Showing them Jesus.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A few times through the years, I've been asked to share what resources we use to help point our kids to Jesus. By no means is this an exhaustive list. It's simply a handful of books and music we've found helpful in helping us point our kids to the hope we have in Christ.

As much as these resources are helpful, they are simply resources. They don't replace daily conversations about Jesus that must happen for our kids to really understand our faith. In our house, we confess our sin to each other often and ask one another for forgiveness. We allow the kids to see us reading our Bibles and if they interrupt, we just read it aloud to them. We encourage them to join us in the worship service, if they're able to somewhat participate (mostly just Liam at this point). We sing worship songs in the car. Our faith in Jesus is personal, but not private. It's to be shared, and our greatest audience is our tiniest disciples.

If you have questions about something I've recommended, please leave it in the comments section and I'll be happy to go into more detail about it.

Kids' Bibles:
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
The Rhyme Bible Storybook by L. J. Sattgast
The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden by Kevin DeYoung
The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes by Kenneth N. Taylor

Some Favorite Books:
The Garden, The Curtain, and the Cross by Carl Laverton
The Storm That Stopped by Alison Mitchell
Found: Psalm 23 by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Just Because You're Mine by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Song of the Stars by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Kids' Devotionals:
Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones
The Ology by Marty Machowski

For those who are unfamiliar with the purpose of a catechism or how you use it, these are simple questions and answers about God that we can teach our children that will form a framework for their theology. The questions and answers contain core doctrine for our faith. So when we read a Bible story, they might remember from the catechism, "Who is God?" "God is the creator of everyone and everything!" It has become an important part in our week - every Friday morning - to rehearse a new catechism question and answer with our kids. The New City Catechism has made this simple with a free app that includes the questions and answers as well as kid-friendly songs to help us all hide these truths in our hearts.

The New City Catechism by the Gospel Coalition
The New City Catechism Devotional by the Gospel Coalition

The Jesus Calling Bible Storybook Audio by Sarah Young
Hide 'Em In Your Heart by Steve Green
Hide the Word by Steve Green
Only Jesus by Austin Stone Worship: Kids

Lent through the eyes of a 5-year-old.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A couple days ago, Liam walked out onto the deck while I was working on a Bible study lesson. When he saw the title, he asked me, "What is Lent?" We talked about Lent being a season of longing in anticipation for Easter, a time where we recognize our deep need for a Savior. I tried to explain why some people give things up during the Lenten season. I gave the example that some give up dessert so that when they crave something sweet after a meal, it reminds them that what they truly crave is Jesus.

I asked Liam if he could think of anything that distracts him from Jesus.

"Oh yes," he said confidently. "Playing with my cars, eating cake, thinking about dinosaurs."

I tried to explain that these were good gifts that God wanted us to enjoy, and we can do them all to His glory. Then I asked Liam if he would like to give anything up during Lent to focus on Jesus.

After a long time of thinking, he said confidently. "Bandaids. I want to give up my Lightning McQueen bandaids."

My initial thought was that this was a small sacrifice - that he was choosing bandaids so he didn't have to give up something he truly cared about.

But then he continued: "When I hurt myself and I want a bandaid, I'll remember that Jesus heals my body, but He also heals my heart."


Monday, February 12, 2018

A few days ago, I was caring for a patient who had recently been diagnosed with cancer. She had begun chemo for it, but the therapy had weakened her heart and landed her on our unit to recover before resuming treatment.

Her family - a husband and three grown sons - rarely left her side. I asked them to step out into the hall for a small procedure, and as soon as they closed the door, the floodgates opened. The woman began to cry like a small child, her face twisting as if she was in agonizing pain. She was, of course.

"I just don't want them to remember me like this," she told me.

So I asked her what she did want them to remember.

She looked toward the window and gazed through the blinds.

"Our sons and their families took us to the mountains this past summer to celebrate our 50th anniversary. They hosted games and dinners and we had the best time." More tears rolled down her nose and onto her hospital gown.

I wished in that moment I could have promised her something. That visions of her pale grey skin and nausea and chest port would fall from their memories like the whispy hair on her head. I wanted to promise her that this treatment would be curative, not just palliative. I wanted to promise her another trip to the mountains.

But of course I couldn't promise any of that. So I simply sat, rested my hand on her knee, and let my eyes water with hers.

The longer I am a nurse - and a human - the more I understand the gift of just sitting with people in their hurt. In the Bible, when Job's life was ripped to shreds in a matter of days, the first and only thing his three friends did right was to sit on the ground with him for 7 days. They didn't say a word. They simply offered their empathetic presence.

And when Mary and Martha's brother Lazarus died, Jesus himself didn't rush in to fix the situation. Instead, he sat with them in their hurt and he himself wept for his friend. He could have bypassed the hurt and brought Lazarus back to life with a single command (which he later did). But I think there's a lesson for all of us that he chose to sit with his friends and weep.

So I am learning to sit. I am learning that is a much weightier gift than any advice or pleasantries I could utter. And as I choose not to speak, I whisper prayers that the hurting one would be filled with the hope and peace that can only come from Christ.
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