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Archive for the Recommended Resources Category


Jul 8

Thriving at College

2011 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Recommended Link,Recommended Resources

Summers are a time of transition for many of us. This is especially true for those families with high school students on their way to college. This means new places. It mens new responsibilities. It means new opportunities in the service of Christ. It means new temptations.

In his article, “Learning to Thrive at College,” Alex Chediak offers some simple but wise advice for college students:

College should be a temporary season of academic preparation and personal growth to propel a lifetime of effective service to God and neighbor. It should be a launching pad into all that goes with responsible Christian adulthood. Yet for some, it’s a time when they abandon the Christian faith, displaying that they never really belonged to Christ (1 John 2:19). For others, their faith remains intact, but they waste their college lives with video games, partying, and other frivolities—an expensive vacation funded by Mom, Dad, and debilitating student loans.

…I’m convinced that you should not just survive college but thrive at college. Don’t just maintain your faith, but really come to own it — growing thick, strong roots (1 Timothy 4:12). Don’t just squeak by classes with as little effort as possible, but strive to discover your calling — what God uniquely wired you to do — and to love God with all your mind by giving it your very best (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Socially, college is a season for making life-long friendships — not just the kind you have a great time with (good as that is) but the kind that spur you on to love, trust, and follow God. Pursue relationships that help you put away childishness, grow in maturity, increasingly make wise choices, and “expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.” And who knows? Maybe one of these friends will become a fabulous husband or wife.

College is a time for assuming responsibility, for becoming a disciplined steward of time and money, for recognizing that recreation is a gift of God to be enjoyed in measure but never to dominate our lives. Rather, when properly pursued, recreation empowers us for our work rather than distracting us from our work.

As a student, remember that your work is learning (studying) so that you can, for a lifetime, increasingly love God with a well-trained mind, a mind that can identify key questions, pursue understanding, dissect arguments, discover logical fallacies, and communicate effectively.

Let’s be sure to pray for our college students – both those who are away at college, those who are in town for college, and those who have moved to town and are a part of our church.

Alex is the author of, Thriving at College: Make Great Friends, Keep Your Faith, and Get Ready for the Real World!. If you are headed to college or know someone who is, order a copy from Amazon. While we aren’t carrying this book at the Resource Center, we are featuring a number of other books on the theme of parenting through the rest of this month.

Jul 1

For Parents of Young Children: Recommendations from Fred Zaspel

2011 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Recommended Link,Recommended Resources

During Dr. Fred Zaspel’s recent visit to DSC for our parenting weekend, he mentioned a list of book recommendations for parents. We’ll post audio when it is available, but we wanted to make his recommendations available to you now.

But first, in terms of parenting counsel, Fred’s own practice and recommendation to us is to devote ourselves to mastering Scripture’s teaching on the subject. Then, the next best thing we can do is pursue input from families who appear to be parenting well. The only book he went out of his way to recommend on the subject of parenting itself is a short $2 book by J.C. Ryle, The Duties of Parents. And in all of our parenting, as he made clear in Sunday’s sermon, “Marriage: Finding its Original Perfection,” one of the most important ways for a mother and a father to love their children is to love one another first.

In the list below, you’ll notice some overlap with the list we published last week of books available at our Resource Center. I’ve gone ahead and put an asterisk next to those books we’re carrying. If there’s a book we’re not carrying here, though, it’s not for a lack of endorsement but space.

These recommendations are for parents of younger children to read with their children. In last week’s post we included several books with instructions on parenting for parents in a broader range of stages. For each title we’ve provided links to Amazon and brief publisher descriptions.

*The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name, Sally Lloyd Jones

Containing forty-six Bible stories from creation to Revelation with beautiful, rich, and vibrant artwork, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to join in the greatest of all adventures and discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation – and at the center of their story, too.

*The Big Picture Story Bible, David Helm

No child is too young to begin learning about the greatest love story of all—God’s love for his people, as portrayed in the Bible. David Helm and Gail Schoonmaker have together created a colorful book of Bible stories written especially for children ages 2–7. Rather than simply retelling portions of the Bible, this book presents the big picture—the unified story running through the Old and New Testaments. Twenty-six stories together form parts of this big picture.

Simply written and beautifully illustrated, this book teaches children the Bible’s whole story so they can begin to appreciate the fulfillment of God’s promise to his people. The Big Picture Story Bible is perfect for parents to read to their children and for older children to read on their own.

Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers: The Gospel, Joey Allen

The Gospel relates a gospel message of salvation to children, at their level of understanding, planting seeds that will hopefully blossom into a Christian life of dedication to our Savior and Lord.

The Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers series introduces children ages four to eight to the fundamental teachings about God based on the Bible. The most foundational teachings of the Christian faith are presented in this four-book set at a level preschool and elementary children can understand. Colorful illustrations compliment every page of orthodox Christian doctrine, creating an enjoyable learning experience for the child. In contrast to self-centered theology and watered-down Bible storybooks, the Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers series promotes God-centered theology with simple and precise teaching while offering stability and a strong, lasting connection with the faith.

Big Thoughts For Little Thinkers: The Trinity, Joey Allen

The Trinity teaches the doctrine that there is one God who exists in three persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This teaching is foundational for a child’s understanding of God; a fact about the Trinity is presented on each page, leading the child to a stronger faith.

Big Truths for Little Kids: Teaching Your Children to Live for God, Susan Hunt

This wonderful book, with its easy-to-use story format, can help you teach the basic truths of the Christian faith to your children. They’ll learn right along with Caleb and Cassie that God’s ways are best – and that even as kids, they can live for His glory every day.

Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God, Marty Machowski

Christian parents know the importance of passing the gospel story on to their children, yet we live in a busy world filled with distractions. Schedules collide, there is homework and yard work and dishes and laundry, the car’s oil should be changed, there are phone calls to make…and before you know it, everyone is getting to bed late again.

The Bible can seem like a long story for an active family to read, but when you break it down into short sections, as Marty Machowski does, family devotions are easy to do. Long Story Short will help busy parents share with their children how every story in the Old Testament points forward to God’s story of salvation through Jesus Christ. You won’t find a more important focus for a family devotional than a daily highlighting of the gospel of grace. Clever stories and good moral lessons may entertain and even help children, but the gospel will transform children. The gospel is deep enough to keep the oldest and wisest parents learning and growing all their lives, yet simple enough to transform the heart of the first grader who has just begun to read.

Ten minutes a day, five days a week is enough time to pass on the most valuable treasure the world has ever known. Long Story Short is a family devotional program designed to explain God’s plan of salvation through the Old Testament and is suitable for children from preschool through high school.

Who Will be King?, Tony Payne

This presentation of the gospel, carefully written and illustrated for young readers (roughly ages 7-11), is based on the Two ways to live outline and illustrations. With simple, clear language, but concern for the sensitivity of younger children, it is ideal for Scripture classes in schools, Sunday School lessons, beach missions, camps or just to give to young friends and family members.

The Church History ABCs: Augustine and 25 Other Heroes of the Faith, Stephen Nichols

Dramatically converted on the stormy seas, a slave-trader-turned-abolitionist penned the best-loved hymn of the Christian faith. A church father was arrested and martyred for teaching the truth about Christ’s incarnation. Captured by pirates and shipped off to Ireland, a priest baptized thousands of pagans, from paupers to princes. Now who ever said church history was boring?

The Church History ABCs is a fun way for kids to learn about great figures in Christian history. Twenty-six heroes of the faith march through the alphabet, boldly telling their stories in language children can understand. This wide range of characters—men and women from across the centuries, from all over the globe—reflects the breadth of church history and reminds children that these great figures of the past were living, breathing people who lived and died for the glory of God.

*Mighty Acts of God: A Family Bible Story Book, Starr Meade

“Do as David did. Don’t do as Saul did. Follow this Old Testament person, but not that New Testament person.” That’s what you may find in many Bible story books. In Mighty Acts of God Starr Meade takes a new approach to teaching the Bible to elementary school aged children: she focuses not on characters in Scripture, but on God. Each of the ninety Bible stories included focus on a particular character trait or truth about God, emphasizing that God is the main character in every Bible story.

Each story in Mighty Acts of God is retold in lively, modern-day language from a Reformed perspective, and is followed by an application section with several discussion-sparking questions and prayer points. By moving chronologically through both the Old and New Testaments, parents and children glimpse the person of God as one of consistency, vibrancy, passion, and love.

My 1st Book: 7 Book Set, Carine Mackenzie and Philip Ross

*Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God, Bruce Ware

Sure, it’s easy to teach your children the essentials of Christian theology when you’re a theology professor. But what about the rest of us? With Big Truths for Little Hearts, Bruce Ware, (you guessed it!) a theology professor, encourages and enables parents of children 6-14 years of age to teach through the whole of systematic theology at a level their children can understand. Parents can teach their children the great truths of the faith and shape their worldviews early, based on these truths. The book covers ten topics of systematic theology, devoting several brief chapters to each subject, making it possible for parents to read one chapter per day with their children. With this non-intimidating format, parents will be emboldened to be their children’s primary faith trainers and perhaps learn a few things themselves along the way.

Dangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrim’s Progress, Oliver Hunkin

The world-famous, much-loved classic Pilgrim’s Progress is here retold for children. This abridged version uses the original words of John Bunyan as selected by Oliver Hunkin to present a gripping narrative. Filled with intricately detailed illustrations, this handsome, large-format book makes an ideal gift.

Jun 14

R.C. Ryle, The Duties of Parents

2011 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Recommended Resources

Ahead of our parenting seminar weekend with Fred Zaspel, June 24 and 25, “The Word on Parenting,” we will highlight a few resources here on the blog to whet your appetite.

One resource Fred will mention and recommend is a short book by J.C. Ryle, The Duties of Parents. In this book, Ryle presents seventeen instructions for parents in training their children:

  1. Train them in the way they should go, and not in the way they would.
  2. Train up your child with all tenderness, affection, and patience.
  3. Train your children with an abiding persuasion on your mind that much depends upon you.
  4. Train with this thought continually before your enes – that the soul of your child is the first thing to be considered.
  5. Train your child to a knowledge of the Bible.
  6. Train them to a habit of prayer
  7. Train them to habits of diligence, and regularity about public means of grace.
  8. Train them to a habit of faith.
  9. Train them to a habit of obedience.
  10. Train them to a habit of always speaking the truth.
  11. Train them to a habit of always redeeming the time.
  12. Train them with a constant fear of over-indulgence
  13. Train them remembering continually how God trains His children.
  14. Train them remembering continually the influence of your own example.
  15. Train them remembering continually the power of sin.
  16. Train them remembering continually the promises of Scripture.
  17. Train them, lastly, with continual prayer for a blessing on all you do.

This book is available online or at the Resource Center for $3.00. For those interested in more details about DSC’s parenting weekend on June 24 and 25, we published a post last week introducing you to our speaker, the subject, and how to register for childcare.

Also, for those who aren’t now parents but would like to bless the many young parents of our church with child care, please contact Kayla at kayla@desertspringschurch.org to express your availability. Of course, given the subject of this weekend, many who might otherwise help care for children desire to participate in the seminar.