Archive - October, 2016

Feeding All the Little Lambs

Leading All the Little Lambs

At Children Desiring God we strongly believe that God has ordained parents as the primary teachers and disciplers of their children. It is a sacred responsibility and privilege. All the many wonderful Sunday school classes and other children’s and youth programs in your church are no substitute for your calling to nurture the faith of your children. Consider these words from Charles Spurgeon:

Let no Christian parents fall into the delusion that the Sunday school is intended to ease them of their personal duties. The first and most natural condition of things is for Christian parents to train up their own children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Let holy grandmothers and gracious mothers, with their husbands see to it that their own boys and girls are well taught in the book of the Lord.

But…

  • what about the children who come to your church who do not have believing parents?
  • what about children who are receiving a minimal amount of spiritual nourishment in their homes due to a variety of factors?
  • what about children who live in a one-parent home—and that parent is doing the best he or she can but is overwhelmed with simply holding things together?

Even in Spurgeon’s day these were realities, and he does not neglect to address this with great tenderness and earnestness.

Where there are no such Christian parents, it is well and wisely done for godly people to intervene. It is a Christly work when others undertake the duty which the natural doers of it have left undone. The Lord Jesus looks with pleasure upon those who feed His lambs, and nurse His babes, for it is not His will that any of these little ones should perish. Timothy had the great privilege of being taught by those whose natural duty it is, but where that great privilege cannot be enjoyed, let us all, as God shall help us, try to make up to the children the terrible loss which they endure. Come forward, earnest men and women, and sanctify yourselves for this joyful service.

(from a sermon titled, “The Sunday School and the Scriptures, No.1866,”
found at www.spurgeongems.org)

 Getting Practical

Check out our one-page guide, “Ministering to Children from Non-Christian Homes for some practical steps that can be implemented in the classroom setting.

Leading All the Little Lambs

Special Offers on Recommended Books

We are excited to offer a selection of some of our favorite books at reduced prices. If you are teaching Abiding in JesusTeach Me Your Way or Fight the Good Fight, this is a perfect time to stock up on these recommended resources for your students and leaders.

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

The Pursuit of GodRecommended for junior and senior high students and teachers. Used with Teach Me Your Way.
Special Price: $5.99

Sometimes the voices that speak most clearly in the present are those that echo from the past. So it is in this Christian classic by the late pastor and evangelist A. W. Tozer.

Tozer brings the mystics to bear on modern spirituality, grieving the hustle and bustle and calling for a slow, steady gaze upon God. With prophetic vigor and flowing prose, he urges us to replace low thoughts of God with lofty ones, to quiet our lives so we can know God’s presence. He reminds us that life apart from God is really no life at all.

Tozer writes from his knees, a posture fit for presenting the character of God in all its demanding grandeur. “Arise, O sleeper!” is his word to us, and yet if we heed the call, we will see that to arise is not to stand, but to kneel before the God of heaven in humble contemplation. To pursue God is to know Him, and in our knowing be drawn in.

The Pursuit of God is a Christian classic about reclaiming God’s presence in a clamoring world. Bringing the mystics to bear on modern spirituality, A.W. Tozer raises high our thoughts of God, makes low our love for the world, and draws our gaze to the heights of heaven.

 

Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard

Hinds Feet on High PlacesRecommended for 5th – 12th grade female students. Used with Teach Me Your Way.
Special Price: $6.99

Hinds Feet on High Places is a timeless allegory dramatizing the yearning of God’s children to be led to new heights of love, joy, and victory. In this moving tale, follow Much-Afraid on her spiritual journey as she overcomes many dangers and mounts at last to the High Places. There she gains a new name and is transformed by her union with the loving Shepherd.

 

Kingdom’s Dawn by Chuck Black

Kingdom's DawnRecommended for 5th – 12th grade male students. Used with Teach Me Your Way.
Special Price: $8.99

A riveting medieval parallel to the Biblical good and evil clash.

