Imagination Station Book Set Winner!

Congratulations to Lynn in comment #8 for winning a set of the first six Adventures in Odyssey Imagination Station books! I know her family will enjoy them! Lynn, I’ll be contacting you by email soon to arrange to have the books shipped to you. Thanks so much to everyone for participating and spreading the word! I hope everyone else will check these books out too.

Give Them Grace {GIVEAWAY WINNER}

Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus
Congrats to Kari on comment #20 on the original giveaway and review post for winning a copy of Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick!

To the rest of you….I HIGHLY recommend you get your hands on a copy of this excellent book! It’s a must-read for all Christian parents!

Thanks for the birthday wishes…it was a great one! And thanks again to Crossway for generously providing review and giveaway copies of Give Them Grace.

Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus: A MUST-HAVE Parenting Resource!

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Today is my birthday! To celebrate, I want to give away a copy of one of the best, if not THE best, book on parenting and discipline I’ve ever read…and I’ve read a bunch!

Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson is a true treasure.

I’ve always been a researcher. When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, I read everything I could get my hands on about pregnancy and birth. When I decided to homeschool, I did the same. It’s just how I operate. In my 13 years as a parent, I’ve read literally dozens of books on parenting, discipline, and so on, and I must say that Give Them Grace stands out from them all!

This book truly represents a paradigm shift in how we approach obedience and discipline with our kids. If you’ve read Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life by Elyse Fitzpatrick, you’ll recognize the concepts of gospel indicatives and imperatives and applying the truths of the gospel to every situation in our lives. In a nutshell, Give Them Grace takes these same gospel principles and applies them to parenting.

We’re all legalists at heart. Even if we grasp the principles of the gospel in other areas of our lives, we tend to resort to performance-based, rules-driven parenting. The problem is, our children will respond to this the same way we respond to the law without grace:

Most of us are painfully aware that we’re not perfect parents. We’re also deeply grieved that we don’t have perfect kids. But the remedy to our mutual imperfections isn’t more law, even if it seems to produce tidy or polite children. Christian children (and their parents) don’t need to learn to be “nice.” They need death and resurrection and a Savior who has gone before them as a faithful high priest, who was a child himself, and who lived and died perfectly in their place. They need a Savior who extends the offer of complete forgiveness, total righteousness, and indissoluble adoption to all who will believe. This is the message we all need. We need the gospel of grace and the grace of the gospel. Children can’t use the law any more than we can, because they will respond to it the same way we do. They’ll ignore it or bend it or obey it outwardly for selfish purposes, but this one thing is certain: they won’t obey it from the heart, because they can’t. That’s why Jesus had to die. (p. 17)

It’s the premise of this book that the primary reason the majority of kids from Christian homes stray from the faith is that they never really heard it to begin with. They were taught that God wants them to be good, that poor Jesus is sad when they disobey, and that asking Jesus into their heart is the breadth and depth of the gospel message.  (p. 18)

Our children need to understand that the gospel is so much more than just a set of facts to believe in order to be saved, it’s the fuel for all of life! We communicate this, not through more rules, but by applying the truths of the gospel to every situation…by “giving them grace”, not law.

Granted, this requires humility and transparency that may make some parents uncomfortable. But the mother-daughter team of Fitzpatrick and Johnson skillfully navigate parents through the process with uncommon graciousness and insight. They freely discuss their own mistakes, the appropriate use of rules and different disciplinary measures, and common scenarios we may face. Every page is saturated with practical, grace and gospel filled words of wisdom!

For example, I really appreciated the discussion of prodigals and pharisees in chapter 4. The authors use the familiar story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 to illustrate that our children (and we!) may most identify with either son. The “younger brother” types struggle to obey while the “older brother” types are rule-keepers (represented by David and Susan in the following quote). Both desperately need Jesus:

So, how can we teach our children to rejoice in God’s generous mercy and love? We know that we need to train them in rules for obedience; that’s obvious. But how can we teach them about something so outside the norm, such as God’s joy in being merciful to sinners?
The first way we do that is to see and confess our propensity to live like one of the two sons. Confess to your David that you, too, break the rules and that you always justify yourself for doing so. Alternately, confess to Susan that you, too, love to rely on the rules and to feel superior to others. 

