Book Review By Dr. David P. Craig: Robert Murray McCheyne: Life Is An Adventure by Irene Howat

The Grace of the Gospel Fleshed Out in the Life of Robert Murray McCheyne

In Acts 20:22-24 the apostle Paul exclaimed that he was going into affliction and yet he would testify to the gospel of God’s grace in his life, “And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace.”

In this account of R.M. McCheyne’s brief life (he didn’t even live to see his 30th birthday): Howat does a good job showing the times in which McCheyne ministered in Dundee, Scotland – the early 1800’s. They were hard times. There was a lot of suffering, poverty, and death. They were also times where God was faithful to McCheyne’s ministry of visitation and preaching the gospel. While away in Israel – then Palestine – researching the potential missions and ministry with the Jews – revival broke out in Dundee and beyond.

McCheyne’s life is a great inspiration to those who would do ministry especially among the poor, the sick, the dying. Howat briefly writes about some of the things he is famous for: his holiness, the love for his people he shepherded, and his faithfulness in preaching God’s Word despite much personal suffering that led to his own young death. One legacy that still remains for almost 200 years now – are McCheyne’s Daily Bible readings (still used today by the likes of John Piper and D.A. Carson) that he wrote for his own people to read through the Bible in a year.

McCheyne’s life in this book is much like those of biblical characters portrayed in the Bible: Joseph, Daniel, Paul, and our Lord Jesus. It was a life of great difficulty, sacrifice, and suffering – and used mightily for the purposes of God. I think the book is a good reminder of the fact that someone that is very heavenly minded can be of earthly good. MCCheyne brought tastes of heaven to his people through his life lived out in the gospel with words and actions that spoke clearly and loudly. McCheyne was a model of compassion and grace – mercy and action in total dependence on God.

*Note – this book is designed for children to read, but is still a wonderful book for adults!

**This book was given to me by the publisher and I was not required to write a favorable review.

Book Review: God’s Names By Sally Michael

The Real Hero of the Story

The influence of John Piper in the late 20th and early 21st century has been incalculable for the good of the resurgence of the centrality of Christ and the glory of God – in a culture and church that has been centered on humanity.

Finally, the co-founder of Children Desiring God – Sally Michael – is making her curriculum available in book-form for parents and young people. Sally is the Minister for Program Development and Resources in the Family Discipleship Department at Bethlehem Baptist Church (Where John Piper has pastored for the past 30 years), in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Traditionally (in the past 100 years) curriculum and books for children have focused on mankind being the hero’s of the biblical stories – “Dare to be a Daniel,” or “Be a Ruth in your generation.” What Children Desiring God resources have done is make theology – the Triune God – in the Person of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit the rightful heroes of each story in the Bible. The Bible is a book about God, not us. It’s about our need for Him, not His need for us. It’s a book that shows that History is His-story, not ours.

This book honing in on God’s character and nature revealed through His names is relational, interactive, understandable, theological, applicational, and encourages prayer, Bible study and worship in each lesson. There are 26 short lessons that are packed with God at the center of it all.

If you want your children to be God-focused, and others oriented, then look no further than this book. I hope that more books from Children Desiring God are coming soon. In a man-centered culture and church, it is absolutely essential that we get back to the core teaching of the Bible – the centrality of Christ, the Gospel, and God at the center of all things.

Three Essential Qualities of a Disciplemaker by Lee Brase

“Who Me? Make Disciples?”

 By Lee Brase

 THE KEY IS NOT in the technique but in the heart. Who has had a great influence on your life for Christ? What qualities did this person have that enabled him to have such an influence on you?

I’ve asked hundreds of people these questions. No one has ever said he was helped because the person was so intellectual, had a dynamic personality, or was so good-looking! Neither do people mention the syllabus they studied, or the hoops they jumped through.

What they do say is that it was the person’s relationship with people and God that really mattered. “He really cared for me.” “She had such a genuine interest in me.” He believed in me.” “He had a close walk with God.” “She took time to listen to me.” “She was open and honest.”

When the disciples heard Jesus say, “Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19), they responded, “Yes, Lord,” and did it. Today when we hear this same command, we respond, “Who, me? I’m not eloquent. I haven’t been trained. No one’s ever shown me how to do this.” However, the qualities of a disciplemaker are available to all of us. To emphasize this truth, our Lord seemed deliberately to train those who were “unschooled, ordinary men” (Acts 4:13) and leave His work in their hands.

