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Three Ds from Deuteronomy 6

Children Desiring God Blog // Three Ds in Deuteronomy

When it comes to understanding and articulating cultural shifts in light of biblical truth, Dr. Albert Mohler is a welcome source of clarity, exhortation, and encouragement. Joe Eaton has written a summary of Dr. Mohler’s message from our National Conference, which pointed to three Ds from Deuteronomy 6 that we, as parents and teachers, can take to heart. (Video of the conference keynote messages will be available later this summer.)

The dominant culture tends to replicate itself in each new generation. This is why Paul calls us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12). The last thing that should surprise us is that our children are going to grow up to look like the culture around them…unless a great work is done. Deuteronomy 6 tells us how we can influence our children biblically to remain steadfast in an ungodly culture. Three key words guide us through this text.

1. “Doctrine”
What this passage teaches us about how we must teach is that teaching must be inescapably theological and central. Another crucial aspect of teaching is what narrative you are teaching. We need to make sure that we teach our children that we are not here by accident; God did a saving work that brought us into being, and a saving work that brought us into covenant with him. This is the narrative we must teach. If we don’t know that our redemption story is infinitely greater than worldly stories, we will not effectively reach the hearts of our kids.

2. “Discipline”
We are facing a situation in which our children are going to become Canaanites if we don’t impart truth to them in such a way that helps them own it, and sometimes that will mean going against the culture or their own desires. Helping our children learn discipline in this way will serve them always.

3. “Diligence”
Every opportunity is an opportunity to teach your children, whether effectively or ineffectively. Don’t give up; you’re going to have to teach your children the same things very often, because your children don’t always retain things very well.

Children Desiring God Blog // Albert Mohler

Cultural Pressure to Conform
The cultural pressure to conform to the evils of our culture is so pervasive that Christians have begun to underestimate the urgency with which we ought to fight it. This pressure has always existed and has grown since the Garden of Eden.

Whole Counsel of God
We need to be teaching our kids that God is God, and his Word is ultimate no matter what our culture says. We need to be diligent to teach our kids the truths that are particularly disputed in our culture right now, because those are the truths that will become hardest for them to believe when they face cultural pressure to conform.

Holding Fast
Don’t spend time lamenting what we believe might have been lost in our culture. Remember that Jesus is going to hold us fast as we seek after him. Let’s hold fast our confession, and teach our children to do the same.

 

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?

 

Declaring the Whole Counsel of God to the Next Generation

Vroegop Header

We were honored to have Mark Vroegop launch our Children Desiring God conference with his message on Declaring the Whole Counsel of God to the Next Generation. Mark guided us through six ways we can model our ministry after Paul’s ministry. Video of the conference keynotes will be available at a later date.

Acts 20:17-38

This passage is important because in the final moments of a person’s life, you hear the distillation of his ministry to a people. What do we hear from Paul in these moments? How do his words relate to ministry to children and youth?

Six Ways Our Ministry to Children and Youth Should Be Modeled After Paul’s Ministry

1. Personally

Teaching in a life-on-life context. Declaring the whole counsel of God is a personal, life-on-life issue. The word of God transmitted through the life of another person is not just a tool, but the foundation of personal ministry.

2. Seriously

Teaching has culpability because James says that those who teach will be judged with greater strictness. Paul’s ministry was of such a character that he would know he was innocent if any of them were eternally lost. This suggests that innocence on the part of a teacher is possible. But, there are many people who have never considered the question of how to declare the whole counsel of God in teaching. Because of this, some teachers are guilty.

Children Desiring God Blog // Mark Vroegop Header

3. Faithfully

Teaching with courageous consistency. To “shrink back” from the whole counsel of God would be to not have faith in the entirety of the message of the Bible. To faithfully teach the Bible is to teach every part of it, not just the parts we like.

