Bible tools books

Getting Our Kids in the Word

11:00 AMHeather

Does anyone remember those secret decoder rings that used to come in cereal boxes? When I was a kid, I used to want one. I thought it might be particularly useful when it came to understanding the Bible. 

The grown-ups around me talked about how important and special and practical and helpful the Bible was. But I just didn't get it. Week after week, I sat in big church with my parents and filled sketch books with doodles. To be honest, the preacher sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher to me. I couldn't figure out the gap between my children's Bible with its cute little cartoons and the content of the passages the preacher read.

Honestly, it bored me. As I grew older and graduated to a "big girl Bible" without pictures, I found reading the Bible to be a chore. I knew I was missing something, as others talked about how helpful and wonderful it was. In junior high, there was a brief spark of connection during the six weeks I studied a booklet called The Survival Kit. That booklet was a useful took to help me break down the Bible where I could understand it. But, I didn't know where to go next. I see now that I was too embarrassed to admit to my preacher father and Bible reading mother that I found the Bible boring and hard to understand. 

During my college years, I received the gentle guidance of my peers and sound Biblical teaching from Louie Giglio at a weekly study called Choice. There, I found nuggets of truth that I could memorize and repeat to myself and find hope from as my life turned upside down. And so, my love for the Bible as an anchor of truth began to grow at long last.

Fast forward a few decades and here I am. A mother of three who is continually striving to help my kids unpack the Bible and grow a love for it. Honestly, I generally feel like I've fallen way short. We bought our kids the Bible story tapes for bedtime like I used to have. We read them stories from their children's Bible at bedtime. We bought family devo books that we tried to faithfully read through, with some success. I even wrote some family devos with hands-on activities in an attempt to connect my kids to the Word of God. 

Basically, we've drifted a bit from one approach to another, and I'm not sure I've actually accomplished my goal of teaching my kids how to read and love the Bible. Yet, this idea of connecting the next generation to the Word is a growing passion within me.

Because here's what I so fervently have told my children and the girls whom I taught Bible study. It's all true. This book about God. It's ALL true. I've even blogged about this twice this year. The emphatic statement that every word of God, every promise and every truth and hope preached within the pages of the Bible are absolutely true. 

God is exactly who he says he is. And more. He keeps his every word. He speaks to us of his love and kindness and strength and mercy and grace in page after page of his glorious love letter to us within those 66 books of the Bible. 

In my searching and praying through this dilemma of how to get my kids (and yours) into the Word of God, an idea was planted to create a guide and a journal that could be a tool. I wanted to create a book that I could easily put into the hands of kids, tweens, teens and even adults that would help them open the Bible to any old passage and glean and mine out the treasures within. 

And so, I did. 

Today, I announce the birth of twin book projects... a boy and a girl.

This is Digging in the Word: A Guide & Journal for Bible Study.

 There's a version for girls.

And a version for guys.

Can you even get over the beautiful cover art on the girl version? That is the incredible creation of my high school friend, Sherry Fukuda Cartwright. Sherry and I have girls the same age and I am thrilled to showcase her artistic talents on the girl book cover.  

Both books contain the same content, with a slightly varied version of my hand-drawn journaling boxes for each gender.

Let me tell you about the book's content. This book is a three month guide and journal. There is a double lay-out for everyday. On the left side of the page, there are four journaling boxes. Here, you write in the Bible passage for the day and then answer three reflective questions. These questions were prayerfully designed to help the reader unpack the writing in the Word.

First, the readers looks to the passage to determine what it tells you about God. This is looking to adoration, or discovering the truest thoughts of God. In this journaling box, the reader goes through the passage to finish the sentence, "You are the God who (fill in the blank)." All throughout Scripture, the pages describe who God is and how he responds to his people. When we look for these descriptors, we can preach to our souls the absolute truth of God's character. These truths, discovered and repeated to ourselves, can take root and speak over the lies, deceits and emotions that tend to sway us.

Next, the reader looks in the passage to discover what it tells us about who we are because of God. This is the practice of looking to affirmation of our gospel identity. Here, the journaling box asks you to complete the sentence, "I am (fill in the blank)." Looking within Scripture to see how God's children are described helps us to inform our thinking about how God sees us, allowing us to create an identity based on the truth of Scripture rather than the culture's definition. Over and over, we see in Scripture that we are chosen, called, loved, forgiven, redeemed and so forth. 

Oh, that even our children could begin to see themselves through the lens of Scripture.

The last journaling box on the left side of each day's page asks the reader to describe the actions the passage calls us to take. When we look to the truest things in Scripture, it moves us to action. We are to respond to the truest thoughts of God and to the truest things about our gospel identity.  So, what is the passage asking us to think, do and say?

In the beginning of the book, I describe how to use the book. I believe this book is applicable for children through adults. I believe that it can have a huge impact on our lives when we begin to truly study the Scripture. And I encourage the reader to not just fill out these journaling boxes, but also to go back and repeat these answers out loud to themselves to help them take hold in our thinking.

I believe that the other side of each day's page further sets this book apart as a truly unique tool.

The right side of each day's page is an empty frame. This is a place for each reader to respond and process the day's reading according to their own bents and whatever feels natural to them. You can hand letter a key phrase or do a sketch or doodle. You can write out a prayer to God or take additional notes from the day's passage. The possibilities are endless and the page is designed to help the reader engage and interact with the passage a bit further, in their own way.

And so, I am thrilled to introduce to you my latest book project.

Digging in the Word: A Guide & Journal for Bible Study.  

These books are available for $11.99 on my website under the book tab, and they are also available on Amazon. 

This project is a dream come true for me, as I have long searched for a flexible tool for myself and my children to help them read and understand the Bible. I have wanted something that takes us more in depth than just filling in a blank on a question. These books call the reader to open their Bible and dig in.

With the start of a fresh new school year, what better time to begin a new habit and discipline of reading the Bible? 

I pray that this book will become a valuable tool in the hands of every reader. I pray that it helps each reader discover the treasures of Scripture, to preach the gospel to themselves, to think the truest thoughts of God, to form a true gospel identity and to be challenged to take action as a result.

The word of God is eternal. It is worth every bit of investment on our parts. God promises that his word never returns void.

May it bear much fruit in your own lives. 

Photo cred Kaitlin Simmons of Zac and Kaitlin Photography

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