Search Results for: label/Family Discipleship

Family Discipleship: Happy St. Francis Day!

Today is the Feast of St. Francis on the traditional church calendar. Catholic or Protestant, there are lessons to be learned from Francis of Assisi’s story. He’s known in Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches as the patron saint of animals and the environment. Born into privilege and wealth, he eventually gave it all up to serve Christ and further the gospel.

I’ve written often about how important I think it is to teach the Bible to children as one big story rather than a collection of loosely related stories with a moral or lesson about God. A close second for me is the importance of teaching our children their spiritual heritage…the history of the church from the days of Acts right up to the present day. When we do, we so clearly see God’s hands on major events in history (which is, after all, really “His Story”), and there are many, many figures throughout the history of the church, from the early church fathers, to the Reformers, to modern missionaries, whose lives are wonderful examples for us and our children. We need to be familiar with and take advantage of our rich heritage! This is why I love Crossway’s new title, The Church History ABCs (keep an eye out…I may have an extra copy of that one to share in the near future!).

Francis: The Poor Man of AssisiI’ve used a couple of different resources with my kids to learn about St. Francis. We have a short, animated DVD called Francis-Knight of Assisi that is really well-done. Even my older kids don’t mind still watching it. We also enjoy Tomie dePaola’s book Francis: The Poor Man of Assisi. We love several of his books and his illustrations are wonderful!

I’ve also referred to Loyola Kids Book of Saints by Amy Welborn. It has a nice entry on St. Francis and helps kids relate it to their own lives with personal application.  You can also do a quick internet search and get ideas for fun activities to do.

Take advantage of these “teachable moments” with your kids!

I’ll leave you with the “Prayer of St. Francis” (which may or may not have actually originated with him):

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon:
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light
where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Don’t miss the rest of my Family Discipleship series to read about other resources our family has found helpful.

If you’d like to make sure not to miss future updates, you might want to consider subscribing by email or feed, and be sure to check out the new Home With Purpose Facebook page also!

Family Discipleship Part 13: God’s Mighty Acts in Creation and Salvation by Starr Meade (Family Bookshelf)

In this series, I’ve been sharing different resources that our family has used and enjoyed over the years to disciple our children in the spirit of Deuteronomy 6. Our family has really enjoyed several of Starr Meade’s resources, like Training Hearts, Teaching Minds and Grandpa’s Box, so when I saw her newest books, I was eager to get my hands on them! Both God’s Mighty Acts in Creation and God’s Mighty Acts in Salvation are aimed at 8 to 12 year olds. They’re fairly short…just over 100 pages each…but packed full of Biblical truth.

God's Mighty Acts in Creation
God’s Mighty Acts in Creation consists of 45 interactive readings that guide children through the six days of creation. The first two readings are in an introductory section and address the concept of general revelation, while the rest are organized by day, beginning with “Day 1: Light and Water” and ending with “Day 6: Animals and People”.  Each reading begins with a key verse followed by a short (about a page and a half) reading and an “As for me and my house…” application section that contains several thought-provoking questions and related activities.
I expected this book to simply go through the six days of creation, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it does so much more! It uses the six days as a framework not only to show how created things display God’s power and wisdom in the creation story, but to explore and apply many other references to nature throughout the Bible and to show how all His created works reflect who He is. For example, “Day 1: Light and Water” contains readings on Jesus as the Light of the World and the Living Water, “Day 3: Land and Plants” addresses God’s sovereignty over nations and Jesus as the True Vine, “Day 5: Birds and Fish” discusses the ravens feeding Elijah, and “Day 6: Animals and People” includes Daniel and the lions.

