For years I have been a huge proponent of Sally Lloyd-Jones work The Jesus Storybook Bible, and now her new work, Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing is another to add to my recommended list of resources for families.
I just finished previewing the book and here are some of my initials thoughts:
- This book would be GREAT for children learning to do a personal devotion with God on their own.
- This book would be a GREAT supplement to family devotions – perhaps a quick “thought” to read at breakfast before everyone goes their separate ways for the day.
- Great tool to use one-on-one with a child – perhaps during “man-time” with your son or a daddy/daughter date.
- This books is perfect for the family that wants to spend more time talking about God’s Word and discussing the magnificent truths and promises of the Bible.
I highly encourage you to pick up a copy.
It’s been a while … forgive me. Here are some things that I have found good lately….
Read, Read, Read, to Your Children – I appreciate this article by Marty Machowski author of The Gospel Story Bible. I’m so thankful for my wife, the mother of our children, because God convicted her before we had children to cultivate this habit in our home. Our children would rather have their parents read to them on most days rather than watch a TV show. I highly recommend the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis.
Recently I had the privilege to preach on the 5th commandment. I believe this commandment has an important word for parents, not just children. I invite you to listen here.
Perhaps there is no greater threat to this generation of young people than gender identity. This issue is compounded by a variety of factors. Here in the South (my context) you are considered a man if you hunt, drive a truck, have a pretty girl on your arm, and go to football games on the weekend. In the South to be a man means you don’t pray out loud, don’t sing in church, and you darn sure better not cry!
Pop-psychology has taken its toll as well on manhood in our culture. Raising children has become all about making sure you don’t hurt the self-esteem of a child. Furthermore, you are a successful parent if you child literally does not get physically hurt.
Furthermore, worldliness has had its say in the matter. Men are told not to be “too manly” because they might offend someone. Worldliness, is in effect, emasculating our sons.
John Piper says, “The tendency today is to stress the equality of men and women by minimizing the unique significance of our maleness or femaleness. But this deprecation of male and female personhood is a great loss. It is taking a tremendous toll on generations of young men and women who do not know what it means to be a man or woman. Confusion over the meaning of sexual personhood today is epidemic. The consequence of this confusion is not free and happy harmony among gender-free persons relating on the basis of abstract competencies. The consequence rather is more divorce, more homosexuality, more sexual abuse, more promiscuity, more social awkwardness, and more emotional distress and suicide that come with the loss of God-given identity.”
How do we encourage healthy, biblical masculinity in our sons? Here is some biblical and practical advice.
- Model manhood. Randy Stinson says that, “Manhood is not forced – it’s forged! What are some things you can start doing to build manhood in your son? Camping, serving, building, how to treat women are some ideas. Invite your sons to do the things that you do.
- Encourage masculinity. Show your sons what men do. Show them how to build something, how to shave, how to grill, how to sing in church, etc… Give him responsibility. Teach him to be a leader and a protector.
- Use warfare language when describing the Christian life. Particularly waging war on sexual immorality. Battle-language is built into the DNA of a boy – exploit that when teaching him about godly living.
- Teach biblical manhood. Start in Genesis and teach your son how God created Adam to work, to provide, to protect, to lead.
I highly recommend this short book: A Guide to Biblical Manhood by Randy Stinson and Dan Dumas. They have helped me tremendously in this arena.
For almost a year now I have been recommending Marty Machowski’s Long Story Short: Ten Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God. Now I’m thankful that Machowski has put out another excellent resource to add the to arsenal of solid, biblical family worship resources. His new work, The Gospel Story Bible.
There are too many “Bible story books” out there on the market that have little teaching and instruction on the Gospel. Machowski takes the guess work out for parents when it comes to relating biblical narrative to the Gospel. Each story is creative, easy to read, and does an excellent job of pointing our children to Jesus in the Bible stories that we all know and love. Order a copy for your family today!
I recommend this book for families with Children 3-8 years old.
See my previous post on resources for family worship.
I recently discovered a gem in the world of parenting in a new work called Time for the Talk – Leading Your Son Into True Manhood. I cannot recommend this resource enough for fathers seeking to raise godly sons in a world that distorts true biblical sexuality. Time for the Talk is authored by Steve Zollos who is a medical doctor and a Christian dad with four sons. He does an excellent job of walking parents through “The Talk.” I highly recommend you pick up a copy.
Gleaning from Zollos work, I wanted to share with you some biblical and practical wisdom for parents when it comes to thinking through having the sex talk with a teen or pre-teen.
- When? Is your teen emotionally, spiritually, physically ready for the sex talk. Begin before hormones kick into gear. Continue after hormones are in gear and their bodies are undergoing changes. For some it will begin as early at 10 or 11 and for other it may be that they’re not mature enough till 15 or 16. Notice changes in their body and changes in their behavior/interest of opposite sex.
- Location. Plan an individual time with your teen. Location is key! The place should be relaxing, non-threatening, and not a chance of interruption. It needs to be a significant time and your teen/pre-teen needs to pick up on this. It should be natural (don’t have the sex talk your first time camping).
