Good Summer Read for Older Children

Big Truths

Can you guess what famous theologian said the following?

Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.

For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like…

That our idea of God correspond as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us.

Who was it? A. W. Tozer in his classic work, The Knowledge of the Holy. This book on the doctrine of God may not be very accessible and comprehensible for using with your children, but there is an excellent book that is. This summer consider going through Dr. Bruce Ware’s book:

Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God 

It’s written in a style and format that equips parents to introduce and explain their children (ages 6 and up) the doctrine of God and other essential doctrines of the Christian faith. Here is Pastor David Michael’s endorsement of the book:

I praise God that this book has been written and that a person of Bruce Ware’s theological stature has taken seriously the potential of theological training in the first two decades of life. Although this tool can serve different instructional venues, I cannot help but see the gift this is to Christian parents and to dads in particular who are charged with the spiritual instruction of their children. The foreword alone is worth the price of this book and more than enough inspiration to follow Bruce’s example in the faithful instruction of his two daughters. What Christian father would not want to be remembered by his adult children as a man who loved the gospel and who faithfully imparted the truth on which they now firmly stand. Dear brothers, imagine the impact on future generations if our children could grasp what has taken some of us decades to understand. Take this beautifully written, Bible-saturated, God-centered, theologically comprehensive summary of the truth and teach it diligently to your children, and until your children leave your home talk of it when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

Start Filling the Mind with Truth

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In his seminar, ”Teaching Children to Know and Love God by Knowing and Loving Theology,” Dr. Bruce Ware explains the importance of understanding the “progression of truth” as we teach our children. He lays out the progression as follows:

Head → Heart→ Hands→ Habitat

or another way of stating it…

Knowing → Loving → Living →Transforming

Why start with the “head”? Why not jump right to their heart? Dr. Ware explains,

The mind’s understanding (knowing the truth) is necessary for the heart’s engagement with that truth (loving the truth). Knowing the truth provides the possibility and basis for loving the truth.

  • With children, the first priority in what we can assist them with is the “head”–knowing the truth. Since most younger children are not saved, the “heart” is not ready to be touched fully. And even when saved, some maturity and reflection is needed to begin to sense the weightiness of truth. Knowing the truth as fully and accurately is crucial all else.
  • Children are curious, by nature, and have many questions. Resist the urge to squelch this curiosity and questioning due to not knowing how to answer them.
  • Take them to the Bible, so they learn that the authority you have and they also should have is God’s word. Resist the urge to apply your parental authority in making them believe the truth. Help them, even as young children, to be like the Bereans who search the Scriptures to see if this is so.

You can watch the entire seminar here (we apologize for the poor video quality!), and download the notes here.

(Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

An Inside Look at Application – Faithful to All His Promises, Revised

Children Desiring God Blog // An Inside Look at Application: Faithful to All His Promises Revised

When teaching Sunday school, there are two main pillars to the class time: teaching and application.

Application is an essential step to apply truths from the Bible lesson to a child’s everyday life. The Small Group Application section of each lesson provides small group leaders with specific questions to discuss with the children in their group. These questions help children understand and clarify what they heard in the lesson and lead them towards three responses:

  • The Head: What the children know and understand.
  • The Heart: What the children feel, such as emotions, desires and convictions.
  • The Hands: What action the children will take, such as a response, commitment, etc.

One of the major updates we made to the revised version of Faithful to All His Promises, was to rework the application section. The questions were expanded and finessed to equip small group leaders with material that is age appropriate, integrated with workbook activities and targeted towards the heart. Here is a sample application section from Faithful to All His Promises, along with the matching workbook pages so you can take a look inside the curriculum and see the changes!

Lesson 7 Promise: God Will Forgive You

Main Ideas:

  • If we confess our sins, God will forgive us.
  • When God forgives sin, He blots

Small Group Application

Continue Reading…

A Good Summer Read for Young Children

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My grandchildren love their Bible story time before bed. Favorites include, Read-Aloud Bible Stories by Ella K. Lindvall, and The Beginners Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories by Karyn Henley (we prefer the out-of-print 1989 version). Recently, as a gift, they received a copy of Kenneth Taylor’s book, Everything A Child Should Know About God. It is akin to a young child’s version of a systematic theology and is a great book for children 3-6 years old. It’s divided into 10 parts, covering the following topics:

