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Come Meet with Us

Come Meet with Us

The Children Desiring God Team is excited for some opportunities to gather and meet with you in the coming months. If you are in the area, we would encourage you to come to one of these events:

Children’s Ministry Day

Saturday, March 11  //  8am – 12pm  //  Peru, Indiana
EastPointe church invites parents, Sunday school teachers and other children’s ministry workers to join David and Sally Michael at Children’s Ministry Day. The Michaels will be casting a vision for God-centered children’s ministry as well as providing practical helps in using Children Desiring God resources. This is a free event.
Registration closes March 5.
Register Now!

2017 Ligonier National Conference: The Next 500 Years

March 9-11 // Orlando, Florida
If you are attending the Ligonier National Conference, be sure to look for the Children Desiring God table in the exhibit area. We look forward to meeting you, answering your curriculum questions and showing you our newest resources and curriculum samples.
Registration for this event is full. (more…)

Strategies for Church-Wide Bible Memorization

churchwidestrategies_header

Here at Children Desiring God, we have been excited to see so many churches start memorizing Fighter Verses together as a church this month. It is easy to generate excitement for Bible memory when you are just starting the program or at the beginning of a new year. However, you will want to think of ways to keep Bible memory as an important priority throughout the year.

There are many tangible ways that the pastors and elders can lead the congregation in the desire and practice of Bible memory and ways the church can motivate members throughout the year:

Sunday Morning

  • During the Sunday morning announcements, ask for a volunteer to recite the weekly memory verse. If no one volunteers, ask another pastor or elder to try to recite the verse.
  • Pray the Fighter Verse during the worship service. This could either be prayed as a general request for the congregation, or incorporated into a specific prayer request for an individual or event. (more…)

Now Available: New Fighter Verses Songs

Now Available: Fighter Verses Songs, Set 2

The Fighter Verses Songs are a wonderful tool to incorporate more Scripture into your day and help you memorize and remember verses more quickly. The Fighter Verses Songs, Set 2 album includes word-for-word Bible passages (English Standard Version) set to music to help believers fight the fight of faith.

This CD features 34 songs (over an hour of music) from important and beloved Bible passages from 20 books of the Bible. The songs were creatively written and recorded to make Scripture memorization easy and fun. Musical styles include folk, a cappella, jazz, pop, classical and family songs. Tunes are easy to learn, fun for kids and enjoyable to listen to on repeat. (more…)

Get Ready to Start Memorizing Scripture

Fighter Verses

January 1 is almost here and we cannot wait to start memorizing a new set of Fighter Verses. Whether you have been memorizing with us for years, or are brand new to Fighter Verses, we hope you will join us.

Fighter Verses is a collection of 260 passages broken down into five sets of 52 passages so you can memorize one passage each week. These verses help equip and encourage believers to fight the fight of faith as they focus on 1) the character and worth of our great God, 2) battling against our fleshly desires, and 3) the hope of the Gospel.

Are you ready to start memorizing Scripture? Here are soon tools to help you get started:

  1. Install the Fighter Verses App for the best tools and resources to memorize, study and review Scripture wherever you go. The app includes the core Fighter Verses Set, Extended Fighter Verses, Foundation Verses for kids and Children Desiring God curriculum verses. Available for iPhone, Android and Kindle. (more…)

8 Practical Ideas for a Purposeful Thanksgiving

8 Practical Ideas for a Purposeful Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and many of you have probably spent hours cleaning your home for company, preparing the perfect turkey, planning a dozen side dishes, setting a beautiful table or traveling across country to grandma and grandpa’s house. But, have you spent any time planning how your family is going to worship God during your Thanksgiving day.

Here are eight practical ideas requiring little to no preparation to help your family have a purposeful holiday as you thank God for the blessings he has given you.

1. Anticipated Thanksgivings

This is one our staff loves to do together each year. Look back at your year and reflect on three to five things you are thankful for. Next, create a list of 3-5 anticipated thanksgivings—specific things you are committing to praying for over the coming year with the hope that next Thanksgiving, you can praise God for the answered prayers. Be sure to capture everyone’s answers (possibly in a journal or create a small booklet) so you can be reminded to pray throughout the year and down the road you can look back to see the evidences of God’s grace in your family’s life over the years.

