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Family Worship

By Deanna Hanson

Family worship has been so helpful for our family. It has changed as our kids have grown. It has also changed as their spiritual walk with God has grown. We go through seasons where everyone is engaged in it and excited for it to start and seasons where a few kids have groaned when it was time to start. Each family can alter their family worship to what works best for their family. I am excited to share a few resources we have tried over the years and hope to help those who have been wanting to start a consistent worship time, but wasn’t sure where to start.

My husband John read Don Whitney’s book, Family Worship, to get some ideas before our family started years ago. It was very helpful and does a great job explaining the historical and biblical foundations of family worship. In chapter three, he advocates three practices that should play a part in family worship: reading the Bible, praying, and singing. He also provides some additional suggestions to be used only if time permits: catechizing, memorizing Scripture, and reading other books. At the conclusion of the chapter, he encourages readers to remember to keep it short, do it regularly, and be flexible.

We followed Whitney’s example. When our kids were younger, we would read shorter chapters of the Bible at a time, or sometimes only a few verses a night, pray and sing hymns.  As they got older, we began introducing different missionary biographies by Janet and Geoff Benge in addition to our Bible reading, prayer, and songs.  We would read one biography at a time, reading one chapter per night. If your kids are readers, you can rotate through your family and have each child read aloud that week. These biographies are short and so hard to put down. They are wonderful! We also started adding Global Missions to our worship time. We would spend the month praying for one specific country and use the book Operation World by Jason Mandryk for prayer ideas. This book is an excellent resource because it gives you an alphabetized list of countries around the world as well as information about people group, geographic, economic, and political information for each country you are praying for. Our kids got excited to learn more about each country we prayed for.  Here are a few other resources we recommend to adding to your family worship time:

Do you have any other recommendations for Family Worship additions? What has worked well for your family? Please share it with us.

 Deanna Hanson is a member of FCC and helps with our website. She and her husband, John, have four children and own a small business in North Kansas City.

Posted in: Christian Living

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My Daughter the Kitty?

by Gabriel Pech

A couple months ago my almost-five-year old, beautiful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughter, Mykah, said to me over lunch, “Daddy, I want to be a boy!” This was a critical moment for me as a parent. I wasn’t surprised by her question, nor was I even caught off-guard. But it was still a critical moment. How would you handle this question?

Our culture today would suggest that my wife and I embrace her desire and immediately start calling her “Mike” and referring to her as a him and claim her as our firstborn son. The culture would not only suggest this, but would celebrate us as exemplary parents for embracing our daughter for “who he really is.”

Here’s the thing though… Earlier that morning she was a kitten named “Summer.” By Alicia Harvey (originally posted to Flickr as Blue Eyed Baby) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsAnd this morning she was a rescue dog named “Everest.” Who my daughter “really is” should not and cannot be determined by what she feels at any given moment. I kid you not, she switches characters throughout the day faster than I can keep up with; and in fact, I spend more time trying to figure out who I am as we play, than actually play.

She’s five–she doesn’t know what she wants. If I let her, she would eat cake for every meal and make herself sick by only drinking chocolate milk.

In this video, one of my favorite superhero actors, Chris Hemsworth (Thor) has a similar interaction with his daughter. How does he handle it? In his words, he tells his daughter, “You can be whatever you want to be.” It gets laughs from the audience but it’s not funny. He is pushing the same worldview that the recent kid movie, Zootopia, pushed: You can be whatever you want to be.

This worldview, while seemingly innocent enough, especially when said to a five-year-old, can have devastating effects, especially in regards to gender.

The big lie that Satan whispered into Eve’s ear in the garden was that God was withholding happiness from her, that He didn’t truly want what’s best for her (Genesis 3). In essence, Satan was saying that the sovereign God of the universe, the One who rules all things, did not actually know what was best for His creation; and that she, a mere finite being, could better determine her fate.By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

Do you see where I am going with this? That lie back in the garden is the same venomous lie that is being spewed today. The lie that says that somehow God messed up when creating you as male or female, and therefore you can, and should, decide for yourself. It’s the same lie wrapped up in new language and propagated not from a snake, but from the popular media.

