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The Most Important Questions

Children Desiring God Blog // The Most Important Questions

At Children Desiring God, we talk a lot about the necessity of teaching our children and youth the whole counsel of God. One measure of how well we have succeeded in doing this is to see whether or not they can answer these crucial questions, with increasing biblical depth, as they age and mature:

What’s in the Bible?

How should we read and understand the Bible?

Who is the Bible about?

What’s the main message of the Bible?

What are the essential doctrines (truths) of the Christian faith?

Why do we need to be saved?

What must we do to be saved?

How are we to live?

Providing our children with answers to these questions is absolutely essential if we want them to genuinely know, honor, and treasure God, through Christ, and live as faithful, fruitful disciples. We cannot make them alive to Christ and bring about saving faith, but we are responsible for teaching them the necessity, means, and fruit of faith as revealed in God’s Word. In other words, they need to be taught the whole counsel of God.

This entails proclaiming the majestic breadth and depth of Scripture—both the whole, grand narrative and the individual, glorious parts. (See “The Great Story and the Single Verse” by John Piper.) We believe this is best accomplished with an intentional, strategic plan that acquaints children and students with the following:

  • a chronological overview of the Bible’s key stories and themes.
  • a study of the Bible’s historical, redemptive narrative (biblical theology).
  • an examination of the essential doctrines of the Bible (systematic theology)
  • God’s moral and ethical instruction: His law and commandments, the wisdom literature, and the teachings of Jesus and the apostles.
  • an explicit and careful study of the essential truths of the Gospel.

For more help in thinking through a strategic plan for teaching children the whole counsel of God, download this handout. Not only does the handout provide a summary of these points, it also gives churches and parents practical questions for evaluating your current biblical resources and programs, as well as a list of suggested resources for use in the home.

 

Savior and Spirit Dependent Parenting

Children Desiring God Blog // Savior and Spirit Dependent Parenting

Do you ever feel weak and discouraged in your parenting? Have you “lost it” recently in front of your children? Have you treated them harshly or been impatient with them—even over a relatively little offense? Then here are some good words to ponder:

My children’s greatest need is not a parent who pretends to be perfect. Much more important is a parent who senses his need for the Savior to cleanse and the Spirit to empower. The godliest parent is the one who says, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). (more…)

Sports and Our Children’s Hearts

Children Desiring God Blog // Sports and Our Children's Hearts

When I was younger, I was involved in many athletic activities and participated on various sports teams. Overall, it was very beneficial physically, as well as helping to shape and strengthen positive character qualities. But I was completely unaware of the deeper purpose of sports: Athletics are to serve in understanding and growing in the Christian life, and are to be done for the glory of God. For example, consider these words from the Apostle Paul as he points out some of the benefits of athletics and how they can serve the Christian life:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.—1 Corinthians 9:24-27, ESV

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Teaching Children Law and Gospel

Teaching Children Law and Gospel

Here is an aspect of parenting and ministry to children that is crucial for a right understanding of the Gospel:

Children need to learn early about their creature-Creator relationship to God. They are under authority and owe God complete obedience to His commandments…

They need to be helped to think theologically about their failures to obey—that is, they need to learn to see their sin in relation to God. So being dishonest is not only an unkindness to others, it is also a violation of the ninth commandment. Taking something that belongs to another child is not simply carelessness or selfishness, it is breaking the eighth commandment. A child’s disobedience to his parent is not simply hurtful or disrespectful, it is disobeying God’s fifth commandment.

By pointing out these connections to children we can help them see their actions in the light of God’s law… (more…)

Going Deep in Knowing God

Going Deep in Knowing God

Here are two quotes I came upon recently that challenge us to think about the purpose and priority of teaching our children and youth the deep things of God:

If we want to love God more, we have to know Him more deeply. And the more we search the Scriptures, and the more we focus our minds’ attention on who God is and what He does, the more we understand just a tiny little bit more about Him and the more our souls break out in flame. We have a greater ardor to honor Him. The more we understand God with our minds, the more we love Him with our minds. (more…)

The Purpose of Your Home

The Purpose of Your Home

What comes to mind when you think of “a Christian home”? What does it mean? What does it look like? What would a non-Christian observe that is different from his or her own home?

