Piper: How did you do family devotions when your kids were really little?

Early this morning Bryce Butler sent me an article from John Piper on leading family devotions with the very young.  The Desiring God site has the complete article and audio to download.  Here are some of the best excerpts:

From the family standpoint there would always be a time to meet. It was at the breakfast table in those early days. So you have a child who is now rested—at least it’s the way it worked for our boys and Talitha—they were rested and had a full tummy. So they were relatively happy.

And at that moment Daddy gets out a big book. And he reads from it, a paragraph maybe. This little child doesn’t understand anything I’m saying. He’s six months old, or nine months, or a year.

He doesn’t understand anything I’m saying, but he’s learning big time what is going on here: he’s watching daddy take leadership; he’s noticing a book; he’s hearing reading; he’s watching them pray afterwards; and he’s learning massively important things before he understands a word that is going on here…

You’re not demanding faith from this little pagan, because he’s not ready even to come to those terms. You’re doing teaching: you’re building and your exulting and your praying and your asking, and he’s watching all this happen as you build that into his life.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Easter Snack Time!

Here is an Easter snack ideas I came across this week.  You can try them at home with your kids!

RESURRECTION ROLLS (description from Children’s Ministry Magazine; video from Cullen’s ABCs)

They’re sticky, gooey, yummy. And when you bite into them, they’re empty–just like Jesus’ tomb was empty on Easter morning! Make them for your kids. They’ll love them!

Wrap a crescent roll around a large marshmallow and tightly close the edges. Roll the dough in melted butter and then in a cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Bake at 375 degrees until lightly browned. (The marshmallow inside melts, leaving a syrupy mixture behind.)

HT: ministry-to-children.com

Easter Music Liturgy

EASTER MUSIC LITURGY (15-20 minutes)

Singers introduce themselves.

Singer 1: This month we celebrate Easter!  Why do we celebrate Easter?  What is Easter?  Allow children to answer: Jesus died on the cross.  Jesus died for my sins.   Jesus is risen from the dead.  Fill in any part left out and encourage right answers. Gently correct wrong answers.  Let’s start this morning by remembering the Easter story and saying, “HALLELUIA!”

Call and Response:
Singer 2:
Hallelujah means, “Praise the Lord!” Say, “HALLELUIA!” (HALLELUIA)
Now say, “PRAISE THE LORD!”  Listen to what I say and when I pause say, “HALLELUIA!”
Leader: Jesus is God! Jesus is Lord!
Children: HALLELUIA!
Leader: Jesus suffered and died on the cross for my sins!
Children: HALLELUIA!
Leader: Jesus was dead! But death could NOT keep Jesus!
Children: HALLELUIA!
Leader: Now Jesus is alive! Jesus is risen! He rose from the dead!
Children: HALLELUIA!
Leader: Jesus is the champion! Jesus is victorious! He is the winner!
Children: HALLELUIA!
Leader: Now stand up and let’s shout, “JESUS IS ALIVE!” (“JESUS IS ALIVE!”) Repeat several times.
Have children jump up and down chanting, “Jesus is alive!”

1. “The Cross Is Not The End,” Words and Music by Bill & Courtney Bell.  © 2009 Bill & Courtney Bell/ Sojourn Music

Singer 2:
We are going to sing a song to help us memorize a Bible verse, Romans 5:8. “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”  So how has God shown us He loves us? Continue Reading…

When Will We Have Time To Teach Our Children?

Adapted from my friend Maureen Bradley, Christ Presbyterian Church, Richmond, IN:

“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  –Deuteronomy 6:6-7

MEAL TIME “when you sit at home”
After a refreshing meal is a great opportunity to have undisturbed time with your family to focus on the Giver and his very good gifts.

DRIVE TIME “when you walk along the road”
Put in a Sojourn CD and make those minutes count in the car as you turn travel time together into an opportunity to sing and learn words of life.

BED TIME “when you lie down”
Most children would rather do anything than go to sleep.  Make teaching your children about God’s love and His purposes a central part of your evening routine.

AND IN THE MORNING “when you get up”
While morning can be rushed, it can also be turned into an encouraging and positive way to start the day.  Say prayers together in the car on the way to school.  Beginning with a focus on God helps set a proper perspective for the rest of the day! 

A Night At The Movies

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With movies playing such a large roll in American culture Christians always have something to say about the film industry and the new releases that hit the big screen every weekend. It seems like much of it is complaining. Some of that is valid, but sometimes I think we should take ourselves to task.  If you have children, it is your job to check out the film before you to to the movie.

–Ed Stetzer

Stetzer offers his thoughts on (as well as links to tools for) evaluating movies here.