So how did I reply to my sweet innocent little girl’s request to be a boy? I tenderly held her face, looked deep into her big blue eyes, and told her that God knew exactly what He was doing when He created her as a girl (Psalm 139:13 anybody?). I told her that living out her life as a girl will bring God great joy and glory, and then I affirmed all that is “girly” in her, showering her with love and affection. I did not rudely dismiss her request but rather told her of a sovereign God who loved her and made her to be a girl that glorifies Him. She smiled big, took a bite, and then told me we were now playing Rapunzel and I was the horse, Max.

As Christians, we must reject the worldview that lies and says, “You can be whatever you want to be,” as if that “whatever” is better than what you were originally designed for. We must teach our children that there is good and sovereign God who knew exactly what He was doing when He created them as a beautiful little girl or handsome little boy.

Gabriel Pech is a member of FCC.

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Penned, 20 March 2017, thoughts

I am thankful for this moment,
I am thankful for this time.
As I look upon your peaceful face,
And write this simple rhyme.

I am thankful for this moment,
I am thankful for this time.
I pray for your sweet precious soul
With each and every line.

Additional lines penned July, 2017

I am thankful for these moments,
I am thankful for this time.
I praise God He has saved you
In His perfect plan, not mine.

I am thankful for these moments,
I am thankful for these days.
I pray that you keep seeking God
In all your will and ways.

Accompanying note, when you sought baptism. . .

Dear Daughter,
The occasion for this poem is this:

I had gone into your room to say, “Good-night.” You were sleeping. Your peaceful rest was significant to me in the midst of our storms. After so many nights of slipping in to see you gazing out the window, troubled, this was such a delightful night.

But, as I wrote it, I knew I could not finish the poem, as we were, in our then-present state. I had to keep thanking God for each moment and thanking Him for such a time as this. I had to keep praying for your soul, dear.

God was gracious to respond to these pleas rather directly (though it seemed to me it might never come). My faith wavered frequently this past year, but God is faithful. He alone softened your heart. I couldn’t. He alone saved you.

Now, I could simply breathe a sigh of relief and thank Him for His perfect plan. Your adventure has just begun, however, and God is faithful to complete it. However much I love you, God’s love is infinitely more and far better than you could ask for or imagine. Seek Him first! Love, M

This contribution submitted anonymously from a member of FCC. 

 

Posted in: Poetry

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MEN AND THE BOYS THEY TEACH

By Matt Greco

Article from the Jully 2012 FCC Newsletter

Rodney Dangerfield is credited with saying, “Last night I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.” You can almost see him pulling at his tie and swiveling his head as he makes that remark. I have never been to a professional fight nor have I ever been to a hockey game of any type, but I get the joke. There are a lot of fights in hockey games.

Well, I went to a basketball game the other night and a “life lesson” broke out! I was not expecting a life lesson to be taught during a basketball game. What happened during the game, what I have been learning from it, and how I am going to apply it to my life is what this article will address.

My 13-year-old son, Gabe, played with the FCA Knights summer league basketball team. The summer league is more relaxed, there is only one practice and one game per week, the coaches know that players have vacations and summer jobs that sometimes conflict, etc… Still, it is a way for him to remain active and improve at a sport he likes.

The teams in this summer league are made up of players that have not graduated from High School. The game we played the other night was against a team that had mostly 11th and 12th graders and our team was mostly 8th – 10th grades. And this other team was GOOD! They had six players over 6’2” and a couple of their guys were 6’6” or 6’7”. They had a couple of guys who dunked during the game!

Our boys stayed with them the first three minutes, and then it was pretty much over. The other team led at halftime by 30 some points and in the second half, it got worse.

But our team never stopped fighting. Shakur Campbell, another 8th grader from FCA had a great game, scoring points, making steals, battling for rebounds, and blocking shots. Gabe blocked a couple of shots and scored several times. But our team got very tired as we only had 7 players and they had 11 players.

But, this article is not about trying no matter what the score or triumphing through adversity or giving 100% as long as there is still time left on the clock, etc…. This is about my righteous attitude, my judgment of another, and how we as men (and women) teach our children whether or not we believe there is lesson in progress.

