You can (and should) do Family Worship!

The Minter family (my family) has a history of some success, some failure, and several recommitments to a regular Family Worship time.

I (dad and husband) know the responsibility lays primarily upon me, and I admit that I have been far from perfect in leading my family in regular spiritual disciplines. But, over time, the efforts we’ve made to commit and recommit to a regular time of family Bible reading have been quite rewarding.

Right now, we’re on a pretty good streak of beginning our weekdays with a time of Bible reading, Scripture memorization, prayer, and singing. All of this takes about 30 minutes, and requires no preparation or planning.

We have been reading through the Bible (cover to cover), so we just pick up today where we left off yesterday. Sometimes we have more questions or discussion about the text, and sometimes chapters are longer or shorter, so we just read until we hit a good stopping place (usually 2-3 chapters).

For the last month or so, we’ve been working at memorizing Psalm 19. We concentrate on a verse or two for the whole week, and try to build on what we’re memorizing as we go. We read aloud, repeating the same small section 5-7 times, and then we try to recite as much as we can of the whole Psalm. Micah (our 13-year-old) is picking it up faster than Mom and me, but we are all doing pretty well.

After reading and reciting the BIble, we each pray. One of us prays a brief prayer of praise (praising God for something we read about in the text). One of us prays a brief prayer of confession (confessing sin, with an eye toward seeing how we fail to live up to what the Bible has called us to do or believe that very day). And one of us prays for 2-3 families on our church membership directory (which is tucked away in my Bible, so that we can systematically pray for each member over time).

Finally, we sing a song or two. Singing has only been part of our family worship time for about a year, but we have really grown to enjoy singing together. Recently (just a few days ago), we decided to sing a “hymn of the month.” We just pick a hymn we like, and we sing it every family worship time for the whole month, in hopes that we may have the song committed to heart and mind by the time we move on to the next one.

If you’ve never done anything like this, you might think this post is a kind of ringing my own bell, but I assure you it is not. As I said above, I am often ashamed to think of how many days I have failed to lead my family well. And there are times when I do lead us in Bible reading, but I do so with a cold heart (again to my shame).

No, this post is an off-the-cuff and simple invitation to anyone who is not currently making Bible reading, Scripture memorization, and prayer part of their daily parental or spousal activities.

You can do this! And you and your family will benefit greatly over time!

May God bless your efforts, and may He produce much fruit from the seeds you plant and water.

For an introduction to Family Worship and to see some helpful links and content, click What is Family Worship?

FBCD Family Worship Guide 04/26/2020

FBC Diana members,

I want to encourage you to take time for Bible reading and study, prayer, and singing again this Sunday. Regular family and/or personal time devoted to such things is critical to our growth as Christians. You may use any structure that seems appropriate for you and/or your family, but I recommend following the outline below.

Scripture Reading

Read Psalm 146 aloud.

Prayer

Thanks/Praise. What do you see in Psalm 146 as a reason to praise or thank God? What specifically about God’s character or action is praiseworthy from this passage?

Confession. Think of ways you and others might have sinned this previous week. Think of specific ways sin was expressed in your home, in family life together, on your job, in your neighborhood, and in your community.  

Supplication. Here are some topics you might consider praying about:

  1. Pray for God’s provision for fellow church members and those in our community who are earning less because of public and business closures.
  2. Pray that God will graciously preserve the members of FBC Diana (spiritual health and vitality) while we are all deprived of the accountability and encouragement which the weekly gathering provides.
  3. Pray that God will draw many sinners to Himself in the midst of the current circumstances, which may cause some to think soberly of death and eternity.
  4. Pray that all Christians would be faithful witnesses for Christ in the world.
  5. Pray that US government officials would both protect life and preserve liberty, resisting the temptation to accumulate power during this time of uncertainty. 
  6. Pray for Perryville Baptist Church in Winnsboro, TX (Pastor Toby Goodman), Redeemer Church in Graham, TX (Pastor Ryan Bishop), and New Hope Baptist Church in Ore City, TX (Pastor Tony Pierce).

