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For the Indestructible Joy of the Next Generation

As a conclusion to his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told a story that, for generations, has been famous among Sunday school children and, for decades, has captured the desire of our hearts for the next generations:

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it (Matthew 7:24-27).

We don’t want to raise a generation of fools who grow up hearing, yet neglecting, the words of Jesus. We want our children to be among the wise in their generation. We want them to be equipped for living by faith in the Son of God, walking in His ways, trusting Him in every circumstance, standing firm against the schemes of the devil, forsaking the things of this world and the desires of the flesh, laying up treasures in heaven, holding fast with confidence in His goodness, resting in His sovereignty, running with endurance the race that is set before them, persevering in the full assurance of hope, pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, standing on the promises of God, and enduring in an unshakable faith when the inevitable storms of life blow and beat against them. The fruit of this unshakable faith is an indestructible joy.

As Jesus’ final hour was approaching he warned his disciples that the storms were coming. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9). On the night before He endured the cross, Jesus said, “Truly, truly…you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful…” But on the heels of that warning, Jesus quickly assured them that their “sorrow will turn into joy….and no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:20-22). In other words, the fruit of their unshakable faith was an indestructible joy.

For more than 20 years, the pursuit of this indestructible joy for the next generations has been the heartbeat of Children Desiring God (now Truth78). On several occasions during this span, God used many voices to inspire, encourage, and support thousands in this pursuit as men and women from across this country and around the world gathered in Minnesota, and once in Indiana, for our national conferences. The book Indestructible Joy for the Next Generations is an effort to gather a taste of these timeless messages into one place with the prayer that they will continue to inspire, encourage, and support thousands more. As you read the words of these servants, and perhaps listen to their original messages below let them serve as a reminder of this pursuit that has defined our ministry.


Order a copy of Indestructible Joy for the Next Generations or get a free digital download of the book when you subscribe to the Truth78 e-newsletter.

Listen to the full conference messages related to each book chapter:

David Michael
No Greater Joy

Mark Vroegop
Declaring the Whole Counsel of God

John Piper
Why Theology and Doctrine Matter in Children’s Ministry

Bruce A. Ware
Exploring the Fullness of the Whole Counsel of God

Sally Michael
Teaching the Difficult Doctrines of God

Timothy Paul Jones
Equipping the Family to Do Discipleship

Jill Nelson
Teaching the Whole Counsel of God
Presenting the Gospel to Children

C.J. Mahaney
Sovereign Grace and the Salvation of Children

Russell Moore
No Longer Tossed To and Fro

Albert Mohler, Jr.
Holding Fast to the Whole Counsel of God Under Pressure to Conform

Wayne Grudem (messages referenced in Afterward)
Teaching the Richness of the Entire Gospel, Part 1
Teaching the Richness of the Entire Gospel, Part 2

Spiritual Eyes and Ears for Things Hidden

Have you ever looked at a Magic Eye™ picture? The page is covered with repeated designs that are very apparent to any viewer. But, for those who have eyes to see in a new way, you can also see a three-dimensional hidden picture. Many people never see the hidden picture. They only see the surface picture and never really understand that there is a more beautiful picture within the easily seen picture.

So it is with Jesus’ parables. Beyond the mere words of the parables are deep, hidden spiritual truths—truths like the Kingdom of God is a treasure worth more than all we have, God welcomes repentant sinners with great celebration, and God seeks the lost.

These truths are hidden truths unless one has been given the spiritual eyes to see and ears to hear them. Their beauty and worth are denied, misunderstood, or rejected by those whose eyes are blind and ears are deaf to spiritual truth. To see and hear the hidden things of God requires spiritual eyes and ears. Hunger for spiritual truth requires awakened senses, and to love the things of God requires a new heart. (See Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26.)

God alone is the source of spiritual eyes and undivided hearts. Only He can make blind eyes see, deaf ears hear, dead taste buds hunger, and hardened hearts soft.

It is my prayer and desire that through this brief study of some of the parables of Jesus—earthly stories with hidden meaning about the Kingdom of God— God may be pleased to open the eyes of the blind, heal the ears of the deaf, and soften the hearts of the hardened.