I’ve discovered three essential qualities of a disciplemaker. God expects them of any Christian. If you have them, you can expect God to use you to help others grow.

(1) A Walk of Faith

 When God appeared to Moses through the burning bush, He told him he had seen Israel’s misery and wanted Moses to go back and lead them our of Egypt. Moses’ immediate response was to question God’s judgment in selecting him (Exodus 3:11). Forty years earlier, Moses had attempted to help the Israelites and failed miserably. He’d run from Egypt with an Israelite’s question ringing in his mind: “Who made you ruler or judge over us?” (Exodus 2:14).

Most of us, like Moses, have attempted to help people along the way and failed. The second person I tried to disciple dropped me a note after several months of meeting regularly: “I want nothing to do with you or God.” I wanted to do what Moses did—run to the desert and work with sheep. It was hard to get excited about discipling the next person who needed my help.

Where do we find courage to get involved in people’s lives after we’ve failed? Or what about the courage to help that very first person?

The answer lies in God’s response to Moses. He gave the promise, “I will be with you” (Exodus 3:12).

God didn’t try to encourage Moses to rely on his ability and training. He simply assured Moses of His presence. Jesus made the same promise when He commissioned the apostles to go and make disciples. None of these men had a good record of accomplishment. Yet, each risked his life to disciple people all over the world. Jesus backed up their commission to make disciples with two statements: “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me” and “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18, 20).

If Jesus Christ were here in human form and went with us to help someone, we’d go with great confidence that the person would receive what he needed. That’s exactly what He’s promised to do. Faith is the ability to believe that what God says is more real than what our eyes see. We can rely on the promise of His presence.

People who trust God make excellent disciplemakers. Knowing that only God can change lives, they become people of prayer. They see God work way beyond their natural abilities. God receives the glory only when our ministries go beyond what we could do on our own.

Believing God also frees us to believe in people. I remember a time when my spiritual growth accelerated. Why? The person helping me believed in God and believed in me. He believed God could do things with my life I never dreamed possible. I grew in accordance with his faith.

It was only natural that I should then believe God for the people I was discipling. Some years later, a man I’d discipled said he knew his solid walk with Christ had occurred because, “You believed in me.” He boiled down hundreds of hours together to that one statement.

“The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). A discipler has faith that God will work through him to make disciples.

(2) A Heart For People

A disciplemaker must love those he wants to help. In addition, love sees people the way they are and then serves them.

A disciplemaker’s goal is to build people up in Christ. The Apostle Paul, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). It was Paul’s love, more than his knowledge and abilities, that established hundreds of Christians throughout Asia Minor and Europe. He was able to write to the Thessalonians, “As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:6-8).

Love, like faith, expresses itself in action. That’s why Paul went on to say to the Thessalonians, “Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you” (1 Thessalonians 2:9). Paul called himself a servant to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 4:1). Serving is love in action.

Several years ago, a Chinese Christian stayed with us for a month. He observed how I tried to train people using my programs. My experience and knowledge limited the training. Finally, he confronted me: “You train a man and he can only become what you are, but if you serve a man, the sky is the limit.”

This liberated me from thinking of discipling as getting people through programs and methods. I began thinking of how to serve each person to help him become more mature in Christ. The person, not my program, became the focus. Those who want to co-labor with Christ in others’ lives are not to “lord it over them” (Matthew 20:25), but to serve them.

Every human being has needs and birdens. They-re necessary for growth. We help people grow when we “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). Doing this takes a servant’s heart.

We have a beautiful picture of serving in Jesus’ life. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). His invitation came at the end of a very difficult day. Jesus had just had to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles had been performed because the people didn’t repent (Matthew 11:20). People who questioned His motives called Him “a glutton and a drunkard” (Matthew 11:19). And John the Baptist had just sent some of his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matthew 11:2).

Jesus had had enough disappointments that day to make most of us withdraw, sulk, and cry. However, He invited others to bring their cares and burdens to Him.

Love gives us the capacity to serve others even when our burdens are heavy. It enables us to put our cares aside for the moment and give ourselves to someone else. Without love, we’ll never truly disciple others. They’ll have to fit into our schedule and needs—and they won’t, and shouldn’t have to.

(3) A Life Patterned After Jesus

A disciple follows Jesus Christ with the intent of becoming like Him. This implies two things: That he focuses on Christ and that he’s a learner.

A Focus on Jesus: Imagine what would have happened if Jesus had called to Peter and Andrew, “Leave your boat and nets and come join my Bible study class” and three years later had said, “Go into all the world and promote my three-year discipleship program.” No one would give his or her lives for a class or a program. These things aren’t worthy of our lives. But Jesus Christ is. Everything in life finds meaning when we properly relate to Him. He leads, we follow. We know we’re disciples when we allow Jesus Christ to order our lives—family, finances, career, pleasures, friendships, possessions, etc.

J.I. Packer was once asked what he saw as the greatest need in the Church in the Western world. His response was that we must get back to the centrality of Jesus Christ. Paul said to the Corinthians, “But I’m afraid that…your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). One of the major reasons many Christians avoid discipling others is that they have lost that pure devotion to Christ. They give themselves to activities, classes, and programs, and that’s all they have to offer others.

One of the best disciplemakers I know was raised as a flower farmer. Because of the needs on the farm, Dirk had to drop out of high school. However, his mind was alert and his heart set on Christ. This drove him to the Bible. He memorized a verse every day and then meditated on it while working. Such a heart for the Lord was contagious. Before long, university students sought him out for help in their lives. It was the Person of Christ in his life that attracted others.

A Teachable Spirit: The disciplemaker is a learner. He is open to change. For him, the entire world is a classroom. He not only teaches the one he’s discipling, but also learns from him. The wisest man on earth said, “Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take warning” (Ecclesiastes 4:13).

The disciplemaker studies people and seeks to become skillful in helping them. Paul said he discipled the Corinthians “as an expert builder” (1 Corinthians 3:10). He became that by observing them so well that he knew just what they needed.

Bob and Dave have a ministry together that reaches into several states. They are both well educated, mature men. They know enough about the Lord, His Word, and ministry techniques to put most of us to shame. Yet, as I have traveled with them, I have seen them constantly put themselves in the position of learners rather than the ones with the answers. As a result, they always have people around them asking questions.

Yes, You!

 Three facts stand out for us as Christ’s people:

The Lord wants us to make disciples. He commissioned us to do it when He said, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

Plenty of people need to be discipled. “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37).

Any of us can disciple others if we believe God, love people, and follow Christ with the intent of becoming like Him.

Don’t wait until you feel capable. The heart of the disciplemaker is his character, not his skills. Step out in faith, invest your life in someone else, and pick up the skills as go along.

 Questions For Reflection:

 Who has had a great influence on you? What were some of the qualities of people who you found inspiring as you were formulating your spiritual path?

Who is someone you tried to influence but failed? As you look back, why do you think you failed?

One Brazilian disciplemaker was asked what he felt was the key to the success of many generations of disciples in his country. After thinking for a few days he replied, “I give you a new commandment – to loveone another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.Everyonewill know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). Why do you think he thought this was key?

Article Information: “Who Me? Make Disciples?” Discipleship Journal 60, November/December, 1990, p. 40.

About the Author: Lee and his wife Marilyn, live in Portland, Oregon, where they’re partners in The Navigators’ Prayer Ministry.

Questions For Reflection: From the FANTASTIC book by Ron Bennett and John Purvis, The Adventure of Discipling Others: Training in the Art of Disciplemaking, NavPress, Colorado Springs, 2003, 30.

Children and Good Books Go Together – My Top 25 – By Dr. David P. Craig

“Children and books go together in a special way. I can’t imagine any pleasure greater than bringing to the uncluttered, supple mind of a child the delight of knowing God and the many rich things He has given us to enjoy. This is every parent’s privilege, and books are his keenest tools. Children don’t stumble onto good books by themselves; they must be introduced to the wonder of words put together in such a way that they spin out pure joy and magic.” – Gladys Hunt, Honey For A Child’s Heart. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002. (This book is a good resource for choosing books for children)

Having raised five children – all of whom enjoy reading immensely – and now having two grand children – I believe strongly in reading daily with our children and that there are tremendous benefits – especially books that convey Biblical values and a Christ centered world-view. Here are my top 25 books for reading to your children – ages 2-11:

