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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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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…)

Planting Seeds of Righteousness

simile: n. a figure of speech in which one thing is likened to another
in one respect by the use of “like,” “as,” etc.

The Bible uses similes frequently. They paint pictures for our eyes so our minds can grasp biblical truth. They borrow our familiarity with the ordinary to help us understand the profound. (more…)

Your Family’s Mobile Classroom

I learned a big chunk of life while riding along in vehicles with my parents. Our blue and brown Pinto station wagon was a mobile classroom of sorts for me and my brothers as our parents drove along the country roads surrounding our hometown in Washington, NC, including the 10 mile stretch into town and the 20 mile trek to church. Whether it was our full-spirited family conversations or the many times that my brothers and I would just listen in on our parents talking, we were a captive audience to observations about life, work, challenges, relationships, and faith. (more…)

Ministering in Light of the Throne Room

This week, I have a challenge for us, as we minister to children and youth in our classrooms, or as we parent or grandparent. Let’s look at the young faces in our care and imagine them in the midst of this scene in the future:

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.
—Revelation 20:12-13 (more…)

Welcoming Children with Special Needs

Imagine a new child coming to your fourth-grade Sunday school class. He has a motorized wheelchair. He cannot speak intelligible words. His eyes, when open, seem to wander aimlessly. But, every once and a while, he seems to focus on a face or a sound. He smiles. Sometimes he lets out an excited “Ha, ha!”

Are you and the children of your class ready to warmly welcome him? Are you prepared to include him, as much as possible, in various classroom activities? Do you see this child as a blessing from the Lord? Do you delight in the opportunity to serve him? Do you look forward to how this child can help you and your class become more like Christ? (more…)

Prayer for a Suffering Child

“Easier said than done” not only applies to the words we say but also the words we write. I wrote in Big, Bold, Biblical Prayers for the Next Generation that sometimes we feel more urgent about the lesser things and neglect to pray for the greater things. I challenged us to cultivate a sense of urgency for the greater things while trusting God to take care of the lesser things. Since writing those words, my willingness and ability to act on the conviction that undergirds those words has been tested. (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…)

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