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Are They Really Worshipping God?

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As much as I delight in watching a roomful of 6- and 7-years olds jubilantly singing songs of praise to God in the classroom, I am reminded of these important words from worship leader and song writer Bob Kauflin:

“Worshipping God” means different things at different ages. Younger children, who may not know God yet, may still participate enthusiastically in various external forms of worshipping God. However, we want their worship to be from the heart, and not simply a matter of conforming. They need a clear knowledge of who God is and what He has done. That includes His nature, His attributes, and His works, especially our redemption through Christ. As the Holy Spirit enables them, they will become increasingly aware of their sinfulness before God, accept His gracious gift of forgiveness through the Gospel, and be included among those who will forever be growing in their love for and worship of God. In the mean time, our job is to help them be “dazzled” by the glory of Jesus Christ (quoting Paul Tripp). For one thing that means using more songs that tell us about God than how we feel about Him.

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“Family Worship” or a Worshipping Family?

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These words by Jason Helopoulos are a good reminder not just to homeschool families, but to all Christian families.

I love my family. I love being a husband. We celebrate sixteen years of marriage this week and I can’t imagine living life with anyone else. I love being a father. I have two kids that delight my soul. I can’t wait to see them in the morning before I head off to the church and I am always anxious to see them in the evening when I return. There are few things I enjoy more in this life than being a father. I love my family. However, having said that, I want to be on guard against loving them inordinately.

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A Gospel Song for Children

One of the things I miss most about not teaching this year is the wonderful worship time that I experienced in first grade Sunday school. I especially miss singing Mighty, Mighty Savior with the children. It is an easy song for children to learn, and it presents clear Gospel truth. You can see the words and listen to it here: (more…)

3 Resources for Singing Scripture

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This week, we have been discussing the importance and value of singing the Gospel with children on our Lullaby Theology blog series. The other day I was playing with a friend who is six, and several times she broke out into song. It was not the latest animated movie theme song she was belting though, it was her memory verse set to song and her favorite hymn. This was an encouragement and challenge to me to incorporate more content-rich music into my life.

For some of you reading this, music comes naturally, and it is easy for you to find hymns and worship songs to teach children, but some of you may be like me—I need help. Here are three Children Desiring God resources that will help you and your children start singing the Gospel.

Let the Little Children Sing

Scripture SonglistThis Scripture Songbook helps children hide God’s Word in their hearts through song. Let the Little Children Sing contains 90 Scripture songs for use in Sunday School classes, children’s choirs and at home. Lyrics, sheet music and a piano accompaniment CD are included. Click here for song samples and to order the book.

Fighter Verses Songs 

FESE5-front-webFighter Verses Songs CDs coordinate with our Bible memory program. The song lyrics are word-for-word Bible passages, and the musical styles vary between folk, jazz, pop, doo-wop, choral and more. Sets 1 and 3 feature verses about fixing our hearts on the character and worth of God, battling the desires of our flesh and rejoicing in the work of Christ in the Gospel. The Extended Set 5 goes through the entire Sermon on the Mount. CDs can be ordered here or the songs can be downloaded from iTunes.

Leading Children in God-Centered Worship

Pam Grano, who has been leading worship in Sunday school classes for years, led a seminar on worship at our national conference last year. She reviews what Scripture says about worshipping “in spirit and in truth,” involving both a child’s heart and head in worship, structuring and planning age-appropriate worship times, using instruments and movement, selecting songs and more. You can listen to the audio and download the notes here.

 

 

A Children’s Carol

Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven (A Children’s Carol)

Jesus, joy of the highest heaven,
Born as a little baby
Under a wondrous star.
Like us, crying he takes His first breath
Held by His mother, helpless
Close to her beating heart.
Jesus, laid in a lowly manger,
Facing a world of dangers,
Come to turn me a stranger
Into a child of God.

Jesus, King of the highest heaven
Learning to take His first steps,
That He might bring us life.
Like us, knowing our smiles and sorrows,
He showed the way to follow,
A way that is true and right.
Jesus, take away every darkness,
Steady my simple footsteps
That I might in your goodness
Live as a child of God.

