Category: Scripture

Practicing the Spiritual Disciplines with Kids (+Free Printable)

Spiritual disciplines are fantastic and frightening.

They are fantastic because they are often a really great way to help me connect with God. Whether it be through prayer, reading the Scriptures, practicing generosity, journaling, walking a labyrinth, WHATEVER, these are places and times when I’m being intentional about slowing down and focusing on what God is doing around me and inside of me. It’s a time for me to listen and/or to enter into the Kingdom of God living that I might not naturally do on my own.

Spiritual disciplines are also frightening because when I engage in them, I’m giving up control. While I can decide when and what to do, I can’t decide what God’s going to say, how He’s going to move, or even if I’m going to sense His presence at all. Especially at the beginning, it’s sometimes frightening to be vulnerable, even when it’s with our Abba.

When I became a parent, I settled it in my mind that I would help my kids practice developmentally appropriate spiritual disciplines early. By practicing and learning how to connect with God on their own, I’m hoping that these disciplines will give space for God to create markers in their faith where the kids “know that they know they have heard from God.”

A good friend of mine is the teaching pastor at Catalyst Community Church in Rowlett, Texas, and he recently invited me to help make a spiritual disciplines guide for kids. What can we do as parents to help our kids practice the disciplines? 

Spiritual Disciplines with Kids

The result of this collaborative project is this helpful sheet that we’re sharing with you. Feel free to download it, print it, share it, whatever!


Review: Zondervan Plush Bible, NIrV

A little over a year ago, for Asante’s 6th birthday, we presented him with his very own, full-text Bible. I had done quite a bit of research and we had ended up settling on the Adventure Bible for Early Readers, NIrV, which he’s enjoyed. As I’ve been searching for one for Aly, one thing was for sure- I’d again purchase a NIrV (New International reader’s Version), which is very friendly towards young readers. Other than that, however, remains unclear.


Zondervan has just put out the Plush Bible (NIrV), which has a cute sparkly pink cover that is a little bit furry and has exactly the kind of flair that a 5 or 6 year old girl would get excited about. The binding of the Bible is well done, which is important for little ones for obvious reasons!

I was a bit surprised that the inside of the Bible was very traditional– it would look like any other adult Bible that you pick up (no colorful inserts, no pages at the beginning of each book to tell the overall story, etc.). I know that some people are minimalists in that department, so it’d work out great for them, however, my early Bible days is filled with using those developmentally-appropriate inserts to guide me to passages of Scripture that would become blatantly applicable to my daily life. So, while i think the Bible’s translation is perfect for young readers who are ready for a full Bible, I think the plainness of the inside might be geared towards those older kids (high school students?) who want the flair of a sparkly pink Bible.

Thanks to Booklook Bloggers for providing this Bible in exchange for an honest review!

Let’s Read Together

This may be a shocker to some of you but, I must confess. I love to read. I love to read non-fiction mostly, and I really love to read about parenting, spiritual formation, family, women’s issues, and leadership. Many of the books come from some sort of Christian perspective, but I always include some that aren’t.

Can I tell you what I don’t like reading very much? The Bible.


I mean, in a way I like it. I like learning about God’s character and I love God, so you would think it’d be a natural 1+1=2 equation. But…

I sometimes think it’s boring. I remember being mesmerized by the Scriptures during high school and college. I’ve read it several times straight through and have learned a lot of life-changing things about God. But these days, I kind of have a “been there, done that” mentality.

I sometimes think it’s difficult to understand (and y’all, I’ve been to seminary!). Once I hit the prophets I get confused and it just is a lot of work to understand a simple passage. Did I mention that I have a strong dislike for poetry (mostly because it’s hard for me to understand)? This doesn’t make for a good Bible reading experience for several books of the Bible.

I sometimes think it’s frustrating to read because while I’m reading, I hear all of these voices of past teachers and their take on particular passages. Some of these teachers were healthy and provided useful interpretations. Others were not so healthy and I (or others) have been wounded by their interpretations. I guess you could say that I’ve been going through a deconstruction period, which at times makes Scripture reading difficult for me.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking and praying a lot lately, asking God to give me the courage to approach the Scriptures with fresh eyes, excitement, and a thirst for getting to know Him better. As Charles Yu said this morning during our church gathering, “God doesn’t love us more when we read the Bible, but we end up loving God more.” While I love God, I want to love Him more.