2. Verses of Praise

Have your children create place cards for each person coming to Thanksgiving. On the back, have them write out a verse of praise for each guest to read during the meal. Great Thanksgiving verses to start with include: 1 Chronicles 16:8-9; Psalm 7:17; Psalm 79:13; Psalm 86:12-13; Psalm 100:4-5; Psalm 106:1; Acts 17:24-25; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Philippians 4:6-7; Colossians 3:15-17; and 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

3. Hymn Sing

Close dinner with a short hymn sing. A newer favorite by Keith and Kristyn Getty is My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness or sing For the Beauty of the Earth, a classic hymn by Folliot Pierpoint and Conrad Kocher.

4. Look Deeper

When thinking of what we are thankful for, it is easy to focus on the practical—family, friends, a warm home, good food or fun toys. While these are all wonderful things we can thank God for providing, take time to help your children think deeper to what they have been learning about God in family devotions or Sunday school. Encourage your children to think of an attribute of God, name of God, promise God has given us, Bible story or other truth they have learned that they are thankful for. Or, have your children recite Bible verses they are thankful to have treasured in their hearts.

5. Centered on Thanks

While you are waiting for the turkey to bake, work as a family to create a special centerpiece focused on thanks. If you have a pumpkin, take turns writing what you are thankful for on the pumpkin with a sharpie (a gold sharpie looks great on a white pumpkin). Or, cut out tags or leaves to write on and hang them on a garland or small tree. If you have a kids table at your family celebration, cover it with paper and supply the kids with markers or crayons to color pictures of what they are thankful for.

6. Nature Walk

After dinner, go for a family nature walk and look for things in creation that show the greatness of God. Thank God for creating the items you find from the biggest and most beautiful to the smallest or most simple.

7. Read the Easter Story

No, I did not get my holidays mixed up. The greatest gift we have ever been offered is the gift of salvation. Spend time reading about the crucifixion from the Bible or a children’s story book. Thank Jesus for taking the sacrifice for our sins and giving us the gift of eternal life.

8. Plan a Family Service Project for Christmas

As your family spends the day reflecting on all of the blessings you are thankful for, think about how you can share the overflow of your blessing with others during the upcoming Christmas season. Spend time as a family discussing a service project you could do together to help people in need. Here are some ideas for blessing friends, neighbors and those in need: go caroling at a local nursing home, volunteer at a local ministry, donate supplies to a crisis pregnancy center or food shelf, make a meal for new parents, include international students or someone with no local family into your Christmas plans, shovel your neighbors sidewalks, bake cookies for friends who need some extra encouragement or decide to set aside money from your family’s gift budget and donate it to a missionary family or international ministry.

Do you have any family traditions that help you focus on the goodness of the Lord in your lives? How do you share your thanksgivings? We would love to have you share those in the comments below.

Are You Prepared to Fight the Fight of Faith?

Fight the Fight of Faith

My main reason for memorizing Scripture is not to teach anybody anything but to fight unbelief in my life. To fight discouragement in my life. To handle the sorrows that come across my life.

The devil is constantly shooting at me to be discouraged about myself, my family, my church, and the world. And the only way I know to fight back is with truths from God that counter that.

—John Piper, Desiring God

Those of us who believe in and receive Jesus as Savior are brothers and sisters in the family of God, fellow workers in God’s kingdom spreading His glory and the message of salvation from generation to generation to the ends of the earth, and fellow soldiers fighting the fight of faith.

As we are engaged in the ongoing battle of continuing in the faith, every Christian must speak truth to his soul, fighting not only the temptations of the flesh but also battling for faith. The assaults of the enemy come in the form of lies which threaten to diminish the joy of our salvation and our love for the gospel, belief in the promises of God, a hunger for God, single-minded devotion to Christ and our appetites for the spiritual rather than the temporal.

The Fighter Verses program is designed to equip you to fight the fight of faith by memorizing God’s Word. Each week individuals, families and churches are all encouraged to memory a verse or short passage of Scripture together. Are you prepared to fight the fight of faith?


Fighter Verses

Verse Collections

Fighter Verses Collection

This core memory program of 260 passages is broken down into five yearly sets with one verse or passage to be memorized each week. The verses chosen for this collection focus on 1) the character and worth of our great God, 2) battling against our fleshly desires, and 3) the hope of the Gospel.

Extended VersesExtended Memory Collection

The Extended Memory Collection is designed for those who wish to memorize longer passages of Scripture. Still structured as a five-year weekly memory program, this collection encourages you to memorize Philippians, James, Romans 5-8 and the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), plus an additional set of larger passages from various books of the Bible that are considered key to the life of faith.