With four minutes left in the game and the score 84 to 30, the other team’s coach put the starting 5 back in the game. The only plausible reason to do that was so their team could score 100 points. 54 points ahead, but that wasn’t enough for this coach!

Man did I ever get a righteous anger about me! What does this coach think he is doing? These are “Christians” playing! How DARE they run up the score!! Really? This is summer league basketball, it is the 12th graders versus the 8th and 9th graders, and do you really need to rub our boys’ faces in it? I envisioned a scene where I would accomplish my full revenge. It would be in that coach’s office as I quoted Scripture and he received my wrath face to face. A couple of verses came to mind:

  • Proverbs 8: 13 – Pride and arrogance and the way of evil (running up the score) and perverted speech I hate.
  • Proverbs 16: 18 – Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

I slept on it, and for some reason prayed about it, and the more I thought about how I was going to give this errant coach a Scriptural piece of my mind, a couple of other verses came to me:

  • Luke 6: 42 – Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
  • Romans 14: 4 –Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

In the end, the Lord used this game to teach me about my anger and His omnipotence.

I talked to Gabe about the kicking they received and I shared with him my anger and how the Lord was dealing with me and my anger. I talked with him about how he and Shakur and the rest of the guys never stopped battling and how that was a great lesson for me. We talked about how his coach, Steve Hendrick, kept his cool and kept encouraging the boys. If Steve was angry, he never showed it. I told Gabe that Coach Hendrick taught me something that evening.

So I guess, after all, the Lord is still working on me. He is in control even if the game you are playing in (I am playing in) is really lopsided. He is in control if other “Christians” act in an unchristian like manner. I am learning that very seldom is mine a righteous anger, but I can trust in the Lord no matter what the score of the game is.

So men, be ready to teach and to learn from your children, your wife, and your fellow believers. Some of life’s best lessons are taught and learned when you least expect it.

Sincerely and in Christ,

Matt Greco

Matt is the Headmaster at FCA and serves on the missions committee at FCC.

Posted in: Men's Ministry

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Just Like the Rest of ’em

By Whitney Standlea

One thing that is special about being a mother is that I am absolutely convinced that there is no child in the world as wonderful or special as my own. Carson’s eyes must be the most beautiful eyes of any child anywhere. Justus’ passion for construction trucks and hot dogs must rival any boy’s or man’s. And of course, that flowered dress wouldn’t look near as pretty on any other little girl but Joy. When my children smile, it lights up my whole world.just-like-the-rest-of-em

What I find fascinating about this is that I know other parents feel the same way about their children. And it doesn’t bother me. In fact, I want them to think that way about their children. While it can be taken to unhealthy extremes, I think this is a good gift to give our children. Many benefits come from having a high view of the individuality, beauty and talent of our children. One of the most important in my mind is a unique foretaste of the great blessedness of being a child of God. When parents lovingly express the specialness and uniqueness of a child, I believe it can lay a foundation for being able to believe that God would uniquely and specially love us as His own child. But I digress…

The real reason I bring this up is to draw parents to an offensive little phrase I noticed in Scripture. It is this: “Like the rest of mankind.” I think I would be either appalled or offended if anyone walked up to me and said, “Your daughter is just like the rest of ‘em. Smiles like them. Looks like them.” So is your son or daughter just like the rest of them? Let’s walk through Ephesians 2 and see what is so important about this annoying little phrase.

In chapter 2 of Ephesians, Paul graciously reminds us that our salvation is so great because of who we once were. He tells us we were dead, disobedient, separated from Christ, and children of wrath! The point of the passage is to remind us that God is rich in mercy because He still chose to save us even though we were just like the rest of the world walking in all the lusts of our flesh. There was absolutely nothing different about us. But something struck me as I was studying this text. As much as I hate to admit it, Paul gave only two categories for mankind: children of wrath and children of God. I can admit that I used to be a “child of wrath” but I preferred there be a third category: “Children of Whitney Standlea.” But there isn’t. I had to place my children in the context of one or the other, and at this time my children are “children of wrath like the rest of mankind.” Being honest, once I thought about it I didn’t really like that idea.

