As I was packing my kids' lunches this morning and they both were sitting down to read the Bible while devouring their breakfasts, I started thinking about a better way for them to engage with God's Word. Of course they read it but I want them to read it prayerfully, properly and practically. This morning it hit me that I could use the same strategy we use at Dare 2 Share to train through our conferences.
At Dare 2 Share we call this strategy: Why? What? How? Now!
Whatever passage we tackle at our events we try to help the audience know why it was written and why it's important. We also seek to unpack what it means and how it applies to their lives. Finally we try to do something practical so they can put that Biblical truth into practice right now!
So I trained my kids to use this same strategy as they read their Bibles this morning. Okay "training" may be an overreach since it happened over chocolate Cheerios and while blending them both a protein shake. But it seemed to start to stick...for 7am in the morning anyway
They continued to read as I went upstairs to shower and get ready for the day. I asked them to use this strategy over breakfast and then we could talk about it on the way to school.
When we got in the car I asked my 13 year old son Jeremy what he had read that morning. He read Matthew 1 and I cringed a bit. I knew this passage dealt mostly with the genealogy of Christ, not quite the devotional material I wanted to test my theory on. The word "begat" doesn't necessarily explode with practicality.
But surprisingly the conversation went really well. We talked about why the genealogies were important. Jeremy knew that this book was one of two Gospels that proved that Jesus was blood-line qualified to be the Messiah. We talked about what genealogies mean and what it meant for the Jewish culture. Then we talked about how it applied to Jeremy's life.
That's when it got a little tricky. We talked about how God organized the genealogies into three groups of fourteen generations. There were fourteen from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.
What does this mean and how does it apply to us? It means that God is a God who does things decently and in order. As 1 Corinthians 14:33 reminds us he is not a "God of disorder but of order." Then I went on to talk about the importance of being orderly in our lives.
I'll never forget what happened next as Jeremy listened to me talk. He asked, "Dad, you're not going to try to use this passage to tell me I have to keep my room clean are you? That's kind of a stretch."
I guess he's right. I don't think Matthew 1 has much to do with how clean a teenager keeps his/her room. An even better "Now!" application (that we didn't talk about this morning) is to share the message of the Messiah with someone today. After all, He is the fulfillment of powerful prophecies and the crowning climax of exacting genealogies!
Anyway, I'm going to continue pressing into my kids to help them read the Bible during their quiet times asking the questions of why? what? how? and then finding the application they are ready to do NOW! Tomorrow morning I'm going to emphasize with them the importance of praying first and asking God, through His indwelling Spirit, to help them answer these questions as they read his Word.
As for Jeremy, I'm going to make him clean his room anyway...even thought it has nothing to do with Matthew 1.