Family Worship: Walk the Walk

This is the final post in the series designed to help you and your family get the most out of worshiping together. I pray as we move into July and we all come together to worship in one space that it will truly be a blessing for all involved. This series barely even begins to scratch the surface of all that could be written on this subject, but I hope that it serves as a good starting point from which you and your family can build on.

If your children are going to get the most out of the worship service it WILL start with the example you set. Certainly we need to talk and teach but, at the end of the day, if our kids to SEE us worshiping then the impact of what we SAY will be much less.

Are you worshiping? First we all need to take time to check our own hearts. Ask yourself, “Am I worshiping?” When you come to church is YOUR heart in the right place? Is your head in the right place? Are you still thinking and worrying about things that need to be done, or have been done that you wish you could change? What is distracting you from connecting with God and TRULY worshiping?

Are you distracted? There are so many things that can be a distraction while in church. Some of them we can’t do anything about. A fussy baby in the back of the room or the older lady two rows up whose hair is the strangest shade of blue. If you allow them these types of things can be very distracting, but some of the distractions we bring with us. Are you playing on your smart phone or other device instead of singing or listening to the message? Are you pretending to write notes on the message when you’re really doodling? I’m a doodler so I get it. For some of us this small physical activity actually allows the brain to concentrate better on what is being said. However, for many it’s simply a boredom fighting distraction. If that’s you, stop it.

Let It Go. Ok, I know you’re probably tired of that song, but stick with me. We often refer to the space that we worship in as the “sanctuary”. I really like that because, for me, that’s exactly what it is. Life comes with all kinds of worries, problems, and concerns. These don’t go away when we walk into the church. However, for me it is an opportunity to set those things aside for a little while. Whatever problems you carried into church will still be there when you leave church. It’s ok to not think about them for a little while. The message you miss because you’re worrying about one problem or another may be the very one that God wants to give you a solution to that problem.

Show them. Let them see you singing, even if you’re not very good. Let them see you putting your tithe in the plate. Let THEM put it in sometimes. When the preacher is preaching take out your Bible and follow along. When someone’s praying bow your head and show the same reverence you want your child to show. Let them SEE you taking part in each part of the service. Remember they learn more from what they SEE us do then what they HEAR us say.

So what? I hope that you have found this series helpful. Worshiping together as a family can truly be a great experience. It can be enjoyable for you and your children. BUT, it might take a little work to get there. At the end of the day, do all you can to enjoy this time together, worshiping as a family.

Below are links to the previous posts in this series:

Worship Is Spiritual

Be Prepared and Get Ready

Talk the Talk Part 1

Talk the Talk Part 2

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Family Worship: Talk the Talk Part 2

Yesterday we started looking at the elements of our worship service and why we do them. Today we will conclude that discussion.

Prayer. This one may be a little more obvious. Prayer is the way that we talk to God. We want God to be part of our worship services so we pray. This is part of how we worship God. It is how we “acknowledge that Yahweh is God.” It is a way of inviting Him into our presence and bringing our concerns or needs to Him.

Offering. There are a couple of reasons that we give tithes and offerings. This is something that goes all the way back to Genesis when Cain killed Abel. Even then Cain and Abel gave offerings to God. They took a portion of what God had given them and gave it back to God. This is the same thing we do today. Everything we have is given to us by God. Even the money we earn with our own hands, God has given us the ability to earn. We give offering as a way to worship God and show thanks for his provision. We also give as an act of obedience. There is much discussion on if the the tithe is still REQUIRED. However, in Malachi 3 it says that to not give the tithe is to “rob from God” and that by doing so you are “suffering under a curse.” This is not the main reason I give, but I certainly don’t want to rob from God or to suffer under a curse.

Message. When we read the new testament even Jesus read the Scriptures and preached. Some of the most well know words of Jesus come from times He was preaching to groups of people. Part of the calling of a Pastor is to the sharing of the Word of God. It can be easy, especially for young ones, to check out during this time. However, think for a moment that the very creator of the universe has a message for you and it is being shared through that preacher. If God has a message for you, you should probably listen. Talk to your children about this. Help them to understand that God has a message for them too.

Moment of Decision. There are many names by which this time is called. The point of this time is to respond to God. God has a message for you that is being delivered by the preacher. This is your time to respond to that message. This can happen in a number of ways:

  • At the alter: Sometimes you just need to go up front, kneel and pray. Often your brothers and sisters in the church will gather around you and pray with you. They don’t need to know what your burden is. They can, and will, pray for you. In children’s church I often have kids that will come up front and pray during this time of the service. Encourage your kids that they can do this in big church too. If they don’t feel free to do it as a child, then will they as a teen or young adult?
  • With the Pastor: There are some thing that need to be shared with the Pastor. He is standing up front ready for you. Sometimes it may simply be to have him pray for you. Maybe it is because you are making a decision to follow Jesus. Maybe it is some other decision, like when God called me to ministry. Help your child to understand that the Pastor is there for them too. Tell them that if they need to talk to that Pastor you are willing to go with them.
  • Right where you are: Many times, during this part of the service, I will pray as I stand. Other times I have sat or even knelt, bowed my head and prayed. You don’t have to go to the alter or to the Pastor to talk with God. Make sure your children understand this too.

