How To Teach Your Toddler The Gospel: 5 Theological Truths to Teach Your Little One

Wondering how to teach your toddler the gospel? Read on for five truths to get you started!

The other night, as I was getting my (just turned) three year old in bed, he said something that made me stop and think.

He said something to the extent of: “now that I’m three I’m going to do good things!”

I felt like I had transported back in time three and a half years. Echoes of strangely similar conversations with my eldest rang in my ears.  And it all came rushing back to me.

How many times did we talk about how only God always does good things? How many times did I lay out the gospel, when one day everything clicked and he set out on a course to follow Jesus with all his heart?

Because isn’t that our highest goal as parents?

To lay out the path to the gospel and see our kids travel down that road? At first, holding their hand, guiding their feet, and then watching them walk the walk themselves.

In that one statement from my middle son, it hit me. It’s time.

Now, don’t get me wrong. He doesn’t know a time without me telling him about God. Without me reading from his Bible. He knows the stories. He knows that Jesus died on the cross.

But now, as he is growing, things are going to start to change. His ability to converse is getting better. A sense of right and wrong is emerging within him. It is time for me to be more aware, more intentional with the way I talk to him.

After the conversation we had that night, I thought back to the things I did with my oldest. There is only 3 ½ years between them, but it seems so long ago that he was in this stage! As I thought, I came up with five theological truths that were laid as a foundation of understanding that allowed him to internalize the gospel message.

So, if you’ve ever wondered how to begin teach your toddler the gospel, this is an excellent place to begin. Because even though they can’t understand complex theological topics at this age, we can begin to lay the foundation for the future.

5 Foundations for Teaching Your Toddler the Gospel

1. God Made the World

As soon as you crack open the Bible (including your child’s storybook Bible), you are immediately confronted with this truth. God made everything. Everything is His. When you teach this to your child you set the foundation for the truth that God is sovereign over his creation.

This is one of the first and easiest truths to explain to your little one. Toddlers are already in explore mode. They love learning more about the world around them. They are already so full of wonder over creation. They love knowing that God made the flowers, and the sky, and the dog that lives next door.

Here are some simple ways to introduce this concept:

  • Reading the creation story in a storybook Bible (check out this one).
  • Going outside and looking at everything God made.
  • Modeling a sense of wonder when you look at something amazing that God created.
  • Looking at pictures of the things God has created in books.

2. God Made YOU

When God created this wonderful world, the grand finale was his creation of humans – his greatly loved and cherished children. When we tell our children that God made them, it establishes a foundation that they are loved and valuable to God.

Little kids love to hear about themselves. They love themselves! If something involves them, they want to hear about it. It makes them feel so special to know that God made them and loves them.

Here are some simple ways to introduce this concept:

  • Look at pictures from when they were a baby and talk about how happy you were that God gave them to you.
  • Tell your child what you love about them by saying “I love how God made you…”
  • Have your child flex their muscles and say “wow, God made you so strong!”
  • Have your child stretch out big and say “look how big and tall God made you!”
  • Make sure to also mention how God made other people special too!

3. Only God is Always Good

This is the conversation that I had with my son that night. He didn’t fully understand what I meant, but in time he will. When children hear the message that it is only God who is always good, it sets a foundation for the truth that God is holy and righteous.

It seems like most kids go through this phase of extreme desire to be “good.” I remember my oldest as a little three year old, always talking about how he was going to “do good things.” While it is easy to brush these comments off as “cute”, they are the perfect time to introduce this important truth.

Here are some simple ways to introduce this concept:

  • Remind your child during moments of discipline that only God can be good all the time, but that he will help us to want to do good and he will forgive us when we do bad things.
  • Talk about it while reading Bible stories and the characters are making bad choices.
  • When someone else sins against them, remind them that everyone makes bad choices and only God is the one who is good to them all the time.

4. You Do Wrong Things

This is the other side of the truth that only God is good – your child does what is wrong. You will have plenty of opportunities to point out this truth that lays the foundation for the fact that your child is a sinner.

As your child continues to grow, they begin to develop a more acute awareness that they do wrong. That often, even when they want to do right, they do wrong. It is this understanding of their helplessness in sin that will ultimately make the sacrifice of Jesus so beautiful to them.

Here are some simple ways to introduce this concept:

  • Once again, talk about it during moments of discipline.
  • Pray to God, asking for help to do the things He wants you do to.
  • Let your child know that even mommy and daddy do bad things. I remember the first time I told my oldest this – he couldn’t believe it!
  • Eventually connect truths 3 and 4 by talking about how God who is only good cannot be with people who are sinful.

5. The Good News

Once you get to the point where your child understands the four previous truths, the reality of the gospel begins to come into focus. It all comes together.

God created this world, He is in charge of it, He gives it life.

God is always good, all the time.

Because we do wrong, we do things that are against God, we cannot be with an only good God. And life without God is not life at all – it is the punishment of death.

But, the God who created us loves us so much that He came to the earth as Jesus and died for us. He took our punishment of death.

Now, because Jesus died for that bad stuff we do, we can live forever with God. All we have to do is believe.

Keep On Evangelizing

This is not something that you try and sit down and explain to your two year old all in one conversation. No, it is something you weave into conversation over the days, months, and years.

