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Nov. 8th “Friday Contest” Winner

Congratulations to Deb, the winner of our Nov. 8th Friday Contest! Check back this Friday for our next contest.

Lullaby Theology 101: Singing the Whole Counsel of God

By Sarah House

At two years old, David is finding his singing voice. From the backseat he warbles about “The Wheels of the Bus,” and in the bathtub he chirps out “The Itsy, Bitsy Spider.” But yesterday I found him on our bed, thumbing through daddy’s Bible, singing “Jesus Loves Me.” We got out the ESV Bible my parents gave David when he was born and sat on the bed, looking at the pictures and singing the songs he had learned about God. One of those songs was Praise Him, Praise Him, All Ye Little Children:

Praise Him, praise Him, all ye little children,
God is love, God is love;
Praise Him, praise Him, all ye little children,
God is love, God is love.

I’ve sung this many times around a circle of unruly toddlers and over crying babies in the nursery. When David was born, I started singing it to him at home as he sat in his chair and watched me cook, wash dishes, and fold laundry. Singing truth is a great way to redeem the “mundane” time, putting into practice the commands of Deuteronomy 6:4-7 with children while getting ordinary things done. Rhythm and simple melody make truths easier to learn and brings cheerfulness to otherwise boring chores (really boring chores if you’re only three months old and can only sit and watch).

However, as I worked and sang through my small repertoire of baby praise songs, I began to notice what a small picture of God I was painting for David. There is no doubt that God is love, and that it is important for the smallest and most vulnerable people to know that—but God has many other attributes as well. Having spent six years teaching The ABCs of God  to first grade students at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, I could think of at least 35 other words about God…Almighty, Creator, Faithful, Holy, Jealous, Righteous, Merciful, Wrath, Patient, Sovereign, Wise, Incomprehensible (my students’ favorite word), to name only a few. These are also truths David needs to know.

I started to list all of the one-syllable, simple adjectives describing God that I could substitute for “love” in the song: good, wise, just, kind, strong, big, near, great, king, etc. I began to add more verses to Praise Him, Praise Him All Ye Little Children. Even though the song grew much longer, the view of God became much bigger and grander. And that is just what a little child needs…

  • He needs a God who is good—who always is good, does good, and gives good things like fields full of dandelions, little sisters, puppy kisses, and even medicine and flu vaccines.
  • He needs a God who is wise—to send rain to water the grass at the park, to make rules about obeying mommy and daddy, to make it dark for nighttime.
  • He needs a God who is strong—who never grows tired or crabby, who cannot be stopped from doing His purposes, who can carry His children through all of life, even when earthly daddies can’t.
  • He needs a God who is big—bigger than anything he is afraid of (the dark, owls, mommy leaving, etc.) and bigger than himself, a God who is the boss of everyone, including toddlers.
  • He needs a God who is near—who is everywhere all the time, even in the middle of the night when parents are sleeping.
  • He even needs a God who is just—who is the standard of right and wrong, who judges and disciplines rightly.
  • He needs a God who is great—a hero who never fails, never grows boring, and really deserves to be worshiped and followed.

We love to sing about the love of God to children because we so want them to experience His love, to know His tender care, and to see His smile of favor. God is love, and that’s a good place to start, but we can’t stop there because the Bible doesn’t stop there. What toddlers don’t need is another warm and fuzzy “god bear” to cuddle for comfort. They need God. When fears, confusion, and rebellion come as threatening storms into his world, David needs the Lion-Lamb God of the Bible, who not only quiets His children with His love, but who vanquishes enemies with a mighty hand. If we truly want our children to truly praise God for His love, we must place His love within the whole counsel of God, including big words that toddlers may not fully understand for a while.

It will be a long time before David can read all the words the Bible uses to describe God, but until then he can learn to sing them and say them. The words he learns now will prepare his brain and his heart for deeper teaching when he is older. But even now, his little ears are listening, and his young mind can understand more than we imagine. So we sing, and pray that he will come to love and trust the God all those important words are about.

November 1st Friday Contest Winners

Congratulations to Casey and Mary, the winners of our November 1st Friday Contest! They will be the first to receive our revised Jesus, What a Savior! Student Workbook as soon as it is printed.

Check our blog this Friday to see what we’re giving away this week.

Friday Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Kim, the winner of our October 18th Friday Contest! We’re sending her a copy of Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith.

Be sure to check in this Friday for another contest!

Fall Gear Up: Let’s Pray!

Fall Gear Up

This is the third in a series of posts to help you prepare your staff, volunteers, classroom, and parents for fall Sunday School.


