Coming this December...

...A new baby Hutchinson! Baby Hutch is due December 20th. This will be our 3rd child born in December! When I was younger, I wondered why people had babies in December...now I know! We'll take them whenever the Lord gives them! We've seen the baby and the heartbeat and everything looked great. Claire saw the ultrasound picture, started laughing and said, "That baby looks SO FUNNY!"

The girls are very excited. Kate wants a sister and Claire wants a brother. Kate has picked out "Sadie" if it's a girl and "Paul" if it's a boy. Claire has picked out "Salsa" (we must eat too much Mexican food) if it's a girl and "Nick and Jake" if it's a boy.

We are not going to find out the sex of the baby until the birth day so I think that will be fun. Rick wants to wait and pick out the name once the baby is born but I'm not sure I can handle that. Either way, it'll be a while until we let you know if we've decided on "Salsa" or not....maybe we'll go with "Cheese Dip."


Family Worship is not easy

There seems to always be a reason to not set aside time each day to gather as a family in the same room and reflect on God's goodness to us. Over the past three weeks we have either had a sick child, been late getting home, or simply been worn out most nights of the week. This is not conducive to spending time in God's word together.

We have skipped family worship several nights during this three week period, but we have been able to worship together a majority of the nights in each of these weeks. I attribute this partly to our not being extremely rigid in our worship activities. In other words, I do not have a detailed set of activities that we must complete each night in order to say we have worshiped together. Each evening of worship would be quite different if you were peering through our windows.

For instance, if the children are sick, they need to be in bed quickly so the number and length of songs we sing is shortened because they will not be interested in singing if they are sick. Or we may even exclude singing altogether.

Other times everyone will be keyed up because we came home late or they had long naps during the day so I will try to include more singing (and yes dancing at our house!) and we will recite scripture, read the Bible, and even read a prayer out of the Valley of Vision. My reading of scripture is often much more energetic on these evenings as well. I may also let the children stay up later on these evenings for more extended worship time because they will not go to sleep right away anyway.

While lack of rigidity may help, though, I believe the main reason we continue in worship is the Holy Spirit. He is driving us to worship. My efforts are of little use if the Spirit of God is not involved at the core of our time, and so I realize my need to continue to pray that God would increase our desire to worship Him each evening as a family. It is fun to lead the family in worship, but I must continually be reminded that my efforts are of little value without God's Spirit.


When the Lights Go Out

What do you do when the lights go out for nearly 48 hours??

You sit on the doghouse
You give your sister a ride on your bike

Then she returns the favor
You practice fishing

And you play basketball


Family Worship during Holy Week

If you have not read my initial post on family worship, Click Here.

During Holy Week, our family met with our church at lunch each day for fellowship and a
devotion from our pastor. We spent the evenings practicing for "The Risen Christ", which was presented by the church choir and others on Thursday and Friday evening.

With that schedule, we did not spend time together as a family around the word of God in the evenings. Today was another busy day and we came home right at bedtime for the children. We need to be at worship tomorrow morning by 7 am so the children needed to go straight to bed. We sang 2 songs this evening: "Up from the grave he arose" and "Christ the Lord is Risen Today". Our girls did not know either of these songs. I then spent 1 minute explaining why tomorrow's corporate worship is special. I do not feel like the girls were really listening tonight, though.

I hope to get back on a more regular schedule next week. Hopefully, this will increase their attentiveness.


Deep and Wide

Can you tell who's the loudest leader in this group??

The Power of the Cross

Click here to see/listen. Scroll down and click on "Power of the Cross"

"The Power of the Cross"
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music

Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

This, the pow'r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath—
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev'ry bitter thought,
Ev'ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
"Finished!" the vict'ry cry.

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

This, the pow'r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.


Holy Week @ Third Presbyterian Church

Our church, Third Presbyterian Church, is having a time of devotion followed by lunch each day during Holy Week. Our pastor's blog contains posts for each day's devotion. You may find it useful for meditation during this week. If you are down by UAB at 12 pm anytime in the next few days, drop by and spend time with us.

Also, on Thursday and Friday evening, we are presenting "The Risen Christ: A Celebration of the Resurrection" featuring songs by Keith and Kristyn Getty as well as Stuart Townsend. The music is awesome and footage from the film MATTHEW will be shown along with a drama in a reader's theatre format.

This presentation is pretty amazing. If you want to see a powerful presentation of the work of Christ on the cross or have friends that you think need to see and hear the Gospel, consider joining us at 7 pm on either Thursday or Friday night.

See this blog post for information.

Family Worship

Over the past few years, I have had conversations with various people about family worship. I have become convinced that the father's responsibility is to lead his wife and children in drawing near to the Lord. James 4:8 says as we draw near to the Lord, He will draw near to us. Spending time together in the face of God each day is one part of drawing near to the Lord.

