All posts written by Jared Kennedy

Helping Children Love Those Who Are Different

John Piper’s latest sermon suggests “eight ways to help your children love those who are different from them.” Piper is primarily thinking here of racial harmony and disability differences, but this would apply to an even wider range of differences.

Go read or listen to or watch the sermon for the unpacking of each point, but here’s the outline:

1. Help the children believe in God’s sovereign wisdom and goodness in creating them with the body that they have.

2. Help the children believe in God’s sovereign wisdom and goodness in making other people with the body that they have.

3. Help the children believe that they and all other children and adults are made in God’s image.

4. Teach the children that God tells us to do to others as we would like others to do to us.

5. Teach the children and model for them that their own sin is uglier than anybody they think is physically unattractive.

6. Teach the children that God loves them in spite of the ugliness of their sin and that he proved this by sending his Son to die for our sins and give forgiveness to all who would trust him.

7. Teach the children that because Jesus died for them and rose again, he becomes for them an all-satisfying Friend and Treasure.

8. Teach the children to love others who are different from them, not in order to be accepted by God, but because they already are accepted by God because of Jesus.

via Justin Taylor.

Thursday Book Club: A Proverbs Driven Life: The “why” of discipline

A Proverbs Driven Life: Timeless Wisdom for Your Words, Work, Wealth, and Relationships
Two chapters in Anthony Selvaggio’s masterful work on the book of Proverbs are dedicated to parenting.  In my next two additions of the Thursday Book Club, I’ll summarize and interact briefly with these two chapters. The first gives biblical evidence for the “why” of discipline–helping parents discover a biblical motivation for disciplining their children:

Anthony Selvaggio.  A Proverbs Driven Life: Timeless Wisdom for Your Words, Work, Wealth, and Relationships, “Chapter 11, Born Foolish, A Child’s Need for Discipline.” (Shepherd Press, 2008)

In the book of Proverbs, “discipline” has in view a range of activities which includes instruction, teaching, training, and correction.  “Stated very briefly, instruction and teaching involve imparting knowledge; training involves all sorts of coaching and preparation; and correction involves identifying errors and urging their removal” (170).  In this sense, the whole book of Proverbs is about education and the discipline of children.  And the book provides more than just biblical methods  It gives a biblical motivation for this discipline.  So, why discipline?
Continue Reading…

Proverbs Visual Arts Project: January 24th

“Like apples of gold in settings of silver, is a word spoken in right circumstances.”

On Sunday, January 24th, elementary age kids at Sojourn’s Germantown campus will participate in an art project led by Sojourn artists. The concept for the project is simple.  Kids will pick a single proverb from the book of Proverbs and illustrate it.  The biblical book ‘Proverbs’ is not only a collection of sayings and observations for wise living, it is rich in powerful visual language. Proverbs offers moving insights that confirm our own observations about the world and call us to clearer vision and action as well.  We can learn from these scriptures in a lot of different ways.  One way is by creatively responding to them. We’ll have bibles available opened to proverbs.  Kids will be able to search on their own, or they can work from a print out with some especially good proverbs to illustrate.  The results will look something like what you see in the picture above (submissions by the students at Louisville’s Christian Academy Southwest).

Here is a video that shows the completion of the project:

Sojourn Visual Arts — Prayer & Wisdom from Shepherd Ahlers on Vimeo.

Investing in parents begins at the front door.

At Sojourn, we’re invested in families.  And investing in families involves investing in parents.  That is why we provide family worship guides and children’s books and other resources for families.  But, we’ve come to see that investing in parents begins at the front door… and this is where we’re weak.  We want to be a church that shows parents that we care for and love their kids just as much as they do. We want to be a church that is so helpful and safe and friendly and fun that families can’t wait to come back next week.  This is who we want to be, right?  So, here is the challenge.  We need a team of 10 people from each service—primarily ladies—who will commit to serve weekly over the next year as part of a family hospitality team.  And we need these 10 people by January 24th.    If you are interested in being part of this team, please sign up at the information table after the service on Sunday or e-mail kids@sojournchurch.com

2 Great Family Worship Resources for Proverbs!

Over the next month, our church will be studying the book of Proverbs together.  I wanted to recommend two books that will help your family to dig into Solomon’s book of wisdom.  Both books list proverbs and classify them by subject.   This arrangement makes these practical reference book son wise living for children, students, and parents.

Signposts from Proverbs: An Introduction to Proverbs Signposts from Proverbs by Rhiannon Weber, Illustrated by Lawrence Littleton Evans (The Banner of Truth Trust, 1980). Weber emphasizes the practical and pointed nature of the proverbs.  In the introduction, he states, “God knows the very real traps and pitfalls of this life, and only he has the wisdom to know how to deal with them.”  Weber’s proverbs lists are based on the New International Version (NIV) and are accompanied by helpful teaching notes that explain more difficult words and cultural concepts.   His approach is thoroughly Christ-centered.  He understands Proverbs’ statements as humorous, serious, truthful, and kind ‘visual aids’ that “help us to realize our sin and need of a Savior.  They point us to the perfect righteousness of Christ and his ability therefore to be a Savior who can forgive us our sins, and who is able to hear a cry for help, and give strength and wisdom by his Spirit day by day.”

God Loves You: Proverbs from the BibleGod Loves You: Proverbs from the Bible by Malle Whitaker, Illustrated by Lynn Adams (American Bible Society, 1995). This American Bible Society resource contains another faithful classification of the Proverbs based on the Contemporary English Version (CEV).  One of the most valuable portions of the book is “A Note to Parents and Teachers” at the back, which contains and elaborated version of the following seven steps to learning Proverbs with your children:

  • Read the text out loud to a young child or allow an older child to read it out loud to you.
  • Show the child where the passages are found in your own Bible.
  • Talk with the child about what the proverbs mean and encourage the child to talk about experiences in his/her own life that the proverbs may bring to mind.
  • Talk with the child about the differences between wisdom and foolishness.
  • Discuss the illustrations with the child.  Ask the child to explain what is going on int he picture and encourage him or her to describe what each person in the picture must be thinking or feeling.
  • Encourage the child to memorize proverbs that he or she finds especially meaningful.
  • Discuss with the child what it means to trust in God.  Ask the child to describe how the proverbs show that God loves him/her.