(1) The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name By Sally Lloyd-Jones & illustrated by Jago. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007. Product description: A Bible like no other, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to join in the greatest of all adventures, to discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation–and at the center of their own story too! The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the story beneath all the stories in the Bible. At the center of all is a baby, the child upon whom everything will depend. From Noah, to Moses, to the great King David–every story points to him. He is the missing piece to the puzzle–the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, as the story unfolds, children will pick up the clues and piece together the puzzle. The Jesus Storybook Bible makes an excellent gift at Christmas, when we all remember that he is the puzzle piece that makes all the other pieces in our lives fit. Recommended for ages 4 to 8.

(2) 3 in 1: A Picture of God By Jonne Marxhausen. Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2004. Product description: This book effectively explains the Trinity to young children by using an apple. Just as the apple consists of three parts: the skin, the flesh, the seeds…it is still one apple. God had three persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit…but He is one God. Ages 2-9.

(3) My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts By Susan Hunt & Illustrated by Yvetter Banek. Wheaton, Crossway, 1998. Product description: Knowing God’s Word helps anyone of any age know Him better. With this colorful book Susan Hunt has developed a fun way to help kids learn His truths. Each letter of the alphabet has a corresponding Bible verse, and each verse is accompanied by a story to illustrate the scriptural passage. Presented in an easy to use format, it’s perfect for use in family devotions, churches, Christian schools or Bible clubs. Recommended for ages 3 to 7.

(4) The Big Picture Story Bible By David Helm & Illustrated By Gail Schoonmaker. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010. Product description: Everyone loves a good story especially children! But what we sometimes overlook is that the Bible is more than a collection of great stories. It is the real account of God’s love for the world. The Big Picture Story Bible presents this remarkable true story. Simple words and striking illustrations unfold the story line of God’s Word and His love for the world from Genesis to Revelation. All ages will enjoy this exciting discovery of a God who keeps his big promise! Especially recommended for ages 2—7.

(5) The King Without a Shadow By R.C. Sproul & Illustrated By Liz Bonham. Philipsburg, New Jersey, 2000. When a little boy asks a powerful king, “Why do we have shadows?” the ruler doesn’t know—and neither do his wise men. But then the king hears about somebody who’s so great that he’s only light, with no darkness—and no shadow! A wonderful story about the holiness of God for your children ages 4 and up.

(6) The Lightlings By R.C. Sproul, & Illustrated By Justin Gerard. Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2006. Product description: The Lightlings, Dr. R.C. Sproul weaves an allegorical tale that captures the essence of the biblical story of redemption in a manner that will fascinate and delight children. A race of tiny beings known as Lightlings represent humanity as they pass through all the stages of the biblical drama–creation, fall, and redemption. In the end, children will understand why some people fear light more than darkness, but why they need never fear darkness again. With richly detailed illustrations by Justin Gerard, this picture book also has discussion questions and Scripture references that will help parents guide children into the deeper meaning of the story. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

(7) The Prince’s Poison Cup By R.C. Sproul & Illustrated By Justin Gerard. Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2008. Product description: With The Prince’s Poison Cup, Dr. R. C. Sproul continues his series of books designed to present deep biblical truths to children on their own level. In this work, he focuses on the atonement to show that Jesus had to endure the curse of sin in order to redeem His people from their spiritual death. When Ella gets sick and has to take yucky medicine, she wonders why something that will help her get well has to taste so bad. When she puts the question to Grandpa, he tells her the story of a great King and His subjects who enjoyed wonderful times together until the people rebelled against the King and drank from a forbidden well. To their horror, they found that the beautiful water in the well made their hearts turn to stone. To reclaim His people, the King asks His Son, the Prince, to drink from a well of horrid poison. The poison will surely kill the Prince but He is willing to drink it to please His Father and help His people. Richly illustrated, The Prince’s Poison Cup will help children appreciate the great love of God for His people and the awful price Jesus had to pay because of sin. A For Parents section provides assistance in unfolding the biblical elements of the story.  Recommended for ages 4 and up.