Church Mission Statement/Principle. Reading of the church’s mission statement and one of our principles may be something that is unique to First Baptist Tallassee, but I think it is awesome. It’s such a great way to help get and keep the entire church on the same page. We are one body and the mission statement explains why we, at First Baptist, do everything that we do. You kids can understand this. In fact many of your kids may already know that mission statement.

Benediction. As we opened our service with prayer so we close it with prayer. Its a good way to take the blessings of this worship service and ask God to extend them to each one of us throughout the week. It’s also a great chance to give thanks for these blessings.

So, what? Take time to talk about each of these elements. Help your children to understand what they are and why we do them. Explain how your child should behave during these elements. Should they stand? Should they sit? What should they do when someone’s praying? What will they do when the message starts? If the songs that are sung in the worship service are not very familiar to your little ones, take some time to listen to and learn these songs. Play them in the car. Play them while doing chores. Even take time to sit as a family and sing the songs together. If you don’t know all the words there are many sites on the internet where you can find them.

Below are links to the previous posts in this series:

Worship Is Spiritual

Be Prepared and Get Ready

Talk the Talk Part 1

Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. To ensure that you never miss a post subscribe using the space on the right side of the screen.

Family Worship: Talk the Talk Part 1

This is the third part in a series designed to help you, and your kids, truly enjoy worshiping as a family. If you missed the first two posts you can find them here:

Worship is Spiritual

Be Prepared and Get Ready

If your kids, or you for that matter, are going to get the most out of worshiping together it helps to understand what is going on and why. Take time to talk to your kids about what the worship service will be like. Talk about each element, why we do it and what it means. This will help them to get the most out of each part of the service. We could write entire articles on each of the different elements of a worship service, what they mean and why we do them.  For the sake of brevity here is some brief information about some of the elements present in a typical worship service at First Baptist.

Singing. After God saved the Israelites from Egypt and parted the Red Sea for them, Exodus 15:1 says, “Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord…” Psalm 100 says, “1 SHOUT triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Serve he Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful SONGS. 3 Acknowledge that Yahweh is God. He made us, and we are His – His people, the sheep of His pasture. 3 Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with PRAISE. Give thanks to Him and PRAISE His name. For Yahweh is good, and His love is eternal; His faithfulness endures through all generations.” Clearly the idea of singing as an expression of praise and worship has been around since way before Chris Tomlin, Hillsong or even the writers of the hymns that I grew up with. This passage in Psalms gives us some insight into WHY we sing:

  • Victory: Vs 1 says, “Shout Triumphantly”. Through Jesus Christ we have victory over death and sin. When this Psalm was written the writer likely spoke of more earthly victories, but these were all precursors to the ultimate victory God sent through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
  • Gladness and joy: Vs 2. We sing because we have joy that comes from God, even in the hard times.
  • Yahweh is God: Vs 3. We sing because God is God. This reminds us that God is in charge. That He rules over everything. Even when bad times come, God is still God and for this reason we sing.
  • He made us: Vs 3. We are HIS creation. Genesis 2:7 tells us that God, “…formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils,and the man became a living being.” Everything else God created He SPOKE into existence. When He created mankind he did it with His own hands and with His own breath breathed life into us. We sing because He created us.
  • We are His: Vs 3. This verse says that we are His sheep. Not in the sense that He OWNS us, but rather in the sense of a good shepherd who cares for His flock, provides for His flock and looks over them. We sing because God is a good shepherd and we are His sheep.
  • Thanksgiving: Vs 4. All that we have comes from God. Salvation comes from God. For this reason we sing.
  • God is good: Vs 5. Imagine what it would be like to serve a God who was not good. I imagine we have all worked for bosses or supervisors that were not good. God is good. For this reason we sing.
  • Eternal Love: Vs 5. The love of people is often fleeting. It often only lasts as long as you have something to offer them. The love of God is eternal. For this reason we sing.
  • Enduring faithfulness: Vs 5. Faithfulness with man is also a fleeting thing. However, God’s faithfulness “endures through all generations.” For this reason we sing.

Depending on the age of your child some of these might be too much for them. Also, sharing all of them with your child at one time might be too much. So, pick a small number of them and talk to you child about them.

Like I said, we could write an entire post on each of the different elements of our worship service and why we do them. For now consider what has been written here regarding why we sing in a worship service. Check back tomorrow as we look at the remaining elements of our worship service.


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Family Worship: Be Prepared, Get Read

Ok, I know that this title sounds redundant, but stick with me. I’ll explain. This is the second in a series designed to help you and your family get the most out of worshiping together. You can check out the first post HERE. Today I want to look at how you can set yourself up to have a great worship experience, before you even get to church.

