A big thanks to Steve McCoy. Although you may not agree with every item on this list there’s a lot of wisdom here on how to parent young children.
Children’s Bible resources
We’ve recently picked up a new children’s Bible, The Gospel Story Bible – Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testament, by Marty Machowski, which you can find out more about here. So far I really like what I see and it looks like it will be a useful resource to use with our children. Released a couple of years ago, Justin Taylor has some good things to day about it (and some other good children’s Bibles) here.
Among the benefits of this particular children’s Bible is that it has an accompanying Daily Devotionals to Draw Your Family To God – a series of 156, 10 minute family devotionals that can be purchased for an additional amount.
Whilst on the subject of children’s Bibles, I discovered today that The Beginner’s Bible, which we have amongst the Bibles we’ve used with our young kids over the last few years, has an accompanying website with a number of useful resources to download from it.
Thoughts to make your heart sing
Here is a new family devotional resource form the people who brought you the Jesus Storybook Bible.
Thoughts To Make Your Heart Sing is a collection of 101 thoughts on the Bible and faith in God and is aimed at family devotions.
Our copy has yet to arrive from Amazon, but we do use the Jesus Storybook Bible among other Bibles for our family worship times and find that a helpful resource. I would guess that if you like that Bible, this is something you might want to get hold of.
One of the really helpful features of the New City Catechism is that it has been developed with both children and adults in mind. For example, the first question and answer
Q. What is our only hope in life and death?
A. That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Saviour Jesus Christ.
The bold parts of each answer are meant for young children to learn (I wonder how old before graduating onto the whole answer?).
I’m looking forward to starting these with at least some of our children later this week.
Kathy Keller talks about catechism with kids – the reasons, joys and pitfalls on the other side of this link.
Like firewood in a fireplace
Over here, Tim Keller and The Gospel Coalition are about to launch the New City Catechism.
In the article Keller notes,
Superficial smatterings of truth, blurry notions about God and godliness, and thoughtlessness about the issues of living—careerwise, communitywise, familywise, and churchwise—are all too often the marks of evangelical congregations today. (J. I. Packer and Garry Parrett, Grounded in the Gospel)
How can we reshape the lives of people who have grown to breath the evangelical air that Packer and Parrett describe above?
Since May this year we have been looking through the Westminster Shorter Catechism on Sunday evenings and we are now three quarters of the way through the one hundred and seven questions. During that time I’ve heard comments like, Why are we looking at this again?, and Westminster Shorter Whatichism?
Catechisms are however a great tool for learning the basic Biblical plot-line, Christian doctrine and practice and have been used throughout the last 500 years of the church with both young children and new adult converts.
Keller lists a number of reasons why catechesis can be a particularly helpful in understanding better the faith once delivered to the saints, but I particularly like what he says concerning catechising children.
Catechesis done with young children helps them think in biblical categories almost as soon as they can reason. Such instruction, one old writer said, is like firewood in a fireplace. Without the fire—the Spirit of God—firewood will not in itself produce a warming flame. But without fuel there can be no fire either, and that is what catechetical instruction provides.
I’ve mentioned before that a great way of getting children to know great gospel truths found in the WSC are the 4 Questions with Answers CD’s that are available for download from Songs for Saplings.
Colossians 3:21 & Ephesians 6:4 – The Heart of Fatherhood
Going to church with family
You’ll find 10 helpful tips for going to church with your family below and they are explained more over here.
The only thing I’d quibble with is the working out of No. 6 – Stay until the end. That’s fine but I think we can do better than merely opting to district children with toys and books while the adults talk or serve. That makes church look as if it is an adult only activity. Better to involve the little people as well, before, during and after our gathered worship. And here’s a link to a great resource to help think about how to do that.
1. Go every Sunday
2. Go with joy and expectation
3 Arrive on time
4. Pray as a family before you arrive
5. Treat church as an extended family gathering
6. Stay until the end
7. Speak well of church
8. Receive the word with thankfulness
9. Look for new people and people with needs
10. Thank your minister
Ephesians 6:1-4 – Shepherding a child’s heart
There’s been a helpful series of posts over at the Desiring God blog, all focusing on the particular temptations that new moms (that’s mum’s with an American accent I guess), are likely to be subjected to.
Lots of what is said there is applicable to both new mums and dads, and there’s things to chew over for parents however old their children are. find the first post here, and then find subsequent posts at the bottom of the article.
Be confident of the gospel and preach Jesus
Here’s a great post from Jeff Bethke on reaching the next generation. His bottom line concern with current youth and children’s ministry
The biggest mistake by an adult is to think the younger generation “can’t handle” all of the truth or can’t comprehend it.
Amen to that. Here’s Jeff’s 10 must do’s
1. Preach Jesus
2. Don’t Take Yourself Seriously.
3. Speak Truthfully, Boldly, and Fervently.
4. Preach Jesus With Your Life.
5. Don’t Shy Away From “Taboo” Sins.
6. Be Transparent.
7. Lead In Repentance.
8. Show God is After Our Joy, Not Our Buzzkill.
9. Don’t Water Down Jesus’ Harsh Sayings.
10. Preach And Articulate Real, Biblical, Transforming Grace.
Not a word about needing to be young, be with it, good at sports, or able to empathise with teenage angst. Nothing about keeping kids off the streets or out of trouble. Teaching them to be good, upright, respectable citizens wouldn’t even make the top 50.
Simply be confident of the gospel and preach Jesus with your words and life. Once again, amen to that.