If we sing the ABCs with our children so that they learn how to read and write, we should also sing the ABCs of the gospel with them, so that they might grow in the faith.
Maybe you grew up like me, running around the white-steepled church smack in center of your small-town.
Maybe you heard stories of a different Jesus, an imposter Jesus that sent you running from the church building as soon as you grabbed your diploma and your own set of keys.
Maybe you met Jesus in small doses, spread here and there.
But whatever your story, now we’re here, wanting to lead our children to the face and hands and words of the real and risen Savior, the greatest treasure we meet in scripture.
From beginning to end, the story of redemption has always been about God. The God who shot twirling planets across space by the words of his mouth chose the weak and broken things of this world to make himself known. Our God used mud to give sight to the blind, water to bring wine to the wedding, children to feed the multitudes. So, don’t sit there stressing Bible degrees and church pedigrees, unread book lists, and unlistened podcasts.
Instead, sit there celebrating a God who is enough.
This God who wrote the greatest story ever told in the pages of eternity, also wrote a new story, this gospel incarnate, inside of us. A story painted in sweeping brush strokes of Redeemer blood. A story that rewrote our past and redirected our future.
The Author of the greatest story is present in the pages of scripture, and he’s present in you as you tentatively whisper and confidently shout his words to your children.
The greatest gift we give our children isn’t handing them the all answers to life, wrapped in a sparkling red bow. It’s bringing them along with us as we live out the redemptive reality of Christ in us. When we come to God’s word with them, asking with utter confidence, ‘God, show us yourself today,’ we are modeling for them how to live this life on earth. This is what they need.
So become treasure hunters together.
Next time you open the Bible with your children, take a moment to pray your eyes will see the wonderful story of redemption on every page.
As women in the church learn and grow together, following Paul’s instruction to Titus that older women should teach the younger ones ‘what is good,’ a call to evangelism must be a crucial part of the good things passed on.
God’s people have the astounding privilege of passing on the good news of what God has done for us through the death of Christ on our behalf and his resurrection from the grave. Although it is clearly the concern of the whole church, the subject of sharing the gospel is one that women will do well to consider deeply together.
Let me suggest three specific reasons why.
First, believing women need to hear voices calling us to a gospel-centered outward focus—rather than a self-centered, inward one.
When we do turn outward toward social issues and actions—and, happily, we increasingly do—the temptation is to turn with passion to the physical and emotional needs that move our hearts. Why are we not equally moved, or even more moved, to share the good news of Jesus and how he can meet the greatest and eternal needs of every needy human being?
Second, there are great role models who can teach us biblically and well.
Women with hearts to share the gospel juggle a variety of contexts, mixing home and work and friendship and hospitality and mercy ministry in that sometimes-chaotic combination that makes up many women’s lives. No matter what our involvements, we can spur one another on in learning and sharing the Word that is at the heart of our ongoing witness.
Finally, women should be considering deeply together the subject of personal evangelism because we sense the urgency of teaching each other this part of ‘what is good.’
We all need voices calling us to a gospel-centered outward focus. We need strong Word-filled role models. And we need a sense of the urgency of this message, this message that calls people from death to life through the power of the gospel.
Taking an uninteruppted shower became a luxury after the birth of my first child. I would linger in the bathtub, praising God for a quiet moment before the rocking, the nursing, and the sleeplessness. Motherhood stretches not just our bodies, it stretches our time and capacity, filling them with long days and nights—as well as joy and delight.
Many of us are hard-pressed for time and energy. Our schedules are filled with homes, husbands, children, churches, jobs, friends, and the constant temptation to stay in-the-know of the hashtags, the trends, and the news. We are busy mothers with full hands. And somehow, amid the juggling of responsibilities, we are to nurture our children in the instruction of the Lord.
Picture the scene: dishes need to the done, dinner needs to the cooked, and I have a phone conference with a church group. I’m desperate for an uninterrupted hour so I offer my girls the diversion of a ‘Bible movie.’ They watch and I work; all seems well until I hear these words sounding from the screen: ‘David was brave in facing Goliath. You need to be brave and God will help you fight your battles too.’ I cringe.