Sixteen-year-old Leinad thought he was a common farmer’s son, nothing more. He wondered why his father had trained him for years to master the sword—not exactly a tool of the trade for farmers—but one tragic event initiates a world of revelation.

Only then does he begin to understand his calling—a calling no other man in the entire kingdom of Arrethtrae can fulfill—a calling given him by the King himself.

Teamed with a young slave girl, Leinad is thrust into adversity and danger—for the Dark Knight and his vicious Shadow Warriors will stop at nothing to thwart the King’s plan to restore the kingdom. Leinad will need more than a sharp blade and a swift hand to fulfill his mission and survive the evil plots of the King’s sworn enemies!

Journey to Arrethtrae, where the King and His Son implement a bold plan to save their kingdom; where courage, faith, and loyalty stand tall in the face of opposition; where good will not bow to evil—and the future of a kingdom lies in the hands of a young man.

 

Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul David Tripp

Instruments in the Redeemer's HandsRecommended for teachers, small group leaders and parents. Used with Abiding in Jesus.
Special Price: $10.99

The church today has many more consumers than committed participants. Church is merely an event we attend or an organization we belong to. We don’t understand that God has called His children into daily ministry.

We would be relieved if God placed our sanctification in the hands of trained and paid professionals. We would be happy to let pastors and elders and counselors do all the work. But that’s simply not the biblical model.

As Paul David Tripp explains, God’s plan can be summed up in a sentence: people in need of change helping people in need of change. He calls all His children to participate in ministry all the time.

Through faithful ministry of every part, the Body will grow to full maturity in Christ. Don’t just sit on the sideline. Make ministry your life and life your ministry. Become an effective tool of change in the lives of others.

 

The War for Mansoul by John Bunyan, as told by Ethel Barrett

The War for MansoulRecommended for students in 4th grade or older and teachers. Used with Fight the Good Fight.
Special Price: $8.99

Long ago, a mighty king named Shaddai built for himself a country called Universe with enough planets and galaxies to boggle the mind. Shaddai populated it with many thousands of angels, placing over them one wiser and more beautiful than the rest. This angel was Lucifer.

The perfect arrangement had one problem. Lucifer wanted to be as powerful as Shaddai, and he persuaded many angels to rebel.

Shaddai brought judgment upon Lucifer and his followers, casting them out of heaven. Lucifer was renamed Diabolus.

The story might had ended there except Shaddai had built himself a town on earth called Mansoul. Mansoul was Shaddai’s delight. What sweeter revenge than to take Mansoul for myself? Diabolus thought.

Besides being a fascinating reading adventure, this John Bunyan classic is a stirring allegory of man’s fall and redemption. The War for Mansoul describes our spiritual struggles, failures, and victories. It helps us understand better the enemy we face. And it moves us to praise and worship our great King and Savior.

 

All books available at the special prices while supplies last.

 

 

Mothers as Disciplers of the Next Generation

Mothers as Disciplers of the Next Generation

Watching my daughter at home full time with four children, 5 years old and younger, is to watch a type of loving, synchronized chaos with moments of structured instruction thrown in. Here is a college-educated woman, who once worked with thoughtful adults, now deal with cute, but often unreasonable, little people. Yet through it all, she has fully and joyfully embraced this calling, knowing that it is a sacred calling to nurture the faith of the next generation. Mothers, listen to these encouraging words from Charles Spurgeon:

Charles Spurgeon QuoteO dear mothers you have a very sacred trust reposed in you by God! He has in effect said to you, “Take this child and nurse it for Me, and I will give you your wages.” You are called to equip the future man of God that he may be thoroughly furnished unto every good work. If God spares you, you may live to hear that pretty boy speak to thousands, and you will have the sweet reflection in your heart that the quiet teachings of the nursery led the man to love his God and serve Him. Those who think that a woman detained at home by her little family is doing nothing, think the reverse of what is true. Scarcely can the godly mother quit her home for a place of worship, but dream not that she is lost to the work of the church, far from it, she is doing the best possible service for her Lord. Mothers, the godly training of your offspring is your first and most pressing duty. Christian women, by teaching children the Holy Scriptures, are as much fulfilling their part for the Lord, as Moses in judging Israel, or Solomon in building the Temple.

