Archive - August, 2015

A Look Inside: Open My Eyes, Part 1

Open My Eyes Study for Youth

In case you missed the news, we released Open My Eyes last week, our first curriculum for senior high students. The 40-week study teaches youth how to study the Bible. This week, we are going to give you an inside look at the 4 themes the lessons are structured around:

  1. The need to study the Bible
  2. Understanding the genres of Biblical literature
  3. Learning inductive Bible study skills
  4. Responding to God in faith from the heart

Before being taught how to study the Bible, the first five lessons lead students to discover the steadfastness of the Bible and why it is critical to study the Bible. The starting point of this curriculum is the truth of the authority of the Bible. Because the Sovereign God of the Universe is the Author behind the authors of the Bible, the Bible is true in all its parts and completely reliable. Man’s understanding of Scripture can be in error, but this divine book, inspired by the Holy Spirit is never in error. Students are given the sober warning that God’s authoritative Word cannot be changed, questioned or disobeyed without grave consequences.

Open My Eyes VisualAlthough it may be daunting to attempt to study a divine book with that warning, the Bible is a clear book that the Holy Spirit uses to enable ordinary people to know God. The Bible was written to all peoples of all generations by God, who wants to be known and understood by ordinary people. Students, who belong to God, love, understand and see the clarity in His Word.

Open My Eyes VisualNot only are God’s children able to understand the Bible, it is imperative for them to study it. Youth may often raise questions, “Is there more than one way to God?” and “Isn’t it enough to be sincere in whatever faith you choose?” But, they will learn that the Bible is necessary for salvation, maintaining spiritual life and knowing God’s Will. It is the sufficient source of truth, containing all we need for salvation and faith, and must not be added to.

Both studying the Bible through the help of the Holy Spirit and meditating on memorized verses are crucial to understanding the truths of the Bible and growing in faith. A haphazard approach to reading the Bible often results in overlooking large portions of the Bible and missing its overall structure. But, a plan or system for Bible reading and study can help one to avoid these pitfalls. Understanding the Bible is the result of a combination of a redeemed heart, diligent study and dependency on the Holy Spirit. Only then will students be able to truly discern the author’s intended meaning of a passage and glean the spiritual truths that encourage us to grow.

Open My Eyes Visual

The final lesson before digging into Bible study methods, gives youth an overview of God’s redemptive plan. They will see how the Old Testament informs the New Testament and how the New Testament interprets the Old Testament. The Bible is one continuous, interconnected story with a central message as God’s plan and purposes progressively unfold. Ultimately, the whole Bible is about Jesus. It was written that we might believe that Jesus is the Son of God and receive life in His name.

Check back tomorrow, to see how students will gain an understanding of the genres of Biblical literature. To learn more about Open My Eyes, view the Curriculum Sample or place an order for your own copy of the study.

 

What Our Children Need to See in Us

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This is a great reminder from Joel Beeke:

Children are not looking for perfect parents, and they are remarkably forgiving. They have an uncanny way of knowing who their parents are and what they stand for. It is hard to keep secrets from anyone when we live under the same roof. Children are always reading the books of our lives. Besides the Bible, the way we live our faith from day to day is the most important book our children will ever read.

What children need to see is not a perfect mom or dad, and certainly not a mom or dad who never says, “I’m sorry.” They need to see in us an unwavering commitment to Jesus Christ, an unconditional love for them, and a strong bond of love for each other as husband and wife. They need to see a mom and dad laboring shoulder to shoulder, of whom the children can say: “My mom and dad hate sin, they love God, and their only hope is in Christ Jesus. They want with all that is within them to live holy and godly lives. I can see it, I can feel it; I know it is true and it is real, and I want to be like them. I want the God of my father and mother to be my God.” In particular, godly modeling should instill in our children the conviction that the Christian life is the way to live and that it brings true joy, true purpose, and true meaning in life, and awaken in them a kind of holy jealousy to want these things for themselves. As our children read the books of our lives, they learn how important God, Christ, the Bible, faith, prayer, and family worship are to us.

(from “Children are not Looking for Perfect Parents”  at www.ligonier.org)

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

Training Up the Next Generation to Follow Christ the King!

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What drives your children’s ministry? Is it the desire to impart the greatness of God, His Word, and the Gospel at every stage of a child’s development? If so, come and be equipped and encouraged! Immanuel Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky will be hosting a “Children Desiring God Vision & Training Conference” with keynote speakers David and Sally Michael, founders of CDG, on September 11 & 12. This conference is designed to strengthen and equip pastors, teachers, children’s discipleship workers, and parents in the ministry God has given to raise up the next generation to hope in Him.

