Friday, 28 June 2013

Christian Family Resources - Part 8 - Baby Worship

Over the last few years, I have come across some great resources for families, churches, small groups, mentoring, or self-study.  

I want to introduce you to Baby Worship

We bought this album for our god-daughter on her 2nd birthday. I listened to it before we gave it to her, and I have to admit I love this album, it is beautiful.  Star Smith has a pure voice that draws you into a peaceful state of worship.  You will recognise the familiar songs from church or Christian radio.  I think giving anything peaceful to a 2 year old is a good idea. As young children learn worship songs, they will memorise truth that will stay with them.   

Highly Recommended 

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Christian Family Resources - Part 7 - The Treasure Tree

Over the last few years, I have come across some great resources for families, churches, small 
groups, mentoring, or self-study.  

I want to introduce you to The Treasure Tree

This lovely book was gifted to our family after our church hosted a business breakfast with guest speaker Allison Mooney.  Allison delivered an entertaining view on personalities, from powerful, peaceful, precise, and playful.  My husband attended this breakfast wondering what personalities our children fit into.  He is already convince I don't fit any, being the 'enigma' that I am, but I'm not too bother with fitting in. Looking into how our children function has been interesting for sure.  The Treasure Tree is a children's book that highlights the four 'p' personality types and describe these in a wonderful story of friendship.  At the end of the story is a basic set of questions to help you and your children identify their natural 'bents' in personality.  Our youngest didn't have a bent, he had an avalanche, but no one was too surprised about that. This book honours the way God made us all different, and yet perfectly designed to work together, appreciating each others different ways.

Highly Recommend.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Christian Family Resources - Part 6 - The Jesus Storybook Bible

Over the last few years, I have come across some great resources for families, churches, small groups, mentoring, or self-study.  

I want to introduce you to The Jesus Storybook Bible

There are so many children's Bibles available today, we own 5 different types.  Many parents long for a Bible that is more than just sweet pictures and kid friendly stories. The Jesus Storybook Bible has become 'go to' Bible for gifts for friends children.  Our boys have just about grown out of it, I would set this Bible at the being most suitable for children aged 2-7-ish, but I loved it, so maybe up to aged 38. The theme all the way through this book is the "Never stopping, never giving up, unfailing, always and forever love" of God.  The Old Testament stories point to a Saviour Hero, and the New Testament tell of a Saviour Hero who loves deeply.  Reading this Bible to my children touched something deep within me, and changed the way I view my Saviour and His astounding grace.  

Highly Recommend.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Christian Family Resources - Part 5 - Building Strong Families Series

Over the last few years, I have come across some great resources for families, churches, small groups, mentoring, or self-study.  

I want to introduce you to HCC Sermon Series

In 2012 HCC focused four weeks of teaching on Building Strong Families. This series was a huge deal, Paul Milson taught authentically and powerfully.  The messages were inspiring and they were a little 'ouchy'.  But it was a good ouchy!  Paul is well read (as you can tell) on this subject, so if you don't have time to read all the books, sermons, resources he recommends at this link: Parenting Resources then listen to Pauls sermons on Equipping Families to Disciple with the Gospel, he sums up this great material very well.  Once you have listened you can then you can start on the other resources if you wish.  I would highly recommend this series.  Paul is a talented communicator, he is amusing and uses great illustrations, that make you feel like those mad days in your family clearly aren't just in your family.  They have caused much discussion and open-heart surgery for us as parents.  

Highly Recommended

Monday, 24 June 2013

Christian Family Resources - Part 4 - Seeds Family Worship

Over the last few years, I have come across some great resources for families, churches, small groups, mentoring, or self-study.  

I want to introduce you to Seeds Family Worship

Sometimes, listening to children's music - especially Christian children's music - is something that one must endure in the name of parenting.  Not so with Seeds Family Worship CD's, who combine verses of Scripture with catchy singable contemporary music. You and your kids learn scripture, and enjoy listening to good music at the same time.  
This music ministry exists to plant the seed of God's Word in the hearts of families.  The whole family will enjoy these CD's, of which there are seven current ones to choose from. You can purchase these from itunes, webstore, by searching on 'seeds family worship'. This would make a fantastic gift. 

