Friday, October 14, 2016

Book Review: Show Them Jesus

Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids. 2014. New Growth Press. 224 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]

If you teach Sunday School, Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids comes close to being a must-read. It is one of those breathe-the-gospel-in and breathe-the-gospel out kinda books. The premise is that teachers (and parents) should use every opportunity--both formal and informal "lessons"--to point their kids to the gospel message of Jesus Christ. But not just a fuzzy, vague gospel. He wants kids to fall in love with Jesus. He wants Jesus to be their 'one thing.' their one great desire. He wants to teach--wants others to teach--in such a way that kids know that Jesus is really, truly worthy of their worship. In other words, a BIG, BIG, BIG Jesus that will grow with them long past the days of flannel boards and talking vegetables.

The chapters are very practical and rich in examples. He doesn't just share what he's done right, he shares a lot of what he's done wrong. Being a teacher doesn't make him right, doesn't make him infallible, doesn't make him better. Neither would being a pastor. All of us--one and all, no matter our age or occupation--are sinners saved by grace. There is a realness to this one about using everyday moments to show the gospel--to "show Jesus" to those in our lives.

He urges us to change the way we approach "teaching" the Bible to others. Perhaps focusing less on what is easy and natural.
Don’t: Look for a moral lesson about a human character. Instead: Look for the worth and work of the main character, God.
We’ve been dispensing good advice instead of the good news. Eventually, kids will tire of our advice, no matter how good it might be. Many will leave the church. Others will live decent, churchy lives but without any fire for Christ. We’ll wonder why they’ve rejected the good news, because we assumed they were well grounded in it. In fact, they never were. Although we told stories of Jesus and his free grace, we watered it down with self-effort—and that’s what they heard.
The gospel goes against our nature. It just does. Even though we know grace, grace, all by grace, always by grace, through grace, with grace, much grace. It doesn't take but a few glances away from Jesus and we've allowed some self-effort (do better, try harder, do more, give it all you got) to creep back in.

Favorite quotes:
The good news is the Bible’s drumbeat. To ignore it at any point is to misplay the theme song.
No how-to-live lesson can wake the spiritually dead.
Any kid could be the one who needs to be saved. Much of the time, we just don’t know.
None of us learns to love anyone—including God—by having someone tell us to love them. You love people because you find them beautiful and lovable, and because they love you. The good thing is that God is far, far more beautiful and love-worthy than anything or anyone else, and he loves us far, far more than anyone else ever could.
The greater error is to teach from the Bible and fail to point out Jesus at all.
We shouldn’t build self-esteem. We should build Christ-esteem. We must give kids the best kind of encouragement of all—the kind that comes from knowing that Jesus is in you and for you.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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