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Sally Michael

David and Sally Michael: Nurturing the Faith of the Next Generation

UncategorizedJared Kennedy2 Comments

Children Desiring God  Pre-Conference, Session 3Nurturing the Faith of the Next Generation: A Heart Response Centered on the Gospel David and Sally Michael

Our goal is to reach a child’s heart through the instruction of his word (Colossians 1:9-10). “It is your job to make clear how the truth you are teaching is practiced experientially.”—Lou Priollo

5 Levels of Learning—Lawrence O. Richards, Creative Bible Teaching, (Moody Press). (1)    ROTE—Ability to repeat without thought of meaning (2)    RECOGNITION—Ability to recognize Biblical concepts; comprehension; can answer a multiple-choice question.  Often this is as far as we get, but we must go beyond facts to meaning and application. (3)    RESTATEMENT—Ability to express or relate concepts to biblical system of thought.  Can answer “why” questions about the story. (4)    RELATION—Ability to relate biblical truth to life and see what a biblical response would be.  Can make a connection to one’s own life.  Can answer the question, “What difference does this make in my life?” (5)    REALIZATION/RESPONSE—Actualizing response: to apply biblical truths in daily life.  Application can best be done by questioning.  This is the way that they learn to think and understand.  Share from your own life experience.  Know your children, and it will help you guide them.  Children need to know what they need to do in response to what you have heard today.  This is a knowing that possesses us.

We must be faithful with the truth—beginning with the truth—then affecting the heart and emotions, and then moving the will.

Parents Seizing Opportunities Parents are in the best position to help children apply to truth to the trials of life, that is, the homework that God gives them.  God gives parents a unique position of influence in the lives of children.  Parents must be clear on what their children are being taught so that they are in a position to apply these things to their lives.  Parents who love God and his word seek to bring God into every situation.  Take home sheets can be the difference between life and death for a child, because these are words of life for the child to believe and live or disbelieve and experience judgment.  One of the best ways to bring a child to the point of response is to respond to it myself.  This may require humbling myself, admitting my need, etc.  One of the privileges we have when we teach children is that the Scriptures grip us. Teach In Such a Way that Children Understand What Proper Responses Are It is so much better for a child to learn a heart lesson though it cause her temporary pain than to experience eternal pain.  Experience is a good teacher—both bad and good experiences.  God brings these life experiences in order to teach our children that He is good.

David and Sally Michael: A Bible-Saturated Generation

UncategorizedJared Kennedy4 Comments

Children Desiring God Pre-Conference, Session 2,A Bible-Saturated Generation: Immersing Our Children in the Word of God David and Sally Michael

This is the most personally convicting session of the conference for me so far.  I am thankful for this vision of the Bible alone as our authority.  The challenge comes after similar challenges from Bryan Chapell, Daniel Montgomery, and Rob Plummer in recent weeks.  One Rob Plummer quote from Sojourn's Men's Retreat at the top of mine and David Kidd's thoughts as we listened to this message:

We must not skating on the top of God’s Word like we're in an ice rink, but rather soak  in the Word of God like soaking in a hot tub!—Rob Plummer

Now, here are the notes:

How do you raise a generation that is Bible saturated?

SIX PRINCIPLES: (1)    Use the Bible in Bible Teaching…  Isaiah 55:10-11 Sometimes the audio-visual explosion of methods for teaching the Bible can pull us away from actually open the book.  We should encourage our kids to bring their Bibles and use them.  If we are serious about teaching the next generation being biblical, then we should give some consideration to the place that our Bible—the book itself—should have prominence in our homes and our classrooms.  Are we teaching the Bible to our children, or are we just teaching lessons?  Are we teaching them to use their Bibles?  Are they biblically literate?  Can they find truth in their Bibles?  We wrongly assume that using the Bible is too difficult.  When we challenge our children to use the Bible, our children will rise to the challenge.

Practically:

  • Encourage children to bring their Bibles to church.
  • Encourage Scripture memory.  Give rewards for putting the Bible on your heart.
  • Teach the children to treat the book with respect.
  • Put the Bible in your lap as you are teaching.  Read at least small portions (even to preschoolers).  As they become older, have them read.  Ask them difficult questions about the text.

(2)    Teach the Whole Counsel of God

  • Children need to be exposed to a wide variety of Bibles stories. We often repeat Bible stories to the exclusion of certain parts of the Scripture.  Acquaint children with us much as they can absorb.  We should not continue to give them the same shallow teachings.  When we limit the Scriptures to which our children are exposed, we limit their understanding of God.  When God is shown to be unchanging in so many different stories, we see that God is himself unchanging.
  • Children need to see all aspects of the character of God so they worship the one true God. When acquainted with large sections of the Bible, children will see the God of the Bible as who he is.
  • Children need a wide breadth of theological understanding. When we avoid the breadth of the Bible, children have an insufficient understanding of God and who he is.

(3)    Give a Chronological Bible Foundation The Bible is one continuous story.  Children need to hear the grand story and how the individual stories fit into this grand story.  The miracle stories will be seen as unlike fables when they are placed into the grand yet everyday life scheme of the whole Bible.  When the whole story is seen, God is seen as the great constant in all of history.  Then, it is easier to understand how things fit together—how to see the beginning of a matter and the end of a matter.  Children need a chronological foundation into which to plug their other topical stories.  Then, everything else can be seen in light of the big picture.

(4)    Teach True Doctrine In the midst of a faith crisis, a failure in doctrine is often revealed.  It seems better to establish our children on a solid foundation of truth so that they will be able to stand when such storms come.  We want to give them a biblically accurate picture of who God is.  In a crisis, our children will turn to a God who is sufficient in his strength—not one who simply “needs helpers.”  Weak doctrine leads to weak faith.

(5)    Inspire Children to Memorize the Bible What is learned in childhood is kept for a lifetime.  One of the most spiritually influential things in a child’s life is what is memorized in childhood.  It is best if this is a church wide program… because adults need the Scriptures too.  When we began a Bible memory emphasis in our church, we began to see adults and children praying the Scriptures.  When we are impressing memorization on our kids, it is important that they see our parents do this as well.  It is encouraging to our kids when they see that this is not merely something to regurgitate for a lesson but something that applies to their life.

(6)    Use the Word in Everyday Life The Words of Life can be used to inspire children to trust in God in the midst of the difficulties and fears of life.  If you want your children to think biblically, then we must think biblically.  We must put these words in our hearts and apply them to our lives as well. Three Common Objections: (1)    Children can’t sit and listen to a half-hour Bible lesson. It is too much to ask children to study the Bible. Children will rise to a high level of expectation.

(2)    Many of the truths of the Bible are too difficult for children. But children are not colored against the truth of Scripture.  We teach about hell to children.  They need to know the plight before they can recognize the rescue.  Many of our adults are learning along with their children.  You can explain difficult stories in a pre-school appropriate way

(3)    Sunday school should be fun.  Children learn by doing—they need to play games and do activities.  Otherwise, they will be bored. Children must be active listeners.  We must engage them.  But we should not assume that Bible is boring.  The Bible is not boring!  God is not boring!

What is the goal of all this Bible teaching? To lead children to see their sin, repent, and turn to the living God.  When we are teaching the Bible, we can’t assume the Gospel.  “We must not allow marginal matters to become central, because, in a generation, that marginal thing will become the central thing.” –D. A. Carson  The gospel must always be central.

David and Sally Michael: Nurturing the Faith of the Next Generation

UncategorizedJared Kennedy4 Comments

michaelsChildren Desiring God Pre-Conference, Session 1,Nurturing the Faith of the Next Generation: A Vision for the Glory of God David and Sally Michael

According to David Michael, the purpose of the first session was to cast a common radical and well-articulated vision and philosophy for ministering to children and youth. Many churches will provide “something” for kids without working out a philosophy or theological background for what that something is. This leads to an activity or program-driven ministry to kids. We need a cradle to graduation, well thought out philosophy for passing on the doctrines of the faith to our kids. What bible content do we want them to know? What Scriptures do we want them to have memorized? How can we lead them to participate as active worshipers in our churches? What qualifications will we require from those ministering to our children? All of the “somethings” we are doing as a church should be directed toward a single aim. Then, we will have a vision-oriented philosophy of ministry to children?

So, what should our aim be? The Word of God gives us our aim. A key passage is Psalm 78:1-11:

O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.

2 I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old-

3 what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us.

4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.

5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children,

6 so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.

7 Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

8 They would not be like their forefathers— a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.

9 The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle;

10 they did not keep God's covenant and refused to live by his law.

11 They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.

Four things from this Psalm:

(1)    The Psalmist was entrusted with a vision, verses 1-3 (2)    There is a calling on our lives to pass that vision on to the next generations, verses 4-6 God reveals the word to the fathers and intended that they would teach them to their children.  The hope is that throughout the generations, each generation would say, “That’s my job.” (3)    The vision is a vision of God and his glory, verses 4-5 This is a vision of the works of God and the word of God. God is passionate for his glory as it is revealed in his reputation and in his word.  Everything that God does throughout the generations is for his glory.  The Bible is a book about God.  God is the main character in the Bible’s stories.  God can use anyone to accomplish his purposes.  God’s redemptive story is at the heart of the Bible.  The story of Esther is a story about God’s faithfulness and not about the beautiful king.  Our vision is for a generation that can read their Bibles with God at the center.  By teaching in this way, children come to see God at the heart of all things.  It isn’t really hard to teach in this way, it just takes some re-training. We must not teach about God with a self-centered emphasis. It is important not to place an emphasis on “me” when teaching about God.  The misplaced emphasis can distort our message.  The emphasis takes the focus off of God and put it onto man. We must not merely use Bible stories to teach moral lessons. In this, we can divert the emphasis from God to “being good boys and girls.”  The feeding of the five thousand is not primarily the story of a boy sharing his lunch but of God being compassionate on the crowds and providing for them from his sufficiency.  The story teaches us that Jesus is God. (4)    Out of that vision for God flows a vision for children, verses 4, 7 So the next generations will put their confidence in God, verse 7, and so that the next generations will worship God, verse 4.

Two negative examples: (1)    The fathers—a rebellious and stubborn generation.  We do not want this for our children.  We want them to delight in our God and his faithfulness. (2)    The Ephraimites—who did not keep God’s covenant.  They were armed with the bow, but they turned back in the day of battle.  We want a courageous generation that learns to fight sin and Satan and stand their ground in the day of testing.

So, what is our target?  We are aiming to have children who glorify God that grow into adults who glorify God.  Moreover, we must teach them in such a way that it inspires them to teach their children.

A Call for Passion We can teach our children that God is supreme and glorious, but we will not spread a passion unless our own affections are captured by God’s supremacy and glory.  We are not just transferring knowledge.  We are transferring passion.  This involves passionately redeeming every moment—mealtime, drive time, bedtime, and in the morning—for the glory of God.

A Call for Courage Understand the Challenge of Raising Children in a God-defying Culture.    This means understanding that if we only provide what is fun that children will find something that something is more fun.  They will understand the relevance of the Scriptures for all of life.  They will understand that children’s workers will come to serve from a passion stemming from God’s call.

Four Spheres of Influence and Responsibility (1)    Our own children (2)    Children of our local church (3)    Children of the global church (4)    A generation we will never know (those yet to be born)

See the official live blog of the conference at the desiring God blog.