2015 Christmas Guide
On Black Friday, the holiday shopping season begins in earnest. I affectionately refer to this time as “The Season of Insanity.” And part of the insanity is caused by the seemingly unending array of choices. Lifeway and Christian Book Distributers alone recommend thousands of items. Don’t even think about amazon. Determining which Christian books and resources are good and which are religious fluff is hard. And who has the hours to do that?
Hi, there! Throughout the course of the year, I read and examine a ton of books and resources for the FBCE kids’ ministry. Below I have listed the best of the best. I hope my reviews make your Christmas a little less insane! And if you know of things that could be added to this list, leave me a comment below!
Ideas For Preschoolers
This is one of my favorite preschool/kids’ Bibles because it doesn’t try to be a traditional kids Bible. Starting with creation and ending with Jesus’ resurrection the book covers 12 important biblical stories. By not being exhaustive, the book can recount each Biblical narrative as a story. The beautifully illustrated pages flow from one to the next. And last page always ties the story back to the gospel. And the best part for us with young kids is: the stories only last 5 minutes!
The Bible App For Kids Story Book Bible – $9.57
It has finally happened. An App has become a book! The Bible App For Kids Story Book Bible left the digital world earlier this year and is becoming an instant hit. Each of the book’s gospel-centered Bible stories can be read in about 1-2 minutes. But what makes this preschool Bible stand out from all the rest is its free digital content. You can download the “Story Book Bible App” for free and get access to even more Bible stories. You also can go to the bibleappforkids.com website and download coloring sheets, videos, discussions guide, and much, much more. With this one preschool Bible, you can teach your kids the scriptures across all platforms (print, mobile, and PC).
Divided into two volumes (one is Old Testament stories and one is New Testament stories) these Bibles are perfect for toddlers. Covering twenty Bible stories each, these books deliver gospel centered truth in a board format that your toddler eat on while you read!
“The Big Picture Story Bible” is one of the better preschool Bibles. The pictures are large and simplistic. The stories are short and include some commentary. But for the most part the Bible follows the content of the Scripture closely. Some additions also come with a nice audio recording of the Bible. If you have younger kids on your list, I encourage you to give this Bible a look!
This is a great little book that covers all the major doctrines and ides of the Bible in one-page devotions. Each devotion is accompanied by a picture and follow questions. The book is perfect for the child with a short attention span. If you already have a great preschool bible and are looking to add another book to your preschooler’s library check out Everything a Child Should Know About God.
Ideas For Kids
Created by the writers of the “Gospel Project,” our church’s Sunday school curriculum, this children’s Bible does an excellent job of presenting the whole counsel of God as seen by the pages devoted to Zephaniah and the Pauline letters. Each story is accompanied by a great illustration, interactive media (the gospel project app for kids), scripture references, an explanation of how the story relates to Christ, and a discussion questions. If your child is only going to have one children’s Bible on his or her self, make it this one!
The Bible is not just a collection of short stories. It’s one big story with a central theme. DeYoung’s book encourages us to rediscover this truth this Christmas. Seeking to explain the importance of Christ’s arrival, Pastor DeYoung walks he readers through the entirety of the Bible in a playful, elegant, and hopeful manner. With each chapter, DeYoung shows kids that all of the Old and New Testament are about Jesus. He is the Biggest Story! DeYoung designed his book to be read aloud on Christmas morning while the family relaxes by the fireplace. You may not have a fire place, but you will still benefit from adding this book to your Christmas traditions. It’s worth the read.
The best thing about this devotion is that makes the scriptures relevant for kids. It shows kids that the Bible has the words of life and the words needed for everyday life. Here’s how the devotion works: Each day begins with story about homework, dirty clothes, or some other sticky situation. Then, the author asks the reader what he or she would do listing several responses both good and bad. Lastly, your kids are encouraged to look up the scripture verse listed at the bottom of the page to discover God’s solution to the situation. To make sure everybody stays on track, an answer key and additional discussion questions are located in the back of the book. This collections of 360 practical devotions is second to none.