Sometimes the conversations are just a word or two spoken by you, sometimes the deep conversations coming from the hearts of such a tiny little one will shock you.

Keep pressing on. Keep speaking this truth into your child’s life. Keep leading them to the way, the truth, and the life.

Keep planting seeds, trusting that the Master Gardener will bring about a harvest in His perfect time.

My little three year old didn’t fully understand what I was trying to explain to him that night. However, someday he will, and that will be a beautiful day indeed.

5 Step Bible Lesson for Kids (That Will Have Them Begging For More!)

Looking for a simple, but effective, Bible lesson for kids? Keep on reading!


After my son turned six, I knew I wanted to begin digging a little deeper in our Bible time.

He’s been through Play Through the Bible and read lots of stories from our storybook Bibles. We also read through the Tomie dePaola’s Book of Bible Stories, which was a great transition from Bible storybooks to the actual text. Now, it was time for him to begin studying from his real Bible!

We’ve been doing our Bible lessons for about four months now and they have been going great! They are ultra simple, but he is loving them and learning so much. Our lessons often end with him begging me to read more!

So, today I want to share with you how we are doing these lessons.

(I also made you a FREE bookmark to print out and stick in your Bible that has all the steps outlined on it to make it super easy to remember! CLICK HERE to download it!)

What’s The Goal?

Before I do most things, I like to step back and take a moment to figure out what the goal is behind what I am doing. In this instance, it is helpful to divide Bible reading into two categories: devotional reading and study.

Devotional reading would be more of a worshipful or meditative experience, while study is more of a lesson style, where the goal is to learn something. Obviously the two categories overlap! When we have our Breakfast + Bible time and we read from a Bible storybook and sing hymns or other songs – we are still learning. However, the main goal of our Bible lesson time is exactly that – to learn more about the Bible and about God.

And what exactly do I want him to learn? This is something that will be different for every child, due to their age and their previous experience with the Bible. For my son, my goal for him is to gain familiarity with the main narrative sections of the Bible. 

So, while we do stop and discuss the meaning of the text, the main goal is for him is to know the stories. This is similar to my goal for him back when he did Play Through the Bible , except now he is reading the stories directly from the Bible, instead of a storybook Bible.

And of course, even more than remembering certain stories or details, I want to fan the flame for a lifelong love of scripture. He might not remember the specifics of what we read two months ago, but if he maintains a love for God’s Word, then he is on the right track.

What Do You Need?

There are tons of great Bible study programs out there for kids (hey! I even wrote one!), but for this I wanted to keep it simple. I wanted my son to feel like he could go straight to God’s Word to learn, be changed, and be encouraged!

So, to do these lessons, literally all you need is a Bible. It has also been helpful for my son to keep a Bible journal, but that is optional (you can read more about how we keep the journal right here).

As to where to do your lessons, that’s up to you! I have found, for us, that snuggling up on the couch has been the best spot. However, you could do them anywhere (at the table, in the kitchen, in bed, on the go…).

Alright, we’ve covered the goals and what you need, ready to get started?

Five Step Bible Lesson for Kids

Step One – Review

The first thing we do when we sit down to our lesson time is review what we read previously. Sometimes I’ll ask him what he remembers and sometimes I’ll give a little review.

This not only helps your child remember better what is happening in the story, it also gets their mind set on the right track and prepares them to begin the lesson. It’s like a little “warm up.”

It doesn’t need to take a ton of time, just a 4-5 sentence recap.

Step Two – Prepare

Before you dive into the reading for the day, take just a few moments to prepare your child for what will be coming.

What will you need to prepare them for? It depends on the child!

Basically, you just want to give them a “heads up” of anything that might be helpful for them to know before reading the passage.

Some examples are: important names, the setting of the story, unfamiliar words, etc. Sometimes it helps to write these important words on a dry erase board sitting nearby (although it’s not necessary). Don’t go overboard with details, just a few helpful tidbits – it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

Step 3 – Read

Now it’s time to read your selected passage for the day! Here are five tips to help this go as smoothly as possible:

  1. Keep the selection short. I shoot for between 10-15 verses – that’s all! If it is hard to find a good stopping point I will occasionally go longer, however, my son has a pretty good attention span. If you are just starting out, or your child struggles with sitting and focusing for longer periods of time – try sticking to closer to 10 verses. You can even read less than that and slowly work your way up to more.
  2. Skip some stuff. Yes, everything in the Bible is important! However, not everything in the Bible is important or necessary for a six year old! Use your discretion when it comes to skipping portions – for now. If needed, give a quick summary of what you are skipping.
  3. Read with a little drama. The stories in the Bible are exciting – read them that way! Let the emotions of the story come out in the way you read. You don’t have to be the world’s best storyteller, but with practice you can be a pretty good one! 🙂
  4. Don’t repeat yourself. If your child wasn’t paying attention to the reading, try really hard to not re-read your selection. It feels a little backward at first, because you want them to hear it! However, when they know you are going to repeat it doesn’t encourage them to pay attention next time. If you are having problems with this, give your child a moment to focus, let them know you are only going to read once, and then stick to it. If they miss something, show disappointment with a “aw bummer, it was a really great part of the story too! Hopefully tomorrow you will pay attention and not miss anything!” This approach has done wonders for my son’s ability to pay attention – and his desire to do so!
  5. Leave them hanging. One of the other benefits of reading short selections is that, more often than not, you leave your child wanting MORE! When you stop right in the middle of the story of Jacob and Esau and put it away for tomorrow, there’s a good chance your child will be begging to read just a little more! And while it is hard to decline that request (and I don’t always!), try building up the excitement and saying “we’ll just have to wait and see!” Ending with them wanting more is an excellent way to fan that flame of a love for the Word.

