As we come to the end of 2018, we are grateful for our long-term readers of this blog as well as those of you who started reading this year, especially those who have subscribed to the Joy for the Next Generationse-newsletter.
We thought both long-term and new readers might appreciate a roundup of the 5 most read posts from this past year. We hope these can provide fresh encouragement for you as you prepare for 2019.
As you prepare to celebrate Christmas and Christ's coming into our world, I wanted to share with you a Christmas prayer of praise, actually two prayers of praise. My hope is that these prayers can be encouraging in shaping your personal prayers of praise for Christmas, but also that one of these may be helpful in shaping opportunities you might have to pray with your family and other guests you may be with this week.
Having a long-term, God-centered, Gospel-focused vision is crucial for discipling children and youth. The fruit of leading and teaching with this vision is illustrated well at North Wake Church in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Stephanie Jackson, children’s ministry director at North Wake, shares how vision has shaped the past decade and a half of ministry to children there:
Romans 10:17 says, "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." One of the great joys we have at Truth78 is receiving testimonies about the fruit of faith that comes as children hear the word of Christ in a variety of settings.
We hope you'll be as encouraged as we were by some of the testimonies we've received in the past few months:
Although the Gospel reached the Manipuri people in northeastern India in 1894, they didn’t have any Sunday School material until this year. This fall, Suresh Singh of Partners in Discipleship International (PDI) visited the Truth78 team and presented the first printed copy of any curriculum in the Manipuri language, He Established a Testimony, Truth78’s Old Testament stories for young children.
There is wonderful variety displayed in the Christmas celebrations of our churches and families. Some are shaped by years of special traditions. Some are unique to our cultural backgrounds.
No one wants to give boring presents for Christmas, especially not to children. But there is a gift that is often overlooked in its ability to captivate our minds and hearts. It is a one-of-a-kind gift that is beyond exciting because it is…
…sweeter than honey; more valuable than gold; a lamp and a guide; a hiding place and shield; a sword and strong defense; always right, true, and trustworthy; powerful; life-giving; hope-producing; more satisfying than food; unchanging; eternal; and more.
In a child’s mind, the thought of Christmas often conjures up the anticipation of gifts—lots and lots of gifts.“Can I get ____ for Christmas? Which presents are mine under the tree? When can I open them?” While there should be a sense of excitement, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to give gifts to our children, it can often serve as a great challenge to the heart.
Recently, I listened as children from our church practiced singing for their Christmas program. I was delighted as the director carefully explained, stanza by stanza, the meaning of the words of a familiar Christmas carol. As a young child, I remember memorizing this carol with ease, but I had no clue what many of the words meant. Unfortunately, that was true for most of the Christmas carols I sang.