As with Thanksgiving and Christmas, this week I would like to provide you with a slightly different Bible study. What follows is an outline on how to lead a devotional at Easter with your family. I encourage you to lead this important ministry function in your home. It is critical to train yourself to lead your family spiritually for several reasons. First, such is incumbent upon the husband. Being obedient to Scripture in this regard will inure personal blessings from above. Secondly it helps to assure that The Faith is passed down in your family lineage. Easter is an important time you can build your family culture: "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord," states Joshua in Joshua 24:15. Thirdly, this is a time to confer with your family. You need them to be 100 percent behind your huge familial sacrifices of time and energy in order to serve your district in D.C. Your family needs to be supportive in order for you to remain healthy and effective — and our country especially needs believers to remain effective here. Your leadership at Easter represents a sacred time to inure, assure and confer with your family. Don't miss these special opportunities!
The following is a suggested outline to help prepare you for leading and facilitating a meaningful and spiritually nourishing time of family gathering and devotions at Easter.
When you invite your family members and are informing them of the time to arrive and what time you will eat; mention the family devotion in the course of the conversation. This way people will not be surprised when you transition into this part of the day. It will serve to take pressure off of you when the time arrives to segue into the devotion. (It should come as no surprise.)
Give prior consideration as to how you will dress. Dress one step above your guests — but only one step. Your dress should show warmth, love, dignity and a sense of seriousness. Remember, how you dress should reflect the fact that in the coming moments you will be God's spokesman to your family — don't take that lightly or discount the sobriety of your duties by sloppy dress.
You might want to have devotions after the main meal, during dessert. Make sure the TV and background music is off and not competing for attention. Kindly inform everyone that they need to "turn off all electronic devices during takeoff and landing." You don't want your young ones sending text messages or playing games, or the final round at Augusta competing for your attention while you are sharing God's Word. I ask Danielle to serve dessert and beverages while I speak. Such helps to take the edge off, especially for those who might not be saved.
As you circulate amongst your guests and invite them into the room (which you have previously determined is best for this purpose) make appropriate edifying-only (you are starting to set the tone) small talk as people settle in. Be extra sensitive to make your guests feel comfortable. Help with moving the chairs, bringing people coffee, etc. Manifest a servant's heart.
Express your heart-felt gratitude that you could all be together during this wonderful time of the year.
Nothing is more important in the formation and stability of your children and grandchildren than for them to see how much you love your wife. Follow the ACTS outline as you speak about your God-given partner in life:
Adoration — Several things you most like Confession — Things she puts up with you Thanksgiving — Show gratefulness to her Supplication — Express that you pray for her
Speak personally and edifyingly into the lives of your family members in front of others. This will require forethought to most effectively build them up. Herein you are setting a long-term tone and culture for what you expect in terms of the interpersonal relationships amongst your clan.
Prepare adequate copies of the attached passage of Scripture for everyone.
Ask someone to read it (your best reader). This isn't so much a time to exegete the passage as it is open the Scripture together as a part of your family tradition.
Once the reading is completed be ready to share some of your insights into the passage that are self-evident from the reading.
The hymn, He is Lord is very appropriate for singing after reading 1Corinthians 15:3-6. Note the lyrics are listed on a separate page (make enough copies for everyone). If not you, defer to someone else gifted in music to lead. Reflect on the profundity that no other religious leader ever rose from the dead. Such serves to prove the veracity of all that Jesus taught — and the singularity of belief in Christ for salvation.
An effective testimony includes the following three irreducible minimums: Prepare beforehand your personal conversion story (speak no longer than three minutes — no long recitations of every detail of your life please) along these lines (I can help you to sort through, outline and codify this if you like):
The main thing you want to achieve is to model for your family how they too can receive Christ if they haven't already. So edit your comments with this objective in mind. You are providing them with a powerful living example and tool as to how to receive Christ at a later date.
There is nothing more important to accomplish as a husband and father than to lead your kids to Christ — now is a good time! Here is how to transition into that.
It is fitting at this point, having read Scripture, sung a hymn and listened to your testimony, for you to return to the Scripture and apply it to their lives. Ask your family members (if they haven't already) to invite the Lord Jesus into their hearts — just like you did. Take advantage of the special warmth people feel at Easter time, the power of having read the Word of God together, and your personal testimony, as pillars to support your personalized quest for their conversion. Don't preach; rather emphasize warmth and gentleness (even though you are most likely struggling to be courageous in your inner person).
Look up the following passages prior to the devotion and mark them in your Bible. (Don't read them off of this.) These will aid you in sharing the Gospel in a succinct and thoughtful way. Notice how these verses progress through the plan of salvation — make appropriate transitions to achieve this same sense of progression.
1. Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
2. Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
3. Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
4. John 1:12
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
5. Romans 12:1-2
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Publicly pray the following prayer, inviting anyone who would like to ask Jesus into his heart to pray along with you silently as you pray out loud:
Lord Jesus, I need you. I realize that I have sinned and fall short of Your standard of perfection and am in need of not only a Savior, but a Lord who will always lead me in the right direction. I open the door of my life today and ask you to come in and begin to change my life for good and your glory. Amen!
Personally and individually follow up afterwards with your family members; ask them if they prayed that prayer with you. In the days that follow, minister to each accordingly as the family shepherd. Begin to cultivate an image of yourself as the shepherd of the family.
From the bottom of your heart express to your family how important this time has been to you — and how you hope it has been meaningful to them as well.
Encourage everyone to sing it once again from the heart.
You might choose to have someone else in the family whom you know has a strong walk with Christ to close in prayer.
You are the head of the household. Once again take this opportunity to set a tone of love, mercy, graciousness, compassion, longsuffering and care. Abundantly shower others with His love and tell them how much you appreciate each of them. How can you spend more time with each of your family members? For someone as busy as you are, your prioritization of time with you immediate and extended family members is probably your best way to prove your love for them and extend influence for Christ.
May God richly bless you as you assume your spiritual leadership responsibilities in your home. This is what God has called you to — and you need serve your family in this way in service to Him. Family devotions is one of the most important functions you will perform in life - with the greatest return on investment I might add! Lastly, it is common to feel woefully inadequate in this role (I still struggle with those feelings too). Ask God for the strength. He will empower you - just wait and see what I mean! I'll be praying for you my friend.
Updated New American Standard Version
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;
He is Lord, He is Lord! He has risen from the dead, and He is Lord! Every knee shall bow, Every tongue confess, That Jesus Christ is Lord He is Lord, He is Lord! He has risen from the dead, and He is Lord! Every knee shall bow, Every tongue confess, That Jesus Christ is Lord A. He is Lord, He is Lord! He has risen from the dead,and He is Lord! Every knee shall bow, Every tongue confess, That Jesus Christ is Lord