Step 4 – Retell 

Up until now, your child’s main job has been to pay attention. But now, it’s time for a more active role. After finishing the reading, turn to your child and say to them “tell me what you remember.

Then, in their own words, your child retells the story to you. 

This act is so simple, but brings with it many benefits:

  • Increased memory of the reading (the act of saying it back helps cement it in your brain)
  • A greater desire to pay close attention next time (because they know they will have to say what they remember)
  • Communication of the parts of the story that are most important to them (as you see the things they choose to share)
  • Increased ability to process what they are reading (because their brain has to hold it and then spit it back out in a logical manner)

Now, just because it is simple – doesn’t mean it is easy. Unlike a worksheet with fill in the blanks or answering comprehension questions, your child’s brain is doing all the work of remembering and processing the information.

At first, your child’s retelling of the story might just be one sentence or they might only remember the very last thing you read – that’s okay! Resist the urge to add to their retelling or prompt them with questions.  In time, their retellings will improve.

Mix it up a little bit as well by having them retell the story to daddy, grandma, or the dog! Also, if you have multiple children doing the same lesson, have them take turns retelling.

Step 5 – Discuss

After your child has retold the story, take a few minutes to discuss together what you read. Now is the time to point out what you liked from the passage or ask a few questions. Don’t make it out to be a one sided lecture, but truly a discussion.

Some ideas of discussion questions you can use are:

  • How do you think *that person* felt when that happened?
  • How is God working in this story?
  • Why do you think *that person* did that? Were they trusting God?
  • How do you act like *the person from the story*?
  • What was your favorite part of the story?
  • What can you learn about God from this story?

Give it a try!

Whew! That’s it! Does it seem like a lot? I promise once you get the hang of the flow, these lessons become like second nature and only take about 10-15 minutes. You will be amazed at how well your child is able to dig into God’s Word!

If you give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

If you’d like extra help in planning your Bible lesson for kids, everyone who is a Steadfast Family e-mail subscriber gets access to Foundation, a family Bible reading plan that goes through the main narrative portions of the Bible! I also include notes as to what portions you may want to skip or summarize. You can find more out about Foundation right here! 

Click the image below to download this free printable bookmark with all the steps outlined!

PS Lest you think I am too awesome 😉 – this method for studying the Bible did not originate with me! It is the Bible study used in the Charlotte Mason Method of Education (in fact, its a simple rendition of the method used for most all lessons) – but even if you aren’t a homeschooler or someone who uses this method of education – I still think you should give this Bible lesson method a try! 🙂

Three Tips for Helping Your Child Start a Bible Journal

Wondering how to start Bible journal with your child? Try these tips.

One of our biggest goals as parents is to find ways for our kids to own their faith. To dig into God’s Word and walk with him daily. To go to Him in prayer and praise. And to do these things because they themselves recognize their need for Him, not just because mom or dad told them to.

A great way to do this that I’ve found recently and been implementing with my oldest is keeping a Bible journal. It is such a simple, spiral bound sketchbook from the local box store, but it is really helping him to dig into God’s Word for himself.

If you have never done a Bible journal with your child, I want to share three tips that I’ve found helpful.

#1 Have Some Ideas Ready

Sometimes, staring a blank page can be overwhelming. Even the most experienced writer still has writers block, willing a useful thought to appear on the white page before them. Imagine how it must feel to someone totally new to journaling!

Having a list of ideas (on paper or just stored in the back of your mind) can be helpful to overcome this.

One of the main things my son uses his journal for is to document what he is learning in our Bible reading. This helps give him a starting point when he goes to fill a page. Sometimes he will need additional nudges and ideas, but he usually comes up with something he wants to draw or write that goes along with the story.

Another thing I will do is suggest certain things I think would be beneficial for his journal. I do this in a “here’s an idea” way, not in a “you must do this” way (see point number three). I have helped him create Abraham’s family tree and encouraged him to replicate a map to mark Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph’s journeys on – things he wouldn’t have thought of himself, but enjoyed and were beneficial for him to do.

#2 Be Ready to Lend a Hand

Especially if you are attempting this with a younger child, they may need you to sit with them, or be close by if they need help. Although he occasionally works in his journal completely independently (and that will be the goal eventually), right now he still needs support as he learns this skill.

The main way that your help will most likely be needed is in writing. Especially if you have a younger child (and especially if that child is a boy) them dictating their thoughts to you will most likely be more successful than them doing all the writing themselves.

While my son enjoys writing some, he does like when I do the writing if he has a lot of thoughts or the words are hard for him to spell. So if he asks, I gladly let him dictate to me while I write.

#3 Don’t Forget it is THEIR journal and an expression of THEM

Yes, have ideas. Yes, be ready to lend a hand. However, and perhaps most important, be willing to step out of the way.

