Help Your Teens Get Wisdom

What if you were to ask your teen the following questions:

  • What does the Bible have to say about using Facebook?
  • Are you honoring Jesus as you participate in sports?
  • Do you have a biblical view of doing your homework?
  • Are you wise in the friends you choose?
  • Why are the answers to these questions important for your life?

What kind of answers might you get in response? Would your teen be able to explain his or her answers using specific verses and biblical truths? What might the answers reveal about his or her heart? Continue Reading…

How Teaching Big Truths Prepared a Family for Suffering

When Mike and Deb Watters first started teaching My Purpose Will Stand, a study on the sovereignty of God, to their church’s sixth grade class, they were excited to explore big truths with the kids. What they didn’t realize was that God was also teaching them, preparing them for the storms that were ahead of them as a family. Continue Reading…

Questions for Discerning a Child’s Profession of Faith

Children are amazing sponges and excellent mimics. They have the God-given ability to soak up and recall an enormous amount of information. They also are, to a lesser or greater extent, attentive observers who will act out and imitate our words, demeanor, and actions.

This provides Christian parents and teachers with a great opportunity, challenge, and caution when it comes to nurturing our children and students toward genuine faith in Christ. During their young years, we should take the opportunity to pour biblical truth into their lives — acquainting them with the Scriptures which are able to make them wise for salvation in Christ (2 Tim. 3:15). We must gently challenge and implore them to respond to these truths with heart-felt trust and devotion. But we must also be discerning in how they respond: are they simply affirming truths or embracing Christ as Savior and Lord? Are they simply mimicking Christian responses that they have seen and heard? Are they simply trying to please their parents and teachers? Therein lies the caution. Continue Reading…

When Children Aren’t Being Discipled at Home

God has ordained parents as the primary teachers and disciplers of their children and it is a sacred responsibility and privilege. All the many wonderful Sunday school classes and other children’s and youth programs in your church are no substitute for parents’ calling to nurture the faith of their children. Consider these words from Charles Spurgeon:

Let no Christian parents fall into the delusion that the Sunday school is intended to ease them of their personal duties. The first and most natural condition of things is for Christian parents to train up their own children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Let holy grandmothers and gracious mothers, with their husbands see to it that their own boys and girls are well taught in the book of the Lord.

  • But what about the children who come to your church who do not have believing parents?
  • What about children who are receiving a minimal amount of spiritual nourishment in their homes due to a variety of factors?
  • What about children who live in a one-parent home—and that parent is doing the best he or she can but is overwhelmed with simply holding things together?

Continue Reading…

Passing the Baton in the Midst of Battle

Successfully passing faith in Christ on to the next generation is one of the most important responsibilities Christian parents and ministry leaders are to pursue. It’s also one of the most difficult.  Author Chap Bettis talks about the opportunity and challenges:

Passing on the [Christian] faith has been compared to handing off a baton in a relay race. And there are many things to commend that analogy to us. There is a real gospel—the baton—to pass on. It must be passed on individually. The one with the baton has to hold it out, and the one receiving the baton has to reach back for it and close his hand around it. There is a time to pass on the baton, the exchange zone, which does not last forever. All of these are excellent pictures to help us think through this subject.

There is a problem with this illustration, however. We are not handing off the baton at a friendly track meet—rather this exchange takes place on a battlefield! We are attempting to pass on this baton of the gospel while we and our children are being shot at! And what about those observing in the stands? A few are cheering us on, but many in the stands—the world—are laughing at our child’s attempt to run the race. (From The Disciple-Making Parent, p. 8.)

Rather than be discouraged by this, we as parents and ministry leaders should use this as motivation to prepare our children and students to face the challenge. We must arm them with God’s Truth and point them to complete dependence on His sovereign grace. Continue Reading…

Doing God’s Word, for Change

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing (James 1:22-25).

How easy it is for us to read the Bible, close the pages of this life-changing book, and walk away unchanged. Our response to God’s Word is much like a man who looks at himself in the mirror and forgets what he looks like.

When a man forgets his reflection in the mirror, is it because there something wrong with the image reflected in the mirror? Is the mirror faulty? No, and neither is God’s Word faulty, though we walk away unchanged. The problem is with us. We read but we do not apply; we do not consider what God’s words mean for our everyday lives. Continue Reading…

How to Suffer with Joy

by John Kimbell

Is it your expectation that as you give yourself to obedience to Christ and to loving service for others that you will suffer? Or are you surprised by this?

  • Do you assume that volunteering to serve in the children’s ministry should bring no difficulties or inconveniences whatsoever into your life?
  • Do you assume that committing yourself to consistent, servant-hearted care for the members of your small group will just happen at no cost to you?
  • Do you assume that parenting and discipling your children should be trouble-free?
  • Do you expect all your neighbors to break down your door to ask you about the gospel, or will it take sacrifice and effort to move into their lives in order to make Christ known?
  • Will the unreached peoples of the world hear the gospel without toil and struggle on the part of the church?
  • Fill in the blank with the ministry that God has set before you as ask yourself, Do I expect to suffer?

We must not be surprised that the way of Christ and the way of ministry is a pathway of suffering. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake” (emphasis added), and he rejoiced that through his toiling and struggling to make the gospel known, and all of the difficulties that were necessary for him to do that, people would hear about Jesus and trust Him as Savior and be saved from their sins. Continue Reading…

How Parents and Churches Can Help Children Engage with the Sermon

Recently my husband and I had dinner with our daughter and son-in-law. They made a special dinner and had the table set with the “fancy” tableware. But there was one hitch to this elegant dinner—four children were included, too; our grandchildren, ages 1-to 5-years-old. Let’s just say that the children put a distinctive twist on the ambiance of the meal. Even with all the challenges and distractions, we were glad they were there. Though their parents have employed a type of system for mealtime that minimizes the mess and helps both children and adults, it was a joyful mess! Continue Reading…

Partnership takes Things Hidden and the Gospel to over 100,000 children in India

India has over a billion people who don’t know Jesus and over a third of them are under the age of 15. Seeing the opportunity for broad Gospel ministry, Patrick Shannon, a member of College Park Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, initiated a partnership with Truth78 and Child Evangelism Fellowship India. In only a few months’ time, they reached over 112,000 children with Things Hidden, an evangelistic study for children on kingdom parables produced by Truth78. Continue Reading…

Why I Stole a 1st Place Ribbon from a Child in Sunday School

Imagine the scene: a jumping-jack contest in Sunday school with the teacher pitted against a first grade student. The student easily wins the contest, but the teacher claims the beautiful 1st Place ribbon for herself. The children break out in LOUD disapproval: “That’s wrong. You didn’t win. That’s not fair!” Righteous indignation spews from a group of 30 children over a stolen award. What kind of teacher does this? Continue Reading…

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