We are the Branches – A family worship resource

Home » 2014 » November

Monthly Archives: November 2014

Fill Your Joy Void! Great Advent Resources!

Tomorrow is the beginning of the Advent season!  There are some wonderful things you can do with your family to prepare and focus your hearts as you celebrate Christ’s birth this Christmas season.  What does all of it really mean?  Why should we be filled with joy?  Talk about it each day leading up to Christmas Day and grow with your family.  John Piper and ThrivingFamily.com have wonderful daily readings to help you!

“Looking for joy in the Christmas trappings and traditions is like opening a beautifully wrapped package with a tag that reads “Joy Inside,” only to find the box empty. That’s because our Christmas traditions don’t so much house joy as much as they point to joy. If we want our joy voids filled, we must look less at Christmas and more through Christmas to where indestructible, unspeakable joy really is. …Christmas is for you to know Christ, to know the love of Christ, and be filled up with the fullness of the joyful God.” -taken from The Dawning of Indestructible Joy by John Piper-


I am so thankful John Piper has prepared this.  Make sure you click to download the free PDF.  Fill your joy void now!

Advent:  The Dawning of Indestructible Joy by John Piper

full_the-dawning-of-indestructible-joy

“When we look for joy in our traditions rather than through our traditions, joy short-circuits. Looking for joy in the Christmas trappings and traditions is like opening a beautifully wrapped package with a tag that reads “Joy Inside,” only to find the box empty. That’s because our Christmas traditions don’t so much house joy as much as they point to joy. If we want our joy voids filled, we must look less at Christmas and morethrough Christmas to where indestructible, unspeakable joy really is.

For in “the fullness of time . . . God sent forth his Son” (Galatians 4:4), in whom “the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Colossians 1:19), in order that we who are full of condemning sin might be fully emptied of our sin and “filled up with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18–19) and experience the “fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11John 15:11).

Christmas is for you to know Christ, to know the love of Christ, and be filled up with the fullness of the joyful God.

And to help you look through Christmas in order to be satisfied with true, everlasting joy is why we’ve created a new Advent devotional titled, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy. ”


Journey to the Manger 2014 Advent Calendar from Thriving Family.

JourneyToTheMangerAdvent2014

This is a great resource for your family!  ThrivingFamily.com has prepared daily readings complete with activity suggestions, puzzles you can print, and even a poster with cut outs your kids can place each day if you want to get really into it!   It’s free too!


They both look so good we can’t choose so we plan on doing the ThrivingFamily.com Advent readings in the morning and using the John Piper readings for Advent for our family worship time in the evening.  It’s a battle every day to “set our minds on things above and not on earthly things.”  In our culture it’s an even bigger battle during the Christmas push to get stuff… and get more stuff!  A daily reading with your family may not seem like much but God is in the business of taking His truths and transforming hearts with them.  He is faithful!  Enjoy this precious time with your family and our great God!

A Mighty Trio

I’m so excited about some resources that have been brought to my attention lately!  I was going to share one of them on here tonight but I can’t choose because they all look so good.  All wonderfully gospel centered.  Thus, here are three amazing books (a mighty trio) that would be a wonderful addition to your family!  So much growth to be had!  =)

Unknown-2

Long Story Short:  Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God.  Fantastic!  The title sums it up pretty good.  Click on it and read the reviews.  My friend Anna brought it to my house and shared how much her family has been enjoying it.

You won’t find a more important focus for a family devotional than a daily highlighting of the gospel of grace. Clever stories and good moral lessons may entertain and even help children, but the gospel will transform children. The gospel is deep enough to keep the oldest and wisest parents learning and growing all their lives, yet simple enough to transform the heart of the first grader who has just begun to read. Ten minutes a day, five days a week is enough time to pass on the most valuable treasure the world has ever known. Long Story Short is a family devotional program designed to explain God’s plan of salvation through the Old Testament and is suitable for children from preschool through high school.”

Unknown-1

Show Them Jesus:  Teaching the Gospel to Kids.  Yes please, help us do this!  This is a great for anyone teaching children:  parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.

Millions of church kids are growing up and deciding to leave the church. They listened attentively in Sunday school, made friends, and seemed committed. But one day, they quit. What happened? The Bible says we love God because he first loved us. So if we are not primarily teaching our kids about God s love for us in Christ, we may miss our opportunity to capture their hearts. But what does it look like to teach a gospel-centered lesson? Show Them Jesus is an instruction manual for teachers of kids and teens written by a lay Bible teacher with 30 years experience. With a simple framework and lots of real-life examples, Klumpenhower’s book helps teachers to identify and communicate the heart of the gospel to each child in each lesson.”

Unknown

Exploring Grace Together:  40 Devotionals for the Family.   Take a minute and read some of the reviews on Amazon and take a look at  the example pages.  Fantastic resource!

Assisting parents with this high calling, Jessica Thompson offers us an alternative to merely telling our kids what they must do to please God and be a “good Christian.” Designed for the whole family, this collection of gospel-centered devotionals will help you teach your children to treasure and rely on Jesus more than anything else.”


Many of these would make a wonderful Christmas gift for someone you love.  You know that saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”?  It sure would make a difference if we took that to heart.  Please help me raise my child?  Ha!  Please help me give her the gospel?  Really.  Let me help you!  When we work together the body of Christ grows and it “builds itself up in love.”  Ephesians 4: 11-16 says,

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

Be Ready to Answer Your Kids’ Questions About the Bible

IMG_7886

Be Ready to Answer Your Kids’ Questions About the Bible

I wanted to share this article from http://www.desiringgod.org with you.

Kids ask a lot of questions.  Jon Bloom has written this kid friendly question and answer session to help you discuss these topics with your children, grandchildren, or even your friend’s children.  So helpful!   This resource could guide you in a wonderful discussion during a family worship time.  =)

Christianity stands or falls on the reliability, inspiration, and authority of the Bible. Children pick up on that early. We tell them that they should trust the Bible. At some point they will (and should) ask why (if they feel it’s okay to ask). So here are a few answers (in language I would speak to my 9 year old twins) that might be helpful for some mealtime (or bedtime!) discussions.

How Do We Know the Bible is Reliable?

Who Decided What Should Be in the Bible (Authority)?

How Do We Know the Bible Has No Errors in It (Inerrancy)?

Who Can Understand the Bible (Clarity)?

Why Do We Need the Bible to Know God (Necessity)?

Does the Bible Tell Us Everything We Need to Know (Sufficiency)?”

Good stuff!  There is even a page of suggested reading for adults to help us grow in our wisdom and knowledge on these topics. Thank you Mr. Jon Bloom!  Let us go forth and teach!

-Heather-