Reading to Children – the power of stories

Here is HRH Prince William showing us how its done.

Here is HRH Prince William showing us how its done.

 

I listen to Al Mohler’s podcast The Briefing almost every morning.  This morning he had an especially heartwarming final segment.  It was on the importance and benefit of reading to children even as they grow up.

In my home we are firm believers in the power of good literature and recently I’ve been reading the Chronicles of Narnia to my girls, aged 4 (and a half) and 6 (and a half).  (those half years are very important to them at their ages).  Seeing their faces shine with wonder is all the reward I need but there appears to be great benefits besides.

Listen to these five minutes (and if you have kids, read to them!)

Click link to hear the segment :                                          Play 5:35                   

 

articles referenced:

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Wrong Side of History?

They warn us that we are on the “wrong side of history.” They insist that we will be judged by future generations the way we today judge those who championed racial injustice in the Jim Crow South. But history does not have sides. It is an impersonal and contingent sequence of events, events that are determined in decisive ways by human deliberation, judgment, choice, and action. The future of marriage and of countless human lives can and will be determined by our judgments and choices—our willingness or unwillingness to bear faithful witness, our acts of courage or cowardice. Nor is history, or future generations, a judge invested with god-like powers to decide, much less dictate, who was right and who was wrong. The idea of a “judgment of history” is secularism’s vain, meaningless, hopeless, and pathetic attempt to devise a substitute for what the great Abrahamic traditions of faith know is the final judgment of Almighty God. History is not God. God is God. History is not our judge. God is our judge.

One day we will give an account of all we have done and failed to do. Let no one suppose that we will make this accounting to some impersonal sequence of events possessing no more power to judge than a golden calf or a carved and painted totem pole. It is before God—the God of truth, the Lord of history—that we will stand. And as we tremble in His presence it will be no use for any of us to claim that we did everything in our power to put ourselves on “the right side of history.” ”  Robert P George

 

Also, here are three wise men also discussing the common trope of being on the wrong side of history:

Christian Manhood or… Machismo

The late Randall M. Savage might be cool and all, but "macho" isn't in the Bible.

The late Randall M. Savage might be cool and all, but “macho” isn’t in the Bible.

There is a lot of appropriate talk about manhood, womanhood, and reflections on both given the reality of Christ.

But one thing has always made me…  uneasy?  queasy?  I’m uncertain about the right word.  But one thing I’m certain about is that machismo in the name of Christ ought to stop.

I’m a very traditional thinker in regards to gender, masculinity in the life of home and church.  But macho cultural accoutrements doesn’t help but rather hinders in that area.  Personally, I weight lift, I pound a heavy bag, I like sports, and I might even like MMA if I gave it a chance.  But none of those things are what Christ-centred masculinity is about.

So if you trying to link Biblical man-hood with some sort of chest-thumping machismo:  Stop it!  STAHP!

Here’s some wiser words than mine (both from Matthew Block):

CHRISTIAN MASCULINITY: THE MAN GOD HASN’T CALLED YOU TO BE – Converge Magazine, Matthew Block
UPROOTING THE CHRISTIAN MASCULINITY COMPLEX – First Things, Matthew Block

 

Dads! Teach your family the Faith!

There's probably a better way to do it than this.

There’s probably a better way to do it than this.  via the Sacred Sandwich

During a sermon from a couple weeks ago I had this brief sidebar – a tiny sermon within a sermon, if you will.  Give it a listen (it’s only 2 minutes long!):

Dads, Teach Your the Faith!

Basically it is an admonition for parents, but especially Dads, to teach their children the Bible and the basic doctrines of Christian faith.  It was a bit of a tangent but it is basically Ephesians 6:4.  Experience can’t be passed on to the next generation but the content of the Faith can and must be.  This is a daunting task but so important.  If you are a Dad and not feeling the challenge of this then you haven’t heard.  This challenge means a few things:

First, you can’t leave it to pastors, youth leaders, Sunday School, or Veggie Tales to teach your kids the faith.  All those things are great but you can’t pass the buck to anybody.  One hour of Sunday School a week will never be enough.  Our children have been entrusted to us by God and they need serious discipleship in our homes.

Second, you don’t know enough to do it.  Don’t be discouraged by that.  I’m a pretty well-trained Bible and Theology guy but talking, praying, and reading the Bible with my 3-and-a-half year old pushes me like no other teaching challenge.  It drives me into Scripture and meditation like nothing else.  Small children ask such good questions!

Third, you need help.  It didn’t feel quite right issuing this challenge to my congregation without some backup.  So here’s some stuff to look at.  *This post is mainly to resource my own congregation by the way*

Teaching Kids the Bible, an article by Sally Lloyd-Jones (the late, great Martyn Lloyd-jones’ daughter!)  She has also created the Jesus Storybook Bible – a resource that might worth looking into!

The What, When, and How of Family Worship, an article by Jason Helopoulos.  This is some practical tips for helping make regular times of reading and prayer happen.

Pastor Dad, a free ebook by Mark Driscoll.  This book can help you get a picture for the responsibility Dads have for their family’s faith.

Leading Family Worship, a conference talk by Joel Beeke.  This talk lays out a pretty lofty vision for family instruction and worship.  If you listen to it, be warned!  Beeke’s description is a very high ideal – the reality is probably much more faltering and imperfect than this.  It’s a little like wanting to serve the poor and then looking at Mother Theresa!   If you listen to this than my fourth and last point is very important to read…

Fourth, you have to have grace for yourself.  To imagine yourself leading Bible instruction and prayer with your kids is pretty daunting.  If the picture you form in your mind seems impossible to achieve (like Beeke’s) just remember to go easy on yourself.  Sometimes trying to do everything off the hop can be paralyzing.  Trust God, celebrate the small things. and pray for your kids.