At our 2013 Conference we were amazed at the number of comments we received regarding one seminar in particular: Bud Burk’s teaching on Utter Dependency on God, Through Prayer. Listen to what people had to say:

God stirred my own heart in so many ways. One great challenge was PRAYER—Bud Burk’s workshop on Utter Dependency on God.

All the seminars I attended were so so good! Especially the seminar about the importance of prayer by Bud…

The most Spirit driven, led and empowered seminar that I attended was on “prayer” by Bud Burk. He was filled with passion, zeal, and love for intimacy and communion through prayer with Jesus.
I LOVE THE book that he wrote

That last comment was shared by Carrie Christopher, who serves as Kids Director at Terra Nova Church in Troy, New York. We asked her to share how Bud’s seminar and his booklet have impacted her life and ministry.


This resource has truly encouraged, engaged and sparked my own heart to humbly seek Jesus’ communion through unceasing prayer. This is not just a resource for those toiling in Children’s Ministry, but for anyone seeking Jesus’ heart. This resource focuses on the dependence on the word of God, and our efforts to abide in His loving presence through prayer. I must admit this is perhaps one of the greatest truth-breathed, Christ-exalting books I have ever read! In Bud’s valiant efforts, he emphasizes prayer as a means to commune, worship, and testify to the everlasting love of Christ.

In our children’s ministry efforts, I think we can all agree, that we can easily fall into the temptation of reliance on one’s self, and our sinful yearning to abide in a measurement of ministry success by the work of our flesh. Bud encourages us as Christ-exalters that by no means should any of us continue in our fleshly efforts. For as Bud points out, John 15:5 states, “For apart from me you can do nothing.” Bud brings in Christ-exalting evidence from the word of God, that we are to first seek His presence in prayer and then we shall see the work of Christ’s hand upon us.

I completely agree with Bud’s call to be a praying people to further engage the next generation’s hearts, minds and souls to love our Christ almighty. How can we expect Christ to work through the hands of the entrusted ministries that He has generously given to us, if we aren’t a people of prayer? My heart is leaping for joy at the word of God filled in this resource. This isn’t a resource that is based on the will of the flesh, but instead on the will of the Father, emphasizing Christ’s desire to be intimately one with His people.

Prayer Booklet

This book gives 11 opportunities for prayer in the classroom. I was inspired by all of the Spirit-led ideas to incorporate prayer in our Sunday School classes. In fact, I am praying that through these practical ideas that Bud provides, that the Lord would raise up a generation of prayer warriors within our church.

Bud encourages us to create an “On Watch” prayer group. By God’s grace our team of children’s ministry leaders/volunteers gathered to pray for our children. It was an amazing act of His grace, that by power of the Holy Spirit, He actually showed us how to pray for the children. Giving us specific words, and burdens for them! Our leaders were praying unexpected prayers, and in the process we heard the intercessory heart of Christ for this next generation, which brought each of us closer to Him.

This resource absolutely will not collect dust on my bookshelf, but will be one that I refer to frequently. I am fervently looking forward to rereading this book to be swept away in the wind of the Holy Spirt’s desire for us to abide. Praise be to Jesus, He has already filled my heart with wisdom on who to purchase copies for and on how to integrate the content of the booklet into our teacher training.

Carrie Christopher
Terra Kids Director
Terra Nova Church


You can listen to Bud’s seminar (MP3), read the notes (PDF), or purchase the booklet in print or electronic format.

Growing in Faith Together: Parent and Child Resource Pages

GIFT thumb

Parents have the unique responsibility and awesome privilege of shepherding their children spiritually. We want to help churches equip parents to bring truth to bear on the daily life experiences they share
as a family. It is in these daily experiences that the Word can be tried
and found true.

To that end, we include Growing in Faith Together (GIFT): Parent and Child Resource Pages with all our curriculum, to help parents in this important calling. GIFT pages have been written to help parents interact with their children about what they are learning in class. These pages help parents discuss truths that their child is learning in class and help the child apply these truths in daily life, in the hope that their son or daughter will grow in spiritual understanding and in faith.

Some of the benefits of the newly-revised GIFT pages are:

  • They are now available in a convenient spiral-bound version, which can be provided to parents at the beginning of the year. This saves administrative time for church staff and/or teachers.
  • Stories of God’s providence provided for each lesson can be read aloud and discussed as a family. These can serve as a supplement to your family’s regular devotion times.
  • As You Walk by the Way exercises are designed to prompt deep discussions, encouraging parents and their children to engage in spiritual conversations as a part of normal everyday life.

