Blogroll: Children Desiring God
I read blogs, as well as write one. The 'blogroll' on this site reproduces some posts from some of the people I enjoy reading. There are currently 19 posts from the blog 'Children Desiring God.'
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What kind of pray-ers will our children be? That is a great question to think about. If we want them to be serious about prayer, they must not only be taught but also shown how prayer is to be woven throughout everyday life. Here are some practical tips from Sally Michael to encourage your children in prayer.
- Gather your children when you hear of a prayer need and ask them to pray with you.
- EXAMPLE: When a problem comes to your attention, pray about it… “Susie, let’s pray for the people who were in the earthquake.”
- EXAMPLE: When a problem comes to your attention, pray about it… “Susie, let’s pray for the people who were in the earthquake.”
- Take advantage of unexpected moments for prayer—spur of the moment prayers.
- EXAMPLE: When you see an ambulance, pray for the person who has the medical problem.
- Ask your child to pray for you. Give him specific things he can pray for.
- EXAMPLE: “I’m having a hard time with a project I am working on for my job. Would you pray for me?”
- Give your child a list of topics to pray for.
- EXAMPLES: Sunday school, play groups, family members, etc.
- Instruct your child on the different kinds of prayer.
- EXAMPLE: “I love you” prayers (adoration) or “I’m sorry” prayers (confession).
- Encourage your child to pray out loud and practice this in different situations.
- EXAMPLE: Visiting a sick friend.
- Build regular prayer into your family life aside from meal times and bedtime.
- EXAMPLE: On Saturday evenings you could pray for the the next morning’s Sunday school time.
- Choose one or more topics for each day of the week.
- EXAMPLE: On Monday pray for relatives. On Tuesday, pray for unsaved friends. On Wednesday, pray for church staff.
It is amazing to me how many times—especially in life’s most difficult situations—the words of great hymns come to mind to guide my thoughts and emotions.
…though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet…Jesus who died shall be satisfied, And earth and heaven be one.—This is My Father’s World
…The prince of darkness grim, We tremble not for him—His rage we can endure, For lo his doom is sure: One little word shall fell him.—A Mighty Fortress
…Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love: Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.—Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
…Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust Him for His grace; Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.—God Moves in a Mysterious Way
Great hymns are those that communicate the excellencies of the triune God and sound doctrine, encourage a right heart response, and do so in an appealing and enduring musical form. From childhood, these hymns were graven in my mind and, after Christ brought me to saving faith, these hymns became graven in my heart. Will this be true for our children, too?
Here are a few helpful suggestions for how to incorporate hymns into your family devotional time or a Sunday school setting:
- Tell the children about the composer and circumstances surrounding the writing of the hymn. (Hymns for a Kid’s Heart is a wonderful resource for this.)
- Explain difficult words or concepts—a little bit each week.
- Try introducing one new hymn every month, or aim to learn four to six hymns over the course of a Sunday school year.
- Develop simple hand/body motions to help younger children focus.
(Suggestions adapted from a seminar titled
“Leading Children in God-Centered Worship” by Pam Grano)
In his message “Let the Children Come to Me,” Pastor John Piper examined Luke 18:15-17 and made the following statement,
Disciples of Jesus should remove all hindrances that keep children from coming to Jesus.
He then went on to spell out some hindrances that we should try to remove in ministering to children. Here are excerpts from four of these:
1. Pride …If you are receiving the kingdom yourself like a little child, then you will not do anything to hinder little children from coming to Jesus. But if you are trying to enter the kingdom some other way than by receiving it like a child, then you will probably be a hindrance to children. If you are not childlike toward God, children will probably be beneath you and not worth your time.
So there is a very close connection between your own humility and your ability to lead children to Jesus. The great hindrance to effective ministry to children is pride, and the great gift for ministry to children is humility.
2. Parental Unbelief …When a child’s parents are not believers, the child is at an extraordinary disadvantage. There is no one at home to bring him to Jesus. There are some children in our church and many in our neighborhoods who live in these tragic circumstances.
There are two ways to remove this kind of hindrance. One is to try to reach the child and lead him to Jesus, even if the parents don’t want to come along. Many parents are willing to let someone else take their children into the presence of Jesus. If they will let us, we should do it.
But it would be far more effective for the child and beneficial for the parents if we could lead the parents into the presence of Jesus at the same time. If the unbelief of the parents is the chief hindrance to the children, then the best way to remove the hindrance is to seek the conversion of the parents. So you can see how closely related are the ministry to children and the larger ministry of evangelism in our church.
