I have the distinct privilege, honor, and joy of leading discussions for our small family of seven (soon to be eight) through family devotions starting with the Gospel of Mark.
I still remember our first night of devotions. I was a brand new stepdad and barely getting to know my four new bonus kids, whom I loved so much. I was quite nervous because I had no clue how my kids would receive God’s words. I prayed and God reminded me that He sends out His Word according to Isaiah 55:10-11. His Spirit through His Word gave me peace.
Now, it was time.
I would love to tell you that they were gentle, sweet, and quiet little angels who sat there, smiled, ate their peas, and then afterwards, broke out in a stunning rendition of the classic hymn, “The Solid Rock”.
Instead, when I announced what we were doing, it took our family a whole twenty minutes to get calmed down. The eye rolling. The sighing. The rejection. The adamant declarations of boredom. The gnashing of teeth. I wasn’t offended by the reaction but I did have to wait until they settled down.
Fortunately, my beautiful, sweet wife was able to get them settled down all with one simple statement, “This should have taken five minutes. But you made it twenty minutes.”
On that note, I bust out with Mark 1:1. From that little verse, we discuss some very basic concepts and ideas. We wrestle with the deep things of God. After the end of the devotion, one of my sons remarked, “That’s all? Man, I could have gone back to playing a long time ago!”
The next week, they all reminded each other, “Shhhh, guys! Remember, this will only take five minutes if we are quiet.”
The point of that is the old cliché: “There nothing to it but to do it.” Forget what your kids (or bonus kids) might think about you. You are charged to lead your house especially all things spiritually. There is no excuse. (We will get to that in a minute.)
I intentionally picked Mark’s Gospel to kick off our very first family devotion for two reasons. One, I tend to default teaching the Bible expositorily (explaining the text as you go through the Word) rather than topically. Two, Mark’s Gospel is the best book to show what Christ has done and I thought showing what Christ has done and more precisely, what Christ has done in us would be more tangible with the minds of our young kids.
I have made mentioned of our family devotions on the Internets and gotten a few requests for my notes. So that is what I am doing just that here. Starting next Wednesday as a regular weekly series, I will share my notes and discussion topics over Mark as well as some parent notes to help you out.
As for leading your family through devotions, don’t think of outright preaching and teaching. Instead, we want to generate discussion. Do not worry about being able to teach. Instead, pray, read the text and think of good questions to spark conversations. In my experience, our best devotions are always the ones that are driven to the finish by the kids and not by me. God through his Word provides the topics. Me? I simply read the Bible and ask the questions. (How easy is that?)
Questions or comments? Feel free to ask away.
Update: Instead of doing this in a weekly series, I will post them as they are ready to post so that no one has to wait for a week until the next one is posted.