If they have an idea, don’t interfere. If they don’t do things exactly like you’d like, don’t change it. If they are resistant to your ideas, don’t push it.

Let this be an expression of them. Their thoughts. Their way to connect with God and to what they are learning from the Bible.

Does your child have a Bible journal? I LOVE seeing kid’s journal pages. Share them with me by leaving a comment or visitor post on the Steadfast Family Facebook Page or by tagging @steadfastfamily on Instagram!

The BIG Mistake You Might Be Making With Bible Memory

I still remember one of the first verses I had my son memorize.

Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

He probably wasn’t even three years old yet, but he enjoyed memorizing the short verse and then showing off his skills to daddy, grandma, or whoever would listen.

Fast forward a few years. Our scripture memory regularly gets derailed, but I continue to try and pick it back up. He memorizes the classic John 3:16 and works on all the verses from Hero Training. Bad attitudes come up so we learn to “do everything without complaining.” Him and his brother struggle with getting along, so we memorize 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 and work on doing “everything in love.” 

*Everyone* knows it is important to have your children memorize God’s Word and he was memorizing scripture, so though we needed to work on our consistency, I figured we were on the right track.

Well, that was until a few weeks ago.

I was just scrolling Facebook – like ya do – and stopped to read a comment thread on a post asking for advice on what verses to have their children memorize. I took note of the different suggestions as I scanned through the replies, but then I read something that made me stop in my tracks.

The simple, but profound wisdom I’d never considered

Instead of suggesting a verse, one mama shared a brilliant piece of advice.

When thinking through what verses to have her kids memorize, she looked to the future. She envisioned her children as missionaries, or possibly without a Bible and in a scenario where they needed to lean on God. What kind of scripture did she want them to have hidden in their hearts? What truth did she want them to be able to draw on in those moments?

Boom. I immediately felt the conviction. Right then and there I realized that the majority of my children’s scripture memorization was not done for them, it was done for *me* out of a desire to change my children’s behavior.

On the outside I may have looked like a “godly parent” trying to disciple my children with God’s Word. However, the truth was I was in danger of raising little pharisees who have been trained to parrot God’s commands without knowing God in their hearts.

“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
(Matthew 15:8)

What good would it be if I had wonderfully well behaved children, who know God’s law inside and out, if they did not know and love God himself?

So, moving forward, here are some guidelines I will be using as I choose scripture for my children to memorize…

1. Pray for guidance on what scripture would be best for that child to be currently memorizing

How often have I been in a situation where the Holy Spirit brought to mind a verse I had tucked away in my memory in just the right moment? Only God knows what these moments will be like for your child. Only he will know the situations your children will find themselves in and the perfect Words they will need in that moment.

Pray for wisdom and guidance in choosing what scripture to have your children memorize. Let God use you to hide His Word in their little hearts. Whether it is just what they need now, or will be many years down the road, He will bring fruit from it in His time.

2. Choose scripture that will help the child know God more

Instead of focusing on memorizing verses that tell your child something to do, focus on verses that tell your child who God is. Let them build up in their hearts all the marvelous vastness that is God’s character and goodness.

It is hard to follow someone you do not know and it is hard to love someone you do not care about. Sure, the child may learn to act lovingly toward his neighbor by memorizing certain passages, but if that love does not flow from a relationship with God, what is it worth?

Choose scripture that will give your child a foundation rooted firm in God’s…

…sovereignty and they will be steady through all of life’s trials.

…love and they will always know their worth

…kindness and compassion and they will never be alone

…justice and they will not need to be angered

…strength and they will live in courage

3. Think of future situations the child will benefit from God’s Word stored away

In the original post that I read, she wrote that she would picture her children as missionaries and think of what scripture they may need. Though we do not know the futures ahead of our children, we can ponder this and consider it as we choose passages for them to memorize.

Will they face trials and need to remember God’s goodness? Will they feel alone and scared and need to know that God will never leave them? What scripture will they need to draw upon in moments where a Bible is not nearby?

4. Choose longer passages of scripture when possible

Snippets and fragments of scripture rarely display the same beauty and truth of longer portions. Memorizing random verses taken out of context not only puts us in greater danger of misinterpretation, but it also robs us of the fullness of longer passages.

Instead of doing one separate verse at a time, try selecting a longer passage and slowly make your way through it verse by verse. Passages such as Ps 23, The Lord’s Prayer, and John 1 are great places to start.

All Scripture is God-Breathed

In conclusion, let’s not forget that “all scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). Even if you have fallen into the same trap that I did, if you are memorizing scripture with your children, that is still marvelous and can be used by God.

Let this just be an encouragement to both of us to continue teaching our children God’s Word – not for us, that we may somehow selfishly benefit, but for them, so they may grow closer to the heart of God.

5 Tips for a Successful Bible Time with Kids

I have a confession.

After completing the Play Through the Bible series I did a terrible job at having a consistent Bible time with my kids. We started and stopped, and started and stopped again. I had lofty goals and didn’t see them through. Most of the time I just plain didn’t know where to start.

Have you found yourself in this place too?

You know it’s important. The desire is there. But the days keep slipping through your fingers without these goals being met.

I’ve been there. In fact, I’m still there sometimes. However, over the past few months I feel like I’ve finally landed on something that works.