Foundation VersesFoundation Verse Collection

The Foundation Verses are 76 verses of foundational truth designed with toddlers and pre-readers in mind. The collection includes verses designed to lay a firm scriptural foundation of basic biblical truth that will pave the way for faith response along with illustrations to help children remember each verse.

 

 


Fighter Verses WebsiteGetting Started

Are you excited to start memorizing Scripture? Begin by visiting FighterVerses.com to learn more about Fighter Verses, discover how to get your whole church on board and find tips on how to memorize and review verses. You will also find our weekly devotional blog there. Feel free to jump in and start memorizing along with us…we are just finishing up Set 1. Or, start preparing to begin a new set in January.

The Fighter Verses AppNext, download the Fighter Verses App for iPhone or Android. This will give you a wide array of resources to help you memorize wherever you go or whenever you have a few spare minutes. You will find all of the verse collections, quizzes, songs, study resources and an in depth review function to help you keep verses memorized.

For additional help in memorizing, check out some of our other Fighter Verses resources:

Fighter Verses Songs

The Fighter Verses Study

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.—Ephesians 6:10-12

Resource Update: We are excited to release the Fighter Verses Songs for Set 2 on CD and iTunes in early 2017! Watch the blog for more details.
Unfortunately, we are not able to release Set 2 of the Fighter Verses Study this year. We hope to provide more study resources for Fighter Verses in the future.

Celebrating the One Who Is Most Special

Jesus Is Most Special

One of the most special times of years is quickly approaching. How will you help your children be captivated by the joy and wonder of Christmas?

Jesus Is Most Special, by Sally Michael, is the perfect way to share the story of the birth of Jesus, along with its context in the Bible, with young children. Through reading this book over and over, even the youngest children will be motivated to retell this all-important story to others after they have learned if for themselves. Though the facts are important for children to remember, it is even more important for them to understand the message of the birth of Christ, God’s Son, the Savior of the world, the King of all Kings, who is most special of all.

Jesus Is Most SpecialEach right-hand page of the book tells a part of of the Christmas story, starting with God’s promise to send a Savior. Prompts indicate when key characters are introduced so children can act the story out using a nativity set as they share the story with others. The left-hand pages incorporate supporting Scripture and lyrics to Christmas carols to reinforce what children are learning, help them reflect on the meaning and stir their hearts to worship.

For churches or schools, the main text of the book provides a great base for the narration of a short skit as children act out the story. The accompanying verses can be interspersed as additional readings and the carols can be used to complete the christmas program.

Jesus Is Most Special is the perfect book to add to your Advent and Christmas traditions. You can look inside the book and order a copy today to receive it in time for the start of the Christmas season.

This Christmas, may you and your children worship Jesus, the Savior of the world, the King of Kings, who is most special of all.

The simplicity of this book mirror the plainness of the biblical story. Carol lyrics waft beside the brief, deep Scriptures that inspired them. In these pages the Savior is clearly worshiped—the story of his arrival touched me yet again.”
—Steve Estes, Author of A Better December

Supporting Missionary Kids from the Classroom: Practical Tips for Connecting

Supporting Missionary Kids from the Classroom: Practical Tips for Connecting

Read Part 1 – Brothers, Pray for Us

Has your Sunday school class decided to support missionary kids from your church who are in the same grade? Here are some practical tips for connecting with and supporting your church’s missionaries.

Build Relationships

Whether you break out pens and paper, or become virtual pen pals, help the students in you class build relationships with the missionary kids through writing notes.

  • If you have extra time in class, write a note to or color pictures for your missionary kids. Ask them questions about what life is like where they live and let the students in your class introduce themselves. You can always scan or take a picture of their notes and email them for quick delivery.
  • Recognize special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas, Easter or the end of the school year. If you are mailing a card, remember to send it early because mail can often take a long time to reach some countries.
  • Send a care package. Mail can be a challenge to get to some countries, but it is so fun for missionary kids to get a care package with a fun gift or things they miss from home. If there is a short term missions trip going to visit your missionary family, see if they have space to take a small package. Talk to the missionary kids’ parents, family or support team to find out what they like and would appreciate such as a games, crafts, school supplies, books or candy.
    If sending items is not an option, missionary kids can have fun getting an iTunes or Amazon gift card for new worship music or to watch a movie.
  • Share a photo of your class or small group and ask if your missionary kids can share photos of where they live and their everyday life.
  • Have your class record a video greeting for your missionary kids.

