Resources for Kids

Pointing children to Christ should be part of our normal routines. However, we can easily lose sight of the fact that parenting is so much more than just keeping these kids alive and eventually launching them into adulthood. God wants us to be teaching our children of Him and encouraging them to know Him more deeply on a regular basis. In order to help us in the pursuit of intentional discipleship we’re sharing a list of some kid-friendly resources that we’ve enjoyed and found helpful for starting conversations that ultimately point us all to Christ.

______________________________________________________________

  • Tiny Theologians 

Young children are able to learn a lot more than we realize and Tiny Theologians capitalizes on this reality. With beautiful flashcards that have brief definitions and a verse or passage on the back, Tiny Theologians provides some excellent tools for teaching theology to children. Their flashcard sets include A-Z Attributes of God, the ABCs of Theology, and the ABCs of the Names of God. 

http://tinytheologians.com/

______________________________________________________________

  • Getty Kids Hymnal (CDs or Youtube)

Kids engage in song on a whole new level when they hear other children singing! The Gettys have put out a great collection of hymns (new and old) featuring children, for children! You can buy these CDs on Amazon or just listen through YouTube.

______________________________________________________________

  • Leading Little Ones to God

Leading Little Ones to God is an old one but still a good one as it works through basic Bible Doctrines on a child’s level. Both my husband and I grew up with this book in our homes and are now using it with our girls! 

Find it new or used on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Leading-Little-Ones-God-Teachings/dp/0802851207/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2QPWQ2TUXB6HA&keywords=leading+little+ones+to+god&qid=1579122551&sprefix=leading+little+ones%2Caps%2C479&sr=8-1

______________________________________________________________

  • Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible 

This story Bible has become a favorite around our house. With bright and bold illustrations and simple narratives, it is geared towards toddlers. We especially appreciate how closely it sticks to the Bible narrative and doesn’t add lots of extra details to make the story more exciting. There is also a brief application section at the end of each chapter that touches on a broad range of topics to help drive home gospel truths in the hearts of our little ones.. 

https://www.amazon.com/Beginners-Gospel-Story-Bible/dp/1945270047/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=MSLPJK3UFFG9&keywords=beginners+gospel+story+bible&qid=1579120965&sprefix=beginners+gospel+st%2Caps%2C509&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExSDU4WVlLRkRLMzUyJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMzI5NDU2MzVaTThGNU4wTTU5SyZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMDEzOTMwMzhIMlAyUTk5TFRGJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

______________________________________________________________

  • The New City Catechism Mobile App 

While this app is aimed at adults, this free app also has a children’s mode that provides songs to go with each question and answer. These songs are short and fun and help young children learn important doctrines without even trying! Every night before going to bed, our 2-year-old insists on singing the song for question 3 that asks “How many persons are there in God?” Even though she doesn’t fully understand now the concept of the trinity, the song will undoubtedly stick with her for years to come and remind her heart of the reality of the Triune God!  

http://newcitycatechism.com/mobile-apps/

______________________________________________________________

  • The Big Picture Story Bible

I’ve really enjoyed sharing this story Bible with young children. The vivid illustrations help to hold their attention as they listen to foundational truths about man and God. And I love that this book shares both the bad and good stories, showing both the depravity of man and in turn, the loving-kindness of our God.

https://www.amazon.com/Big-Picture-Story-Bible-Book/dp/1433523914

______________________________________________________________

  • The Big Picture Bible Crafts 

This is a new resource for us, but it looks promising! For parents with children always wanting to make crafts, this book has 101 crafts to correspond a wide range of Bible stories (and also correspond with The Big Picture Story Bible.) With reproducible pages and multiple levels of difficulty for each craft, this craft book is ideal for multiple age groups! 

https://www.amazon.com/Picture-Bible-Crafts-Reproducible-pages/dp/1433558696/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3993CV43A5RP0&keywords=big+picture+bible+crafts&qid=1579122675&sprefix=big+picture+craf%2Caps%2C220&sr=8-1