Discussion Questions

You might spend some time simply thinking and talking through Psalm 19. And you might also use the following questions to help guide your thoughts and discussion.

  1. What is Psalm 146 all about?
  2. What do you think it means to “put your trust in princes” (v3)?
  3. Why does the psalmist say we should not “trust in princes”? In other words, what can earthly rulers, governors, leaders, presidents, or kings not do?
  4. What do you think it means to put your “hope in the LORD…God” (v5)?
  5. How does verse 6 speak of God’s power and trustworthiness?
  6. How does verse 7 speak of God’s impartial justice and His compassion?
  7. How does verse 8 speak of God’s attentiveness to those who are humble and obedient? 
  8. How does verse 9 speak of God’s care for those who are vulnerable?
  9. What or who is the psalmist contrasting throughout this psalm and especially in verses 3-4 and 10? 
  10. Looking at this passage through the lenses of the New Testament (and especially the gospel), consider the following: 
    1. Read Luke 4:16-21. How does the Bible present Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promises to heal, to liberate, and to grant favor?
    2. Read Ephesians 1:7-10. How did Jesus make a way for sinful people like you to enjoy the benefits of God’s love and favor?
    3. How should Psalm 146 make those who trust and follow Jesus Christ feel both unworthy and yet comforted?
  11. How might you or others be putting your trust in earthly helpers right now (government, healthcare workers, finances)?
  12. Do you do or watch or listen to or read anything that tends to grow your unhealthy (maybe even sinful) trust for earthly helpers? If so, explain.
  13. How do you know God is trustworthy to keep His promises to love and to ultimately deliver sinners like you from chaos and suffering?
  14. What are some specific ways you might shift your trust/hope away from earthly helpers toward the everlasting God who is both able and faithful?

Songs to Sing

Click on the links below to view lyrics, download song sheets, and/or listen to song audio.

All Praise to Him

Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed?

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

See the Destined Day Arise

Scripture Reading

Read Psalm 147 aloud.

Prayer

Thanks/Praise. Offer thanks and praise to God for specific things that come to your mind today… maybe from recent personal experience or maybe from something in the Scripture or the songs or your discussion with others today.

Marc Minter is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Diana, TX. He and his wife, Cassie, have two sons, Micah and Malachi.

Connect with Marc on Twitter or Facebook.

FBCD Family Worship Guide 04/19/2020

FBC Diana members,

I want to encourage you to take time for Bible reading and study, prayer, and singing again this Sunday. Regular family and/or personal time devoted to such things is critical to our growth as Christians. You may use any structure that seems appropriate for you and/or your family, but I recommend following the outline below.

Scripture Reading

Read Psalm 19 aloud.

Prayer

Thanks/Praise. What do you see in Psalm 19 as a reason to praise or thank God? What specifically about God’s character or action is praiseworthy from this passage?

Confession. Think of ways you and others might have sinned this previous week. Think of specific ways sin was expressed in your home, in family life together, on your job, in your neighborhood, and in your community.  

Supplication. Here are some topics you might consider praying about:

  1. Pray for FBC Diana’s deacons and pastor.
  2. Pray for the salvation of our parents, our siblings, our children, and our grandchildren (both your own and the family of fellow church members).
  3. Pray for persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.
  4. Pray for teachers and administrators and school employees of all kinds.
  5. Pray that God will unite our church members in love for Christ and love for one another, even though we are not physically able to be together.
  6. Pray that our church members will reach out to one another and encourage one another with Scripture.
  7. Pray for Redemption Baptist Church in Nacogdoches (Pastor Wesley Burke) and for Shady Grove Baptist Church (Pastor Derick Walker) and for Erbil International Baptist Church (Pastor Mack Stiles).

