without salt, without light, not salted with the gospel, not peppered with the savour of Christ and charity.  Too many words are used for self, and men, rather than Christ and God and His eternal kingdom.

I am too quick to speak, and slow to listen, and yet expect the opposite of others.  Family and friends are too familiar with the jesting words, and funny and quick humours words, rather than edifying and Christ-filled words, which imparts wisdom, counsel, help, encouragement, turth, loving rebuke and hope.

The ears of my wife, children, other pastors and Christian people, have become used to my idle words, and words that can be only described as gossip.  That great respectable sin, which is so wretched and heinous, and soul-damning.

My prayers have been most dry, and repetitious.  The lack of dwelling upon the character of God, has meant that I do not glorify Him in the sermons by the variety of God’s attributes.  The congregation has become familiar only with certain handful of often repeated phrases, adverbs, verbs, adjectives – in describing the glorious Persons of the Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The glorious gospel of Christ, has been reduced to a few clichés and empty phrases, without the force and the power of the Spirit.  Such words and speech are not worthy of the Christian, even less the minister of Christ.

Lord forgive and cleanse my tongue and speech, which is the commentary of a needy sinner’s heart.

Pastoral Confessions (1) – Introduction

March 19, 2010

This morning I was struck by the words in Revelation 2 verse 5 with the word “repent”, and that of me, in my calling as the pastor of Christ’s sheep.

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. – Revelation 2:5

Oh, being prepared to repent of pastoral and personal sins, is the most searching thing.  It strips me of all things.  It makes me feel very vulnerable, but praise God it is before Jesus my Lord.  The Lord Jesus tells me graciously, “except thou repent”, “except thou repent, my friend, my servant, my under-shepherd, my younger brother – repent my child for your own good and the good of my lambs, and I will receive you”. 

My emptiness and coldness and lifelessness and poverty of soul and spirit is this lack of prayer of repentance, the few pastoral confessions.  There is so much filth and rubbish to throw out before the Lord.  Oh, the self-raised hindrances – Lord save me from myself.  Oh, the old habits, and the new ones.

The Lord has spoken, “except thou repent” – Except  I repent, I will remain barren, dry, cold, empty, poor, naked, miserable, fruitless, without spiritual children, no power in or out of the pulpit, and Christ will come in His quick time and remove the candle stick from the church that I pastor.  I am not the only one affected, but it will affect others too.  What a disgrace, what a shame? All for the want of continual attitude of repentance.

I aim to ponder over matters that need to be repented of, and list them for my benefit, to be a reminder – to be there before me continually.  Oh Lord, help thou me.