We haven’t been perfect, but we have consistently had a morning Bible time together, opening the doors for lots of great spiritual conversations.

Today, I want to share with you how we made it work.

#1 Find a time that works for you

Does it seem like everyone else in the world starts their days with the picturesque scene of kids delightfully learning about God’s world around the breakfast table, but at that hour of the day your brain feels more like your gray bowl of oatmeal?

Say adios morning Bible time. 

Seriously, let it go and be you. Maybe your family works better during a quiet hour when the baby is napping or in the evening when dad is home to lend a hand.

Set a time, embrace it, and then stick to it.

#2 Keep it simple

Like, ridiculously simple.

At least for me, it is so easy to fall into the trap of feeling like I can never make Bible time “enough.” Wiggly kids, lack of time, and unmet plans leave me feeling discouraged and I eventually give up.

I finally realized that something small is better than nothing at all. In fact, it’s actually quite freeing and opens the doors for continued, yet unplanned, conversation.

And I’m not talking about a “simple” lesson plan or a “simple” list of things to get out of the Bible time. Oh no. We started with one short Bible story at breakfast.

That’s. It. 

No lesson plans. No crafts. No memory verses, songs, or lengthy discussions.

We slowly got in the habit of daily starting our day with the Bible. We built our discipline muscle. The kids started to expect the story and look forward to it. We would miss a day or two and then quickly pick it back up again because we could feel it missing.

We stayed here for a long time. We didn’t read just one story for a week and declare it mastered, starting to add new elements. This one story was our home base and we stayed and made it nice and cozy until we were able to venture out and add more.

Your home base doesn’t have to be a Bible storybook. It could be a song you sing, a simple prayer, or a chapter from Psalms. Whatever feels like home for your family in the stage of life you are in currently.

#3 Slowly add more to your Bible time

After camping out in your home base for as long as it takes to build that habit (no rushing!), slowly add in other elements to your Bible time.

Don’t feel tempted to add in a bunch of things all at once now that you’re feeling confident in your new habit. Pride comes before the fall, yeah? Make a list of the things you would *someday* like to accomplish and pick one.

Introduce that one thing and give it time to become part of the routine. If, at any time or during any particular day, your new routine starts to feel overwhelming – go back to your home base. Do just that one thing and pick back up the new the next day or the next week.

I cannot emphasize enough to take it nice and slow with no pressure. We have been doing this for at least two months now and this is what our morning Bible time looks like (with a 5 and almost 2 year old):

  • Read Bible story and briefly discuss/answer 5 year old’s questions
  • Read a few pages from God’s Wisdom for Little Boys (awesome book by the way!)
  • About ten minutes of listening to and learning a hymn

That’s all. And if we don’t do it all, that’s okay. If we miss a day, we just pick right back up where we left off. Eventually I’d like to add more, but for now we will probably be hanging out here for quite a while.

Bonus tip: when you do get to the point of adding more, do them on a rotation, instead of trying to do everything every day.

#4 Roll with the punches

It’s easy to feel discouraged when things aren’t going how you expected.

There are going to be days when your kids are more interested in the squirrel out the window than the story you are reading or would rather run off and play than sing worship songs. Life will get crazy and you will skip a day here and even a week there.

Just keep going, keep coming back to it, keep building the habit. Hold your plans loosely and keep an eye toward the future.

Remember, Bible time is not the ultimate measure of your godly parenting ability. 

While it is definitely important to set a precedence for digging into God’s Word and going to him with prayer and worship, you have many more hours in the day. Hours where just walking along side your children through the daily tasks of life can speak more into their hearts and souls than you’d ever imagine.

One of my favorite parenting passages is Deuteronomy 6:5-9…

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Let go of having the “perfect” moment and fill your home with the love of God and talk about him daily.

#5 Cover your goals in prayer

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
-Proverbs 16:9

Don’t try and do this on your own strength. Go to God for his grace and wisdom. Spend time praying over your goals. Spend time praying for the spiritual maturity of your children.

Even with the simple steps we’ve discussed here, we will just be turning our wheels without God establishing our steps.

Take the next step

So, friend, if you found yourself knowing that having Bible time with your kids is important, but you just weren’t sure where to start, I hope you have a much clearer plan now!

If you are ready to take the next step and you could still use a little guidance – I’ve got you covered! I’ve created a FREE printable worksheet to help you plan out a Bible time that works for you.

Enter your information below to grab the free Bible Time with Kids Planning Worksheet AND gain access to the ever growing library of free printables!

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*Affiliate links included.

5 Great Resources for Teaching Your Kids the Old Testament

8-reasons-to-teach-your-kids-the-old-testament

In my last post, I gave 8 reasons why I think you should be studying the Old Testament – both personally and with your kids.

This week, I want to quickly pass on five great resources for doing just that!

These resources will cover a wide range of ages and levels, so you should be able to find something for everyone in your family!

Play-Through-The-Bible1.jpg

1. Play Through The Bible

Let’s start with the itty bitty kiddos. Play Through the Bible is the very first series I did on my blog. It is, to date, the most popular resource I have available.

When my oldest was a toddler I wanted to start being intentional about teaching him the Bible, but couldn’t find the kind of resource I was looking for. So, I created it myself!

