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The Call to Make Disciples

The Call to Make Disciples

Before ascending into heaven, Jesus gave every Christian in every century a commission with eternal significance:

…”All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”—Matthew 28:18-20, ESV

Our calling is very clear—to “make disciples.” This is the greatest work in which to invest our lives! Christ’s mandate to us is to see spiritual interest awaken, new birth come forth, and then foster steady steps toward maturity in Christ…but it is a mandate wrought with privilege and true joy. (more…)

What Might God Do in Your Backyard This Summer?

What Might God do in Your Backyard this Summer?

What are your summer plans? Perhaps you will visit relatives, take a vacation, or soak up the sun at a neighborhood pool or lake? These are all great opportunities, but summer also affords us a unique opportunity to spread the Gospel through backyard Bible clubs.

Every member of your family can take part in the wonderful ministry of a backyard Bible club—whether it be extending invitations, teaching a lesson, leading singing, supervising a craft or game, or just loving the children who come. (more…)

Get ACTIVE in the Classroom!

Get Active in the Classroom!

One of the God-given means for influencing the heart and the will is to encourage students to be active participants in the learning process. Most people would agree that it is good for children to be involved in the learning process. Most of us could even give reasons why this is so:

  • Makes the lessons more interesting, and therefore helps children to pay attention (easy for their minds to wander if you are doing all the talking)—Students do not get bored if they are actively participating in the learning process.
  • Children will often remember the concepts longer if they have been involved in the learning process.
  • When children are involved in the discovery of knowledge themselves,  sometimes they can internalize truth better—discovering a Bible truth sometimes causes that truth to be embraced in the heart rather than just understood in the head

(more…)

How to Use Fighter Verses for Instruction

How to Use Fighter Verses for Instruction

Fighter Verses are a wonderful means to share the Word of God with our children. Breakfast or supper, riding in the car, or any time the family is together is a good time for instructional conversation about the Fighter Verses. Below are a few tips to remember as you share God’s Word with your children.

Keep it Short

A short instructional time that catches and holds a child’s interest is better than a long drawn out time that leaves the child bored and frustrated.

Teach “Bite-Sized” Portions

To keep the instruction from becoming long and burdensome for the child, teach a word-, phrase-, or verse-at-a-time, as suits your child’s age and attention. The Bible is so rich that a single verse can present a number of different avenues for instruction. Rather than worry about being exhaustive in your instruction about a passage, pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit and teach the points God puts on your heart. Spend several days on a passage rather than try to cover it all at one sitting. (more…)

The Story behind Jesus is Most Special

prpbooks-images-covers-md-9781629950297

In the heart of every Christian grandmother is the desire that her grandchildren know Jesus as their Savior. This was my heart desire seven years ago when I wrote the text to Jesus is Most Special. It didn’t start out as text for a children’s book about the birth of Christ. It was simply the expression of one grandmother’s heart that her granddaughter would know of God’s love in sending the Savior.

At the time, my elder daughter, Amy, and her husband, Gary, were living in St. John’s, Newfoundland with my eldest grandchild, Anna, who was then three years old. As I thought about the miles between us and pondered how I could nurture a spiritual interest and understanding in Anna’s heart, the Lord put it in my heart to tell Anna the Christmas story via the written word. I had no pictures to send her, so I suggested that Amy and Gary use a nativity set in telling the story. (more…)

Reading the Bible through the Right Lens

Children Desiring God Blog //  Reading the Bible through the Right Lens

If you have attended the preconference at one of our Children Desiring God national conferences, you probably remember the teaching emphasis that “the Bible is first and foremost a book about God.” This emphasis can revolutionize the way you teach the Bible to children. But, has it also revolutionized your time with God in the Word?

In her book, Women of the Word, Jen Wilkin talks about “getting things backward” in her reading of the Bible. She states, (more…)

A Strange Question

It is not an unusual question. Most of us have probably heard it as a means of examining our hearts toward God: Do you love the gift, or the Giver?

But I think it is a strange question. It assumes that the two are mutually exclusive. However, in my mind and heart, they are tied together. Let me explain. (more…)

Active Learning Goes Beyond Activity

One of the God-given means for influencing the heart and the will is to encourage students to be active participants in the learning process.

Most people would agree that it is good for children to be involved in the learning process and most of us could even give reasons why this is so:

  • It makes the lessons more interesting, and therefore helps child to pay attention (easy for their minds to wander if you are doing all the talking)—Students do not get bored if they are actively participating in the learning process.
  • Children will often remember the concepts longer if they have been involved in the learning process.
  • When children are involved in the discovery of knowledge themselves,  sometimes they can internalize truth better—discovering a Bible truth sometimes causes that truth to be embraced in the heart, rather than just understood in the head.

(more…)

Unchanged…or Changed?

Be Doers of the Word

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:22-25, ESV) 

How easy it is for us to read the Bible, close the pages of this life-changing book…and walk away unchanged. Our response to God’s Word is much like a man who looks at himself in the mirror and forgets what he looks like.

When a man forgets his reflection in the mirror, is it because there something wrong with the image reflected in the mirror? Is the mirror faulty? No, and neither is God’s Word faulty, though we walk away unchanged. The problem is with us. We read but we do not apply; we do not consider what God’s words mean for our everyday lives.
(more…)

Planting Seeds of Truth

He shall be like a tree

simile: n. a figure of speech in which one thing is likened to another
in one respect by the use of “like,” “as,” etc.

The Bible uses similes frequently.  They paint pictures for our eyes so our minds can grasp biblical truth.  They borrow our familiarity with the ordinary to help us understand the profound.  Consider the following:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
Psalm 1:1-3

A simple picture.  A profound truth.  Delighting in the Word of God causes us to meditate on it day and night. The person who delights in the Word of God, who is fed day and night, will not stay a sapling. He will be like a tree.

If his roots grow deeply into the Word of God, if he pulls nourishment up through those roots day and night, He will grow into a mighty tree.  Reading God’s Word makes us strong.  Just as healthy, strong trees blossom forth into fruit, those who are made strong by the steady diet of delighting in God’s Word produce fruit.

What would we give for our children to become mighty oaks of righteousness? An hour of teaching on Sunday morning? A few hours of preparation? A regular weekly prayer for the children in your small group? A passing word of spiritual encouragement to a child in your class? Each of these small investments could reap an eternal harvest.

Are you contemplating teaching Sunday school this year?

We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day;
night is coming, when no one can work.
John 9:4

Are you wavering in your commitment to nurture the faith of the next generation?

And let us not grow weary of doing good,
for in due season we will reap,
if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

Are you unsure of your abilities?

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything,
but only God who gives the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:7

There may be reasons for pulling back on teaching the Bible to the next generation, but there remains one great reason for staying the course…

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

May you be blessed as you plant the seeds of righteousness in the next generation, and may the children within your influence become mighty oaks of faith.

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