Read or listen to the Introduction for the Work and Rest God’s Way Family Guide to learn how the Family Guide can benefit you and your family.
Table of contents
It’s hard to believe we have teenagers. We have nine children, and our oldest, Rhea Grace, is fifteen. Sometimes it’s hard to believe we have nine kids. We’ve had a few miscarriages, and we look forward to seeing those kids in heaven, but even with those losses, God seems to give us a child about every other year. My dear wife, Katie, is healthy and still in her thirties, so, God willing, we’ll probably have more kids! When you have eight children, some people wonder if you wanted that many. I would say we want the number of children God wants to give us, so we’ve left it up to Him.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because the Work and Rest God’s Way Family Guide is the culmination of what we’ve been learning in our family. Since we didn’t really have a plan, other than leaving things in God’s hands, we’ve had to figure things out as we go. We’ve made lots of mistakes. We’ve had to ask our children for their forgiveness more times than I can count. We’ve tried to learn from the examples of families we respect, and we’ve read books, watched videos, and attended family conferences. I have been praying and will continue to pray that this summation of what God is teaching us will bless you and guide your family well.
Prepare Your Children for Whatever God Calls Them to Do
As a pastor, I’ve often thought about one of my sons becoming a pastor. So far, none of them have shown any interest. This is okay, though, because we don’t want them to feel pressured to embrace a certain calling. We’ve told our children multiple times the important thing is that they serve Christ, which they can do in any honorable profession: “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:17 and 23). If they do this, then they know Katie and I will be pleased with them, and, most importantly, the Lord will be pleased with them.
As our children have gotten older, one thing that has amazed me is how different they are from each other and from Katie and me. So, how do we prepare our children when we have no idea what they’re going to do? We realized there were two things we could do that would benefit our children no matter what they do in life.
- Since we want them to serve Christ, we preach the gospel to them. I spend more time talking about the gospel during our family Bible studies than any other topic.
- Since it will benefit them in any profession, we train them to be hardworking and diligent.
Using the Work and Rest God’s Way Family Guide
The Work and Rest God’s Way Family Guide is designed with the above two goals in mind: point children to Jesus and teach them to work. While Work and Rest God’s Way is targeted to people of all ages, the Work and Rest God’s Way Family Guide is targeted to families and makes a great tool for family Bible studies. While one copy of Work and Rest God’s Way can be shared by a family (although in a large family, more than one copy may be needed), it’s important for each family member eight-years-old and older to have his or her own copy of the Work and Rest God’s Way Family Guide.
Families shouldn’t do the work together. Instead, each person should do the work on their own ahead of time, and then the family comes together to share their answers. Here are two recommendations:
- Read and do the work for one chapter per week, so the work isn’t rushed, and the material can be processed.
- Choose the same day and time each week, so that each family member can keep that time free and know when they must have their work done.
The Work and Rest God’s Way Family Guide is broken into two parts. Part I: Why the Work and Rest God’s Way Family Guide?—Part I contains four chapters explaining the need for a Family Guide like this one, as well as the accompanying questions for each chapter. Chapters three and four have more to do with men’s and women’s roles. Parents can decide whether they want their children to read or skip these chapters, but I would suggest that teens in the home should read the chapters and do the work. The chapters with brief explanations are:
- Chapter One: Our Children Are Growing Up in a Fallen World—Because our children are surrounded by evil, they need to be discipled.
- Chapter Two: A Sobering Example—King Jehoash is an example of the dangers of children conforming outwardly without being changed inwardly. They need the gospel to transform their hearts.
- Chapter Three: A Husband’s Spiritual Leadership—Because of the fallen world we live in and the need for our children to hear the gospel, men must be strong spiritual leaders in their homes and protect their families.
- Chapter Four: A Wife Can Make Her Husband’s Spiritual Leadership Easier—A wife can help her husband by embracing and supporting his leadership. There are certain things she should do and others she shouldn’t do.
Part II: Accompanying Questions for Work and Rest God’s Way—Part II contains the questions for the chapters from the book.