TODAY’S Episode

Enjoying Family Worship

with Jason Houser, John Majors | August 10, 2020

Jason Houser from Seeds Family Worship and John Majors, author of the book "True Identity" and creator of FamilyLife's resource Passport2Identity, discuss why Scripture that is put to music is such a powerful force in a child's life. Hear how we can help our kids hide God's Word in their hearts on a daily basis in a way that is simple and easy.

Show Notes and Resources

Jason Houser from Seeds Family Worship and John Majors, author of the book "True Identity" and creator of FamilyLife's resource Passport2Identity, discuss why Scripture that is put to music is such a powerful force in a child's life. Hear how we can help our kids hide God's Word in their hearts on a daily basis in a way that is simple and easy.

Show Notes and Resources

Enjoying Family Worship

With Jason Houser, John Majors
|
August 10, 2020
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob: You’re a parent, and you’re raising your children. What is job one for you? We’ll assume keeping them alive is a given; but beyond that, what’s job one? Here’s Jason Houser.

Jason: There’s nothing more important in all of our lives than for us to teach our kids how to follow Jesus. And parents, we are the most influential voice in our kids’ lives. The greatest opportunity our kids are going to have to walk with Jesus is going to be through us. The church, and the youth pastors, and the kids pastors—all the other people in their lives—we have the greatest voice. Jesus will empower you.

I encourage all families: “Take that next step of faith, whatever that next step is for you. Have courage because it will make a difference in your life and in your kids’.”

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, August 10th. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson; I'm Bob Lepine. You can find us online at FamilyLifeToday.com. One of the ways we point our kids to Jesus, as we raise them, is through Scripture memory—not just for them—but for us too. We’re going to talk about an easy way to do that today. Stay with us.

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. When we were raising our kids, one of the things we tried to do/we tried to incorporate Scripture memory as part of what we were doing in raising our kids. Sometimes, I have to confess, we were selective about the verses we wanted them to memorize for parenting purposes; right? Ephesians 6:[1-3] is one.

Dave: I was going to say, “Honor thy father and mother.” [Laughter]

Bob: “Obey your parents in the Lord,”—you go right to something like that.

But our kids today, if you were to begin this verse—our kids are all grown and married/have kids of their own—if you were to begin this verse, they would recite it on cue, and would roll their eyes while they’re doing it. It’s Proverbs 26:18-19—here’s what it says—“Like a madman, shooting firebrands and deadly arrows, so is one who deceives his friend and says, ‘I was only joking.’” [Laughter]

I love that; because our kids, all the time, would do something to their brothers or sisters—tease them/do something—then you’d say, “Don’t talk to your sister….” “I was just joking.” We had that at the dinner table; we would all chant the verse together: “Like a madman, shooting firebrands or deadly arrows….”

Ann: That’s not a typical verse to memorize as a family. [Laughter]

Dave: If you gave me a hundred verses to pick—what you were going to say—that was not—I was looking at you. like, “What?!”

Bob: But isn’t that a verse that every parent should be able to pull out of their hip pocket and say, “You need to have this one memorized”? [Laughter]

Ann: Yes!

Bob: In fact, I’m just wondering if that verse has ever been put to music. The people to find out—

Dave: —are with us today.

Bob: If it hasn’t been put to music, it should be. [Laughter]

Jason Houser is here with us from Seeds Family Worship. Jason, welcome back to FamilyLife Today.

Jason: It’s so awesome to be here. And that is a challenge; you’ve thrown down the gauntlet right as we started, because I have not written a song to that. [Laughter] I’m already imagining the music. It’s not a ballad—I can tell you that. [Laughter] If we’ve got a madman, we’re going to have some electric guitars in there.

Ann: Yes, really.

Dave: [Making electric guitar sounds]

Bob: Along with Jason Houser, we’ve got John Majors joining us. John, welcome to FamilyLife Today.

John: Thank you. It’s good to be here.

Bob: Jason has led Seeds Family Worship for almost two decades now; is that right?—

Jason: Yes.

Bob: —putting Scripture to music in a way that makes it easy for moms and dads and kids, and the whole family, to memorize the Bible.

