Last year I wrote a post titled, “Grasping Sin in Order to Grasp the Gospel,” which included this quote from D. A. Carson:
There can be no agreement as to what salvation is unless there is agreement as to that from which salvation rescues us. The problem and the solution hang together: the one explicates the other. It is impossible to gain a deep grasp of what the cross achieves without plunging into a deep grasp of what sin is; conversely, to augment one’s understanding of the cross is to augment one’s understanding of sin.
To put the matter another way, sin establishes the plotline
Lately, I find myself reflecting more and more on these words from the hymn, This Is My Father’s World:
This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
These few simple words carry an inexhaustible and unshakeable source of hope. They remind us of an often forgotten rock-solid reality—God is the ruler yet!
As our children and grandchildren increasingly face a hostile world, one that seems “oft so strong,” what will come to mind? What thoughts will lead and guide them? Will they reflect upon the glorious truth that God is, indeed, the ruler yet? And furthermore, will they know and understand the nature and extent
Imagine a group of third graders in their Sunday school classroom. All are happily engaged—busy hands, feet, and voices—participating in a Bible lesson. This is active learning on display, right?…Maybe, but maybe not. It depends on your definition of “active learning.” Here is a definition from Sally Michael that I think gets to the heart of what we at CDG mean by active learning:
Active learning involves children’s minds interacting with the subject matter; they are thinking—discovering, imagining, questioning, organizing, analyzing, evaluating, drawing conclusions, and applying the material.
Yes, this may at times involve active hands, feet, and voices, but the emphasis is on the mind. Why do our children need this type
[caption id="attachment_7217" align="alignright" width="120"] Pastor Andrew Murray[/caption]
Here are some thoughtful reflections from Pastor Andrew Murray (b.1828, d.1917) regarding the importance of the fifth commandment:
The young child is guided, not by reflection or argument, but by feeling and affection. He cannot yet realize and honor the unseen God…The child can only honor what he sees to be worthy of honor. And this is the parent’s high calling—always so to speak and act, so to live in the child’s presence, that honor may be spontaneously and unconsciously rendered…
Above all, let parents remember that honor really comes from God. Let them honor Him in the eyes of their children, and He will honor
As parents, grandparents, teachers, and mentors it is the deep longing of our hearts that our young people come to genuine saving faith in Christ—the sooner the better. But often our sincere longings may carry mixed signals and/or misunderstanding. For example, our eagerness for them to be saved may become outward pressure on them to please us. Or, our children and students may simply be showing spiritual curiosity, which we mistake as a profession of true faith. What’s a parent or teacher to do? Well one really helpful resource is Pastor Dennis Gundersen’s book,
What if we were to take this statement and make it a type of banner to fly over our parenting and children’s and youth ministries in the coming years?
Our aim is not to take a child’s low views of self and replace them with high views of self. Rather our aim is to take a child’s low views of God and replace them with high views of God. Our aim is not to take a child with little sense of worth and fill him with a great sense of worth. Rather our aim is to take a child who by nature makes himself the center of the universe and show him that he was made to put God at the center of the universe and get joy not from seeing his own tiny worth, but from knowing Christ who is of infinite worth.
One of the surprising (but delightful) statistics from our recent National Conference was the number of attendees who are new to the ministry of Children Desiring God. For them, the conference served as their first real exposure to our vision, mission, and philosophy. At the conference, they got a high-dose, jam-packed introduction to our ministry. And yet only a relatively small portion of the conference was focused on our curricula, and this was intentional. Why? Because the curricula is NOT the vision of CDG. Rather, it serves as one tool for accomplishing the vision. We believe that it is a valuable and helpful tool, and of course we would be delighted if you would use our curricula in your churches and/or homes.
We also know that there are other wonderful curricula out there to choose from. So why choose
Back when my children were younger, there was a phrase I often repeated: “Give me a verse.” This was usually in response to a sinful attitude, word, or action presenting itself. It was my way of reminding them (and myself) that all of our thoughts, emotions, words, and actions need to be shaped and come under the authority of Scripture. For example, suppose a hypothetical grandson of mine is complaining about having to eat his vegetables before getting a cookie for desert. Mommy reminds him of a verse he knows:
Do all things without grumbling… (Philippians 2:14, ESV)
Or suppose that same child is mad because he didn’t get things his own way. He wants to be the boss! Mommy reminds him of a verse he has memorized:
It is a well-known fact in my family that I am a stereotypical procrastinator. I stall as long as possible before getting things done—even really important things! Long-term strategic planning is not my natural mode of operation, as I would rather wait and then be motivated by the “tyranny of the urgent.” But when it comes to the spiritual education and formation of our children and youth, this type of approach is not at all helpful or biblical. It puts off what should be very carefully planned and implemented.
For example, think ahead for a moment and ask yourself this long-term question: By the time my children and/or students reach adulthood, will they be able to answer these key questions?
Last week, I highlighted the curriculum I Stand in Awe: A Study for Children on the Bible, which teaches children about the nature and main message of the Bible. But what about a resource that might be a better fit in a home setting, such as a family devotional tool? Consider the book, God’s Word, which is adapted from the I Stand in Awe curriculum. God’s Word is a captivating, child-friendly resource for parents to