Wow!! It has been two months since I have blogged. This has been in large part to a heavy work schedule and changes in internet availability in various locations. Don't know who has missed me, but I have missed doing it. It is still a great way for me to flesh out the work that the Lord is doing in my life as well as sharing God's love and encouraging/challenging others to a life of faithful service to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This post will be a bit more personal and confessional rather than teachy/preachy which I am sure some will appreciate as that is what they prefer. It has been suggested at times that I come off as one who speaks to the sins of others without admitting to my own sins and struggles. While I struggle to understand how people can consistently see what I write or post on FB and get that, I want to own it and strive to be more vulnerable about my own struggles in my Christian walk. To be clear, I am anything but holier than thou. I struggle with sinful tendencies and spiritual growth as much as the next person. Since I began the New Year raving about spiritual growth and family discipleship, I thought it might be good to reflect on the progress or lack there of in the first quarter of 2016.
I began the year psyched about scripture memory, bible reading, and family discipleship. I wanted so many things for me and my family and had many plans/resolutions. However, as happens for many, most of those things have fallen by the wayside. Oh we still attend church and small group when schedule permits, but having regular devotions as a family or maintaining any kind of habit regarding the spiritual disciplines of prayer, scripture reading, and scripture memory has been a struggle for the first quarter.
For me as an individual Christian who is a father and husband, the struggle has been real. I did well for the first 3-4 weeks but busy work schedules and life in general brought many distractions. One wonderful development has been in physical discipline as myself and the family have undertaken to get more healthy physically and have made great strides in the last couple of months. However, as Paul says, "for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.(1 Timothy 4:8). So clearly there is a balance to be found there. My hope is that the second quarter will find some of that balance coming to pass.
As the spiritual leader of my home, I am responsible for setting the vision and goals for my families spiritual growth, encouraging it, and causing it to happen when I am home and able to do so. This has also been a struggle which I certainly attribute in part to my own lack of faithfulness in my personal walk.
So what are we doing about it as a family and what is my plan as the spiritual leader. Well, adjustments are being made personally as a family. Thankfully, we are at a church which heavily encourages Family Discipleship while striving to come along side families and bring support and resources toward that end.
Our church is doing this by way of a catechism and scripture memory concept. We will be utilizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism as a tool by which to think through what the bible teaches on many of the most important doctrines of the Christian life. It does this through the study and memorization of questions and answers designed specifically to drive us to what scripture teaches about our purpose, who God is, who Jesus is, what purpose the bible serves, what sin is, what salvation is, and even speaks to the sacraments of baptism and communion. Another aspect that I love about it, is that it takes us through the Ten Commandments and the Lords Prayer, causing us to memorizing and better understanding both. I highly recommend this resource to any family who is striving to lead their families in spiritual growth and biblical understanding.
Along with the catechism, we will also be memorizing what many have called The Great Eight. This is Romans Ch. 8 to be specific. At the rate of one verse per week it is very doable and in so doing we will memorize some of the greatest truths taught anywhere in scripture concerning our salvation.
I am very excited about this not only because I believe it will be effective, but because my family and I will not be doing it alone. We will be doing with our church family which brings an added level of accountability and support that I believe will assist us greatly in being successful in this endeavor. So while I will still be striving to supplement with some other reading of scripture and other texts as well as additional scripture memory for me and occasionally the boys, this journey with our church will be the foundation upon which we will strive to be more faithful in family discipleship.
Romans 8:1 states, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". That is a beautiful truth which allows me to move beyond the guilt and disappointment of the efforts of the first quarter and to pursue with all confidence and joy the endeavors of the second quarter and beyond.
If you have wrestled with your own personal growth in Christ or that of your family, I encourage you to find rest in this verse as well and move forward. Pray about how you can best serve your family and grow individually. Set reasonable goals and forgive yourself when you fail. Get back up and keep striving. I hope to post more about this journey. If anyone has questions about the catechism and how they can apply it in their home feel free to reach out to me.
If you do not have a church home, then the first step is to find one. I cannot stress how important a community and family of faith is in this journey of Christian growth. If you are anywhere in the Greensboro area, there are many healthy church's but I would highly recommend Living Way Church Greensboro. Come join us on this journey of growth together, and enjoy biblical worship and teaching from some of the greatest bible teachers in the area in my opinion.
I will be praying for you and I ask that you would do the same for me.
Let's live Coram Deo (before the face of God) together,
In Jesus name,