When given a blank piece of paper and asked to write (or color) to someone they do not know, children often do not know what to do. But, if you give them some simple prompts, they will have a lot of fun.

  • Coloring Pictures: For young children, provide pictures they can color or complete together as a small group.
    A fun option for missionary kids in sensitive countries who can not get a picture of a manger scene for Christmas, is to provide a snow scene with the basic outline of a snowman and trees. Then encourage children to work together to add like a face, scarf, buttons and snowflake stickers in the sky.
  • Get to Know You Questions: What is your name? Do you have brothers and sisters? Do you have any pets? Do you play a sport or musical instrument? What is the weather like where you live? What do you enjoy doing for fun? What is your favorite food? Where do you go to school? What are you thankful for? Have you visited any other countries? What countries would you like to visit? What makes you happy? What do you want to be when you grow up.
  • Faith Questions: What is your favorite verse? What is your favorite Bible story and why? What evidences of God’s grace have you seen in your life? How have you seen God’s glory in nature this week? What have your learned in Sunday school (favorite attribute of God, promise of God, name of God, etc.). What has God been teaching you in your devotions? 

Learn About Their Country

To help you better understand what life is like for your missionary kids as well as who they are ministering to, it can be very helpful to spend some time learning about the country they live in. You can ask a small group to research and put together a short report on the country; read short missionary stories or biographies; invite someone who has visited or lived in the country to come and talk; or ask your missionary kids questions about their life.
Read this post for some recommended books and resources.

Support Their Ministry

Another important aspect of supporting missionary families is financially. Help teach children about the importance of being cheerful givers and help them experience the joy of partnering with a ministry. Set a goal of how much money you want to raise depending on the age of your children and the size of your class. You may want to encourage kids to do some extra odd jobs at home so you can raise 10 dollars as a class. Or, you class may want to host a fundraiser to buy items that will help the the missionary family’s ministry such as Bibles, school supplies, clean water or goats.

Welcome Missionaries Home on Furlough

It is so exciting when our missionary families return on furlough and our church has the chance to bless and encourage them in person as well as hear about their ministry in person.

  • Welcome your missionary kid to your class!
  • Help host a welcome home party or open house to welcome them and help your missionary kid get to know your class.
  • Ask the missionary family to visit your class and give a short presentation about their ministry.
  • Put together a care package for your missionary kid with some toys or activities they can do while they are stateside.
  • Continue to pray for them as they travel and adjust to life in a temporary place.

 

Please remember to be sensitive to the political situation of each country your missionary families are in as you write or talk about them. To protect the safety of many missionaries, you may need to be very careful with certain terminology, names and locations. Please double check your missionary’s specific guidelines by talking with your church’s missions department or the missionary’s sending agency.

 

 

Supporting Missionary Kids from the Classroom: Brothers, Pray for Us

Supporting Missionary Kids from the Classroom: Brothers, Pray for Us

What is a missionary? Where do they live? What are they doing in a different country? Are their kids like me? Why do we need to pray for missionaries?

Can the children in your Sunday school classes answer these questions?

For many children, it is hard to understand the world outside their city, let alone in a different country. As teachers and parents, we have the opportunity to instill a passion in our children to spread the Gospel to others in their everyday life and to over 1200 unreached people groups around the world. As the church, we have the honor of sending and supporting missionaries along with their children.

One way to combine these goals of educating the children in our church and supporting our missionary families is to adopt missionary kids into the classroom to get to know them, learn more about their family’s ministry and consistently support them in prayer.

To start with, find out which missionary families your church supports and what grades their children are in.

  • If you are in a larger church with multiple missionary kids in each grade, assign one or two to each small group. This helps the students in your class build deeper relationships with the missionary kids and focus their prayers.
  • If you only have a few missionary kids, you could pray for each child as a class.
  • If there are no missionary kids in your grade, consider adopting a missionary without children who could use some extra encouragement. Or, choose an unreached people group or country to focus learning about and praying for.

It can be helpful to choose a team member in your class to champion this project and be the main communicator with the missionary families. Have them contact the missionaries to welcome the missionary kids into your class and begin getting to know the families. Be sure to sign up for their regular prayer letters or email updates so you have the latest information on how to support the families.

Supporting Missionary Kids from the Classroom: Brothers, Pray for UsPrayer is one of the easiest and most important ways to support missionary families. Some general prayers that all missionaries need include: for the Gospel to be spread through their ministry, that they will be protected from the attacks of Satan, for protection in travels and everyday life in a different country, peace within their family, a good school and friends for their children, guidance in countless decisions, and unwavering faith.

