George Barna’s latest poll of Christians in the United States unmasked that, of those who call themselves born again, only 9% believe in absolute truth. Many will blame this trend on the public school system, others on the media, Hollywood, or the web. While all of these entities share some of the responsibility, it is a fact that parents, if teaching and living God’s Word, are capable of overriding all of these factors.
Deuteronomy 6: 1 – 2 implores… These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.
Deuteronomy 6: 6 – 8 commands…These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
A few things to remember:
1. Most of the parents in your small group did not have parents who modeled this lifestyle. Group members need to know that there are households where this has taken place and is taking place.
2. This lifestyle is counter-cultural… Even talking to our kids in real conversation daily is unusual. Group member will need to be willing to allow biblical expectations to trump cultural norms.
3. This will demand a change of lifestyle, not just a new awareness.
Small group leaders, you can play a very important role in helping parents to pass on God’s wisdom to their children. A few practical ideas…
1. Invite older adults to speak to your group about how their parents instilled God’s Word in them, or how they did in their own children, and allow for a time of Q and A.
2. Invite the one of the other pastors at your church to your group to do a teaching on Deuteronomy 6: 1 – 8 and be certain there’s a time for discussion following the teaching.
3. Invite an non-staff person to your group to speak of how they make time for God’s word in their home and how they made this a priority even when the children balked at first. This may be more potent than a staff member coming as the non-church leader represents people whose lifestyle is more like the group member’s. Allow time for discussion.
4. Suggest each family read a scripture passage before eating a meal (For some this will demand parents plan a meal together each evening. If they have teenagers the parents need to know that the teens may push back at first.) If the group is all in agreement hold one another accountable to accomplish this important directive.
5. Help parents learn to use their bibles so that, when a life issue comes up, parents turn to God’s Word to give their children answers to life’s questions. Let the parents know that, when they can’t find an answer that the group will help at the next meeting.
6. See if your group members will be willing to memorize a verse of Scripture together weekly. Then ask them to consider memorizing a verse with their families each week. If so, accountability may be necessary until it becomes a common practice in each home.
7. Suggest good devotional books to the group and ask them to consider reading a devotional together prior to putting the kids to bed. Suggest they read from the Bible even when the devotional book also has the Scripture in it. A few options are listed below.
With young children… My First Message
During the Christmas Season… Christ in Christmas Advent Devotionals