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Monday, May 16, 2011

Establishing A Christ-Centered Home

Dear Readers,


Here is the talk that I gave yesterday.  I used a lot more content from the original talk than I usually might to make translation easier.




I was asked to pick a talk from General Conference for my topic today.  I chose the talk by Richard J. Maynes of the Seventy titled, “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home”.

When we say that we are centered on something it means that everything is turned towards it.  If someone is the center of attention then all eyes and ears are focused on them.  So, how do we turn everything in our home towards Christ?  Does Elder Maynes suggest that in the center of our living room we have a statue of Christ with all of the chairs facing it and we sit in them all the time?  No.  Establishing a Christ-centered home is just as much about the spiritual as it is the tangible.  We want to center our thoughts on Christ, our actions on Christ, our home décor on Christ, the way we spend our free time on Christ.

First Elder Maynes says, “The principle of eternal families is an essential element in Heavenly Father’s great plan for His children. Fundamental to that plan is the understanding that we have a heavenly family as well as an earthly family.”  The apostle Paul writes in the book of Acts, that we are God’s offspring (see Acts 17:28-29).  He is our Heavenly Father.  One of the first Primary Songs that is taught is “I am a Child of God”.

I am a Child of God
And He has sent me here
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear

Lead me, guide me
Walk beside me
Help me find the way
Teach me all that I must do
To live with Him someday.

We are God’s children here on Earth trying to live faithfully so that we can return and live with Him, our Heavenly Father for eternity.  This is His Plan of Salvation.  This Plan is also called “the great plan of happiness” by Alma in the Book of Mormon.

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, whom we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators, have offered us this inspired counsel in the Proclamation on the Family with regard to happiness and family life: “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Elder Maynes)

By focusing on having a Christ-centered home, we will be able to experience the happiness that Alma refers to when he calls the Plan of Salvation, the great plan of happiness.  We are meant to experience joy on this Earth with our families.  Heavenly Father does not want us to be miserable.  Only Satan wants us to miserable.

Elder Maynes also says, “Our eternal happiness is not one of Satan’s objectives. He knows that an essential key to making men and women miserable like himself is to deprive them of family relationships which have eternal potential. Because Satan understands that true happiness in this life and in the eternities is found in the form of family, he does everything in his power to destroy it.  Some of the more powerful weapons he uses in his attack are selfishness, greed, and pornography.”

We know what will tear apart our families and not contribute to a Christ-centered home.  What can and should we be doing to establish a Christ-centered home?

Well, “parents teach their children with words and through example.”

Elder Maynes talks about creating what he calls “celestial traditions”.  These include having Family Home Evening every week and holding family scripture study and prayer every day.

He says, “there is great power and protection for us and our youth in establishing celestial traditions in the home.  Learning, teaching, and practicing the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our homes helps create a culture where the Spirit can dwell.”

Now having consistent, success at this is hard to do.  I know that.  The Brethren know that.  Half the battle is making the time and actually having the prayer or family home evening or scripture study.  The other half of the battle is feeling like that time counted for something, which is hard to do if your children are bickering, complaining, asleep, etc.

Not to worry,

Elder Maynes says, “We learned that our children might not remember everything about the family home evening lesson later in the week, but they would remember that we held it. We learned that later in the day at school they would probably not remember the exact words of the scriptures or the prayer, but they would remember that we did read scriptures and we did have prayer.”

These celestial traditions though they may seem small will add up one by one and strengthen ourselves as individuals as well as our families.  They will slowly, bit by bit, turn our homes and families toward Christ so that eventually we will be able to say that we are centered on Him.

Here are some other small celestial traditions that you could establish in your home that would help center you on Christ.

Subscribe to the Ensign or Liahona magazine.  When it arrives take it out of the packaging and place it in a prominent place.  Do you set it out so it can be read or is it hidden on a shelf?

Have a picture of Christ in your home.  Have a picture in every room.  I knew a lady once who required her children to have 3 pictures up on the walls of their room.  First was a picture of Christ, second was a picture of the temple, and third was a picture of BYU so that they daily saw that as a reminder of what their goals were.

Have other Church artwork in your home such as pictures of temples, apostles, paintings of scripture stories, whether these drawn by your children or purchased from the Church catalog.

Share your testimony with your family often.  It can be short.  “Wow, it’s a beautiful day.  I am thankful that Heavenly Father created such a beautiful world for us to live on.”  Done.  Let the gospel be a part of your normal conversation and not just your “Sunday talk”.

These are all very simple ideas in addition to Family Home Evening, daily scripture study, and family prayer.

I know that if you do these things, remembering that they are a part of God’s Plan of Happiness that you will establish a Christ-centered home.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Yours,
Lindsay

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like the extra ideas you gave too. FHE, prayer, and scripture study are definitely important, but it can be difficult sometimes to think of other traditions. But they say that what we want our kids to know if 5 years needs to be in our conversation today, so why not talk about our blessings/goals/faith etc. whenever we get the chance. These little minds learn so quickly!