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Ready. Set. Go!

Are you Ready for Unplanned Time?

Ready?

6,566 looks like an ordinary number. It is not. It is the approximate number of days you will have with your children from birth to age 18. 

6,566 is not an ordinary number. It represents a childhood.

You will not always be setting an agenda for every moment in those 6,566 days, but you will always be setting a tone, a climate, or an environment that says, “This is what it is like to live for Jesus”.  That is a big deal. Because it is a big deal your unplanned time should not be unexamined time.  You should give considerable thought to what your children are “catching” about what it means to be a Christian, and what practical steps you can take to be READY for unplanned time.

 

 

SET.

Here are few ways to get SET for unplanned time with your kids:

1. Have planned time where you intentionally teach the truths of the faith in appropriate child-sized portions.

2. Plan unplanned time. What we have found is that God often graciously uses unplanned time to providentially bring to the forefront something we have been teaching or doing in our planned time.  These can be powerfully impactful moments in the life of your children. They will see that God is indeed real in the lives. So, intentionally set aside time where you are just going to be around.  

3. Get settled on a few  tone-setting, climate-establishing, vision-casting, this-is-what-it-means-to-live-for- Jesus categories that you want your kids to “catch” from you. You might consider the following list as a place to start:

  • In all things I want them to see me Depend on God
  • In all things I want them to see me Delight in God
  • In all things I want them to see me Demonstrate God’s goodness
  • In all things I want them to hear me and see me Declare God’s praises

 

GO!

Here are few steps you can take today no matter where you are in your 6,566 days.

1. Go get yourself prepared to have planned time- In his book Intentional Parenting, Tad Thompson offers the following practical steps

  • Commit to reading the Bible from cover to cover in the next ninety days
  • Commit to reading one book a year from each of the following categories

                                               i.     The Gospel

                                             ii.     The Big Story (Biblical Theology)

                                            iii.     The Big Truths (Systematic Theology)

                                            iv.     The Great Commission

                                              v.     Spiritual Disciplines

                                            vi.     Christian Living

                                           vii.     Worldview

  • Discuss with other Christian parents
  • Commit to a church that values expositional preaching
  • Begin to share and model at home what you are learning

 

2. Go get honest about the tone you are setting in your house. Ask your spouse about it. Listen without defending yourself.  Compare it to the tone you want to set.

3. Go get alone with the Lord after that conversation. Repent where you need to repent. Seek wisdom where you need to seek wisdom. Give thanks where you need to give thanks.

4. Go get your calendar and plan some unplanned time with your kids.  Plan some regular tone checks with your spouse.

 

Each one of the 6,566 days are urgent, and cumulatively they take endurance. Are you ready? Commit to getting yourself set because God has given you the responsibility to protect and prepare your children. Do not neglect to pray fervently and persistently.  God is sovereign.  Not one effort of yours will bring your children to faith in Christ or bear fruit for Christ outside of His saving, sanctifying work in their lives.

Go enjoy the 6,566. They are a gift!

 

Are you Ready for Sunday?

“READY? SET. GO!”

READY?

 Let’s imagine the perfect pre-church Sunday morning just happened.  All kids are clean. All kids are fed. The one who usually wears the mismatched socks, unprompted asks his fashionable older sister to help him pick out clothes. She decides not to experiment. The keys are in your hand. The kids are in their seats. The gas guage is on “F”. You are off.  

You pull into the church parking lot in enough time that if everyone followed your lead, usher unemployment would hit an all-time high. Here is the question: Even if all of this were to happen---- Are you ready for church? Are your ready to worship the Living God?

1.     Are you ready to Sing praises to Him?

2.     Are you ready to Sit under the preaching of His word?

3.     Are you ready to Stir up His people to love and good works?

There are plenty of things you and I will likely do to get ready for church this Sunday. How many of those things will fall outside the realm of hygiene, food, and fashion? How many of them will happen on a day other than Sunday?  Why should we care?

 

SET

Important things happen when the church meets. We are worshipping an eternal God. We are hearing preaching that God uses to impact the eternities of men and women and boys and girls.   We are helping each other fight the fight of faith. Important things happen when the church meets because things of eternal consequence happen when the church meets. How can we get ourselves set for such a thing as Sunday? Here are some suggestions:

1.     We can get ourselves set for Sunday by pursuing deep knowledge of God in His word Monday through Saturday so that our praise will be the overflow of hearts that have been filled with truth about God (Colossians 3:16). We can avoid being mouth-movers on Sunday by being heart-fillers Monday through Saturday.

2.     We can get ourselves set for Sunday by praying that our pastor will preach in such a way that he helps God’s people think His thoughts after Him. We can pray that the Lord will show us wondrous things in His word that will stir our hearts to joyful obedience (Psalm 119:18, James 1:22).

3.     We can get ourselves set for Sunday by pursuing deeper relationships with people and a wider understanding of God’s word so that our counsel and encouragement will spring from love that is rooted in truth (Colossians 3:16).

Now let’s imagine your Monday through Saturday looked something like the above…and then Sunday morning arrives. This time the fashionable older sister decides she will experiment. You can’t find your keys or the kids...at least initially. It is a hygiene, food, and fashion fiasco.  Even if all of this were to happen--- you are ready to GO. Below are some ways we can put one foot in front of the other when we GO.

 

GO

1.     Go with your heart already as full as possible with the word of God, so that when the unique experience of corporate worship begins you simply cannot hold back your joyful thanksgiving and praise.

2.      Go with the knowledge that when the word is read and preached you are hearing from God.  Let that knowledge impact the attention you give to preaching.  Go home and talk about the sermon with your family. Go find someone in your church of the same gender with whom you can talk about the sermon.  Pray prayers prompted by the passage that was preached. Go be a doer of the word.

3.     Go with some truth written down or memorized from your time in God’s word. Go with a commitment to listen to the people the Lord puts in your path this week. Go with an ear toward encouraging those people toward love and good works. Go early. Stay late. Ask simple questions related to the things of the Lord like:

a.     What did you read in your Bible this week?

b.     Is there anything I can pray about for you?

c.     How are things going in your walk with the Lord?

Are you ready for such a thing as Sunday? Are you ready to gather with your church? Get yourself set. Then---Go!