This is very sobering. My little sons that struggle to obey my voice are in the same general category as the rapist on the news last night. My daughter in all her beauty is really no different than the promiscuous teen that I would never allow to babysit her. These little children that I care for, tend to, get frustrated with, adore, and love every day are children of wrath in their very nature. They are separated from Christ, pursuing anything their hearts and minds desire.

Of what help is this unpleasant truth? If you can move past the splendid uniqueness of the gift God has given you, what good does it do us as parents to recognize that our children are really just like the rest of ‘em. I think this unpleasant realization is of eternal significance. It is perhaps the most propelling part of the particular love a parent has for her own child. The more we can understand and grasp at this truth, the more eager I believe we will be to share the great love of God with our children. As we see that their lives, their gifts and talents, their eternities (that we value so much) are of little worth unless surrendered to the Savior, we can refocus on the most important calling we have as parents: to constantly call on our heavenly Father and avail ourselves of every means God has given us to make our children become His children. In reality, if they only remain our children, they merely remain “children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

So let us strive with all diligence to bring them before our Father in prayer and turn their hearts to the love of the Savior. Let us remember that their eyes are always watching and their ears always listening. May our tongues speak constantly of His love and our hearts overflow with tenderness and patience toward them just as God has demonstrated great kindness and patience with us. May we be eager to seize the moment by moment opportunities we have to live and speak the Gospel to our children with as great an eagerness as we would with any other lost soul we have the opportunity to encounter. And as our hearts become impatient and hardened toward our children, which they do, let us run back to the great manner of love that God has bestowed on us-that we the former children of wrath should now be called the children of God!

 

Whitney Standlea is a wife, mother and FCC member. She teaches music at Faith Christian Academy.

Posted in: Women's Ministry

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For Parents: Training your Children to Participate in the Worship Service

By Whitney StandleaTraining

When we first came to Faith it was neat to see all of the young children that participated in worship services with their families. Without any kids of our own, we begin asking questions about how the children were trained to sit still for so long. I tucked some ideas away and believed I would have happy, quiet children in the worship service with me by the time they were a year or two old.

Now that I have a two-year-old and a one-year-old, I can assert that training your children to sit in the service is no easy task. As a greenhorn in reigning in my youngsters, you may be wondering what in the world my intentions are for writing an article about children sitting in the service. What could I possibly say of any value to you? I’m not writing to share my success story or personal how-to’s. Rather, my intentions are three-fold: share resources, ignite vision, and create dialogue.

For parents of infants to teenagers, I wanted to share two helpful resources I have found for dealing with the issue of training your children to sit in the service. The first is an excellent book by Noel Piper called, Treasuring God in our Traditions. In the back of this book is an appendix called, “The Family: Together in God’s Presence.” It is a very short read on the Pipers’ experience of training their own children in the worship service. It includes a biblical perspective on the issue as well as very practical ways to introduce young children to worship. [This can be downloaded for free from www.desiringGod.org.]

The second resource is much more thorough. Parenting in the Pew is a 132-page book by Robbie Castleman with the purpose of helping “parents train children in the only ‘proper behavior’ for church: worship!” Not only is this book a hilarious read with tons of anecdotes, but Castleman provides suggestions for every area of the worship service and covers everything from toddlers to teens.

The thing that impacted me the most about these two resources, however, were not the clever tips and creative ideas. What I valued the most was a recasting of my vision for my children to be in service with me. They helped me move beyond wanting my children not to be a distraction in worship, to wanting them to participate in worship. Castleman explains it by asking whether or not we are teaching our children to “count bricks or encounter God.” Now I am so excited to teach my children to engage in the worship, focus on the sermon, and learn as much as they can about God.

While I think we can all share in that goal, there is a degree of Christian liberty here: using the nursery till your child’s two, four, or never? Gradually introducing them to the service, or full-immersion? Sometimes our different perspectives in these side-issues can lead us to divert from discourse about the main goal. However, I strongly feel that this challenging, significant task deserves to be talked about. The more we can share our struggles, successes, ideas, and questions with each other on this issue, the more we can equip and encourage one another to lead our children into the presence of God.

Posted in: Christian Living, Women's Ministry

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