Parenting Resources

The following recommendations contain excellent resources for you to consider. As with all material, while we thoroughly commend the central idea of each one, we encourage you to read and listen with discernment and care.  All reviews by Paul Milson, Children and Family Pastor at Hope Community Church.

Recommended Parenting Books:

 Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
Getting your head around the implications of the title of this book alone make it worth the read. This is a solid, biblical and trustworthy book on how to address your child's heart in their formative years. Don't just deal with a child's behaviour - behaviour is an overflow of the heart. This book will help you understand this from a biblical perspecitive.  Tedd and Paul Tripp are Biblical Counsellors who excel in parenting and relationships.

Instructing a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
This book is an excellent follow up to "Shepherding a Child's Heart".  This book takes gospel theology and applies it to the world view of the child. A parent must instil in a child answers to the most fundamental questions of life.  Children need truth to build their lives and healthy thinking on.  As the book says; "Impress truth on the hearts of your children, not to control or manage them, but to point them to the greatest joy and happiness that they can experience delighting in God and the goodness of his ways."

Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware
How can parents actually teach their children the bog truth of the Bible? This book will help you do just that. 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 are equipped to be their children's primary teacher - and perhaps learn a few things themselves along the way.

Gospel-powered Parenting by William P Farley
This book is a powerful description of how to apply the gospel to our parenting. It's no frills 'tell it like it is' approach will appeal particularly to men who want a sound biblical approach to parenting without getting lost in unnecessary details.  This book pulls no punches about God's holiness and grace, our need for Christ, because of our sin, and for parents to be role-models of Christ's sacrificial love to their spouse and to their children.
Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson
Dazzling your Kids with the Love of Jesus
All of us want to raise good kids.  And we want to be good parents.  But what exactly do we mean by 'good'? And is 'being good' really the point?  Mother-daughter team Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson contend that every way we try to make our kids 'good' is simply an extension of Old testament Law - a set of standards that is not only unable to save our children, but also powerless to change them.  No, rules are not the answer.  What they need is GRACE.  We must tell our kids of the grace-giving God who freely adopts rebels and transforms them into loving sons and daughters.  If this is not the message your children hear, if you are just telling them to 'be good', then the gospel needs to transform your parenting too.  Give them grace is a revolutionary perspective on parenting that shows us how to receive the gospel afresh and give grace in abundance, helping our children know the dazzling love of Jesus and respond with heartfelt obedience. 

Parenting Beyond Your Capacity by Reggie Joyner and Carey Nieuwhof
Connect Your Family to a Wider Community
This is an easy-to-read, engaging, and practical book that puts flesh on the following wise principles:
- Parenting is hard.  There are no perfect parents. We can't do it on our own.
- Let the church be the village that helps you raise your children.
- Focus your priorities on what mattes most - your children's relationship with God.
- Fight for healthy relationships with your child
- Get into a rhythm of doing God-stuff together
- Make your own relationship with God a priority

Faith Begins at Home: Prayer by Mark Holmen
Parents want to pray at home with their children, but many don't know where to start.  This new series of Faith Begins @ Home resource is designed to help parents bring faith home.  Faith @ Home Prayer is an easy-to-use resources that starts from square one and ends in a 24/7 lifestyle of family faith.  Parents will find step-by-step tips and age-appropriate guides for leading kids into a lifestyle of prayer, as well as true-life stories from families experiencing the power and blessing of God in their homes as they develop their 'spiritual skills' with their children.  An easy read at only 70 pages.

Faith Begins at Home: Devotions by Mark Holmen
You've probably heard about the importance of family devotions, but if you're like many other Christian parents, you're not sure where to start. How can you have a meaningful devotions time with a four-year-old? Do you know enough about the Bible to teach your questioning preteen? Don't be intimidated.  Faith Begins @ Home Devotions is an easy-to-use resource that will help you make daily devotions a wonderfully normal part of your families life. You'll find step-by-step tips and age-appropriate guides for leading family devotions, as well as true-life stories from other parents.  An easy read - only 80 pages.

Pastor Dad by Mark Discoll
Free Booklets available here
Before a man can be a good father, he first needs to be a good Christian. That term 'Christian' can mean a lot of things these days, but bottom line the father needs to get his identity as a father from God the Father. This little book, which may take less than an hour to read, has some great biblical and practical insights on what it means to not only be a good dad but how to be a good pastor of your own home.  A man who is the pastor of his home is one who cares for, leads, guides and lays down his life for this family. Mark Driscoll is a founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. He has a deep passion for Jesus, his wife Grace, his five kids and training men to be strong and devoted Christians, husbands and fathers, in that order.A short 40 page booklet that is direct and to the point.

Recommended Parenting Video and Audio:

Getting to the Heart of Parenting (Live conferencce DVD with discussion and Leaders Guide)
by Paul David Tripp
Parenting is more than using your power to get children to behave in certain ways.  Parenting is all about the exposure and change of the child's heart. When the heart of a child changes, the behaviour change that is needs will last.Learn how to be an instrument of heart-changing-grace in the little moments of life that God will give you with your children, whether they are toddlers or teens.  I found this easy to follow and very useful in our own parenting.