Discussion Questions

You might spend some time simply thinking and talking through Psalm 19. And you might also use the following questions to help guide your thoughts and discussion.

  1. What is Psalm 19 all about?

Psalm 19 seems to have three parts:

  • Verses 1-6 are a prayer of praise, accenting the display of God’s glory in creation.
  • Verses 7-11 continue the prayer of praise, emphasizing the value and benefits of God’s special revelation of Himself in or by His word.
  • Verses 12-14 shift to a prayer of supplication, pleading for personal reformation and ongoing love and obedience.

Looking at verses 1-6, consider the following questions.

  1. How might the sky or heavens declare God’s glory?
  2. How does the psalmist particularly point out the beauty and strength of the sun as an evidence and illustration of God’s glory?
  3. What do you think it means when the psalmist says that the “speech” or “voice” of the sky is “heard” to the “end of the world”?
  4. How might Romans 1:19-20 be a correlative passage to this one?
  5. According to Psalm 19:1-6 and Romans 1:19-20, is there anyone in the world who truly knows absolutely nothing of God’s glory? Explain.

Looking at verses 7-11, consider the following questions.

  1. How does this passage describe God’s word (i.e. God’s “law,” “testimony,” “precepts,” “commandment,” and “rules”)?
  2. What does this passage say God’s word does?
  3. How does this passage teach us that God’s word is useful and relevant to every season and circumstance of life?
  4. How might 2 Timothy 3:16-17 be a correlative passage to this one?
  5. According to Psalm 19:7-11 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17, how should we prioritize our regular exposure to the Bible?
  6. What are some practical ways you can add Bible reading, memorization, and meditation to your daily routine (or give them more time or effort if you already do them)?

Looking at verses 12-14, consider the following questions.

  1. What is the specific request the psalmist makes in verse 12? 
  2. How does Scripture help us “discern” our “errors”?
  3. What is the specific request the psalmist makes in verse 13? 
  4. How does Scripture help “keep” us from “presumptuous sins” and help us to be free from the “dominion” of sin?
  5. What is the specific request the psalmist makes in verse 14? 
  6. How does Scripture help us our words and thoughts or feelings be “acceptable” to God?
  7. How does the psalmist’s focus on God’s particular attributes in verse 14 end this psalm on a hopeful and reassuring note?

Songs to Sing

Click on the links below to view lyrics, download song sheets, and/or listen to song audio.

Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy

Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul

O Lord, My Rock and My Redeemer

Scripture Reading

Read Psalm 20 aloud.

Prayer

Thanks/Praise. Offer thanks and praise to God for specific things that come to your mind today… maybe from recent personal experience or maybe from something in the Scripture or the songs or your discussion with others today.

Marc Minter is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Diana, TX. He and his wife, Cassie, have two sons, Micah and Malachi.

Connect with Marc on Twitter or Facebook.

FBCD Family Worship Guide 04/12/2020

FBC Diana members,

I want to encourage you to take time for Bible reading and study, prayer, and singing again this Sunday. Regular family and/or personal time devoted to such things is critical to our growth as Christians. You may use any structure that seems appropriate for you and/or your family, but I recommend following the outline below.

Scripture Reading

Read Exodus 12 aloud.

Prayer

Thanks/Praise. What do you see in Exodus 12 as a reason to praise or thank God? What specifically about God’s character or action is praiseworthy from this passage?

Confession. Think of ways you and others might have sinned this previous week. Think of specific ways sin was expressed in your home, in family life together, on your job, in your neighborhood, and in your community.  

Supplication. Here are some topics you might consider praying about:

  1. Pray for widows and widowers among our church family and in our community.
  2. Pray for those who are fainthearted and/or discouraged.
  3. Pray for those who seem to be losing their battle against sin in their lives – pray for conviction, for strength, and for humility to reach out for accountability.
  4. Pray for our governmental leaders to wisely work to preserve and protect life.
  5. Pray for those who are working more hours and under more stress during the pandemic. Also, pray for those who are under more stress because of working fewer hours during this time.
  6. Pray that parents would disciple their children well, that husbands would lead their wives in Bible reading and prayer, and that singles would be welcomed into the discipleship activities of Christian families.
  7. Pray for God’s financial provision for our individual members and our church.

