• Heartprints

    3 Ways God’s Love is Different from Human Love

    If you’ve stepped into the grocery store recently, more than likely you noticed large displays of chocolate, flowers, and conversation hearts—iconic symbols of love. With Valentine’s Day approaching, I got to thinking. We set aside a special day to celebrate romantic relationships, but how often do we celebrate God’s love for us? At the very least, amidst all the celebration this month, I want my kids to realize at least three unique things about God’s love: God’s love for us is unconditional—God does not love us based on merit. We can never be good enough to earn God’s favor, nor can we ever be bad enough to diminish his love.…

  • Engage

    Destination Theology: Is the Gospel mainly about going to heaven?

    I grew up with the Wordless Book—one page black for sin, one red for Christ’s blood, one white for being cleansed of sin, one gold for going to heaven, one green for growing. It is a strategy often used in children’s ministry to explain the salvation message. It has no doubt been helpful to bring many to Christ. But I think in my own life that gospel message and the children’s ministry I was a part of nurtured a “Salvation is a ticket to heaven” mentality. The main thing was to get rid of my sin, escape hell and get to heaven. I think there were some adults in my…

  • Heartprints

    12 Scripture Memory Verses for Toddlers

    We’ve all heard the adage “Hide God’s Word in your heart.” But that’s easier said than done, right? And, when it comes to helping younger children it’s often tricky. It can’t be too long or they won’t remember the words, but not all short verses are meaningful. If you’re struggling to come up with some good verses to teach your toddlers, try starting with one or more of the options below. (The version below is The Net Bible, but use whatever version is your family’s preference.) Creation: Genesis 1:1—“In the beginning God createdthe heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:31—“God saw all that he had made – and it was very good…” Psalm 19:1—“The heavens declare the glory of God…” Salvation: Acts 16:31—“Believe…

  • Heartprints

    God’s Power Tools – #7

    Our most powerful tool in teaching empowers and enhances the use of all the other tools. It could easily be compared to a battery; it powers and recharges all the power tools God has placed in our hands for ministry. Our seventh power tool is love. God’s desires a relationship through us with each child; His love will flow to us then through us to them. Like a lantern it will project His light and dispel the lies of darkness which bombard them daily. How do we learn to wield this tool, to cut a path through the tangle of lies embedded in a child’s heart? Only love can unlock…

  • Heartprints

    God’s Power Tools – #2

    Christianity is more easily caught than taught! Children learn from hearing but they mimic what they see.  In order to truly teach the Word of God we need it to become a living part of who we are. For this to happen we need more time in God’s Word than just our teaching preparation. We need to intimately connect with God through His Word as often as we can. The Bible is God’s second amazing power tool. It’s life changing. It says in 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (Net Bible) “You, however, must continue in the things you have learned and are confident about. You know . . .  the holy writings,…

  • Heartprints

    Helping Your Children Learn to Read the Bible on Their Own

    Teaching our children to love and value the Word of God is a noble desire. But how do we do so when so many things seem to fight for their attention? The newest iPhone app, TV shows, video games, et cetera! In a world that’s so busy, how do we teach our children to quiet their hearts before the Lord? There are no fool proof methods to short circuiting the Spirit’s work in their hearts, but here are some helpful practices: 1.)  Lead by Example—The number one reason I developed a consistent personal devotion time as a young child is because I saw other family members doing it. They never…

  • Heartprints

    Conversation Starters with Kids

    Whether you have kids, or you teach kids, or you just simply know kids, questions come in handy. If you’ve ever struggled with getting to know a child better, perhaps some of the following questions may work as great conversation starters.

  • Heartprints

    Teaching Our Children the Importance of Church

    Author Shane Claiborne has said: “The church is like Noah's ark. It stinks, but if you get out of it, you'll drown.” Simply put, church can get messy. And, that’s probably part of the reason why I’ve heard many of my fellow millennials make excuses for avoiding church—“I’m too busy,” “I’ve been hurt by other Christians,” “churches are full of judgmental people,” “people are hypocrites or insincere,” etc. We live in a society that increasingly seems to disparage church attendance, a sharp contrast to the psalmist who said, “I was glad because they said to me, ‘We will go to the Lord’s temple’” (Psalm 122:1). Now, going to church, of…

  • Heartprints

    Helping Children Worship God Through Music

    When God calls a young child to himself, it’s a beautiful thing. I marvel at how the gospel message is so complex, yet at the same time simple enough that even a toddler can be convicted unto salvation. I’ve observed the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of several children, but one girl stands out in particular in my mind—sweet little Caroline. As a three-year-old, she always knew the answers to every Bible question thrown her way and loved to praise the Lord in music. One Sunday morning, I watched her stand up and raise her palms as she sang quietly to the Lord. Her spontaneous gesture was short-lived,…

  • Heartprints

    A Family Gospel Devotional from 1 Corinthians 15

    Holy week has commenced and Resurrection Sunday draws near. And, if you read blogs, my guess is that you also use other forms of social media and are probably drowning in Easter activities via Pinterest, Facebook, etc. I mean did you know you can even make a tomb out of a donut and an Oreo? Yeah, neither did I until everyone posted it on Pinterest. These activities bring fun and joy, but if you only do one Easter activity with your family this year, I challenge you to make it a gospel devotional based on 1 Corinthians 15. Preparation: Get your family Bible and read 1 Corinthians 15:1–8, 53–58 out…