Friday, January 4, 2008

Honoring God's House

So many of my childhood memories took place at church. I can still picture rehearsals for a Christmas musical and being told that our choir’s stage laugh sounded like a bunch of machine guns. Or singing “Our God is an Awesome God” and doing sign language to accompany it. Or playing hide-and-seek in the large cupboards that held folding chairs. My best friend and I (probably in third grade at the time) even fought over a toy in the preschool class once after an evening service. I look back fondly on my early days of serving—starting in the 4’s and 5’s class, then the nursery and toddler rooms, and finally leading a 3rd grade small group. But even more lasting than these memories were the lessons taught by my parents through our presence at church.

I can’t name which creative method was used to first communicate the story of David and Goliath, and the words to the song, “The Perfect Ten” (about the Ten Commandments), now escape me. But I weekly live according to the example set by my parents. Church was a priority. Any time a service or program was offered, we were there. Even when invited to a sleep-over on Saturday night, I only stayed for the evening. After all, we had church in the morning. For the most part, my brothers didn’t participate in sports that required Sunday involvement, but, for the occasional church-conflicting game, my brother went with a friend, and the rest of our family filled the stands once church was over.

Sure, there were Sundays when we were tired, the house was a mess and company was coming soon, or life had been busy. But honoring God through our attendance at church—being a part of the church—was a priority.

2008 is a year for Morning Star to remember the point that rang so clear in my house growing up. The leadership has chosen Nehemiah 10:39 as a theme verse for the year—“We will not neglect the house of our God.” While it’s a valuable and important verse to put at the forefront of our minds when coming and going through the doors of the church, isn’t it even more essential to be teaching this within our own homes? So how can you teach the lesson of not neglecting the house of God to your children?

--Place church attendance as a priority. As a family, look at what distracts you from attending each week. A scheduling conflict? Filling your weeks with so many activities that you’re too tired to show up on the weekend? Is it just hard to wake up? As a family, talk about how you can change priorities. Ask your kids to keep you accountable by being enthusiastic about church attendance.

--Place serving as a priority. By modeling service within the church, your actions will speak louder than any lesson we could teach in any of the Zones. Service could be anything from teaching a small group, manning the Information Center once a month, or making photo copies mid-week.

--Place giving as a priority. Tell your children why you give to the church, and then teach them to tithe their allowances.

While the lessons we teach here at church from week to week are valuable and can help shape a child’s relationship with the Lord, they pale in comparison to the impact of a parent’s example. As a family, do not neglect the house of God. Honor it. Follow Joshua 24:15, “Choose you today whom you will serve… but as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

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