Biblical Parenting Conference (held at Mars Hill Church, Seattle)
by Tedd Tripp
Free Download: here
This five part conference is an excellent resource. The topics include:
- The call to formative instruction
- Giving kids a vision for God's glory
- Helping kids understand authority
- Helping kids understand the heart
- Overview of corrective discipline

Equipping Families to Disciple with the Gospel (teaching series at HCC)
Format: Free downloadable sermon video and study questions
by Paul Milson
Free Download: here
Paul Milson did not review this series as he was the teacher!  However I have been to all sermons in this series and can say without a doubt, they are so ouchy.  But it's a good ouchy!  All the messages have been encouragingly challenging, and convicting.  Paul is well read (as you can tell) on this subject, so if you don't have time to read all the over books, or listen to the sermons or conference messages, then listen to Pauls sermons on Equipping Families to Disciple with the Gospel.  Then you can start on the other resources.  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.  


Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus (conference audio)
by Elyse Fitzpatrick
Free Download: here
The content of the book is superb, but the authors writing style can be a little meandering at times.  The conference distills the best material from the book (see book blurb above for details) and makes it easier to understand and apply into your life - a great listen.

Big Truths for Young Hearts (Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God)
by Bruce Ware
Free Download: here
The sermon summaries the teaching method of the book of the same name (see above notes), and is designed to help you teach truth to your child in a way that engages his or her 'head, heart, and habitat'.

The Gospel and Parenting
by David Platt
Format: Free downloadable sermon audio MP3 and sermon notes
Free Download: here
Based on Ephesians 6:1-4, this message challenges parents to radically center their family life on the Word of God and the good news of the gospel. 

Recommended Family Devotions: 

CEV: Big Rescue Bible
Generally, I'd recommend the CEV (Contemporary English Bible) as a good option for a child's first 'complete' Bible as its language is simple and easier to read than other versions.  My 8 and 10 year olds are able to read it without too much difficulty.  The Big Rescue version has cool pictures that my boys enjoy.

The Jesus Storybook Bible
Every Story Whispers His Name
By Sally Lloyd-Jones
This is my favourite children's Bible for three reasons;
- Theologically, every story points towards Jesus as being the ultimate hero of the Bible and the ultimate hero of our lives.
- The artwork is great - colourful enough for the kids to enjoy and cool enough for adults too.
- It is wonderfully written - and written to be read aloud.
If you're not sure how to do devotions with your 4 to 10 year olds, simply read them stories from this Bible, ask a few questions about the story and pray together - thanking Jesus for being so wonderful.

My First Message
A Devotional Bible for Kids
by Eugene H Peterson
Filled with lively illustrations and fun activities for parents and children, My First Message keeps in mind the short attention span of it's readers and moves the stories along at a good pace.  The kids will really enjoy reading the stories with you. The stories and pictures are great, but he family devotions that go with each story tend to be moralistic and focus on things we should do and often miss the point of praising God for the incredible things He's done for us.

Ideal for children ages 3-6 years of age.  Each title covers a 30 days period.  Every day a short Bible reading is brought to life with the help of the Pen's characters. A related question and prayer apply this to daily life.

This is a popular bimonthly devotional for 7-11 year olds.  The Topz Gang teach children biblical truths through word games, puzzles, riddles, cartoons, competitions, simple prayers and daily Bible readings.  The Milson boys really enjoy doing these with me just before they go to bed.

This is a dynamic bimonthly devotional for 11-15 year olds.  Each issue is packed with cool graphics, special features and suggestions on how to get involved, plus daily Bible reading and commentary for 60 days.

designed for 14-18 year olds, Mettle is published every four months and tackles Bible themes as well as the 'hot potato' issue that young people face today.

Flipt Family Experience
DVD and Family Devotion booklet
By Promiseland (Children's Ministry of Willowcreek Church, Chicago)
This is a great resource for parents who lack confidence in leading their family in devotions.
Included in the package you'll receive:
- 1 DVD featuring 10 creative Bible teaching clips for family devotions
- A lesson guide, which features;
   > scripture passages for each lesson in a kid-friendly version
   > age-appropriate discussion questions
   > life application activities.
Flipt Family Experience provides your family with a dynamic, ready-made family devotion time.  The DVD includes 10 segments of creative Bible teaching that engages children of all ages and offer a compelling starting point for discussion.  The enclosed guide uses a kid-friendly translation to make the Scripture passage for each session accessible to your children and suggest age-appropriate discussion questions and activities for follow-up.  Little preparation required.

Faith Box
By Faith4Families New Zealand
The faith Box is a contemporary approach to family devotions. It is a programme for a weekly family time of learning and worship delivered in a box/tin.  The Faith Box offers parents the components for a 20 minute weekly family time, teaching the great truths of Christianity including the Biblical stories and principles for life.  It is designed to be creative, fun and interactive and to build strong family memories as well as teach the whole story of the gospel.
Faith Box Contains:
- A manual
- CD Phil Joel (Old Testament and New Testament songs)
- 12 big promise magnets
- Magnetic Faith Board
Generally Faith Box is a wonderful resource.  The sessions are a lot of fun but require some preparation.  They can be a little moralistic from time to time.

Music: 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.

What's in the Bible DVD's and Family devotions guides
Buck Denver Asks ... What's in the Bible? is a new DVD series from Veggietales® creator Phil Visher designed to walk kids and families through the entire Bible. The complete old testament: DVD's 1-9 (Genesis - Malachi) are available now, with more releasing soon!  These great DVD's present great foundational biblical truth presented in a fun and engaging way.  You can also download for free family devotion guides for the first DVD in the series (devotional guides for the other DVD's are in the process of being produced)

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