Being specific about the ways you are simultaneously proud and disobedient will help your children understand that the gospel is for sinners. The gospel is not good news to those who pride themselves on their hard work. It is infuriating news. But it is good news to younger-brother types who are tempted to turn away from the faith early on because they don’t think that the gospel is for sinners. They think it is for good people who like being “gooder.”

Consistent, transparent, and specific confession of sin will help children see how their parents struggle with sin in the same ways that they do. This dynamic is especially important if there is a highly successful elder-brother type in the home. Teaching David that he and Susan and Mom and Dad are all lost, all sick, all in need of salvation is so very crucial, whereas saying things like, ‘Why can’t you be more like Susan?’ obliterates the gospel message. It tells David that there is something intrinsically wrong with him that isn’t wrong with Susan. It destroys his hope of ever hearing God’s benediction of goodness over his life. It breeds unbelief and despair. And, it is false.

God finds great joy in welcoming dirty, starving Davids to his table. And because they feel their lostness so keenly, they may more easily recognize their need for the Rescuer. Their lives are usually messier and more dramatic, but they’re also more authentic and can be greatly used by the Lord because they know they’ve been forgiven for so much. 

As much as David needs to hear about your struggle with sin, Susan needs it even more. She’s usually the parent pleaser who honestly enjoys making you happy and thinks that your happiness and God’s are analagous. What she desperately needs to realize is that her parents are deeply sinful, even though the gospel has made them love holiness. Specific confession of pride, judging, criticism, envy, and selfish ambition will help Susan understand her own propensities to fail in the same ways, while praising Susan for being a ‘good girl’ will breed toxic pride in her heart. It will teach her that she isn’t all that bad. She won’t recognize her need for the Rescuer, although she may say that she’s a Christian. What does Susan need to hear? She needs to hear that her desire to prove her own worthiness is one of the greatest hindrances to faith that she’ll ever face. (p. 71-72)

I can certainly see this dynamic at work in our family. We have children who fit into each category and it’s so easy to let the rule-keeper slide and crack down on the rule-breaker! Not to mention, we as parents can respond to our kids both as lazy prodigals and demanding Pharisees, often in the same day, as this chapter goes on to discuss.

Each chapter ends with a short section titled “Remembering God’s Grace”, containing several thought-provoking application questions. An appendix lists specific, common problems parents face, such as lying, disobedience, blame-shifting, etc. and clearly outlines how to address them with the gospel.

If we want more than just outwardly obedient, well-behaved children, then they must grasp the magnitude of the gospel, which means that the gospel must transform our parenting!  Give Them Grace is a not-to-be-missed resource for Christian parents…and Crossway has graciously provided a copy for me to give to one of you!

The giveaway is now closed, so hop on over to Amazon for your copy of this must-read! 🙂

Here’s how to enter:

  • Check out the book details at Crossway, then leave a comment telling me what appeals to you about it.
  • Subscribe to Home With Purpose using Google Connect (in my sidebar), Feedburner, Networked Blogs, or by email.
  • Like the Home With Purpose Facebook page.
  • Post about the giveaway on your Facebook page.
  • Tweet about the giveaway. Here’s a sample tweet you could use: “Free copy of @GiveThemGrace by @ElyseFitz an essential resource 4 every parent! #Giveaway by @KmamaTX & @CrosswayBooks: http://bit.ly/nSgoaF
  • Display my button on your blog’s sidebar.
Each action is worth one entry, meaning you can enter up to six times. Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry!
The giveaway will be open until next Wednesday, July 13th, at 11:59 PM CDT.
If you just can’t wait to dive in, you can order a copy from Amazon.