God’s Mighty Acts in Salvation

God's Mighty Acts in Salvation
God’s Mighty Acts in Salvation goes through the entire book of Galatians, teaching the core truths of the gospel and introducing and explaining such concepts as justification, the priority of Scripture, and the relationship between the old and new covenants in terms that are easily understandable for the upper elementary/pre-teen age range. The forty readings are in the same format as in God’s Mighty Acts in Salvation: key verse, reading, and application.
I’m very impressed. This is basically an in-depth, verse-by-verse study of the book of Galatians for children. There’s so much more here than the usual over-simplifications of the gospel that Jesus died for our sins and we should ask him into our hearts. Each reading covers a key element of the gospel. Imputation, justification, sanctification, covenants…all these and more are discussed. The concepts are clearly presented and unpacked in simple, easy to understand terms.
One of the things I love about Ms. Meade’s books is that she doesn’t water things down…she has a real gift for putting difficult concepts into terms that are simple enough for young children to grasp. Using her books together, I’ve seen my kids have several “a-ha” moments where they were able to clearly understand and articulate back to me truths that I didn’t fully understand until adulthood. This new set continues to follow that trend. They’re engaging and meaty, perfect for family or individual use. My nine year old is using them for his personal devotional time, but I plan to go through them to discuss as a family in the near future. I highly recommend both God’s Mighty Acts in Creation and God’s Mighty Acts in Salvation, and I’m hopeful there will possibly be more titles in the series!
Be sure to visit the Crossway blog to see what others are saying about this series and for news on the latest releases. Thanks to Angie Cheatham at Crossway for providing review copies to me. 
Don’t miss the rest of my Family Discipleship series to read about other resources our family has found helpful.

If you’d like to make sure not to miss future updates, you might want to consider subscribing by email or feed, and be sure to check out the new Home With Purpose Facebook page also!

Family Discipleship Part 12: Mealtime Moments (Family Bookshelf)

This week I want to mention a fun resource we’ve used off and on for years called Mealtime Moments and its sequel More Mealtime Moments. These little spiral-bound flip books are basically simple dinner table conversation starters for families. They don’t require any preparation at all and address multiple topics. Just flip open to any page and go!

Each page has a catchy title and “theme”. Progressing down the page, there’s a:
    Mealtime Moments #1 (Heritage Builders)

  • Mealtime Prayer: A short opening prayer
  • Appetizer: A question or thought to provoke thought/stir interest
  • Main Course: A Biblical  or other interesting fact 
  • Table Talk: A couple of questions or thoughts to get conversation flowing
  • Vitamins & Minerals: A related Bible verse
Here’s one example for you:

More Mealtime Moments (Heritage Builders)“Blinking Fireflies” 

Mealtime Prayer: Take turns telling your family members one thing that each has said or done recently that made you feel good or loved. Then say a prayer of thanks to God for giving you a loving family.

Appetizer: Everyone name at least three things that light up.

Main Course: God created many different kinds of fireflies. Each kind has its own special blink. Some blink green. Others blink yellow. Some blink fast. Some blink slow. Different kinds of fireflies recognize each other by the way they blink. If you were a firefly, what color would you like to blink? Would you be a fast blinker or a slow blinker? Why?

Table Talk:

  • The Bible says that Christians have ways of recognizing each other, too. How can you tell if someone is a Christian?
  • What things do you do or say that make it easy for others to know that you are following Jesus?
  • How can you “blink Christian” more clearly to your family? To others?

Vitamins & Minerals: “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16)

(More Mealtime Moments pg. 31)

We’ve had some fun and productive conversations prompted by these little books. Because of the format, they’re appropriate for a wide range of ages. Since we’ve got a pretty big age span here (almost eleven years from oldest to youngest), that’s a big plus for our family! It’s something that even the little ones can join in on. I also love that they’re so user-friendly and informal. Keep them near the dining table and you can easily grab one, flip through, pick anything that looks interesting, and jump in anytime you’d like.

Don’t miss the rest of my Family Discipleship series to read about other resources our family has found helpful.

If you’d like to make sure not to miss future updates, you might want to consider subscribing by email or feed, and be sure to check out the new Home With Purpose Facebook page also!

Linked with (Works For Me Wednesday)

Family Discipleship Part 11: Teaching Our Children God’s One Story

Teaching Children God's One Story (A Link)

I’m postponing the review I had planned for this week to share a link with you. If you’ve been following along in this Family Discipleship series, you’ll recall that not too long ago I wrote about The Big Picture Story Bible, which I’m using with my preschoolers right now. Well, earlier this week Justin Taylor posted a video of the author, David Helm, speaking on the story behind the creation of the book and family discipleship. I’m not able to embed the video here, so please go check it out on Justin’s blog. It’s apparently a talk he gave for seminary students, many of whom are also parents of young children. He briefly tells the story behind the creation of The Big Picture Story Bible and then opens the floor up for questions.

