Archive - December, 2015

A Missing Book in Our Homes and Churches?

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No, I am not referring to the Bible here…That is an obvious must in our homes and churches. But there is a certain type of book that is increasingly overlooked. A book that, throughout the history of the Church, commends itself to passing on to the next generation sound doctrine and God-centered worship. What is this book? A hymnal.

Hymns have a very special place in my heart. I don’t remember a single sermon from my childhood, but I remember the great hymns of faith we sang in church. In college, away from home for the first time, I gathered with other believers on our secular campus, and we spent a significant amount of time singing hymns together. While my future husband and I were courting, we would go for long walks and sing hymns together. Our wedding march was the hymn And Can It Be. Our children grew up surrounded by hymns and grew to love them, too. There has always been a hymnal in our home—a go-to resource for times of joyful praise, tearful worship, theological education, and encouragement.

Here are two wonderful new hymnal options I highly recommend:

Hosanna Loud Hosannas Student Hymnal
Description from their website—Students of all ages, but particularly elementary and middle school ages need a book of hymns designed for them. Here is a hymn book that is also a history book of hymn backgrounds as well as a devotional book of what the hymns mean as you sing them.

 These 115 hymns were carefully selected as essential hymns that every child needs to learn and sing! Ancient to modern, these hymns cover the Church Year, the attributes of God, and our responses to God for all He has done.

See a sample here.

Hymns of Grace
Description from their website—Hymns of Grace is a project of Grace Community Church & The Master’s Seminary.This collection of approximately 355 titles features current standard hymns (some rearranged musically), old hymns that have fallen out of use, many wonderful new hymns, and more than 90 responsive Scripture readings (ESV).

  • Over 100 new hymns and melodies
  • 34 titles written or co-written by Stuart Townend
  • 30 titles written or co-written by Keith Getty
  • 9 new hymns by Chris Anderson and Greg Habegger
  • 7 titles by John Newton and 18 by Isaac Watts
  • 5 titles by Bob Kauflin and 11 titles from Sovereign Grace Music
  • 2 new hymns from R.C. Sproul
  • 2 hymns from John MacArthur
  • Accompaniments by Bob Kauflin, Keith Getty, Mark Rice, Tom Jennings and others
  • ESV scripture readings, formatted for respons
    ive readings
  • Only ESV hymnal in print
  • Large print and binding (approximately 6.75 by 9.75 inches).
  • At the core of this version are 186 titles that will match up with orchestra and instrumental parts available at lifewayworship.com.

(Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

 

 

They Need the Whole Counsel of God

A lot of thought and prayer goes into choosing the focus of our national conferences. “Persevering in the Whole Counsel of God—What’s at Stake for the Next Generation” is no exception. This recent video clip from Dr. Russell Moore, “You Need the Whole Bible (Even If You Don’t Know Why),” really gets to the heart of the matter. Whether or not you plan to attend our conference (and we would LOVE you to come!), this three-minute video is a must see.

 

Trust in God and Be Faithful

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Over the years, I have read a lot of great Christian parenting books. My favorite, thus far, has been William Farley’s, Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting. It contains 200-plus pages of biblical parenting wisdom. But for those parents who need some quick, practical parenting reminders this week, Monergism has posted a wonderful (and short) article by Geoffrey Kirkland, “5 Reminders for Christian Parents.” Here are his five reminders with a few choice quotes:

  1. Be a faithful Christian. (Piety)

Perhaps the simplest and most foundational reminder that I could proffer to Christian parents is simply to be a faithful Christian. Live what you speak. Practice what you preach. 

  1. Pray with fervent earnestness. (Prayer)

The preeminent weapon that every Christian parent possesses is prayer…Pray with fervency and ask God to save and sanctify and to convert and change the souls that God has entrusted to you for the short years they live under your care. 

  1. Impress Scripture on their minds and hearts. (Priority)

…Children are never too young to learn nor are they too old to have Scripture impressed upon their hearts and minds. Parents, in all your doings for and with your children, always remember to bring God’s truth to bear in conversations, in hardships, in discouragements, in uncertainties, and in triumphs! 