  • All about the Bible
  • What God has done
  • Who God is
  • The problem of sin
  • Jesus comes to help us
  • Jesus wants to save you
  • The Holy Spirit helps us
  • Why we go to church
  • Living as Jesus’ friends
  • When Jesus comes back

Here is a note to parents in the beginning of the book by author Kenneth Taylor:

The purpose of this colourful book is to teach young children about God. I believe that knowing God is the beginning of all wisdom. And I believe that children who are taught about God in their early years will be influenced for life in a very positive way. I have been thinking of writing this book for a long time, and I believe it is one of the most important writings God has allowed me to do. Children learn with ease what they are taught early, whether from TV violence and pornography, or from life-changing biblical information, such as this book gives. It goes much beyond Bible storybooks, which are also so necessary. This is a primer to tell children about God’s eternity, and about Jesus Christ in heaven with His Father and why He came to earth to die. It tells of His going back to God in heaven and His coming again. The major Bible teachings about God are taught here, though so briefly and simply.

You can purchase the book here.

(Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

 

 

Now Available: Faithful to All His Promises, Revised

Children Desiring God Blog // Now Available: Faithful to All His Promises, Revised

It’s finally here!

After over a year of hard work from the entire Children Desiring God team, we are excited to announce that Faithful to All His Promises, Revised, is officially released!

If you are new to this curriculum, Faithful to All His Promises is a Sunday school curriculum targeted toward 2nd grade children that helps them learn what God has promised believers and unbelievers and teaches them to trust God to always keep His promises. We do not deserve these promises, but they are priceless gifts God has given us.

Our prayer is that when children find themselves experiencing troubles—both everyday battles of faith and the very hard battles of life—they will turn to the promises of God and trust that He is working to fulfill His precious promises.

If you have been teaching Faithful to All His Promises already, you will love the enhancements we have made to the curriculum.

Here are a couple of our favorite updates to the revised curriculum: Continue Reading…

A Father’s Means to Reach the Heart

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I loved these simple, yet wise words from author and father Richard Phillips, posted at Ligonier Ministries, “4 Ways to Reach a Child’s Heart”:

This is my simple agenda to ensure I am actively and intimately involved in the lives of my children: Read, Pray, Work, Play. I must read God’s Word to and with my children regularly. We must bear each others’ burdens in prayer and worship the Lord together at His throne of grace. My children need my positive, encouraging involvement in their work (and they need an invitation into some of mine). And we need to bind our hearts with laughter and joy in shared play, both one-on-one and as a complete family. This all requires time, for time is the currency with which I purchase the right to say, “My son, my daughter, give me your heart.”

Go here to read the entire article and see how he articulates each of the four. It’s well worth the read!

(Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Coming June 22: Faithful to All His Promises Revised!

Children Desiring God Blog // Coming June 22: Faithful to All His Promises Revised

 

Do you know that feeling you get around Christmas? A picturesque tree is set up by the window and underneath rests a large, sparkly box with ribbons that just beg to be pulled. On the side is a tag with your name and big letters that say “Do not open until…”

Well, we have been feeling that Christmas anticipation around the Children Desiring God office these days. We have be finishing the final touches on the wrapping and are excited to say we have a big present almost ready for you to order. The revised version of Faithful to All His Promises will be available on Monday, June 22!

Faithful to All His Promises is a study for 2nd grade children about the promises of God. Children love presents, but what few celebrate or even acknowledge is that if they are believers, they are given presents every day…they just do not come in shiny packages. These precious presents are God promises!

Children will learn about the promises of God as they are taught the Faithful to All His Promises curriculum, but even more importantly, they will be encouraged to place unshakable confidence in these priceless promises. Faithful to All His Promises has been written in the hope that when children find themselves experiencing troubles–both the everyday battle of faith and the very hard battles–they will turn to the promises of God and trust that He is working to fulfill His precious promises.

While you wait to order your present, feel free to shake the box a little and take a peek inside at the Sample of the Revised Faithful to All His Promises. You can also read the short and extended Scope and Sequences.

Be sure to check back here on Monday to get more details about the release and place your order for Faithful to All His Promises!

 

Teaching in the Milieu of Everyday Life + Contest Winners

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How many of you would personally attest to this statement by Lou Priolo?

We all learn better, faster, and more eagerly when we can see the value of what we are learning to our life (when we are personally motivated to apply the truth to our own life).

