The antique gold plated pocket watch stands proudly on my dresser. It has “Wm. McCracken” hand lettered on its face. It was given to my grandfather at his “retirement” from the mission that was influential in leading him to Christ and sobriety. He served on staff there for over a decade after his transformation.
I put it there intentionally … so that I am reminded everyday of my spiritual heritage. My God story starts with an alcoholic grandfather who had a life changing encounter with God because of his addiction. His watch is an “Ebenezer”… a visual memorial of my family’s God story. The prophet Samuel erected a memorial to help fathers tell the story of God’s faithfulness to their children (I Samuel 7:12).
Recently I raised another “Ebenezer” in our home. On our mantle sits a carefully folded American flag … 4 of its stars shining through the triangular case. It is the flag that drapped my father’s casket. It is a powerful symbol of not only his service to our country as an island hopping Marine in WWII, but to the victories he experienced after he returned home. Dad overcame a tremendous amount of adversity … you can read about those in the book.
My question to you is … what are the “Ebenezers” in your home … the artifacts and heirlooms that are displayed in your living spaces that help you tell your family God story? If you have some … please leave a comment about them and let’s get a little story telling going on …
If you’ve read the Chapter 6 summary (click ch. 6 link above) … you know that one way we, as Christian parents, can teach by telling .. is to have regular family devotions.
Research reveals that most of us struggle with making these powerful faith building times happen. In Keeping Your Kids from Canaan… I give 6 steps to having successful family devotions: (1) find a regular time and place … the power of routine. (2) Keeping them simple making them easy to do … finding good resources. (3) Planning … knowing what topics and passages are going to be covered in your curriculum or plugging into what your kids are learning at church or school. (4) Making them fun … it’s a crime to bore kids with the Bible … use some fun teaching methods! (5) Make them relational … how are you getting to know each other better because of these times? … and finally (6) Keep them going. Don’t let a few missed days thwart you.
I’ve been doing a lot of talking … and now it is time to take a break and listen … So … if you have a thought … a suggestion … a struggle … a solution … regarding any of these 6 things … (or any post so far) please leave a comment and let’s start a conversation … to help us all become more effective in teaching God’s Word to our legacy children!
Most of us want to be “great” at something. Well if you have children … I want to share with you what I believe you are the greatest at … (pardon my poor grammar, but work with me) Are you ready? … You’re going to be surprised! You’re the greatest theology teacher your children will ever have!
I can hear you saying, “No way … I’m no theologian … and I am not a professional educator!!” It doesn’t matter … as one poet sang … “that’s the way God planned it … that’s the God wants it to be!” (Bob Dylan) Let me explain.
Psalm 139 tells us that we are not only wonderfully made, the writer tells us that we were knitted together in our mother’s womb. God knew who our mothers were going to be … (and fathers too)… but let’s process that a little more … if our moms and dads were custom-made to be our moms and dads … that means their moms and dads were “special order” too … God knew who had to be with whom to make all of the characteristics that He wanted to give to you!! That is mind-boggling … but God is an awesome God.
So it is my belief … and I want it to become yours as well … that God intended and designed (planned) for you to have the children that you have. They are not an accident … and they were not switched at birth … they are a pre-ordained special delivery. That means … of all the parents in the world that God could have given your children to … He designed, built and delivered them to you! You were designed and custom-built by God to be their parents …. nobody is better designed to be their mom or dad than you are!
Being their parent gives you several powerful advantages in teaching them. You have built-in connection … relationship … affection … and time. All key ingredients to being an excellent educator. As far as theology … you have the God-given position of being His representative. Of all the word pictures God could have chosen to teach us about Himself … He selected family. He wants to be known as our “Father!” So think about it … how we “be” parents … is teaching our children about the love, character and nature of God Himself … hence you are the greatest theology teacher your children will ever have … they will see and understand God .. the way the see and understand you!