Looking for something new to add to your family’s Christmas traditions? Checkout theshepherdstreasure.com. I found this resource last year while on church staff, and think it is a fun way to connect with your family during Advent.
“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (CSB)
There is a lot packed into this passage. Let’s focus on a few key parts.
1. There is only one God. He alone is to worshiped.
2. God expects us to love Him with our entire being. He isn’t interested in simply getting a compartment of your life. . . even it’s the largest compartment. His desire is your entire life to be filtered through Him.
3. Older generations have a responsibility to train up younger generations. Yes, most directly, this falls to parents, but it doesn’t stop there (see Deuteronomy 4:9-10 and Titus 2:1-7). Each generation should seek to learn as much as possible from the previous generation and to invest as much as possible the generations that follow.
4. Once-a-week investment in younger generations will not suffice to pass the baton of faith. Part of older generations investment in the younger must include encouraging and equipping parents to lead their children in the faith.
God, grant me wisdom to learn from those who have gone before me and invest often in those that follow.
“The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack… He leads me along the right paths for His name’s sake.”
Psalms 23:1, 3 http://bible.com/72/psa.23.hcsb
One my favorite themes of Scripture is God as shepherd. One who knows us, leads us, cares for us, provides for us, and protects us. In my mind I picture a shepherd who is both rough & tough. For some reason this guy (on the right) pops in my mind.
But our God is not merely tough, He also has a gentle hand to care for and nurture his flock (Psalms 23).
On this theme there is an old hymn (circa 1875) called All the Way My Savior Leads Me, which was re-arranged by Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman in 2008. It was just a few years ago I became familiar with this song, but I love the lyrics.
Some of the lyrics that stir my heart are:
How could I doubt His tender mercy
Who through life has been my guide
Gives me grace for every trial
Feeds me with the living Bread
O, the sureness of His promise
In the triumph of His blood
And finally the chorus:
You lead me and keep me from falling
You carry me close to Your heart
And surely Your goodness and mercy will follow me
In John 10, Jesus tells us what a good shepherd looks like. Jesus says “the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out …[and] goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice.” What a picture! The shepherd wants his sheep to have an abundant, fulfilled life (John 10:10) so no matter where he takes his sheep, he can be trusted that it will lead to life.
The brand new Big Picture 52-week Bible Story Devotional is the latest addition to the The Gospel Project themed Bible/BIble Story family from B&H Kids… and I love it!! If you are looking for a family devotional, this one would be worth trying out. It is available in print and e-reader (ordering link below).
We have used The Big Picture Storybook Bible with our older preschooler/younger elementary schoolers and it is great for Bible stories. This devotional takes Family Worship to the next tier through well-written life application. Though it doesn’t provide explicit “Bible stories” on each page (Bible story videos are linked), this devotional does an excellent job in the application of Scripture to a child’s life. Consistent with other Bibles and Bible Storybooks in this series, the 52-week devotional retains the central goal of The Gospel Project which is not only to teach Bible stories but to teach the Bible’s story (see tweet below).
Several key features stand out to me:
1. Single page devotional content is good for time-management and younger attention spans.
2. The Read It section features additional Bible passages to support or re-enforce the devotional story as a great addition to keeping each week founded in the Bible.
3. The Watch It section provides a direct link to the Bible story video from which the devotional is based.
4. The iconic Big Picture Question & Christ Connection sections, staples of The Gospel Project, ensure a close tie-in to the gospel helping children and families think beyond the page. This devotional includes expanded Big Picture Questions to help facilitate deeper conversations.
5. The Live Big section sends the devotional over-the-top providing practical application and recommendations to carry the devotional “lesson” beyond the Family Devotional time to the rest of the week. The inclusion of this section expands the applicable age-range of the devotional to include older elementary-aged children.
Teaching Bible stories to kids is critical. Teaching the Bible's STORY is absolutely imperative for giving the other stories their context.
— Jeffrey M Reed (@JeffreyMReed) March 12, 2016
No devotional is perfect in and of itself nor is any one book (outside the Scriptures) the perfect fit for every family. The Big Picture 52-week Bible Story Devotional, however, interweaves a simplicity perfect for older preschoolers with thought-provoking questions and application that will engage older elementary schoolers with such excellence that many families will find this devotional a great resource to guide Family Worship in their homes.
Additional reading about this devotional and sample pages:
Link to purchase from LifeWay: