The first resource that I will be using as a guide for this series is "Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God" by Bruce A. Ware. Dr. Ware, a professor of Christian theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was inspired to write this book from the encouragement of his own daughters, whom he taught theology to each night. He writes this in the introduction,
"Bethany was six, Rachel was two, and I recall Jodi and me trying to figure out just how best to get two fun-loving, giggly girls to bed...One night it occurred to me that since they loved being with us this last part of the day and weren't quite ready for sleep yet, I might consider co-opting the time and using it to do what I loved most and what they needed most -teach them great and glorious truths of the Christian faith...I began in those early years spending ten to fifteen minutes with each of our daughters at their bedside, going through the doctrines of the Christian faith...I was basically teaching them the same theology sequence I taught at seminary."
Theology Lesson FOR KIDS #1:
God Made Himself Known to US!
(Verses to Consider: Psalm 19:1-2, Romans 1:19-20, Job 38:4-11)
Dr. Ware begins by helping children understand this truth by asking a question, "Has anyone ever kept a secret from you? No matter how much you might want know the secret, until someone tells you, you just cannot know what it is." He explains that the only way we can know God is because, "God has shared with us the secret of who He is."
I enjoyed this thought from Dr. Ware, "One of the very first things we must learn about God is very humbling, and it is this: unless God had decided to show us who He is, unless He had chosen to make known his own life and ways, we simply could know nothing-yes, nothing!- about Him. We are dependent completely on God's kindness and goodness to make Himself know to us."
After reading this I even thought how wonderful it is that I don't have to be smart, wise, or intelligent to know God! He has made himself known to ME and ALL people whether we are intellectual or not!! It's not about my efforts but only His that I am capable of Knowing God and this gives Him (not me) the glory! Praise God!!!
How Has God Made Himself Know?
I recently reviewed, "Jesus, What a Savior!" from Children Desiring God Ministries and I was reminded of one of the lessons in relation to the question above. The lesson was, "God Created the World to Show How Special He is." Consider this from the lesson,
"Most children are familiar with the creation story. They know that God made the sun and moon, the land and sea, etc. What they are less likely to know is why God made everything. Why did a perfect God, who is totally happy in Himself, decide to create other things and creatures? It was not because He was lonely or because He needed something. God is perfect and happy in Himself. Rather, it was out of His overflowing happiness in His incomparable greatness and worth that He created all things. God delights in displaying and upholding His greatness and worth—His glory—more than anything else. In other words, God created all things for His glory. All of creation is meant to show how great and glorious God is—it is a “show-and-tell” in which we can see, smell, feel, and touch the glory of God. To help children better understand this concept, we will be defining God’s glory revealed through creation as God showing how special He is."
One way God made himself know is through creation! As it states above, "a show-and-tell in which we can see, smell, feel, and touch the glory of God." Dr. Ware uses an example of a small seed being planted, watered, and then given time it grows into a beautiful flower. He states, "When you look closely at the flower, for example, you can see the knowledge and wisdom and beauty of God." Dr. Ware then goes on to give another example of stars and galaxies and he shares, "We cannot understand all of this, but it shows us how great and expansive and powerful God is- He made this universe simply by speaking it into existence."
Psalm 19:1 "The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaim his handiwork."
Lastly, Dr. Ware shares that, "Another way God has made Himself know to is through how he has made us, his human creatures." Of course the creation of the human body reflects God's glory but in addition to this Dr. Ware shares, "He made us with a deep inner understanding of things that are right and wrong (see Romans 2:14-15)... When we do wrong, we have no excuse, because we know from the inside that we should do what is right. God put this into our lives so we would know about right and wrong and so we would know that we are held responsible for what we do. But this also tells us about God- He always does what is right and good and worthy of praise. God is both great, and He is good."
Specific Ideas for Teaching lesson One: "God Made Himself Know to Us" to Children
Specific Ideas for Teaching lesson One: "God Made Himself Know to Us" to Children
- When I observe nature with my children I might say, "Look at that beautiful butterfly! God made the butterfly to show how special He is!" I desire to point to God in our day to day observation of nature. Simply speaking this truth to your children on a regular basis will communicate theology to them!
- Do you nature journal? Consider completing a page with verses about God's creation and this theological truth, "(one way) God made Himself known to us is through creation." Refer to it before your child begins a new page so when they nature journal they are also reflecting on what the object of study says about God!
- Cut out nature pictures from a magazine to make a poster sized picture collage with a bible verse or quote such as this, "All of creation is meant to show how great and glorious God is—it is a “show-and-tell” in which we can see, smell, feel, and touch the glory of God."
- Go on a nature walk and make a list of objects seen with a one word description of how that object tells us about God (butterfly- God is amazing, rain- God is thoughtful, rainbow-God is beautiful).
- As an opening activity to presenting the truth of right and wrong written on our hearts, have your child make a list of right things and wrong things (Too young to write? Try drawings or do this orally). Then ask them HOW they knew what to write. Explain that, "God has taken something of His own standards of right and wrong and placed them in our hearts."
More General Ideas for Teaching Theology to Children...
- Don't be afraid to challenge your child to THINK! In a world where children have many thoughtless and effortless tasks (video games, TV, and computer time) challenge your child to THINK through great truths of the gospel!
- Read the Bible! Find scriptures to communicate the truths you are teaching to your children, God's word will NOT return void (Isaiah 55:11).
- Purchase the book, Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God this book is divided into short chapters for daily devotional type reading directly TO children.
- Do you complete copy work pages or practice memorization? Consider having your child copy or memorize a statement from Dr. Ware's book!
- Take your time to soak up truth! Don't rush through a lesson, allow time, opportunities, and study to help resonate a specific truth within them (and us!!).
- Begin an individual journal or family journal about the theological truths learned, review it regularly.
- Pray that the Lord would give you wisdom and understanding as you seek to honor Him in the teaching and training of your children.
- Pray that God would open the eyes of your child's HEART that they would EMBRACE the gospel not just KNOW the content intellectually.
- Talk about these truths DAILY and when teachable moments present themselves take advantage of them!
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