I love Seeds. In fact, when we were updating the Passport2Purity® resource, that FamilyLife® created back in the early ‘90s, we had some songs/some Scripture memory songs in the first edition that were appropriate for the early ‘90s—I mean, a lot of synthesizer and a lot of big hair—[Laughter]—it was that kind of stuff. We realized, “Now, these songs have got to get updated”; so we went to Jason and said, “Could you…”

Dave: I’m surprised you didn’t call me. I thought you were going to call me, Bob. [Laughter]

Bob: You were surprised by that?

Dave: Yes; no, you went to the pro.

Bob: We did!

Dave: You got the pro.

Bob: We went to Jason and said, “Could you create these songs for us?” All of the Passport2Purity and Passport2Identity® music was created by Jason—Scripture memory verses that are a part of those programs.

Speaking of Passport2Identity, John Majors was the leader of that project when he was here as a part of FamilyLife; wrote a book that goes along with Passport2Identity called True Identity that’s for teenagers to read to help understand their identity/who they are. It’s the big question every teenager is asking—is: “Who am I?” “What am I good at?” “Why should anybody like me?”

Ann: “Why am I here?”

Bob: Exactly.

Dave: I’ve always said that there are two beliefs that determine every decision every person makes every day. One is theology: “What do we believe about God?”—that’s what you’re doing with Scripture to help kids understand theology. The other is identity: “Who am I?”

I look back; every decision I’ve made is based on: “Do I really understand God’s character and identity?” “Do I understand who I am?” Good decisions/bad decisions are made out of that. It’s pretty cool, as you were saying that, Bob; they’re sitting right here! You are influencing those two areas, and that’s critical.

Ann: Jason, I don’t know why I didn’t know about this earlier. As we memorized Scripture over the years, there was one point that we were in seminary, taking a hermeneutics class. The professor popped on us, the night before, that we had to memorize 15 verses for the final the next day. Now, Dave is really good at memorizing Scripture. I got so mad, because he was done in like 45 minutes; “I’ve got them all,” and he was reciting them. I’m like on number four; I gave up—like, “I’m not doing this. I can’t even remember.”

I needed a song. If I’d had a song, I could’ve memorized those. [Laughter] I feel like you’re such a genius to help us, as families and individuals, to memorize Scriptures through music.

Bob: It is pretty amazing, Jason, how Scripture put to music does something different in our memory and, I think, even in our soul. God’s Word is living and powerful, so the spoken Word—I’m a big proponent of the spoken Word—but the sung Word/the Word with melody—there’s something that is transcendent about that.

Jason: Yes; I always tell kids: “You know, music is really important to God. There are songs throughout the whole Bible. The middle of the Bible is a collection of 150 songs. God wired us for music; He wired us to worship Him. One of the ways we do that is through music.”

There are statistics that say all of us, whether we want to or not, by the time we leave home, whether 18 or 20, we know 2,000-3,000 songs, word for word. What those songs are/what those lyrics are that we have in our minds—I mean, that can be debated.

Ann: They’re not always the best.

Jason: They’re not always the best lyrics, right?—and we all have that.

But to be able to put God’s Word to music—the whole Seeds Family Worship ministry came out of serving kids at a local church in Franklin, Tennessee, and writing Scriptures for a Vacation Bible School, seeing how that impacted our kids, and our teachers, and how it impacted our church. Then God opened doors for it to become what it is today.

Bob: John, I want to go back to a conversation you and I had more than a decade ago. We were talking, here, at FamilyLife about: “How can we help moms and dads in the process of discipling their kids? What kinds of tools could we come up with?” We kicked around an idea that, now, you and Jason are working together to put legs to this idea, that’s more than a decade old. Talk about that.

John: The thing we heard all the time about Passport2Purity was: “You made it easy for us to win as parents. We got a huge win/a great connection with my kids around a difficult topic.”

Bob and I got talking about that: “How do we take that from just one event in the lifetime of your child and turn it into a daily thing/a weekly thing and make it happen more often? And get God’s word hidden in their heart?” That led us to this idea of weekly family devotions with Scripture memory songs that plant God’s Word in your heart.

Those will keep coming back at times you don’t even expect it. In fact, Jason and I, when we were working on Passport2Purity, we laughed about some of the old Psalty songs we still remembered—you know, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God…”—you can still quote.