Be prepared. A great worship experience on Sunday morning starts way before you walk into church. I would argue that what you do on Saturday can have a huge effect on how you worship on Sunday. Take a moment and think about what Sunday mornings look like. If you’re anything like me, there is probably a fair amount of stress involved. If not, praise God, your awesome. Rare, but awesome.

  • Clothes: Remove some of the stress by getting ready Saturday night. No, I’m not saying you should sleep in your church clothes. However, you can pick out what you will wear. Get with each of your kids and help them pick it out. If you have older kids and your idea of church clothes doesn’t like theirs, then have them pick it out on Saturday night so you can approve it THEN.
  • Stuff: Go ahead and gather up all of the STUFF that will need to go with you to church. From Bibles to Sunday School books, to whatever else needs to go. Get all of this stuff ready Saturday night.
  • Food: Your family will need to eat Sunday morning. Go ahead and plan that out. Maybe it’s your turn to provide breakfast for your Sunday school class or for one of your children’s class. Take time Saturday to finalize any plans and make sure you have what you need. If you can do any prep or cooking ahead of time, do it.
  • But Saturday is busy: If your Saturday is full of stuff that will prevent you from getting all this done, then do it on Friday, or even earlier if necessary. The point is to remove this stuff from your plate on Sunday morning.

Get ready. We talked yesterday about worship being spiritual. This being true you want to do what you can to prepare yourself spiritually.

  • Keep It Simple Silly: Do all you can to simplify your Sunday morning routine. Some of this happens the night before, as mentioned above.  But, this can also be a matter of simplifying Sunday morning. Maybe it means cereal instead of eggs and bacon. Maybe it means cold cuts for lunch instead of something that requires a lot of Sunday morning prep. The idea is to remove as much stress as possible to be able to enter the church with a heart of worship.
  • Get up earlier: Ok, I know. It’s Sunday morning and you want to sleep in. I get it. But, if you want for you and your family to be in a better position to worship you might need to give up a little bit of sleep. You can make it up that afternoon. Or, even better, go to bed earlier. I know that’s not always possible, but when you can, it’s a good idea.
  • Leave early: You know how long it takes to get from your house to the church. Leave 10 – 15 minutes early. Worse case scenario you get there early. Trust me someone will be there. The building will be open. You can use that time to pray, to relax, or to talk with the other people who got there early. More importantly you will avoid the stress that comes from running late. This stress can derail your worship fast.

So, what. The bottom line is this. Look at your Sunday morning routine and do what you can to remove as much stress as possible from it. This will not guarantee that your worship experience is out of this world, but it will help to put YOU in a better place to worship.

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Family Worship: Worship Is Spiritual

This Sunday we start July Jubilee. During the month of July we will have one Sunday school hour and one worship hour. For this month we will not have Children’s Church. We are doing this so families can worship together. I understand how difficult it can be to sit through a worship service with a small child, much less actually worship or try to pay attention to the message. This week I will share 5 posts aimed at helping you and your family, including the little ones, make the most out of worshiping together as a family.

Worship is Spiritual. In John 4:23 Jesus said, “But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” This passages shows that worship is much more than a physical thing. TRUE worship is spiritual.

The physical matters. One could say that worship is spiritual and because of this the physical doesn’t matter. This simply isn’t true. Acts 16:25 says, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God…” This was after they had stripped and beaten; and while they were sitting in prison. Clearly this example shows that we can worship God regardless of the PHYSICAL circumstances, but this does not mean that they physical doesn’t matter. The temperature in the room, the noise level, movement around you, etc can be distractions that make it harder to worship.

The spiritual matters MORE. Certainly the physical matters. Comfortable seats, few distractions, and music you like can all make it easier to enter into a state of worship. However, we have to remember what worship REALLY is. Is worship music? Well, that’s an expression of worship. Is worship sharing the word of God? That, too, is an expression of worship. One of the definitions Merriam-Webster gives for worship is “reverence offered to a divine being.” Clearly this is what we are talking about in a “worship service”. Can this be done through music? Yes. Does it have to be? No. At funerals we show reverence with silence. In the military reverence is shown by saluting. After tragedy we show reverence by flying flags at half mast. Reverence can be shown in a wide variety of ways.

So, what? The bottom line is this. The physical circumstances matter. The right conditions can make it much easier to worship. But, God is still God, regardless of the conditions. Suppose for a minute your at the Iron Bowl. Do you still cheer for your team if they are losing? Are they still your team when they do something you don’t think they should do? If they changed their uniforms and you didn’t like the new ones, are they still your team? How about if it starts raining. What if it’s really hot? Do you still cheer for them under these conditions? If they are your team, then of course you do. Yet we will let a restless child totally derail our worship of GOD. If God is your God, then He is still your God regardless of the circumstances. I know that it is not easy, but remember that even when the conditions are not ideal, worship is SPIRITUAL and God is still God so worship can happen.

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