  1. Urge them to consider eternity. (Perspective)

Life is too short to focus solely on the here and now. Eternity is so long that it behooves us to speak much and speak often of heaven and hell with our children. Urge them to consider their souls…Show them Christ! Give them the gospel! Urge them to repent of sin and trust in Christ! Urge them to lose their lives now so as to gain them eternally! 

  1. Remember growth takes time. (Patience)

…The hearts of our children must be like a field that produces a vast harvest with much tending, care, work, labor, and effort…A seed in the ground takes time to grow into a large plant and so it is with our children’s hearts. Don’t grow weary in doing good. Growth takes time. Be diligent! Be constant! Be fervent! Be sober-minded! Be encouraged! Trust in God and labor for the souls of your children!

 You’ll greatly benefit from reading the entire article here.

A Lasting Christmas Gift for Your Children

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From their very first Christmas, and even now in their adult years, my husband and I have eagerly and joyfully given gifts to our children. Some years were “lean” and the gifts were very simple, homemade, or from second-hand stores—and our children loved them just the same. Looking back though, I see how temporal those gifts were. For the most part, they were simply fleeting pleasures. I hope and pray that along with those wrapped gifts we gave them something far more priceless and satisfying.

This busy Christmas season, as your shop for gifts for your children, it might be helpful to keep these words from Randy Alcorn in mind:

Parents, if I could give you one piece of advice, it would be this: When it comes to your children’s lives, no one can take your place. So, don’t wait for someone else to talk to your kids about Jesus. Do it yourself. Read Scripture with them. Memorize it together. Pray with them. Go help the needy together. Give together and serve together. Show them what it means to be a disciple.

Leave your children a lasting spiritual legacy.

It only takes money to leave an inheritance. It takes character and spiritual vitality, “a long obedience in the same direction,” to leave a true heritage.

(“Parenting Teens: Leaving a Lasting Spiritual Heritage,”  www.epm.org)

As a follow-up to these thoughts, his article “Changing Christmas in our Families and in our Hearts” is also worth reading.

And here are a few suggested resources to help your family…

(Image courtesy of Chris Sharp at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

 

Christmas Carols for Your Child’s Heart

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As I write this post, it is not yet Thanksgiving but in the background I am enjoying listening to Joy: An Irish Christmas by Keith and Kristyn Getty. Even my 2-year-old granddaughter has begun to sing along to some of the simpler songs on this CD, such as “Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven.” Christmas carols and songs such as these can be a great way to teach children important biblical truths, as well as celebrate the season with a right emphasis.

A really helpful resource for families that I would also highly recommend is: Christmas Carols for Kid’s Heart (Hymns for a Kid’s Heart, Vol. 3). Here is a brief description from Amazon:

No other time of the year is filled with as much excitement and gleeful expectancy as Christmas, and no one seems to enjoy the season more than children. Christmas is a time for making memories. And musical memories are one of the most precious gifts we can give the children we love.

In this third volume of Hymns for a Kid’s Heart, Joni Eareckson Tada and Bobbie Wolgemuth collaborate to help you teach twelve classic Christmas carols to the children you love. With richly orchestrated music, true stories, prayers, and Scripture, Christmas Carols for a Kid’s Heart will feed your child’s soul during the Christmas season.

KIDS WILL:

  • Be inspired by the true stories of the songwriters.
  • Connect with tenderly written devotionals.
  • Learn to sing twelve classic Christmas carols.
  • Practice piano and guitar with printed music.
  • Understand more about God’s character and grace.
  • Memorize a Bible verse with each hymn.
  • Learn to pray along with their singing.

ADULTS WILL:

  • Give children a lasting musical treasure.
  • Experience the pleasure of filling young hearts with joy.
  • Be equipped with the tools to teach children twelve classic Christmas carols.
  • Enlighten young people with an understandable theology.
  • Enjoy prayer and Bible memorization along with kids.

Includes a fully orchestrated CD with children’s voices singing along with Joni and Bobbie, and simple piano music with guitar chords.

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