( Sermon #1866, “The Sunday School and the Scriptures,” www.spurgeongems.org)

Mothering Booklet CoverDo you know a busy mom who needs some encouragement as she seeks to nurture the faith of her children? Here is a resource to consider, Mothers: Disciplers of the Next Generations. This affordable booklet, written by Sally Michael, will challenge moms to look on their mothering with a biblical perspective, to seize the opportunities God gives them each day to encourage faith in their children, and to rely on Him as their sin-bearer and enabler to do the great work He has called moms to do.

Sharing the Gospel with Your Children

Sharing the Gospel with Your Children

When my husband and I were young Christian parents, we instinctively knew the importance and responsibility of sharing the Gospel with our children. But, as good as our intentions were, and as heart-felt as our longings and prayers were for them to come to saving faith, I think we sometimes sent a confusing message to their young ears. In part, this was because we ourselves were somewhat immature in our understanding of the essential truths of the Gospel. Having come to saving faith in the popular “born again” era of the 1970s, we were steeped in an easy-believe-ism that did not rightly reflect the rich beauty  and grandeur of God’s grace, or the transforming power of Christ’s work in the life of a believer. Over time, and by God’s gracious provision of solid biblical teaching, our own understanding grew, and our children received the benefits of being instructed in this glorious Gospel.

These thoughts came to mind this week as I read Jason Allen’s short article, “10 Tips for Leading Kids to Christ.” In it he briefly expounds on these basic points:

sharinggospelquote1. Remember, children do not have to become like adults to be saved; adults have to become like children.
2. Remember, you are responsible for your child’s spiritual formation, not your church, your pastor, or your children’s minister.
3. Remember what conversion is.
4. Share your testimony with your children.
5. Share the gospel with your children.
6. Share the gospel in front of your children.
7. Provide natural contexts for spiritual conversations.
8. Encourage steps toward Jesus.
9. Talk to your pastor.
10. Be quick with the gospel, but slow with the baptistery.

It was points 5 and 6 that really got my attention. Because, just like my husband and I years ago assumed we knew the Gospel, there is an assumption that every Christian parent not only knows the essential truths of the Gospel, but can also articulate these truths in a child-friendly manner. Oh how I wish we would have had more help in this regard back when our children were young!

CHGOEPThat is why Children Desiring God developed Helping Children to Understand the Gospel. This short booklet  aims to equip parents for this precious privilege and responsibility. Not only does this booklet give some basics to consider before sharing the Gospel, but it also includes a devotional guide written in child-appropriate language that presents and explains 10 essential Gospel truths.

 

Our Children and the Reformation

Our Children and the Reformation

A few weeks ago, I spent a significant amount time writing a lesson for children on the topic of “justification.” It was a struggle that required much Bible study, prayer, help from commentaries, and reading some heavyweight theologians. And then the struggle begins: make it readily understandable and engaging for children.

All of this came to mind this week when I read Jeff Robinson’s article, “5 Reasons to Teach Your Kids About the Reformation.” It’s a great and encouraging read for parents and teachers. Here are his five reasons:

1. I want them to know about God’s faithfulness to his church.
2. I want them to know reformation must continue.
3. I want them to know defending the Bible is dangerous, but worth the risk.
4. I want them to know God does extraordinary things through ordinary people.
5. I want them to know the gospel is everything.

His comments on this last point were especially encouraging to me:

The Reformation boils down to a recovery of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. We are justified by faith in the substitutionary death of Christ. That’s the gospel. Remove it and you derail the engine that propels the train of eternal salvation. Remove it and you leave the body of Christ without a beating heart. Remove it and the Christian faith evaporates like a summer mist. The gospel was the battleground of the Reformation. No wonder the seed of the serpent attacks it in every generation.

