You Don’t Need To Be Theologian To Teach Kids.


In my last post I made the case for systematic theology and why kids need it. I know many of you might be thinking that there is no way that you could teach your kids systematic theology because you don’t really even understand it yourself. Take heart you are not alone. The good news for you is there are many resources that are now available to help your kids and you understand the basic framework of our faith.

Theology is something that is scary for many parents as many of them were never taught theology because much of it was assumed when they were kids. Their parents assumed they understood things about God. The most important thing about our kids is what they think about God. Because that’s true we can leave nothing to chance.

So where do we start. I would not start with Systematic Theology for kids under 6 or 7 for them I would read them books that tell the large story of God as a Redeemer. To do that I would recommend the following books

The Jesus Story Book Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones



The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung

Once kids have an understanding of the big picture of scripture the parts will make sense. When your kids are between 7 and 8 I would working through a systematic theology with them. There are three that I would recommend this list is by no means exhaustive. I have broken them up into younger, slightly older and older again this is for connivance what is important is you find what works for you family and do that.


Everything a Child Should Know about God by Kenneth Taylor


The Ology by Marty Machowski

Older Elementary

Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware



Bible Doctrine: Essential Teaching of the Christian Faith by Wayne Grudem


Looking to keep kids safe online? Check out Circle


Today is the launch of a brand new product on the market that will have every family rejoice. Circle is managed through a companion iOS app, Circle with Disney is a tool that helps parents stay informed about their kids’ online activities and limit screen time on every device in the home, including smart phones, tablets, computers, and gaming consoles. Circle with Disney pairs with home Wi-Fi and gives parents the ability to filter content, set a bedtime for devices, and even completely pause the Internet. Each user’s profile and settings can be completely customized based on age and parents’ preferences.

If you are a parent with kids under the age of 18 you are struggling with the blessing and the curse of technology. There are many solutions out there the problem is many of them require a double-digit monthly fee. Here is where circle comes in. Not only is Circle feature rich but you pay for the unit set it up and instantly you have control over the internet in your home. You have the ability to set time limits, filter content and block ads. This happens all with a small attractive unit called circle.

To take back the internet in your home click here

Find out more about Circle now!

Key features of Circle with Disney include:

TIME LIMITS: Families can set daily Time Limits on any app or content
category they want. With Time Limits, families can customize how much
time their kids spend on each platform and set a total online time for the

FILTER: Families can set individual filter levels for each family member.
Circle with Disney has four preset age-levels and allows for further
customization by platform, app, website, and content category. Families
can choose a filter that matches each user’s age and interests, filtering out
inappropriate content.

INSIGHTS: Families can stay informed about where their kids spend their
online time―by platform, category and website. Circle with Disney allows
families to see a member’s total time spent online and the sites visited.

PAUSE THE INTERNET: With the press of a button, families can pause
the Internet, disabling access to a specific device, individual, or the entire

BEDTIME™: Families can create a BedTime™ for each family member
and their devices. Simply set a sleep time, when the devices will
disconnect from the Internet, and an awake time, for the morning when the
devices will reconnect.

GUEST DEVICES: Circle with Disney recognizes when a guest joins the
home’s Wi-Fi and can apply a family’s home settings to visitors’ devices.

BLOCK ADS: Circle with Disney can block ads for any user’s devices.

EVERY DEVICE: Circle with Disney knows every single device connected
to a family’s network (smart phones, tablets, computers, gaming consoles)
and gives families the ability to manage each.

Convinced? I am

Get your Circle here!

How To Partner With Parents

Give them a first step


In the kids ministry world the idea of partnering with parents is definitely mainstream. Most people are talking about why this is important. We need to be having this conversation. The more we talk about partnering with parents it reminds us of our primary job to lead and guide not to parent the kids in our ministry. This is so important. We are here to train and equip parents to more effectively lead their homes.