 

Keith Getty and Kristyn Getty
Copyright © 2011 Gettymusic; admin by Music Services.

 

Traditions and Our Children

I have really enjoyed Noël Piper’s book Treasuring God in Our Traditions . As the holidays are fast upon us, I would highly recommend this resource for every family. Noël not only gives great ideas for celebrating “especially” traditions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays, but she also discusses the importance “everyday” traditions that help point our children God-ward. Here is an excerpt:

You shall teach [God’s words] to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 11:19)

When I get caught up in the biography of a person I admire, my family hears all about this person for days. Whatever someone says seems to remind me of some  event in her life. So mealtime conversations are filled with stories that flow from my own fascination. As we are filling our hearts and souls with God’s Word, what will be more natural than the same sort of spillover onto our family?

But are we really talking about tradition here? Isn’t this passage about teaching and about God’s Word? Yes, and one of the main features of traditions is repetition. Of course, we wouldn’t say that sitting or walking or lying down or rising up, no matter how frequently they’re repeated, are traditions. But those activities represent the things that we do most often, and they are named as reminders to do the most crucial thing we can do for our children—teach them the words of God. God wants us to remember to see him in the most mundane parts of our lives. And what we see, he wants us to talk about with our children. When that level of significance is added to the ordinary repetitions of life, a tradition is created.

Sitting, walking, lying down, and rising up are so insignificant that we don’t even give them a thought. But I pray that my children will look back at “insignificant” times and ask each other, “Remember trying to catch Mom and Dad before they got up in the morning so we could snuggle with them, and how lots of times Daddy prayed out loud before we all got out of bed?” or “Remember when we asked questions, and somehow the answers always came back to God?”

Things like that don’t just happen. They come first from our own hearts that are tuned in to God. Then they happen because we plan to include our children in the God-air we breathe. Without planning, we’ll practice our Bible memory just once or twice and then no more. We’ll do lots of good things, but only a couple of times. One of the great strengths of good traditions in our lives is the repetition—not something done once, then something else, then another thing altogether, but good things done regularly, dependably, until they become habits.

(Taken from Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noël Piper, © 2003, pages 24-25. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org)

Setting Your Goals Beyond “Something”

Ministry leaders and parents: Here is a word from David Michael reminding us about the importance of being “vision-” oriented rather than activity-oriented.

See the full seminar here.

Families Together in Worship

So it’s another Monday. Maybe this is not the best time for some of you to read about the importance of having children in the corporate worship service. For those of us without little ones, we may have felt annoyed by the squirming and noisy child sitting behind us yesterday—”Can’t those parents get a handle on their kid?!” Or you might be one of those exhausted parents who spent the entire service trying to keep your cool while your kids seemed intent on public mayhem! You might be thinking, “Give me children’s church, or give me death!”

So it begs the question: Do we really want to encourage children to attend the corporate worship service with their parents? Wouldn’t everyone be happier if the children could “go away” to their own little age-appropriate church service?

Last year in a post titled “Children in Worship—Lets Bring it Back,” Jason Helopoulos, guest blogger over at Kevin DeYoung’s blog gave six good reasons why children should be encouraged to attend corporate worship services:

1. Our children are members of the covenant community (the church).

2. Our children will be present in the midst of the means of grace.

3. Our children will be present in the midst of the entire congregation.

4. Our children will be present with their parents.

5. Our children will witness their parents worshipping.

6. Our children will learn the rhythms of church life.

You can read the whole article here, plus his follow-up post, “Children in Worship–Mom Tested Tips.”

Another helpful resource is John and Noel Piper’s article “The Family: Together in God’s Presence.”

Coming to the CDG national conference in May? Consider attending Pastor Bud Burk’s new seminar “The Generations in the Worship Service.” This seminar is designed to cast a vision for the importance of children and adults participating together in corporate worship. It will also provide you with practical application to teach families how to engage together in all elements of the worship service.

Also, remember to enter our contest from Friday by this Thursday, March 21st at 11:59pm CST, in order to win one of three ESV Children’s Bibles!

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