Our Children and the ReformationI want my children to know that without the gospel, they cannot make sense of life in a fallen world. Without the gospel, there’s no hope in this life or the next, no real purpose to our days and seasons. Calvin said justification is the hinge on which the door of salvation swings. I want them to keep a close watch on that door.

I highly recommend reading the entire article. The importance of the Reformation is not just for Christian academics and historians. The next generation of Christians—our children—need to keep its truths and convictions alive in each generation.

 

Mommy… Daddy… I’m Sad

Mommy... Daddy... I'm Sad

In between deep sobs, the voice of a caring mother is heard. “Gilbert, what’s wrong?”
With tears streaming down his face he replies, “Mommy, I’m sad.”
“Gilbert, why are you sad?”
“I can’t find nite-nite!” …Or, “I want to play with my cars longer.” Or, “I don’t want to leave Grandma and Grandpa’s house.”

To my 2-year-old nephew who is learning how to express his emotions in words, these sad situations feel very hard to him. Unfortunately, there will soon be a day when his tears and sorrow do not stem from something as simple as a lost blanket or shortened play time.

Your child may be saying “I’m sad” as they try to figure out why kids were mean to them at school. Why did my friend lie to me? Why does mom have cancer? Why was dad laid off from his job? Why does my sister have down syndrome? Why did our house get flooded in a hurricane? Why is there poverty and hunger in the world? What do words like terrorism, bombings, mass shootings and racial tensions mean? Why are Christians being killed for their faith? Why does God let bad things happen in the world? Why did God do this to me? Does God love me?

It is not a question of if your children will experience suffering, but when will your child experience suffering…and will his faith be strengthened or weakened through it? 

In a recent Ask Pastor John post, John Piper shared these three steps to prepare your children for suffering:

1. Teach your son a glorious, all-encompassing biblical worldview that puts suffering in its proper place.
2. Discipline him with appropriate firmness, and require of him self-denial.

3. Model for him trust and joy in the midst of your own suffering and sorrow.

As Pastor Piper expounded on these three steps, several points stood out to me. The first reinforces what my first grade class is studying in The ABCs of God. This month, they are learning that God is wise—He causes everything to workout perfectly; God is almighty—He is all-powerful; and God is sovereign—He has the right and wisdom and power to do all that He pleases. Here’s how Pastor Piper explains it:

God is sovereign, and nothing can stop him from doing what he wants to do most. “I am God, and there is none like me . . . saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’” (Isaiah 46:9-10). He is stronger than the weather. He is stronger than storms and floods and lightning. He is stronger than animals: big ones that can attack you like lions and little teeny microscopic ones you can’t even see that can make you sick and even kill you. He is stronger than all the enemies that we have. He is stronger than everything. Children need to hear this. They get it. They will embrace it more quickly than we do, and they can handle the mysteries. Yes, they can. Don’t ever give the impression to your children that suffering exists because God is helpless.

John Piper Quote on SufferingKids do get it. Children studying My Purpose Will Stand learn it this way: “God is present and active in all creation. His eye is watching, His hand is working to uphold and govern all creation, to fulfill all His purposes for His glory and the good of His children.” God did not wind us up like a clock and step back to watch. He is not surprised by the decisions we make. God is not helpless. He has planned and is in control of every detail of our lives, including our suffering.

It is also crucial to teach children how God displays his glory through the Gospel as they learn to understand why suffering exists and why it effects them. I am thankful these following truths are woven into each of our curricula.

Make the gospel crystal-clear: God sent his Son into the world to suffer with us and for us. This means that, if we trust him, none of our suffering is punishment for sin. Christ bore all of our punishment for sin. That is the basis of our acceptance with God and our hope for heaven. And there will be no more suffering there. All the suffering, therefore, that comes into the life of a Christian is not because God is punishing him in his wrath—oh, let children understand this!—but, rather, it is God’s fatherly discipline for the sake of holiness as Hebrews 12:3-11 and 1 Peter 1:5 says.

