Introduction

In order to help parents bridging the intergeneration gaps in their family, Oasis Family Life Enrichment Centre has published a bilingual book entitled "Family Altar" book I as a guide for parents to conduct the family altar in their respective home. It aims at facilitating family members to explore and affirm their faith in Christ as well as to share their insights and life experiences with one another during the time of family altar. If it is used appropriately as a tool book, the family altar, will not only be a time to serve and worship the Lord as a household it will also enhance the cohesiveness among family members.

We therefore would appreciate it very much if you could organize with us a seminar on "Parenting the adolescents and how to initiate and sustain the family altar" in your church for the parents of your Sunday school’s children especially those who have adolescent children. If you are interested, please call Mrs. Karen Ngoi at 62747480 for arrangement.

"Build an altar ... for me ... wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you." (Ex.20:24)

Foreword

As I reflect on the ministry I have involved in various churches during the past 25 years, I discovered that about 70% of the church members did not get involved in any other church ministries besides attending the church service. Majority of them might have thought that church should be run by those who are extraverted. Some others might have felt that they have been overloaded by their own responsibilities and have no spiritual gifts to offer. Thus they chose to remain passive in the church.

Actually every believer is a member of the body of Christ, "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function.Let him use it in proportion to his faith." (Rom.12:4 & 6) For the health of the church every member should be equipped for the works of service, so that "the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." (Eph.4:12-13).

Establishing family altar is a means to mobilize believers, especially the fathers to be involved in nurturing the life of the family members and promote Christian family life ministry. It's because family is the basic ministry of all believers. That is why the Scripture says, "If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?" (1 Tim. 3:5).

Mobilizing believers to be responsible first for spiritual nurture of their respective family members, is actually a practical strategy to improve the quality of church leadership. The behaviors in the family usually are transparent as the persons concerned may expose their spiritual qualities without feeling of being observed or in an environment they can express naturally. If a couple were to perform the duties of Christian husband and father or a Christian wife and mother they might have testified the example of Christ through the roles they played. It is so that their families may be filled with grace and visible truth to shape their children's spirituality unconsciously till they attain a more Christ like character and Christian lifestyle.

The Book I of the Guide for the Spiritual Sharing comprises six themes with 42 topics mainly derived from Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life." It is meant for exploring the spiritual conditions of the individual family members during their family Altar's time. Hopefully this will affirm their salvation and improve their attitudes towards Christian living.

When a family meets for the Family Altar's time, the father who is the leader of the family may designate a family member or one of his children to lead the praise and worship session. The Apostle's Creed may be recited to affirm the faith of the family. The father or a designated person may then say an opening prayer before the family members read the Scripture verse of the lesson one at a time together. Then every participant may share in accordance with the questions followed by the verse. This may help family members to reflect on the purpose of their existence and their thought or understanding of faith. The conclusion for each session may become the focus of their sharing and the leader should emphasize on the application to their daily living.

After their spiritual reflections, each of the participants may report their walks with the Lord in the past week including the encounters of God's blessings and in trying moments. This may open themselves for thanksgivings and prayers together as a family. Obviously, family altar is a time for family to worship God and share with one another. This may enhance the vertical and horizontal relationship hand in hand so that the love which manifested on the cross may fill in the family life. In the mean time the family may experience God responding to their united prayer which help them achieve more than all they ask and imagine. This may enable children to experience the faithful God and strengthen their faith in Him. So that faith may be passed down from generation to generation.

Finally I would like to acknowledge the excellent editorial work and translation done by Mrs. Ter Khew Kah Leng, Ms. Yu Dong and Mr. Benjamin Tng and my family members who have contributed in the design, lay out, proof read, comments and even trying out the materials in our family altar's time. With the help of the materials our weekly family altar's time has bridged the inter-generation gap, experienced cohesiveness among family members and the presence of God in our home.

It is highly recommended to the families which have children above the age of nine.

Rev. Dr. Francis Ngoi.
27th Sept. 2005

Contents

Theme I: The Meaning of Our Existence
1-1 God creates all things
1-2 God knows our existence
1-3 Ultimate goal of our lives
1-4 Our eternal hope
1-5 Looking beyond yourself
1-6 Life is a short-term Assignment
1-7 Christ makes everything memorable

Theme II: Living for God's Pleasure
2-1 Glorifying God
2-2 Obeying God
2-3 Trusting God
2-4 Waiting upon God
2-5 Seeking God's will
2-6 Worshiping God
2-7 Suffering for God

Theme III: Living for God's Family
3-1 Becoming children of God
3-2 Loving one another
3-3 Belonging to one another
3-4 Forgiving one another
3-5 Sharing with one another
3-6 Being in harmony
3-7 Respecting one another
             Theme IV: Living for Christ Likeness
4-1 Emulating Christ
4-2 Growing towards maturity
4-3 Practising God's Word
4-4 Having Perserverence
4-5 Having Self-control
4-6 Being Truthful
4-7 Focusing only on Jesus

Theme V: Living for God's Service
5-1 Being prepared to serve
5-2 Serving according to our gifts
5-3 Serving with a grateful heart
5-4 Being a good steward
5-5 Being faithful to his calling
5-6 Serving with devoted heart
5-7 Serving with humility

Theme VI: Living for God's Commission
6-1 Reconciling man to God
6-2 Testifying Christian lifestyle
6-3 Preaching the good news
6-4 Be a blessing to one another
6-5 Reaching Out to the Lost
6-6 Love as Christ loved Us
6-7 Living with Focus
   

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