Teaching Your Kids the Word of God
Many families struggle having devotions in God's Word together. Jason Houser of Seeds Family Worship and John Majors, author of the book "True Identity" and FamilyLife's Passport2Identity, help discouraged parents find ways to make things easier.
About the Guest
- 20 Verses in 2020 from Seeds Family Worship. https://www.seedsfamilyworship.com/twenty-verses-in-2020/
- Take your marriage from good to great with these free resources. https://www.familylife.com/good-contest/
- Find resources from this podcast at https://shop.familylife.com/Products.aspx?categoryid=95.
- Check out all that's available on the FamilyLife Podcast Network. https://www.familylife.com/familylife-podcast-network/
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Seeds Family Worship ministry. Looking back from here, he never would have imagined that leading worship at his church’s Vacation Bible School in 2002 would mark the beginning of the Seeds ministry. He has seen God’s faithfulness as he has written, recorded and produced over 150 scripture worship songs over the past 15 years. He has been able to work many gifted artists, wors...moremore
Many families struggle having devotions in God’s Word together. Jason Houser and John Majors, help discouraged parents find ways to make things easier.
Teaching Your Kids the Word of God
Bob: Jason Houser is a dad who has had the kind of experience that I think all of us, as dads, have had at one point or another.
Jason: I decided I was going to start having a family time with my kids. I remember sitting in our boys’ bedroom and trying to gather the boys together. It was just two high-energy boys, as you can imagine, and doing some kind of devotion with them—or just talking about the Lord, and them not listening, and me getting frustrated—I mean, our first family devotion was a blow-up.
But I knew how important it was—and I just had learned my role, as a dad, and our role as parents—and I was like, “Okay, I really want to step into this.” I did make a commitment in my heart, “I’m going to persevere.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, August 11th. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson; I'm Bob Lepine. You’ll find us online at FamilyLifeToday.com. All of us, as parents, want to point our kids in the right direction—to point them toward Jesus to help them grow in their faith. Is there an easy way to do that?—a way that really connects with them? We have one suggestion for you today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. If we did a sword drill with the two of you, or a Scripture memory quiz with the two of you—
Dave: I was thinking, “What’s a sword drill?”
Bob: You don’t know what a sword drill is?
Dave: I don’t know what sword drills are.
Ann: We didn’t—
Dave: So the Bible being your sword; okay.
Ann: We didn’t grow up in a—
Dave: We weren’t in the church world.
Bob: Sword drills are where you have kids—their Bibles are closed—and you say, “Okay, first person to read 2 Chronicles 3:17 wins”; and they have to find it, stand up, and read it.
Ann: Oh, so they have to find it.
Dave: I literally have never heard of a sword drill. First I’ve ever heard of this.
Ann: Me either.
Bob: Well, we have two guys here, who would know sword drills.
Ann: Would they win?
Bob: They would probably beat both of you; I’m just guessing. I love you, but these guys are probably going to win.
Ann: We’re not offended.
Dave: You want to do it? [Laughter] Let’s go!
Jason: I mean—
Dave: I’m a competitive guy! [Laughter]
Jason: No, I heard—15 in your hermeneutics class—we talked about that. You have Scripture memorized here, so I don’t know. [Laughter]
Bob: Jason Houser and John Majors are joining us again on FamilyLife Today. Guys, welcome back.
Jason: It’s great to be here.
John: Thank you.
Bob: Jason gives leadership to Seeds Family Worship. For the last 17 years, he has been putting Bible verses to music. There are albums available for families to listen to. He put together verses for FamilyLife® for the Passport2Purity® and Passport2Identity® series so that parents, during those outings with their kids, could memorize Scripture together. They’re great songs that are still stuck in my head. In fact, I hear some of those verses get started, and the melody comes to mind immediately.
John was a part of that project—was on staff here, at FamilyLife, for almost two decades—
John: —18 years.
Bob: —and now is working with Jason, developing resources for families/writing devotions so that, not only are families memorizing Scripture, but they’re learning and understanding what the Scriptures are teaching and going deeper in God’s Word.
We’ve been talking about a project that you guys have been working on called 20 [Verses] for 2020. John, explain what that is.
