Archive - June, 2015

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


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

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


A Good Summer Read for Young Children


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



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: (more…)

A Father’s Means to Reach the Heart


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

Biblical Gender Identity


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

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


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

Church: Help Parents in Their Calling


How can the church effectively and practically come alongside parents and assist and equip them to better fulfill their calling as described in Deuteronomy 6:4-7?

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

One place to start would be to consider two excellent, free resources, seminars by Pastor David Michael.

Partnering with Parents—What does it mean to partner with parents as we minister to children and youth? This seminar describes a model for partnering with parents that recognizes the parents’ God-given responsibility, and the unique position of the church in equipping and resourcing parents. Download the notes here and audio here.

Linking Church and Home for Discipleship—Download the notes here and audio here.

(Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at


Parents: Pass the Baton


My daughter and son-in-law are expecting the arrival of twins—a boy and girl—any day now. Adding to this joyful duo of babies are two siblings, both under 4 years old. For sure, the next few years are going to be crazy, busy! Just feeding, clothing, diapering, getting them all down for bed, etc. is going to take a lot of time and effort. As important it will be for their parents to take care of all these basic needs, even more important will be parenting with a greater goal…

Christians parent with one eye on eternity. Their children will live forever. This is a staggering thought…Therefore, the Christian does not parent for this life only. The believing parent labors to prepare each child for the day of judgment. The stakes are inexpressibly high…  

Christian parents have one goal during this short window of opportunity. It is to transfer the baton of faith in Christ to the next generation. Victory does not always go to the fastest four-hundred-meter relay team. It goes to the team that most efficiently transfers the baton. No matter how fast the runners, if the transfer is slow and clumsy, the team will probably lose. In the same way, parents prepare their children for the day of judgment by transferring their faith, values, purposes, self-discipline, and motivations to their children.

(William P. Farley, God-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting, ©2009, page 41)

Parents: Have you carefully considered how you will transfer the baton of faith to your children in a way that is authentic, appealing, engaging, and persistent? Here is one resource that provides great instruction for parenting:

God-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting

Grandparents: How are you helping and assisting your children in this great and difficult endeavor? What is one thing you could do this summer to help nurture the faith of your grandchildren?

Church leaders: Are you coming alongside parents to equip, train, assist, and encourage them in their parenting? Do the parents of your church feel loved and supported, or is it assumed that parents need to “figure it out on their own”? What is one thing your church could do to assist parents in passing the baton of faith on to their children?

(Image courtesy of chrisroll at

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