Tag Archives: Family Worship

Devotions for Families in December

This December I wrote a Christmas time devotional for households for the church I serve, Cornerstone EPC in Brighton, MI called Devotions in December.  It has 11 devotions to be used during advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas.

I’d love to share with you.  Just click the photo above or here to visit Cornerstone’s site where it’s available as a PDF.


God bless and merry Christmas!




Filed under Family Ministry

Giving the BEST Christmas gifts to your children

What do you get for the person who has everything?

If we are following the model of Jesus at Christmas, his gift was his presence with us.  Therefore the best, most important gifts we can give to our children revolve around giving the gift of ourselves.

Here are 6 things you can give to your family this Christmas season.

Create enduring traditions as a family

1. Chop down a Christmas tree (together!)

2. Have a special breakfast Christmas morning

3. When you open presents, do it with a special twist

Give a creative gift of your time for Christmas to be spent throughout the year.

Here’s a thought!  give your children a booklet of coupons to be used to request special time with Dad or Mom.

Ice-cream, donut shop, apple picking, sledding, arts and crafts, go to a bounce house gym, Breakfast out at the restaurant of their choice, etc.  Choose as many as you think you can handle in 2010 and then give them away!

When you do them, take time to talk with them and give them the gift of being listened to in  meaningful conversation.

Wrap up tickets to a special event.  The nice thing is that you’ll be giving it twice—first when they open it and then again when you take them out.  I love double credit!

Try this, plan a surprise outing  and don’t tell them where you’re going  (plan 3 or 4 stops along the way)

Have advent devotionals together

  1. Buy and use The Advent Book http://www.adventbook.com/
  2. Advent Calendar (a calendar with ~25 doors leading you upto the day of Christmas)
  3. Read the Christmas story by candle-light
  4. Advent Wreath (four candles—light one per week, followed by white fifth candle on Christmas Eve)

Begin a year-round habit of family devotions

If you take the step of gathing at Christmas time, why not keep the momentum going by doing it right through the year.  My family and I we gather 2-3 times per week. (T, Th, Sat.)  We are reading through a book of the bible, memorizing an age-appropriate catechism, singing 2 songs together and praying.  We have a binder for each child with the songs, and extra paper for artwork

Some of the benefits of family worship are: my wife and I Model worship, be begin to balance some more formal instruction to accompany the day to day stuff (informal), we increase teachable moments—we can say, “remember when we talked about…”  If you need help getting started, I would highly recommend Donald Whitney’s lecture and/or booklet on Family Worship http://biblicalspirituality.org/fworder1.html

Repair broken relationships

Maybe you’ve hurt one or more of your children by your attitudes, words or actions.  If so, saying your sorry is one of the most healing things you can do.  Saying, “I’m sorry,” to them rebuilds the bridge of relationship and clarifies that sin (even your own) is wrong.

Learn and practice “speaking” your child’s love language

According to Gary Chapman there are 5 love languages.  We each give and receive love in particular ways (languages).  If we learn to give love the way another receives it, we can hit a home run.  The five languages are:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Acts of service
  5. Physical Touch

God bless and have a wonderful advent season!


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Filed under Family Ministry, Parenting

Fun Family Worship in the Gospel of Luke

Lately, we’ve been reading Luke chapter 1 (okay—long chapter!) as a family.  Here’s a thought about that!

#1.  Funny comment – When Zecharaiah was made mute by the angel because he did not believe Gabriel’s words, my daughter, Eden said, he had a mutiny.

#2.  A fun way I found to talk about the chapter is to compare and contrast the Announcement to Zechariah with the Announcement to Mary.


  • they are both visited by angels
  • they are both surprised and scared
  • they will both have sons (with first names beginning with “J”
  • they both have questions


  • they have a different way of asking about their announcements, “How can I be sure?” vs. “How will this be…?”
  • one boy will be a prophet, the other will be king and savior
  • one announcement was in the temple, the other in a peasant home

If you are sharing family worship with your family and want a great place to read, I recommend Luke.  “Dr. Luke,” as we call him, is a very good story teller who loves people.  Pay attention together to details.

If you’re not presently experiencing the joys of family worship/bible conversations, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a natural time to begin.

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Filed under Parenting

Kids ask great questions

Tonight during family worship we began a new study.  In addition to using the Child’s Scripture Catechism: with Answers in the Language of the Bible (a link to some are at Ann Voskamp or available to purchase here), and singing, we began to read the gospel of Luke.

Luke 1:1-4  Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us,  2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.  3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,  4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

I told my daughters that the words of scripture are important.  Dr. Luke personally interviewed eyewitnesses so that we could be certain of the historical accounts of Jesus.  That’s when my daughter Emma (age 6) spoke upEmma

“but how did Dr. Luke’s get his words to us if he wrote them a long time ago?”

Wow, what an excellent question!  We spent an extra 15 minutes to talk about how the bible came to us:

Dr. Luke to Theophilus–>

shared, copied and preserved for years–>

printing press–>modern bibles

If you don’t spend regular time teaching your children in the home, I’d encourage you to start.  It’s not too hard.  All you have to do is be one day ahead…

Grace and peace <><


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Filed under about God, Parenting