The thoughts above are expressed in the preface of the Backyard Bible Club/Vacation Bible School curriculum, Things Hidden. Perhaps you have taught the material and have seen the power of the Word of God to open a child’s eyes to spiritual truth. Perhaps you have had the privilege of seeing God at work through His Word to create spiritual hunger in a child… or the unparalleled joy of seeing a child’s heart respond in simple faith. If so, you know that the parables in the Bible are powerful. Might you want to be part of imparting these great spiritual truths to a group of children in your neighborhood or your church? If so, you may consider exploring the newly revised version of Things Hidden.


Discover the Revised Things Hidden Curriculum

What’s new about it?

Reformatted lessons

Lessons match our Sunday school curriculum format to make it easier to teach. Page flow has been improved with clearly indicated visuals and easy to follow teaching instructions and text. In addition, lesson concepts are more clearly explained and the application section has been expanded and improved.

All new visuals and additional resources


The visuals for Things Hidden are all new designs with original illustrations. Several additional resources are also included such as a puppet show script and promotional posters and postcards to invite people to your VBS or Backyard Bible Club.

New student project

The student project for the curriculum is now a treasure box with images of parables on the inside for children to color. Once it’s colored, students can fold it into a box. The box is full color (wood grain) on the outside and black and white on the inside for kids to color.

Each lesson has 4 Treasure cards children can fill out and add to their box:

  • Memory Verse Cards – children can decorate with stickers or draw pictures on to remind them of the lesson
  • Lesson-Specific Treasure Cards – children may attach a treasure to remind them of the parable in the lesson (a seed, a pearl, etc.)
  • Reflection Cards – children think about an application question and write a response.
  • Additional Treasure Cards – children can look around their everyday surroundings and collect things from nature, wisdom from parents, or Bible verses and share what they’ve found on the card.

To assist leaders in discussing the Gospel at a deeper level with the children they interact with, the booklet Helping Children to Understand the Gospel is included in the kit.

What hasn’t changed?

The rich five-lesson content remains the same as well as the intentional use of Bible verses and passages.

See sample lesson

When I am Afraid—Fighting Worries with the Word

I remember when every night was a struggle to get our daughter to bed. It was as if nighttime brought to her mind every possible catastrophic scenario. She was terrified! As parents, we were tempted to simply address her fears with simple, rational explanations: “See, there are no monsters under your bed.” “The dark can’t hurt you.” Etc.

Sometimes these explanations can be helpful, but they can never give our children unshakeable peace and assurance in the myriad of fearful situations they will experience both now and in the future. That’s why I am so excited about When I am Afraid, a new children’s resource from Truth78. A full-color picture book, When I am Afraid addresses one of the most common experiences of children: FEAR. It provides parents with a tool for helping their children look to God’s all-powerful Word to conquer fear and worry.

Through carefully selected verses, children are reminded of the character of God and His wonderful provision and protection of His people.

The book’s “Word to Parents” and “How to Use this Book” sections provide a strong foundation and context for going beyond simply reading the book to their child(ren). It encourages parents to use the illustrations and verses to engage their child’s heart in further spiritual discussion, points them to the Gospel, and shows them their need for responding in faith.

A mother wrote to share this story of how the message helped her guide her son:

My three children take turns sleeping with our toddler, so every third night our middle son must sleep alone, which creates overwhelming fear and sadness for him.

Last night was a night that son was asked to sleep alone. He broke down again. This time, we all read your book on fear. I think we could all feel our confidence in God build as we read through it together. His Word is so powerful. We all laid hands on my son who had been so frightened and each of us prayed for him and he went to bed – without tears!  It was a real victory!

This book is fantastic and not too young for anyone. I think I’ll try and use it when we teach the lesson on “Jesus Calms Fearful Sinners” in the kindergarten class…just perfect!

You can read more about the book, including sample pages, here.

You can also download here a PDF of the lesson “Jesus Calms Fearful Sinners” that is in the “Jesus, What a Savior” curriculum.

