Fellowship, Connection, and a Summer Contest
I love meeting siblings who have been adopted into the family of God. I also am blessed reconnecting with brethren who I have come to know from previous years. Attending homeschool conferences is true koinonia for me. It is an honor to interact and go deep with people of “like precious faith.” (2 Peter 1:1)
Sunday I returned from the homeschool conference in Ontario, CA. It is a long day of flying, and every year I wonder if I will do this again next year, and every year I am SO thankful I have made the effort. God was present in each of the sessions as well as the many heartfelt conversations between meetings.
I even met a homeschool couple who were attending their first conference at a local diner. We had a wonderful conversation and they graciously picked up the tab 🙂
Corporate Worship and Family Worship
Saturday morning many of us met to worship God at 7:30 AM. We had such a special time encouraging each other, reading Scripture, and singing hymns. I have attached a PDF of the four page handout. The format is based on Psalm 100, make a joyful shout/noise, come into His presence with singing, give thanks, and praise His name. Each page is based on an attribute of God, King, Shepherd, Creator, His Holy Name.
This anointed time was followed by a workshop at 8:30 AM, “Family Worship You See.” After an introduction, I speak for the first half hour and teach how we conducted family devotion times in our home (taken from the book on Family Worship) where we prayed, read a chapter of Scripture aloud (three verses each), gave each person an opportunity to comment on what they had learned, and if we had time sang a hymn and/or played the *Read Aloud Bible game(see in the notes below), and closed in prayer.
At 9:00 we then broke up into “families” of 6 or 7 people. Each family chose someone to be the head of their household, who began with prayer, then they proceeded to each read three verses, share an insight they received, played the read aloud game, and wrapped up their time in prayer. Then we all we re-gathered to process how it went.
When I first described what we were doing to do, one mom was kind of smiling, yet I could see she didn’t relish the idea of being a part of a “family” with strangers (I suggested spouses and friends not be in the same family). I encouraged her and when we began to debrief, I specifically her how it went. She beamed and said it was fabulous.
Some parents commented on how simple it was. They had embraced the thought that having family times reading the Word of God was complex and required a good deal of effort and planning. While the idea of family worship resonated with them, the follow through seemed daunting and as a result they had never done it. One mom said this was so simple, they would begin the next day!
Another related that having me describe in detail what we were going to do first, and then giving them a chance to experience a family devotion on the spot, took the mystery and consternation out of the process, and she was now ready to implement family worship in their home.
One wife asked if the book on Family Worship would be a good gift for her husband on Father’s Day. I asked the group for a vote, and all agreed it would be a great idea. (Am trusting that it was!) She was not alone, as many wives are praying for their husbands to take the lead in their home. May God raise up a generation of men, who will have their hearts turned towards God, and their families, and serve their families by initiating times of worship and study of the Word of God.
When I called out that it was time to gather together to talk about what we had experienced, one “family” could not seem to stop they were having such a meaningful time of fellowship. Finally they rejoined the larger group. After the session I went back to the Demme Learning booth, and found two of the ladies from that family. They spent the next two hours talking and sharing their hearts. It was precious.
My heart is full seeing brothers and sisters in Christ connect. We need each other. We are now a remnant in our country. There are not many saints of “like precious faith.” Sharing our hearts with one another is so special and so needed. We are members of the body of Christ. We often feel alone, yet we are not. My heart is blessed, as I am sure God’s is, when brethren connect to hear each other’s story, bear one another’s burdens, and love one another.
I will close this report with a few verses from Hebrews. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He Who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23-25)
I would like to have a summer contest to “stir up one another to love and good works.” There are 72 days until Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer. If your family will meet together and read Scripture for 25 of the 75, you will win a prize of four free books: Hymns for Family Worship, Family Worship, Come Into His Presence and a signed copy of His Story My Story. Just keep track of your days and as soon as you complete 25 days of family devotions, I will send your prize (when you send me your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Or for families of teens, in place of the books mentioned above, you can choose as your prize, a free course (2 class credits) on personal finance (1 credit) and discipleship 101 (1 credit), in my Stewardship Curriculum.
If you need a little help to getting started, and would like to read a PDF of Family Worship, listen to an audiobook (2 hours long), or watch a one hour talk on the same subject, click here.
New Mexico, June 23-24, 2023
Red Rock, TX, July 6-8, 2023
Men’s Retreat, Spruce Lake Retreat, October 13-15, 2023 (email me for details)
Homeschool Family Weekend, August 25-27
Last summer I was part of the inaugural special needs camp at Ironwood Springs. While I am not able to attend this year I am sure this weekend retreat for all homeschool families will be a special time.
God has designed parents to teach their children about God and His Word. Listen to Israel Wayne and I discuss this topic and the Perdomo family share their experiences of teaching their children.
356 Family Worship Summit Report
357 Importance of Family Devotions with Israel Wayne, part 1
358 Importance of Family Devotions with Israel Wayne, part 2
359 An Encouraging Interview with the Perdomo Family
360 Maundy Thursday and the New Commandment
361 Priests Minister to God
362 Conference Report and Crimson Chords
Hoping to see some of you in New Mexico and Texas in the coming weeks,
Pressing further up and further in,
*The Read-Along Game
If we’re studying John, which has 21 chapters, and have read three or four chapters each week, it might take us a month and a half to read through the book. At the end of the first week, after we have completed the first four chapters, I open to a passage in this section and begin reading aloud. The first person to find where I am reading and read aloud with me is the victor. Now it is their turn to read from one of these first four chapters. As the adrenaline of competition kicks in, I find myself listening intently for key words while I am scanning Scripture, and in the course of the game become more familiar with God’s Word.
We made up some rules as we went along. To encourage the younger kids, we said you couldn’t win twice in a game until everybody had a chance to win once. Do whatever works for your home, have fun, and teach each like you would have liked to have been taught when you were a kid. (taken from Family Worship, pages 35-36)