Discussion Questions

You might spend some time simply thinking and talking through Exodus 12. And you might also use the following questions to help guide your thoughts and discussion.

  1. What is Exodus 12 all about?
  2. Based on the beginning and ending verses of Exodus 12, how significant is this event to the history of the people of Israel? Explain.
  3. Specifically, what did God command His people to do on this first Passover (see verses 3-11)?
  4. What did God promise to do during this Passover night (see verses 12-13)?
  5. What was or were the distinctive mark(s) of those who were spared from God’s judgment on that Passover night?
  6. What does this show us about God’s judgment against sinners and His salvation for those upon whom He has lavished His grace?
  7. Why did God tell His people to continue an annual memorial of the Passover throughout their generations (see verses 24-27)?
  8. How might this instruct us about the responsibility God’s people always have to hand-down or pass along the meaning (and not just the practice) of religious activities?
  9. What might we learn from considering the specificity with which God commanded the people to observe the annual Passover? In other words, how might this affect the way we think about all religious activities (such as a Sunday church gathering, or baptism, or the Lord’s Supper)?
  10. How does the explanation of Israel’s departure from Exodus show God’s faithfulness to His promises (see Ex. 12:36 and Ex. 3:19-22; also see Ex. 12:40-41 and Gen. 15:13-14)?
  11. Read Luke 22:1-20. How does this passage scoop up the imagery of Exodus 12 and apply it to the person and work of Jesus Christ?
    1. How does this passage help us understand what it means that Jesus is the ultimate “Passover Lamb”?
    2. What judgment from God “passes over” those who trust in Christ?
  12. Read Luke 24:1-27. How does this passage help us understand the movement and aim of the whole Bible (including the Passover in Exodus 12) toward the events of Jesus death and resurrection?
  13. Do you think the death and resurrection of Jesus is central to the meaning, benefit, and hope of Christianity? Why or why not?

Songs to Sing

Click on the links below to view lyrics, download song sheets, and/or listen to song audio.

Jesus, Thank You

Come, Behold the Wondrous Mystery

Behold Our God

O Lord, My Rock and My Redeemer

Scripture Reading

Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 aloud.

Prayer

Thanks/Praise. Offer thanks and praise to God for specific things that come to your mind today… maybe from recent personal experience or maybe from something in the Scripture or the songs or your discussion with others today.

Marc Minter is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Diana, TX. He and his wife, Cassie, have two sons, Micah and Malachi.

Connect with Marc on Twitter or Facebook.

FBCD Family Worship Guide 04/05/2020

FBC Diana members,

I want to encourage you to take time for Bible reading and study, prayer, and singing again this Sunday. Family and/or personal time devoted to such things is critical to our growth as Christians. You may use any structure that seems appropriate for you and/or your family, but I recommend following the outline below.

Scripture Reading

Read Psalm 1 aloud.

Prayer

Thanks/Praise. What do you see in Psalm 1 as reasons to praise God? What specifically about God’s character or nature is praiseworthy? How might you praise God for what He has done in your life or for how He has shown you grace and care.

Confession. Think of ways you and others might have sinned this previous week. Don’t accuse others in your prayer, but do try to confess specific ways you and others have expressed sin in your home, in family life together, on your job, in your neighborhood, and in your community.  