(8) The Barber Who Wanted to Pray By R.C. Sproul & Illustrated By T. Lively Fluharty. Wheaton: Crossway, 2011. Product description: An excellent gift for children of all ages and a wonderful addition to any family’s library, this new story by R.C. Sproul will help open you and your children’s minds to prayer. Follow this story as you meet a Barber who discovers that his last customer for the day is the outlaw Martin Luther. Rather than turning him in, he asks him a simple question, “How can I pray better?” Discover, along with the Barber, the simple ways that you can pray better through The Lord’s Prayer, The Apostle’s Creed, and The Ten Commandments. All three prayers are listed in the back for reference. Ages 4 and up.

(9) The Priest with Dirty Clothes By R.C. Sproul & Illustrated By Justin Gerard. Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2011. Product description: Darby and Campbell decided to make mud pies outside, and have made a mess of their clothes and ruined them. When Grandpa comes to visit and sees their muddy clothes, he remembers an amazing story. The story that he tells Darby and Campbell is about a young priest who, on his way to preach his sermon to the royal family, falls from his horse and ruins his robes. Unable to preach before the King with dirty clothes he is sent away, but must return in a weeks time with clean clothing. Unfortunately, nothing will get the mud out of the clothes and they are ruined. But when the young priest goes to see the great prince, he is given a wonderful gift. Teach your children the love, grace, and kindness forgiveness that God gives us with this beautifully illustrated book. Included in the back is a section “For the Parents” with questions to help guide discussion of this book with your young ones. Ages 4 and above.

(10) The Donkey Who Carried a King By R.C. Sproul & Illustrated By Justin Gerard. Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2012. Product description: Give kids a unique perspective on the events of Jesus’ Passion Week with this illustrated story by R.C. Sproul, The Donkey Who Carried a King. Davey was a young donkey who never had anything to do . . . until one day some strangers arrived and Davey was given a very special task: to carry the King, Jesus, into Jerusalem. Davey sees things that he doesn’t understand, until another donkey helps him see that the King is willingly a Servant on behalf of His people. Ages 6-12.

(11) The Merchant and the Thief By Ravi Zacharias & Illustrated By Laure Fournier. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010. Product description: When Raj left the room, Mohan tiptoed over to his belongings and searched hurriedly under Raj’s pillow. Again he found nothing. Mohan longs for Raj’s treasure. He plots and he schemes and his plan seems perfect! But along the way, he discovers an important lesson about wanting what someone else has … and about the most important treasure of all. From bestselling author Ravi Zacharias comes a retelling of a classic Indian folktale that teaches powerful truths about faith. Ages 4 and up.

(12) The Topsy-Turvy Kingdom By Dottie McDowell, Josh McDowell and David N. Weiss.  Product description: This colorful book will fascinate children as they learn the significance of right and wrong. The McDowell’s focus on the importance of truth and the chaos of relativism so that your children can understand how to worship God in spirit and in truth. Ages 2 and up.

(13) Right Choices: Helping Kids Live God’s Way By Kenneth N. Taylor & Illustrated By Kathryn Shoemaker, Wheaton, Tyndale, 1999. Product description: One of the toughest jobs parents face is teaching children to make right choices. In Right Choices, Dr. Taylor’s grandfatherly chats can help you with that job. Poems, Bible verses, prayers, and delightful pictures work together to make the job fun. Your kids will learn that it is WRONG to lie, steal, go with a stranger, fight, make fun of other people, cheat, throw a tempter tantrum, and more. They will learn that it is RIGHT to be thankful and polite, to talk to God, forgive people; control their temper, and more.  Recommended for ages 3-7.

(14) The Big 10 for Little Saints By Matt & Lisa Jacobson. Sisters, OR: Multnomah Books, 2000. Product description: In a chaotic, increasingly immoral world, this important volume enables parents to teach their children God’s Ten Commandments. These simple, yet clear explanations, along with incredible artistry make an indelible mark on young impressionable minds. Ages 3 and up.

(15) Cows In The House By Beverly Lewis & Illustrated By Chi Chung. Minneapolis: Bethany, 1998. Product description: The lighthearted tale of a little barefoot boy who struggles to live with five quarreling sisters and learns a valuable lesson in contentment from his grandfather based on Philippians 4:11. Captivating stories and verses for children ages 4 to 8.