 

Summer Sowing with Backyard Bible Clubs

Truth78 // Summer Sowing with Backyard Bible Clubs

My backyard looks like a barren arctic landscape. It’s hard to imagine planting a garden here when it’s currently buried under 18 inches of new April snow. But spring will come—eventually. God controls the times and seasons. He is faithful! Soon this lifeless looking space will burst forth in a myriad of beautiful colors. How? I will go out and sow seed, water and care for it, and God will bring the growth. And yet, these plants will fade and die come winter, ushering in another season of barrenness.

But there is an infinitely better seed for sowing; one that can be sown in your own backyard this summer. This seed has the ability bring about and spread eternal joy in your neighborhood—God’s Word! Truth78’s Backyard Bible Club (BYBC) curricula are designed for just such seed sowing in your neighborhood. Read on to find out more.

What is a Backyard Bible Club? How is it different than Vacation Bible School?

A Backyard Bible Club is simply a new twist on an old idea; namely, a new twist on a traditional Vacation Bible School program. VBS usually takes place for a week’s duration, during the summer, at a local church or other designated location and is organized and led by the children’s director along with volunteers. Most often the focus of the VBS is evangelistic: Creating an appealing environment for welcoming children from non-Christian homes in order to expose them to the Gospel. A BYBC shares this latter goal but uses a different venue for doing so. Instead of taking place at the local church, the BYBC is located at homes of church members, in their backyards (or front yards), and is led by these same members who have been equipped and trained by their church.

There are several reasons we believe a BYBC is strategic. Here are just a few:

  • An increasing number of people are completely un-churched. Therefore, they may be less willing to send their children to an actual “church” event. On the other hand, most Christians already have some level of positive involvement with the parents and children in their own neighborhoods. A BYBC takes advantage of these existing relationships and seeks to build upon them. Therefore, a BYBC helps foster a long-term, relational model of evangelism that can provide ongoing interaction with both parents and children. Unbelievers can see the Gospel modeled and lived out in the lives of their Christian neighbors.
  • Because a BYBC is not centralized in one location, it can be conducive to a local church’s larger mission of engaging the community—reaching unbelievers close to where they live. Thus, unbelievers learn to identify “the church” as not mainly a building but as a people—a people who trust and follow Jesus, not just on Sunday, but every day of the week.
  • A traditional VBS program is labor intensive for both church staff and volunteers. By design, a BYBC is smaller by nature, more flexible in its structure, can accommodate a greater diversity of schedules, and distributes the work among a greater number of members. Furthermore, a BYBC offers individual families within the church an excellent way to minister together. Every member of the family can participate in a meaningful way.
  • Most VBS curricula is not only expensive but also requires extensive set-up and preparation. Much of the expense and preparation is geared toward lots of “bells and whistles”: exciting visual elements, fun activities, crafts, food, etc. While a BYBC does include some of these in limited measure, the focus of the time is given to communicating the life-giving message of God’s Word and encouraging thoughtful interaction with the Word.

Truth78 Backyard Bible Club Curricula

Truth78 // Things HiddenWe currently have the following curricula available for BYBC. All of them are designed for school-aged children and have an evangelistic focus. These curricula can be used in any order, and may also be used for a traditional VBS.

Wisdom Calls Aloud
Once we are free from the fear of God’s wrath, our fear of Him is the beginning of gaining wisdom.

The Call of God 
It is the duty of every human to respond to God in faith and belief, and yet, every person is dependent on the work of God in redemption.

Things Hidden 
Exploring the Kingdom parables Jesus used in order to conceal the kingdom from those who doubted and explain it to those who would believe.

God Always Wins 
No matter individual circumstances and challenges, God’s sovereign wisdom, power, and purpose show the Greatness of God in Salvation.

Getting started – Basic questions and answers regarding using our BYBC resources

1. How often do Backyard Bible Clubs meet and when do they meet?

Most clubs run five sessions. These can be held in the morning, afternoon, or early evening. Most people hold the sessions in a one-week period (i.e. Monday through Friday) but they can also be held once-a-week for five weeks. The sessions can be held inside or outside.

2. What is the duration of each session?

The sessions can be from 1-3 hours long, depending on how many activities you would like to include.

3. Who should be invited?

Neighborhood children, friends of your children, and children of relatives—especially children you will have continued contact with.

