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?

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

Five Ways to Intentionally Disciple Your Kids

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!

 

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