Monday, June 29, 2009

Starting with Thanks

The first topic at family camp is about giving thanks. How are YOU teaching your children to give thanks? When do you pray out loud so your kids can hear you say thank you to God?

Too many families these days never teach their children or talk to their children about God's ways. At the end of our morning session today our speaker's wife, originally from Australia, says that familes today hardly do anything together at home anymore! This has led to devastating consequences to our faith lives. Our speaker (Reid Matthias) told us in a recent Barna survey that 65% of Christians born before 1940 could tell you the basics of the Christian faith.* Since that time Christian families have delegated Christian education to church, Sunday school and confirmation. Christian families don't talk about Jesus at home anymore. As a conequence, only 25% of my generation can tell you those basics and only 4% of Christians in my children's generation can do the same. So sad.

So how can a family start sharing the Christian faith with their children? The first thing might to just start saying "thank you" to God, out loud, in the presence of children. Praying "thanks" before every meal, saying "thanks" in prayer before bed, and, in every situation that comes upon us with little blessings, giving credit to God out loud. This isn't hard, but it might be a good first step in recovering faith life in your home.

Here are some Bible verses as reminders. Reid challenged us to memorize them:
1 Chronicles 16:8,34 "O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples... O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever."

Psalm 92:1-4 "It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy."

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil."
Start simple with thanks. We can all begin today.**

* The basics of the Christian faith might be summarized in that we have particular things we believe: (1) God created the world. (2) Sin entered. (3) We need to be saved. (4) Christ came to save us. It's not just "being a good person." None of us are good. We are all sinners, grateful for the wonderful salvation we have in Jesus Christ.

**He also suggested learning a longer verse, Ephesians 1:15-23.

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