Category Archives: Family Altar

Catechism Bible Illustrations — Part 4b — Confession and Keys

This is a table of Bible illustrations to help parents, teachers, and pastors illuminate truths taught in the Small Catechism.

Links to parts:

Part 4b – Confession and Keys

Nathan confronts David about his sins (2 Samuel 12:1-22)
David confesses (Psalm 51)
John preaches repentance (Matthew 3:1-12)
Jesus preaches repentance (Matthew 4:12-17)
The prodigal son confesses (Luke 15:17-24)
The tax collector confesses (Luke 18;9-14)
I will give you the keys of the kingdom (Mathew 16:13-21)
Jesus gives the Church power to forgive sin (John 20:19-23)
If your brother sins against you (Matthew 18:15-19)
An excommunicated person is reinstated (2 Corinthians 2:5-11)
O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your anger (Psalm 6)
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven (Psalm 32)
Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD (Psalm 130)

Catechism Bible Illustrations — Part 4a — Baptism

This is a table of Bible illustrations to help parents, teachers, and pastors illuminate truths taught in the Small Catechism.

Links to parts:

Part 4a – Baptism

God saves Noah through the flood waters (Genesis 7:17-8:19)
Moses is drawn from the water (Exodus 2:1-10)
Baptism in the cloud and in the sea (Exodus 14:9-3; 1 Corinthians 10:1)
God’s covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:1-14)
Water and the Word cleanse Naaman (2 Kings 5:1-16)
John preaches baptism of repentance for remission of sins (Mark 1:4-8)
The baptism of John and Jesus (John 1:19-34)
The Trinity in Baptism (Luke 3:21-22)
New birth from above by water and the Spirit (John 3:1-15)
Jesus blesses little children and infants (Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17)
John the Baptist filled with the Holy Spirit before and from birth (Luke 1:15, 41-44)
Ceremonial washing of the Pharisees (Mark 7:3-4)
Jesus commands and promises Baptism (Matthew 28:18-20)
The apostles preach repentance and Baptism on Pentecost (Acts 2:38-39)
Ananias teaches Paul to wash away his sins in Baptism (Acts 22:12-16)
The Ethiopian is instructed and baptized (Acts 8:26-39)
The jailer is instructed and baptized (Acts 16:19-34)
Buried and raised with Christ in Baptism (Romans 6:1-11)

 

Catechism Bible Illustrations — Part 3 — The Lord’s Prayer

This is a table of Bible illustrations to help parents, teachers, and pastors illuminate truths taught in the Small Catechism.

Links to parts:

Part 3 – The Lord’s Prayer

Prayer in General

Lord, teach us to pray (Luke 11, 1-13)
And when you pray (Matthew 6:5-15)
Ask, seek, and knock (Matthew 7:7-12, Luke 11:9-13)
The Canaanite woman prays for her daughter (Matthew 15:21-28)
Praying in Jesus’ name (John 16:23-27)
The leper’s request and thanksgiving (Luke 17:11-19)
The request of the mother of James and John (Matthew 20:20-23)
Abraham prays for Sodom (Genesis 18:23-32)
Solomon prays for wisdom (1 Kings 3:5-14)
Paul prays about the thorn in his flesh (2 Corinthians 12:1-9)
The widow persists in prayer (Luke 18:1-8)
Jesus prays for believers (John 17)

Our Father who art in heaven

I bow my knees to the Father (Ephesians (3:14-20)
Elijah and the priests of Baal pray to different gods (1 Kings 18:25-29, 36-39)
The people of Lystra would sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14:8-18)

The First Petition
Hallowed by Thy Name

Solomon prays at dedication of the temple (1 Kings 12-30)

The Second Petition
Thy kingdom come

The little Syrian maid (2 Kings 5:1-17)
The Reign of Messiah (Psalm 72)
Kings of the earth gather together against Christ (Acts 4:23-31)
Parable of the growing seed (Mark 4:26-29)
Parable of the mustard seed (Mark 4:30-32)

The Third Petition
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

Jesus prays in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-44)
Abraham’s trial (Genesis 22:1-19)
God uses the sin of Joseph’s brothers for good (Genesis 15:15-21)
Peter and John pray for boldness (Acts 4:13-37)