Play Through the Bible takes tots and preschoolers through an entire children’s Bible, covering 25 of the major stories of the Bible. It meets them right where they are with super simple crafts, hands-on activities, and kid friendly discussions.

I am currently revamping the entire series and cannot wait to release it as an eBook in Summer 2017! However, you can still get the entire original series here.

 

IBI Case of the Mixed Up Timeline2. Case of the Mixed Up Timeline

I wanted to share one more resource you can find here on Steadfast Family before I move on to some others.

Case of the Mixed Up Timeline is a unique kids devotional that I released this past summer. If you and your kids are looking for a super fun way to introduce yourself to some of the main stories of the Old Testament, this will be perfect for you!

In this devotional, a villain named “Dr. H” has traveled back in time and destroyed the Timeline of Biblical Heroes. As a special agent, your child must travel back in time to complete the case files and set the timeline straight once again.

Each Biblical Hero has an incomplete case file and your child must solve the clues to discover the information on each Hero’s story. They then use that information to put the timeline back in order. Each case file also contains a “mission” – a hands on activity to further experience the story.

Read more about the devotional here!

3. Future Flying Saucers Bible Lessons

The Future Flying Saucers blog has a ton of hands-on, kid friend, and just plain awesome Bible lessons. On this page you will find at least 39 Old Testament specific lessons and a lot of other lessons and ideas as well!

4. The Bible Road Trip

Okay, so I haven’t used this resource myself, but I have heard nothing but good things about it! It is described on the website like this,

Bible Road Trip is an exciting journey which places you and your children in the driver’s seat! Aimed at youth grades PreK-12, Bible Road Trip will allow your family to survey the Bible cover-to-cover in 3 years ~ with breaks for summer. There are notebooking pages available for the Lower Grammar (Grades 1-3), Upper Grammar (Grades 4-6) and Dialectic (Grades 7-9) levels. Students at the Rhetoric level (Grades 10-12) will keep their own notebooks and be busy sharing their information with others!

I absolutely love how the whole family can partake in this Bible curriculum together! I highly recommend checking it out!

5. Intoxicated on Life Resources

Intoxicated on Life is another fabulous resource for all things family discipleship. There are so many great materials on this website, but they also have multiple resources specifically for studying the Old Testament. Pop on over and check it out!

Am I missing anything? What is your favorite resource for studying the Old Testament?

 

 

Not Teaching Your Kids the Old Testament? 8 Reasons to Start

 

Not Teaching Your Kids the Old Testament? Here's 8 Reasons to Start.

I always have to give one of my good friends a hard time about how when we started college she didn’t realize that the David of “David and Goliath” was the same person as King David. And she even grew up in the church! We like to joke about it, but it’s kind of a shame that this fundamental knowledge wasn’t passed down to her at an early age.

So often in children’s ministry settings (and even in the big church too!) the Old Testament stories are glossed over or even altogether skipped – presumably for the sake of focusing on the “gospel.”

You might be nodding your head here – Yes, yes, we should be focusing on the gospel. After all, we are under the new covenant now – why should be focus on the Old Testament?” Or maybe you began a study of the Old Testament with gusto until you got stuck somewhere in 1 Chronicles, thinking why am I doing this again?

Great questions! Today I want to share eight reasons why I think you should teach the Old Testament to your kids (and study it yourself!). And I’m talking about in it’s entirety, not just a few of the popular stories here and there – made fluffy and given a “moral at the end of the story” like it’s Aesop’s Fables instead of the Word of God (I’m looking at you Jonah!).

So, without further ado, when your kids learn about the Old Testament they will….

1. Gain a better understanding of the full scope of God’s character

The mighty hand of God that created everything from the vast universe to the invisible atom.

His loving-kindness delivering His people from Egypt.

His justice displayed in the words of the prophets.

Studying all the different stories, experiences, time periods, and people represented in the Old Testament give you so many windows through which to catch a glimpse of God’s character.

2. Understand the full story of our sin and God’s goodness

The gospel is powerful. It is rightly the center of our faith. However, we have to avoid the temptation to believe that the gospel story begins in Matthew. Yes, it begins with Jesus – but it begins with Jesus in Genesis 1:1.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. -Genesis 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. -John 1:1-3

The story of God’s love and redemption through Christ is woven throughout the entire Old Testament. As we turn the pages of God’s story we find prophetic words, metaphorical foreshadowings, glimpses of His plan and purpose.

Through stories like Adam and Eve, Noah, and David we are brought down into the depths of the depravity and fallenness of humans. Only when we see ourselves in our place among the broken can we truly understand the magnitude of God’s love and mercy – and our need for His gospel offer.

Praying child.

3. Learn from a rich history of the saints and sinners before us

While I think that trying to tack on a neat moral to every Old Testament story does a disservice to the text, that doesn’t mean there is not a ton to learn in these pages. We learn of the characters strengths and successes and their sins and failures. We see God’s people love and obey Him, and also turn and forget Him.

One of the biggest lessons we see time and time again in the Old Testament is that God can and will use ordinary sinners just like me and you to take part in his big plans. We don’t have to be perfect to serve God, just trust Him and follow His commands.

