This brings me back to working on the CSUF campus with the two year olds. As nap time drew near, they'd be eating lunch and occasionally start falling asleep while they were eating their food! It's so fun to watch! This baby finally makes a safe landing on his brother. Enjoy!
Recently I talked about some growing ideas of mine on what Children’s Ministry is. The more I read from God’s word, listen to wise speakers, and read books, I see God’s plan for families, I see that he has ordained the perfect place for children to grow in the fear of the Lord and to treasure Christ.
Right now I am loving this book called “The Duties of Parents” by J.C. Ryle. It’s a very short book (about 40 pages) and is loaded with a ton of truth in very simple chapters. It was written in 1860 so be prepared for lots of “fancied” this and “fancied” that. J Concerning explaining children the benefit of going to church together as a family with God’s people he says:
“Tell them the duty and privilege of going to the house of God, and joining in the prayers of the congregation….Tell them of the importance of hearing the Word preached, and that it is God’s ordinance for converting, sanctifying, and building up the souls of men. Tell them how the Apostle Paul enjoins us not “to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, and the manner of some is” (Heb 10:25); but to exhort one another, to stir one another up to it, and so much more as we see the day approaching…
“What I like to see is a whole family sitting together, old and young, side by side,-men, women, and children, serving God according to their households…
And just like there is reasoning today that children cannot understand what the Pastor, there was the same reasoning in 1860 as well…
“But there are some who say that it is useless to urge children to attend means of grace, because they cannot understand them. I would not have you listen to such reasoning. I find no such doctrine in the Old Testament. When Moses goes before Pharoh (Ex. 10:9), I observe he says, “We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters; for must hold a feast unto the Lord.” When Joshua read the law (Josh 8: 35), I observe, “There was not a word which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with women and little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.”
“Samuel, in the days of his childhood, appears to have ministered unto the Lord some time before he really knew Him. “Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him” (1 Sam. 3:7)”
Well I’ll let J.C. Ryle finish off the post for me:
“Parents, comfort your minds with these examples. Be not cast down because your children see not the full value of the means of grace now. Only train them up to a habit of regular attendance. Set it before their minds as a high, holy, and solemn duty, and believe me, the day will very likely come when they will bless you for your deed.”
(In writing this post my only aim was 1 particular issue: Seeing the value in having your children in the service with you, explaining that to them, and being encouraged that even Samuel served the Lord not yet knowing him-and he became a priest! Going to church will not be the only way a child comes to know the Lord. This post is a small sub-point on a much larger topic which is the title of Ryle’s book “The Duties of a Parent” Get a free copy of the book here.)
Of course I start something new for my monday posts and then miss the very next Monday! So heres the post that I missed for Monday. Hope you get a kick out of these kids. The rest of the Trigon commercials with the kids are pretty cute too!
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Over the past few months I’ve really been having this overwhelming passion to share the gospel with children. As I’ve prayed God’s opened some doors. The teacher I work with, Amy, asked me to do the Bible Curriculum this year! Also, I’ve been learning more about the vision of the Children’s Ministry at my own church.
So what is Children’s Ministry? Is it Sunday School? Is it youth group?
Regrettably, I sometimes get this icky feeling that parents want Sunday school teachers and their children’s Christian Schools to teach them the Gospel and so I try to pray. “Lord, may no parent bring their child to us, thinking we will take care of their spiritual life.” That sort of thinking really scares me.
In relation to these thoughts, I’ve been skimming through this book called “Generation to Generation” by Wayne Rice. I’m going to some kind of seminar on it, so I thought I’d check it out beforehand. The beginning of it gave some really good things to think about. Here’s a few:
…According to a study conducted in 2007, 70% of young adult ages 23 to 30 say they stopped attending churches between the ages of 18 and 22…
..researcher Ed Stetzer noted: ‘There is no easy way to say it, but it must be said. Parents are not passing on a robust Christian faith and an accompanying commitment to the church…[We] have to ask the hard questions, ‘what is it about our faith commitment that does not find root in the lives of our children?”
…The National Study of Youth and Religion, the largest, most comprehensive study on the religious and spiritual lives of American youth to date, was conducted by the University of North Carolina to determine who or what has the greatest influence on the formation of adolescent faith and values. Christian Smith, one of the study researchers, came to this conclusion: “Contrary to popular misguided cultural stereotypes and frequent parental misconceptions…the evidence clearly shows that the single most important social influence on the religious and spiritual lives of adolescents is their parents.”
