Years ago I watched a movie that, in a sense, took my breath away. It had beautiful imagery and a storyline that gripped your heart and swept you into the characters’ thoughts, feelings, joys, and sorrows. However, this particular movie told a story that, when examined with a discerning eye, made sin appear beautiful and satisfying. Hence, great storytelling can be a powerful gift, but we must be aware of its potential dangers.
We must especially keep this in mind when evaluating Bible story resources for children.
Today Americans celebrate the 4th of July, and all across the country millions of people will enjoy a traditional fireworks display. As you are gathered together, it’s fun to hear young and old alike express their fascination and excitement with clapping, cheering, and “ooh”s and “ahh”s. You can’t help but be wowed and amazed. But imagine for a moment bringing a child to a fireworks display and purposely putting a blindfold over his eyes, so that the spectacular display is hidden…absurd!
We have something infinitely greater than mere fireworks to display for our children. Something worthy of our highest “ahh”s and praise. Something that must not be hidden.
Several years ago, I was hiking with my family through a desert in 90-plus-degree weather. It was grueling, to say the least! The redeeming feature of this hike was the promise of a beautiful, shady oasis at the end—the vision of a few palm trees and water. Yet that simple vision initiated and sustained the hike, even when I wanted to give up several times along the way. It kept me from taking detours. I wanted to get to our goal as efficiently as possible! It’s amazing how having an end goal clearly in mind can sustain our spirit and efforts in a task!
In my opinion, this represents one of the most exciting things to be found on our new web site:
As many of you may already know, David and Sally Michael’s daughter has been experiencing serious and ongoing medical issues. Here is a wonderful perspective from Sally as their family undergoes this time of suffering and difficult transition.
So how do I feel? Sad, frustrated, helpless, discouraged, grieving...Don't ask me how I feel. Ask me what I know. What I know to be true about God. What I know His Word promises. What I know about our sure and certain hope. What I know is:
I love the idea of “informal Bible instruction.” What I mean by this is the impulse to look for everyday opportunities to speak biblical truth into the lives of our children, modeling for them a life of faith and obedience. But what about formal instruction in the home? In his excellent book, Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting, William Farley stresses the importance of including formal Bible instruction as a regular routine in the home. Although he is speaking specifically to fathers, others will benefit from his words, including mothers, children’s ministry leaders, and volunteers.
Spring is in the air and, for many churches, it’s time to look ahead to the fall season and make decisions about curriculum. Should you stay the course, or try something new? Here are two testimonials from churches using Truth78 curricula.
Can I just tell you how REFRESHING it has been since we switched to using your curriculum last year? My 4 year olds through second graders are getting incredible theology and a high view of God and His gospel through your ABCs of God curriculum.—Emily
The teachers at our church are so impressed with the systematic plan for teaching rich theological truths to children in a way that they can understand and in a way that brings about heart transformation. We can see a definite difference in the lives of our families and in the hearts of our children, including a greater knowledge of the Bible and also a greater desire for in-depth learning.
I grew up with a very narrow view of what it means to serve God. Life was separated into two main spheres—the spiritual and the secular. Service to God was therefore limited to using ones gifts and abilities within the church or a specific type of Christian ministry—the “spiritual realm.” Then, as I entered adulthood, there was an additional thrust, namely, that to be a faithful Christian one must do great things for God and go out and change the world for Christ. Sounds like a wonderful challenge to pass on to our children and students, doesn’t it?
Now, consider this from Pastor Nick Batzig:
A "change the world" mentality often ironically serves as a catalyst for discontentment or undue guilt. The common failures and frustrations experienced in the mundane day-in and day-out aspects of life tend to leave those—who had hoped for more importance—jaded or callused as the years progress…
This week, I have a challenge for us, as we minister to children and youth in our classrooms, or as we parent or grandparent. Let’s look at the young faces in our care and imagine them in the midst of this scene in the future:
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.—Revelation 20:12-13
I want to do better this next year! I want to step away from the commercialized insanity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and even the commercialization of what some call “Giving Tuesday.” I have realized over the past several months how random, wimpy, and small my prayers are for the children that matter most to me. I want to do better next year for the sake of the next generation—my children, my grandchildren, the children of my church, and their children after them. I want to pray bigger, bolder, and more biblical prayers for them. I am wondering on this Giving Tuesday if there are 9,999 other people who would want to join me in this effort as we anticipate the beginning of a new year.