Ann: I still know that because my kids listened to it.

Dave: Yes.

John: Right; sometimes songs stick for the wrong reason, right? You go, “That tune was interesting.” That’s why we pulled Jason in; we wanted to have really memorable tunes, that also engaged the whole family, but also gave families an easy way to win.

Bob: Yes; we talked about this idea: “What if we took 100 verses: ‘These are the essential 100. If every kid, by the time he graduated, had memorized these 100 verses’;”—not just 100 random verses—“but what if you categorized them, and you laid out a systematic theology, utilizing those 100 verses—how much farther ahead would that child be, at age 18, if those 100 verses were planted in his heart?” He goes to college; maybe he veers to the left/to the right—he’s still got God’s Word hidden in his heart, and God’s Word will not return void. I believe that he’s still going to hear those verses, ringing in his head for the rest of his life, if he plants them there early.

You guys, this year in 2020, have put together a project that’s the first steps in that direction. I don’t know if it will be 100 or more than 100; this is what you’re giving life to; right?

John: Yes; we’re calling it “20 in 2020.” Just think—as a family, you might be memorizing Scripture together—but it’s often a struggle to get your kids to engage/to remember it. You might get it done; but a week later, they don’t remember. What if you can come away, from the end of 2020, having memorized 20 verses together as a family? How will that begin to change your family?—the ethos of your family—the conversations at the table.

Part of the real value of Seeds is we want to get the word planted. Psalm 119 talks about, “I have hidden God’s Word in my heart so that I might not sin against You.” Let’s hide it in there at a young age. You never know how God’s going to bring that about in college or wherever.

But 20 verses—how many families can say: “We have 20 verses together we can recite,” and “We memorized them effortlessly, just by listening to songs.”

Dave: I know there are some dads—you know, they’re sitting there, right now, hearing this/maybe moms—going, “Oh, great; I’m going to do 20,”—even if it’s 10, but then to hear 20—but they don’t have this part—they don’t know the music part is going to make it fun.

When you say, “This is going to be something you enjoy,”—changes everything. The music part if it—not only is it going to be stuck and memorable—but it can actually create joy around it, right?

Jason: Oh, yes; you don’t have to work at it—that’s the beautiful thing. As you’re driving in your car, you can be playing the music. We have playlists on Spotify® and Apple® music; you can just play the music.

I got a video this past week of a little girl climbing up on her couch to her Amazon Alexa and say [in small voice], “Alexa, play Seeds Family Worship.” [Laughter] I love that! This little one—she’s been trained that she can have God’s Word—she’s excited, herself, to have God’s Word playing in her house.

You have God’s Word—that you’re just listening to it—you’re not trying to memorize for a hermeneutics class; you’re just listening as you’re driving in your car. All of a sudden, you know these 20 verses, and you can start sharing them as a family; and then, start sharing what they mean. That’s so powerful about what’s—John’s piece that he’s bringing into Seeds right now is doing some devotions. Families can know the verses; but then: “Hey, this is what this means to your life. These are stories to share.”

Bob: You’ve written three or four devotions for each verse?

John: Four devotions for each verse; yes.

Bob: So with 20 verses, 80 devotions; so that if a family—they might say, “Okay; it’s going to take us two weeks to learn this verse,”—that’s fine—they could do it in a week. You have the devotions you read at a meal together; you listen to the songs throughout the week; by the end of the week, you ought to be able to have a Scripture tucked away in your heart; right?

John: There’s a lot of different ways to approach it. Every family has a different structure. Jason and I were talking about this. In our home, we do it over breakfast. I make a big meal, because food is what brings people together. Instead of trying to create some separate family worship event, that can be kind of intimidating; it’s like, “No, just tell your family, ‘I’m not studying the Bible very much; I want to more. Let’s all do this together,’ and ‘We’re going to keep it simple.’”

All we do is sit down at the table for the meal. While the kids are shoving food in their mouth—they can’t interrupt yet—I start reading the story. They’re all story-based. There’s a question to ask to get conversation going. Just ask the question; sometimes, we’ll have 10-15 minutes of conversation; sometimes silence. I just move on; I don’t put any pressure on anyone. If there’s great conversation, great; if not, no big deal.