If you are looking for a colorful book that explains theology to grade schoolers and middle schoolers without babying them, you need to grab a copy of The Ology. The book explores the subject of God, scripture, humanity, salvation, the church, and many other topics. Each section contains colorful illustrations, well written explanations of big theological truths, and tons of scripture references. You can use the book either as a family devotional or hand it off to your middle schooler and let him or her start learning the scriptures anew!
Have your kids ever asked you about heaven? You probably heard the questions: “Will it be boring, will our pets be there, how do we get there, etc.?” If they have, grab them a copy of Heaven for Kids. Based on Randy Alcorn bestselling book, Heaven, Heaven for Kids provides thoughtful answers to the above questions and many more. Each chapter is filled with stories, analogies, and scriptural explanations that bring the reality of heaven into full view. Get a copy for your kids and help them start thinking about eternity!
Ideas For Parents
Written by a seminary professor for his two little girls, the book breaks down the deepest doctrines of faith into bites that children can easily digest. This child styled systematic theology book will be an encouragement to parents and children alike as they seek to understand humanity, God, and the Bible. If you want to get one book this year that increases your understanding of God, this is it. By far, this is one of my favorite books to handout to parents.
This book is short enough for a busy mom to handle and provides sound gospel-centered truth on the realities of motherhood. Motherhood is a hard but important job, and Gloria encourages the worn out women of God who are called to the task! The gospel provides everything a mom needs to relieve stress and overcome misguided expectations. Ladies this is perhaps one of the best books available for moms!
Tedd Tripp shows parents how to discipline for the purpose of discipleship. He gives parents the scriptural foundation and the practical methods for addressing the issues that often define the parent-child relationship. But instead of focus on outward changing, Tripp goes deeper and looks at the heart. He shows parents how to reach their little sinners with the gospel. Tedd Tripp’s book is a both a practical and biblical resource for parents.
This book is written by a lifelong Sunday school teacher for Sunday school teachers and for anyone working with kids either at home or at church. This book is full of practical wisdom concerning how to teach the gospel to children in way that is both Biblical and relational. Jack’s focus on the gospel will challenge and re-energizes our hearts to reach the next generation for Christ.
Homosexuality is daily becoming more applauded in our society. As Christians, we need to know how to address the issue in a loving, compassionate, and truthful manner. Is God anti-gay? gives us the biblical knowledge to do just that. The short 84-page book helps us answers several of our culture’s questions about homosexuality such as, “Jesus never mentions homosexuality, so how can it be wrong?” And, Allberry goes beyond addressing the sins. He shows his readers how to extend grace to the sinner. Grab a copy today!
If you want a fun, family friendly game that is sure to create some laughter grab a copy of Apples to Apples! You deal every player a hand of cards and then turn over a green card such as “heavenly.” Each player submits their card that best represents the card played, such as “Ruth; Camels, Samson.” The players then vote to decided who’s card best represent the word players. It’s time to grab some apples.
Set the timer, pick a category, and go! You then try describe the catch-phrase on the screen without using any of the words in the phrase. If “Christmas” were the word you were trying to say, you would say something like, “We celebrate it every December 21.” But don’t take too long as times money. And if the devise in your hands when the timer goes off, you lose. The game is one of my family’s favorites. I hope your family will love it too!
If you spend large amounts of time in your car, are fond of road trips, or have middle school children who refuse to read, you should give Focus on the Family Radio Theatre a listen. It brings classic works such as “ The Chronicles of Narnia,” “The Hiding Place,” and “Ann of Green Gables” (just to name a few) to life with fantastic performance by a host of professional actors and actresses!
Beautifully illustrated as R.C. Sproul’s other children’s books (The Priest With Dirty Clothes, The Donkey Who Carried a King, The Baber Who Wanted to Pray, etc.) this book tells the story of Christ’s death through a medieval parable. The beautiful story is laced with the power of the gospel and makes a great addition to every child’s bookshelf.
Beautifully illustrated, the book presents the splendor of chastity in a fun, thoughtful manner that can be enjoyed by young girls and appreciated by those leaving the ranks of elementary school!