______________________________________________________________

  • Bible Visuals International Family Format Series

Bible Visuals International has recently taken some of their short missionary visual stories and turned them into a book format for the whole family to enjoy together. They have ones on John Newton, George Mueller, etc. Our family has really enjoyed the one on the life of Martin Luther and have found it to lead to great engagement and conversation. 

https://www.amazon.com/Refuge-Martin-Luther-Family-5760-CS/dp/1933206934/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=bible+visual+martin+luther&qid=1579054470&s=books&sr=1-2

Please follow and like us:
0

Praying the Bible – A Book Review

Because prayer is direct access to the throne of grace, it should have a significant place in every believer’s life. But more often than not, prayer is the spiritual discipline that is the most quickly put off to the side.

 Praying The BiblePraying by Donald Whitney gives some super straightforward and simple, but incredibly helpful and practical instruction on cultivating this important time of fellowship with the Lord.

The main premise of this little book is that we should use the Bible, and more specifically the Psalms, as a springboard for prayer. In other words, Whitney encourages us to incorporate the very words of Scripture into our prayers.

You could think of it as a conversation between you and God: God speaks through the pages of Scripture, and, as the words of Scripture prompt thoughts in your heart and mind, you respond by praying according to those thoughts.

For example, a while back, I actually wrote out my responses as I read the Psalms:

(The bold is the actual Psalm and the words [in brackets] are my response)

“Thou, O Lord, wilt  not withold Thy compassion from me: Thy lovingkindness [every good and perfect gift is from above and all things work to make me like Himself. Nothing can separate me from His love] and Thy truth will continually preserve me [where but in God’s written Word do I find God’s Truth? I cannot underestimate the importance of saturating my soul with The Word!] Let all who seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee; [I worship the true God—I have reason to rejoice! Why do I allow myself to get discouraged when I above all people, have reason to rejoice? REJOICE!] Let those who love Thy salvation say continually: “The Lord be magnified!” [For He has done great things!] (Psalm 40:11-12, 16)

While this example is primarily a prayer of worship and praise, can you see how the Psalms (or any other portion of Scripture) is an effective way to help us focus our hearts and minds on Him and pray more Scripturally-accurate prayers?

I very much appreciated reading this book and have found it to be helpful in my prayer life!

~Angie

Please follow and like us:
0

Helping Our Kids Learn More About God

We want to help our children grow in their understanding of God, so we take them to church, right?

But what about at home? What are some ways that we can be intentionally parenting our children and not just leave the Bible stories and verses at church?

Here are some ideas that Angie, Rachel and myself have tried or would like to see ourselves implementing in our day to day parenting.

Model it

Children watch and learn from their parents, so modeling the priority of spending time in the Word has the potential of significantly impacting children to do the same.  

Don’t Underestimate Their Abilities

Children do not have to have high school English in order to read and understand the Bible for themselves: If your child can read on his own, encourage him to read a portion of Scripture each day. Perhaps you could even present him with a sizable goal to work towards, such as reading through a book of the Bible, the New Testament, or some other, age-appropriate, reading goal.

Have “Bible Lesson Time”

Particularly with young children, having a specific time where Mom or Dad recount or read a particular Bible lesson can be a lot of fun. You could use a children’s Bible with pictures, Bible lesson visuals, or get creative and make your own visuals or props for an interactive lesson time!  The Jesus Storybook Bible is a good children’s Bible. 

Intentionally Teach Them Music

Currently my (Chrystal’s) children really love songs like “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep” but there’s nothing I love more than to hear them belting out the words and melodies to songs like “My God is so Big”, “How Great Thou Art” or “I Sing the Mighty Power of God.” These songs will stay with them long into their adulthood and have the power to change their hearts (and mine!) with the truths they hold about our great God.