3. The Lack of Deep and Accurate Theology … It takes as much or more understanding of a biblical doctrine to teach it to children than it does to teach it to adults. If you understand a thing well, you can usually make it plain for ordinary people and children. But if you are fuzzy in your own understanding, you will generally be overly complex in your explanation.
A great hindrance to the salvation and the growth of our children is the weakness of our own grasp of the full range of biblical truth and the unity of the whole counsel of God. I am overwhelmed at what children can absorb and retain when they are repeatedly and systematically and progressively instructed in the great doctrines of the Bible.
The best way to remove this hindrance is to help all the adults of our church get excited about the joy of knowing God and growing in their understanding of his character and ways.
4. The Lack of Disciplined Planning …What I have in mind is the fact that we often fail to teach our children not just because we lack understanding of what needs to be taught, but because we do not take the time to plan to teach. Periodically we feel guilty that our children are growing up so fast, but then we never sit down for fifteen minutes and plan a strategy to take ten minutes a day to teach them the most important truths in the world.
Fathers, it is your duty to teach your children about the glorious truths of justification, sanctification, redemption, regeneration, adoption, salvation, reconciliation, original sin, the deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement, the resurrection, the second coming, the work of the Holy Spirit, the nature and importance of the church, the inspiration and authority of the Bible. It is a great hindrance to our children that we do not sit down and plan a systematic presentation of these things to them during family devotions for a few minutes each day.
The way to remove this hindrance is to cultivate a church in which parents do not neglect their duty thinking that it is the responsibility of the church to teach those things.
Parents and Teachers
Here are some great quotes to read and discuss with the young adults in your life:
Be careful young people that you don’t postpone the burden and blessing of fruitfulness in your life because you use the excuse, “I am only a youth.” God said to Jeremiah, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go.” There are some younger than you that you can lead, and there are some older than you that you can serve. But do not say, “I am only a youth,” as though the only thing you are good for is watching videos and playing games, as though there in no ministry for you to do.
—John Piper, sermon titled “Let No One
Despise You for Your Youth,”
The teen years are not a vacation from responsibility. They are the training ground of future leaders who dare to be responsible now.
—Alex and Brett Harris, Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion
Against Low Expectations, copyright 2008, page 13.
What is the one passion of your life that makes everything else look like rubbish in comparison? Oh, that God would help me waken in you a single passion for a single great reality that would unleash you, and set you free from small dreams, and send you, for the glory of Christ, into all the spheres of secular life and to all the peoples of the earth.
—John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life. 2007.Youth Pastors and Those Involved in Ministry to Youth
Be inspired by this message by Pastor Kempton Turner. He will challenge your view of what God calls young people to do and accomplish through His great power!
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.—James 1:22-25
How easy it is for us to read the Bible, close the pages of this life-changing book…and walk away unchanged. Our response to God’s Word is much like a man who looks at himself in the mirror and forgets what he looks like.
When a man forgets his reflection in the mirror, is it because there something wrong with the image reflected in the mirror? Is the mirror faulty? No, and neither is God’s Word faulty, though we walk away unchanged. The problem is with us. We read but we do not apply; we do not consider what God’s words mean for our everyday lives.
One morning I opened my Bible and read this verse:
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.—James 3:17
These were nice words, wise words, good teaching, I thought as I closed my Bible. But then I stopped. What did I read? What did it mean? I went back and looked at each word and tried to imagine what wisdom from above looks like in various situations of my life. What does wisdom that is gentle look like when I am sitting in a staff meeting and I disagree with what someone is saying? What is wisdom that is pure look like when I am advising my daughter about a decision she has to make? As I thought about each word and its application in various situations, I realized that often I do not display wisdom from above. I committed the verse to memory, and in the weeks that followed, I thought about this verse in various situations in which I found myself. And slowly, day by day…the Word changed me.
This is what we must teach our children to do when they come to the Word. For every lesson we teach and every small group discussion we lead, we should keep in mind that the Bible is not merely information to be learned, but truths to be lived. Without application, we will not grow, and the Word will not change us.
A simple way to teach children to apply Scripture is to ask the “So What” questions:
- So what does this say about God?
- So what does this say about me?
- So what does this say I should do? Be? Think?
If you can lead a child to ask and answer these questions, that child will gain an understanding of what it means to be a doer of the Word. But application does not stop at understanding.
Application begins with belief, which then results in being and doing.