Then we pray to wrap up—just a simple prayer. If you don’t feel comfortable praying, we even wrote a prayer; you can just read the prayer. All we care about is that you start the habit of starting to connect around Scripture together. We’re in the midst of a pandemic; but there’s a bigger one, where kids are leaving the church in droves after high school—they’re saying, “See ya.”

The only way we’re going to be able to reverse that is to by bringing the gospel into the home every day/saturating our homes with the gospel every day. We’re just trying to make an easy tool for doing that.

Bob: One of the things I’ve always found interesting about Seeds music is that it really does seem to connect with three-year-olds, and eighteen-year-olds, and thirty-five-year-old moms and dads. I don’t know what it is about what you do, musically, that has that broad appeal. You’re conscious of the fact that you’re trying to write songs that the whole family can connect with; right?

Jason: Yes; the background of Seeds—when I first started the Seeds ministry, I was working with a kid named Matthew West. He was a kid back then—just getting started—and I produced his first album. We wrote some of the first Seeds Family Worship songs, and he sang on the albums.

They’re just like writing worship songs with a pop/rock feel to them; they’re just modern worship songs, but they have a kid energy. They have different vocals/different people singing; we have guest artists and myself. Really, having the energy connects with kids; but then, they’re worship songs written to the Word.

Bob: Disney has figured out how to connect with moms and dads and kids, musically. You bring a lot of that same pop sensibility.

Jason: Exactly.

Bob: So we’ve got a keyboard here.

Dave: I think we’ve got to hear some of these songs.

Ann: I do too.

Bob: I think our audience needs to hear what a verse put to music sounds like in a Seeds project, and what their family could be listening to, and how they could memorize a passage; okay?

Jason: Alright; awesome. The song I’ll do is called I Believe. It’s the title cut from our new album. It’s John 3:36; it testifies that “We believe.” It’s a great song to declare that “I believe in Jesus; I believe He’s God’s Son.”

Bob: While you’re getting set up, I’ll let listeners know—you can go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com; there’s a link there that’ll give you information on how you can get access to the devotionals and to the songs that are part of the 20 Verses in 2020 program that Seeds has put together and John’s been working on.

Is this one of the songs from the 20 in 2020?

Jason: Yes, it is.

Bob: Okay, and what’s the name of it again?

Jason: I Believe, John 3:36.

Bob: We’re ready.

Jason: [Singing I Believe] [Applause]

Bob: So that’s the unplugged version that we heard, right?

Jason: Yes.

Bob: You produce it out with drums, and guitars, and the whole thing; right?

Jason: Yes; a lot of young people—I call them “The Seeds of Youth”—they’re teenagers that sing with me. We have a big-gang vocals, and it feels like a high-energy worship for families.

Bob: Tell everybody: “Who’s a part of the Seeds band these days?”

Jason: It’s interesting—I’ve been doing this long enough to grow a worship team. [Laughter] I’m actually producing the new music with my oldest son, Ben, who’s 21, and he plays guitar; then my middle son, Brandon’s 18; he plays keyboard. They’re both incredible musicians; they both love the Lord. It’s amazing to see what God’s done in their lives.

Then, my nephew plays drums. My niece, Kylie—Kylie Lynch—does all the hand motions; she’s the worship girl for Seed. We are family team/a family band, doing family ministry. It’s pretty amazing.

Bob: There’s a little pressure being born in your family. [Laughter]

This is an intimidating issue for a lot of moms and dads. Most moms and dads I know feel like they’re not doing enough/like they’re failing at this. I look back and think, “We could have and should have done more.” I think our kids would say, “You’re being too hard on yourself.” But as parents, there’s nothing we care more about than that our kids love the Lord.

Ann: Dave and I didn’t grow up in the church, so we never saw it modeled. We had no idea what it looked like. For someone to give us tools—man, that is a gift! As you guys were talking, and even singing, Jason, I recalled what we used to do when our kids would go to bed. A lot of times, they’d be scared or they’d be wound up, so we would let them listen to certain music.

I’m thinking, as we’re in the car—as you mentioned earlier—as you’re playing Alexa, or music in the house, or even going to bed—if they listen to that and let God’s Word sink deep into them—Jason, I was thinking, “Your kids grew up on this.”