(16) Big Truth For Little Kids: Teaching Your Children to Live For God By Susan Hunt & Richard Hunt. Wheaton: Crossway, 1999. Product description: Your children are a blessing from God. A gift that brings an abundance of joy and the privilege of teaching them God’s ways. When they’re young their potential to learn is amazing. And because actions and beliefs go hand in hand, the lessons they learn from you now will shape their lives forever. How we live is based upon what we believe. Susan Hunt wants to help parents systematically teach their kids the basic truths of faith so that they live for the Lord. This wonderful book, with its easy-to-use story format, can help you teach the basic truths of the Christian faith to your children. Each lesson in this devotional for children begins with simple questions and answers about a biblical principle and is followed by a story of two youngsters, Caleb and Cassie, that portrays how that truth can be applied. You’re children will learn right along with Caleb and Cassie that God’s ways are best–and that even as kids, they can live for His glory every day. Recommended for ages 5 to 9.

(17) Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God By Bruce A. Ware, Wheaton: Crossway, 2009. Product description: Big Truths for Young Hearts encourages and enables parents of children 6 to14 years of age to teach through the whole of systematic theology in an understandable, chapter-a-day format. Parents can teach their children the great truths of the faith and shape their worldviews early, based on these truths. The book covers ten topics of systematic theology, devoting several brief chapters to each subject, making it possible for parents to read one chapter per day with their children. With this non-intimidating format, parents will be emboldened to be their children’s primary faith trainers – and perhaps learn a few things themselves along the way.

(18) The Big Book of Questions and Answers By Sinclair B. Ferguson, Genies House, Fearn, Tain, Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus, 1997. Product Description: Questions! Questions! Questions! Children are full of them. Where did I come from? What is God like? Is there only one God? This book is a family guide to the Christian Faith that will help you to answer these questions. This is a book for families to discover the key doctrines of Christianity in a way that stimulates discussion and helps children want to know more. Each page is set out in a clear child friendly way with A Question, The Answer, A Memory Verse, Reading Time, Talking Time, Action Time and Prayer Time. Ages 5-10.

(19) The Big Book of Questions and Answers about Jesus By Sinclair B. Ferguson, Genies House, Fearn, Tain, Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus, 2000. Product Description: Following on from the success of the original Big Book of Questions and Answers, this book tackles the many questions that children have about Jesus, including: What was so special about Jesus? Why did Jesus heal sick people? Why did Jesus have to die? How can I give my life to Jesus? An invaluable tool for introducing children to Jesus and helping them to get to know Him better, in an enjoyable and interactive way. Recommended for ages 5 to 10.

(20) Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes, Volume 1 By David and Neta Jackson. Minneapolis: Bethany, 2005. Product description:  Drawn from the lives of fifteen key Christian heroes, Hero Tales is a beautifully illustrated treasury of forty-five exciting and educational readings designed to help foster Christian character qualities in families with elementary-age children. This inspiring collection presents a short biography and three true stories for each hero, including: Amy Carmichael, Martin Luther, Dwight L. Moody, Samuel Morris, Harriet Tubman, William Tyndale and John Wesley. Whether read together at family devotions or alone, Hero Tales is an ideal way to acquaint children ages six to twelve with historically important Christians while imparting valuable lessons.

(21) Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes, Volume 2 By David and Neta Jackson. Minneapolis: Bethany, 2005. Product description:  Drawn from the lives of fifteen key Christian heroes, Hero Tales is a beautifully illustrated treasury of forty-five exciting and educational readings designed to help foster Christian character qualities in families with elementary-age children. This inspiring collection presents a short biography and three true stories for each hero, including: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Eric Liddell, John Bunyan, Jim Elliot, Florence Nightingale, Amanda Smith, John Newton, and Corrie ten Boom. Whether read together at family devotions or alone, Hero Tales is an ideal way to acquaint children ages six to twelve with historically important Christians while imparting valuable lessons.

(22) Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes, Volume 3 By David and Neta Jackson. Minneapolis: Bethany, 2005. Product description: Drawn from the lives of fifteen key Christian heroes, Hero Tales: Volume III is a beautifully illustrated treasury of forty-five exciting and educational readings designed to help foster Christian character qualities in families with elementary-age children. This inspiring collection presents a short biography and three true stories for each hero, including: Billy Graham, Luis Palau, Mother Theresa, Brother Andrew, Lottie Moon, and Jonathan & Rosalind Goforrth. Read together at family devotions or alone, Hero Tales: Volume III is an ideal way to introduce children ages six to twelve to historically important Christians while imparting valuable lessons.