John: We know that many families struggle to talk about God’s Word together. We wanted—like with Passport2Purity—we wanted to make it easy/make it easy for parents to win. We’ve written four devotions with each verse, each of the 20 Verses in 2020 that your family can memorize together. These are devotions that can be read at the dinner table. The songs are free; we have hand-motion videos that are all free for your family to use to do family devotions together.
Bob: You can go to our website at FamilyLifeToday.com for information on how you can access the songs, the videos, the devotions. Again, it’s all free. Just imagine having 20 verses done by the end of the year.
Dave: I could win a sword contest! [Laughter]
Bob: It’s a sword drill.
Ann: I would beat you. If it’s music, I would get it quicker.
Dave: Yes, you would get it quicker. [Laughter]
Bob: Jason, I’m wondering—your oldest is 21 years old now, right?
Bob: Were you a natural at discipling your kids? Did you grow up in a family where that’s how you were raised? I mean, how did you step into this?
Jason: No, I was not a natural; and no, I didn’t grow up in a Christian home; so it was all new—like Dave and Ann; you guys have shared you didn’t grow up with that either—but I definitely struggled when I began to be convicted—like, “I need to teach my kids.” Most Christian parents feel that.
I decided I was going to start having a family time with my kids. I remember sitting in our boys’ bedroom and trying to gather the boys together. It was just two high-energy boys, as you can imagine, and doing some kind of devotion with them—or just talking about the Lord, and them not listening, and me getting frustrated, and thinking, “Their mom’s not helping me!” Our first—I mean, our first family devotion was a blow-up.
Ann: It is discouraging; isn’t it? It’s like you don’t want to do it again!
Jason: I was so discouraged! I’m like, “Okay, I’m not good at this.” But I knew how important it was; and I just had learned my role, as a dad, and our role as parents. I was like, “Okay, I really want to step into this.” I did make a commitment in my heart, “I’m going to persevere.”
I kept getting us together—we do once a week/is kind of how we’ve done it—so I kept pressing into it. A few months into it, our middle son, Brandon, actually quoted one of the Scriptures that we talked about in the context of a situation. I was so encouraged; because I was like, “I can’t believe it got through! Something got through to these boys!”
To see the fruit of it now, over the years, and the things that we taught them—and how we were challenged by it—but God gave us what we needed to be able to do that.
Dave: Way to go. Way not to quit.
Jason: Praise the Lord!
Dave: I’ve been there; I’m sure a lot of dads and moms have been at that same place, where you’re trying to teach your kids the Word of God. You know that’s your role: “I’m called to do this; I have to do this.”
Your story is similar to ours. I had no model; I never once saw it. All I saw my dad do was cuss and drink. So here I am, as a young dad; now I have young little boys, and I’m like, “How do I do it?”
When I tried, it went the same way: they’re running around; they’re picking boogers out of their noses; they’re like, “This is boring and stupid.” [Laughter] My thought was, “Okay, I’m not good at this. I can preach; I can lead my church; can’t lead my family.”
Dave: One of the things I wanted: “Give me a tool. Somebody show me how to do it.”
You’ve created a tool. Also, I did not know, as a young dad, Deuteronomy 6. I did not know there was a pattern laid out for us that meant you could do it while you sit at the dinner table; you could do it while you’re putting them to bed; you could do it when you walk along the road. That was the Hebrew model, which I never understood—it’s the apprentice; it’s along the way.
Here’s a tool kit for a family/for a dad like me; right?
Dave: I’m a music guy, so to have music to help your kids learn Scripture—genius! Jackpot! What are you hearing from people?
Ann: Yes, have you had stories that this has worked, or kids maybe can recall Scripture they memorized?
Jason: I’ve heard so many amazing stories. People write us emails all the time. You know, one of the greatest stories—this last year, I was out on a tour called the Trust Jesus tour. We were in Minnesota, and a family came up to me after an event. They were just waiting, because they wanted to talk to me. Finally, I made my way over to them; and the mom shared with me that they’d been in a really horrible car accident. It was the mom and the two boys in the backseat. The mom was worried, and she was injured; and they’d called for an ambulance to come, but they were just waiting. In that moment, the child said, “Mom, don’t be anxious; but we need to pray.”
One of our most popular Seeds songs is, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God will come…” He knew he wanted God’s peace in that moment, and he said, “Mom, don’t worry. We need to pray.”