The Fourth Petition
Give us this day our daily bread

Do not worry (Matthew 6:25-34, Luke 12:22-31)
Jesus heals a centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13.
Jesus heals a paralytic (Matthew 9:1-8)
Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52)
Jesus Heals ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19)
Parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:15-21)

The Fifth Petition
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us

Jesus prays for his enemies (Luke 23:32-35)
Steven prays for his enemies (Acts 7:54-60)
Joseph forgives his brothers (Genesis 50:15-21)
The unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35)
The prodigal son’s father forgives him (Luke 15:17-24)

The Sixth Petition
And lead us not into temptation

The devil tempts Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-6)
Jesus uses the Word against temptation (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13)
The world tempts Peter to deny Christ (Luke 22:54-62, Mark 14:66-72, Luke 22:54-62, John 18:15-18, 25-27)
David’s flesh tempts him to commit adultery (2 Samuel 11:2-4)
Joseph flees from temptation (Genesis 39:1-20)
God tests Abraham (Genesis 22:1-19)
Put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18)

The Seventh Petition
But deliver us from evil

God delivers Job from his troubles (Job 42:10-17)
Three men in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3)
Daniel in the lions’ den (Daniel 6:1-23)
God does not let the Devil destroy Job (Job 1:1-2:6)

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for every and ever. Amen.

The King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:13-16)
I will extol you, My God, My King (Psalm 145)

Catechism Bible Illustrations — Part 2c — The Third Article of the Creed

This is a table of Bible illustrations to help parents, teachers, and pastors illuminate truths taught in the Small Catechism.

Links to parts:

Part 2 – The Creed

Part 2c – The Third Article – Sanctification

The Holy Spirit

Joel’s prophesy of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-32)
Fulfillment of Joel’s prophesy (Acts 2:1-13)
Peter’s Pentecost sermon (Acts 2:14-31)
Ananias lies to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-11)
Jesus sends the Helper (John 16:5-15)

The Holy Christian church

The 7,000 in Israel (1 Kings 19:9-18)
Solomon builds the temple (2 Chronicles 6:1-14; 7:1-3)
Birthday of the church (Acts 2:1-4, 37-42)
The church commissions Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:1-5)
Weeds among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30)
Beware of false prophets (Matthew 7:15-20)

The forgiveness of sins

David’s prayer for pardon (Psalm 51)
Jesus heals the man with palsy (Mark 2:1-12)
The king forgave the servant all his debts (Matthew 18:23-35)
The publican justified (Luke 18:9-14)

The resurrection of the body

Elisha raises the widow’s son (1 Kings 17:17-24)
The judgment scene (Matthew 25:31-46)
Christ’s resurrection and our resurrection (1 Corinthians 15)
Lazarus raised from the dead (John 11:17-44)

Life everlasting

The holy city (Revelation 21:1-7)

The Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies, and keeps

“Called me by the Gospel”

Invitation to the wedding banquet of the king’s son (Matthew 22:1-10)
Invitation to the great banquet (Mark 14:16-17)

“Enlightened me with his gifts”

Philip preaches Christ to the Samaritans (Acts 8:5-8)
The Philippian jailer and his family come to believe (Acts 16:25-34)

Repentance

Jesus dines with a Pharisee (Luke 7:36-50)

Faith

Abraham’s faith (Genesis 12:1-4; 22:1-19)
Heroes of faith (Hebrews 11)
Many of the Apostles hearers believe (Acts 17:1-12)
Peter’s confession (Matthew 16:13-20)

Justification and regeneration

The blessedness of forgiveness (Psalm 32)
The woman of Samaria (John 4:1-26)

Conversion

Saul’s conversion (Acts 9:1-19)

Sanctification and preservation

The Psalmists prayer for pardon (Psalm 86:1-12)
The Christian’s daily life (Colossians 3:1-17)

 

Catechism Bible Illustrations — Part 2b — The Second Article of the Creed

This is a table of Bible illustrations to help parents, teachers, and pastors illuminate truths taught in the Small Catechism.