Memorize Catechisms Together

While never replacing Scripture, teaching our children foundational truths about God can be an extremely helpful way to establish doctrinal truths in their hearts and minds. I (Chrystal) have found following catechisms to be detailed and yet simple enough to be memorized by our three year old. My husband has been incorporating hand motions as well to help their children learn as they continue to work their way through these.

https://www.bjupress.com/resources/pdfs/bible/btcg.pdf

Create Bible Verse Visuals

 Find/cut/paste pictures and insert them into a verse that you then write out onto card stock. You get to do a craft with them and end up with a visual to aid in Scripture memory! Win win!

Read Them Books about God, His Word and Prayer

I (Rachel) appreciate the simple truths about prayer in the book What Happens When I Talk To God.This book also teaches children the concepts of God’s omniscience and omnipresence as it relates to prayer.

We would love to hear of ways that have helped you be more intentional about teaching your kids more about God and His Word!

Please follow and like us:
0

“I Will Pray for You” – Meaning What I Say

 

Have you ever said “I will pray for you about that” but never followed through?

I’m guilty.

Have you ever had someone tell you, “I will be praying for you”, but wonder of they really will?

I’m guilty.

It breaks my heart that this has become just a churchy saying.

I want it to be the truth in my life and in each one of our lives!

The body of Christ (the Church) is called to build each other up and called to do so through prayer.

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. – James 5:16

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; – Ephesians 6:18

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; – 1 Timothy 2:1

There are many times that I have told someone I would pray for them with the right heart and every intention to follow through. But without taking action to remind myself to do so those good intentions never became reality.

Over this past year God has been convicting my heart and teaching me in this area.

Some practical ways that have helped me make this happen.

  1.    Stop  and pray right away

It does not have to take a big chunk of the day. I don’t even have to stop and find a quiet place (though sometimes I do). Just take a few moments to bring that request to God.

  1.    Make a note

I have written requests on sticky notes that mark a page in a book I’m reading so when I open that book I see it. If I have the time to sit down and read then I have time to pray for that person.

I have a note page on my phone designated to prayer requests. This is a good one for when I’m out and about and don’t have paper with me.

  1.    Keep lists short and current.

If my list gets long, I don’t even start praying or my prayers become shallow.

  1.    Follow up with the person.

Follow up deepens a relationship so much! Then I add the request back onto my list with more knowledge on how to pray.

There is a man in our church who always asks us about requests that we have shared in the past. It is encouraging to know that he remembered and did pray for us.

  1.    Don’t be as quick to say “I’ll pray for you.”

I always want to say this but not being quick to commit helps me be more intentional. If I won’t pray right away or can’t write it down I try not to say those words; I know how forgetful I am. I want to be honest. Being slower with my words has made me more mindful and actually helped me pray more faithfully.

How encouraging it would be if we knew that we were being prayed for by everyone who told us they would!

How encouraging it would be to pray and see how God’s worked to answer those prayers.

When we fail to pray for one another not only are we missing out on an amazing opportunity to encourage those around us but we throw away a chance to talk to our Father and miss out on seeing how God answers those prayers.

Let’s commit to pray!

~ Rachel

Please follow and like us:
0

More Bible Study Approaches

There are many different ways to go about spending time in the Word: Some seasons of life we are able to spend an extended period of time digging into a passage, using word studies and commentaries. During other seasons, we may barely even be able to squeeze in five minutes before being interrupted by a fussy child or a diaper blowout.

I’d like to share a few approaches to being in the Word that have helped me to be intentional with the time I spend in the Word, whether it be for an hour or for just a few minutes.

I. Ask the questions “What do I learn about________ from this passage?”

Here are two questions to help guide your thoughts as you read the Word:

Question #1: What do I learn about God in this passage?

Because Scripture is God’s divine revelation of Himself to mankind, no matter what passage we read, there is something we can learn about God and His character. So before you even start reading, mentally ask yourself or write in your journal:

“What do I learn about God in this passage?”

(To keep it simple, I usually just write  About God.)

