Here is music to my ears: My 1½-year-old granddaughter has learned to say, “I love you.” What a gift to see her smile at me, and then say those words! And of course I respond with, “I love you too, Elizabeth!”
But those aren’t mere words. Those words express the deep, heartfelt affection I have for her, evidenced in a myriad of ways—hugs and kisses, play time, reading time, zoo visits, and ice cream…and on and on.
But love for her also will compel me (and her parents and teachers) to speak words to her that she will not want to hear—words that are hard, but true; words she needs to hear, like…
…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on
Have you ever watched a 6-year-old take notes during the sermon…real notes and not just creative doodles? Impossible, you say? Well, think again. With a little help and encouragement, you can start your children on a life-long habit of taking sermon notes. All you need is a sermon notebook—6” x 9” in size with wide rule lines and a stiff cover might be a good start—and a pencil or pen. For added interest, let your child pick out the notebook and pencil or pen, and designate these as his or her special “Sunday Sermon” tools. Then follow these simple and practical guidelines from Sharon L. Bratcher in her article, “Sermon Notes and Songs for Small Fries
More often than not, if you search on a church’s website for information about their children’s ministry, you will come across the word “fun.” The “fun” may include creative activities, high-energy singing, Bible memory games, and Bible stories told using drama. These all can have their proper place. I am not opposed to children enjoying their time in the classroom! But I think we need to be very careful in not making “fun” what characterizes our children’s ministry. It is not to be the end aim and goal. What happens in our classrooms should be a holy endeavor—set apart—whereby we are aiming to help children encounter something beyond fun. Carefully consider these words from Pastor John Piper:
Those who have seen and savored
When it comes to new digital/media technology, I have a tendency to stick my head in the sand. I’m still having a hard time figuring out how to use my “dumb” phone, and the thought of a “smart” phone overwhelms me. Getting on Facebook almost gave me an anxiety attack—but now I like it, and I post daily Bible verses to encourage my friends. My son introduced me to Google Earth, and now I can explore the galaxy—how amazing that is!
But with all that wonderful technology comes new challenges, especially for parents. It is crucial that you teach your children and young adults to navigate the world of technology in a God-honoring way. Last week, Tim Challies posted an article titled, “Parenting Well in a Digital World,” in which he offered some very helpful counsel for parents:
Years ago, Dr. Bruce Ware wrote an excellent book titled, Their God is Too Small, in response to the false teaching of open theism. Open theism denies God’s omniscience and immutability. Like all false teaching, it “downsizes” the greatness and worth of God. It attempts to make God smaller and more “palatable” for the sinful, self-centered human heart. In the end, it also undermines confidence in God and praise and worship of God.
One should pause and wonder: Is the God we teach in our homes and Sunday school classrooms too small? Do we sometimes, without even intending to, make God smaller than He
Here’s some good and sobering parenting advice from Randy Alcorn:
Teaching our children the truth is absolutely necessary, but it is not sufficient. The solid foundation for a life is not just hearing the words of God, but doing them (Matthew 7:24-27). By our own example as their parents, we must teach our children God’s truth, demonstrating it in application and obedience. The truth that time must be spent with God must be demonstrated by the time we spend with God. The truth about Christ’s forgiveness must be shown as we seek and grant forgiveness in our home. The truth that evangelism is important must be demonstrated by our efforts in evangelism. As parents, we must model our
One of things that brings a smile to my face every Sunday morning is the presence of little children—even some 2-year–olds—sitting with their parents in the corporate worship service. They are not all perfectly behaved, and sometimes their parents look a little frazzled by the end of the service. A few children won’t make it all the way until the end and will be taken out by a parent. And, once in a while, a child who should be taken out is left in the service. But these are very minor inconveniences compared to the wonderful benefits of having children in the corporate worship service.
Here, John Piper gives some reasons why children should be in worship:
There are three reasons, at least, why I have urged that, at the latest, from first grade on the children join
Most churches heartedly affirm the importance of a thriving youth ministry within the local church. However, unless we are intentional, youth ministry can also be mistakenly viewed as a separate entity apart from the wider church body. So it’s important that we ask, “Are the structures and programs we have in place serving to help or hinder incorporating our young people into a bigger and more biblical vision of what it means to be a community of believers?”
Pastor Jon Nielson has some good diagnostic questions for youth ministers to think about. These questions also apply to parents and the wider church leadership:
The other day while spending time with my grandchildren, I created a simple little song to emphasize that God made everything. They helped me add various verses to include the different animals and things God has made. Later, while driving them home, 3-year-old David began singing the song aloud. With just one 10-minute exposure to a new song, he had it memorized. Not surprising since it is well documented that music can help children and adults alike to memorize.
Now imagine your children memorizing something much more substantial: the Catechism (read here why that’s important). Jim Scott Orrick has created a great resource bringing together music and the Catechism: “The Baptist Catechism Set to Music.” Here
When I think of “biblical worldview,” I almost exclusively think of the mind—training children and students to think biblically about all of life. But Timothy Paul Jones reminds us that biblical worldview in not just about training the mind—it should also serve to train the hands.
In a biblical worldview, the training of children is worldview training. This training includes far more than merely increasing children’s biblical knowledge or involving them in a community of faith. Moses commanded the Israelites to teach their offspring to view all they did (“hands”) and all they chose (“forehead”), as well as how they lived at home (“doorposts”) and how they conducted business (“your gates”) within the all-encompassing