(23) Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes, Volume 4 By David and Neta Jackson. Minneapolis: Bethany, 2005. Product description: Drawn from the lives of fifteen key Christian heroes, Hero Tales: Volume IV is a beautifully illustrated treasury of forty-five exciting and educational readings designed to help foster Christian character qualities in families with elementary-age children. This inspiring collection presents a short biography and three true stories for each hero, including: C. S. Lewis, Joy Ridderhof, Ricky and Sherialyn Byrdsong, William J. Seymour, John and Betty Stam, and William Wilberforce Whether read together at family devotions or alone, Hero Tales: Volume IV is an ideal way to introduce children ages six to twelve to historically important Christians while imparting valuable lessons.

(24-25) Bible Doctrine For Older Children, Books A & B, By James W. Beeke. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage/Soli Deo Gloria, 2009. Product description: Bible Doctrine for Older Children is a two volume series consisting of twenty chapter which contain simple explanations of all major biblical doctrines. Book A contains chapters 1-10 and Book B chapters 11-20. The explanations were written for children eleven years of age and older. This series contains more than 150 stories and illustrations to help explain the doctrinal concepts being taught. These books were written for home, personal, or family reading; school Bible doctrine teaching; or church catechetical instruction. Ages 9 and up.

Book Review: My ABC Bible Verses by Susan Hunt

I bought this book in 1998 when our youngest children (of five) where aged 3 and 5. This was one of their favorite books – now our oldest children are having their own children and I picked up this book to read again to my two grandchildren (and counting). Our family loves this book because it contains stories starting with A-Z and has a Bible verse starting with a new letter of the alpha bet for each story.

My wife and I would read the stories to our kids – oftentimes on the way to school, or at the dinner table – and then we would all quiz one another, “What’s the ‘A’ verse, or what’s the ‘d’ verse. There are several benefits to reading this book and discussing it with your children:

  1. You get to learn 26 verses that delineate great truths about the Gospel, Christ, and godly values.
  2. You and your children get to memorize 26 verses of the Bible.
  3. The verses are made practical in each story – so your children get to learn how applicable and relevant the Bible is to their own young lives.
  4. The gospel is taught, explained, and calls for a response in this book. All of our children have made a profession of faith in Christ, and it is very possible that the seeds planted from this book contributed to their salvation.
  5. The stories are excellent for kids – it worked out really well for our kids because it always involved a boy and girl (and we had a boy and girl) that were curious to see who the hero of each story was.
  6. There are good discussion questions for each story and it lends itself well to prayer and a personal response time of repentance, or encouragement.
  7. Susan Hunt is not only a good children’s writer, but a very good theologian – she weaves the story line together with Biblical Theology in such a way that the book is not moralistic, but Christ Centered and gospel driven.
  8. Having all the verses start with a letter of the alphabet is a brilliant mnemonic device that we still use even with our children today at the ages of 15 and 17. As a matter of fact – probably not a month goes by where one of us in the family doesn’t quiz each other on the “A-Z” verses. Sometimes we can even recall the story that went with the verse.

Since 1998 I’ve probably bought at least twenty of these books to give away to parents and at baby dedications in our church. I highly recommend it. I believe that my wife and I have benefited as much (maybe more) than our kids have. Now we are excited to read this book again and again to our grandkids. I highly recommend it for parents of young children, for grandparents, and for Sunday school teachers.


*Susan Hunt’s Bio:

Susan Hunt is a former director and a current consultant for the Presbyterian Church in America’s Women in the Church ministry. She has written Sunday school and discipleship curricula and Bible study series, as well as a number of books for women and children. Her published titles for women include:Leadership for Women in the Church (co-authored with Peggy Hutcheson),Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Mandate for Women Mentoring Women, Women’s Ministry in the Local Church (co-authored with Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III), and Heirs of the Covenant. Her children’s books include My ABC Bible Verses, and three titles co-authored with her son Richie Hunt: Big Truths for Little Kids, Discovering Jesus in Genesis, and Discovering Jesus in Exodus. She has spoken in women s conferences across the United States and in several other countries. Susan is married to Gene Hunt, a retired Presbyterian Church in America pastor. They have three adult children and twelve grandchildren.