One of the things I often wrestle with personally is how do I take my understanding that I need to partner with parents and translate that into action. It’s so easy for me to nod my head at conferences and tweet things that say partnering with parents is important but how does that become a reality and not just a good idea. I would say the answer is small first steps.

Halloween and Pseudo-Transformation.


I have been thinking a lot about the whole Halloween debate. The difficulty with these types of debates is the Bible doesn’t address them so we pick sides and dig in. I know he did a lot of things that angered the “evil” Pharisees. It is easy to point to the Pharisees and say how they represent all the things we disagree with and our position is represented by Christ. But you know what, sometimes I find myself being a Pharisee. I find that I often seek my value in myself by rule keeping alone, actually one of the more scary realities is that it’s generally when I feel I am not a Pharisee that I am most in danger of being one.

A Pharisee to me is someone who has the outward appearance of the values that Jesus came to model with none of the inward convictions he lived out.

I think we need to take a hard look at what is meant when the Bible calls Jesus a friend of sinners.

In his book The Life You’ve Always Wanted John Ortberg talks about Pseudo-Transformation. It is powerful. I think to some people Halloween has become a “boundary marker of salvation.” Here is a short excerpt from his book, powerful stuff.

The great danger that arises when we don’t experience authentic transformation is that we settle for what might be called pseudo-transformation. We know that as Christians we are called to “come out and be separate,” that our faith and spiritual commitment should make us different somehow. But if we are not marked by greater and greater amounts of love and joy, we will inevitably look for substitute ways of distinguishing ourselves from those who are not Christians. This deep pattern is almost inescapable for religious people: If we do not become changed from the inside-out – if we don’t morph- we will be tempted to look to external methods to satisfy our need to feel that we’re different from those outside the faith. If we cannot be transformed, we will settle for being informed or conformed.

Here is where the gospel meets our messy reality.

Is your life primary marked by Love and Joy or by what you do or do not do? When we understand that Jesus kept the law perfectly for us, something we could never do and is not doing, it changes us. We move from law-keeping to be righteous to a thankfulness that Jesus paid it all on our behalf. That gratitude pushes us to live a life of devotion and holiness not because we are better than everyone but because we are painfully aware of our deep need for daily grace. It’s the gospel that frees us not to be absorbed into what Paul calls “meaningless debates.” My advice as someone who has been a kids pastor for nearly two decades, a parent for over a decade, and a sinner saved by grace for four decades, is this go: trick-or-treating or stay home. Do what you feel that you should do for your family. If you feel, you should go then do that. If you feel you should stay home, do that. Neither is wrong, but both can be. How is that? By treating those who don’t participate as weird or thinking you are better because you don’t participate. Both show a failure to live in humility.

What do I tell my kids when bad things happen?


Question One of the Heidelberg Catechism

Q. What is your only comfort
in life and in death?

A. That I am not my own,
but belong—body and soul,
in life and in death—

to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven;
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.

Because I belong to him,
Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.

Starr Meade in her devotional based on the Heidelberg Catechism called, “Comforting Hearts, Teaching Minds,” she rightly points to the place we must go in the midst of tragedy.  How do we deal with the pains and heartbreaks of life? In her devotional she says the following.

Do you ever imagine “what if-?” What if things went horribly wrong? What if you were seriously ill and were not going to get better? What if something happened to your home or to your parents? Because of sin, all kinds of bad things can happen in our world. Is there anythings that is big enough to comfort us if the worst “what if’s” should happen?

The psalmist imagined “what if” in Psalm 46. He imagined: what if the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the sea? The psalmist comforted himself by remembering that, even then, God would still be our refuge, the place where we can go to be safe. God would still be our strength, and our “very present help,’ even in the greatest trouble.

We aren’t ready to face life unafraid and live it fully until we know we have something big enough to comfort us in any “what if.”

So true thank you Starr for putting into words what my heart needed to hear today.

Psalm 46:1-3English Standard Version (ESV)

God Is Our Fortress

46 God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present[b] help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling.     Selah