Your Kids’ Ministry Christmas List!!

christmas-guide-2016Finding good books for our kids and for our own souls can be tough! Below I have listed my top 5 books for each of the following categories: Preschoolers, Kids, and Parents. (Yes, I’m a kids pastor!)

Now, you don’t necessarily have to give these books and DVD’s away. Please don’t attempt to teach people with your gifts.  If you think your friends are the worst parents ever, please don’t give them. Paul David Tripp’s new book, thinking, “That’ll show them!” Just no, please…no!

Rather, I hope that you and your families will find these books useful, helpful, and encouraging. In short, I want you to know that great resources do exists and don’t necessarily cost a ton. If one of the things below looks like it will minister to you and/or your family, grab it. And if you want to gift one of more of these books to your family and friends in love, go for it!

Merry Christmas!

 

Ideas For Preschoolers

It’s All About Jesus Bible Story Book – $12.22

Gospel Project

its-all-about-jesus-front-coverThis wonderful new book consists of 100 chronological stories (50 from the Old Testament and 50 from the New Testament) that seek to help our children understand the scope and sequence of the Bible.  Each story is beautifully illustrated, biblically sound, and is accompanied by two additional circles: A Christ Connect Circle that helps us understand how the story fits into the bigger Gospel narrative and an application question circle. As an added bonus, these stories directly tie into the Gospel Project Sunday School curriculum, allowing you to bring the Gospel Project right into your living room.

 

 

The Garden the Curtain and the Cross – $10.39

Carl Laferton

The garden the curtain and the cross blogThis hardcover book presents the gospel using the story book platform. As the pages turn, your preschoolers will be captivated by the beautiful and fun illustrations that help them see the significance of creation, the temple and the cross. As the words are read, your preschoolers will learn that Christ has come to deliver people from the sadness brought into the world by Adam and Eve. This is one of my preschooler’s favorite books. Yours will love it too!

 

 

 

Bible Stories in 5 Minutes. – $11.31

Gospel Project

Bible Story in five minutesThis is one of my favorite preschool/kids’ Bibles because it doesn’t try to be a kids Bible.  Starting with creation and ending with Jesus’ resurrection the book covers 12 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 of each narrative 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 – $12.09

You Version

Bible App Kids BIbleIt has finally happened! An App has become a book! The “Bible App For Kids Story Book Bible” entered the world of paper last year and become an instant hit. Each of the book’s gospel-centered Bible stories can be read in about 2-3 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 the jump, talk, and spin. You also can go to the bibleappforkids.com website and download coloring sheets, videos, discussions guide, and much more. With this one preschool Bible, you can teach your kids the scriptures across all major media platforms (print, mobile and pc).

 

 

The Big Picture Interactive Bible Stories for Toddlers – $8.25

Gospel Project

big picture board bookDivided 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!

 

 

 

 

Ideas For Kids

The Radical Book For Kids – $18.04

Champ Thornton

51pybncsxl-_sx476_bo1204203200_What book can help answer your kids’ questions, encourage their hearts to love God, and show them how to be radical follower of Christ? This one! As your 8-14 reads through this colorful book filled with pictures, illustrations, and photos, they will learn about how the Bible was formed, the doctrine of salvation, John Bunyan, the weapons used in biblical times, and much more more. This is by far one of the best Christian kids’ books out there. But I must warn you: If you get this book for your kids, you may find yourself wanting to read it as well!

 

 

The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever Knew – $21.22

Marty Machowski

the ologyIf 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 others. It sections contains colorful illustrations with written explanations of big theological truths and tons of Scripture references. You can use the book either as a family devotional using the discussion questions in the back or hand it off to your middle schooler and let him or her start learning the scriptures anew!

 

 

ESV Student Bible – $20.90

Crossway

esv-student-bibleThe ESV Student Study Bible is a great starter Bible for grade schoolers and older students. It is packed with tons of Bible study notes that help explain translation issues and the meaning of the text. . The Bible has its pages dotted with the profiles of famous men and women in the Bible and “Did You Know” text boxes that help children understand the historical context of various Scriptures such as when the Solomon compares his lovely bride to “a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots.” (Try that one at home sometime!) At the back of the Bible, students will find a section dealing with how to study the Bible, another section on important Christian Truths, a glossary, and a concordance. And if you have a child who likes color, they will like the fact that this Bible comes in bright orange, blue, green, purple, and a host of other options.

For more Bible recommendations click here!

 

The Biggest Story – $11.99

Ken DeYoung with Illustrations by Don Clark

Biggest Story Every ToldThe Bible is not just a collection of short stories. It has a central theme, a big picture. In The Biggest Story, Pastor DeYoung walks his 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. DeYoung designed his book to be read aloud on Christmas morning as the family relaxes by the fireplace. You may not have a fireplace, but you will still benefit from adding this book to your Christmas traditions. It’s worth the read. And if you don’t want to read it, you can watch it! Click here to grab a copy of the DVD!