Links to parts:

Part 2 – The Creed

Part 2b – The Second Article – Redemption

“Jesus Christ, true God”

Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary (Matthew 1:18-25)
The Holy Spirit will come upon you (Luke 1:26-38)
The transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8)
The load of fish that started sinking the boat (Luke 5:5-11)
Jesus sees Nathaniel under the fig tree (John 1:43-51)
The woman at Jacob’s well (John 4:16-26)
Jesus knows his betrayer (Matthew 26:20-25)
Jesus predicts his death and resurrection (Luke 18:31-34)
The man carrying a pitcher of water (Luke 22:1-13)
Jesus turns water into wine (John 2:1-11)
Jesus rebukes a storm (Luke 8:22-25)
Jesus heals a paralytic (Matthew 9:1-8)
Jesus raises Lazarus from death (John 11:38-44)
The centurion’s confession (Matthew 27:51-54)

“Jesus Christ, also true Man”

Jesus is born of Mary (Luke 2:1-21)
Son of Man came eating and drinking (Matthew 11:18-19)
Jesus appears to his disciples (Luke 24:36-43)
Thomas sees the print of the nails (John 20:24-26)

“Who has redeemed me”

The chastisement of our peace was upon him (Isaiah 53)
As Moses lifted up the serpent (Number 21:4-9, John 3:14-17)
Trial before Pilate (John 18:28 to 19:16)
Why have you forsaken me (Psalm 22)
Jesus on the cross (Matthew 27:33-56, Mark 15:21-41, Luke 23:26-49, John 23-30)
Better covenant, sanctuary, sacrifice, priest (Hebrews 9)

“His innocent suffering”

Temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11)
Jesus Christ pays tribute (Matthew 17:24-27)
To do your will, O Lord (Hebrews 10:5-10)
Temptation in Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46)

“A lost and condemned person”

The fall into sin (Genesis 3)
Effects of the fall (Romans 3:9-23)

Who died

Jesus yields up his spirit (Matthew 27:45-50)
Jesus breathed his last (Mark 15:33-37)
Blood and water came from Jesus’ pierced side (John 19:28-37)

Who was buried

Joseph of Arimathea buries Jesus in his new tomb
(Matthew 27:57-65, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 13:50-55, John 19:38-42)

He rose again from the dead

He is not here, for He is risen (Matthew 28:1-10)
The empty tomb (John20)

He ascended into heaven

A cloud took him out of their sight (Acts 1:6-11)

Sits at the right hand of the Father

Jesus prays for us (John 17:16-26)
He always lives to make intercession (Hebrews 7:11-28)

From thence He will come

Look, the bridegroom is coming (Matthew 25:1-13)
Signs of the last times (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21)
The Lord himself will descend from heaven (1Thessalonians 4:13-18)

To judge the living and the dead

As a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-46)
In the last days, perilous times will come (2 Timothy 3:1-9)
The falling away comes first (2 Thessalonians 2)
Some to everlasting life, some to shame and contempt (Daniel 12)

“That I may live under him in his kingdom”

Jesus enters Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-9)
Are You the King of the Jews (John 18:33-38)
I have set my King on the holy hill of Zion (Psalm 2)
The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness (Psalm 24)
He who sits on the throne will dwell among them (Revelation 7:9-17)

Catechism Bible Illustrations — Part 2a — The First Article of the Creed

This is a table of Bible illustrations to help parents, teachers, and pastors illuminate truths taught in the Small Catechism.

Links to parts:

Part 2 – The Creed

Trinity

The Baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17)

Part 2a – The First Article – Creation

“God has created me”

Special creation of man – Genesis 2:7, 1:27
A little lower than angels – Psalm 8:4-9

“He has given me my body and soul … all my members”

Wove me in my mother’s womb (Psalm 8:13-15)

“He richly and daily provides”

God provides quail and manna in the wilderness (Exodus 16:11-36)
God provides water in the wilderness (Exodus 17:1-6)
Elijah by the Brook Cherith (1 Kings 17:1-7)
Elijah, the widow, and her son (1 Kings 17:8-24)
Elisha and the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:1-7)
Jesus feeds 5,000 (John 6:1-14)
Jesus calms a storm (John 6:16-21)
You give them their food in due season (Psalm 104)