It is true that we must be transformed in our minds, enlightened by the truth of Scripture. But the next step is testing; putting the Word into practice. When we do that, we are putting our confidence in the truth of God’s Word, we are affirming His ways, we are trusting God…and the Word changes us.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.—Romans 12:2
What’s your plan for the 4th of July? A day at the lake? Grilling brats and burgers in the backyard? A bike ride? Camping? Time with family and friends? Getting caught up on some yard work? And fireworks, especially if you have children? All of these can be great ways to spend your 4th, but it might also be good to consider spending 10 or 15 minutes reminding yourself and your children about God’s great gift to us called “government.” What we in the USA call “Independence Day” should, in reality, be called “Dependence Day,” as we acknowledge that it is ultimately God who establishes thrones and rulers—or removes them at His will.
It’s important to teach our children some basic things about government. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 13. He lived under Roman rule—a government that promoted pagan beliefs and persecuted the early church—and yet he reminds us of the following…
- God establishes governments, and they rule under God’s authority (Romans 13:1).
- Governments and rulers are God’s servants, established for our benefit, to reward good conduct and punish wrong conduct (Romans 13:3-4).
- We are to submit to the governing authorities, and strive to live peacefully under their rule (Romans 13:2, 5; 1 Timothy 2:1-4).
- We are not to submit to governing authorities in situations that would require us to sin as the only option (Acts 5:29).
- Ultimately all governments and rulers serve to accomplish God’s good purposes (1 Corinthians 2:7-9).
- Talk about the form of government established in your own country (USA—Constitutional Republic).
- Make a list of reasons that you should be thankful to God for this type of government.
- Make a list of at least five influential leaders in the country.
- Read 1 Timothy 2:1-4 and 1 Peter 2:16-17.
- Have a time of prayer together for your country and the leaders you identified.
- Read together the first, second, and last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence of the United States.
- In what ways does this document demonstrate a right understanding of God’s intention for the role of government?
- In what ways does it show a wrong understanding?
- Has God used even these wrong ideas to serve His good purpose? How?
When I was a child, and even into my teens, I spent most of my free time outdoors. Whether playing active games with friends, exploring the neighborhood woods, or simply laying in the grass and trying to identify different shapes or figures in the clouds, we spent much of our summer disconnected from media or other electronics. Now that I am an adult, I have found I still benefit from enjoying the outdoors, as it evokes praise and admiration of God as I experience first-hand the wonders He has created.
One way we can encourage our children to meditate on and give God praise for His wondrous works is to go on a “Praise Walk.” How? First, read together Psalm 148. Help them identify all of the created things in the verse that are to give praise to God.
Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts!
Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the LORD!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!
Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds!
Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and maidens together, old men and children!
Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints,
for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the LORD!
Next, go to a local park or nature center. Walk along the trails and point out specific things to look at, listen to, smell, and touch. Then turn your observations into praise refrains such as, “Praise the Lord, you fuzzy squirrels. Praise Him, you purple crawling beetles. Praise God, you tall, shady tree. Praise Him, you singing sparrow. Praise the Lord, you warm wind…etc.”
This is our Father’s world, and we would do well to receive this world and enjoy it, while giving praise and glory to God for the beauty and bounty it contains. We understand that nature is not an end to itself, and we affirm that the creation exists as the theater of God’s glory for the drama of redemption. All this should help Christians to remember that we honor God most faithfully when we receive His good gifts most gratefully.
Christians should take the lead in reconnecting with nature and disconnecting from machines. Taking the kids for a long walk in the woods would be a great start.
—Dr. Albert Mohler
(“Nature-Deficit Disorder—Have Our Children Forgotten How to Play Outdoors?”)
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.
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).
…If you do sin in your parenting, then you can give a genuine apology to your children. When I fail to love them, I can genuinely repent and ask their forgiveness. Children don’t need perfection [from their parents], but they thrive under humility, repentance, and forgiveness.
(Chap Bettis, The Disciple-Making Parent—A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Jesus Christ, copyright©2016, page 53)
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
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.—1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV
It is very easy for us and our children to get swept up in the excitement and popularity of sports and athletics. Often times though, we fail to properly use our children’s athletic involvement as a means of pointing them God-ward. There is even the danger of having sports become a master over their lives instead of a servant in their lives. How can you discern where your child’s heart is in relation to his or her sports involvement? How about sitting down together and discussing these questions:
- Is my participation in sports keeping me from things that are more important?
