Family Friday Links 3.22.19

Sorry for those of you who check here faithfully for our links post. Last week was crazy busy and we (… and by that I mean I [Pat]) forgot. The good news is we didn’t this week. Here we go

Jennifer Oshman wrote a post for Gospel-Centered Disciplship on friendship and the urgency of the gospel. She wrote, “But if the gospel is true, the gospel is urgent. Let’s beg God to grow urgency within us. Let’s ask him to help us love our friends more. Let’s refuse to be distracted, fearful or lazy. Let’s be willing to be clumsy as long as we’re consistent.” God gave us friends for a reason. It’s not to make them our spiritual project, but to make disciples; not because we have to, but because we want to and care enough to.

Brittany Salmon wrote a post for the ERLC on parenting and technology. She says, “Whether it’s Snapchat, WhatsApp, or creepy messages popping up in the middle of YouTube Kids videos, we, as Christians, must be ready to give our kids the tools to navigate the technological world they live in.” She lists 4 ways parents should be thinking about their kids as it relates to technology ... and it’s a helpful list.

Lori Grasty had a post on on Children’s Ministry Leader on the topic of parenting and spiritual influence. This is where most children’s ministries aren’t doing as well as the could. This post can help in the process because it lists ways for ministry leaders to engage with parents. If you are a leader in children’s ministry and are struggling to educate and train parents, this post is a good place to help start think through the issues involved.

What have you been reading online this week? Leave us a link in the comment section to check out.

In the Word, On the Go: Galatians 2:20

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Pastor and author Champ Thornton, recently launched a new podcast called In the Word, On the Go. Whether you're listening by yourself or with a family, this podcast is here to help you spend ten minutes focused on one verse from God's Word while you go about your day.

Recently I got an opportunity to spend some time with Chap and talk about the most central aspect of our identity as Christians: “The most important thing about us is not our story, but Christ's story that has been given to us.”

Give it a listen.

Three Ways to Tell a Bible Story to Kids

What do the kids in your class remember after you’ve taught a Bible lesson? Who do they identify with in the story? Think about the story of David and Goliath. There are at least three ways to tell it.

1. An Example Lesson. You may have heard this story taught so the main point is to be brave and face big obstacles with courage. When we tell the story this way,  kids will remember all of the little details about David. He was too little for Saul’s armor. He took five smooth stones and a sling. David even cut off Goliath’s head! The kids will also remember to be brave like David! They will identify with him, because David is the example to follow.

That’s one way to tell the story. But if we just teach example lessons, the kids may only remember the key Bible characters. What will they remember about God?

2. A God-centered Lesson. As I've written before, God is the Bible’s main character. We shouldn’t overlook or forget about David. But focusing on David shouldn’t keep us from seeing that God is the true hero. David reminds us that God rescues his chosen servant from wild animals and enemies (1 Samuel 17:37). When Goliath came against him with a sword and spear and javelin, David didn’t start naming his weapons: “Well, here I come with my sling!” No way! David said, “I come against you in the name of the Lord” (1 Samuel 17:45). David’s weapons may be weak, but God is strong. The battle belongs to Him. If we’re listening to David, we’ll hear that this story has little to do with David’s example at all. It’s a story about God. That’s who we want our kids to remember.

It’s true. One of the first things we should ask ourselves when crafting a lesson is, “What is God doing in this story?” The Bible was written to show us God. He’s the main character. But when we’re crafting lessons, does that go far enough? 

Illustration and layout by Trish Mahoney from   The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible     by Jared Kennedy, (New Growth Press, 2017).

Illustration and layout by Trish Mahoney from The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible by Jared Kennedy, (New Growth Press, 2017).

3. A Gospel-centered Lesson. I recently heard Marty Machowski talk about one of the best ways to craft a gospel-centered lesson. He said, “We want to help our kids identify with the people in the story who need the Good News.” In this story, that’s the Israelites. They have a strong enemy and a weak king. When Goliath marches out into the valley of Elah, he challenges king Saul, all of Israel, and Israel’s God. Israel needed a courageous hero to save them from their oppressors.

Enter David. Even though the people there didn’t know it yet, we know that David stepped onto that battlefield as Israel’s newly anointed king. He was the people’s representative. God won the battle, but he won the battle through David. In this way, David gives us a sneak peak into a specific way God saves his people. God saves his people by sending them a representative king. David points beyond himself to Jesus! After we’ve discovered what God is doing for his people in a story, we should look for how that action points to what Jesus has done. We should ask, as Jack Klumpenhower has phrased it, “How does God do the same for us--only better--in Jesus?” In this way, we can move from a lesson that is merely God-centered to one that is Gospel-centered.

Which of these kinds of lessons do you find yourself teaching on a regular basis?

The illustrations in this post are from my book, The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible. Check out the New Growth Press website to purchase a copy or learn more.

Family Links Friday 3.8.19

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Here’s what we’ve been benefiting from online this week:

Chuck Lawless had a post on confronting sin. This is something we tend to shy away from. In the post, Lawless list reasons why this is so and how to overcome our excuses. This is an important post for all believers; but especially for parents who take seriously their role as primary disciple-makers of their children.

Gospel-Centered Discipleship had a post by Jennifer Oshman on the gospel and friendship. She laments, “I’m keen to share my life, but often hesitate to share the gospel. I’m quick to share meals, share experiences, and share stories, but timid when it comes to spiritually opening up.” This post is a good reminder of the urgency of sharing the gospel in our everyday lives.

Jonathan Hayashi had a post on rebellious youth. He says, “The church should be troubled by the types of sin and brokenness present in such families with at-risk teens.” These teens are in your church to some degree. The church has a responsibility to them as well as their parents. This is an important for church leadership to be working through.

What have you been reading online this week? Leave a link in the comment section for us to check out!