Thank you so much to Crossway for providing both review and giveaway copies of the book!

 

What’s in the Bible Volume 5: Israel Gets A King! Review and {GIVEAWAY} (Family Discipleship)

I’ve mentioned the What’s in the Bible series several times, and even reviewed the first three volumes several months back. I’m highly impressed with these videos and their content! They teach children the story of the Bible just the way I think it should be done: as one big story of redemption from Genesis to Revelation (“God’s rescue plan” as they call it in the DVDs). So, I’m excited to have been invited to be part of the What’s in the Bible Street Team, to help get the word out about the series and promote the new volumes as they come out.

Volume 5: Israel Gets a King has just hit the shelves! The two 25 minute episodes cover 1 and 2 Samuel and the first chapters of 1 Kings, which includes King Saul, King David, and King Solomon’s reigns. Along the way, we learn what a prophet is, discuss the doctrine of the Trinity, and learn what the word “repentance” means.

Just as with the first four volumes, our entire family loved this one! I had originally thought I would buy the series mainly for my younger two (5 and 2), but my older two (12 and 10) enjoy them just as much! Even my husband and I enjoy the humor and appreciate the way complex theological concepts are put in simple terms. Each volume has sparked more discussion in our family about the events and concepts covered.

Phil Vischer

This volume has the silliness you’d expect from Veggietales creator Phil Vischer, and the mix of animation, puppets, live interaction with Phil, and clips of real kids discussing the story, keeps interest levels high! My two year old was bopping along to all of the songs. The unanimous favorite, as usual, was the summary by the Fabulous Bentley Brothers! The idea that Saul “went to the Dark Side” was a big hit with this family of Star Wars fans! I loved the contrast of Saul and David’s reaction to their sin and the discussion of forgiveness and consequences. And, with the cliffhanger ending, we’re looking forward even more anxiously to the release of Volume 6!

Once again, Phil Vischer and team have hit it out of the park! I’m eager to get my hands on the next 8 volumes and have a complete set! If you have kids anywhere in the age range of toddler all the way up to junior high, don’t miss this series!

As a member of the official street team, I have the privilege of giving a copy of the brand-new Volume Five away to one of my readers! I’m offering multiple chances to win. For each of the following that you do, leave a separate comment on this post. Each one counts as one entry:

  • Leave a comment telling me what appeals to you about the series and how you’d use the DVD.
  • Subscribe to Home With Purpose using Google Connect (in my sidebar), Feedburner, Networked Blogs, or by email.
  • Like the Home With Purpose Facebook page.
  • Post about the giveaway on your Facebook page.
  • Tweet about the giveaway.
  • Display my button on your blog’s sidebar.

I’ll leave the giveaway open until midnight next Wednesday, May 11, and will draw a winner at random.

Thanks so much to Tyndale for the review and giveaway copies!

    Unplanned DVD Review & {GIVEAWAY} + United for LIFE Webcast Invitation!

    I’m blessed to have been asked to participate in the Unplanned DVD blog tour to promote the new documentary about Abby Johnson, former director of Planned Parenthood. Defending the lives of tiny, helpless, preborn babies is an issue that is near and dear to me.

    I’ve never personally experienced the trauma of abortion, but I have experienced the loss of four of my preborn children. In three pregnancies, I watched my little ones squirm on the ultrasound screen with strong heartbeats, only to see them still and silent at the next checkup. In another, I was induced to deliver my little girl who had become entangled in her cord at just six months gestation. My husband and I held her all day long. She was absolutely perfect, all 10.5 inches of her, from the peach fuzz on her tiny head down to her teeny-tiny fingernails and toenails. All my babies have looked very similar as newborns, and when I received the photos we’d had done of her, it was a bit startling to realize that if I hadn’t known better, it would’ve been easy to think it was a photo of one of her living siblings as a newborn, sleeping peacefully. She was a miniature carbon copy of them.