Your answer to this question could be something that God declares to be true about Himself in the passage.

For example, in Psalms 118:29 it says “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”

This verse clearly states that  He is good and “His steadfast love endures forever.”

Or it could be more like a conclusion.

Take, for instance, Ephesians 3:20-21 when it tells us, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” 

We can learn from these verses that His plan is infinitely greater and more incredible than anything we could ever imagine.

The beauty of this exercise is it’s simplicity: Look for just one thing.  

There is no pressure to write out a summary paragraph or draft an outline of the entire passage you just read or do more research somewhere else. Rather, simply focus on the verses you are reading and seek to single out just one thing you learn about God, His character, His ways, or His plan.

And if you don’t find something the first time you read the passage, go back and read it again, and again, until you do learn something.

Why?

Because if God’s Word is for us, and His Word is about Himself, then His Word will reveal Him to us. Yes, He wants us to know Him!

What a marvelous and humbling thought!

Once you have singled out one observation—not two, not fivejust one observation about what you learn about God, write it down.

Writing it down will help solidify that one point about God in your heart and mind.

Question #2: What do I learn about myself in this passage?

After asking what you learn about God in the passage, ask yourself,

“What do I learn about myself in this passage?”

(Or I just write About Me.)

In other words, what does the passage have to say about a believer? Or about man’s state before God? Is there a command He has given for me to obey? Is there a response I should have toward God? Is there a sin I need to repent of?

As with question #1, these observations can be simple and straightforward.

For example, if you were to study Philippians 2:1-10, when it says “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (verse 3), one answer to the question What do I learn about myself? could be “I am to count others as more significant than myself.”

Your observation could also be a form of a personal response to a statement about God, as in Psalm 69:13, where it says “But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.” 

When I read this verse not too long ago, I jotted down the thought that “I need to remember that God answers in His timing and according to His character, not in my timing or according to my desires.”

The answer to this second guiding question often helps move beyond the observation and interpretation steps of Bible study to the application step of “How does this affect my life?”

Incorporating these two questions into my time in the Word has been immensely rewarding!

II. Phrasing
A comparatively more complicated, yet still quite straightforward approach to Bible study, I came across Phrasing a few years ago. It is helpful in breaking down a passage and digging into it without getting overwhelmed with all the details.

This approach is most beneficial when working with a short passage or even just a few verses. (However, if you are ambitious, you can always do this with a larger portion of Scripture as well!) Phrasing is also helpful if you’re trying to understand tricky wording in a particular verse.

You could call Phrasing a form of “diagramming for Bible Study” (but don’t let that scare you!)

When you phrase a verse, just subordinate (indent) each phrase underneath the word that it is referring to.

So for example, take 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14:


Can you see how breaking the verses down into phrases helps to clarify God’s purpose in calling us to salvation? In phrasing these verses, it becomes clear that “…to this he called you…so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Phrasing approach helps us think through how a sentence is structured (without the complicated technicalities of diagramming) and helps clarify what the verse is saying.

If you’re interested in learning more about this approach, you can find a more-detailed description of it or a in-depth look at it by Bill Mounce.

III. Repeated Readings in One Sitting

This is exactly what it sounds like: just read a particular passage over and over again. The more times you read it, the better!

To start, choose a large portion of verses, a few chapters, or even a short book of the Bible. Simply read the same chunk of Scripture every day for several weeks, a month, or longer!

The goal?

To become  familiar with the passage. So read and re-read and re-read the passage. 

It is surprising how simply reading a Scripture passage over and over again helps you become more familiar with the passage, and in turn, have a better understanding of it!

I hope this quick overview of some more Bible study approaches, as well as Rachel’s post last week on three ways that have been helpful to her, has given you fresh motivation and encouragement to be focused and intentional with the time you spend in the Word this year, even if it is only for a few minutes at a time!    

~Angie

(All verses are quoted from the ESV)

Please follow and like us:
0