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The Enduring Power of Christmas + Free Lesson/Devotional

There is wonderful variety displayed in the Christmas celebrations of our churches and families. Some are shaped by years of special traditions. Some are unique to our cultural backgrounds. (more…)

Dad’s Unmatched Spiritual Influence

Steve Watters recently caught up with Bill Farley to ask about the need for family discipleship, for dads to take the lead as spiritual example and guide, and the challenges dads can expect to face and what to do about them. Farley is a retired pastor, father, grandfather, and author of Gospel Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting.

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Summer Reading

As school winds down for a longed-for summer break, teachers and librarians everywhere are urging kids to use the less-scheduled days reading books. “Read for fun! Read for retention! Read for prizes!” It seems there’s no shortage of incentives to make the most of free reading time. (more…)

Celebrating the Miraculous Time of Christmas

Children Desiring God Blog // Celebrating the Miraculous Time of Christmas

It’s often said that Christmas is a “magical” time for children. But a more accurate description should be that Christmas is a “miraculous” time as we ponder the miracle of the incarnation. So as we think and plan toward how we will teach about and celebrate Christmas with the children in our home and church, let us consider the importance of the doctrine of the incarnation. Consider these words from Jared Wilson from his article “The Christmas Miracle of the Incarnation of the Omnipresent Word.”

Every year at this time as we celebrate the birth of baby Jesus to the virgin Mary, I don’t suppose it occurs to too many merrymakers that what they’re really celebrating is the Incarnation. All of the other miracles are in service of that central miracle: God became man. And in becoming, through Spiritual conception, the man Jesus of Nazareth, the Word of God did not cease to be God. Baby Jesus, from the moment of conception to the straw habitation of the manger, was fully God and fully man. That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

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A Strange Question

Children Desiring God Blog // 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.

In my kitchen cupboard is a treasured mug. This mug is really quite ugly, but it does say “Mom: on it. It is the first gift my daughters gave me without “cause.” It wasn’t my birthday, Mother’s Day, or Christmas. My girls were in grade school and had been visiting in a nursing home when they spotted the mug in the gift shop…and got it for me, just because I am their mom and they love me. (more…)

What Will the Next Generations Stand Upon?

Children Desiring God Blog // What Will the Next Generations Stand Upon?

Imagine your children 20 years from now. What do you want them to “stand upon” and have full confidence in? What will provide the only unshakable bedrock for them in the midst of the world’s changing norms and values? What will they hold fast to as they are bombarded with more and more information in our digital age? How will they be able to discern truth from error in a world of competing ideas and beliefs?

In the past few weeks, the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation has been highlighted and celebrated. We would do well to pass on to our children and students the importance of this historic event. The very essence of the Gospel was at stake as Luther and the other reformers reaffirmed the eternal truths of Scripture. One of these truths was the importance of the authority of Scripture alone. For Luther, it was truly a matter of life or death. Here is an excerpt from an article titled, “Here We Stand” by Albert Mohler:

Martin Luther’s great moment of theological clarification came at the climax of a command performance. Facing the threat of martyrdom and execution, Luther appeared on trial at the Diet of Worms before the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Asked on what authority he dared to defy the Pope and the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church, Luther famously replied: (more…)

Are We Hindering Children from Coming to Jesus?

Children Desiring God Blog // Are We Hindering Children from Coming To Jesus

In his message “Let the Children Come to Me,” Pastor John Piper examined Luke 18:15-17 and made the following statement,

Disciples of Jesus should remove all hindrances that keep children from coming to Jesus.

He then went on to spell out some hindrances that we should try to remove in ministering to children. Here are excerpts from four of these:

1. Pride …If you are receiving the kingdom yourself like a little child, then you will not do anything to hinder little children from coming to Jesus. But if you are trying to enter the kingdom some other way than by receiving it like a child, then you will probably be a hindrance to children. If you are not childlike toward God, children will probably be beneath you and not worth your time.

So there is a very close connection between your own humility and your ability to lead children to Jesus. The great hindrance to effective ministry to children is pride, and the great gift for ministry to children is humility.
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A Summer Praise Walk with Children

Children Desiring God Blog // A Summer Praise Walk With Children

When I was a child, and even into my teens, I spent most of my free time outdoors. Whether playing active games with friends, exploring the neighborhood woods, or simply laying in the grass and trying to identify different shapes or figures in the clouds, we spent much of our summer disconnected from media or other electronics. Now that I am an adult, I have found I still benefit from enjoying the outdoors, as it evokes praise and admiration of God as I experience first-hand the wonders He has created.

One way we can encourage our children to meditate on and give God praise for His wondrous works is to go on a “Praise Walk.” How? First, read together Psalm 148. Help them identify all of the created things in the verse that are to give praise to God. (more…)

Give Your Children the Gift of Pondering + Free Lesson

Children Desiring God Blog // Give Children the Gift of Pondering

Back in the days when I taught science classes to homeschooled children, I used to emphasize the importance of careful observation. As an example, I would have each child choose a flower or a single leaf, and have them quietly study it for at least 30 minutes and record everything they could about it—size, shape, colors, texture, fragrance, etc. It’s amazing what comes to light about something when you really stop to ponder it. “Ponder—to think about, give thought to, consider, mull over, contemplate, meditate on…” The word “ponder” is not often used anymore in this fast-paced, sound-bite, digital media culture. So a verse like this is often readily passed over:

I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Psalm 77:12, ESV

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Resources to Help You Pray for the Next Generation

Resources to Help You Pray for the Next Generation

Thank you for joining us in our Praying for the Next Generation challenge over the past week. We hope that this time of praying through Scripture has been an encouragement to you as you have sought God’s guidance on how to build a spiritual foundation for your family and have prayed for God’s redeeming work in your children’s lives. As this 10-day challenge comes to a close, may this be the continuation of treasuring God’s Word as you come before our Father on behalf of your children and the coming generations.

Here are some resources to help you integrate prayer into different areas of your life, both at church and at home, and to help you teach your children about prayer.

 

A Sure Foundation Nursery CurriculumA Sure Foundation Nursery Curriculum

For churches
The verses and designs from this challenge are an element of our newly refreshed and expanded A Sure Foundation: A Philosophy and Curriculum for Ministry to Infants and Toddlers. It is designed to help you transform your ministry to infants and toddlers into an integral beginning—a place of prayer for young children, a place where they hear foundational Bible stories, and a place where children learn simple truth statements and begin to memorize Scripture as they form their language skills. Emphasis is placed on creating an environment of prayer for babies and strategically praying for each infant and toddler by name each time they are in your care. (more…)

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