- Talk, not lecture. Make sure it is a conversation, not a lecture. Remember that you are in authority over them – parent them through the conversation (don’t act like a peer).
- Assure them that this is normal and that they are normal. It is a scary thing for a teen/child to hit puberty and have no idea what is happening to them.
- Ask me anything. Let them ask questions. No questions should be off limits.
- Maintain confidence. Assure them of your confidence. The conversation will remain private between the two of you.
- Use the Bible. Go to Genesis 1-3 to explain a biblical view of sex. Use the creation/fall/redemption paradigm when explaining God’s creation of sex.
- Discuss Male and Female Anatomy. Discuss the basics: body hair, body odor, muscles, voice, etc… Then discuss more personal anatomy like: new body hair, male/female reproductive parts, and other pertinent information about male and female anatomy (make sure to give appropriate warnings here!).
- Focus on the beauty of sex & sexuality. Always try to draw the conversation back in a biblically positive direction.
- Preach Self-control. Talk about the importance of self-control with regards to our sexual nature. Natural does not necessarily mean neutral when it comes to our sex nature. Uses passage like 1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Thessalonians 4 to help.
- Discuss the dangers of sexual sin. Hebrews 13:4 is very clear about this.
- Discuss safe sex. Give appropriate warnings about temptations, STD’s, birth control & abortion. Balance with joy, and God’s plan for sex and marriage.
I hope this helps!
If you are like me then you are starting to think about New Year Resolutions. I really do believe that this is a great time to start thinking about spiritual goals for 2012. I have a few ideas/suggestions below to help you this new year.
- Start a Quiet Time: My best suggestion for you is to get up early in the morning and spend time in your Bible. I know this is easier said than done so here is what you need to do to accomplish this goal: 1) go to bed early the night before, 2) set an alarm across the room from your bed, 3) make your coffee/tea/diet coke the night before, 4) clear off a place before you go to bed to have your quiet time, 5) make a plan for your quiet time today (what are you going to read, study, mediate, etc…). Personal experience has taught me that to accomplish this discipline I need to be more mindful about everything leading up to a morning devotion.
- Start Discipling Your Family: If this is fresh on your mind and heart and you don’t know where to start, I highly recommend Intentional Parenting by Tad Thompson. This is a short and straightforward read with great advice for parents.
- Start Family Devotions: My best suggestion for you here is to do this after dinner (at the dinner table) or before the kids go to sleep. Click here for some suggested material.
- Start Reading Good Christian Books: There are a lot of good ones out there but I will recommend four (in order of difficult to easiest): Knowing God by J.I. Packer; The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges; Kings Cross by Tim Keller and Vintage Jesus by Mark Driscoll. Read for 15-20 minutes before you go to bed – you will be amazed at how much you can get read in a few weeks! Free Tip: move the TV out of your room – you don’t need it there – and move distracting electronic devices away from you.
- Start Saying No: Whether you are single or have a family, what can you say no to this year? Better yet, what do you need to cut out of your life/schedule so that you can accomplish your spiritual goals?
I hope there are a few things to motivate/help you as you get started on your spiritual goals for the 2012!
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
(Psalm 143:8 ESV)
If you know me or have read this blog before you know that I am a huge fan of Sally Lloyd-Jones and her children’s bible The Jesus Storybook Bible. The Bible is one of the best if not the best Bible story book for children that there is. It is the best because is very theological sound and every story is not just some cute children’s story with no meaning – it is the best because every story literally points children (and adults for that matter) to Jesus.
Well this Christmas Lloyd-Jones has done it again with her new work: Song of the Stars – A Christmas Story. I highly recommend this new work! My wife and I picked up a copy yesterday and we were enamored with it immediately and cannot wait to share it with our children.
Part of being an intentional parent is being intentional about the meaning of Christmas. This new work by Sally Lloyd-Jones will help you be intentional about pointing your kids to Jesus this Christmas. Pick one up today!
Before I begin I must make a confession, everything that I’m about to write in this blog post (or any of the preceding blog posts for that matter) I need to practice desperately! Now on to the real content.
I have been meeting with a group of men on Friday mornings for over 6 years now. This is a small group of guys who are in similar life-stages. During this time we seek to pray for one another, encourage one another, and study God’s Word together. This group has been one of the single greatest blessings to my personal walk and ministry. I’m so thankful for these men.
We are currently studying a book called The Masculine Mandate by Richard Phillips. This book has been such a blessing. In one the chapters Phillips begins to deal with a very serious yet practical issue, “what does quality time with children look like for a father?” Continue reading
I recently finished reading a great parenting book that I want to commend to you: Visionary Parenting by Rob Rienow. I really appreciate this work by Dr. Rienow. The thing that I appreciate the most about this work is its accessibility. Visionary Parenting, in my opinion, is just good ole straight-forward, biblical parenting wisdom.
So what is Dr. Rienow’s great warning and wisdom for us for Visionary Parenting:
If we are not intentional with our parenting, we run the rist of ending up with a family filled with achievement, recreation, and niceness. God has a far grander plan for us and for our children. He created our families for a purpose. He gave us children for a reason. Continue reading