Jason: They did.

Ann: Do they have a lot of Scripture memorized?

Jason: They do know a lot of Scripture; and they’ve been on a lot of adventures, going out and doing worship nights. We’ve made some incredible memories in discipleship with our kids, just doing life with us. That’s a big part of what we want to help people to do—is just make it easy.

Every step forward is a win; it’s the small victories. You don’t have to preach sermons to your kids. It’s stepping in and just saying, “Hey, we’re just going to have”—what I call a spiritual family time—“it’s a time to get together to talk about the Lord.”

A Scripture that I go back to, over and over, and I share it with moms and dads—I want to share it with the families here—is the Great Commission, but thinking about it for families. When Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations”—just put your children—“Go and make disciples of your children, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus gave His disciples a call that was so much bigger than them, just like parenting is bigger than all of us. It’s intimidating to do; but Jesus said, “I will be with you in this.” There’s nothing more important in all of our lives than for us to teach our kids how to follow Jesus. Parents, we are the most influential voice in our kids’ lives. The greatest opportunity our kids are going to have to walk with Jesus is going to be through us. The church, and the youth pastors, and the kid pastors—all the other people in their lives—we have the greatest voice. Jesus will empower you.

I encourage all families: “Take that next step of faith, whatever that next step is for you. Have courage, because it will make a difference in your life and in your kids’.”

Bob: Having devotions that are story-based—I’m imagining, now, kids, going, “Are you going to read to us a story tonight?”—rather than dad having to be the one, saying, “Okay; sit down; I’m going to read this thing.” “What’s our story tonight?”—they’re going to be more drawn to that.

Again, I’ll point our listeners to FamilyLifeToday.com, where we’ve got a link to the 20 Verses in 2020 project that you guys have put together. This is free; families have access to this. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com and take advantage of the work that John and Jason have been doing: the songs, the devotionals—all of it. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com for the 20 Verses in 2020 project and get access to all that John and Jason have put together.

I should also mention there’s another resource available online that we put together on FamilyLife. It’s called “Take Your Marriage from Good to Great.” This is not about Scripture memory for families. This is about how you can strengthen the foundation of your marriage relationship with some easy to access/easy to engage with content: a couple of online courses; some messages you can listen to from Voddie Baucham, and Paul David Tripp, Juli Slattery, Gary Chapman. There’s a downloadable eBook that we’re making available. All of it’s free.

We have a little extra incentive for you to engage with this content. Everybody who signs up for it and downloads it—you’re automatically entered into a contest, where somebody is going to win a trip to FamilyLife to sit in on an upcoming FamilyLife Today recording session and then have dinner that night with Dave and Ann Wilson. We’ll cover the cost of your flight; we’ll cover your hotel; we’ll get you a rental car—just make sure you’re taken care of while you’re here.

There’s no purchase necessary. The contest ends August 14th. Some restrictions do apply. You can find the official rules at FamilyLife.com/good-contest. Check out the “Take Your Marriage from Good to Great” free resource; maybe, we’ll see you at an upcoming FamilyLife Today recording session.

And then, finally, we’re hoping that everybody, who’s a FamilyLife Today listener, will get a copy of my new book, which is called Love Like You Mean It. It’s a look at the biblical definition of love, which is the definition we have to embrace if we want the kind of marriage God intends for us to have. The Bible makes it clear what real love looks like; that’s what this book is all about.

The book is our gift to you this month when you make a donation to support the ministry of FamilyLife Today—when you help us help others/when you give so that we can reach more people, more regularly, with practical biblical help and hope for their marriage and family—that’s what your donation does. If you can make a donation today, we’d love to say, “Thank you,” by sending you a copy of the book, Love Like You Mean It. It’s our thank-you gift to you. You can donate, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to donate. We’re grateful for your partnership with us, here, in the ministry of FamilyLife Today.

We hope you can join us, again, tomorrow when we’re going to continue talking about creative ways to engage the whole family in Scripture memory. We’ll hear another song from Jason Houser tomorrow. I hope you can tune in for that.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas; a Cru® Ministry. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.

©Song: I Believe

Artist:   Jason Houser

Album: Seeds Family Worship; “I Believe, Vol. 14”

 

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