Our church (newlifechurch.tv) has decided that 2016 is the Year of the Bible. What does that mean exactly? It means that everyone is going to be reading through the entire Bible in 2016. And everything–sermons, life groups, Little Life, Kid Life and youth–everything revolves around the reading.
I’m incredibly excited about it all. And I’m incredibly excited that I get to be a small part of helping families do this together.
And, if I’m honest, I’m more than a little bit daunted by the task. What do I mean? I’m a mom of two young kids. Finding 45 minutes to an hour for extra reading every day…well it can seem less than possible. (I’m currently writing this post while my 3 yr old sleeps on my shoulder 🙂 )
And, if I want my family doing this together… well I’ve got to be creative. Right? My three year old can’t exactly read through Leviticus with me, right?
Which brings me to my topic for today. How in the world does a family read through the Bible together?
Being a parent is hard. It’s exhausting on the good days and it can seem down right impossible on the bad days. If you’re anything like me, you wrestle with a lot of guilt associated with your parenting. Am I disciplining them correctly? Do they have the right car seat? Is this pediatrician best? Should I have made them keep taking piano lessons?
And, when it comes to spiritual things, I think a lot of us struggle to know where to begin. I know I do.
You see, one of the challenges of parenting is that we major in the mundane. And it can be hard for us to feel like we are instilling anything terribly important.
And now we’re being asked to read the entire Bible this year and to do it as family. And for many of us that seems just intimidating enough that we don’t even want to start.
And this is where I want to meet you today. Over the next year we are going to be throwing lots of great family ideas your way. We’re going to be giving you suggestions and we’re going to be letting other families show you how it’s going for them.
But I’d like to back it up and keep it simple today.
Here’s what I want you to know: There is beauty in the mundane and you can do this. Your child can do this.
It’s going to take time. It’s going to start a little messy and uncomfortable. But you can do this. We can do this.
One of the best things you or I can do for our children is to actively pursue our own relationship with God, and let our children watch us do it.
So, in the month of January, I’m going to give us one job. The hardest thing about this goal is establishing the habit. So this month, we (as parents) need to establish this habit of being in the word. Being diligent.
The first thing we need to ask ourselves is: How does this fit into my family life? Choose a time that you know you can keep. Maybe it’s first thing in the morning, maybe it’s at night before bed or during nap times. It may mean waking up earlier or turning off the T.V. Maybe you need to find audio recording of some books to listen to when you’re driving or working out. Find whatever works.
Establish the habit.
With one special instruction: Let’s do this in a way that our children can see. It would be easy for us to do our reading when our children aren’t around to distract us. And we do need those times.
But our children cannot ask about something they don’t see. And we can’t expect them to develop a habit we don’t show them first.
So, January is all about us establishing the habit. But with our children in mind.
Want to go further?
- Blessings. Each week, choose a few verses to use as a blessing over your children. Pray it over them at bedtime or before school. Tell them where you found it.
- Let them read with you! For older children and youth, consider having them start this habit with you. They probably can’t read it all, but they can definitely do a part. Whether it’s the Old or New Testament, Psalm or Proverb, lead them to start a small piece. In the coming weeks, we will be point you to some great resources for your kids. If you are at a New Life Church campus, talk to your kid’s pastors. They’re going to have some great suggestions.
Friends, I think we can all do this. And I’m going to put my own family on the hook. The O’Brien family is all in. We’re eager and excited. I don’t expect it to go beautifully every time. In fact, I expect it will be a little rocky. But we are committing to do this as a family and to let you see it. Which means we will be posting the good, the bad, and the ugly throughout the year at #yearofthebible
And we’d love for families from every campus to join us. Let us see how it’s working for you. And let us be encouraged by your diligence even when it doesn’t go well.
At the end of this year, our children may not be Bible experts. But my prayer is that they will know without a shadow of a doubt that the Bible is life-changing. That it’s worth reading for a lifetime.
So, dow does a family read through the Bible together? We just do it.
And we trust the Holy Spirit to take care of the rest.
(For more information about resources throughout the year: http://www.newlifechurch.tv/daily/)