Allen Stone, a soul and R&B singer and musician, began his career at the age of three singing at the church where his father was pastor, eventually leading worship when he was a teenager. According to an interview in SF Gate, after a year at Moody Bible Institute (Spokane), Allen said that “I learned the history of the church and the conception of the Bible and learned about the religion and really just, like, didn’t believe it… I got to the point where it was like, ‘I don’t believe this is the truth’.” The Barna Group reports that 9 out of 10 kids who grow up in a Christian family will leave their faith by their sophomore year of college. God designed and intended families to thrive, but no one ever drifts to success. Edmund Hillary, who was the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest, said that “There’s no casual route up any great mountain; if you really want to make it to the top, you must have a resolute mind firmly set on the purpose.” So, how can your family thrive in the midst of a broken world?
1These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all His decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 4Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:1-9
What was the greatest lesson your parents tried to instill in you?
List from memory the Ten Commandments. (See Exodus 20:1-17 if you cannot remember them all.)
- ______________________________________ 6. ______________________________________
- ______________________________________ 7. ______________________________________
- ______________________________________ 8. ______________________________________
- ______________________________________ 9. ______________________________________
- ______________________________________ 10. _____________________________________
Read Deuteronomy 6:1-9. Why did God command Moses to pass these laws along to the people?
What does it mean to “fear the Lord”?
Deuteronomy 6:4 is known as the Shema (sh’ma), an affirmation of God’s sovereignty; it is a centerpiece of prayer for Jewish people even today. However, if you glance through the Book of Judges, you will see that the Israelites did a poor job worshiping only one God (Judges 2:11-13, 3:7, 6:10, 10:6). Why do you think it was so difficult for them to follow this command (see Judges 2:10, Hebrews 2:1)?
Deuteronomy 6:7 says to “impress” (“teach diligently” in other versions) God’s Word on your children. The Hebrew phrase for this implies something different than lecture-based education. What does “impress” look like in your family? Are there ways to make it more natural to be diligent about teaching your children God’s Word?
What two things did Aaron say made up the “secret sauce” for a family to thrive?* How would you rate yourself on doing these two things? How can you improve so that your family thrives spiritually?
*1) Have God’s commands in your heart; and 2) teach them to your children.
In his book “Think Orange”, Reggie Joiner shares four times families can build faith into their children. Make a plan to use these times with your family on an ongoing basis.
- Meal Time (“when you sit at home”: focused discussions as a teacher to establish core values)
- Drive Time (“when you walk along the road”: informal discussions as a friend to help your child interpret life)
- Bed Time (“when you lie down”: intimate conversations as a counselor to listen to the heart of your child)
- Morning Time (“when you get up”: encouraging words as a coach who gives a sense of value and instills purpose)
FOR FURTHER STUDY
In the New Testament, we get a snapshot into the life of Timothy, a protégé of the Apostle Paul. Timothy’s father was Greek and his mother was Jewish. Read 2 Timothy 1:5 and 3:14-17. What does Paul note in these passages about Timothy’s upbringing?
What part do you think “the sacred writings” played in Timothy’s home?
What are the four things the Bible can produce?
Read the following verses and note the importance of God’s Word found in each passage. How will you incorporate a love for God’s Word into your family? Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:1-3, Psalm 119:9-11, Psalm 119:105, Isaiah 55:10-11, Matthew 4:4, Hebrews 4:12