Proverbs Family Devotional Guide

Proverbs’ Instruction for Parents: Proverbs are “rules of thumb” for living a life of faith in God’s world. In chapters 1-9 of this book, Solomon addresses the “son” and encourages him to listen to the “rules of thumb” his father and mother teach him, because this instruction will prove to be a great prize (1:8-9). Parents, especially fathers, should not ignore the emphasis in this book on their role in teaching their kids.  Parents are the primary educators of their children in Proverbs, and that role should not be neglected.

Topics to Talk About With Your Kids: Teaching must have a goal.  Modern educational theory sees knowledge (cognitive skills), attitudes (affective skills), and abilities (psychomotor skills) as the goals of teaching.  In Proverbs, the goal of teaching is (1) Faith, (2) Character, and (3) Wise Living. Continue Reading…

How to talk with your kids about the Shelby Park shooting

If you have been following Sojourn blogs or have payed attention during announcements at services over the past few weeks, you may know about the recent shooting in Shelby Park, one of the neighborhoods surrounding our Germantown campus.  A member of our sister church, Immanuel Baptist, was shot late Sunday evening, December 13th.  He was rushed to the hospital where he has undergone several major surgeries.  He is badly injured and is currently in a coma.

You may have already had the opportunity to speak with your children about this tragedy.  If they have heard about this tragedy, they certainly are asking questions and wanting updates.  If you live in the immediate neighborhood, your kids may have begun to express fears and concerns about their safety (or sense your fears and concerns).  Our hope is that this post would help you point your children to Christ through this situation and will help you answer their questions in a way that is adequate and age appropriate.

Here are some things to keep in mind as your family processes together: Continue Reading…

Dads, the Old Testament ends with a message for you. God wants your kids. So, God wants you.

Here are the famous final words of the Old Testament:

“See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.  He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”  Malachi 4:5-6

One pastor, Steve Wright, observes, “Of all the ways that the Old Testament could have closed, notice how with laser accuracy it zeros in on one particular group–fathers” (ApParent Privelege, 135).  The passage promises a messenger like Elijah who would bring reconciliation of family conflicts within the Jewish community.  And it warns that the land will be cursed if the fathers do not respond to this messenger.  But how will they be cursed?  What is at stake if the fathers disobey?

Throughout the book of Malachi, the prophet has called fathers to turn in repentance toward Him and turn back to their community, their wives, and their families.  The consequences are clear.  By their actions, the fathers will either become a curse and source of warning for their children, or their repentance will be a source of blessing for their children.  And their children will be claimed by God as godly offspring:

“If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me.  “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants” (Malachi 2:2-3a)

“The LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.  Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth” (Malachi 2:14b-15)

God wants dads to reconcile with Him and with their families, because he has a claim on their children.  He desires godly offspring.  He wants the next generation to know Him and  treasure Him, keep his commandments, and not forget him.   And family conflict is an obstacle that gets in the way of kids knowing Christ.  Conflict with your spouse can be an obstacle to your kids growing in godliness. Continue Reading…

A Parent’s Influence

  • An extensive study of 272, 400 teenagers conducted by USA Today Weekend Magazine found that 70 percent of teens identified their parents as the most important influence in their lives. Twenty-one percent said that about their friends (peers), and only 8 percent named the media (from Wayne Rice and David Veerman, Understanding Your Teenager, Lakeside, CA: Understanding Your Teenager Books, 1999, 118).
  • says, ‘Nearly three out of four parents believe their children’s friends and classmates have the most influence… Yet contrary to what parents think, kids say mom and dad have the biggest impact on the choices they make’ ( is a web site of the Coors Brewing Company).
  • In a national survey, 1, 129 middle school students were asked what the greatest influence in their life was, and parents topped the list.  The results were: parents–37 percent, friends–22 percent, church–11 percent, youth pastor–7 percent, and music–5 percent.  Adult volunteers, schoolteachers, culture, and the internet each scored 2 percent or less.  A national survey of 923 high school students yielded very similar results (Southern Baptist Convention survey, taken from
  • MTV and the Associated Press released a study on influence of parents that said, “So you’re between the ages of 13 and 24.  What makes you happy?  A worried, weary parent might imagine the answer to sound something like this: Sex, drugs, and a little rock ‘n’ roll.  Maybe some cash, or at least the car keys.  Turns out the real answer is quite different.  Spending time with family was the top answer to that open-ended question… Parents are seen as an overwhelmingly positive influence in the lives of most young people.  Remarkably, nearly half of teens mention at least one of their parents as a hero” (“MTV and the Associated Press Release Landmark Study of Young People and Happiness” at

Research statistics found in Steve Wright and Chris Graves, ApParent Privelege, InQuest Publishing, 2008, pages 17-20.

Learning Centers: Sword Drill Center

Sword Drill Center

This is a place to practice using your sword (God’s word). Practice finding memory verses and Bible books.   Always be prepared to talk about God’s word and what it teaches about how to live.  Who do we fight for?  Jesus!  What do we fight with?  The Bible!  What do we fight against?  Satan, Sin, & Death!

Use the center:

There are 3 kinds of drills, and all 3 are called in the same way:

  • Attention!—Your hands should be at your sides, Bible closed, and cupped on binding of Bible.
  • Draw swords!–Hold your Bible out – 1 hand on top and 1 below – no fingers on pages.
  • “Charge!”—Find the reference called.

Quotation Drill (quote from memory):

1: One person gives the reference.

2: If you know the verse, step forward 1 step, then be ready to quote the verse and give the reference if you are called upon

Completion Drill (quote from memory):

1: The teacher reads part of the verse

2:If you can complete the verse, step forward 1 step, then be ready to quote the verse and give the reference.

Book Drill (Bible is used)

1: Any book in the Bible may be used

2: The leader calls a book of the Bible (ex. Exodus)

3: After calling “Charge”, find any page in the book called, place your finger on the page, and step forward.

4:If the teacher calls on you, give the name of the book before the one called, the book called, and the book after the one called. (ex. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus).

Clean up:

Neatly stack the Bibles on the shelf