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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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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…)

Parents: Have a Date Night on Us

Parents: Have a Date Night on Us

Here is a wonderful idea for an inexpensive (as in “free”) date night with your spouse. Put the kids to bed, grab some popcorn or other treats, and watch Russell Moore’s seminar, “Training Parents How to Discipline Children with the End in View.” It’s funny, biblically instructive, practical, encouraging, convicting, and oh so timely—no matter what age your children. He covers a wide range of parenting issues as he relates real-life scenarios, giving parents wise counsel and hope as they persevere in keeping the end in view—raising children who will live as faithful disciples of Jesus.

 

 

 

 

Living Out the Gospel at Home

Living Out the Gospel at Home

Parents, ponder this statement from Chap Bettis for a moment:

The first place we live out the gospel is in our homes.

A simple statement, yet amazingly profound and instructive—encouraging and convicting. For our children, how we live out the gospel at home will give them a lasting impression of what it means to be a sinner saved by grace and a disciple of Christ.

Bettis goes on to say:

If we’re honest, however, home is often the most challenging place to live out the gospel’s implications. We say things to our children that we would never say to anyone else. We express anger to our spouses that we hide from others. Laziness others don’t see is obvious to them. Family relationships, which God intended to be a blessing, can become a war zone. (more…)

The Great Work of Setting a Foundation

The Great Work of Setting a Foundation

Often nursery workers are seen as “baby-sitters” whose main job is to merely provide a safe environment for little ones while their parents are involved in the “real and important” ministries of the church. May these words from John Piper be a reminder to the church:

Jesus took the child-belittling culture of his day which defined “greatness” to exclude “receiving children” and he turned it upside down. He said: “Receiving children in my name is the world’s least, and the world’s least is my great.” So wherever the Spirit of Christ pervades, the people who receive children will no longer be the “least.” They will be “great.”

Really? Why? Because to receive a child in Jesus’ name (i.e., out of love, in his strength, and for his glory) is to receive Jesus, and to receive Jesus is to receive God the Father. Which means that the nursery may be more full of God than any other room in the church.

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“Let Them Come”—Help for Church and Parents

"Let Them Come"—Help for Church and Parents

The other night, my husband and I had dinner with our daughter and son-in-law. They made a special dinner and had the table set with the “fancy” tableware. But there was one hitch to this elegant dinner—4 children were included, too, our grandchildren, ages 1 to 5 years old. Let’s just say that the children put a distinctive twist on the ambiance of the meal. Even with all the challenges and distractions, we were glad they were there…It was a joyful mess! Their parents have employed a type of “system” for mealtime that helps both children and adults.

In previous posts, we have highlighted the amazing benefits for welcoming children into the corporate worship service. But let’s not gloss over some of the challenges. It’s a little like inviting a group of young children to a fine dining experience—some adjustments have to be made. This should be a loving, cooperative strategy involving both parents and church. Sometimes parents just need some practical help and resources. Sometimes that church needs to make a few adjustments and give the whole church community a vision for welcoming children. Below are some resources that we believe will be helpful: (more…)

Inviting Children as a Means of Discipleship

Inviting Children as a Means of Discipleship

It seemed like an eternity at the time—a frustrating eternity—to train our wiggly, always talking, 5-year-old son to sit quietly through a 90-minute worship service. But somehow we all lived through it, and slowly but surely he learned to not only sit and be quiet, but he also began to recall and ponder an amazing amount of the sermon teaching. In turn, this provided us with a springboard for further spiritual discussion and training in the home.

This leads to Pastor David Michael’s fourth benefit for welcoming children into the corporate worship service (see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3):

  • It facilitates the discipleship of our children.

Bringing children into the worship service provides an opportunity for them to learn how to worship God and to discover the purpose for which they were created. Lord willing, not only will our children worship God here on earth, but will spend eternity doing so. (more…)

Inviting Children to Experience Worship of God

Inviting Children to Experience Worship of God

A while back, I shared this…

Recently, I had the great joy and privilege of holding my 8-month-old grandson in my arms during a family gathering. His big eyes were busy observing everything around him…

  • Family, other well-known faces, and strangers were seated all around him.
  • People were bowing their heads, with eyes closed, being very quiet.
  • A man up front, with his eyes closed, was talking earnestly.
  • Grandma stood up with everyone else and started singing, and some people raised their hands.
  • The man up front opened a book and read from it while everyone else listened.
  • A basket was passed around, and people put something in it.

As you have probably guessed, the “family” I am referring to is the family of Christ, gathering to worship the Lord together. Little baby Nate was being exposed to the Sunday morning corporate worship service—a crucial element of family life for every believer. Even at 8 months old, he is seeing and hearing the normal rhythms of life in the body of Christ. What a privilege to expose him to this at such a young age! (more…)

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