My Favorite Children’s Books & Bibles

Need gift ideas for your children that will make a difference?

Here are my favorite books:

Everything a Child Should Know about God

 

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden

 

The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross

 

The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross

Laferton, Carl; Echeverri, Catalina

 

God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies

I Am: 40 Reasons to Trust God 

Visual Theology: Seeing and Understanding the Truth about God

Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers 4 Book Set

My favorite Bibles for children:

The Big Picture Story Bible (Redesign)

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name

The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook: Connecting Christ Throughout God’s Story (The Gospel Project)

Nov 15, 2013

by B&H Editorial Staff

The Big Picture Interactive Bible for Kids: Connecting Christ Throughout God’s Story (The Gospel Project)

Mar 1, 2014

by B&H Editorial Staff and Heath McPherson

I Must LIVE What I TEACH

As parents, Bible teachers, or leaders, we must “practice what we preach” or LIVE what we TEACH. And honestly, it is much easier to TEACH it than to LIVE it!

How can I live what I teach? On my own, I cannot. I need God’s help every day.  Just like an army prepares for battle, so should I prepare for the spiritual battle that awaits to defeat me every day. This is not a battle against flesh, but against Satan.

Continue reading →

Why Do Bad Things Happen?

Why do bad things happen to good people? Good question – and the Bible has a great answer.  Before we find it, let’s first look at why God created us in the first place.

Isaiah 43:7 says, everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”

And Revelation 4:11 says, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
    and by your will they existed and were created.”

He created us for His glory.  He is worthy of our glory and honor. 

So, then why is there sin?  And why do bad things happen?  Believe it or not, The Bible tells us it is the reason God created us!  Continue reading →

Called to Serve

First of all, who is “called” to serve in the local church? Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is called to serve. If you are part of the family of God, you have something to give.

Who “calls” us to serve? God does. As believers, we receive God-given gifts for building up the body of Christ. The pastor receives the gift of Teaching or Wisdom; the coffee bar and greeters have the gift of Hospitality;and KidZone Children’s team may have the gift of Shepherding, Evangelism, Faith, or Service.

A spiritual gift is an expression of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers which empowers them to serve the body of Christ, the church.  -Gene Wilkes

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Power Tool #2: Scripture (part 2 of 2)

Power Tool #2: Scripture

God is continually teaching me the value of setting time aside for Bible reading. I read Christian blogs, articles, books, Bible lessons, and family devotions but God wants me to simply read His Word and listen to Him speak to me.

2 Timothy 3:16-17; All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Thessalonians 2:15; So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

When we saturate ourselves in God’s Word, it naturally flows through our minds, off our tongues, and into our actions. The Bible is central to growing as a disciple of Christ. Get into God’s Word. God’s Word is a constant guide and “power tool” for building up lifelong followers of Him.

Power Tool #1: Prayer (part 1 of 2)

According to Gallup polls, more Americans will pray this week than will exercise, drive a car, or go to work. 90% say they pray regularly, and three out of four claim to pray every day.

Is prayer important to you? How often do you pray? 
 Do you find prayer satisfying? 
Do you sense the presence of God when you pray?

Why Should We Pray?
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Joy vs Happiness

Happiness comes from our circumstances, would you agree?  Joy is not dependent on circumstances, and ironically, can become strongest when trouble comes. In Psalms we are reminded of the joy that comes when we rest in God’s presence:

You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. — Psalm 16:11

I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. — John 15:1

Take a look at happiness vs joy according to Randy Frazee:

• Happiness is a state of mind, while joy is a mind-set.
• Happiness comes and goes, while joy can be constant.
• Happiness is dependent, while joy is independent.
• Happiness is conditional, while joy is unconditional.

Continue reading →

Obedience

Obedience. Have you ever thought about obeying God being an act of worship?

What exactly does it mean to obey God? Is it checking off the boxes next to the 10 commandments?

God’s love for us is not based on our actions or effort but on His goodness. 1 John 4 explains that love is not about us loving God, but about Him loving us and sending Jesus.

1 John 4:7 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

When we realize and understand God’s grace, we respond out of a love for Him and all He has done for us.

Obedience to God, through the Holy Spirit, and to His Word, provides us with the opportunity to “walk in obedience to his commands”.

Our “Scripture Verse of the Year” for our KidZone children’s ministry is

2 John 1:6 “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”

In this way, obedience is also an act of worship, for when we “walk in love” we demonstrate our love for Him.

1 Peter 1:14-16 ESV
14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

How To Talk To Your Kids About Tragedy

This is an excellent blog post by Mark Harper from SuperChurch.com 

  It’s hard to believe.
Another terrorist attack happened in Brussels, Belgium at the International Airport and a Subway Station.
Lives were lost and many injured in these attacks.
We all understand the importance of protecting the innocence of children, especially young children.
Today, the innocence of hundreds of children was destroyed, as they came face to face with evil.
My heart is broken for the parents who lost kids today.
No parent should ever have to see his or her children die.
My heart also aches for the kids who are still alive, that lost their childhood.
How do we move on from here?
How do we talk to kids about such a senseless tragedy?
As a pastor my ministry to parents and leaders in churches, so I am going to talk to both groups of people.

For Parents:
Children Under 7 years old…
If your children are under 7, do not say anything to them. Do not listen to the news with young children in the room. Protect their innocence. If they ask questions answer their questions in the simplest way possible.

Children 7 – 12 years of age
Grade School children are going to hear what happened from their friends at school. It’s best if they hear it from you first.
Tell your children simply and directly what happened. If this is too difficult, put on the news for ten minutes and then turn it off.
It’s likely the first concern that your son or daughter will have is for their own safety. Reassure them that the people that carried out this attack are going to be dealt with by the police.
Look up scriptures in the Bible that deal with fear. (1 John 4:4, 2 Timothy 1:7) Let them know that you get afraid sometimes and when you do you say these scriptures and keep saying them until the fear goes away.
Love on your kids. Give them hugs. If they start to cry let them know it’s okay to cry, but if they don’t cry that’s okay. Don’t try to make them cry.
Keep your routines. Children thrive on consistency. If you have a hockey game or a birthday party to go to, then go to it. It’s okay to have fun and feel normal again.
Pray for the families at affected by the Brussels attack together.

Teenagers 13 – 18-years old
Listen more and lecture less. They may just want to talk to you. They may have some difficult questions. If you know the answer to their question, answer them. If you don’t know the answer it’s okay to say, “I don’t know why this happened.”
Here are the most frequent questions and how I answer them:
1.Why did this happen?
Answer: I don’t know.
2.Why did God let his happen?
Answer: God had nothing to do with it.
3.Why didn’t God stop the attackers?
Answer: God does not control us. He tells us the right thing to do, but He lets us make the choice to follow His will.

Continue reading →

Disciple-Making: Prayer

Look to any profession and you’ll find essential tools needed to effective.  What tool is needed to do the job well?
Hairstylists need…
Accountants need….
Mechanics need…
KidZone leaders need…
Moms and dads need…

So, what are some of the tools needed when it comes to being a lifelong disciple of Christ?

  1. Prayer
  2. Scripture
  3. Worship
  4. Fellowship
  5. Service

Continue reading →