“An Observable Truth” by Steve VanHorn

by | Apr 9, 2019

It always amazes me how fast my children finish their dinner. I feel as though I just finish getting my plate set and my youngest is asking for seconds or if she can be excused! The idea of enjoying a nice family meal seems foreign most of the time.

One night, however, instead of wanting to rush off to play, my two youngest girls surprised me. They began spontaneously singing—not the songs they heard on the radio or on spotify, but the songs they heard on Sunday morning. Hearing my daughters make their joyful noise around the dinner table reminded me that as a parent I have an important role to fill. 

Joshua declared, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15)

Joshua was not talking about a building, but the people that fell under his responsibility to lead relationally. We are often so busy that sometimes we miss the opportunities to observe the simple practice of family worship. Practicing family worship has the potential to allow your husband, wife, and/or children to see the transformative power of the Gospel in your home.

Family worship does not need to include an hour and a half scripted service. It can be [and probably should be] brief for young families. Parents need to balance leading their families to the feet of Jesus with the temptation of building a picture perfect image of what a family should look like. The reality is that our families should be a place where husbands, wives, dads, moms and children experience grace and forgiveness first hand. This does not usually happen unless there is a reason for grace and forgiveness to be extended. 

All the while, members of the family observe, soak in, and then express what they hear. When families commit to Read, Pray, and Sing together they allow God to build something in the hearts of the family. We can try to instill good values and create standards for our family to live up to, but “unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1a). God needs to be the chief architect, which means we need to take time on a consistent basis to observe His ways and plans.

When we make God’s Word the center of our families, and take time to pray and sing His praises we set an observable path for our families to follow after.

Rick Husband, commander of the Space Shuttle Columbia, was one of the seven astronauts killed on February 1, 2003, when his spacecraft was just sixteen minutes from landing. The day after the tragedy, a memorial service was held, where a video played of Husband saying,

“If I ended up at the end of my life having been an astronaut, but having sacrificed my family along the way or living my life in a way that didn’t glorify God, then I would look back on it with great regret. Having become an astronaut would not really have mattered all that much. And I finally came to realize that what really meant the most to me was to try and live my life the way God wanted me to and to try and be a good husband to Evelyn and to be a good father to my children.”

Husband’s words were not empty hopes and dreams. He put action to his words. A week prior to leaving for the flight crew’s quarantine, Commander Husband turned to his wife, Evelyn, and said, “I want to make a video-tape for Laura and one for Matthew that they can watch each day I’m in orbit. I want the children to know how much I love them and that I’ll be thinking about them every day.” He proceeded to make a video for each of his children for the eighteen days he would be in orbit and led his children through a devotional time while he was in space. How precious do you think those eighteen devotions on video are to that family today? Isn’t this the kind of truth, the kind of faith we want observed by those closest to us?

Family Worship Resources:

  • Family Worship, by Donald S. Whitney. (2016). 
  • Child Proof:  Parenting by Faith Not Formula, by Julie Lowe. (2018). 
  • Parenting in the Pew:  Guiding your children into the joy of worship, by Robbie Castleman. (1993).
  • Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids, by Jack Klumpenhower. (2014). 
  • The Ology, by Marty Machowski. (2015). 
  • Parenting First Aid: Hope for the Discouraged, by Marty Machowski. (2018).
  • Listen Up: 10 Minute Family Devotions on the Parables, by Marty Machowski. (2017).
  • Wise Up:  10 Minute Family Devotions in Proverbs, by Marty Machowski. (2016). 
  • The Legacy Path, by Brian Haynes. (2011). 
  • Right Now Media (Email [email protected] to receive access to this amazing resource!)

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