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Why Our Children Must Have a Deep Grasp of What Sin Is

I love the scene in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King where Frodo and Sam are making their last, desperate effort to destroy the one ring in the depths of Mt. Doom. What makes the final destruction of the ring so incredibly magnificent and satisfying is the context. Before that, we have been taken on a long journey that has introduced us to the magnitude of evil, despair, and ruin brought about by the ring and its influence. You don’t simply go from a peaceful, idealistic life in the Shire to the triumphant destruction of the ring. The story would have lost its grandeur and appeal if author J.R.R. Tolkien had not shown us the evil and despair.

But now consider the story communicating ultimate reality to us as revealed in the historical narrative of Scripture, and consider these words from D. A. Carson: (more…)

Using Your Backyard to Launch Gospel “Missiles”

The idea of a “launching pad” was familiar imagery used by John Piper in the many years our family sat under his preaching. In a particularly memorable sermon, “Raising Children Who Hope in the Triumph of God,” Pastor John said,

I confess that I have gotten very excited about being a father as I have been thinking this week about what a family is and what it’s for in God’s great design for the world. I get excited

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Enjoying the Many Benefits of Family Devotions


Parents, what comes to mind when you think about “family devotions”? Does it include regular times set apart for your family to read Scripture? Prayer? Worship in song? Formal Bible instruction with age-appropriate resources? Yes, all these things may characterize family devotions. And all serve to benefit our children as we instruct them in what is most important.

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Guiding Children to Serve and Glorify God In the “Ordinary”

I grew up with a very narrow view of what it means to serve God. Life was separated into two main spheres—the spiritual and the secular. Service to God was therefore limited to using ones gifts and abilities within the church or a specific type of Christian ministry—the “spiritual realm.” Then, as I entered adulthood, there was an additional thrust, namely, that to be a faithful Christian one must do great things for God and go out and change the world for Christ. Sounds like a wonderful challenge to pass on to our children and students, doesn’t it?

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“Setting the Table” for the Gospel—An Interview with Sally Michael about Her New Book


Suppose you go to a friend’s house for dinner and find the table set with fine china, a beautiful tablecloth, a fancy centerpiece, and other elegant features. How might this exquisite setting give you a hint about what is to come? How might it serve to guide your demeanor? Would you rightly express thanks and praise to your friend who is treating you with such honor? Or, would you do the unimaginable, and reject the meal and walk out in disgust?

This illustration can serve to highlight something important about the Gospel. Communicating the Gospel is best done by properly “setting the table,” so to speak. That is exactly what Sally Michael has done in her new book, The World Created, Fallen, Redeemed, and Restored. (more…)

New Children’s Book by Sally Michael

Easter is coming! What a perfect time for parents and teachers to focus on the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection! But too often, especially with children, the full “back story” to that glorious event is minimized, leaving children excited by all the pageantry of the Easter celebration, but seemingly less moved by the spiritual significance. How can we inspire and encourage them to be more impacted by the spiritual significance of Easter? By being intentional in providing them the “back story” of Easter! (more…)

Are There Dangers to the Gospel in Our Classrooms?


This may seem like a sensationalized question, but I would ask you to read on before simply dismissing the question out-of-hand. This came to mind after reading the 9Marks answer to the question: “What are the most dangerous threats to the gospel today?” What is interesting about the answers is how there is often a subtle version of these dangers lurking in children’s Sunday school classrooms—even in many solid, Gospel-exalting churches. (more…)

The Paramount Focus of Parenting

We often ask children what they want to be when they grow up. What are they aspiring to? What do they want to achieve? As parents, we also have desired outcomes for their lives—what we want them to be—and devote various resources and time toward achieving those outcomes. Think of the many hours we set aside for our children’s academic, sports, musical achievements, etc. However, we must never lose sight of what is most important for their lives—what they NEED to be more than anything else—and prioritize this above all other endeavors. (more…)

What’s Absolutely Astonishing in Your Classroom?

Children’s and youth ministry can be characterized by many different kinds of activities and programs. It’s often tempting to focus much of our weekly planning on things like being sufficiently staffed, offering fun activities, and providing child-friendly worship music, a Bible lesson, and a snack. All of these things are good—in right measure. (more…)

10 Tips for Answering Hard Questions in the Classroom


One of the great joys of teaching or leading a small group is when children ask amazing questions. Many prove easy to answer, but some are very difficult. (more…)

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