Highly Recommend

Friday, 21 June 2013

Christian Family Resources Part 3 - What's in the Bible

Over the last few years, I have come across some great resources for families, churches, small groups, mentoring, or self-study.  

Introducing: What's in the Bible 

"Buck Denver Asks ... What’s in the Bible? is the 13-DVD series from VeggieTales(R) creator Phil Vischer. In his first new project since VeggieTales, Vischer has set out to teach kids (and parents!) the story of the Bible – God’s great rescue plan! We know the stories of Moses, Noah, David, and Jesus, but in this ground breaking new Bible DVD series, we learn how they all fit together to tell one big, redemptive story. Vischer’s signature wit shines through with his all-new cast of characters, fast-paced flash animation, and catchy tunes. This is one journey through the Bible you won't want to miss!" (WITB website)

My boys really enjoy watching these DVD's.  We don't buy a whole lot of stuff for our kids, but this was one investment we are definitely not regretting.  Both boys really enjoy the information delivered in a typical quirky 'Vischer' manner.  They love the Fabulous Bentley Brothers with their brilliant lyrics and fun videos.  

What I love is that these DVD's don't avoid the hard bits of the Bible.  They even teach about Songs of Solomon, and they do it so well.  They ask hard questions; Who wrote the Bible? How can we trust the Bible? What is a prophet? What is the cycle of Apostasy? What is Primeval history? What is a patriarch? What is Salvation? What does Holy mean? Why did God let the Israelites kill so many people? 

Some of these questions may appear to be a little lover children's comprehension, but the way they are presented, children are able to understand and retain this knowledge.  Why is that important?  I believe, as our children grow and seek more of God for themselves, foundational teachings of the Bible will be important as they ask the tricky questions regarding their faith and  continue on the journey to deepen their faith in personal relationship. 

Highly Recommended

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Christian Family Resources Part 2 - Gotta Have God Devotionals

Over the last few years, I have come across some great resources for families, churches, small groups, mentoring, or self-study.  
Introducing: Gotta Have God Devotionals

Okay, so after purchasing a red bike for our 9 year olds birthday, we wanted to get him something that would feed him spiritually.  I got this one, due to the red bike, thought he would appreciate the connection - not sure he did.  But I got a kick out of it.

These brief studies are something they can do on their own with their Bible.  Our family rule in the mornings is no getting up before 7am, but they can turn their lights on and read at 6.45.  Please don't tell me your children sleep in until 8am, I'm not interested nor the slightest bit jealous. My youngest son was so excited this morning because he woke at 5.58 "that was nearly 6am Mum."  So this time works for our family.  As parents we try to be good examples by doing this as well, although we are allowed to get up a little earlier for Bible study or exercise.

This study is short, and snappy, and can pack a punch with the thought provoking questions it offers.  My critical thinking 9 year old thinks these devotionals are awesome.

Highly Recommend

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Christian Family Resources Part 1 - Action Bible

Over the last few years, I have come across some great resources for families, churches, small groups, mentoring, or self-study.  

I want to introduce you to The Action Bible...

My two boys love this Bible.  We initially bought this for our youngest who had only just turned 6, but our 8 other son, 8 years old would often sneak it to read it. Our youngest son has a history of sensory processing issues, he was identified as being incredibly visual and not very auditory - worse than selective hearing.  When we saw a comic version of the Bible we thought, genius! The pictures are graphic, boys love them, wars, weapons, blood, massive amounts of colour and action. The Action Bible website has samples, printable colouring pages and a David and Goliath game (that I can't win). 

It has caused problems, they have been known to fight over it and sometimes I have to stop my boys from reading their Bible because they have jobs to do. I love having these 'problems'. The Action Bible is so good they often choose it over other books. 

This Bible is ideal for boys ages 5 or 6 years to maybe 35 (that's how old my husband is).  If you have a son who isn't a confident reader, then this Bible will satisfy his need for detail with the pictures, yet well captioned. The language in the captions are a challenge for a 6 year old, but they take what they can and are drawn into the pictures. 

Highly Recommend.

Monday, 3 June 2013


I’d been trawling though Trade Me (NZ's eBay) in search of a bargain when an advert photo caught my eye, so I took a look. “Matching wedding rings, 2 years old, but only worn for 6 months.”  Is that really sad or what? 