“He protects me”

Daniel in the lions’ den (Daniel 6:6-23)
God limits Satan’s power against Job (Job 1:1-2, 5)
God cares for Joseph (Genesis 37, 41)
God directs Lot out of Sodom (Genesis 19)
Do not worry (Matthew 6:25-34)
God took care of Noah and his family (Genesis 9:1-3)
Do not fret because of evildoers (Psalm 37)

“God has created … all creatures”

Creation of all things (Genesis 1-2)
Holy angels – Peter in prison (Acts 12:5-11)
Fallen Angels – Satan accuses Job (Job 1:6-12, 2:1-6)

“Fatherly and divine goodness and mercy”

Jacob meets Esau (Genesis 32:1-10)
The centurion confessed his unworthiness (Luke 7:6-10)

“Duty bound to thank, praise, serve, and obey”

A psalm of praise (Psalm 103)

 

Catechism Bible Illustrations – Part 1 – The Ten Commandments

 

This is a table of Bible illustrations to help parents, teachers, and pastors illuminate truths taught in the Small Catechism.

Links to parts:

Part 1 – The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

The golden calf (Exodus 20:1-21)
The fiery furnace (Daniel 3)
The rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-31; Matthew 19:16-22)
The people worship Baal (1 Kings 18:18-29)
The Philistines worship Dagon (Judges 16:23-24)
The Baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17)
The rich man (Luke 16:19-31)
The tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9)
David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17)
Eli and his Sons (1 Samuel 2:12-34)
Peter denies Christ (Matthew 26:59-75)
The sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22)
Abram departs from Haran (Genesis 12:1-9)
Daniel in the lions’ den (Daniel 6)
Pilate heeds the voice of the people (John 19:12-22)
Nebuchadnezzar’s pride (Daniel 4:30; 5:20-21)

The Second Commandment

Herod’s profane oath (Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:21-29)
Shimei curses David (2 Samuel 16:5-14)
Mary and Zacharias (Luke 1:46-80)
God reveals his Name to Moses (Exodus 3:12-15)
Goliath curses David (1 Samuel 17:43)
The Jews curse themselves and their children (Matthew 27:25)
The Jews revile Jesus on the cross (Matthew 27:39-43)
Peter’s oaths in Caiaphas’ courtyard (Mark 14:66-72)
The oath to kill Paul (Acts 23:12)
Saul and the witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28)
Bar-Jesus (Acts 13:6-12)
Abraham calls on the name of the Lord (Genesis 12:6-8)
Hannah thanks God (1 Samuel 2)
The disciples call on Jesus (Matthew 8:25)
Ten lepers call on Jesus for help, one thanks him (Luke 17:11-19)
Noah calls on God (Genesis 8:20-22)
Abominations of the nations (Deuteronomy 18:9-14)
The Song of Mary (Luke 1:46-80)
Rabshakeh blasphemes the God of Israel (2 Kings 18:28-25, 19:21-22)
Some Jews accuse Jesus of being demon possessed (John 8:48-59)
Peter curses (Matthew 26:74)
James and John would curse on a Samaritan village (Luke 9:51-55)
Jephthah’s oath (Judges 11:30-40)
The sorcerers of Egypt (Exodus 7-8)
The sons of Sceva (Acts 19:13-29)
A false prophet’s lie (1 Kings 13:11-30)
Zachariah’s song (Luke 1:68-79)

The Third Commandment

King Jehoiakim burns Jeremiahs scroll (Jeremiah 36:9-32)
Mary listens to Jesus (Luke 10:38-42)
Longing for the Temple Worship (Psalm 84)
Jesus Preaches on the Sabbath (Luke 4:31-39)
Mary kept the Word in her heart (Luke 2:19, 51)
The Bereans searched the Scriptures (Acts 17:10-13)
Persecuted Christians preach the word (Acts 8:1-4)
Jesus fulfills the Sabbath Day (Matthew 12:1-8)
The blessedness of dwelling in the house of God (Psalm 84)
Saul rejects the Word of the Lord (1 Samuel 15:10-23)
Jesus listens to the teachers, asks them questions, and increases in wisdom (Luke 2:41-52)