Translating Bible passages into behavior instructions might help kids to prize certain traits and values, but this kind of teaching will miss the intention of the scriptures themselves—which is to testify of Christ.
Jesus is better than moralism, and thankfully we can find him everywhere in scripture. I want my children to hear narratives like David and Goliath with their eyes on David’s Greater Son, the one who defeats and liberates us from a deadly enemy we could never conquer on our own, sin.
With language that is understandable to our child, we teach in order to direct them to the Lord who bids little ones to come. This Lord is Lord of all, “bestowing his riches [without distinction] on all who call on him.” This means that, everyone (even fidgety children and with busy moms) can take in the goodness of God’s glorious gospel.
And the story of David and Goliath reminds me of Someone else.
'Theology' can be an intimidating word. For many of us, it calls to mind professors, pastors, or academics tirelessly pouring over ancient books. But it actually means 'the study of God.' So, momma, you're a theologian, and believe it or not, you're raising tiny theologians in your home.
Every day the world around us affects our kids' theology – the shows they watch, the books they read, and the neighbors they play with are all teaching them something about God, his relationship to his people, and his world.
So, the question isn't, 'Are our children theologians?' But instead, 'Have we taken the time to teach them to be good ones?'
Thankfully, God has equipped every one of us to be a student of his word! Each of us – you and me and even our tiny theologians – are able to come to the word of God, to study it with joy and understanding, and to share those rich truths with one other.
Momma, we have the honor and joy of joining with God in the process of raising tiny theologians. Let's teach!
When my son was just about a year old, I heard a mom friend say that she was doing scripture memory with her three-year-old because he was, “Such a sponge.” I had other friends reading a story from The Jesus Storybook Bible every night as part of their routine. And still others who were taking their school-aged children to Wednesday night church to learn the Bible with a group.
I remember feeling intimidated and wondering if I was behind. “Should I be doing more scripture memory with my baby?” (I literally thought that, even though he couldn’t talk yet!). Instead of focusing on the long road, making it a goal to consistently expose him to the word of God, I felt apprehensive about each method and strategy.
How do you know what to teach your children about the Bible?
Well, the goal is to equip them to be a disciple of Jesus Christ — to be able to follow him in obedience as adults if they place their faith in him.
Let them see you authentically loving God, repenting when you fail, turning to God in prayer, and studying sound doctrine along with the local church. Involve them when you host neighbors for dinner, encourage them to work hard when no one is looking, and love them as an image-bearer of God. It’s hard to be faithful in this work..., but what to teach them is actually fairly simple.
Teach them to be a follower of Christ.
Leading a Bible study can sound intimidating, nerve-wracking and maybe even a little awkward. But it doesn't have to be! Here's the deal: Just because you're leading, doesn't mean you need to have all the answers, sound holy, or speak in big words – if you can pray, stay somewhat organized, and ask questions, you can lead a Bible study. A Bible study is about studying scripture and learning more about God, it's not about making the leader look good (or awkward).
By stepping out in faith to coordinate a study, you'll bless many women as you grow together in your knowledge and love of God. In our final post of the #abidetogether series on the #risenmotherhoodblog, we'll walk you through a few simple ways to lead your Bible study like keeping an eye on the time, understanding the personalities in your group, and constantly pointing one another to the gospel.
The best conversations with a friend leave you feeling encouraged, refreshed, and maybe with an empty coffee cup or two. While it may take a bit of effort, your Bible study discussions can feel like one of your memorable conversations with a close friend. By focusing on God's word through authenticity and humble sharing, we can be challenged, spurred on, and find fellowship with other women.
So how do you navigate good discussion in your Bible study? In today's installment of the Abide Together series on the Risen Motherhood Blog, we'll walk you through how to love your group members well and maximize your discussion.⠀
Today’s post is part of a six week series on how to start and facilitate a women’s Bible study group. We’ll cover the basics like what and why, as well as the more difficult parts, like who and how. Our hope is to encourage you to study God’s word with fellow believers, equipping you with practical how-tos for starting a study in your local church or community. If you’re just joining us, you can start at the beginning of the series here.
