Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

A Charlotte Mason Christian Home School: Preschool – 3rd Grade :)

Faithful Fathers

The Calling of a Father

Father’s have a very special role in the family. A father calls out his children’s magnificent destiny. “There is a secret in God’s heart about who our children are meant to be, and it is the father who helps our children discover their own story and secret, and to declare that over their lives.” (Ed Tandy McGlasson) In the Bible, we see that a father’s blessing was the most powerful thing that was given from a father to a son. And did you know that if a father is the first in the household to become a Christian, there is a 93% probability that everyone else in the house will heed the Gospel call (as compared to 17% if mother professes first, or 3.5% if a child professes first)? Fathers have a very special and powerful calling indeed.

Yet, how many of us remember dedicating our hearts to Jesus on our father’s knee or having our real life-changing spiritual experiences with our father? Hmmmm…….oh yah, it happened when we went forward at a Christian youth camp or concert. Did we accept the call for salvation there because we really understood the gospel? Probably not, and that is why so many many people who give their lives to Christ all too commonly fall away from Christianity within a short time. Like seeds that fall on shallow soil and die away for lack of roots. Shallow conversions are a common problem in the modern church, and kids are leaving the faith in droves. How sad. In contrast, imagine a child’s most meaningful spiritual experiences occurring at home during the daily diet of a father’s teaching in a special discipleship relationship, through a father touching his child’s heart with the gospel message. In this context, faith grown from a true understanding of the gospel is developed, and it will be faith that a child will not easily walk away from. Fathers who teach their children as Deuteronomy 6 commands, effectively pass on a lasting heritage of faith to the next generation.

I think every man wants to be a good father, but many are not clear on what the Bible expects of a father. Scriptures command fathers to diligently teach and care for the souls of their children day by day. In reality, very very few Christian fathers are obeying this day by day calling to disciple their children. They have relinquished their responsibility to the church which trains up our children in its youth programs, Awana, Sunday School, Missionettes and Royal Rangers, children’s classes and clubs, and various other children’s ministries. Fathers get too comfortable and believe that their children are receiving much of the Biblical training they need from church programs, and so they feel they can relax and relinquish the daily responsibility of teaching the scriptures, since it feels likes its being taken care of. “Involved” fathers feel satisfied with their fathering because they are attending the kid’s recitals and games and getting them into great church programs or youth groups. However, the Biblical example of an involved father, or faithful father, doesn’t look like anything of the sort, as scripture prescribes something quite different. Daily, a father is to praise God to his children with hundreds of words and practical principles. Day after day, he cries out to them, explaining the stories that glorify the kindnesses of God, His wrath toward sinners, and His vanquishing power over all things. In so doing, he reflects the heart of the Heavenly Father who cries out, “Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:7-11).

Biblical Worship is Family Worship

(Excerpts from A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays)

If we are to follow the Biblical pattern for family worship, we must look at Hebrew worship as a model, where worship was led in the home by the father. Christians should study the Hebrew culture since our Christianity can not be fully understood without studying the Old Testament and our Hebrew roots. “We study a Hebrew book–written by Hebrews; we serve a Hebrew Lord–who had Hebrew disciples; we desire to follow the first century church–which was first predominantly Hebrew; and through Christ, we are grafted into a Hebrew family! It makes sense to study the Hebrew culture”. Christians can learn much from the Hebrews strong family/worship lifestyle:

“Everything is centered around the home–family, education, and worship. Every area of the Hebrew world is entirely saturated and encompassed with God. The Hebrews make no distinction between their spiritual life and the physical areas of life. They see life as an entirety. It is all God’s domain…..There were times of temple worship; however, most of the worship centered around the home.

If you were to visit a religious Jews home on a typical Friday you would find everyone in the home in a hurried state preparing for the coming Sabbath. Setting a fine table and special meal. At sundown, all the hurrying stops. The mother of the home prays and dedicates this special day unto God as she lights the Sabbath candles to begin the Sabbath. The father leads the family in prayers, Torah readings, and singing praise and worship. He prays a special blessing over each child. The rest of the twenty-four hour period is spent resting, enjoying family, growing spiritually as individuals, and growing closer to family.

We should ask ourselves, “Is there a time, if someone entered our home, that they would see such devotion to God?” How ashamed we should be when those who don’t even know Jesus as Messiah, show such devotion.

Professing Christians in America, in general, tend to view “The Church” as a part of their life–only a small part. Life and relationships are divided into quarters, into four distinctly different locations: partly religious (a few hours a week at church), partly educational (school), partly professional (workplace), and partly leisure (home). Each person in the family is going in separate directions and rarely at home together. Even in the church, the only family time spent together is on the ride to and from church. Upon arrival the family divides into their proper classes. It is hard to find all the members of a family together in one area at the same time in church–much less worshiping and interacting together or praying together as a family.”