They told me, “It’s because we listen to Seeds, and we had this playing in our car all the time; and in that moment, when I needed to know God was there with me, my child was quoting that Scripture to me. It meant the world to our family.”
We get to hear so many stories just about how God’s Word is living and active/how it is at work. These songs are just embedded in the hearts of both kids and parents; and they can share them at times like that or in joyful times—in all seasons.
Bob: John, I’ve seen in you, for a decade or more, a passion to see dads really step up and take spiritual leadership in the home. Your conviction is that dads have the “want to,” for the most part, but they just don’t have the “how to.” They feel inadequate to do this. Putting these tools together is a part of how you make it easy for dads to do this; right?
John: Yes; because I grew up in a great Christian home, I had the opposite experience of you guys. I mean, I think—in fact, if you could craft the perfect youth minister—I had to have had him—this guy we looked up to at every level. I had a great dad, who loved the Lord; mom who loved the Lord; great church—loved God’s Word—and yet I watched plenty of my friends just walk away from the Lord after high school/walk away from their faith.
I just kept thinking, “We can’t only depend on what happens at church. That’s like working out once a week and thinking it will change everything.” The daily drip—it’s as you walk, as you sit—is going to have a far greater impact than just one hour a week.
How can we make that easy, though? I had a great church; I grew up seeing a lot of great models—it’s still intimidating, as a dad, to go there! It’s crazy; I would rather speak to thousands of people than to try to get these littles to get their attention.
Stories help with that. That’s why we’ve made these story-based. You start telling a story, and people get drawn in; they want to hear it.
Dave: I don’t know, Bob, if you’ll remember if I’ve told this on the radio—but you know, I’m a young dad. My oldest of three boys/my oldest, CJ, was nine or ten; probably, ten or eleven. He hit puberty before everybody else, so he was an early puberty guy. Eleven years old—looks like a thirteen-year-old, taller—that means Austin is nine and Cody’s six; right?
We’re walking through this mall, just me and the boys. I’m sort of behind them; and I can see, as we’re walking through the mall, right in the middle of the mall was a magazine rack. It was low—eye-level; right? I see it up there; and again, we’re a distance away. I can see that, right in front of that thing, is a bikini-cover girl magazine. I don’t know what it was, but I could see a girl in a bikini. I’m like, “Oh my goodness. It’s right there.” And the boys are walking.
I remember thinking, “Huh; I wonder if CJ’s old enough to be into girls yet”; right?—because he’s 11. I’m watching; and I see him look at the magazine, and then sort of turn away. The other two boys didn’t even see it; they’re poking each other/whatever. I’m like, “Here’s a moment; here’s a moment to teach”; right? I said, “CJ, that’s normal to want to look at a pretty woman”; but I remember saying to him, “There’s a Bible verse that says, ‘I made a covenant with my eyes to not look upon a woman,’”—Job 31; right?
Again, I doubt if he’ll remember this moment—11 years old—but I remember saying, “I’ve made a covenant with my eyes; I don’t look at those kind of things. CJ, I wanted to—that’s normal; God made us/there’s nothing wrong with that—but I’m very careful, because that can get you in a lot of trouble. So let’s make a covenant with each other—father/son—we’re going to be very careful with that.”
“Yes, okay, Dad; okay,”—walked on. I remember thinking, “There’s a moment, where you grabbed it as we walk along the way, to teach it.”
Again, I would have never been able to do that without tools like you’re creating to say, “Grab those moments, and here’s a way to do it.” You’ve added the music part.
Jason: The thing about it is, Dave, he will remember that. I bet he does remember that moment. My kids will talk to me about moments when they were younger in situations like that, and I’m sure that really impacted his life.
I do encourage parents to step into those moments. You mentioned Deuteronomy 6, and I just want to share this verse. I believe every parent should have this memorized, because it is a model for us.
Ann: Do you have music that goes to it?
Jason: I’ve written this actually three different times. There are three different songs, because this is so important for families. It says: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these commandments I give you today are to be upon your hearts. You shall teach them diligently to your children; you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise.”
For us, as families, to know there’s only one God and that we, as parents—it’s like you guys talk about vertical marriage—I think this is a verse for vertical parenting.
Dave: Yes, right.