David and Sally will impart a biblical vision for the next generation in four plenary sessions. They will later be joined by seminar presenters Jeff King, Ben Hedrick, JC & Bethany Mojica, Ward Young, and Jay & Lynn Shreve to give practical application for parents and children’s ministry leaders and workers. Below are the plenary session and seminar titles:

Plenary Sessions with David and Sally Michael:

  • A Vision for God-centered Worship in the Next Generation
  • A Vision for Biblical Literacy in the Next Generation
  • A Vision for Encouraging Faith in the Next Generation
  • For the Joy of the Next Generation: Psalm 1

Seminars—Session 1

  • Wife, Mother, Disciple-Maker: Being the Catalyst for Your Child’s Spirituality—Sally Michael
  • Sustaining the Vision—David Michael
  • Making War Against Anger in Parenting—Jeff King
  • Starting Right! Nursery & Toddler Ministry—JC & Bethany Mojica
  • Discerning Conversion in Children—Ben Hedrick

Seminars—Session 2:

  • A Father’s Blessing—David Michael
  • Leading Children to a Solid Faith—Sally Michael
  • Embracing a Massive, Christ-Exalting Vision for Youth—Ward Young
  • Trusting the Lord and Training our Kids—Jeff King
  • Caring for Kids with Special Needs—Jay & Lynn Shreve

We hope you can join us!

 

Of Babies and Lions (and a Free Lesson)

I grew up in the age of Bambi – the famous deer from the Disney movie. Bambi and his animal friends were portrayed with all the inherent human thoughts, feelings, desires, and choices. So in the movie, when we saw and heard with vivid clarity the death of Bambi’s mother at the hands of the hunter…well, it left a lasting impression on children like myself. Bambi and his mother were just like me, right? How would I feel?

Fast forward to the present. The headlines are consumed with the news of the death of Cecil the lion at the hands of a hunter. People—including children—have been protesting outside the home of the hunter. One of the protest signs is reported to have said: “Hunt the hunter.” Did the protester really mean to say that? That is tragic, yet not surprising coming from a generation informed by Bambi and his animal friends.

The far greater tragedy is what isn’t in the headlines of most media outlets: the murder, dismemberment, and sale of harvested organs of millions of unborn babies. Babies. Human beings created in the image and likeness of God.

Will our children grow up knowing the difference between lions and babies? Will they really know and comprehend what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God, and all that it entails? Sadly, it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I received sound biblical teaching that finally dispelled my “life according to Bambi” worldview.

Here is a free lesson for young children (5-8 year olds) from our curriculum, He Has Been Clearly Seen: A Study for Children on Seeing and Delighting in God’s Glory. The lesson helps answer these questions biblically:

  • How are humans different than all other created things?
  • What does it mean to be created in God’s image and likeness?
  • When does life begin? Who is at work in the womb?
  • Why did God create us in His image and likeness—for what purpose?
  • How should this change how we live?

You can download the lesson components here.

(Image courtesy of hyena reality at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Being a Praying Teacher

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In last week’s post, I recounted the importance of being a properly trained and prepared teacher. But what also should be emphasized is the need to be a praying teacher. Lesson preparation without prayer is like attempting to drive a car without wheels…it won’t get you very far no matter how nice the car looks! Here is a resource that could serve to transform your ministry to children and youth this year: Utter Dependency on God, Through Prayer by Pastor Bud Burk. Here is a description:

The first part of Utter Dependency on God, Through Prayer is primarily directed to adults for their growth in the faith. The second part provides practical guidance to those who lead children in prayer—primarily in the classroom, but also in the living room.

Eleven strategies for integrating prayer into your interactions with children serve as a springboard for creative and visionary thought as you meditate upon Scripture, seeking God with all of your heart, through prayer.

The Mind as a Conduit to the Heart

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I have posted these thoughts from Sally Michael before, but it’s a great reminder about the process of learning with the goal of heart transformation:

Active learning involves children’s minds interacting with the subject matter; they are thinking—discovering, imagining, questioning, organizing, analyzing, evaluating, drawing conclusions, and applying the material.

If we just sit children down and tell them what to believe, they may not be comprehending, agreeing with, or internalizing the truth—and the same may be true if we ask them to act out a Bible story or retell a story or recite a Bible verse.

We want them to be able to look at a text in the Bible…carefully observe and rightly interpret the text; make real application of that truth to their own lives, and eventually respond in faith to that truth—embrace it, own it, live by it…and be willing to die for it.

When children are little, we must tell them much of what they need to learn—they are little sponges soaking up everything, but by fifth grade, when they can begin to think logically, we need to be dialoguing with children—asking questions and expecting answers.

By leading children and youth logically through a series of questions designed to lead them to correct conclusions, we are encouraging them to discover what God actually says in His Word—our questions should teach them to observe, interpret, and apply the truth.

The mind then becomes a conduit for the truth to reach the heart. In this way we are moving them from not only discovering truth, but then to respond to that truth in their lives.

