Training Your Children to Follow Christ
About the Guest
Jason HouserJason Houser is a songwriter, worship leader, and the founder of the Seeds Family Worship ministry. Looking back from here, he never would have imagined that leading worship at his church’s Vacation Bible School in 2002 would mark the beginning of the Seeds ministry. He has seen God’s faithfulness as he has written, recorded and produced over 150 scripture worship songs over the past 15 years. He has been able to work many gifted artists, wors...more
Jason Houser tells parents that Christ’s command to “go and make disciples,” means teaching their children to love and serve the Lord.
Training Your Children to Follow Christ
Bob: Jason Houser is a songwriter, who loves putting Scripture to music. He believes that the foundation of Scripture is essential for a family to be wholly dedicated to God.
Jason: I was chasing after the things of the world, and the music industry, and my selfish ambition. I thought that was life. Then, I had “success” in that world; and I was so unhappy / my family was falling apart. Not until the moment, when my great plan didn’t work and I cried out to God—I said: “God, no matter what— just save my family. I surrender myself to You.” Then, I found the life that God had for me.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, May 13th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine.
We’ll talk about what being wholly dedicated to God looks like with Jason Houser today.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us.
Dennis: That’s pretty good.
Bob: That song—our listeners probably recognize the Bible verse that’s from—
Psalm 37: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”—put to music by our friends at Seeds Family Worship as a part of the brand-new Passport2Identity® resource that we’ve designed. It just so happens we’ve got the songwriter with us.
Dennis: We do. Jason Houser joins us again on FamilyLife Today. Jason, welcome back.
Jason: Alright. So good to be here, you guys.
Dennis: He is the founder of Seeds Family Worship. He’s also family pastor at Lighthouse Church in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Jason: Oh yes!
Dennis: He’s written a book, along with Bobby and Chad Harrington, called Dedicated, which is all about training your children to trust and follow Christ.
It’s all about discipleship.
Dennis: It’s all about our Savior’s command to go to the world and make disciples; but as we go to the world, we, first of all, have got to start at home—making disciples of your children.
Bob: And the Scriptures are central to that. In fact, you’ve written—what did you tell me?—more than 120-some songs.
Jason: We just finished a new album called Lullabies and Scripture Songs. Adding those 12 songs, we now have 120 songs we’ve written to Scripture.
Bob: And these are verses you have put to music; and as I’ve said, you’ve done that for Passport2Purity®, the resource that we created for parents of preteens to go through to talk about the birds and the bees.
Bob: And you just wrote the songs for the new Passport2Identity. This is aimed at parents of 14- and 15-year-olds to help a middle school child / a junior high kid understand: “What is my identity? What did God make me to be?”
Dennis: That’s sexual identity / spiritual identity.
Bob: “What am I good at? What’s my job in life? What should my mission be?” All of those things—and when you’ve got seven verses / seven songs from all over the Bible that deal with these issues, kids learn those songs. There’s just something about a melody to a verse that causes it to stick with you for life.
Jason: And we want to hide God’s Word / we want to store it up in our hearts so that we don’t sin against Him—it says in Psalm in 119. It’s like getting God’s Word in there. And you know, for us, we are living this right now. We have a 16-year-old, a 14-year-old, and an 11-year-old and really trying to help them discover who they are in Christ—that their relationship with the Lord really becomes their own—and also, where God is leading them, the things that He has for them, the purposes that they have.
So, I mean, for us, as parents, we’re looking so forward to this Passport2Identity—to take our kids through it— just like Passport2Purity had such a profound impact on our family. So, this—we’re now at that next stage of life.
Dennis: That’s what I wanted to talk to you about because I think parents today, as they disciple their kids, need a few tools that they can go to that will really deliver the Scriptures in a practical way and in a relevant way to the lives of their children. You’ve said Passport2Purity has had a profound impact on all three of your children.
Jason: Not just our family but really our extended team—you know—over the whole Seeds Family Worship ministry; and our Board of Directors have gone through it.