Yes, it’s long, but there’s some great stuff there. Watch it in 10 minute increments, like I did, if you have to. Here are a few highlights:

  • The first 12 minutes or so tell the story of how The Big Picture Story Bible was developed.
  • At about the 25 minute mark is an excellent explanation of the fact that “the Old Testament is not a collection of Aesop’s fables with a moral at the end…”, that it tells one big story of God’s redemption…yes, yes, yes…this is what I’ve been saying!
  • There’s a brief but great discussion of the goal of discipline…it’s not just about raising well-mannered, moral kids!
  • Around the 46 minute mark he offers suggestions for family devotions…there’s some excellent advice here.
  • Justin also includes several sample pages from The Big Picture Story Bible in pdf form: the Contents, Part 1: The Very Good Beginning, and Part 23: God’s Promise is Explained. Be sure to take a look at them.
The video is well worth your time. I encourage you to check it out.

I’ll leave you with this quote by Robert Louis Dabney that he shared:

The education of children for God is the most important business done on earth. It is the one business for which the earth exists. To it all politics, all war, all literature, all money making ought to be subordinated, and every parent especially ought to feel every hour of the day, that next to making his own calling and election sure, this is the end for which he is kept alive by God, this is his task on earth.

Don’t miss the rest of my Family Discipleship series:

If you’ve enjoyed this series, you might want to consider subscribing by email or feed, and be sure to check out the new Home With Purpose Facebook page also!

(Linked with Things I Love Thursday)

Family Discipleship: Celebrating the Biblical Feasts as Christians

Biblical Holidays 2

The Old Testament feasts find all their fulfillment in Christ, but they still have plenty to teach us.

Since today is the first day of the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), I thought it would be appropriate to discuss why our family observes the Jewish holy days and share my favorite resources for them.

The feasts were more than just rituals…they foreshadowed Christ. The early Christians didn’t forsake the feasts until a couple of centuries after Christ. It’s amazing how every detail of each holiday points to Jesus! Learning about and celebrating these days teaches us more about him and our Hebrew heritage. Of course, we must not be legalistic about observing the days. They’re simply a tangible reminder, a way to learn more about and worship God, remembering all He’s done for us in Christ and what he’s still going to do in the future.

This article sums it up well:

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Col. 2:16-17.

This passage refers to God’s Holy Days as shadows. When Jesus came the first time He fulfilled the first three holidays. This does not mean the days are now irrelevant, unnecessary, and should not be kept. Wedding anniversaries are not irrelevant, unnecessary. They are set times to remember a special day. We don’t mistake the anniversary as the reality of marriage. The anniversary is a symbol of the marriage. It can be a special time set aside to focus on the meaning of the marriage and maybe to speak of memories over the years. The anniversary is not a substitute for the marriage.

These are set apart special times to remember, to look ahead, and to look at our spiritual walk. The Holy Days and their observance, incorporating all five of our senses, give us a better understanding of God.

The Celebrations of the Bible children’s curriculum briefly outlines the feasts this way:

Rosh HaShanah—The Feast of Trumpets, teaches about Messiah’s return
Yom Kippur—The Day of Atonement, teaches about reconciliation between God and humanity
Sukkot—The Feast of Tabernacles, teaches about God’s dwelling with people
Hanukkah—The Feast of Dedication, teaches about commitment to God
Purim—The Feast of Esther, teaches about God when we can’t see him
Passover—The Feast of Unleavened Bread, teaches about God’s deliverance
Yom HaBikkurim—The Feast of Firstfruits, teaches about the resurrection of the dead
Shavuot—The Feast of Weeks/Pentecost, teaches about the “birthday of the Body”

We’ve used several resources over the years:

  • A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays: This fantastic resource is 600+ pages! It covers the historical and spiritual purposes of each day, has Bible studies to go along with each one, not to mention a multitude of activities, crafts, recipes, games, and songs. It’s set up so that it can be used as a year-long unit study for homeschoolers, but the format is designed where you can easily pick and choose ideas without doing it all. Many excerpt are available at the website. If you only get one thing, this should be the one!
  • Celebrating Biblical Feasts: In Your Home or Church by Martha Zimmerman is another great resource. She carefully explains each feast from a New Testament perspective and gives detailed instructions on how to observe each one. 
  • Celebrations of the Bible: A Messianic Children’s Curriculum: Simple and straightforward, this little curriculum set put out by Messianic Jewish Resources, presents each holiday for Preschool (2–K), Primary (Grades 1–3), Junior (Grades 4–6), and Children’s Worship/Special Services. The reproducibles are great. We’ve also purchased other items, like a passover seder plate and Hannukah menorah from them.
  • Walk With Y’Shua Through the Jewish Year: A fantastic resource for older kids. It includes background information, a “Digging Deeper” section with personal application, an “Exploring Scripture” section with a brief Bible study, an explanation of current traditions, ideas for celebration, and a memory verse for each holiday. Excellent!