    So, I tend to have little patience with those who try to argue that the baby “isn’t a life” or “isn’t a person” until birth. I’ve held my tiny, perfect, fully-formed daughter, who was born at a point when many, many abortions occur, in my arms, and seen the proof of her humanity and development. She was not just “tissue” or “the products of conception.”  She was a fully developed, tiny human being with every system in place and functioning. She still had maturing and growing to do in order to survive on her own, but so does a full-term newborn! A newborn is just as incapable of surviving on it’s own as a preborn baby…the only difference is location! Argue that the woman’s life takes precedence over the baby’s if you like, but don’t try to tell me that the baby isn’t alive or isn’t a person!

    The hour-long Unplanned documentary, based on the book by the same name, recounts Abby’s background, interviewing her parents and college roommate and showing family photos. Abby recounts her first painful experience with abortion and her subsequent involvement with Planned Parenthood, starting as a volunteer to walk patients from their vehicles to the door, and eventually becoming the clinic director. She was confused by the kindness shown by some of the pro-life sidewalk counselors outside the clinic, and horrified by the callous behavior of other protestors, but determined to support and help women in crisis.

    After 8 years working for Planned Parenthood, Abby decided to walk away from it all after she was asked to assist in an abortion procedure using ultrasound. What she saw during that procedure affected her dramatically and, coupled with her growing dissatisfaction over the way the corporation was running the business, compelled her to leave. Not knowing where to turn, she went to the local Coalition for Life office and some of the sidewalk counselors she had interacted with over the years. Abby never intended to go public with her story, but when Planned Parenthood promptly sued her, their allegations forced her to share her experiences, reluctantly entering the spotlight. Not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood’s accusations were found to have no merit.

    Abby’s story is dramatic. Throughout the documentary, she’s very open and candid about her feelings and experiences. She’s in a unique position to speak to this issue, having seen it from all sides: first as a young woman in crisis who used Planned Parenthood’s services, then as a volunteer and later clinic director, and finally as an advocate for the preborn. Her insight into the thoughts and motivations of each is authentic and personal.

    I was disgusted at the actions of some of the pro-life protestors. How on earth does dressing as the grim reaper, shouting insults, and holding up gruesome signs help the cause? Thankfully, they’re in the minority, but unfortunately it only takes a few to give all pro-life activists a bad name.  On the other hand, I really enjoyed the interviews and footage of the peaceful sidewalk counselors and Coalition for Life personnel. They truly embodied how we should approach this difficult issue.

    I encourage you to watch the trailer and sign up to join the Unite for LIFE webcast on May 17 at 8 p.m. (all time zones)! The webcast is free and will feature Abby Johnson live, discussing her desire to help women in crisis and her current work to defend life. The book and DVD will be available to purchase as a package deal and 33% of each purchase will go to crisis pregnancy centers like CareNet, the National Institute of Family & Life Advocates, and Heartbeat International.

    I’m also happy to be able to offer a copy of the DVD to one of my readers! I’m offering multiple chances to win. For each of the following that you do, leave a separate comment on this post. Each one counts as one entry:

    • Leave a comment telling me why you’d like to win the DVD.
    • Subscribe to Home With Purpose using Google Connect (in my sidebar), Feedburner, Networked Blogs, or by email.
    • Like the Home With Purpose Facebook page.
    • Post about the giveaway on your Facebook page.
    • Tweet about the giveaway.
    • Display my button on your blog’s sidebar.

    I’ll leave the giveaway open until midnight next Monday, May 9, and will draw a winner at random.

    Thanks so much to Tyndale for providing the review and giveaway copies of the DVD and inviting me to help promote the Unite for LIFE webcast!

    Paws & Tales: God Cares for You DVD Review & GIVEAWAY!!