(from the seminar: “A Vision for Encouraging Faith in the Next Generation“)

New Senior High Youth Curriculum Released: Open My Eyes

Open My Eyes

 

The Word of God is profoundly simple…and amazingly complex. Understandable to children…yet confounding to scholars. Only through the work of the Holy Spirit can our eyes be opened that we may “behold wondrous things” out of God’s law (Psalm 119:10).

Our brand new curriculum, Open My Eyes, teaches 9th-12th grade students how to study the Bible. Students will learn careful observation tools and sound interpretative principles as it provides pointed application suggestions so the Word of God might be understood as the biblical authors intended, and practiced in everyday life.

Open My Eyes begins with lessons on the authority, clarity, necessity and sufficiency of the Bible and the need to study the Bible and understand God’s plan of redemption. Then, youth will gain an understanding of the different genres of biblical literature (poetry, parables, gospels, etc.) and the inductive Bible study process as they practice reading, observation, interpretation and application skills. The curriculum concludes with five lessons aimed at the heart of the students, with the challenge not to presume upon the patience of God, but to respond to Him in faith.

Instead of being taught the same old Bible stories and lessons, I am being taught how to determine the lesson my own.–Sanya, student

You can learn more by viewing the Curriculum Scope & Sequence and the Sample Lessons. The following resources will equip you to teach the youth in your church or home:


Classroom Kit

Classroom KitThe Classroom Kit contains everything your class needs to start this curriculum. The main resource, the Teacher’s Guide, contains 40 lessons which alternate between a large group teaching time and small group discovery and discussion. Each lesson features a focus statement that summarizes the main ideas of the lesson and serves as anchors for understanding how to study the Bible. Students are encouraged to follow through on a personal application step each week.

Open My Eyes is not intended to be an exhaustive study of inductive methods, but rather an introduction to them, with the prayer that it will start youth on a lifetime journey of Bible study. These skills can be practiced in any inductive Bible study.


Student In-Class Notebook

Student At-Home JournalThe notebook provides students with a format for recording important points taught in the lesson as well as an opportunity to practice inductive Bible study skills as they mark up passages, make observations of the text and interpret the meaning. Youth will fill out charts, map passages and make an outline to discern the flow of the author’s thoughts. This record of their interactions with the Word will not only serve as a reminder of truths and Bible study skill taught, but will also be a journal of insights imparted by the Holy Spirit.


Student At-Home Journal

Student At-Home JournalWhy do students need to study at home? Besides reinforcing important truths and skills learned in class, the Student At-Home Journal provides an opportunity for the student to practice inductive Bible study skills. Without this practice, the student will be hampered in his use of sound observation, interpretation and application skills. Hearing must become doing in order for these skills to take root.

More importantly, the journal provides the student with the opportunity and encouragement to personally interact with the Word of God and to ponder His relationship to God. It becomes a means for the Holy Spirit to work in the heart of the student as he thoughtfully responds to questions, meditates on the Word, and considers what God is asking of him.

The Inductive Bible Study Handbook

The Inductive Bible Study HandbookThe Inductive Bible Study Handbook is a reference tool that teaches the 4 main steps of and tips for inductive Bible study. The steps include read, observe, interpret and apply.

Students will use the Handbook in conjunction with both the Student In-Class Notebook and the Student At-Home Journal. The Handbook can also be used as a stand alone resource.

 

Open My Eyes is a curriculum seeking to do just that – open the eyes of our youth to see the truths in God’s Word. Our children are confronted with a culture in which it is acceptable to define their own truth. And, accordingly, are influenced to interpret God’s Word in a way that seems right to them, rather than discerning the God-given meaning of the text. Open My Eyes equips them with tools, a methodology for proper interpretation, to rightly handle the Word of Truth. I am grateful that our church is reinforcing and strengthening skills that we seek to teach in our home.–Pamela, parent

Order a copy of Open My Eyes today and start teaching your youth the important skill of studying the Bible! Order online or by calling 877.400.1414.

 

Promise Items Are Now Available!

Promise Items Now Available

The Promise Buttons and Promise Iron-On Transfers, to accompany the Faithful to All His Promises curriculum, are in stock. Thank you for your patience in waiting for these items.

These Promise Items are part of a powerful illustration that helps children learn to trust in a promise made by their teacher, just as they have to learn to trust in the promises made by God. At the beginning of the class, the teacher will promise to give each student a Promise Item. Some will receive it within a week or two…other children will have to wait 40 weeks. Each child must trust that the teacher will honor their promise to give them a Promise Item as they learn to see the character traits of a trust-worthy promise-keeper. Through this illustration, children will discover and be reminded that “God always keeps His promises.”