Weak Families Make Weak Churches

When I look around at the congregation of my own church, the only families that consistently sit all together in service are 3 families that homeschool! Amazing and interesting! Everyone else seems to be here and there with children attending their own classes. Have you ever asked yourself why we break our families apart and separate throughout the entire church service? The modern day American church has children’s classes, youth classes, young adults, middle adults, senior adults, etc. The practice of age segregation actually began in our education model and nearly every other social institution has followed suit. The public education system was influenced heavily by G. Stanley Hall, John Dewey, G.F. Hegel and Rosseau who advocated isolating children from their parents. This has been one of the fundamental problems of the public schools. These secular ideals must be recognized and resisted on the basis of clear Scriptural teaching on how to raise children. The church needs to strongly resist any anti-Christian culture that purposefully or unconsciously attacks the family and biblical values.

In the early church, children were discipled by their fathers in a family setting. In the modern church, Christian children are largely discipled not at home, but by various age graded church programs. Age segregation is a slippery slope that prevents lessons that should be learned from previous generations. We are moving away from an emphasis on the Biblical model of corporate family worship for the first time in literally thousands of years of church history. What is the impact of fathers relinquishing their duty? The results of this survey done by professor Thom Rainer may indicate at least some of the impact:

Those Who Understand the Gospel by Age Group

  • Born before 1946 — 65%
  • Born between 1946 and 1964 — 35%
  • Born between 1965 and 1976 — 15%
  • Born between 1976 and 1994 — 4%

Something is wrong here! You don’t have to look far to find statistics that the American church and family is on the decline. We are in a crisis, and we must do a better job of passing on our faith to our children. A lot of parents just don’t feel equipped, and that is where the church is failing. The church needs to effectively equip parents and hold parents accountable to teach their children at home, but instead the focus is on providing an array of programs that divide family, and unintentionally release parents of their Biblical mandate to train up their own children.

If you have never contemplated whether family integrated worship is right for your own family, but have instead rather blindly followed the Christian crowd, I urge you to view the following 55 minute video that challenges our naive assumptions about age graded programs, specifically looking at youth ministry, and how our programs are not the answer to building up strong, healthy Christian families. An excellent view for fathers as it calls fathers to take back the training of their children!

Watch: “Divided”, the Movie–Is Youth Ministry Multiplying or Dividing the Church?

Happy Father’s Day!

So on this Father’s Day I celebrate my husband and father, and all Christian fathers who need some encouragement to know how important they are. I pray that sights will be raised and hearts will be touched in our fathers. Please share this post with Christian fathers you know. Pray for our fathers to be faithful, pray for our churches and their leaders to open their hearts to family worship. Its very likely that there are no family integrated worship services anywhere near where you live, but still we can pray, and then share with our church leadership as the opportunity arises. I think many of our Pastors and church leaders are worn out with methods that are not effectively reaching the next generation. The ability to truly reach the next generation lies within fathers. Fathers discipling their own families is critical to the preservation of faith in our society. We need our faithful fathers!

More to Think About:

A Great Article: The Biblical Model for Family Integrated Worship and Biblical Mandate for Daily Home Discipleship

Directory and Resources at: The National Center for Family-Integrated Churches

A National Conference for Dads: The Masters Plan for Fatherhood (The schedule of classes looks great! I hope we will be able to participate in the Fresno conference in November.)

A Father’s Day Gift Suggestion: Wild at Heart (I am getting this book for my husband)

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I Love Daddy!

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Evening Family Devotions

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A Happy Girl at the Apricot Farm

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Noah Kept Asking, “What Are You Going to Make With All Those Apricots Mommy?”

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So I Got the Kids to Work on a Gluten Free Apricot Crisp

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My Little Sunshine Enjoying A Gluten Free Banana Bread Muffin

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Daddy Brought Us Home a Turtle That He Found at Work! What a cool dad!

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Father’s Day Appreciation

Trains! Trolleys! Transit Fieldtrip!