4. Thoroughly

Thorough teaching is the kind of teaching that encompasses biblical Christianity in a unified, balanced and comprehensive way. Nothing important is left out. Unified teaching connects the content of the Bible to the redemptive arc of the Bible, and demonstrates that all of those things relate. Balanced teaching helps children to know what it most important. It means that you teach the “ands” in the Bible; that the paradoxes of God’s character matter. Comprehensive teaching wrestles with big-picture questions that span the length of the canon.

5. Urgently

Paul was aware of the dangers all around and he urged teachers to be on guard. He knew what the human heart was capable, and he knew the devices of the enemy, which made teaching the whole counsel of God all the more important to him. Today, we live in a postmodern culture, in which truth is under attack. Knowing the whole counsel of God helps us stay grounded in truth in the midst of this culture. We must declare the whole counsel of God urgently because the voices in our culture are getting louder, and more distinct from Biblical truth.

Confidently

We are in good care when God is sovereign and the Word of God is a part of our lives. God is sovereign and his word still has power. The Word not only gives life, but helps us persevere to the end. The grace of God and the Word of God guarantees that our children who love Jesus will persevere to the end.

What Are Your Summer Plans?

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With spring just around the corner, it’s not too early to start making summer plans…plans for vacation, plans for a garden, and maybe plans for a Backyard Bible Club or Vacation Bible School.

If you’ve never done a Backyard Bible Club before, just think of the possibilities before you. Every member of your family or small group can participate—inviting children, teaching a lesson, leading in singing, helping with crafts or games, providing treats, or just making sure everyone feels welcomed and loved.

Most Backyard Bible Clubs meet for five sessions. These could be five consecutive mornings or afternoons, or you could spread them out a bit. Invite neighborhood children, your children’s classmates, and the children of coworkers, friends, or relatives. Hold the club in your backyard or garage. Meet for as little as an hour, or as much as three hours, though we recommend an hour and a half. The group can be of any size and any age group, provided you have enough help from volunteers.

The Bible lesson is the main focus of the Backyard Bible Clubs, but you could include singing, games, crafts, and snacks. There are worksheets available to help the children to remember what they learn and apply it to their lives. And there are handouts to send home with the parents each time, providing an opportunity to share the Gospel with them as well. Hosting a Backyard Bible Club can lead to deeper relationships and more opportunities for evangelism, reaching whole families.

Backyard Bible Clubs are also used by churches for Vacation Bible School. Children Desiring God has four titles to choose from, each presenting the Gospel clearly and accurately to children in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Also, if you are able to attend our National Conference in Indianapolis, April 14-16, there will be a seminar at the conference especially designed for those interested in Backyard Bible Clubs and Vacation Bible School:

Using Children Desiring God Curriculum in Backyard Bible Clubs and Vacation Bible School
Deb Watters
Do you want to reach children in the church and neighborhood with truth that awakens spiritual interest and feeds spiritual hunger? Do you wonder whether the children in your VBS are missing the message because of a slick and entertaining production? Come learn how to implement Children Desiring God curriculum designed for Backyard Bible Clubs and Vacation Bible Schools. This seminar will encourage you with practical steps, testimonies, and ideas to tailor the curriculum to the needs of your church or community.

Finally, if you have any questions, please contact us. May the Lord bless you and establish the work of your hands as you prepare to share the Gospel with the next generation this summer!

(Image courtesy of nuchylee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Hide God’s Word in Your Heart this Year

Happy New Year!

The new year is a great time to start a new Scripture memory program. Fighter Verses exists to help equip and encourage believers to fight the fight of faith through Scripture memory. We pray these resources will help you in your efforts to memorize in the coming year.

