Here is a very helpful article from Jon Bloom: “Be Ready to Answer Your Kids’ Questions About the Bible.” Here is how he begins:
Kids are thinkers. They ask good and sometimes hard questions. My kids have asked me some of the hardest theological questions between ages 5 and 8. They’ve queried me on comparative religion, death, eternity, heaven, hell, Jesus and the cross, and what about all those people who have never had a chance to hear the gospel? Interestingly, these questions tend to come at bedtime. But frankly, I don’t care if they are at times bedtime-stalling techniques; such questions are always worth staying awake to talk about.
Have any of you had a difficult parenting week? Are you feeling discouraged and even a little defeated? Then take great hope in these words:
Because parenting is difficult, and because you are imperfect, you will need the grace that comes to you through the gospel. God will use these problems to deepen your dependence on him. You will experience stress and obstacles. They will happen so that when your child comes to saving faith, your boasting will be in Christ, not your own best efforts.
(William Farley, Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel
I am somewhat of a news junkie. I like to think that I keep up with what’s going on in the world and culture. But the past several weeks have been overwhelming. It seems as if society is on the fast-track toward destruction and despair: renewed war in the Middle East, Ebola, growing support for legalized same-sex “marriage,”…and we could go on and on. When I think of all of this, I am so thankful that I have been given a great gift: the comfort and confidence of knowing and trusting in the absolute sovereignty of God. But that gift of theological truth didn’t simply pop into my mind and heart—God used men who faithfully taught and preached the whole counsel of God to me. He used men who didn’t flinch from going deep and hard after big, difficult doctrines. Doctrines like these provide
Are you struggling to incorporate daily Bible reading and personal devotions into your life? Is joy for God’s Word sometimes waning? Blogger Tim Challies had a recent post about the benefits of personal devotions and Bible reading. Not only is his post helpful for adults but the four P’s he states would be easy to communicate to the students and children in your life. Here is a summary of the four P’s found in Psalm 19 from his post:
David tells us that God’s Word is precious. David is king over his nation and has access to all of its wealth, yet he looks at it all and sees that it is nothing compared to the surpassing worth of God’s Word.
…God’s Word is pleasurable. I
Here are some words of wisdom from Sinclair Ferguson:,
In a world drifting on a sea of parental moral and spiritual confusion, the doctrine of the total depravity of our children is actually an important practical anchor. Parents who understand its significance recognize the divine wisdom in teaching the commandments of God, given as they are largely in negative form. God wrote them for sinners. They also recognize the importance of teaching God’s law in the context of God’s grace in Christ and through the Spirit. With Augustine we know that God will give what He commands.
God has not given us angels, but sinners to train to be saints. Since the situation is further complicated by the fact that parents are also sinners, we constantly
This true story by Connie Oman serves as an important reminder:
While readying a classroom before Sunday school, I noticed a missionary family on home assignment. I hugged the mom and greeted the children saying how wonderful it was that they could be in Sunday school today.
The smiles disappeared from the children’s faces.
The mom told me she wasn’t sure about sending the kids to class since they were feeling uneasy.
I turned to the children and said, “In our classrooms we have pictures of your family. The children in your class know your face and your name, and they have been praying for you! They will be so happy to see you!”
Smiles reappeared on their sweet faces.
The following Sunday, I saw the mom and inquired as to whether her children had attended Sunday school. She said, “Yes, and they loved it!”
What made the difference? The children in the class already knew them and had been praying for them. They were not strangers. This is such an important reminder for us!
I love this quote from Lou Priolo:
For the Christian, learning is not facts to be learned but truth to lived.
(Teach Them Diligently: How to Use the Scriptures in Child Training, copyright©2000, page 21)
In her seminar, "Reaching the Heart", Sally Michael expands on this thought:
Teaching that aims only at informing the intellect falls short of the potential we have to mold young hearts in response to God’s truth. Though knowledge of the truth is extremely important for faith to be born and to grow (Romans 10:17), children must act on the truth, appropriating it into their lives and walking in the truth.
Our parenting and classroom teaching should continually emphasize this goal → heart & life transformation. Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, this will not happen. No matter how good our parenting or teaching, we are dependent on the sovereign grace of God. But God also works through means. As parents and teachers, we have a great responsibility and privilege to guide, encourage, and challenge young hearts in a right heart response to biblical truths.
Here’s a great reminder from pastor and blogger Kevin DeYoung from his post "History Helps Put Things in Perspective":
I am strongly opposed to providing our kids with alternate worship experiences all the way through high school. They ought to be worshiping with adults, with their families, in “big” church, not having a special service tailored to their teen demographic.
I found the short article, "Ambitious for Your Children?" by David Campbell to be very helpful. It caused me to reflect on my own ambitions for my children, especially when they were young. In doing so, I wonder if I placed a burden on them that they were never meant to bear. Here is the conclusion of his article:
Our children, it is true to say, may have no great part to play in the unfolding history of the kingdom of God. No-one may write a biography of them after they are gone. They may never serve on the mission-field, never hold office in the church, they may have no outstanding gifts. But if they have a heart for God, serve him faithfully, have the courage to do the right, and are clothed in godly humility, they will be great in the Lord’s sight. And nothing counts for more than that!
After more than 25 years in the classroom, this tip would be on my "Top 10 List" for effective teaching:
Arrive early to your classroom.
What do I mean by "early"? For me it meant arriving at least 15 minutes before the children arrived. During that time, I would do things like...