But you know, for us, with our oldest son, I took him through it. We had these conversations. It really allowed a forum for us, and it really built our relationship. And I’ll tell you—when I took him, I was nervous just for the two of us to go off and spend that time together—not only the content to be discussed but what it was going to be like—and the Lord blessed our time so much.
Then, when I took our second son, Brandon—and I’ll just tell you this quick story—we went on a hiking trip up in the mountains. He wanted to climb this mountain called Devil’s Bedstead, and it was like an 11,000-foot peak.
So, we hiked up to this lake. We spent the night, and we listened to—we stayed in the cabin. We listened to some of the CDs; and then, we did this hike. Then, we came back and finished.
But during this whole process, I was saying: “Well, how are you doing, son?” and “How are things going?” We were prompted to ask questions; he’s like: “Everything’s good, Dad. Everything is good.” So, we had dialogue; but everything was “fine.” On the third day, we came down from the mountain. We were getting ready to pack up our camp—I remember this just like it was yesterday. I’m standing there—I’m drinking a cup of coffee, and I say: “Hey, Brandon, before we head down the mountain, I just want to make sure”—I was prompted by the Spirit, and he and I were just having devotion / prayer before we headed down Sunday morning. I said, “Is there anything else that you want to talk about from this weekend?”
I looked down, and then, I looked up. I saw tears running down his face. He said—he goes, “Yes, Dad, there are some things I want to talk to you about.” So, I went over there, I hugged him, and we talked. We had one of the best conversations that we’ve ever had.
That had such an impact on his life, his walk with the Lord, and it—also, as you talk about, with Passport2Purity, it sets a foundation for conversations. It’s not a one-time deal that you talk about, as you said, the birds and the bees. We call it, in our household, “Breaking it down”—“Dennis Rainey will break it down.” [Laughter]
And I’ll tell you this—when we were watching this—the fellows can edit this—but when I’m sitting here / when you are saying these words—okay—and you’re trying to use the right words.
Bob: The anatomically-correct words.
Dennis: And you’re breaking it down.
Jason: You’re breaking it down. [Laughter] I tell you—it feels like—it’s like you and your son, and then, for us, it’s like Dennis Rainey—the three of you are sitting there, and you’re listening to Dennis. They’re listening and you’re watching their body language, and he’s explaining what sex is and you’re just going, “I’m so glad he’s saying this and not me.” [Laughter] I’ll just tell you parents—it really helps; okay? And he knows—like on my best day, I couldn’t have broken it down for him as well as that. And then, you can just field questions.
But that was a great moment for us to go, “We’re having this necessary conversation.” Then, it goes—Passport goes on to share other things like pornography, and homosexuality, and different things that we need to have these discussions; but it’s so difficult and gives a pathway to begin these conversations that need to be ongoing for our teenagers. And this whole thing we talk about with passing our faith down to our kids and discipleship—the foundation of that is relationship.
Jason: And this Passport2Purity—I mean, this weekend is about your child and about these conversations; but you plan it around a special, fun time that you have together. It’s so meaningful to them that you are investing in them, and that’s what happened with that moment with Brandon. I asked him if I could share this story with you guys because I wanted to make sure he was okay with that, but I invested that time in him. He knew he had that pathway, Dennis, to my heart and that he could share those things and it was safe. It’s made such a difference in our relationship as we’ve kind of entered into the teenage years.
It’s so important to have these conversations, and that’s what I want to emphasize with the Passport2Purity. We’re so thankful to be a part of it; but honestly, I’m talking as a dad that wants to be in the battle for our kids. We have an opportunity, but it takes a commitment to make it a priority. It takes you to make the time and to just the straight-up courage to say: “I’m going to take this step, and I’m going to do this. I’m going to make it a priority.” You won’t regret it.
Bob: A seventh-grade son—you say: “Let’s go off for one of these weekends. We’re going to do something fun. We’re going to hike this mountain you’ve wanted to hike.”
Bob: That’s one thing. Now, that he’s 14—when you double back with him and say, “Hey, we’re going to do another getaway—father and son like this,” do you anticipate that he’ll go, “Cool!” or do you anticipate that he’ll go, “Really?”