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    **UPDATE: Comment #6, Traci Best, is the winner of the Paws & Tales DVD! Congrats, Traci!***

    I recently received a copy of God Cares for You: Bible Wisdom for Kids, part of Chuck Swindoll’s Paws & Tales series, from Tyndale to watch with my kids.

    “Paws and Tales” is a series based on the nationally broadcast radio program presented by Chuck Swindoll’s Insight for Living. The videos communicate biblical truth and show kids how they can apply it to real life:

    “Paws & Tales is an exciting tool for helping build godly character into kids…Kids will be captivated by the adventure, caught up in the laughter, and carried away in the fun . . . and the whole time they’ll be on their way to understanding solid Bible theology.” 

    This DVD contains two episodes, along with music videos and extra features you can access on your computer.

    “The Good Shepherd”, based on Psalm 23, illustrates how God is our shepherd and draws parallels between us and the sheep as the C.J. and Ned spend some time helping a shepherd and learn just what’s involved in caring for the sheep. The focus of the episode, though, is not about the helplessness of the sheep, but the capacity of the shepherd. “

    “A Good Foundation” illustrates the results of building on a poor foundation as the friends try to build a treehouse for themselves. Without a plan, their treehouse falls apart. When it comes to our faith, the Bible contains the only plan that we can trust, and God is the “firm foundation”, the “rock” of our lives.

    My kids’ reaction

    My four and two year old both really enjoyed the DVD. My four year old, Peanut, enjoyed both shows but “A Good Foundation” was her favorite. Marsha the Moose was her favorite character. She really enjoyed the interaction between the friends and Paw Paw Chuck. In “The Good Shepherd”, she thought it was really gross when the sheep choked and the shepherd had to help her. She never knew being a shepherd was so hard. She thinks it’s neat that Jesus takes care of us just like a shepherd takes care of his sheep.

    My thoughts

    I have to admit I was initially skeptical, but I was pleasantly surprised! I like how the shows attempt to do more than just teach a morality lesson…they try to communicate truths about the character of God at a kids’ level. David Carl, the Creative Director, says:

    “I believe that even elementary-school-aged children are capable of learning theology. Actually, kids that age have been learning it all along. They can’t help it. Every day a child must somehow make sense out of a complicated and sometimes chaotic world. By the time kids reach third grade, they have already developed a notion of the world around them and, therefore, some understanding of the kind of God who made it-assuming they have been taught there is a God…My goal with Paws & Tales is tot teach that God is in control, has a plan, and loves His children very much…I want to help kids build a foundation of solid theology at an early age so they can avoid having to rebuild from a shaky foundation that was built on bad theology.” 

    The animal characters and music are a bit corny, but the story is entertaining and the message is well done. There’s more substance than simply a biblical morality tale here.  I’m also impressed with the extra resources on the DVD and at the Paws and Tales website. There are fun games to play featuring the characters from the shows, online episodes to watch, and worksheets to download and print to go along with each show. I really appreciate the “Director’s Notes” and “Questions for Cubs”…they offer an opportunity to go further with the message of the show and it’s application.

    Based on the two episodes in this DVD along with the extra resources available, I’m impressed! I look forward to checking out more episodes. For more information, visit www.pawsandtalesgames.com or www.tyndale.com.

    Do you think your kids might enjoy watching? Tyndale has generously offered to give a DVD to one of my readers! I’m offering multiple ways to win:

    • Leave a comment on this post telling me why you’d like to win a copy of God Cares for You: Bible Wisdom for Kids
    • Subscribe to Home With Purpose by Feedburner or Google Friend Connect (in my sidebar).
    • “Like” Home With Purpose on Facebook.
    • Post about this giveaway on your Facebook page, Twitter, or blog and send me a link.
    Leave a separate comment below for each of these you do. Entries will be accepted until midnight next Monday, the 28th. I’ll pick a winner at random to receive a voucher that can be redeemed at their local store for a copy of the DVD.
    Good luck!

    Thank you to Tyndale for providing a review copy of the DVD for me and a copy to give away!