The Bible Is Not About Animals (Let’s Stop Teaching Our Kids That It Is!)

teach the Jonah and the whale Bible story to kids

I was in Children’s Ministry a long time. In fact, I started when I was still a kid – at age 12 I started volunteering in Sunday School. I spent most of the next 24 years either in either paid or volunteer ministry. At 18 years old, I led a preschool Sunday School class in the hallway of a community center, where I used fake potted plants to keep the kids from running off. I ran the preschool summer programs at a local megachurch, where we once had 57 five-year-olds in one room. And I was the Director of Children’s Ministries at my mid-sized church for most of 2006-2018 (barring a little time off for each of my 3 babies). And I have to tell you, Children’s Ministry is one of the most amazing places in the world. But it can also be one of the saddest places in the … Read More

Your Ultimate List of Nativity Gifts for Kids

One year, my preschooler announced, “Mom, Christmas is really about the presents…” I waited with bated breath for the rest. “…because God gave us Jesus!” Phew! When my middle son was 3, he encountered Christmas for the first time in his memory. When we visited my in-laws at the beginning of December, he paid no heed to the beautiful nativity scene they had displayed. During our next visit 3 weeks later, he very excitedly told me, “Grandma and Grandpa have a stable!” Somewhere in those intervening 3 weeks, something had clicked about the Christmas story. As a former Children’s pastor, mom, and Preschool Director, I believe that our kids learn best through play. As adults, we tend to fill our home with beautiful (and breakable) nativity scenes and try to pack a full reading of Luke 1 and 2 into our Christmas Day. But our kids learn best by encountering … Read More

10 Must-Have Gospel-Centered Christmas Picture Books

You walk into a bookstore anytime in November or December and are inundated by the smell of eggnog-flavored coffee and stacks of Christmas books. Most of them are some variation of Santa, elves, reindeer, gift-giving, and good feelings. But where are all the gospel-centered Christmas picture book? Where are the books that tell the story of Christmas in a way that stirs our imaginations and souls? What is a Gospel-centered Christmas book? I’m not talking about the books that just re-iterate the Christmas story in essentially the same way. Those are nearly a dime a dozen. I have several of those in my house, and the kids never want to read them, because they already know the facts. Instead, I look for the ones that tell the story a little more expansively – books that share the meaning of Christmas, not just the details of Christmas. It just so happens, … Read More

The Surprisingly Simple Tradition That Will Bring Focus To Your Christmas

Advent wreath for the Advent candle tradition

When I pull candles out of their box, I run my fingers along their smooth surface and inhale their subtle scent. A lighter snaps, and the wick gently accepts the flame. It shudders to life. One candle has the power to brighten the darkness, but is incredibly fragile on its own. A single puff could blow it out. In Matthew 12, Jesus quotes a prophecy from Isaiah 42: “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.” A smoldering … Read More

5 growth stages as a family of faith

INSIDE: the different stages in growing as a family of faith. My goal with this whole website is to help parents feel confident in their calling as spiritual leaders in their homes, helping you be consistent in a creative, unique-to-you way. You can be confident in your calling to grow a family of faith BECAUSE God is faithful. He has promised to begin and continue the good work He is doing in each family. God says, in Isaiah 60:21, “they are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor.” God created our families. We have all become broken in many ways, but God is constantly re-creating our families through his grace, and for his glory. And someday, our children will be called “Oaks of Righteousness”, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. But we don’t start out that … Read More

5 engaging ways to keep Christ in Christmas

put Christ in Christmas with these 5 ideas

INSIDE: 5 ways to keep Christ in Christmas with your young children One year, my 5 year old son announced, “Mom, Christmas really is about the presents…” I cocked my head and looked at him, wondering if there was more to his announcement, “…because God gave us Jesus!” I let out my breath in a sigh. I hadn’t even noticed I was holding it in, but there it was, waiting for my little man’s decision about the season. I had tried really hard to show my boys that there is more to Christmas than presents and cookies and Santa and songs, and was relieved that at least a bit of my teaching had sunk in. Christmas can be a very confusing time for Christian parents. We want to join in all the fun with elves on shelves and hanging out stockings and putting out cookies for the man with the … Read More

Praying the armor of God over your kids

child with armor

Did you know that you have an enemy? No, it’s not the cranky neighbor or the lady that always honks at you in the pickup line. You have an enemy. But you don’t know much about him.  I say “him”, although this enemy isn’t male. Some people call this enemy “the devil” or “Satan”, but in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he tells us that our enemy is no cartoon dude with a pitchfork. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”(Ephesians 6:12, NIV) The spiritual forces of evil. *shiver* While I don’t know exactly what that phrase means, one thing I do know is that the spiritual world touches ours. I’ve experienced enough encounters with God to know that our world goes far beyond the … Read More

Is your child too young for faith?

Can a child ever be too young for faith?

I am so thrilled to have the amazing children’s author, Glenys Nellist, sharing her grandson’s story with us today. Glenys is a wonderful storyteller (both on the page and in person), has worked in children’s ministry, is married to a pastor, and is a mom and a grandma. She loves Jesus and wrote an entire series of truly unique children’s picture Bibles in an effort to help kids know him better. But I’ll let her tell you her story herself… (P.S. I’ve dropped some links so you can find her books. They’re affiliate links, which means that Amazon pays me a small commission for recommending the books. Which I would have recommended anyway, but every 15 cents helps run this website! They don’t cost you any extra.) *** I remember the day well. It was a Thursday afternoon and we were sitting together on the sofa, my little grandson and … Read More

The 10 BEST Bible storybooks for your family

Best Bible storybooks for kids

Bible storybooks are a fabulous way to introduce your kids to the Bible. But how can you find the best Bible storybooks for your family? Like other storybooks, good Bible storybooks have great illustrations and are well-written. Unlike other storybooks, Bible storybooks share a broad spectrum of Scripture, from Genesis to the New Testament.  When should you choose a Bible storybook over the actual Biblical text? When you are starting a new habit, and need something simple that will engage your kids. It’s much easier to start a habit of reading the Bible if your children are actually paying attention. 😜 When your kids are very young. Picture always help little kids pay attention. Right? (Caveat: you can actually read small chunks of actual Biblical text with your young children, but I would recommend that you give them something to do with their bodies while you read.) When you didn’t … Read More

4 simple steps to sharing Jesus’ love with little ones

Article from author Teri McKinley

I’m pleased to welcome Teri McKinley, author of many amazing Christian books for children, to the blog today! Let’s listen to her heart about sharing Jesus’ love with her young son. When my son was only a few months old, I sat in the dim light of the nursery rocking him at bedtime. As I soaked in the snuggles of that quiet moment, I felt a strong urgency to tell him something I hadn’t told him yet. There, in his bedroom as he drifted off to sleep, I told my son the story of the gospel for the first time. While I knew he was too young to understand exactly what I was telling him, I also knew it was my responsibility—and privilege—to teach him the truth about who Jesus is and what He has done for all of us. I wanted to be able to say no matter what … Read More