Ten Questions for 2009, Part 2
3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
Begin a regular practice of family devotions. We started that on January 1 by starting the Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible reading plan. I fully expect we will have fits and starts, and I don’t expect us to be 100% faithful as we seek to establish this habit. We won’t seek perfection in this but simply to establish the habit of family worship. If we miss a day, we won’t try to catch up but simply pick up at the current reading. This year all I’m interested in doing is getting us to have a daily time of Scripture reading and prayer. Perhaps later we can work devotions in. This habit of family spirituality is one that I have become deeply convicted about over the past year as Tricia and I realized that we were going to be a family, and of course as the man of the house that responsibility falls to me. If I want our marriage to be a godly marriage, and our daughter to grow up to be a godly, Proverbs 31 woman, having regular family worship is absolutely necessary.
4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
Scripture reading and prayer. As a pastor and seminary graduate, the easiest thing for me to do is to immediately read Scripture as something to be studied, exegeted, and preached. While that is all well and good, I firmly believe I cannot study, exegete, and preach God’s Word unless I am first immersed in Scripture as a reading habit. To this end as we follow the M’Cheyne reading plan I will be using it to do just that — immerse myself in the Word simply by reading it. I won’t try to study it unless I’m using a reading as sermon material. I freely admit this is not a habit I’ve had since the end of my college days and shortly after my first year of seminary. I feel I need to un-learn some of the habits that plague many seminary students/graduates and pastors where their time in Scripture is concerned. You might say I’ve found that I need to re-connect with Scripture much in the way men who find themselves in a period of “busy-ness” need to take time to re-connect with their wives and children. It is not simply “touching base,” but a serious, intentional immersion in the things that one loves and is interested in. It is good for a believer to periodically refocus on Scripture in this way.
I also want to be more intentional about my prayer life. I usually pray anywhere, anytime, whenever the need comes or something strikes me to pray. I have always been this way. What I’m getting at is having a set time where I deliberately pray. I’ve had regular quiet time in the past, and likely I also will in the future, but I want to establish a “prayer closet” habit, not a quiet time. I think that I will strive to determine which part of the day I am most alert, distraction-free, and available and block at least 30 minutes of that time to prayer.
Hmm, we’ve got room for one more…
5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
I need to spend less time on the computer. My wife would say computer time is my biggest time-waster. I’m actually not sure, but I’d have to agree. I don’t watch much TV anymore at all, not since I started working nights at UPS. I do most of my work (sermon prep/writing, lesson prep/writing, bill paying, blogging, etc.) on the computer. A lot of the leisure activities I do are also done on the computer. So it would seem I spend a lot of time in my home office. This means I have less time for reading Scripture, reading my books, playing with my daughter, and connecting with my wife. My wife would also say it means I do less housework. 😉
This is an area that I have actually attempted to get under control in the past, but as both my wife and I are computer users (and I’m borderline computer geek), we have failed in this respect. I have a habit, started over 10 years ago in college, of being on the computer quite a bit during the day. Since moving to Louisville and becoming internet-savvy, the bulk of the time we spend on the computer is nothing more than internet time. And I think we can all agree the net is the biggest time-waster out there!
Somehow I need to limit my internet access during the week. I am not yet sure what this will entail, whether it means no access beyond checking email during the day or scheduling limited blocks of time for this diversion or some other thing. I will be mulling over this with Tricia as well as asking other net-savvy brothers and sisters what they have done to regulate this area of their life.
Next Time: Questions 6 and 7.