Jewish Feasts Resources

Learning the history behind the feasts, seeing how all the details point to the Messiah, and celebrating them as a family has been a very rewarding experience for us.

I encourage you to give it a try! You can be as elaborate or as simple as you’d like. Sometimes we simply discuss the history and significance of the holiday briefly and maybe color a page. Other times we have a full blown celebration, making traditional dishes, playing games, etc. The resources I’ve mentioned will give you a wealth of ideas. Do what works for you!

Happy Jewish New Year!

Have you ever celebrated any of the Jewish feasts with your family?

Don’t miss the rest of my Family Discipleship series:

Family Discipleship Part 9: What’s In the Bible? DVDs

If you’ve been following my Family Discipleship series, you’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again…

I’m a huge fan of teaching children the unified theme…the “big picture” of the Bible…rather than a collection of seemingly disconnected stories.

(And on that note, check out this awesome PDF on “Gospel-Centered Children’s Curriculum”…it’s well worth reading!)

Any resource that does that is worth considering…including the new What’s in the Bible? DVDs put out by Phil Vischer of Veggietales fame. This new series will go from Genesis straight through to Revelation in thirteen episodes, teaching what the Bible is, what’s in it, and why it matters. I initially ordered the first three DVDs, In the BeginningLet My People Go!, and Wanderin’ in the Desert with my two youngest (four and one) in mind, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that my older two (twelve and nine) enjoy them just as much!

Silly? Of course.

Corny? Absolutely.

But I’m so impressed with the way these DVDs express complex historical and theological topics not usually addressed for children.

Silly characters and skits like the blue-haired Sunday School Lady, stuffy Buck Denver the newscaster, and “The Pirate’s Guide to Church History”, cover such topics as how we got the Biblical canon, what we mean when we say the Bible is “inspired”, and what the purpose of all those Old Testament rules and regulations was. These seemingly silly videos are very meaty in content!

I’ll let creator Phil Vischer tell what he’s trying to do in his own words in the following clip:


And here’s a sample clip:


In the BeginningIn the Beginning covers what the Bible is, how it’s put together, who wrote the Bible, and how the first part of Genesis sets the stage for everything to come.

Let My People Go!Let My People Go! explains who chose the books in the Bible, what salvation is (including words like “salvation” and “redemption”), and how God launched his big rescue plan in the second half of Genesis.

Wanderin' in the DesertWanderin’ in the Desert contains “Don’t lie, don’t cheat…don’t TRIM YOUR BEARD?”, which explains why God gave all those rules and which ones still apply today, explains the Pentatuach, and covers Israel’s 40-year “time-out”.

DVD #4, which will go through Judges and the book of Ruth, is due out in early October, and DVD #5, covering Samuel, Saul, David, and Solomon, is due out next spring. There’s also a Sunday School curriculum being released in November.

Our family has thoroughly enjoyed the first three DVDs and we plan to collect the rest as they come out. I highly recommend them!  This three volume set at CBD is the best price I’ve found on them.

Don’t miss the rest of my Family Discipleship series:

  • Part 1: A Review of Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham
  • Part 2: The Jesus Storybook Bible–NOT Your Typical Children’s Bible 
  • Part 3: The Lightlings and The Prince’s Poison Cup
  • Part 4: The Church History ABCs
  • Part 5: The Big Picture Story Bible
  • Part 6: Grandpa’s Box: Retelling the Biblical Story of Redemption
  • Part 7: Training Hearts, Teaching Minds: Family Devotions Based on the Shorter Catechism
  • Part 8: Prayer Resources

  • If you’ve enjoyed this series, you might want to consider subscribing by email or feed, and be sure to check out the new Home With Purpose Facebook page also!

    (Linked with Things I Love Thursday)