  • Children Desiring God is offering all printed Fighter VersesFighter Verses-ExtendedFoundation Verses, and Song CDs at a 10% discount through January 18, 2015. Use code FV2015 when you check out to receive the discount. (Note: The discount does not apply to our 10-packs, since those are already available at a reduced price.)
  • The Fighter Verse App is available for $2.99 for iPhone® and iPad®Android®, and Kindle®. The Fighter Verse App provides a weekly passage of Scripture to memorize (1 passage/week for 5 years), review tools, quizzes, Foundation Verses for preschool children (with pictures to quiz pre-readers), an “add your own verse” feature, several Bible versions to choose from, and more. We pray that this tool would help many believers fight the fight of faith through memorizing God’s Word. Read more about Fighter Verse App features.
  • Not a techie sort of person? Make your own verse cards instead. Just copy and paste the references for the verses you want to print and the Verse Card Maker will create flash cards that you can print with the reference on one side and the verse or passage on the other.
  • Ask your small group or some friends to join you in your efforts to memorize Scripture. Being held accountable is a great way to ensure you will accomplish your memorization goalsnot just start strong in January and taper off later in the year.
  • Read an article on how to memorize to help yourself succeed. Make a plan for when and how you will memorize, and what you will do to review verses on a regular basis.
  • If you struggle to memorize, songs are a great way to do it (just think of all the advertising jingles you learned without even trying!). The songs are on the website each week as a free download. Song CDs are available for sale on Children Desiring God as well as amazon and digital downloads are available on iTunes.
  • If you are interested in promoting Bible memory at your church, be sure to read this article on church-wide Bible memory (view as PDF). There are many helpful suggestions to make a church-wide memory program successful. (If you are promoting Fighter Verses at your church feel free to use these posters: Poster 1 / Poster 2)
  • Visit The Verses Project for more songs and beautiful, verse-inspired artwork for your smart phone.
  • And last, we leave you with this exhortation from John Piper and we ask you to join us in memorizing God’s Word in the year ahead:

If My Words Abide in You, Excerpt

The Gift of Scripture Memory

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me nine Fighter Verses…Actually, this year you and your loved ones can learn more than 50 Scripture passages together with help from the Fighter Verses Scripture memory app for mobile devices. The Fighter Verses app is being featured as the ninth of 10 key apps to help you follow Jesus more faithfully this Advent and in the year to come on the Reformapp.net website.

Click here for more information on the Fighter Verses app, and go to Reformapp.net to see the other nine apps being featured this year.

God’s Battle Now Available

The Christian life is no Disney adventure. It’s a dangerous journey to the Celestial City and we spend much of it fighting for faith and for the faith. Our children need to learn early on what the battle is all about, what it’s like to fight, and how to survive. Sally Michael’s book is itself a weapon for the war, because it equips us to equip our children for the fight of their lives.—Jon Bloom, President, Desiring God

Sally Michael’s new full-color, illustrated book, God’s Battle uses the Gospel message to introduce children to the state of their hearts, and then awakens them to the many battlegrounds that surround us—both from our own sinful hearts and from the enemy’s attacks. She encourages children to be fighters, giving them a biblical battle strategy to depend on God, resist the enemy, and stand strong! Each chapter includes personal application and activities.

 

God’s Battle was written to read with elementary-age children and has 26 chapters, each about four pages long. Each chapter concludes with suggested application questions and family activities. This book is perfect for use during family devotions times.

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving 2014

Happy Thanksgiving from the Children Desiring God family! We hope and pray that you will have a lovely day with your family and friends celebrating the many ways God has blessed you this year.

We continue to give thanks for the Lord’s grace to us, and for your continued support and prayers as we labor to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things so that the next generations may know and cherish Jesus Christ as the only one who saves and satisfies the desires of the heart.

(Leaf image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Fathers, are you blessing your children?

Blessing Booklet

The Lord bless you, and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26, ESV)

Fathers, do you and other men in your church regularly speak blessings over your children? Do you wish that you did, but perhaps need some help getting started? (more…)

Share Jesus with the Next Generation this Summer

Pages from VBS posters, etc 2.10.09

As summer quickly approaches, your church may be looking for resources to use in child outreach and evangelism, whether it be through a Backyard Bible Club or Vacation Bible School setting. Children Desiring God has 4 titles to offer, each focusing on a different theme, while presenting the Gospel clearly and accurately to children in K-6th grade.

Here are some things to know about our BYBC/VBS materials as you consider your needs: (more…)

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