Here are a few ways for your class remember to pray for your missionary kids:

  • Hang up a map or bulletin board in your classroom with pictures of each of the missionary families in your classroom and show the country or general area they live in.
  • Put a picture of the missionary kid each small group is praying for on the lid of their small group supply box to help remind them to pray each week during small group time.
  • Set aside time as a whole class once a month to spend a few minutes in prayer for all of the missionary kids.
  • Make bookmarks or cards with the missionary kid’s photo and specific prayer requests for children in your class to take home and put in their Bible or on their refrigerator so they can pray for the missionaries with their family during the week and over the summer.

Read Part 2 of this post for some practical tips on how you can teach your class more about missions and simple ideas for connecting with your missionary kids.

Please remember to be sensitive to the political situation of each country your missionary families are in as you write or talk about them. To protect the safety of many missionaries, you may need to be very careful with certain terminology, names and locations. Please double check your missionary’s specific guidelines by talking with your church’s missions department or the missionary’s sending agency.

 

 

The World’s Largest Puzzle and Its Infinitely Wise Creator

The World’s Largest Puzzle and Its Infinitely Wise Creator

This summer, my family and I stopped by America’s biggest puzzle store during a family adventure. Inside, puzzles covered tables and shelves, were fitted in special cases that lined the entire ceiling and were tucked in every nook and cranny. There were beginner toddler puzzles with two pieces, kids puzzles with firetrucks and princesses, 1000 piece puzzles of historical events, and 3000 pieces puzzles of beautiful nature scenes. Then we saw the big puzzle…32,356 pieces. The finished puzzle measured 17 feet by 6 feet and weighed more than 40 pounds. Many people have said a puzzle this size takes six months to a year to complete.

To me, attempting a puzzle that size is, well, puzzling. But, what if the the whole world—dirt, mountains, oceans, trees, flowers, sky, animals, birds, insects—was a puzzle you had to put together? Oh, and it is not a normal puzzle. It is one of those 3-D puzzles with moving pieces. You have to add layer upon layer to your puzzle to piece together each person along with every circumstance they will ever face. That is unimaginable.

O LORD, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom have you made them all;
—Psalm 104:24a

In The ABCs of God curriculum, Jill Nelson asks children:

What does it mean that God is wise? It means that He causes everything to work out perfectly. It is as if the world is like a giant puzzle with millions of pieces. God made each piece, and all the pieces fit together in order to make the world just as God planned it. God doesn’t make any mistakes. Because He is wise, EVERYTHING turns out exactly as He has planned it.

When we look at our lives, often all we can see is a mountain of puzzle pieces that do not seem to fit together. It is not our job to determine how each the piece of our life fits together or why we were given certain pieces. We need to trust that God is infinitely wise in each detail of our lives, especially when bad things happen or circumstances do not make sense.

In his sermon, “The Great Work of the Only Wise God,” Pastor John Piper defines wisdom this way:

Wisdom DefinitionWisdom is knowing what the greatest goal is in any situation, and what the best way is to achieve it. It’s different from knowledge, but it assumes knowledge. They overlap. You can’t exercise wisdom without knowledge; because in order to figure out the best way to achieve a goal, you have to have knowledge of many factors. On the other hand, you can have a lot of knowledge and not have wisdom. There are many brilliant fools. And many less-educated sages.

But we are talking about God’s wisdom, not ours. The difference is that he always knows the best goal in every situation, and he always has total and perfect knowledge of billions and billions of relevant factors in every situation that enable him to know the best way to achieve the goal.

Next time you sit down with your child to work on a puzzle, take time to discuss who is the master puzzle-maker who creates and fits together diverse pieces to reveal His perfect plan in creation and achieve his goals. You may also want to teach your children this song to remind them who alone is wise.

God Alone Is Wise

by John Piper
Sung to the tune of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

God alone is full of wisdom,
God alone knows every end,
God alone plans every pathway,
More than we can comprehend
Infinite! His wisdom soars,
High above our peace and wars,
Grasping all the mysteries,
Governing the galaxies.
Infinite! Our God is wise!
Let our boast in him arise!

Wise! He saves the lowly sinner.
Wise! He keeps his covenant.
Wise! His ways at Calvary
Silence ev’ry argument.
By his blood and righteousness
Jew and gentile he will bless.
None shall boast in any man,
All shall marvel at his plan.
Infinite! Our God is wise!
Let our boast in him arise.

 

 

 

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