- Do I skip church for practices and competitions?
- What motivates my desire to play and compete in this sport?
- Do I get angry when my family interrupts my sports schedule?
- Do I give the credit for my ability to God? Do I turn the focus off myself and to God?
- Do I encourage other players? Do I help them be successful, even if I must be less successful?
- Is my participation serving to build my character in terms of godliness?
Another very helpful and practical resource is this article, “Fathers and Sons and March Madness,” in which Pastor C. J. Mahaney gives a list of questions that parents can ask their child before or after a practice or sporting event.
Back in the days when I taught science classes to homeschooled children, I used to emphasize the importance of careful observation. As an example, I would have each child choose a flower or a single leaf, and have them quietly study it for at least 30 minutes and record everything they could about it—size, shape, colors, texture, fragrance, etc. It’s amazing what comes to light about something when you really stop to ponder it. “Ponder—to think about, give thought to, consider, mull over, contemplate, meditate on…” The word “ponder” is not often used anymore in this fast-paced, sound-bite, digital media culture. So a verse like this is often readily passed over:
I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Psalm 77:12, ESV
Why is it important to teach our children the “art” of pondering and meditating on God’s mighty works and deeds? What is it meant to produce?
I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
Psalm 145:1-5 ESV
Summer provides a wonderful opportunity to encourage children to grow in their ability to ponder the works of God and meditate on His mighty deeds so that their hearts might increasingly praise His name. To help facilitate this, here is a free lesson titled “I Will Meditate on God’s Wonderful Works” from the curriculum He Has Been Clearly Seen.
If you have ever listened or watched David and Sally’s Michael’s three-part “Vision for the Next Generation” series, you know that Psalm 78 plays a prominent role in establishing a vision for faith in the next generations. Consider verses 5-7:
He established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God…
Pastor David Michael gives a brief summary based on this Old Testament text:
…the reason we want our children to know “the testimony” in their minds is so they should set their hope in God—
Or another way to say this in light of the New Testament is we want our children to know and understand the Gospel in their minds…
- so that they will put their hope in the Gospel
- so that they will embrace the Gospel with their hearts,
- and put their “trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins and the fulfillment of all His promises toward them.
Don’t you love summer? Your children can put away the “have to read” books that school demands and the intense schedule of the school year, and have long leisurely hours to…read! The following list of books includes some that your children can read and some that you can read together to not only give them the pleasure of reading, but also to nurture their souls and character. (The list progresses from younger to older readers.)
Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes (Vol. 1-4)—Dave and Neta Jackson
Tales of the Kingdom—David and Karen Mains (Also sequels: Tales of the Resistance; Tales of the Restoration)
God Knows My Size! Silvia Tarniceriu—Harvey Yoder
Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations—Alex and Brett Harris and Chuck Norris
The Pursuit of God—AW TozerEspecially for Boys
The Kingdom’s Dawn Series—Chuck Black (6 book series starting with Kingdom’s Dawn)
Boyhood and Beyond: Practical Wisdom for Becoming a Man—Bob Schultz (Also: Created for Work: Practical Insights for Young Men)
The Mark of a Man: Following Christ’s Example of Masculinity—Elisabeth ElliotEspecially for Girls
Hinds Feet on High Places—Hannah Hurnard
Beautiful Girlhood—Karen Andreola
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…
The gospel is only good news to those who understand the bad news about sin. That is just as true for children as it is for adults. When a child has been taught to see his attitudes, words and actions in the light of God’s commandments, he will soon realize that he is a lawbreaker and in need of forgiveness.
The good news is that God has provided forgiveness in the person and work of Jesus. By His life and death, Jesus has accomplished everything that God’s law requires of us—perfect obedience in order to attain righteousness and full payment for disobedience. And He did this for sinners—real sinners who know that they have broken God’s law and now are liable to His just condemnation as a result. Every sinner who turns away from sin and trusts Jesus will be saved from sin. We must encourage our children to believe this and to repent and trust Jesus to save them.
Parents, here is a resource that can assist you in grounding your children in a right understanding of the law and the Gospel: The Righteous Shall Live by Faith Family Devotional Guide. This 13-week family devotional guide provides six days of devotional ideas per week, plus ideas for a weekly Family Night Activity.
Churches, the above devotional guide was developed in conjunction with an intergenerational curriculum. You can find out more about these resources here.
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.