Jason: Both of our boys will be so fired up about doing it again. The mountain that Brandon and I tried to climb—we never made it to the top. It got too gnarly, honestly, and we should have been roped in this mountain; but we made a decision to turn around.
It was like a big-life decision too—you know, like: “Here we are, out adventuring; but you have to make wise decisions.”
I looked at him and I said, “Hey, I know we can see the top of the mountain right here, but I feel like we should turn around.” We prayed; and I said: “What do you think? Let’s make this decision together.” He said, “I think we should turn around.” That was part of our journey too—even the experience you are having with your child outside of listening to the CDs and talking about those topics. It’s really sharing these experiences. The activities that you are doing are—God’s going to teach you things there too.
Bob: We’re talking with Jason Houser, who is with Seeds Family Worship—wrote the songs that are featured on Passport2Purity and Passport2Identity and has also written a book called Dedicated, along with Bobby and Chad Harrington. This really comes out of what is your mission in your ministry.
Bob: You’re not just wanting to write Bible verses and put them to music. You want to help moms and dads know how to raise the next generation to love and follow Jesus.
Jason: Yes, it’s about that discipleship. Our mission is—we want to get God’s Word into as many homes as possible around the world and just the creative ways to do that through music, through DVDs, and videos, and teaching; but really to come alongside—
Bob, what you’re saying—come alongside parents.
We, also, feel like a big part of our ministry is to encourage. You know, parents get discouraged. It’s so important to know, parents—that these things are going to be challenging. We’re not going to say it’s going to be easy, but these are the things that matter. That’s why we called the book Dedicated. It’s because you want to be dedicated to the most important things.
There are all of these other things—sports, and music, and college, and all these other things that we aspire to—but you’ve got to make sure that this is the top priority in your home—this discipleship—and that you’re—it’s more important than all of these other things. The long-term—the eternity of your children is more important than their next step of future with finances, and college, and et cetera.
Bob: And here’s a way to make that really practical for parents. Imagine this scenario:
You have two options. Somebody comes to you today and says, “I can deliver to you a child, who will get a scholarship to college / who will be a virgin when he gets married, but he’s not going to really be in love with Jesus,” or “I can deliver you a “C” student, who will go to community college, and who will get pregnant before she’s married; but at the end of the day, she’s going to be madly and passionately in love with Jesus. Which do you want more?”
Bob: Now, there is something about that question that I feel a tension myself; right?
Bob: You feel it—it’s like, “I want ‘A and ‘B’”; right?
Dennis: “I want the best of both of those.”
Dennis: “I don’t want the pain.” You know, there is something about a parent, watching a child make wrong choices—
Dennis: —there’s nothing quite like that.
Jason: But in the struggle, God works so often. You know, as parents, we are going to fail.
Our kids are going to struggle. That’s one of the reasons we encourage people to be involved in a church community—that you don’t need to be alone—especially for single parents. We need to be doing this together because this is hard—but to focus on the most important thing that that child, whose heart, even through difficult seasons, has been molded by God.
One of the songs that we wrote for the Passport2Identity was Colossians 3:2-3: “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” We tell people and the kids: “Your life is in Christ.” The world says: “I need to go find myself. I need to travel the world,” and they need to do all these things. It’s like: “Your true life, and your joy, and the good things for you—that’s in Christ. That’s where your life is.”
Bob: That’s the central verse to all of Passport2Identity.
Bob: “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” I can hear the melody in the back of my mind as I’ve listened: “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” If our kids can get that:
“I need to be setting my mind on things that are above and not on things that are on earth,”—that’s a huge step forward; isn’t it?
Jason: It is. And that’s so much a part of my testimony. I was chasing after the things of the world, and the music industry, and my selfish ambition. I thought that was life; but then, I had “success” in that world. I was so unhappy, and my family was falling apart. And not until the moment, when my great plan didn’t work, and I cried out to God—I talked about in our last interview—but God did a work in our marriage. I said, “God, if I don’t do music, no matter what, just save my family. I surrender myself to You.” And then, I found the life that God had for me.
The gifting that he put in me for music was for Him / for His glory; but I get the greatest joy—and you talk about the scenario with the child; you know? Having that child that has that heart—that’s been through the fire—but then knows who they are in Christ and they can stand on that—that’s where their joy and their true life is. God is going to bring so many good things out of that.