Spiral-bound GIFT pages can be ordered in sets of 10. Note: These pages are also available on the the DVD that is included in the Classroom Kit and can be e-mailed to parents or printed and distributed each week.

Free Printables: “My Purpose Will Stand” Visuals

One of the things that we are really excited about in the release of our revised curriculum is the updated visuals and graphics. As we mentioned in the FAQs about the revised curriculum:

When our curriculum was first being developed in 1998, it was written for use in one church, formatting was done in Word (PDF files were relatively unknown), clip art was cutting edge, electronic display meant overhead projectors and this website did not exist. Since then, both technology and the needs of the churches using our curriculum have changed significantly. What has not changed is our vision to teach God-centered Bible truth to children of all ages.

We are so glad that the curriculum visuals are moving into the 21st century, with graphics and visuals that can hold their own in a digital age. These free printables from the newly-revised My Purpose Will Stand (6th Grade) will give you a taste of the amazing quality of the illustrations and artwork. Use them as your desktop wallpaper, pin them, or share them to inspire yourself and others!


I Am Powerful thumbnail

Lesson 3: God’s Sustaining Providence
God is able to sustain the universe because He is unlimited. Placed against the backdrop of this spectacular lightning photography, students are reminded of God’s power both visually and through the text.

Only God thumbnail

Lesson 7: All God’s Purposes Are Right
Students learn that God rules with perfect justice and righteousness. We can trust God to rule rightly because He is righteous in all He thinks and does.

Rebekah thumbnail

Lesson 28: God’s Providence Over Man’s Way
Original illustrations by Fred Apps are absolutely stunning as they capture the essence of the biblical histories they recreate. You can see God’s gift to him, and now to us, in this illustration of Rebekah watering the camels as God providentially revealed Isaac’s wife in response to the prayer of Abraham’s servant.

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Lesson 33: God’s Providence Over Prayer
This is the type of clean, fresh, modern graphics that are used in many of the teaching visuals. Students write this quote in their notebooks as they learn that God ordains prayer as a means to fulfill His purposes.

Revised Curriculum

Revised Curriculum

In June we highlighted the release of our revised curriculum. Since then people have been asking a lot of questions about the changes we’ve made to the curriculum and how it better equips teachers and engages students.

We now have a lot of helpful information about the revised curriculum on our website, including:

  • an Overview (check out the “Bible Skill Objectives” Chart)
  • a product guide (check out the Electronic Classroom Kit)
  • information about Upgrade Pricing (for existing customers)
  • FAQs (check out the curriculum availability chart)

We hope this information will serve you as you plan your fall curriculum purchases.

Defining Providence

Purpose

Could you give a clear, concise definition of the providence of God? Do you think a 6th grader could? Try to fill in the blanks below:

Providence Definition - Blank

The above definition of providence is used throughout the My Purpose Will Stand curriculum. It helps students learn incrementally 1) What God’s providence is; 2) The extent of His providence; and 3) How to respond to His providence.

We asked the author, Sally Michael, a few questions about the newly-revised curriculum:

Q: Why is the providence of God such an important concept for children to learn and understand?

A: Understanding God’s providence gives a person a place of security in all the circumstances of life. If children understand everything is under God’s constant care, they have the foundation for learning that they can trust God.

Q: What is your hope for students who learn about God’s providence?

A: My hope is that children will have the understanding that nothing escapes God’s notice but everything is under His sovereign care, leading them to have the confidence that they can trust God in all circumstances.

Q: What was your main objective in revising the lessons, which were previously written for 2nd through 6th grade classes?

A: My main objective was to specifically target 6th grade students, using appropriate activities and teaching illustrations that match a 6th graders’ intellectual comprehension. In so doing, I was able to answer some critical questions about God’s providence that 6th graders would ask such as, “If God is sovereign, why pray?” and “If God is sovereign does man have real choices?”.

Learn more about My Purpose Will Stand or view curriculum samples.


By the end of 40 Lessons, the majority of students will have this helpful definition memorized:

Providence Definition - Complete

The Bridge Ministry: Reaching Children in the City

Ever wonder how other people and churches are implementing the Children Desiring God curriculum? The Bridge, a ministry of Southwest Church in Topeka, Kansas, included a Bible study outreach program that used Children Desiring God curriculum. This video shares how Chris Stewart and his team used Children Desiring God material in their ministry, and how families benefitted from exposure to God-centered teaching. (more…)

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