How can parents use this basic notion to teach children the most important truth of all—biblical truth? One important way is by teaching and applying Scripture in the “milieu” of everyday life. In other words, teaching children to apply the Bible when they are in the middle of, or surrounded by life’s circumstances. Here are a few basic and practical principles from Lou Priolo:

  • Milieu teaching opportunities may be extended beyond the moment of incidence. If your child asks you a question, or has an experience which you are not immediately able to relate to Scripture, do a little research and teach the passage retroactively later that day or perhaps the next.
  • Be sure to use vocabulary commensurate with your child’s ability to understand…Break down complex and abstract theological terminology into more age-appropriate, easily understood, and concrete concepts.
  • Keep teaching sessions relatively short depending on your child’s attention span.
  • Consider using role-play to apply the passage you’re teaching.
  • Encourage him to ask questions about the passage.
  • Ask him to create (imagine) his own milieu in which he might have to apply the passage.
  • Teach in the context of a loving relationship with your child.
  • Teach young children who are unable to read how to memorize Bible passages.

(From “Teach Them Diligently: How to Use the Scriptures in Child Training,” ©2000, pages 23-24)

(Image courtesy of winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Contest Winners! Thank you to everyone who participated in our drawing for one of three copies of A Father’s Guide to Blessing His ChildrenThe winners are: Dwight, Nelson, and Joshua! We will be emailing each of you this week at the address you provided to get your mailing information so we can send your prize. Again, we’re so grateful for all of our readers. We thank the Lord for each of you!

Biblical Gender Identity

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One of the most earth-shaking events in modern culture has been the shift in the understanding of gender. The topic is unavoidable. Therefore, the crucial question becomes: What and who will shape the understanding of our children and our students? More than 10 years ago, Albert Mohler sent out this call to the church:

The fault lines of controversy in contemporary Christianity range across a vast terrain of issues, but none seems quite so volatile as the question of gender. As Christians have been thinking and rethinking these issues in recent years, a clear pattern of divergence has appeared. At stake in this debate is something more important than the question of gender, for this controversy reaches the deepest questions of Christian identity and biblical authority.

For too long, those who hold to traditional understandings of manhood and womanhood, deeply rooted in both Scripture and tradition, have allowed themselves to be pushed into a defensive posture. Given the prevailing spirit of the age and the enormous cultural pressure toward conformity, traditionalists are now accused of being woefully out of step and hopelessly out of date. Now is a good time to reconsider the issues basic to this debate and to reassert the arguments for biblical manhood and womanhood.

…For biblical traditionalists the choice is clear. We understand the Bible to present a beautiful portrait of complementarity between the sexes, with both men and women charged to reflect God’s glory in a distinct way. Thus, there are very real distinctions that mark the difference between masculinity and femininity, male and female. Standing on biblical authority, we must critique both the present and the past when the biblical pattern has been compromised or denied. Likewise, we must point ourselves, our churches, and our children to the future, affirming that God’s glory is at stake in our response of obedience or disobedience to His design.

(“A Call for Courage on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” at www.albertmohler.com)

At Children Desiring God, we take this call to be proactive very seriously, and, to that end we have developed a curriculum for youth specifically designed to “to present a beautiful portrait of complementarity between the sexes, with both men and women charged to reflect God’s glory in a distinct way.” As you plan for the fall, prayerfully consider incorporating Rejoicing in God’s Good Design: A Study for Youth on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood into your Sunday school or midweek class, or home.

 

Don’t Give Them a Snake

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Here is a really timely admonition from Russell Moore:

Jesus described the Fatherhood of God by noting that no one, not even an evil person, would give his son a serpent when he asked for a fish (Matt. 7:10). Why not? It’s because natural affection propels a father to seek to protect his child from something harmful.

Sadly, though, we see a culture, even among Christians all too often, that is willing to give a child a serpent, as long as he really wants it. After all, all his friends have access to venomous reptiles and we don’t want him to feel different. Plus, we think he’s trustworthy as a snake-charmer.

What is the “snake” Russell Moore has in mind here? Something that is the hands of many children at this very moment. Something they go to bed with and wake up with. Something that never leaves their side. The quote above is from his article, “Smartphones, Tablets, and Christian Parenting.” It’s a good and challenging read for every parent.

(Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

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