Archive - May, 2016

Exploring the Fullness of the Whole Counsel of God

Exploring the Fullness of the Whole Counsel of God

We were honored to have Bruce Ware join us again for the Children Desiring God National Conference as he guided us through Exploring the Fullness of the Whole Counsel of God. Bruce broke the whole counsel of God down into two categories—breath and the depth—to help us further understand its meaning. Video of the conference keynotes will be available at a later date.

Breadth

Bruce shared to steps to keep in mind as he discussed understanding the breadth of the whole counsel of God. First, we need to be a people who come to understand the whole of Biblical content. He recommends using a good study Bible. This can help you understand the historical and cultural background of each book of the Bible, so you can have a better understanding as you teach the Scriptures. When Paul wrote the words, “All scripture is God-breathed…” he had in mind everything that had been written in the Bible, and everything that would be written. Therefore, we ought to pay attention to each of the 66 books of the Bible in teaching.

Secondly, we must learn to see the unity, continuity and development of truth throughout the story of the Bible. As we examine this story, there are many words and themes that are threaded throughout the Bible as important markers along the road. By tracing these key words and themes throughout the Bible, we can see the story that God intended to write developing. However, we do not to just see the developing story within each individual book, but to see the developing story throughout the entire Bible. These things are all-important in shaping both our own worldview, and that of the next generation.

Bruce Ware

Depth

We need to grow in an in-depth understanding of passages of Scripture. We cannot sacrifice knowing and understanding the flow of the passage for committing it to rote memory—but that is not to say that memorization is bad. Bruce commends thinking of memorization as a by-product of meditating. Reading and studying the Bible slowly is important in the growth of our Christian lives—the glory is in the details.

Believers also need an in-depth understanding of Biblical doctrines. We must have a resolute commitment to side with the Bible even when that decision goes against our culture. That means, in part, embracing paradoxes in God’s character. Our culture sometimes over-emphasizes aspects of God’s character at the expense of others, and we must not teach his Word that way. The cultural understanding appeals to us in the sense that our culture hates certain aspects of God’s culture, but we cannot shrink back from talking about them. For example, our culture hates the idea that God ordains our suffering, but the Bible says that he does. This doctrine gives Christians hope because it gives our suffering meaning.

What does this mean for you and your ministry to children?
Consider asking these questions:

  1. How can I grow in my understanding in each of these areas?
  2. How can my affections be more stirred, and my heart more moved by these truths?
  3. How can I be used in the lives of the next generation to commend to their heads and hearts the breadth and depth of the whole counsel of God?

 

Youth Ministry as a Bridge

Youth Ministry as a Bridge

The older I get, the more concerned I have become about a growing tendency of “church flight” when our youth reach adulthood. For some young adults, this is demonstrated by their physical absence from any regular attendance in a local church. However, for many others, it is much more subtle. It is the absence of being an integral part of the ongoing community life and ministry of the local church.

Last week The Gospel Coalition had an interesting post regarding this issue—Mike McGarry’s “Youth Ministry Feeds the Church and the Family”. Here is an excerpt that really got my attention:

When teens have never experienced worship, prayer, discipleship, or fellowship within the congregation at large, why would we expect them to suddenly be pursuing full involvement in the church when they graduate?

It’s so natural to focus a youth ministry on the teenagers. Instead, youth ministry must always remember its context (the church) and build a bridge into the homes where the youth live (the family). When a teenager has a sound faith, firmly rooted in both the church and the home, he or she will be exponentially more likely to continue in the faith long after high school.

Youth ministry is temporary because adolescence is temporary. Once students graduate from high school they are no longer “ours” (as if we owned them to begin with). Teenagers are entrusted to our care for a few short years.

Youth ministry is an important arm of the church where both parents and congregation have the opportunity to co-evangelize and co-disciple, with the desire that God would draw students to himself.

Bridges are important. You can’t get over a river without one, but no one builds his home on a bridge. If a youth ministry isn’t consistently seeking to nourish a student’s faith to grow deep roots in the local church as well as at home, then the student’s faith will naturally develop around the youth ministry.

 

Editors’ note from The Gospel Coalition: This excerpt is adapted from the new book Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry: A Practical Guide, edited by Cameron Cole and Jon Nielson (TGC/Crossway, 2016).

 

 

New Release: A Book That Every Parent Should Share With Their Children

Children Desiring God Blog // A Book That Every Parent Should Share With Their Children

Years ago, before my grandmother passed away, we would sometimes sit and watch the news with her. After it was over, she would invariably comment, “I’m glad I’m on my way out.” This was usually in response to some news report that demonstrated the decline of traditional moral values in our society. I wonder what she would say to today’s news?

One topic that would concern her for sure is the all-pervasive attention regarding gender identity. Something that seemed to be so sure and obvious—male or female, boy or girl—is now regarded as “fluid” and self-determined. Sadly, society is quickly accommodating the new norms in a variety of disturbing ways. As parents, grandparents, and teachers we need to prepare our children and students for this societal upheaval…but we need to do it, first and foremost, biblically. That will necessitate teaching them, from the earliest ages, God’s good and sovereign design of male and female as revealed in His Word. With that in mind, I can think of no better resource on this topic for parents to use with their children than the new book “God’s Design”.

GodsDesign_CoverHere is a brief description of the book:

Through this illustrated guide, parents can begin the discussion with both boys and girls about God’s wise and beautiful design for them. Wrong ideas about gender identity are lining up to influence our children, and they are no longer too young to learn what is means to be men and women!

Sally Michael and Gary Steward partner to bring a male-and-female approach to the topic of gender role – one that is united together under the authority of God’s plan in His Word. Through examples and stories from Scripture, they present this difficult topic delicately and in a way that even the youngest children can understand.

Don’t leave your children to be confused or ashamed of who they are – help them to rejoice in who God designed them to be! 

“This wonderful little book brims with wonder at the Lord’s creative intelligence. It savors the way that Christ renews manhood and womanhood, calling us all to a better plan and a grander design than the world offers.”

—Owen Strachan, President, The Council on Biblical Manhood an Womanhood

Page 2 of 2«12