And that is the ultimate good. Again, it goes back to the parents trusting in the goodness of God, and His plans and His purposes, and being under His authority during those difficult and challenging seasons.
I was counseling with a parent, who is going through a very difficult season with his teenager, and some things that she is dealing with. He called for counsel, and he’s leading her. He’s stepping up, as a dad, and he’s walking with this daughter. Again, they have the relationship where they can have this communication—she can share her struggles. He can talk with her, and pray with her, and point her to the truth; and that’s what we have to do, as parents. It’s not that we’re not going to have these challenges and struggles, but we need to know where to go, and to lead our kids, and walk them through these storms.
Bob: By the way, if our listeners are interested in hearing the conversation we had about your spiritual wake-up call, they can go to FamilyLifeToday.com. We’ve got a link there so they can listen to that conversation that we had a while back.
Dennis: And one of the ways we teach our kids to become disciples of Christ are in the midst of these crises, when they occur in our lives, as adults.
Dennis: I understand you were on your way to go skiing with your family to Utah—
Jason: Yes; yes.
Dennis: —and something happened at that point that gave you a unique teaching opportunity.
Jason: One of the things that we do as a family—it’s just a habit—you know, you get into habits as families. There are good habits and bad habits; right? You start forming the right habits, and they’re just something you do. One of the things we do when we travel together is we always pray. We just say a short prayer. It’s not super-spiritual—we’re the Housermania. [Laughter] But it’s just a part of who we are. It’s like—that’s how we roll!
Jason: But we got on the road, and—
Dennis: Break it down!
Jason: Break it down!
Bob: Break it down! [Laughter]
Jason: Oh, yes. Let’s get a drum machine in here, and let’s write a song. No—but so, for us, I realized—as we started driving from Twin Falls, Idaho, to Park City, Utah, where we were going to be skiing—it was starting to snow, and we hadn’t prayed. And I started—and I just started feeling like:
“Wow! This is getting a little sketchy out here.” So, I said, “Hey, you guys, let’s pray.”
We prayed and said: “Lord, please protect us. Give us wisdom if we should turn around.” Well, we kept going. The snow kept getting thicker. Come to find out, literally, five minutes later, we’re coming up on semis stopped in the middle of the interstate. We’re going too fast. I slam on the brakes. We almost go right into the back of the semi, but we stopped just in time.
I’m literally crying out to the Lord. Our middle son, Brandon, thought I was—goes, “Dad, I didn’t know if you were like laughing or what was going on.” I was like [screaming], “Lord, Jesus!” because I was scared; you know? So, we did come to a stop; but then, I realized there are cars coming behind us, just like we were—now, we’re a target. I hear smashing of trucks—literally, semi-trucks smashing behind us. I go around this semi-truck. Another like truck comes beside us and clips, and hits my daughter’s door / the door of our van, right where our daughter is. She says, “Mommy, I don’t want to die!” These are moments you never forget.
We’re going through, and we get through.
By a miracle, we get through that, and get over to the side of the road, and get out of the way. Then, we still hear smashing of cars—it was like a 30- or 40-car pile-up here. We get out; we’re safe. We end up—our car ended up being totaled. We go back and get home. That was a moment in our lives, where we go, “Okay, every day is so precious; and just to have that prayer.” I believe the Lord heard and honored our prayers that day. We were all not hurt, and we lived through that.
But those are the moments that—they do make you stop and go, “Every day is a gift from the Lord—every day with our kids.” Also, just praying, as we’re going through these days, that the Lord is with us is so important.
Bob: You had the opportunity, as you were working on this book, to talk to people about discipling their kids and talk to folks who had done this well / who had a track record—
Bob: —and said, “What did you do?” There was one couple that you talked to—who ran a kindergarten / like a preschool in Nashville; right?
Jason: Actually, my coauthor, Bobby Harrington, who is the lead teaching pastor at the church that the Seeds Family Worship ministry came out of—he and his wife Cindy had several significant couples. When they first became parents, they didn’t have any context of discipleship in their home. Actually, he came from a—Bobby came from an abusive home. His dad is now a believer and a follower of Jesus, but he had a very difficult upbringing. So, they looked, when they started their family, for Christian parents that they could model after.