 

 

Heaven For Kids – $9.59

Randy Alcorn.

heaven for kidsHave your kids every asked you about heaven? You know 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 for our children. Get a copy for your kids and help them start thinking through eternity this Christmas!

 

 

 

Ideas For Parents:

Hidden Christmas – $13.75

Timothy Keller

51s-avtup0l-_sx351_bo1204203200_If you are easily stressed out by the commercialism and hectic pace of the Christmas season, you will find this book refreshing. In span of 148 small pages, Keller reminds our hearts just how magical the message of the Christmas story is. He shows us that the story of Christmas is indeed one of great joy because the greatest gift the world has ever known has come in the form of a baby to bring the light of salvation to our dark world!

 

Parenting – $16.30

Paul David Tripp

parentingAt times, parenting seems down right impossible. And at one level, it is. No one has the skills and abilities to parent well hour after hour. Thankfully, we are not alone. Paul David Tripp feels our pain! But he doesn’t leave us in our sorrow and frustrations. He points us us to 14 Biblical principles that will enable us to survive the day-in and day-out task of parenting.He points us to the Jesus who empowers unable parents to parent well! Grab your copy today!

 

Resolving Everyday Conflict – $9.99

Ken Sande

resolving-every-day-conflictAfter death and taxes, the next most certain thing is conflict. All men, women, and children (even the most mature) are still sinners who are prone to sinning. This little book helps us all put our relationships back together by focusing on how our love for Christ leads us to love others. Filled with tons of direct Scriptural applications, this is a must have for Christians. Conflict is coming! Be prepared!

 

 

Beyond Bath Time – $9.73

Erin Davis

beyong-bath-timeMotherhood is hard. The world attacks the value and role of a mother but the Bible describes it as a sacred task given by God. Beyond Bath Time gives a realistic view of the struggles that moms face and encourages women to find hope and purpose in the mundane world as she studies God’s Word.

 

 

The Insanity of God – $8.35

Nik Ripken

insanity-of-godChurch life can seem boring and mundane. But it should never be. As you interact with the Ripken’s incredible story, you will see that following God is an unbelievable task. The world is filled with dying children, crying mothers, and hopeless men. The need is greater than we can imagine. But our God is larger still. He makes missions go; He propels the gospel forward through our dark world, creating an amazing narrative of hope! In short, the Ripken’s story is one of insanity!

 

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!


Christmas 2015 Guide

 

Ideas For Preschoolers


The Big Picture Interactive Bible Stories in Five Minutes.  – $10.74

Gospel ProjectBible Story in five minutes

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

You VersionBible App Kids BIble

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).  

 

The Big Picture Interactive Bible Stories for Toddlers – $9.99

Gospel Projecttoddler Bible

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 – $16.98

David Helm with illustrations by Gail SchoonmakerBig Picture Story Bible

“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!

 

Everything a Child Should Know About God – $19.99

Kenneth N. Taylor with illustrations by Jenny BrakeEverything a child should know about God

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

The Big Picture Interactive Bible Story Book – $12.22

Gospel ProjectBig Picture Interactive Story Book

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 Biggest Story: How The Snake Crusher Brings Us Back TO The Garden – $12.57

Ken DeYoung with Illustrations by Don ClarkBiggest Story Every Told

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.

 

Sticky Situations: 365 Devotions For Kids and Families – $11.71

Betsy Schmittsticky situations

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.

 

The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever Knew – $26.99

Marty Machowskithe ology

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!

 

Heaven For Kids – $9.17

Randy Alcornheaven for kids

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

Big Truths For Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God – $11.55

Bruce A. Warebig truths for young hearts

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.  

 

Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations For Busy Moms – $9.88

Gloria Furmantreasuing Christ

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! 

 

Shepherding A Child’s Heart – $12.56

Tedd Trippsheparding a childs heart

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.

 

Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids – $15.54

Jack Klumpenhowershow them Jesus

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.  

 

Is God Ant-Gay? -$7.99

Sam AllberryIs God anti Gay

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!

For Fun

apples to apples bibleApples to Apples (Bible Addition) – $21.89

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.   

 

catch phraseCatch Phrase- $21.99

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!

 

51zhk2pdjWLFocus on the Family Radio Theatre Drama – $9.99 – $27.99

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!

 

The Prince’s Poison Cup – $15.35

R.C. Sproulprince and the posion cup

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.

 

Princess and the Kiss: A Story of God’s Gift of Purity – $10.62

Jennie Bishopprincess and the kiss

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!