One of my favourite movies is the Princess Bride. I unashamedly admit it.  There are so many fabulous lines and some great scenes, one which involves a forced wedding between the bad guy, Prince Humperdinck and our hero’s true love Princess Buttercup.  I know, they have stupid names but it’s a modern day fairytale, so that is probably explanation enough! The wedding was conducted by a very impressive clergyman with a severe speech impediment. He intoned “Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam. And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva. So tweasure your wuv.”  

At this point you can hardly contain yourself but then the clergyman gets interrupted. When the laughter subsides a bit, it sinks in that what he was saying in a bumbling sort of way is how things should be after all. “Marriage is what brings us together today, Marriage, that blessed arrangement, that dream within a dream.  And love, true love, will follow you forever. So treasure your love”.

I guess unlike Princess Buttercup our lives are not fairytales.  There is no “happy ever after” this side of eternity. With marriage, there is love, but also hard work. We start out thinking everything is lovey-dovey, but then realise our expectations are often unrealistic, unmet, and unexpressed. Disappointments are often rampant, indulged, and nurtured. Love is often only a feeling or infatuation and can be very immature. It’s so easy to start out unprepared for the hard work of love.

The wedding is such an exciting day, full of joy, flowers, laughter, the odd tear, friendships, family and least we forget, the wonderful food. Isn’t it strange that for one day, there is so much preparation, yet for a lifetime of marriage there is so little preparation. Before we got married I read a book, but although I can’t remember the name of it, there is one bit of wisdom I do recall. Couples were encouraged to remember that although the actual wedding is for one day only, a marriage is for a lifetime. The main lesson seemed to be “Prepare for your lifetime (marriage) as well as plan for your day (wedding)”, because all of us know that it doesn’t end when you walk down the aisle, it’s only just beginning.  It’s an adventure, and sometimes, OK most times there will be bumpy patches.

Carolyn Mahaney points out in her book Feminine Appeal that men are to love their wives with an agape love as Eph 5:25 showsHusbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”, in short loving sacrificially. Women however are told to love their husbands with a phileo love in Titus 2:4and so train the young women to love their husbands”, in short loving affectionately. Of course there will be ‘cross pollination’ and men are to love affectionately and women to love sacrificially but don’t you find it interesting that the bible calls both men and women to love in a way that doesn’t come naturally. 

I was having a conversation with a wise male friend of mine, at a birthday party recently.  I said to him, “This submissive love that we’re to have as women towards our husbands, doesn’t seem fair.” He told me that he was having a conversation that exact same day with a man, who said “this loving our wives as Christ loved the church thing, doesn’t seem fair”.  As we talked it through he wisely asked “what has fairness got to do with anything?”  We are so determined to state our rights, making sure we are treated as we think we should be, ensuring we are not taken for granted and are treated with respect, that we fail to see our calling to obedience to God’s Word. Ladies I’m not just speaking to you, but to your husbands as well. A slight side: It does take two to tango, but if one isn’t willing to love biblically, then that doesn’t excuse the other from obedience to God’s Word. Honour God, even if your spouse isn’t willing to. You never know what God will do with that obedience.

My rights have to be ousted by love. Sacrificial love, more so for men, and affectionate friendship love, more so for women.  Men, what will you give up for your wife?  Women how do you show your husband you love and enjoy him? 

If we fail to grasp these biblical lessons we risk diminishing our love, and potentially even losing our marriage. Commit to giving up your rights and loving as we are called to love. If all is not well in your marriage, take courage and ask your pastor for the name of a trusted counsellor. Your marriage was never meant to be a drag, it is meant to be a delight. I hope you will not remain in discontent, but will desire more for each other and the future and seek wise counsel and learn to love each other again. This is not to say however that a spouse must remain in an abusive or violent relationship regardless of the cost to themselves or their children.

As the clergyman said, impediment aside, “treasure your love.” Our wedding rings are a symbol of the promises we made before God, a symbol of a treasure that has a high value. A Trade Me auction can never show the true value of love or the cost of loss, disappointment, hurt and rejection when that ‘fairytale’ plays out without a happy ending.