Jason: If you haven’t started that book yet, it might be time, because here it is—
Dave: You just heard it! [Laughter] I’m glad you’re—[Laughter]
Ann: We use that verse too!
Jason: I didn’t even know this! Okay, so that’s so good; because it starts with us. Just like your marriage story, it starts with our relationship with the Lord—that we should love God; and that we should know His Word; and then we can teach diligently; we can have a plan, like what we’re talking about here.
It doesn’t matter so much how you do it, but it matters that you have a plan to be diligent. Then, like you were talking about, Dave, as you go through life—it’s when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, while we’re driving in our cars, when you lie down, and when you rise. There are so many moments for us, as parents, that what we do is—when we get our kids in the Word, then we can have some family time—but then you have a foundation to be able to teach it in those teachable moments.
Jason: It’s so awesome. I just encourage families to know that verse, because it’s as we go through life that we teach our kids about Jesus.
John: I think one of the things that dads really struggle with—you mention as being intimidated—one of the things I tell dads is: “Just assume it will be hard; start that way. But then, also come, being transparent.” Look, if you haven’t been studying the Bible on your own/if you haven’t been walking with the Lord, just start there and say, “Look, guys; I haven’t been doing this well, and I want to do this better. Let’s do it together.”
Also, embrace the phrase, “I don’t know.” I remember when I heard Wayne Grudem—who has forgotten more theology than any of us will ever remember—when I heard him say in a seminary class, “I don’t know,” I thought, “If he can say, ‘I don’t know,’ then I can say it.”
If your kids ask a question—I’ve heard time and again, “What if I won’t be able to answer their question?”—great! Just say, “You know what? Great question. I don’t know. Anybody else have any ideas? Let’s go study it together. Let’s come back tomorrow and talk about it again.” It’s okay to say, “I don’t know.” In fact, it’s really healthy; it’s really good.
Bob: When you think about the Scriptures, there are certain verses that I think moms and dads would just know instinctively, “These are verses our kids ought to know.” I mean, they ought to know John 3:16. There are certain verses—they ought to know the Great Commission—you talked about that already.
Bob: There are certain passages that ought to be locked in their heart. One of the ones that you’ve focused in on is from the middle of the Sermon on the Mount—in Matthew, Chapter 6—where Jesus is talking about being anxious about what you’re going to wear/what you’re going to eat. He says, “Don’t worry about these things; your Father will take care of you,” but then He lands it all with saying, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” You put that to music; right?
Bob: Can you grab a guitar? We have a guitar here; can you play it for us?
Jason: I would love that! Yes; actually, I want to share that this is my life verse. This may be something for you guys—as parents/for kids—that are listening; it’s good to seek God for a life verse.
In this verse, it talks about, too—it’s not in the song—but verse 32 talks about: “The pagans run after all these things.” I was running after things in the world, living in Nashville. Music was an idol in my life. When God turned my life around, He said, “Seek Me first, and I’m going to provide everything that you need.” That was right before the Seeds ministry started. Then, after that, I actually started some number-one songs—all these things that were an idol to me. God was first, and that [music] was off the throne; and then God brought blessing into my life. So this is definitely one of my favorite verses and a verse I’d love every family to know and memorize.
Bob: Alright, grab the guitar, and let’s listen to how Jason has put his life verse to music for us.
Jason: [Playing guitar and singing]
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear?” Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear?”
Alright, sing that with me! Here we go.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear?” Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear?” But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you, added to you.
Clap your hands, you guys! Yes! One more time! Here we go.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear?” Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear?” But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you, added to you. But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you, added to you.
Clap your hands! Take it home! Hey! Hey! One more time; Hey, hey! [Cheering]
Bob: Dave Wilson turned our studio table into a djembe [drum] here. [Laughter]
Jason: —which I appreciate, Dave! Thank you!
Ann: Welcome to my life and the dashboard of our car! [Laughter]
Dave: Oh, yes; I have been scolded many times.
Bob: Those songs—you can hear how kids and families would just be smiling down the freeway, listening to those, and singing those, and learning those.
Ann: Absolutely. I would remind parents: “In your car, you have a captive audience.” I’m telling you—we prayed more and listened to more good music in our car. I feel like discipleship took place in our car more than anywhere else, because they can’t get out! [Laughter]
Jason: Well, yes, and that’s Deuteronomy 6; right?