4. What age children should be included?

The material is recommended for kindergarten through 6th grade. 

5. How many children can be included?

The number of children you invite should take into account the number of helpers you have and the size of your yard and/or home.  A recommended ratio would be one adult for every six-to-eight children. The younger the children, the smaller the adult/child ration should be.

6. What does a typical session look like?

  • Opening activity
  • 30-minute interactive lesson
  • Application discussion done in smaller groups that may be separated into age groupings
  • Additional activities: Games, crafts, songs, snacks, etc.

7. What roles (people) are needed for hosting a Backyard Bible Club?

For each session you will need people to assume one or more of the following roles:

  • A host to provide the location
  • A teacher who prepares and presents the Bible lesson
  • Adults to facilitate small group discussion
  • Volunteers to prepare and help with additional activities

We strongly suggest the above be done by a committed team of people working together. This may be one or more families working together, a small group from church, etc.

8. Is there any outreach to the parents of the children or any other follow-up with the children?

Each day a parent take-home sheet is provided giving a brief summary of the lesson, the memory verse, and something to think about. Also, we strongly recommend that you (and your church) consider giving each child a Bible or other Bible resource to take home. Here are some family-friendly resources that would introduce parents and children to some basic truths of the Christian faith:

9. Is conversion the goal of the Backyard Bible Club?

The goal is to introduce children to spiritual truth and provide an opening for ongoing spiritual discussion with children and their parents. Each of our BYBC curricula present essential Gospel truths and encourage children toward a right, genuine response to those truths. However, we do not overly press children toward a profession of trust in Christ. Rather, we emphasize planting seeds of the Gospel, praying that the Holy Spirit would bring about the fruit of faith in the lives of the children, and pursuing an ongoing relationship with the children and their parents.

10. How can the church help facilitate Backyard Bible Clubs?

  • Communicate the vision behind the BYBC strategy. Ideally, this should be done early in late winter or early spring to give your members time to understand and embrace the vision.
  • Equip and train those who want to participate in a BYBC.
    • Provide all the necessary curriculum components.
    • Offer practical training in how to host a BYBC and effectively use the materials.
    • Facilitate and coordinate networking, matching volunteers with their desired roles.
    • If possible, offer financial assistance for any additional costs associated with activities, snacks, crafts, etc.
    • Consider providing a Bible resource for the BYBC hosts to give to the children who will be participating.
    • Commit to praying for each BYBC as it occurs.

 

 

Introducing Truth78

Introducing Truth78

Today is the beginning of our mission as Truth78!

We’re releasing three new resources for church and family ministry, updating our web presence, and officially introducing our ministry at the Truth78 Inauguration in Louisville, Kentucky that will be livestreamed for anyone to join. We’ll also be giving away copies of a new book, Indestructible Joy for the Next Generations, both at our launch event and at the T4G Conference April 11-13.

OUR VISION

Our prayer is that this new beginning as Truth78 will allow us to more strategically fulfill our vision that the next generations may know, honor and treasure God.

Hear John Piper describe the significance of Psalm 78’s emphasis on teaching the next generations … so that they might put their hope in God.

 

NEW RESOURCES

Glorious God, Glorious Gospel

An interactive devotional for families that can be paired with a companion coloring book and notebook for children.

When I Am Afraid

This picture book encourages young children to look to God for courage as it weaves together stories about everyday fears, God’s promises, and truths about our all-powerful God.

Indestructible Joy for the Next Generations

An anthology featuring chapters by John Piper, Albert Mohler, Russell Moore, Bruce Ware, and more.

Subscribe to our new e-newsletter, “Joy for the Next Generations,” and we’ll give you a free e-book version of Indestructible Joy for the Next Generations!

Truth78 New Resources

WEB AND SOCIAL MEDIA CHANGES

Find new details at Truth78.org. Follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

Our curriculum and resources have received some minor changes to match the new brand but the content is staying the same. You can continue to shop the materials at childrendesiringGod.org until the new Truth78 website is fully launched or contact us at 877.400.1414 with questions.

TRUTH78 INAUGURATION EVENT

We hope you can join us for the Truth78 Inauguration tonight at 7pm Eastern (6pm Central)—either at Immanuel Baptist Church in Louisville, KY or via our livestream.