Supplication. Ask for God’s help in various ways. Here are some topics you might consider praying about:

  1. Pray that fellow church members would have grace and patience with others in their home during this time of unusual confinement.
  2. Pray for those who are afraid, those who are weary, and those who are lonely.
  3. Pray for salvation for our parents, our siblings, our children, and our grandchildren (yours and those of fellow church members).
  4. Pray for our governmental leaders to wisely work to preserve and protect life.
  5. Pray for healthcare workers, for law enforcement officers, and for emergency workers of all kinds.
  6. Pray that God would help FBC Diana church members to look for ways to do good to one another and to disciple one another despite our social distance.
  7. Pray that FBC Diana church members would gladly part with what our world values in order to take hold of what God values.

Discussion Questions

You might spend some time simply talking through Psalm 1. And you might also use the following questions to help guide your discussion.

  1. What is the major theme or concept of this Psalm?
  2. How do these six verses provide a kind of introduction (maybe even an invitation) to the whole book of the Psalms?
  3. Starting with verse one, list all of the ways the psalmist describes the “blessed” person.
  4. What aspects of this description stand out most to you? Why?
  5. What do you think it means for someone to “delight” in God’s “law” (v2)?
  6. What do you think it means for someone to be like a “tree” that “yields fruit in its season” (v3)?
  7. How do verses 1-2 indicate the way in which “fruit” is produced in a person?
  8. Starting with verse four, list all of the ways the psalmist describes the “wicked” person.
  9. What aspects of this description stand out most to you? Why?
  10. What do you think it means for the “wicked” person to not be able to “stand in the judgment” (v5)? Whose judgment? And what does it mean to “stand”?
  11. What does it mean for someone to be included among the “congregation of the righteous”? And what does it mean for “sinners” to be excluded (v5)?
  12. How might you describe the two “ways” to live presented in verse 6?
  13. Is anyone truly righteous by God’s standard of obedience and love? Explain.
  14. Looking at this passage through the lenses of the New Testament (especially the person and work of Christ), how is it that sinners like you can be made “righteous” and called “blessed” (see Ephesians 1:3-10 and Romans 3:21-26)?
  15. Because our righteousness comes from Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:21-26), how might Psalm 1 help motivate Christians to:
    1. Rest and trust in Jesus for blessing or favor from God?
    2. Strive to live morally upright lives?
    3. Devote themselves to reading and thinking about God’s word?
    4. Rely upon God’s good care throughout all the seasons of life?
  16. How might Psalm 1 also warn Christians against laziness, practicing sin, and presuming upon God’s grace and forgiveness (see also Romans 2:1-11)?
  17. How might God’s warning to the “wicked” person in Psalm 1 encourage you to talk about the gospel, about Jesus, and about following Christ with others?

Songs to Sing

Click on the links below to view lyrics, download song sheets, and/or listen to song audio.

Jesus, Thank You

Holy, Holy, Holy

He Will Hold Me Fast

Scripture Reading

Read Psalm 2 aloud.

Prayer

Thanks/Praise. Offer thanks and praise to God for specific things that come to your mind today… maybe from recent personal experience or maybe from something in the Scripture or the songs or your discussion with others today.

Marc Minter is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Diana, TX. He and his wife, Cassie, have two sons, Micah and Malachi.

Connect with Marc on Twitter or Facebook.

Are you Discipling?

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

It has become common to describe American Evangelicalism as “easy believism.” This phrase points to the often thin and nebulous beliefs of today’s Evangelicals. Many of those who claim Christianity in America have little knowledge of biblical teaching and frequently live out of step with a biblical worldview. And yet, Christ has commissioned all Christians everywhere to be about the task of making disciples!

Discipleship is everything a Christian does as he/she follows Christ, and Discipling is a Christian’s active and intentional effort to help other people follow Christ too. This is the stuff of ordinary Christianity, and there are incredible benefits to discipling. However, this basic function of the Christian life is often avoided, misunderstood, and/or unhelpfully systematized among many local churches.

Healthy Churches expect the membership to be intentionally discipling one another. It is Christ’s clear command, and this is the relationship and process by which God grows us up in Christ.

May God help us to be and to make disciples.

Have you tried doing ‘Ordinary Christianity?’