So, I have an idea. Will you join me in reading the Bible in 2015? It’s not about accomplishing or obligations or checking it off a daily list (so breath that sigh of relief!). No one is going to be keeping track of what you read or don’t read. No one is going to guilt trip you when you miss a week because you chose to binge watch something on Netflix after the kids go to bed instead of reading the Bible. Instead, this is about “making room” in our minds, hearts and lives for a fresh look at God through reading the Scriptures.

I’m creating a Facebook group so that friends near and far can join in, if they want, and where we can encourage one another, throw out questions, comments, outside resources, etc at our leisure. If you’re up for it, I’d love companions on this Scripture journey because I might not finish it if I do it by myself! As it gets closer, I’ll offer up a reading plan and some other resources that will hopefully help us to learn and love God more this year. I also am brainstorming ways for this community to be a place where we can share our gifts with one another as we read through. My goal is for there to at least be 2 other people in the group with me (and hey, I made Jake join so looks like I only have 1 more to go!).

Here’s to Journeying through Scripture in 2015! 

How Can We Help Make the Scripture Come Alive to our Kids?

Over on the Graham Blanchard Mentor Mom’s page, we’re talking about how we help make the Scriptures come alive to our kids. Here’s my contribution:

One of the great things about kids is that they love stories…and they like to read the same stories again and again… and again. There are a lot of Bibles for kids out on the market, and not all are created equally in the storytelling department. We’ve found a few staples that are beautifully written for the various ages and stages of our children. Choosing the right kid Bible is a huge part of making the Scriptures come alive to our kids.

If we need a little extra something, we like to act out the story we are reading, adding our own props, voices, and details. We talk about what we think the weather was like during the story, the everyday lives of the characters, what it smelled like, etc. Days after we act out the story, I sometimes find the kids using parts of the story in their everyday play. It’s then that I know they are trying to make sense of what we’re reading and learning in the Scriptures.

There are a ton more ideas… so head on over to check it out!

Someone convince me…

…that missions is something for westerners to engage in.

For a leadership project, I’m reflecting back on those events in my life that formed me. The first one I’m writing about is when the Travelling Team visited the BSU when I was a student. Through their presentation and small workshop afterwards, my heart began to be excited about world missions and God’s heart for all people around the world. They convinced me to begin becoming a “World Christian.” As I peruse their website as I write about this formation encounter, I find myself desperately wanting to be back in that place….

…convinced that God wanted me to go near and far with the good news.

…wanting all to know and understand their role in the evangelization of all tribes.

…committed to praying for people around the world, using Operation World.

…excited to be caught up in missionary biographies.

…a burning desire and conviction to go.

Here I am, 8 years later and things have changed. I’ve prayed. I’ve gone. I’ve supported those who have gone. And I’m somewhat disillusioned. Left asking God what my role is. What our family’s role is.

Asking God to make sense of my experience in Kenya and the feeling that the church in Kenya doesn’t need me. They’re doing great on their own. And wondering if me being there makes is better…or worse.

Tonight I’m wondering if I’ll ever get back to that place. Perhaps it’s just a desire for the nostalgic. Or perhaps it is God inviting me to seek Him.

Asante’s New Bible

For days now, Asante has asked me when his new Bible would be coming in the mail. And today…it came! The Beginning Reader’s Bible from Thomas Nelson Publishers is awesome! We enjoyed reading it during Aly’s naptime today, as well as using it in our before-bedtime devotions. This Bible is certainly closer to a grown-up Bible than our beloved Beginner’s Bible from Zondervan. Both Aly and Asante received this Bible from Parkade Baptist Church when we had them dedicated, and it has been so perfect for their attention spans and comprehension. But, Asante (age 3) was definitely ready for this next step.

The illustrations in this Bible are really engaging, descriptive, and interesting! While there are not as many stories in this Bible (sad day, they only have 13 of the OT and 13 of the NT, plus some extra prayers, charts, etc.), each story gives a lot more details and is even written in verse form. Also, one really odd thing about this Bible is that there are no page numbers (but includes a table of contents with page numbers..hmmm). So, that is kind of annoying but of course Asante doesn’t care. He’s more than happy to flip through the pages until he sees a story he wants read to him.

If you’re looking for a kid’s Bible that is thorough, this is not the one for you. BUT, if you want one that has great illustrations and is told in a way that kids will better understand, you may like this one.

I’m curious… what was your favorite Bible story to have read to you as a child? Which one would you definitely include if you were making a children’s Bible?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”