COME SEE US AT T4G

If you’re going to be attending the T4G conference April 11-13, find us at our booth in the Galt House exhibit hall where you can see our new resources and learn more about our change to Truth78. Everyone who signs up for our new Truth78 e-newsletter, will get a complimentary copy of Indestructible Joy for the Next Generations and will be entered to win a framed leaf of Psalm 78 from a 1611 King James Bible.

PRAYER

We would value your prayer for this new mission as Truth78—that it would be the means for millions in the next generations to set their hope in Christ alone, so that they will live as faithful disciples for the glory of God.

 

Introducing the New Format Preschool Coloring Books

Children Desiring God Blog // Introducing the New Format Preschool Student Coloring Books

Many of you have asked for a less expensive and less bulky option for the Student Coloring Books in the He Established A Testimony and He Has Spoken By His Son preschool curricula. Our New Format Student Coloring Book answers both of these concerns. The Original Student Coloring Books include a copy of the Parent Resource Page next to each coloring page. The New Format Student Coloring Books have removed these Parent Resource Pages since they are already included in the Teacher’s Kit 3-ring notebook and Resources CD for churches to email to or print and send home with parents. The resulting New Format Student Coloring Books are much leaner – they are less expensive, lighter weight and thinner for those who store the books in the classroom during the week, and remain excellent resources for both classroom and home use.

The New Format Student Coloring Books are now available! We expect that most customers will be excited about the change but recognize that others may have some of the Original Student Coloring Books on hand. These users may want to order additional copies of the Original Students Coloring Books so that all children in a class have the same version. The Original Students Coloring Books will be available through the end of 2018. Users of electronic Student Coloring Books will be able to choose between the Original Student Coloring Book and the New Format. (more…)

The Gift of Making Him Known this Christmas

Children Desiring God Blog // Making HIM Known Series

Are you still looking for a meaningful and unique gift for a special child in your life? A gift that is relatively inexpensive, yet points children to riches beyond measure? A gift that can foster wonderful conversations between parents and children? Then consider choosing a book from the Making Him Known series.

Every book in the series consists of 26 chapters, written in child-friendly language, with full-color illustrations. Each book is designed to focus on particular aspects of the greatness and worth of God and our response to Him. Every chapter concludes with “Learning to Trust God” application questions to further spiritual discussion between child and parent and a suggested activity. They seek to address our children’s deepest need—to know, love, trust, and treasure God through Christ!
(more…)

Celebrating the One Who Is Most Special

Jesus Is Most Special

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. (more…)

Fighter Verses App: Now Available in French and German

Children Desiring God Blog // The Fighter Verses App: Now Available in French and German

We are pleased to announce that we have expanded the Fighter Verses App to include multiple languages. We added Spanish in 2012, French in 2016, and German in 2017.

Having the Fighter Verses App in Spanish, French, and German might be really important to you if…

  1. Your heart language is Spanish, French, or German.
  2. You are studying one or more of these languages and want to learn Bible verses or practice your fluency in these languages.
  3. You know missionaries working in countries where they speak these languages and can benefit from the app.
  4. You are going on a short-term mission trip to a place where one of these languages is spoken.
  5. You have friends or relatives whose heart language or mother tongue is one of these languages.

We have also expanded our English version to include the New King James Bible translation. With the My Verses function, you may add verses from any version available on BibleGateway.com. (more…)

God-Glorifying Books for Gift Giving

Children Desiring God Blog // God-Glorifying Books for Gift Giving

Do you enjoy giving encouraging, God-glorifying books to your children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews? Have you been searching for a meaningful gift to encourage families over the upcoming holidays, or to show appreciation to your volunteers? Do you like to give books to children for class promotions or milestones they’ve reached?

If you love to give valuable resources to encourage the faith of the next generation there is a new bulk-pricing option for the Making HIM Known series and Jesus is Most Special. Individual books are also available below list price. The devotional books correlate to various Children Desiring God Sunday School or Midweek Bible curricula, and Jesus is Most Special involves children in telling the Christmas story. (more…)

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