4. Marvel at the perfectly planned lineage of Christ

To us, genealogies can often seem dry and boring. However, they too are an important part of God’s word.

Take, for instance, the genealogy of Christ found in Matthew 1. It would be easy to just skip on over it and get on to the story. However, have you ever stopped and looked at the names found in this passage?

Abraham (wife was barren) …

Rahab and Ruth (both non-Israelites) …

David (murderer and adulterer) …

… And the list goes on!

When we read of these people and their stories in the Old Testament we can see God’s faithfulness and plan in bringing his promised Messiah into the world.

5. Understand themselves in light of God’s story

Like I mentioned before, the Old Testament connects us with stories that mirror our own brokenness. We learn of our depravity in the story of Adam and Eve and see our same brokenness played out in the stories of God’s people time and time again. The Old Testament does not let us pass by without an understanding of our humanness, our dependance on God, and our lowly position before him.

However, in spite of our lowly position, the Old Testament also shows us how much we are loved and chosen by our creator. We see His plan to redeem His beloved people, no matter the cost. We see his love, patience, and mercy played out in the lives of ordinary humans. Ordinary humans that he allows to do great things for Him. Ordinary humans just like you and me … and your children.

8-reasons-to-teach-your-kids-the-old-testament

6. Be taught, rebuked, corrected and trained

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. -2 Timothy 3: 16-17

Timothy didn’t stutter when he said “all scripture.” In fact, during that time, the Old Testament probably would have been the primary scripture he was referring to! If you skip over the Old Testament as you seek to disciple your kids you are missing out on a huge chunk of what God has given to equip them.

7. Deepen faith through wrestling with tough topics

The flood, Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son, the story of the hardships of Job – these stories (and many others) aren’t Disney fairytales. The stories of the Old Testament are big, messy, and often hard to understand. When we wrestle with these stories, the concepts they hold and the questions they bring, we deepen our faith and understanding. This provides our children with a steadfast foundation that will stand the test of time.

8. Develop a deeper awe and reverence for God (and gratitude we can have a relationship with him)

Something that can often be missing in churches and Christians these days (including myself!) is a reverence, fear, and awe of a holy God. We get so focused on his love displayed through Christ that we can easily forget about his justice, power, and holiness.

Generally speaking, as they are set before the work and grace of Christ, the Old Testament stories give us a great picture of what it looks like to be in awe of a holy God. The creation account shows his strength, majesty, and sovereignty. The accounts of worship in the temple displays the lengths to which sinful people had to go to come anywhere close to God and his glory. Over and over again God’s chosen people and prophets declare themselves unworthy to stand before him.

These accounts do two things. First, they deepen our awe and reverence for God. Second, they make us all the more grateful for the relationship we can have with God because of the work of Christ.

Ready to get started?

Hopefully these eight reasons have encouraged you to give the Old Testament a chance. There are so many great reasons to dig in!

Plus, at the very least, you’ll know who King David is. 🙂

Do you have any more reasons you’ve found for studying the Old Testament?

EDITED TO ADD: I compiled a post with some great resources for teaching the Old Testament – find it right here!

Ready for an Old Testament Adventure?

Affiliate links included.

A Heart for Service Begins in the Home: 3 Areas of Service I Want to Instill in My Children

heart for serving 1

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness. -Philippians 2:5-7

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul describes Christ as taking the very nature of a servant.

The King and Creator of the entire universe came to us as a lowly, humble servant.

Repeatedly through the Bible we are called to think of others before ourselves and to act in service to one another.

It can be tempting (at least for me) to think of serving as being these big, grand acts, like being a missionary overseas, pastoring a church, feeding the homeless, making BIG sacrifices to serve in BIG ways.

While these are most definitely amazing things, the small, daily acts of service mean just as much – routinely putting others before yourself, the ability to find joy in bringing another joy, being humble and lifting others up.

Although there are many ways to serve, there are three main areas of service I want to instill in my children as they grow up in our family.

Continue reading my contributor post over at Intentional By Grace

A Heart For Serving Begins in the Home

 

Case of the Mixed Up Timeline (New ADVENTURE DEVOTIONAL for kids eBook!)

It’s here! It’s here! 

I have been working on this project on and off for the last year and a half. Writing, testing, editing, designing, and editing some more! I wanted to make sure it was the best it could be for you and your kids.

What Is It?

The International Bible Investigators
Case of the Mixed Up Timeline

IBI Case of the Mixed Up Timeline

If you joined us for the Summer Search for God last summer, then you have already been introduced to an adventure devotional.

I created the concept of an “Adventure Devotional” because most people, especially young ones, learn best through experiences. It is the things that we do, touch, taste, and feel that really stick in our memories. My goal with adventure devotionals is to bring God’s Word off the page and into life experiences that will stick with your children for years to come. The Case of the Mixed Up Timeline is no exception.

So what is it all about?

In this devotional, a villain named “Dr. H” has traveled back in time and destroyed the Timeline of Biblical Heroes. As a special agent, your child must travel back in time to complete the case files and set the timeline straight once again.

Each Biblical Hero has an incomplete case file and your child must solve the clues to discover the information on each Hero’s story. They then use that information to put the timeline back in order. Each case file also contains a “mission” – a hands on activity to further experience the story.