Our classic button has been updated with a new look and several additional options for Promises Items have been added. To teach Faithful to All His Promises, you will need one Promise Item for each student and teacher in the class. You may choose from:

Promise ButtonsPromise Buttons

The Promise Button is a 2.5 inch, pin-back metal button. Children can wear it to class, attach it to a backpack or pin the button up in their room. Promise Buttons are available in sets of 8.

Promise TransfersPromise Transfer

The Promise Transfer is a 4×4.5 inch iron-on transfer. It can easily be applied to a t-shirt, sweat shirt, tote bag, banner, flag or any other fabric item that is not tightly woven (such as nylon). Promise Transfers are available in sets of 8.

Promise ItemCustom Promise Items

The Promise Item Graphic is included on the Resources DVD in the Classroom Kit as JPEG, EPS and PNG files. This enables you to create a promise item customized for your class. You can be creative with making t-shirts, hats, posters, bookmarks, magnets or whatever else you know the children in you class will cherish or use so they can be reminded of this great truth.

 

Classroom Kit Sampler Pack

Each print Classroom Kit includes a Sampler Pack containing 4 Promise Buttons and 4 Promise Transfers.

Order your Promise Items today!

Place you order online or call our customer service team at 877.400.1414.

 

Preparing Teens for the Great Battle

Having had a son who really went to a physical war, these words by John Piper really struck home:

Knowing you are in a war changes what is cool. If your family is under attack, fretting about your clothes and your hair stops. There are more important things at stake.

Pastor John goes on to use this obvious point to challenge us to have this same kind of perspective when we consider our own lives, but it’s especially a call for teenagers to have this mindset:

…we are at war. The enemy is stronger than the Axis of Germany, Japan, and Italy. Indeed, stronger than all human powers put together. The battle is daily. It is fought in every locality. And its victories and defeats lead to heaven or to hell.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11)

Fight the good fight of the faith. (1 Timothy 6:12)

Wage the good warfare. (1 Timothy 1:18)

The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh. (2 Corinthians 10:4)

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:3)

Abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
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1 Peter 2:11)

What Is Really Going On?

Don’t be part of the blind, teenage masses who do not know what is going on. They think that to know the latest movie, iPhone app, or hit song is to know what is going on. Those things are like cut flowers. Bright today, tossed out tomorrow. They are utterly insignificant compared to events that are shaping the course of eternity.

When the Great General says, “Let no one despise you for your youth” (1 Timothy 4:12), he means: Don’t fit into the stereotype of the aimless, careless, superficial youth. Break the mold. You belong to Christ. Show the world that there is another kind of teenager on the earth.

This teenager is not a leaf blown along with the wind of cultural trends. He is not a jellyfish floating with the current of the times. He is a tree that stands firm in the strongest storms. He is a dolphin who slices the waves against the tide. He is going somewhere.

(From “A Call to Teenagers to be Free, ©2015 Desiring God Foundation, desiringGod.org)

Are you preparing your own children for the great battle? Is your church’s youth ministry helping students put on the whole armor of God, that he or she may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.?

One way to prepare our teens for the battle is by presenting them with the “whole armor of God” and training them how to use the armor in battle. That is why CDG has developed serious, challenging, and Bible-intensive curriculum for this age group. If you haven’t already done so, check out these resources for youth:

Ready, Set, Train!

I once walked into a teaching situation in the beginning of a new Sunday school year with absolutely no idea of what I was doing. No training or teaching materials had been given ahead of time. I was simply shown where the teaching manual was and given a 5-minute crash course. Needless to say, the Sunday school hour did not go so well, and I was rather frustrated and worn-out by the end of the class time. There is an old saying: “A tired puppy is a happy puppy.” There needs to be a new saying: “A fully prepared, trained teacher is a happy teacher.”

At Children Desiring God, we would love to help equip and assist local churches in training children’s and youth ministry workers for the important calling of teaching the next generation the glorious truths of God. Here are a few free video resources we’d like to recommend:

A Vision for God-Centered Children’s and Youth Ministry

If at all possible, every ministry leader, volunteer, and parent should watch the following 3-part series by David and Sally Michael. Many people have commented that this series has literally changed their life and the way they view and do ministry. I have watched these sessions at least 10 times over the years…and I still get inspired!

Part 1—A Vision for God-Centered Worship in the Next Generation

Part 2—A Vision for Biblical Literacy in the Next Generation

Part 3—A Vision for Encouraging Faith in the Next Generation

Implementing the Vision in Your Teaching

These next two videos and their accompanying handouts are a really helpful resource for teachers. Not only do they discuss general teaching principles with various age groups, but they also explain how to actually use the CDG curriculum.

Preschool Lesson Preparation (Handouts available here.)

Preschool Teaching and Small Group Leading (Handouts available here.)

Elementary Lesson Preparation and Presentation ((Handouts available here.)

These are just the “tip of the iceberg” of free training resources available from CDG. Go here for a topical index of additional training seminars.

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