The Fourth Commandment

Absalom rebels against his father (2 Samuel 15)
Jesus subject to his parents (Luke 2:51)
Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37:12-36; 39:1-6)
The prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32)
Joseph loves his father (Genesis 46:29-30)
Samuel obeys Eli (1 Samuel 3:1-8)
Jesus obey his earthly parents (Luke 2:51-52)
Jesus pays the temple tax (Matthew 17:24-27)
Daniel and friends disobey an order to do evil (Daniel 3, 6)
Joseph’s brothers show no love for their father (Genesis 37:31-35)
The sons of Eli grieve their father (1 Samuel 2:12, 23-25)
The youths of Bethel mock Elijah (2 Kings 2:23-24)
Jesus provided for his mother (John 19:26)
Ruth cherished her mother-in-law, Naomi (Ruth 1:6-18)

The Fifth Commandment

Cain murders Abel (Genesis 4:1-15)
The good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
David has Uriah killed (2 Samuel 11:14-17)
People killed through carelessness (Exodus 21:22-23, 29; Deuteronomy 22:8)
Saul kills himself (1 Samuel 31:4)
Judas hangs himself (Matthew 27:3-10)
Abraham fights to rescue Lot (Genesis 14:12-16)
The Son of Man judges of the nations (Matthew 25:31-46)
Jesus cures the paralytic (Matthew 9:1-8)
Jesus feeds five thousand (Mark 6:33-44)
Jesus heals Malchus (Luke 22:50-51)
Jesus teaches the Fifth Commandment (Matthew 5:21-26; Luke 12:57-59)
The Egyptians made the lives of the Hebrews bitter (Exodus 1)
David protects the life of Saul (1 Samuel 26:1-12)
Joseph forgives his brothers (Genesis 45:1-16)
The judicial murder of Naboth (1 Kings 21:1-16)

The Sixth Commandment

Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:4-8)
Joseph’s chastity (Genesis 39)
Adam and Eve’s marriage (Genesis 2:18-24)
The Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11)
The marriage of Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 24:34-67)
Herod lives with his brother’s wife (Matthew 14:1-4)
David commits adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:2-5)
Jesus deals with the Samaritan woman (John 4:17-18)
Lot’s daughters commit incest (Genesis 19:30-38)
Love, light, wisdom, Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5)

The Seventh Commandment

Achan’s theft (Joshua 7)
Abraham recovers Lot’s property without reward (Genesis 14:1-16)
Jacob cheating Esau (Genesis 25:27-34; 27:1-40)
The unjust steward (Luke 16:1-13)
Parents give good gifts to their children (Matthew 7:11)
The prodigal son requests his inheritance (Luke 15:11-12)
The dishonest steward (Luke 16:1-12)
The generous Macedonians (2 Corinthians 8:1-5)
Gehazi’s greed and lies (2 Kings 5:20-24)
Cheerful giving to the saints (2 Corinthians 9:1-15)
Jacob’s agreement with Laban (Genesis 30:25-43)
The judicial theft of Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21:1-16)
Judas steals from the money box (John 12:4-6)

The Eighth Commandment

False witness against Stephen (Acts 6:8-15)
Jonathan defends David (1 Samuel 19:1-7)
The Devil deceives Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-15)
The tongue (James 3:1-18)
Jesus before the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65)
Pilate’s judgment contradicts his verdict (Luke 23:4-24)
Potiphar’s wife lies about Joseph (Genesis 39:13-17)
Judas betrays Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16)
Absalom slanders David (2 Samuel 15:1-6)
Jesus exposes hypocrisy (Matthew 23)
Jewish elders speak well of a Roman centurion (Luke 7:1-10)
Satan lies to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-15)
Jesus’ words the truth, Satan the father of lies (John 8:42-47)
Perjury against Naboth (1 Kings 21:1-16)
Doeg betrays Ahimelech (1 Samuel 22:6-19)

