Are You Listening?

"Mom. Mom. Mom!"

"What?" I responded.

"Were you even listening to me?" my son asked.

He touched my arm and I looked up from my phone.

No. I wasn't listening.

We all know what it is like to speak to someone and then realize they haven't heard a word we said. We can tell by their body language that they are thinking about something else or simply don't even care to listen. We also know what it is like to share our thoughts with someone only to have them interrupt us so they can speak their own mind.


James tells us, "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger" (James 1:19). Proverbs 29:20 says, "Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him." Jesus quoted Isaiah when he spoke of those who could not hear what he came to proclaim, "For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them" (Matthew 13:15).

Listening doesn't come naturally to any of read the rest of this post, visit For the Family, my writing home today.  

Book Review: Crowned

The demographics of our society are always changing. Though we've been a melting pot from the very beginning, we are more so now than ever before. Depending on where you live, you may know many people of different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. In addition, our culture continues to secularize. Many of the Biblical principles that were woven into our cultural norms have been removed. This means that when we invite a friend or neighbor or co-worker to church, there is a greater likelihood that they have never walked into a church before. We can't assume that they are familiar with the stories of the Bible and know the basic facts about Jesus. 

My real life friend, Melissa, has worked with many unchurched women. In the Pittsburgh church plant she and her husband were involved in, nearly all the women in attendance came to the church without any previous knowledge of who Jesus is. As she worked with these women in the context of ministry and discipleship, she found that she had to start at the very beginning. There was no presupposing that they understood basic facts about Christianity. Out of that ministry work her discipleship book, Crowned: Created for Glory, Called by His Name, was born.

Crowned is the first in a series of discipleship studies. This book walks a new believing woman through the foundational truths of who God is and who we are in Christ. It begins at the very beginning, with creation and explains how God created us in his image and what it means to be image bearers. It then takes the reader through the story of the Fall of mankind and the impact of sin in us and in the world around us. The remaining chapters explain the plan of redemption, justification, adoption, and sanctification. 

"We were created to walk in God’s glory and after we are justified in Christ, we are given the privilege of sharing in Christ’s glory. These are the exceeding riches of God’s grace in his kindness toward us: instead of squashing a rebellious regent he chooses to crown us, to robe us in the finest regalia, and give us a share in the kingdom destiny of his own heir." (p.30)

Each chapter unpacks theology in a way that is understandable for a new believer. Melissa doesn't hesitate to use theological terms but she defines them. At the end of each chapter is a Bible study section where the reader digs into God's word and learns more about the topic discussed in the chapter. In addition, Melissa encourages the reader to memorize Ephesians 2:1-10 while doing the study. 

This book is ideal for those whose ministry is in a church context where there are many who are unchurched. It would be a useful tool for a spiritual mentor to use in a discipleship relationship with a new believer. The writing is clear, practical, and Biblical. Reading through Crowned, you feel as though Melissa is a friend, teaching you about who God is, what he has done through Christ, and who you are as a result. "My goal for this book is to help women uncover foundational truths about their personal identity as one crowned and commissioned by the King of the world" (p.45). In Crowned, she does just that.  

I have one copy of Crowned to give away. Enter below. US residents only, please.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for my review. The thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book Review and Giveaway: Give Them Truth

What is your child's greatest need? As parent's we spend countless hours anticipating and meeting our children's needs from checking for fevers to putting on band-aids; from filling hungry bellies to teaching them to look both ways; from providing them clothes to wear to giving them books to read; from reminding them to share to teaching them to pick up their toys. But of all the needs we anticipate, look for, and meet, what is the greatest?

I would argue that our children's greatest need is to know their Maker God and to be restored back into right relationship with him through his Son, Jesus Christ.

 As parents, we are given the responsibility to teach and train our children in the Lord. We are tasked with passing on to them the truths of who he is and what he has done. We are to instruct our children in the word of God, impressing it upon their hearts, when we sit at home and when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up (Deuteronomy 6:7). 

This is a huge and very important task yet one that is often neglected or passed off to Christian schools and Sunday school teachers. Simply reading Bible stories to our children at bedtime is not enough. Our children need Biblical instruction. They need to know what God's word teaches about who God is, who they are, and what God has done. They need to know the Bible and they need to know theology.

Give Them Truth

That's the premise of Starr Meade's new book, Give Them Truth. She writes, "Our children cannot apply Scripture without knowing what it says. They cannot love Christ without knowing who he is. They can't obey God without knowing what he has commanded. And they will not know these things if we do not provide deliberate, thorough, rigorous instruction, just as we would do for subjects like math or grammar" (p.25).

Give Them Truth spurs parents on to teach our children the foundational doctrines of the faith. The purpose is not for mere head knowledge. It's not to make them win every game of Bible Trivia. The purpose is so that our children will be prepared for the storms of life. Knowing God's word gives them an anchor to cling to when life is uncertain, frightening, and out of control. Meade writes, "I contend that a robust theology, a strong, well-connected belief system, is the most helpful thing we can give our children to prepare them for the suffering they will inevitably face as they live in a world spoiled by sin." (p. 37)

The book is divided into three sections. The first section's main premise is that too many children in Christian families do not know the Bible or what it teaches. The next section goes into specific teachings and doctrines children need to know such as the doctrine of God, his incommunicable attributes, the Trinity, doctrine of man, sin, salvation through Christ, and the Church. The final section covers specifics on how to go about teaching children what they need to know in God's word and discusses applying the Trivium model of education to Biblical learning. The end of the book includes a helpful list of resources, books, studies, and catechisms.

This well laid out book contains helpful summaries throughout each chapter, highlighting the key points. Though not exhaustive, Give Them Truth provides the foundational truths we need to teach our children. It is readable and not too heady for parents who are not as familiar with theology and theological terms. Over and over, Meade goes back to the point that our children need to know these things to prepare them for the hard challenges and trials of life they will face at some point in their lives. And all of this instruction is given with the knowledge that it is the Spirit who regenerates dead hearts and makes them alive to Christ.  "The task of parent and teacher is to provide the truth to which the heart will respond. We pile up doctrinal truth in the minds of our children, and we eagerly await the Holy Spirit who alone can cause that truth to give life. But the truth needs to be there!" (p. 194)

Our family has used many of Starr Meade's books in our devotional and instructional time with our children. We've loved every book we've used and this one is no exception. In fact, it won't be long before my copy of Give Them Truth is dog-eared and worn.  I highly recommend this book to every parent, grandparent, and Children's ministry worker. 


I am giving away one copy of this book. Enter below. US residents only please. Update: Rachel P. is the winner. Congrats, Rachel! 

Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for my review. The thoughts and opinions are my own.