I sometimes meet people who think they are doing pretty well at “this whole Christianity thing.” They seem completely confident that they are spiritually mature and well-able to meet whatever life may toss at them.

If this seems far-fetched, it’s probably because we all know that we are much less mature and prepared than we sometimes make ourselves out to be.

In my own spiritual development, it has become quite helpful to realize that “discipleship” and “ordinary Christianity” are the same thing… Let me explain.

I do not mean that your common or ordinary experience of Christianity is true discipleship. You may be an exemplary disciple of Christ, who also disciples others, but this is not common in our American Evangelical culture.

I am saying that the Bible only knows of ordinary Christians who are disciples. A disciple is a learner, a follower, a practitioner, and a student of the Master. Jesus commissioned His disciples to “make disciples” (Matt. 28:18-20), and every generation since has been responsible for the same commission.

If you are a Christian, you should be a disciple (connected with at least one Christian who leads you towards greater spiritual maturity) and a disciple-maker (connected with at least one Christian who follows you towards greater spiritual maturity).

Let’s look at several verses to see how our unity with Christ and with one another impacts the concept of ordinary Christian discipleship.

To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father” (Colossians 1:2 and similar usages in Ephesians 1:1 and Philippians 1:1).

Simply put, all Christians are ‘saints,’ ‘brothers,’ and ‘in Christ.’ This means that no Christian is outside of the family of faith, and no Christian is an island unto himself or herself. This should affect the way all Christians view their responsibility to and benefit from one another.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1–2).

In this passage, we are reminded that all Christians are completely free from condemnation from God. We may lament our ongoing failure to live perfectly free from sin, but we do not have to fear God’s wrath at all. We are free from the law of sin and death, though we still must war against our sinful desires in this life until we are finally completed in glory in the life to come.

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready…” (1 Corinthians 3:1–2).

Here we are forced to recognize that Christian disciples may be mature or immature. The goal is the same for all disciples: grow to become ‘spiritual people,’ that is spiritually mature or Christ-like. However, each disciple will progress differently, and each will be at a different place on the continuum of spiritual development. Some are ‘infants,’ others are spiritual adults (1 Cor. 16:13), and most are likely somewhere in between.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned” (John 15:5–6).

In this passage, we learn to expect good ‘fruit’ (or growth in holiness) from all those who are ‘in Christ’ (i.e. Christian). Of course, the fruit of godly living is a direct result of union with Christ; “apart from [Christ] you can do nothing.” The Christian rejoices and praises God for any good that is his/hers.

The flipside of this expectation is that those who do not produce (or exhibit) good fruit are bringing their union with Christ into question (at best). No Christian can know the heart of another person, but Christ clearly warns each of us that He will not graciously welcome the sinner who continues in rebellion against Him. A loving friend most certainly will not allow a fellow professing believer to continue on a path of self-destruction in the face of such a warning.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:12–13).

In this final passage, we are reminded that the Christian’s union with Christ is also union with other Christians. We are not only to seek holiness and growth for the benefit of enjoying Christ more fully, but we are to enjoy the benefits of Christian fellowship as well. Especially in the context of the local church, Christians are united to Christ and to one another, members of a single body.

This bond of unity means that each Christian is responsible for and attached to every other Christian (especially in the context of local church membership). Your spiritual maturity affects the whole body, and so does your stagnation or spiritual disease (i.e. sin).  Therefore, it is imperative that Christian brothers and sisters take responsibility for one another, as well as enjoy the benefits of those who are taking responsibility for them.

 

With all of this in mind, Christian discipleship is perceived to be a necessary and natural (even if divinely empowered) outworking of the ordinary Christian life. Indeed, God’s wisdom is wiser than the best of human wisdom! God has designed the spiritual growth of all believers to flourish under the tutelage of ordinary means.

Try this kind of ordinary Christianity if you dare… but I warn you, the experience will be anything but ordinary.