One of the first questions women have when starting a Bible study is, "What should we study?" And with so many different types and style of studies in the market today, it can be difficult to choose. While it can be easy to want to find something that sounds easy or keeps everyone comfortable, the best studies balance the gospel message with challenges at many levels of biblical knowledge, without being bland or discouragingly difficult.
So how do you find this kind of study?
That's what we're sharing today on the blog, we'll walk you through how to find theologically-sound resources, meet the needs of your various group members, find the right format, and ultimately discern the best materials for your specific Bible study.
We’ve never had more resources available to us than we do right now. There are books, online articles, printed magazines, podcasts, videos, and music coming at us from every direction. As a woman eager to learn more about God’s word, it can be exhilarating to have easy access to so many teachers and influencers.
These resources can be extremely helpful and can encourage a busy mom when her hands are full of little children and dirty dishes. It’s a joy to turn on a favorite podcast, or sneak in a quick devotional reading in the school pick-up line. Our modern age of information provides lots of great opportunities for spiritual growth and reflection. But however nice and helpful the resources may be, they aren’t the same as studying the Bible itself. We still need first-hand knowledge of the eternal word of God so we can know him more fully and be sustained as we serve him in this world. Without even realizing it, we often just “take people’s word for it” when it comes to understanding God's nature, character and plans. But if we don't know what he actually says, how can we be sure that the podcasts, online sermons, devotional books, and Christian books we consume are actually giving us truth?
These questions and concerns are why we need to prioritize Bible study and learn God’s word for ourselves...
Are you stressed, parched, overwhelmed, and in need of direction in your life? Do you long to know God more, and understand his love for you? Would you like to see more growth as you battle sins and minister to those in your sphere of influence? Are you confused about God’s plan for your life and how to have purpose in all you do? Could you use help in learning to train your children in the ways of the Lord? Do you wish you could hear God’s voice speaking to you? Well, the good news is, God has spoken, and you have access to his words.
Even when we recognize that the Bible is the ultimate resource for all of eternity, we can still feel overwhelmed opening a book originally written in foreign languages, more than three thousand years ago. Something so full of metaphors and detailed imagery (that seemingly doesn’t relate to a mom in the twenty-first century) can be difficult to apply, and honestly, sometimes we don’t “feel” any different right away. Questions about scripture passages take time and study to answer, and not every passage has simple, direct application to our daily lives.
In high school and college I spent a lot of time in scripture, but as I started working, got married and had really little littles, I wasn't spending a lot of time in the Bible. I hunted and pecked here and there, did a few inductive Bible Studies – my time and depth ebbed and flowed depending on what I was involved in and who was holding me accountable.
And with the lack of time, I felt some of my passion for God dry up. If you asked me, I would have told you I wanted a more passionate relationship with the Lord, but I'd tell you that for one reason or another I was just kinda going through a dry spell. And if I were honest with you – if I were honest with myself – I would have told you that I believed God was the distant one, not me.
"Mom, are you doing bible study now? Can I come! I want to get my bible study out!"
Little pajama feet pitter-patter up the stairs into the kitchen to grab their nearly-dried out container full of markers and almost-full notebooks. They find their small bibles, and negotiate whose name is on the front, double-checking by investigating the types of stickers they find inside the cover ("Oh, Thomas the train - that's mine!!"). They spread their materials out beside me, climbing onto stools at the kitchen island.
With four young children, a moment of quiet or predictable consistency is hard to come by. Even with my best efforts to be organized and intentional, it’s still difficult to stay engaged in regular bible study, to disciple women, to fellowship regularly with other believers, or to serve in ways that pull me out of my home. The desire is there, but so are the dirty diapers, the naptime routines, the laundry piles, and the mundane things that keep our family going.
All the distractions, setbacks, and challenges occasionally leave me wondering if theological growth just isn’t possible for a woman in the season of young children. I’ve wondered if I should just shrug at my inconsistent quiet times, and parched prayer life. I’ve contemplated sitting out of the women’s bible study or leaving our calendar free of hospitable meals because it’s just too hard.
So for every mom of little ones who is longing to see her relationship with God as bigger than the elusive “quiet time”, this list is for you.