The Church is not an academic institution. Our calling is not simply to educate the mind. In God the Father, God the Son, Martyn Lloyd-Jones urges us to study the doctrines of the Bible in order that we ‘may draw nearer to God in worship, praise, and adoration, because we have seen…the glory of our wondrous God.’ During an age in which goldfish have a longer attention span than people we must teach biblical theology in order to elevate the gaze of God’s people to that which is infinitely more worthy than all the distractions of the goldfish bowl of life. It is the truth of Scripture alone that will lead to a deeper knowledge of God and will fix our gaze upon the God of boundless grace and unparalleled glory.
Are we reflecting this in our homes and church classrooms? Are we using resources and teaching in a manner that helps our children and youth…
… search the Scriptures with increasing frequency and depth?
… focus their minds’ attention on who God is and what He has done?
… study the Scripture in a manner that encourages them to elevate their gaze to see the God of boundless grace and unparalleled glory?
Teaching our children the deep things of God is no guarantee that they will come to love Him deeply. Only God, by His sovereign grace through the work of the Spirit, can bring about saving faith in Christ, resulting in true love, honor, and worship of God. But it is also true that God does not act apart from His Word. And the more we give our children and youth a glimpse of the truth of God as revealed the Scriptures, the more we give them reasons to be astounded, amazed, and transfixed by His infinite greatness and worth.
This summer is a good time to carefully examine and evaluate the Bible resources being used to teach your own children and the children in your classrooms. You could use these quotes and questions as a measure. Also, you may be interested in looking at Children Desiring God curricula distinctions to better understand our commitment to teaching children the Bible in a manner that points to God’s unparalleled glory in Christ.
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).
- This side of heaven, home should be a place where faith, hope, and love flourish. Faith in the sure work of Christ crucified and resurrected. Hope in the power of the gospel to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. And love for a triune God whose glory and beauty knows no end. The Christian home in a fallen world is a place of rooted optimism. Rooted in the place where God has called us and optimistic about a far greater place He is preparing for us. The home front is the forlorn battlefield of the cultural wars. In our strivings to defend the gospel against doctrinal decline in the church and increasing secularism in the culture, we must not forget the importance of cultivating virtue in the home. For the church to remain a city on the hill, the light of the gospel must shine brightly in the home.
I would encourage you to read the entire article here.
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.
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…
Youth ministries are asked to fix problems, provide entertainment, and keep kids busy. How many local-church youth programs actually produce substantial Bible knowledge in young people?
…This really is our problem, and it is up to this generation of Christians to reverse course. Recovery starts at home. Parents are to be the first and most important educators of their own children, diligently teaching them the Word of God. [See Deuteronomy 6:4-9.] Parents cannot franchise their responsibility to the congregation, no matter how faithful and biblical it may be. God assigned parents this non-negotiable responsibility, and children must see their Christian parents as teachers and fellow students of God’s Word.
Churches must recover the centrality and urgency of biblical teaching and preaching, and refuse to sideline the teaching ministry of the preacher. Pastors and churches too busy–or too distracted–to make biblical knowledge a central aim of ministry will produce believers who simply do not know enough to be faithful disciples.
We will not believe more than we know, and we will not live higher than our beliefs. The many fronts of Christian compromise in this generation can be directly traced to biblical illiteracy in the pews and the absence of biblical preaching and teaching in our homes and churches.
This generation must get deadly serious about the problem of biblical illiteracy…
At Children Desiring God, we are deadly serious about Bible literacy for the next generations. That is why we talk about being “Bible-Saturated.” What do we mean by that?
We are committed to boldly upholding and communicating the authority, sufficiency, clarity, and necessity of Scripture. We want the next generations to have the Scriptures permeate their hearts, minds, and souls. Therefore, every resource we develop is rooted in Scripture, encourages interaction with Scripture, and draws conclusions from Scripture. By doing so, our hope and prayer is that the coming generations will be equipped to rightly interpret the Bible, memorize and recall it, personally apply it, proclaim it, and confidently defend it. Furthermore, we aim to treat the Scriptures in a manner and tone that appropriately conveys the weight, gravity, and joy of God’s holy Word.
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:
- God has given us the gifts of sleep, rest, and leisure for the benefit of our bodies and souls.
- Sleep demonstrates our dependence on God, and should encourage us to humbly submit ourselves to His good and sustaining rule.
- Rest and leisure are a means through which we are to enjoy the many benefits that God has provided so that we might deepen our thankfulness to Him.
- True, lasting rest and enjoyment can only be found in Jesus.