Teach Children: The Bible Is Not About Them
Many of you have heard me talk about “The Jesus Storybook Bible”. It is one of the few Children’s Bibles that I highly recommend and would say is a must have for families with young children. Here is a blog post written by Sally Lloyd-Jones, the author of this remarkable Children’s Bible on why she wrote it.
Teach Children the Bible Is Not About Them
When I go into churches and speak to children I ask them two questions:
First, How many people here sometimes think you have to be good for God to love you?They tentatively raise their hands. I raise my hand along with them.
And second, How many people here sometimes think that if you aren’t good, God will stop loving you? They look around and again raise their hands.
These are children in Sunday schools who know the Bible stories and probably all the right answers, and yet they have somehow missed the most important thing of all.
They have missed what the Bible is all about.
They are children like I once was.
As a child, even though I was a Christian, I grew up thinking the Bible was filled with rules you had to keep (or God wouldn’t love you) and with heroes setting examples you had to follow (or God wouldn’t love you).
I tried to be good. I really did. I was quite good at being good. But however hard I tried, I couldn’t keep the rules all the times so I knew God must not be pleased with me.
And I certainly couldn’t ever be as brave as Daniel. I remember being tormented by that Sunday school chorus “Dare to Be a Daniel” because, hard as I tried to imagine myself daring to be a Daniel, being thrown to lions and not minding . . . who was I kidding? I knew I’d be terrified out of my skull.
How could God ever love me?
I was sure he couldn’t because I wasn’t doing it right.
One Sunday, not long ago, I was reading the story of “Daniel and the Scary Sleepover” fromThe Jesus Storybook Bible to some 6-year-olds during a Sunday school lesson. One little girl in particular was sitting so close to me she was almost in my lap. Her face was bright and eager as she listened to the story, utterly captivated. She could hardly keep on the ground and kept kneeling up to get closer to the story.
At the end of the story there were no other teachers around, and I panicked and went into automatic pilot and heard myself—to my horror—asking, “And so what can we learn from Daniel about how God wants us to live?”
And as I said those words it was as if I had literally laid a huge load on that little girl. Like I broke some spell. She crumpled right in front of me, physically slumping and bowing her head. I will never forget it.
It is a picture of what happens to a child when we turn a story into a moral lesson.
When we drill a Bible story down into a moral lesson, we make it all about us. But the Bible isn’t mainly about us, and what we are supposed to be doing—it’s about God, and what he has done!
When we tie up the story in a nice neat little package, and answer all the questions, we leave no room for mystery. Or discovery. We leave no room for the child. No room for God.
And that’s why I wrote The Jesus Storybook Bible. So children could know what I didn’t:
That the Bible isn’t mainly about me, and what I should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.
That the Bible is most of all a story—the story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.
That—in spite of everything, no matter what, whatever it cost him—God won’t ever stop loving his children . . . with a wonderful, Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.
That the Bible, in short, is a Story—not a Rule Book—and there is only one Hero in the Story.
I wrote The Jesus Storybook Bible so children could meet the Hero in its pages. And become part of His Magnificent Story.
Because rules don’t change you.
But a Story—God’s Story—can.
Editors’ Note: The new Jesus Storybook Bible Curriculum by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Sam Shammas contains 44 lessons revealing how Jesus is the center of each Bible story and how every story whispers his name. It includes activities, notes for teachers based on material from Timothy Keller, memory verses, handouts for children, a hardcover copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible, and three audio CDs containing David Suchet’s reading.
Providence (Where Was God?) – Poem
Providence (Where Was God?)
Where was God, when Jesus died on the cross?
When all hope seemed lost?
Where was God, when the waves did toss?
When my dreams did pause?
Where was God, when I needed Him most?
When the fire began to roast?
Where was God, when mine enemies did boast?
When I thought I was toast?
Where was God, when Satan seemed boss?
When all hope seemed lost?
Where was God, when Jesus died on the cross?
God was there… He was paying my cost.
John Piper’s Unexpected Career in Hip-Hop
Holy hip-hop or Christian rap has been on my mind lately. While I still feel like a complete poser when a listen to such music, I can’t deny that I quite enjoy it (as my wife would be glad to testify with a roll of her pretty eyes; she isn’t much of a fan). As I’ve been exploring this genre, which is still rather new to me, I have come across an interesting and unexpected influence on these artists: none other than John Piper. Sometimes he is the one who has inspired the song and, even more often, he actually appears within the song. Let me give you some examples.
Let’s get started with what is probably the most notable and most popular of these Piper references.
Don’t Waste Your Life by Lecrae may not actually feature Piper’s voice, but it is named after one of his most popular books.
Next up is Make War by Tedashii which begins with John Piper’s battlecry of “Make War!”
From Tedashii we go to Shai Linne who begins his song All-Consuming Fire with a great quote from Piper.
We’re just getting started. Here is Json with Who He Is, a song that features Lecrae. And John Piper.
Timothy Brindle is also in on this John Piper thing, using a Piper sermon to introduce his song Sanctification.
And here comes Swoope with Actions Speak Louder. You’ll need to wait to the end to hear Piper’s bit.
We’ll go back to Tedashii and his song This Song’s For You, which is meant to honor true preachers. “So this song’s for the true shepherds / who prove selfless / whose aim is to aid the true helpless / I mean brothers like Spurgeon and Piper, Tom Nelson, John Edwards, / brothers who make disciples / Those who because of Ezekiel 34 shepherd the flocks / as a true pastor of the Lord.”
And back to Shai Linne with My Portion who gets Piper involves right off the top.
Once I began looking, I found quite a few more Piper quotes and references from artists who are not quite as well-known, but I guess I’ve made the point. Even here I am sure I haven’t exhausted all of the references from the more popular artists. Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what I’ve missed!
Here are some bonus videos:
It is not just rappers who use Piper’s sermons. Matt Papa includes John Piper in his song The Glory of God.
The Joy Eternal has a whole album based on the work of Piper. The title of the album is A Sweet & Bitter Providence. Here is their song The Best Is Yet to Come.
And to wrap it up, here is John Piper interviewing Lecrae:
- from Challies’ blog
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