This couple was one of those families within their church that showed them how important it was to pray every day for their kids. And they got them started on that right foot of saying: “Okay, we’re going to pray. We’re going to make prayer a priority.” And so, not only did they pray for their kids every day—Bobby and Cindy did—but they also got some other families that they prayed for their kids, and they would pray for each other’s kids. There’s another family—the Sanders family—and they covenanted together to say: “We’re going to decide, ‘Hey, would you pray for our kids? Will you speak into our kids’ lives?’” They developed these relationships.
One of the things I tell Christian parents is, “Have other Christian parents that want to do the same thing that you’re doing.”
Dennis: That’s a great idea.
Jason: And that’s a win. Then, sometimes, even as the kids are teenagers, you know, coming to Mom and Dad can be tough, but there’s this other role model—this other man—
Dennis: Kind of like an uncle or an aunt.
Jason: Exactly; yes. So, they can come to them and say, “I’m having this problem.” And parents should be strategic; right? You could tell that friend: “Hey, would you talk to my son?” “Will you take my son out and do this,” or “…go on a trip?” or “…go camping?” Create the situation where that dialogue can take place. Then, we can help each other. And I think it’s such a great lesson for Christian parents—is have someone that you’re saying, “Hey, let’s help each other disciple each other’s kids; and let’s really be in this together.”
Dennis: I think what I want our listeners to take away from today’s broadcast is—first of all, as a parent, you’ve got to have the real disease. You have to have a love for Jesus Christ that your kids can see / your kids can emulate as you model it, and that they can see you practicing your faith.
It’s not some once-a-week type experience: “Dad/Mom—they really are following Christ, and they are teaching us to follow Christ.”
That would be my second thing—is just be intentional about training your kids. Don’t leave it to the church, and I’m not against the church. Church has got to do it; but the church needs to be equipping you, moms and dads, to be able to equip the sons and daughters and the next generation to follow Christ. It’s your assignment to train your kids, not the church. And that’s going to sound countercultural to some people, but I’ve got to tell you—God didn’t give children to the church. He gave them to parents.
Bob: Well, an hour-and-a-half a week at church isn’t going to get it done.
Dennis: There’s too much of life in between, Bob. That’s where you’ve got to be intersecting your kids with how this book, the Bible, applies to what they’re doing.
I’ve got to just thank you, Jason, for your work with Seeds Family Worship because you give parents some other practical ways of bringing music and Scripture together to really fill homes with the truth about God but do it in a catchy, relevant, fresh way.
Bob: Yes; I’ve got to tell you—I love talking to moms and dads when they’ve just come back from either a Passport2Purity weekend or, now, some of them are starting to come back from their Passport2Identity weekend that they are doing with their 14- or 15-year-old. And they say to me, “I’ve got this song stuck in my head.”
Bob: And I say, “What song?” And they’ll sing to me one of the verses that you’ve put to music that was a part of the weekend. They go, “I just keep singing it over and over again.” I go: “You know what? There is nothing wrong with that.” So, we are grateful for the work you do at Seeds Family Worship and for how we’ve been able to mesh it together with what we’re doing with our Passport2Purity and Passport2Identity resources.
You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com to find out more about Seeds Family Worship, to find out about the book Jason has written called Dedicated: Training Your Children to Trust and Follow Jesus, and find out more about Passport2Purity and Passport2Identity. Again, our website is FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can call 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.”
Now, “Congratulations!” today to our friends, Steve and Jenn Lawton, who live in Dublin, New Hampshire. They got married 16 years ago today. They listen to FamilyLife Today on WDER, and they are also Legacy Partners. They help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today.
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And we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together in church this Sunday. And I hope you can join us back on Monday when we’re going to talk about the issue of same-sex attraction and whether somebody, who is experiencing same-sex attraction, can have that feeling lessened in his or her life. Heath Lambert and Denny Burk are going to be here on Monday to talk about that. Hope you can be here with us as well.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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