Transit Fieldtrip– a Father’s Day Lesson

My oh my, what a day we moms and little ones had on our Train, Trolley, Transit summer fieldtrip! The kids loved riding Bart, going over the walking bridge at Treat Blvd., and riding the Walnut Creek trolley. However, some things didn’t go as planned, and although it wasn’t amusing at the time, I laughed so hard retelling the challenges of the day to my husband. This fieldtrip served to remind me why we can be more thankful for dads, just in time for Father’s Day. First, I will start with the story of our Transit Trip……

The challenges of the day…… the Bart parking garage said “garage full”, I quickly made a rash decision to park in another garage that charged $1 every 1/2 hour so we wouldn’t be late, we missed the 10 am Bart train anyway because of the long walk, the Bart ticket machine didn’t give change for a $20, taking strollers up and down elevators at Bart was confusing, the train doors closed on me, we fell over as Bart came to a sudden start within a few seconds of being freed from the doors, we missed the trolley that comes every 15 minutes (a few times I think) because we were waiting behind a wall, the trolley driver was having a bad day, I wasn’t aware of how trolley communication works with a little rope to pull overhead when you want to get off, I got the same salad at Tender Greens that last time I said I wouldn’t get again, we had a poor tired little soul crying through lunch time, we waited and waited and waited for the trolley to come back to get us, we finally hoofed it back to Bart in 95 degree weather, the trolley started coming down the street a few minutes later but we weren’t standing in the right place, half of our party came up the Bart elevator on the wrong side of the tracks, we could not find the parking garage elevator that surely existed only a few hours ago when we arrived that morning.

The brighter side of the day………Friends arrived late anyway and so we all managed to meet up perfectly at the same late time, Cherie was a proficient navigator of Bart, the Bart workers were helpful, the kids screamed with glee as Bart pulled up, we fell over laughing as Bart came to a sudden start within a few seconds of being freed from the doors, the kids had a grand ol’ time playing on a cement “slide” while we kept missing the trolley, Emily spoke up for herself to the grumpy trolley driver, Emily knew how to pull the little rope overhead in the trolley, other people liked their sandwiches and salads, a nutty little old lady pulled out her bubbles at lunch time announcing to our children “Bubble time!” and then muttered “Now say thank you,” to herself as she walked away, I helped solve a mystery when I pointed out to Sheila that Tayler was dragging her feet in front of the stroller (she thought the silly thing had stopped working), we got one good sweaty workout on our trek back to Bart, after coming up on the wrong side of the tracks our party reunited with 3 minutes to spare, I learned how everyone else got free parking so that I can too next time, friends bonded and we chose to see the glass half full that day.

Chasms, the result of thoughtlessness

I know there are plenty of moms who can get around by themselves just fine, but for me, this is one area I heavily rely on my husband. Having a day that puts us totally out of our element, out of our area of expertise, whatever that may be, can shake us up to realize that life without our husbands would only be a poor shadow of what it is now. It is so difficult to know just how unaware we are of the significance of his role, how blinded we are by simple oversight–the inability to think of what life without him would be. If we know we have ungrateful attitudes towards our husbands or take things for granted, perhaps it is by not thinking, not perceiving, not seeing his significance. Unfortunately thoughtlessness in our marriages is ingratitude. A little thesaurus study reveals some interesting correlations. Ingratitude is synonymous with thoughtlessness. Thoughtlessness is simply not thinking about someone enough, or simply overlooking some of their contributions.  And wow, do you know that oversight is synonymous with chasm? When our relationship is characterized by ingratitude, perhaps that is when we most feel that there is a chasm between us and our hubbies?

Main Entry:
chasm
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: gap, abyss
Synonyms: abysm, alienation, arroyo, blank, breach, cavity, cleavage, cleft, clough, clove, crater, crevasse, fissure, flume, gorge, gulch, gulf, hiatus, hole, hollow, omission, opening, oversight, preterition, ravine, rent, rift, schism, skip, split, void, yawn

Do any of these synonyms ring a bell with the way we feel about our relationship with our husbands? Do we ever feel alienated, hollow, split, or that there is a void? Interesting that in the thesaurus, a chasm can be traced back to ingratitude.

ingratitude > thoughtlessness> oversight > chasm

The Lords Plans For Us are so Very Thoughtful

As Father’s Day is designed to be a day for expressing gratitude, let us not underestimate the power of gratitude this holiday. Lets make this Father’s Day special by taking special care to thoughtfully perceive what we have to be thankful for so that we can really show our gratitude on this holiday, but more importantly, all throughout the year. Honoring a father is more than giving another unneeded necktie, or a card with words written by someone else–a truly honoring expression of gratitude starts with a divinely inspired keen perception of what a father’s gifts, contributions, leadership, and life laid down for our families means to us. If our mind comes up a little blank, or if our heart feels a little empty, pray that God will give us sight to perceive how important our husbands are, and to become aware of what we have been overlooking. The blessing of doing this is that a God given thankful attitude will close up fissures, holes, and breaches that damage relationships. And perhaps revealing experiences like the Transit Fieldtrip are just the way our all knowing God answers our prayers for perception. He is a mastermind you know, who carefully plans our days so that the moment we ask, he is already at work restoring our relationships. How good it is to serve the Lord! His thoughtfulness restores every breach caused by our thoughtlessness.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Handprint Art for Daddy. We love you Daddy!

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