• Wednesday, January 30, 2008
  • In one of the previous posts, I presented 31 questions to think through from Don Whitney. Deb and I this morning talked about question 8 and Saturday will get to question 9. The conversations have been sweet and at times heavy to the potential impact. I am not going to share answers to all the questions for we live in enough of a glass house and some of the answers fall into special intimacy between us, but here are a few thoughts from my side.

    Question 1 - what one thing I could do this year to increase my enjoyment of God? For myself, the spiritual disciplines are essential but in the midst of these, to increase my understanding of contemplation and communion with God through meditation and prayer. In particular growing in my understanding of the gospel. The cross presents so many riches that seem to be endless in expression. I also want to help lead Deb in her enjoyment of God through my leadership and encouragement. We read through the Bible together using the M'Cheyne daily Bible reading plan and we finished last year reading the Old Testament once, the Psalms and New Testament twice. Two chapters each day were read privately and approximately two chapters each day were read publically. Now we did not do our public reading each day but would usually read 3-4 days together where I would read aloud one chapter and then Deb would read aloud one chapter until we caught up. There were a few times we had marathon sessions that might have resembled Nehemiah 8:3, "and he read from it before the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until midday..." That way we read the Word privately, spoke God's Word, and heard God's Word. We finished the year on schedule. We are doing it again this year switching what we read privately last year to the public reading and vice-versa.

    So what are you doing this year to increase your enjoyment of God? What are you doing to increase your spouse's enjoyment? How about those kids? May we all grow in our delight of God.

    A Gospel Moment Between a Dad and His Girl

  • Friday, January 25, 2008
  • by Marty Machowski, Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Pennsylvania

    One recent morning my seven-year-old daughter Anna came stumbling into the living room as I was finishing my devotions. Calling her toward me, I scooped her up onto my lap for a morning hug. “I won’t be able to do this much longer,” I thought, realizing she barely fit snuggled up with me. I whispered in her ear how blessed I felt as a dad for God to have given me such a wonderful daughter. With her head on my chest, I could feel a broad smile emerge on her face.

    The love of a father is a powerful means of grace in the life of a child.

    Then, while her attention was focused on me, and all the world around lost to her, I shared the Gospel. “Love, did you know Jesus died on the cross for your sins, so you could be forgiven and become a part of God’s family. He wants to give you life, and help you live for his glory. You need to believe in Jesus, that he died for you, and rose again from the dead and trust Him with your whole life. That’s what your mommy did when she was a little girl.”

    I didn’t ask for a response. I knew she was listening. For a moment longer I held her tightly on my lap, then gave her a hug and sent her on her way. Topped off with a fresh fill-up of fatherly affection she ran for the kitchen and breakfast. No profound spiritual awakening was evident in our short interaction. But that wasn’t my goal. I was simply trying to be faithful and respond to an opportunity God had given me to lay another foundation stone in her life.

    Over the course of our children’s lives we build in them a sure foundation, one block at a time. Never underestimate the importance of repeating the Gospel and never forget that the Gospel is the power of God for our salvation. Be confident that our gracious God is able to save, something we as parents sometimes would like to do ourselves. I could have coaxed an affirmation to my gospel presentation from Anna, and maybe someday a moment like this will call for a response from her. But these aren’t my moments, they belong to God, and I want to be faithful to Him with them. One day – a day of His choosing - He will grace her with godly sorrow, lead her to repentance, and move her out of slavery to sin, into the family of God. Until that day comes, I am content to speak, to wait and to watch Him work.


  • Tuesday, January 22, 2008
  • Don Whitney (Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life) offers these 31 questions. Deb and I are working through them one at a time and it has produced great discussions. I figure many of you have broken any resolutions you made for 2008 so you might as well tackle these. I will share some of our answers as we go along. We are taking one question every few days.

    1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
    2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
    3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
    4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
    5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
    6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
    7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
    8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
    9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
    10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?
    11. What’s the most important decision you need to make this year?
    12. What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what’s one way you could simplify in that area?
    13. What’s the most important need you feel burdened to meet this year?
    14. What habit would you most like to establish this year?
    15. Who do you most want to encourage this year?
    16. What is your most important financial goal this year, and what is the most important step you can take toward achieving it?
    17. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your work life this year?
    18. What’s one new way you could be a blessing to your pastor (or to another who ministers to you) this year?
    19. What’s one thing you could do this year to enrich the spiritual legacy you will leave to your children and grandchildren?
    20. What book, in addition to the Bible, do you most want to read this year?
    21. What one thing do you most regret about last year, and what will you do about it this year?
    22. What single blessing from God do you want to seek most earnestly this year?
    23. In what area of your life do you most need growth, and what will you do about it this year?
    24. What’s the most important trip you want to take this year?
    25. What skill do you most want to learn or improve this year?
    26. To what need or ministry will you try to give an unprecedented amount this year?
    27. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your commute this year?
    28. What one biblical doctrine do you most want to understand better this year, and what will you do about it?
    29. If those who know you best gave you one piece of advice, what would they say? Would they be right? What will you do about it?
    30. What’s the most important new item you want to buy this year?
    31. In what area of your life do you most need change, and what will you do about it this year?



  • I am a teacher by trade, gifting, and certainly passion. I can hardly read any piece of material without thinking where this information will profit others after it has done its work upon me. The other pastors on staff will attest to the materials I pass on to them and I often must restrain myself from just dumping their inbox with hours of reading.

    Which brings me to this site. There is hardly a day that goes by that I do not think of things that I have read or that I am reading that cannot help families. I am attempting to restructure some of my time to allow for the passing on materials to help husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers. I trust it will encourage, stimulate, and help build stronger families.