Untitled design-3

Included in the eBook is the following:

  • Parent introduction
  • Log book cover page and special agent badge printable
  • Letter to “new recruits”
  • 10+ pages of printable images needed to complete the cases
  • Printable timeline
  • 23 “case files”
  • Parent files with answers, activity ideas, devotionals, and Scripture references.

 

Ready for an Old Testament Adventure?

What Will My Child Gain From This Study?

The Case of the Mixed Up Timeline will provide your child with an overview of 23 of the main stories of the Old Testament. He or she will get to learn about and experience these stories in a unique, hands on way.

Not only that, but the parent files contain everything you need to further the discussion of these stories, bringing about a deeper understanding and personal connection. 

How Do I Purchase This Awesome Devotional?

Easy! Just pop over to the shop and in just a few moments you can start printing it out! And if you act quick, as a launch week special, you can get the entire adventure devotional for 50% off! That’s only $5!

Launch Week SALE

That means for only $5 you can get all the printables, 23 devotional “case files”, and the parent files. But grab it now, because this sale is for launch week only!

Buy it now!

launch week sale copy

Five Ways to Intentionally Disciple Your Kids Even When Life Gets Busy

Five Ways to Intentionally Disciple Your Kids

*Affiliate Links included*

Life has been crazy busy for our family lately. Some of the commitments are choices we’ve made and some are out of our control – but one thing is for sure, the days are short and the to-do lists are long!

A while back I noticed that I was slipping in my intentionality when it came to discipling my son. We used to have plenty of time for fun Bible and character building crafts and activities (like Play Through The Bible and Hero Training), but lately I had been rushing through the day without giving much thought to activities like these.

I knew that this needed to change, but I also knew that life wasn’t going to be slowing down any time soon. I needed to find simple ways to be intentional about discipling my son that would fit into our current lifestyle.

I did some brainstorming, tweaked a few things, and I’m pretty happy with how things have been going lately. We haven’t been perfect, and I look forward to when life slows down a bit so we can do even more, but it has been working well.

Here’s what we’ve been doing…

1. Discipling In Moments of Discipline

Moments of discipline are some of the best times for pointing your child to the gospel. Little hearts are often tender and in tune with their own shortcomings and need for a Savior.

I am often reminding my son during these moments that God is the only one who does only good and that is why we need Jesus.

2. Simplifying Bible Study Time

It is very easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking that kid’s Bible time must always be fun, exciting, and special. Now, believe me, I have no problem with it being those things. In fact, I love making learning about God’s Word a fun and meaningful time for my son. However, it is okay to just keep it simple too.

Here are some ways we’ve done this:

  • Read straight from the Word – taking just a verse or two and reading it at breakfast, talking about it for a moment.
  • Use a simple devotional – I got my son this book for Easter and we have really been enjoying reading a page or two at a time.
  • Read through a children’s Bible – snuggle up on the couch and read a story or two. This is our favorite kid’s Bible

3. Listening to Christ-Centered Music

We love listening to music around here and we tend to listen to all different kinds. However, I do try to listen to Christian music often because of how my son picks up on the message. We will be listening and he will say “they are talking about Jesus!” or “that said the cross!” and he always gets so excited when he hears these familiar concepts.

The great thing too is that Christian music has come a long way since when I was a kid. There are a lot of quality options in different styles and genres. We enjoy listening to a “Toby Mac” station on Pandora that often plays Lecrae, Needtobreathe, Tenth Avenue North, Capital Kings, and of course Toby Mac.

We actually don’t listen to a ton of kid specific music, but some of our favorites that we do listen to are Steve Green and Seeds Family Worship.

Another awesome way to listen to music that I am discovering is through your Amazon Prime account. Did you know that you can stream tons of music through Prime Music? I had no idea until recently! A lot of the above listed artists can be streamed through Prime Music for free!

Join Amazon Prime Music – The Only Music Streaming Service with Free 2-day Shipping – 30-day Free Trial

4. “On The Go” Chats

My son and I talk about pretty much everything. Even when he was a baby and toddler I would talk with him about things that were probably above his comprehension. I figured that when he was able to understand he would, so we might as well start now.

Now, as a very inquisitive four year old, the conversations continue. Because we started early making talking about God a normal part of life, I am constantly fielding questions like:

“Is God really everywhere?”

“How come I can’t see God?”

“Is Jesus going to die on the cross again?”

“Can God hear me?”

These conversations are usually short and sweet, but I love that his wheels are always turning and he feels comfortable sharing his thoughts and questions. I think these conversations are a great example of my favorite Biblical parenting advice:

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. -Deuteronomy 6:6-7

It is my goal for the Word of God to be so on my heart that we can’t help but talk about it as we go through daily life.

5. Simplify Life

I’m preaching to myself here.

Like I said, life is busy for us right now. And while some of that is just a season, I do know I need to keep looking for ways to simplify life. I don’t want to be rushing through my days, to-do list in hand, not having enough time to be intentional with the things that are priorities to our family.

If you are looking for a resource to help you live your life more intentionally, I highly recommend the eCourse IntentionalByGrace Unplugged: 10 days to live more intentionally from my friend Leigh Ann at Intentional By Grace.

IBG Unplugged

How do you find simple ways to intentionally disciple your children? I’d love to get some more ideas!