Therefore, in all of our suffering, God is good. God is wise. God is loving, even though it’s painful, and he has purposes for us (Romans 8:28). We never explain suffering by saying God is helpless or that Satan got the upper hand or that there are mere accidents in the world. We always handle suffering, our suffering by saying, even though we don’t understand all the answers for why this particular suffering came or that particular suffering came at this particular time or this particular intensity—we don’t understand those particulars—nevertheless, we do understand what God has taught us; namely, that he is sovereign, that he is good, and that he always has purposes for our everlasting joy.

I strongly encourage you to listen to or read Pastor Piper’s entire post: How Do We Prepare Our Children for Suffering. He closes with these words:

The greatest challenge of parenting is not primarily remembering all the things that should be taught in the catechism, but primarily being a parent growing in grace and humility and trust and joy in all the ups and downs of life. Few things will have a greater power in our children’s lives to help them suffer as Christians.

Recommended Resources

If you would like to look at specific resources that help teach children about the sovereignty of God, the glorious truth of the Gospel and how to deal with suffering, we recommend the following:

God’s Providence: A family devotional guide

My Purpose Will Stand: A study for 6th grade students on the providence of God

Helping Children to Understand the Gospel: A resource for parents with 10 family devotions

Catechism: Out of Date or a Tried and True Teaching Tool of Eternal Truths: A seminar by Sally Michael

 
 

Summer Through Customer Service Eyes

Summer Through Customer Service Eyes

 

Our customer service team delights in partnering with our customers in ministry. We (Holly Urbanski, Suzy Plocher, and Lori Myers) all agree that we have the best customers in the world. As we reflect on the last few months, we are thanking the Lord for a sweet partnership between Children Desiring God and the churches and individuals with whom we interact. We can honestly say that our customers are by far the nicest, most understanding, and most patient we’ve ever encountered. And this is saying a lot, especially from Lori who has worked in several other customer service positions at various kinds of companies. We love coming to work and anticipating who God will have us talk with and how we can help them.

It is a delight to hear what God is doing in various ministries throughout the U.S. and around the world. How enjoyable it has been to talk with people from so many places, and to interact via email with people in Japan, Australia, Romania, Scotland, Burundi, Bolivia, and other countries. We have enjoyed sharing helpful suggestions on how to use the curriculum and talking with customers about what is best to order for their size church and combinations of age groups or grades. We are glad to be able to help them brainstorm solutions depending on various needs that arise. Recently we were delighted to be able to assist some customers who lost curriculum materials in the terrible flooding in the southern United States and areas effected by Hurricane Matthew. We feel strongly that part of our ministry at Children Desiring God is praying for those using the materials.

It is a privilege and an honor to serve the Lord by partnering with and assisting His church worldwide with the building up of the body through Fighter Verses and teaching the next generation to set their hope in God through curriculum or family devotionals. The sweetest part has been praying with and for the needs of our customers/partners in ministry. May God grant grace for us all as we work together for His glory and the growth of His children.

What Do You Want Your Child to Look Like 50 Years from Now?

What Do You Want Your Children to Look Like 50 Years from Now?

In the midst of a world in turmoil, it is the responsibility of parents and the church to partner together to train children to be strong in faith and mighty in Spirit. In his seminar, Teaching Children to Stand Firm in a Hostile Culture, Pastor Ron Rudd explains three areas children need to be trained in so they are prepared to stand firm through the years.

 

 

How do we want our children to look in 10, 20, 40 or 50 years from now? We pray that their hearts will love God. That they exhibit godly character. That they obey God’s Word. That they put their hope in God. We pray that our children’s future will be spent living for a higher goal—God’s glory.

 

Committed to Our Calling as Parents

 

Training Children to Stand Firm in a Hostile Culture

We encourage you to listen to the full seminar to learn more about the problems we face in our culture; the responsibilities of parents and the church; our part and God’s part of the plan to teach our children; and our ultimate end goal.