Jason: As you walk by the way is driving in our culture; right?
Ann: As you drive along the way.
Jason: That is God’s call: “As you go.” The car is an amazing place for discipleship, so I just amen that.
Bob: Well, you guys have done an amazing job of equipping us/giving us a tool. The fact that it’s all free is amazing: 20 songs, 20 verses, 80 devotionals, hand motions for these; and it’s all online. You can go to our website at FamilyLifeToday.com and find out more about this. Thank you guys for being here and for sharing this whole project with us. We’re excited for you. [Cheering]
Ann: There you go.
John: Thanks so much.
Jason: Hey, Bob, I just want to say this one thing to finish up. This is on my heart to share. FamilyLife has been such a blessing to our family. We did Passport2Purity with all of our kids. My 18-year-old son is going to see his girlfriend in Nashville tomorrow; we’re going to have a talk tonight. We still talk about Passport2Purity. We’ve been to a Weekend to Remember—the victories that we’ve shared.
For all those on staff at FamilyLife—for you guys/for all that you’re pouring into people—it’s making a difference. It’s changed our family, and you guys have been a part of it. We have a “We Still Do” plaque hanging in our bathroom, with our marriage date—[given when] we were at the 40-year anniversary [celebration] of FamilyLife—and we’re just so thankful. To everyone at FamilyLife, please receive a “Thank you,” from the Houser family. What you’re doing’s making a difference, and you’ve blessed us. Thank you so much for having us here.
Bob: Yes, it’s been great to partner with you through the years. We’re grateful for all you’ve done. I hope all of our listeners will access, for free, what you guys have created in the 20 Verses in 2020 project that you’ve been working on. There’s a link on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com. Again, it’s all free—the devotionals/the songs.
This is really something we’re all committed to. I mean, just imagine the outcome: your family, at the end of 2020, being able to go through 20 verses you’ve memorized together. That’s a great project for all of us. Find the 20 Verses in 2020 link when you go to our website at FamilyLifeToday.com; again, that’s FamilyLifeToday.com.
While you’re on the website, also take advantage of the “Take Your Marriage from Good to Great” content that’s also available for free: a couple of online video courses, some messages you can listen to and download; there’s a downloadable eBook. All of these resources can help you strengthen your marriage and fill in some of the gaps/help you deal with some of the conflict that builds up in a marriage relationship. There are biblical ways for conflict to be resolved in a marriage, and some of these messages talk about that. One of the online courses takes you through conflict resolution.
Find out more about the “Take Your Marriage from Good to Great” content that is available for free on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com. Everybody who gets access to that content—you sign up to receive it—you are automatically eligible/you’re entered into a contest. Somebody is going to win a trip to FamilyLife to sit in on a FamilyLife Today recording session and then head out to dinner with Dave and Ann Wilson. We’ll cover the cost of your transportation here; we’ll put you up in a hotel—we’ll take care of you while you’re here. There’s no purchase necessary. The contest ends August 14th, and restrictions apply. You can enter often. Official rules can be found at FamilyLife.com/good-contest. Check out the “Take Your Marriage from Good to Great” content that’s available on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com.
We’d like to think that every one of you, who’s a regular listener to FamilyLife Today, would get a copy of my new book, which is called Love Like You Mean It. It’s a look at what the Bible has to say about how we should understand and define love, which goes a lot deeper than the superficial approach to love that is promoted in our culture. The Bible has a clear description of what real love looks like, and we explore that in this book.
The book is our gift to you when you make a donation today to support the ongoing work of FamilyLife Today. Your donations are helping hundreds of thousands of married couples, families, grandparents. You’re helping us effectively develop godly marriages and families who change the world. When you donate to support that effort, we’ll send you a copy of the book, Love Like You Mean It, as a thank-you gift. You can donate, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Be sure to ask for your copy of the book when you make a donation, and we appreciate your partnership with us here in the ministry of FamilyLife Today.
Now, tomorrow, we want to talk about important conversations that parents, especially moms, should be having with their sons during adolescence. Vicki Courtney is going to join us to walk us through that, and I hope you can be here 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 back 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: Seek First His Kingdom
Artist: Jason Houser
Album: Seeds Family Worship; “I Believe, Vol. 14”
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