The Ninth and Tenth Commandments

Ahab covets Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21:1-16)
Abraham gives Lot his choice of the land (Genesis 13)
David coveted Uriah’s wife (2 Samuel 11_2-4)
Paul sends Onesimus back to his master (Philemon)
Zaccheus makes restitution (Luke 19:1-10)
Worldly lawsuits between Christians (1 Corinthians 6:1-8)
The Shunamite couple makes a room for Elisha (2 Kings 4:8-13)
Absalom estranged the hearts of the people from David (2 Samuel 15:1-6)
Picture of a wife of valor (Proverbs 31:10-31)
The covetous fool (Luke 12:13-21)
Generosity to servants (Deuteronomy 15:12-18)
Paul overcomes covetousness (Acts 20:32-35)

The Conclusion of the Commandments

God destroys the world in a flood (Genesis 7)
God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah with fire (Genesis 19:15-28)
God destroys the Egyptians in the Red See (Exodus 4:23-31)
God destroys the family of Ahab and Jezebel (2 Kings 9:4-10, 10:11)
Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5)
The Lord answers a false proverb (Ezekiel 18)
The Good Shepherd (John 10)

God’s Word Belongs in the Home Where We Live — A pastoral letter of Pastor Rolf Preus

Editor’s Note:

You can download a PDF flyer version of this pastoral letter here.

+ + +

God’s Word Belongs in the Home Where We Live
A pastoral letter of Pastor Rolf Preus – March 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

As we ponder Christ’s passion during this holy season, it is good for us to consider our life of worship. God gives and we receive.  Then we give and God receives.  First God gives. Only after we have received from God the forgiveness of our sins may we give him anything at all.  First God makes us his dear children by washing us in the blood of the Lamb.  Then we can come to him as dear children come to their dear Father.

We go to church.  That’s a given.  That’s where God gives us his gospel and sacraments.  That’s where we give him our praise and thanksgiving. But is it only at the formal services with our congregation held in a church building on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings that this takes place? By no means! God’s Word belongs in the home where we live.  If the pure Word of God is what makes our congregation a Christian church, the pure Word of God will make our home a Christian home.

The Christian father is the pastor of his family. After giving Moses his Law, God said to him and through him to all Israel:  “These words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) The Bible says nothing about Sunday schools, Christian Day schools, vacation Bible schools, or any other kind of school established for religious instruction of the young. The Bible talks about families headed by fathers. St. Paul writes, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) Fathers should lead their families in daily worship. If the father is unable to do so or if there is no father, then the mother should do it.

What am I talking about? What is family worship? It is an abbreviated form of the public service of the congregation. It includes reading from the Bible, saying the liturgy, singing hymns, and praying prayers.

With older families or couples whose children are grown and gone from the home, the reading from the Bible can be directly from the Holy Scriptures. The New King James is a good translation that I recommend. For families with younger children, there are some good Bible story books for children available from Concordia Publishing House. I particularly recommend, A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories. It is very good.

We recite from memory the liturgy at church. I would guess that most of us know by heart the words of the Gloria in Excelsis, the Sanctus, the Agnus Dei, both the Apostle’s and the Nicene creeds, and the Lord’s Prayer. For family devotions, I recommend saying at each devotion the Ten Commandments (without their meanings), the Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. These are a solid foundation for our lives as Christians.

Good, doctrinally sound, Christ-centered hymns are a wonderful feature of family devotions. I was blessed with a father who loved the good Lutheran hymns and taught them to his family around the dinner table. I grew up knowing the best hymns in the hymnal – the great hymns of such authors as Martin Luther, Paul Gerhardt, Thomas Kingo, etc. If you have a hard time deciding what hymns to sing, singing the hymn of the day from the previous Sunday service might be a good idea. I have several copies of various Lutheran hymnals in my house. If you don’t, I would recommend buying a few copies (depending on the size of your family) of the hymnal we are currently using: Lutheran Service Book. It is available from Concordia Publishing House.

We gather to pray. The greatest of prayers is the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus taught it to us and we pray it every time we gather for worship in his name.  here are other fine prayers in the Catechism, such as Luther’s morning and evening prayers.