Watch the Seminar

Download the Notes

 

 

 

Introducing Our NEW Student Buttons

 

Students studying a Midweek Bible curriculum from Children Desiring God are encouraged to earn Student Buttons by completing four special projects during the study.

The age-appropriate projects are designed to reinforce the truths students are being taught in class. They include memorizing the books of the Bible, memorizing Scripture, reading books, doing devotions, collecting items from nature to reveal the greatness of God and more.

 

Student Buttons

 

The new Student Buttons feature a clean, modern look. We are also excited to announce that they are more affordable for churches than our classic Button and Badges Sets. The four, 1 1/2 inch buttons are perfect for children to display on backpacks or church bags!

Choose a curriculum below to learn more and see the buttons up close!
If you have questions, please give us a call at 877.400.1414 or write info@childrendesiringGod.org.

He Has Been Clearly Seen

I Stand in Awe

The Way of the Wise

Fight the Good Fight

 

Classic Button and Badges Sets on Sale

If you are still interested our Classic Buttons and Badges Sets, they are on sale for $25 (includes sets for 5 students). They be available to order on the curriculum pages only while supplies last.

 

 

 

Team Leaders, How’s Your Team?

Team Leaders, How's Your Team

Team Leaders, you have a special role in serving alongside and leading a team of children’s ministry volunteers in your classroom. Here are five practical ways you can connect with your teachers, small group leaders, worship leaders and helpers in order to develop stronger relationships and support them through the school year. Try one or more ideas to show them Christ, encourage them in their role in your class and to challenge them to let Christ be seen in them.

1. Weekly Pre-Class Prayer and Preparation

Encourage your team to arrive 10-15 minutes before you start welcoming children into the classroom. This gives you time to talk with your team about what will be happening during class, give any last minute instructions for the morning and most importantly, pray for the children in your class to have minds to hear and hearts to respond to the truths they will be taught that day. It is also a great time for your team to share personal prayer requests and pray for any families in the class who have requested prayer. Arriving early also gives teachers times to finish setting up visuals and review their lesson material one last time, and for small group leaders to set up their tables and be ready to welcome the students.

2. One-on-One Touch Points

Aim to chat with one or two of your team members one-on-one each week for just a couple minutes. Check in on how their morning went, encourage them on something they did well, give them advice on what they could improve on and ask if there is anything else you can do to support them in their role.

3. Occasional Post-Class Debrief

Gather your team together after class for 15-20 minutes to discuss how things in class are going. This is especially helpful to do for small group leaders several times in the first couple months of class, and then occasionally through the rest of the year. This is a good time to discuss as a team what is going well in your class and what struggles your team is facing. It is neat to see team members help one another with ideas as well as see ways they can support each other with prayer.

4. Evening of Encouragement

If your team is feeling weary midway through the year, it can be refreshing to invite your team an evening of encouragement—bless them with a devotional, worship together, share evidences of God’s grace you have seen in the classroom and pray for strength to continue serving your children well. This can also be incorporated with the next idea.

5. Sunday School Social

Enjoy getting to know your team and their families! Children’s ministry is a great way to get to know others in your church and develop a community with the people you serve alongside. Help your team bond with each other and strengthen teamwork by planning several social gatherings during the year. Some ideas include a family picnic or fall bonfire, going out for coffee or dessert, hosting a couples dinner or a dessert evening in your home, having a potluck or ordering in pizza after class.

Bonus Idea: Feed Your Team

An easy way to show love to your team is to treat them to every once in a while just for fun. Celebrate a perfect fall day with some apple muffins, encourage conversation during a post-class debrief with cookies or help your team prepare for an especially busy morning with strong coffee and chocolate.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to do it all at once. Whichever approach you take to connect with your them, be sure your team knows that they are loved, prayed for and appreciated as you work together to help the next generation know and cherish their Savior!

Team Leaders, How's Your Team

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