Summer is almost here. What’s in store for your family? I get tired just thinking about the daily schedules of some families. Sometimes it seems as if every moment, from morning to night, is planned out—filled with activities. Please don’t misunderstand: I believe in order and structure in the family routine. Our children should be involved in many kinds of productive activities and events. We don’t want our children to be lazy or given over to simply “wasting” time through shallow, mind-dulling activities. But, on the other hand, we don’t want them to miss out on God’s gift of rest and leisure.
Here is a free lesson titled “Rest and Leisure” from our curriculum, “Your Word Is Truth: A Study for Youth on Seeing All of Life Through the Truth of Scripture.” Although written with youth in mind, it uses biblical texts and application suitable for younger children as well. Here are the main ideas presented in the lesson:
I am constantly amazed and alarmed by the impulse to minimize the Bible in our church classrooms. Consider a typical Sunday school classroom. Let’s say you have an hour’s timeframe. How much of that time is actually spent reading and studying the Bible text? How does this compare to time spent on other activities? How much time are the children (of reading age) spending with their Bibles open, personally interacting with the text? Yes, the latter is unrealistic for 5-year-olds, but by second grade and onward, children should be spending an increasing amount of the Sunday school lesson hour being taught directly from Scripture.
In his article, “The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem,” Dr. Albert Mohler says the following:
Christians who lack biblical knowledge are the products of churches that marginalize biblical knowledge. Bible teaching now often accounts for only a diminishing fraction of the local congregation’s time and attention…
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.
Take the challenge. Intentionally pray through a passage of scripture for your children and the next generation each day for 10 days!
Day 1: Psalm
Thank you for joining us in our Praying for the Next Generation challenge over the past week. We hope that this time of praying through Scripture has been an encouragement to you as you have sought God's guidance on how to build a spiritual foundation for your family and have prayed for God's redeeming work in your children's lives. As this 10-day challenge comes to a close, may this be the continuation of treasuring God's Word as you come before our Father on behalf of your children and the coming generations.
My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. 21 Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
Take the challenge. Intentionally pray through a passage of scripture for your children and the next generation each day for
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Day 1: Psalm 1
Day 2: John 1:12-13
Day 3: Psalm
Here is a wonderful idea for an inexpensive (as in “free”) date night with your spouse. Put the kids to bed, grab some popcorn or other treats, and watch Russell Moore’s seminar, “Training Parents How to Discipline Children with the End in View.” It’s funny, biblically instructive, practical, encouraging, convicting, and oh so timely—no matter what age your children. He covers a wide range of parenting issues as he relates real-life scenarios, giving parents wise counsel and hope as they persevere in keeping the end in view—raising children who will live as faithful disciples of Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
In my home office, I have a folder file titled, “Encouragement.” In it are notes—simple, handwritten notes from children I have taught throughout the years in Sunday school and midweek classes. Typically, I was given these notes during the last weeks of the class year. Some notes made me laugh. Some made me cry happy tears. Each note is precious. Each brings to mind a memory. Each is a source of lasting encouragement to this teacher.
So parents, don’t underestimate the power of your 5 year old’s barely legible “thank you” to a Sunday school teacher on a note card with accompanying car stickers or hand-drawn flowers. These notes are a valuable source of encouragement. Teach your children to be encouragers. Set an example
Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end. 34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. 35 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. 36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! 37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.