Recently, Ligonier Ministries posted “A Theology of the Home” by John Tweeddale. Here are two paragraphs that I found especially helpful:

  • When thinking through a theology of home, there are two equal but opposite errors that we must avoid. In the first place, we must not give the impression that life at home in a fallen world is everything. When we do, we are guilty of a misappropriated eschatology. Yes, we must tend to the gardens of our homes. But we must also populate the pews of the church and venture onto the highways of the world. The command of Jesus to “go” in the Great Commission pushes those of us who are tempted to withdraw into the quiet habitats of home to see that when we settle for heaven on earth, we domesticate the kingdom according to our tastes and traditions. The reason we strive to make disciples of all nations is because Christ’s kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). Like Abraham, we are “looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10).

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Dads: Make a Lasting Memory

Dads: Make a Lasting Memory

My children have many wonderful and notable memories with their dad. My husband was actively involved in their lives in so many different ways. But one particular memory stands out as unique and life-giving to both dad and children—the nightly blessing and prayer time. Every night, my husband said a blessing over our children and prayed with and for them. By the time our children reached adulthood, they had received more than 5,000 blessings from their father. A beautiful, lasting legacy!

Soon it will be time for our son to continue this spiritual legacy with his own soon-to-arrive son. At the top of the list of gifts we want to give our son to celebrate this occasion is A Father’s Guide to Blessing His Children by Pastor David Michael. It is the same resource my husband used for our children for all those formative years of their childhood and youth.

So dads, and those who want to bless them this Father’s Day, consider purchasing this inexpensive but valuable tool for encouraging both fathers and children. Here is a brief description of the resource:

A Father’s Guide to Blessing His Children

David Michael is convinced that pronouncing blessings upon our children is a powerful way to plead for God’s grace upon them and to give them a vision for what we hope they will become. Includes blessing cards, each based on a biblical text, with prayers that flow from a father’s heart for his daughters and a pastor’s heart for the children in his church.

Teaching Children to Enjoy God’s Gift of Rest and Leisure

Teaching Children to Enjoy God's Gift of Rest and Leisure

Summer is almost here. What’s in store for your family? I get tired just thinking about the daily schedules of some families. Sometimes it seems as if every moment, from morning to night, is planned out—filled with activities. Please don’t misunderstand: I believe in order and structure in the family routine. Our children should be involved in many kinds of productive activities and events. We don’t want our children to be lazy or given over to simply “wasting” time through shallow, mind-dulling activities. But, on the other hand, we don’t want them to miss out on God’s gift of rest and leisure.

Here is a free lesson titled “Rest and Leisure” from our curriculum, “Your Word Is Truth: A Study for Youth on Seeing All of Life Through the Truth of Scripture.” Although written with youth in mind, it uses biblical texts and application suitable for younger children as well. Here are the main ideas presented in the lesson: (more…)

A Scandal in Our Midst?

A Scandal in Our Midst?

I am constantly amazed and alarmed by the impulse to minimize the Bible in our church classrooms. Consider a typical Sunday school classroom. Let’s say you have an hour’s timeframe. How much of that time is actually spent reading and studying the Bible text? How does this compare to time spent on other activities? How much time are the children (of reading age) spending with their Bibles open, personally interacting with the text? Yes, the latter is unrealistic for 5-year-olds, but by second grade and onward, children should be spending an increasing amount of the Sunday school lesson hour being taught directly from Scripture.

In his article, “The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem,” Dr. Albert Mohler says the following:

Christians who lack biblical knowledge are the products of churches that marginalize biblical knowledge. Bible teaching now often accounts for only a diminishing fraction of the local congregation’s time and attention… (more…)

Praying for the Next Generation: Day 10

Children Desiring God Blog // Praying for the Next Generation: Day 10

Psalm 63:1-4

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

 


Take the challenge. Intentionally pray through a passage of scripture for your children and the next generation each day for 10 days!

Day 1: Psalm 1
Day 2: John 1:12-13
Day 3: Psalm 119:10-11
Day 4: Proverbs 4:20-27
Day 5: John 15:5
Day 6: Psalm 119:33-39
Day 7: Philippians 4:8
Day 8: Colossians 3:1-2
Day 9: Proverbs 6:20-23
Day 10: Psalm 63:1-4

 

 

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