Spending time in worship throughout the week accomplishes several things:
  1. It prepares the family for corporate worship
  2. It encourages family members to abide in Christ
  3. It trains family members to study and trust in the Lord
  4. It shows the father's desire to be obedient to the Lord
  5. It shows the father's desire to know the Lord
  6. It shows the father's love for his family
The above list is not exhaustive, but it serves as a small example of the impact family worship can have on the family. During discussions, I found that many people do not know where to start when considering family worship. For years, I knew I needed to lead my family in worship and I wanted to, but I continually put it off for various reasons. I now think one of those reasons is that I did not know what to do.

Over the past few months, we have been diligent to spend time in worship together as a family several times a week. The Lord has answered my prayers and the prayers of my wife as we continually asked Him to lead us into this. Honestly, it kind of just started on day and we have continued since. I have considered posting what we do during worship each day on this blog. I'm not sure I can commit to doing it every day, but I am going to start randomly doing this to see if I can get it going regularly. I will tag them "Family Worship". For today's post, I would like to make a few preliminary suggestions for getting started for those of you that are in the position I was in a few months ago.

If you feel a slight interest or desire into leading your family in a time of worship (a.k.a quiet time, devotion, etc.) a few times per week, consider doing the following:
  1. Ask the Lord to make this a priority, give you the knowledge of what to do, and for your wife to encourage you to lead in this way
  2. Try to get your hands on a hymnal
  3. Gather a book or two that you can quickly glean some wise scriptural insight from
  4. Keep the hymnal and these books together with your Bible so you can grab them all at once
  5. Tell your children to remind you about family worship and tell them they can stay up an extra few minutes when you worship (this creates REAL accountability!)
  6. Let your younger children (under 3) to move around the room as long as they are quiet. All other children should sit still and actively participate
  7. Use this as a time for scripture and hymn memory along with other things.
The books I've gathered around are:
  1. Proverbs for Parenting written by Barbara Decker
  2. Essential Truths of the Christian Faith by R.C. Sproul
  3. Trinity Hymnal

General Thoughts
Sometimes I spend five minutes preparing for worship, and other times, I simply wing it. You will find you are better prepared to "wing it" as you spend more time with the Lord personally. Also, it becomes easier as you do it more often.

I have a 4 year old, a 3 year old (well, 2 until April 19th), and a 16 month old. My wife participates in worship, but I talk to the children mostly. She adds helpful thoughts as we move through the time together.

I try to make it fun. As I'm reading something, I often skim it and tell it to them rather than read it to them. Especially when using the R.C. Sproul book. It's not on a 4 year old level! I do read difficult parts so my wife can hear it and be edified, but then I'll explain it on a child's level. For instance, today, we discussed the Lord's supper. I read about transubstantiation and consubstantiation. I then asked my 3 and 4 year old to try and say those words. They got a kick out of it. I then proceeded to explain the concepts on a child's level. The R.C. Sproul book explained it so I could understand it, and as I translate that to them I find that I understand what I read better. You will probably want to start on a little easier topic! I'm not sure I did too good at explaining it either because my children had blank stares, but it was time together around Biblical topics. Anyway, you get the picture. Make it fun, and do not worry about teaching them something perfectly every night. Besides, you have a few nights per week to train yourself in leading your family in worship. You will get better and if you start while your children are young, they will never remember when you stunk at it! Or at least, that is my hope!

Finally, we use this time to do scripture and hymn memory. We sing the same hymns each night for a while so they begin to know the words and can sing them with ease. The hymns we use are the ones from a CD they listen to while in the car. They love it. We also memorize a short proverb each week (for now). We may move on to the Ten commandments next. I like this because sometimes I will simply explain the memory verse as our Bible study time. This has worked out well because their Sunday school teacher (Mrs. Angela) asks them a memory verse each week so they are excited to have one to say.

Today's Worship

So, for today, our time was a little longer than usualy. That's probably because I knew I was going to blog this and wanted to make it really good! But anyhow, here is what we did:
  1. Sing "Go, Go Joshua" (from miss pattycake..they love this one)
  2. Sing "O Worship the King" (3 verses from Trinity Hymnal)
  3. Recite Proverbs 19:20 several times (we do it together, individually, etc. as we try to help them remember it)
  4. Prayer (I pray for our time of worship)
  5. Discuss page 231 on the R.C. Sproul book (Topic: "The Lords's Supper")
  6. Sing "Amazing Grace" (vs 1 & 4)
  7. Resurrection Eggs..They love these so we've used these as our Bible study during Holy Week
  8. Group Prayer (Each person in the family prays out loud. We use this time to teach our children to pray).