Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!
On prayer and family: Praying for Your Children by Gregory Harris
Part of my answer to those who asked me about raising our children would be that we repeatedly prayed for them and tried to raise them as God would have us do, especially as shown in Scripture. Even then, my wife and I knew we were not in full control; you cannot save your own children; you cannot live their lives for them.
We would stand on the sidelines and actively watch as our children walked with God, or, in one case, did not walk with Him for a prolonged period. I have been both the Prodigal Son and the father of a prodigal—and by the sheer grace of God—I have been the rejoicing father of a prodigal who has returned to the Lord.
As I talked to other parents about raising children, a similar question would repeatedly be raised, especially by younger parents: “What do you pray for your children when you pray for them?” (click here to read more)
On worship and family: Worship Interrupted by Kristin Tabb
Those who have attended worship with small children for a period of years, as I have, might begin to feel that the effort expended in the fight for focus isn’t worth the seemingly small return received during the service. Amid sibling squabbles, trips to the bathroom, feet on the back of the pew in front of you, and misplaced comments — “Mama. Mama! Mama! What kind of dog is your favorite?” — it is easy to surrender to weariness and give up, going through the motions instead of reaching for fresh grace.
In those moments of wondering if there is any real purpose to our being present in worship, we may benefit from reminding ourselves of God’s sufficiency, the nature of worship, and our calling to minister to our children. (click here to read more)
The story of the growth of a little church in a small, struggling town: We are open! The Story of Little Mill Church by Collin Berg
The church began to meet regularly on Saturday mornings for ‘Way Forward’ sessions. These were opportunities to explore how the church could engage with the local community and to pray. It was clear that few people were likely to come into the church and so the challenge was to find the equivalent of what Paul did at Athens: ‘So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there’ (Acts 17:17). The marketplace was the main expression of community in Athens, but the challenge was to find the modern equivalent of community in Little Mill. We identified three main types of community:
- Community of place – living together in the same place.
- Community of interest – people who relate across a wider geographical area because of shared interests.
- Virtual communities – people who share and relate mainly through social media.
Ideas began to form to produce an engagement plan for each form of community. Such a plan needs to relate to the opportunities and challenges of each community, and as such there is no template that can be taken up and used everywhere. (click here to read more)
On teenagers and reading: Ten Books Every Christian Teenager Should Read by Tim Challies
A reader recently asked the question: Do you have a suggested list of books for teenagers, something like a “Ten best books every Christian teenager should read?” It surprised me that I have never compiled such a list, especially since I’ve got two teenagers of my own. I decided I’d better remedy this oversight straight away. Here, then, is a list of ten great books every Christian teen ought to read—or at least consider reading. (click here to read more)