Some very interesting quotes there. If you were a Christian in high school, then you can totally relate to the first quote. All the people you thought were “on-fire” seemed not to be quite so on-fire anymore. Concerning the second quote: yes, clearly there’s something missing. Why has the faith of parents not taken root in children’s lives? Another good question I would add is, “are children’s Sunday schools and Youth Groups really passing on that robust faith? Is it even their responsibility?” To the 3rd quote I say, University of North Carolina is only echoing what Deuteronomy 6: 6-9 calls parents to do: teach The Word diligently.
So is Sunday School going to do the trick? No it simply won’t. Will Christian Schools or homeschooling do the trick? It won’t. Parents teaching God’s word to children diligently will keep a generation loving and treasuring Christ, the overflow of that will be a generation loving the Church.
So what’s children’s Ministry? Teaching children to love and treasure Christ? Nope. Teaching parents how to do that with their children is the key here- that is Children’s Ministry. After all, according the University of North Carolina they do have “single most important social influence” on their children ;) wink. wink.
Last week I shared with my preschoolers the story of God creating the world & man. One of the themes I wanted to emphasis in the story is God’s power. So I talked about how we can’t create things by talking. We talked about the things we have to do if we’d like a cake; buy the ingredients, mix them, bake it, etc, etc. We, then talked about how God didn’t have to do all those things when he created everything. God simply spoke and it came to be. Because I work at a preschool, I get to tell the same story everyday. That’s a real blessing b/c by the end of the week they’ve really got God’s story down.
Anyways, at the end of the Creation Story I’d ask them what they see on the flannel board (yes, people still use those). They would reply: “birds, dolphins, the sun, the moon, etc.” I would then ask, “Who made those things?” They usually all said “God” [occasionally I got a “Jesus” (though, that wouldn’t be wrong)]. Then I’d proceed to ask “HOW did God make those things?” At first it worried me, because I got a ton of blank stares, but by the end of the week they were all saying “he talked” (or again I occasionally got a “he speeaked”). Then we’d talk about how God is powerful and strong and that we humans could never just make something by talking.
One particular day, I was especially amazed at one of the girls who really understood the story. We were talking about the class turtle, so of course I asked, “Who made all the turtles?” She said, “God did.” Again, I asked “HOW did he make the turtles?” And this was her answer “Of the power of his words.” I don’t think I ever particularly phrased it that way…but she totally got that God’s words are full of power. I could have cried! Praise God for little people to know God’s power!
Okay so I think it will help me to be more consistent here if I have 1 or 2 things that I do each week. So I'm deciding my monday post wills be lighthearted and fun! Most of the time it will include children's quotes, videos, etc. But who knows maybe occasionally it will be something else. Here's one video I saw on the news a couple of months ago.
It's amazing how much little ones can pick up from watching people! I believe God did that on purpose :)
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As I’ve been reading Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware, the past couple of days I haven’t been able to get over God’s complete self-sufficiency. It’s mind-blowing to me. Think about this:
“ Because God has life in himself, this also means that God has everything that he needs for his life in himself. After all, since God lives forever, it must be true that God has lived most of his life when there was nothing else. God lived before he created the world, and he was fully God then. So, for God to have life in himself, it means that he also must have everything he needs for his own life within himself. We can think of God, then, as being both self-existent (he has life in himself) and self-sufficient (he has everything he needs for his life in himself). This reminds me us of what we spoke earlier, that God has no need for the world, since everything God needs to be God is found in his own life. Because God is eternal, because he has life in himself, it also means that he has every good thing within his own life. Nothing can be added to the richness that God has because God has it all, without beginning and without ending.”
Some things I’ve been thinking about because of this:
Seeing God’s self-sufficiency in God making a way to himself though Christ. God didn’t/doesn’t need us to make up for our sin. God has everything needed in himself to cover our sin.
We can see our humanity through simple everyday things. We need: oxygen, water, food & sleep. These things should remind us daily that God is God and we are not.
Because we can see our basic needs everyday it should shatter any idea of self-sufficiency. “I don’t need anybody’s help, I can make it on my own.” We can’t. We are in deep need of a Self-Sufficient God.
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breathe and everything.
Acts: 17: 24-25
Another awesome verse from the psalms telling the coming generation:
Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord; that he looked down from his holy height; from heaven the Lord looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die, that they may declare in Zion the name of the Lord, and in Jerusalem his praise, when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord. Psalm 102: 18-22
What a great verse! We tell the coming generation that a Holy God looked down from Heaven to save a sinning, broken people-helpless prisoners. We tell them that though He is Holy, He chose to save those that were doomed to die. We tell them that God did this, so that we might declare His name, give him praise and worship Him. The God who saved a doomed people wants our praise. How can they praise this God if they do not know? We must tell the coming generation.
This is a verse people know well concerning children:
Then the children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do no hinder them, for such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.
This is such an encouraging verse! May we point children to Jesus continually and not hinder them from coming to Him.
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