There are also a number of good devotional books available. Trinity has an excellent library – the best I have seen at any congregation I have served. There are some fine books you can borrow, and decide if you would like to buy for yourselves.

Home devotions don’t last more than ten minutes, unless you get into a theological conversation at the end and keep visiting around the table. I recommend having devotions after supper. If the phone rings during devotions, you either ignore it or answer it by saying, “We’re having devotions now. Would you call back in ten minutes?” Here is a sample form for you to consider for your family worship:

  • Invocation: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”
  • Recitation of the Ten Commandments
  • Recitation of the Creed
  • Reading from the Bible/Bible story book
  • Singing of hymn
  • Closing with Lord’s Prayer

My dad died twenty years ago this past November. I thank God for a faithful Christian father who led the family devotions throughout my childhood. Bring God’s Word into your homes.  Place the hearing, learning, confessing, and singing of God’s Word above every other pursuit in life. Do it! You won’t regret it. If you have any practical (or impractical!) questions about home devotions, give me a call and bend my ear.  I’ll do what I can to help.

Your brother in Christ,
Pastor Preus

Unified Congregational Catechesis — Printer Ready, Aesthetically Pleasing

You have got to see this to believe it. Simply amazing.

Pastor Michael Mohr, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Strasburg, Illinois (LCMS) has developed a complete program of congregational catechesis.

This is a coordinated approach for the whole congregation. In this program, youth are not over in one mind while adults are somewhere else in another mind. Everyone is together, learning and refreshing the same things during the same week.

Not only are all the ages united, but the several activities of the congregation and homes merge into one. Worship is not separated from confirmation, confirmation is not separated from family devotion, and family devotion is not separated from congregational worship. There is, if I may say, a sort of a Trinitarian design to this unified program.

The portion of the Small Catechism and the Bible texts associated with that portion are used in the Divine Service, in confirmation instruction, and family devotions.

For each week, the material provides families with preprinted:

  • family devotion
  • prayer
  • additional readings

that are coordinated with the week’s portion of the Small Catechism and the Bible texts.

People are united. Activities are united. The Small Catechism provides the center and unity of this elegant agenda. This is an organism of catechesis that can breath life into a fellowship of confession in which we all come to understand, believe, and confess in common with each other one shared faith.

The coordination is well illustrated by one of the sets of materials in the program, the bulletin inserts. The front of the inserts are to be read as part of the worship service or family devotion time, with students (and adults) memorizing given sections according to their level and reviewing (and rememorizing) those sections assigned to lower levels. A devotion is included on the back of the insert for families to use in their devotions during the week. An example of the front and back of the inserts is shown below in this blog post.

The materials are designed with levels built in according to age-related ability.

Inserts for each week of the academic year (September through May) cover the Six Chief Parts. Inserts for the summer months cover the Table of Duties and the Nicene Creed. Booklets include just the memory work portions and are intended as a resource for students who want to work ahead in completing memory work assignments. A schedule is also included to assist in publishing the correct inserts on the correct Sundays.

Because the text of the creeds is different in The Lutheran Hymnal than it is in Lutheran Worship or The Lutheran Service Book, a separate set of inserts is available for congregations using TLH who wish their students to memorize the text that is used in that hymnal.

Downloads available include:

High Resolution Masters for Bulletin Inserts

School Year Inserts (TLH Version)
Summer Inserts (TLH Version)

Low Resolution Masters for Bulletin Inserts

School Year Inserts (TLH Version)
Summer Inserts (TLH Version)

Quiz Resources

“First Try” Quizzes (some words omitted, first letter of word given) (TLH Version)
“Second Try” Quizzes (some words omitted, no letters given) (TLH Version)
“Third Try” Quizzes (all words omitted, punctuation given) (TLH Version)
Quiz Administration and Grading Guidelines

Other Resources

Student Booklets (TLH Version)
Schedule for Inserts
Table of Bible Verses and Passages

As you can see, this is a turn-key deal. It is all there for you. Simply print and go.

Here are the front and back of one bulletin insert so that you can quickly get the idea of the content and coordination of this program.