Book Review and Giveaway: Get Your Story Straight

When my oldest was first born, I began searching for good books to expose him to God's story of redemption. During those little years, many of those books were simple Bible stories. Since then, as my children have grown, I've discovered many wonderful books that teach solid Biblical truth to children. And I have shared many of those books with you on my blog. 

My children are getting older. I have one preteen and I recently began the process of researching and collecting books written with youth in mind. When I was a teen, much that was written was moralistic and works focused. Such books described what a good Christian teen looks like but failed to show our need for the gospel where Christ's perfect life was given to us. The good news is that there are many Christ-centered books for teens these days that point them to their need for Christ. There are writers intent on making sure that our youth understand the gospel and how it applies to all areas of their life.

Today, I want to tell you about one of those books:

Kristen Hatton is the author of a new book for teens and young adults called, Get Your Story Straight. The life of a teenager is confusing. A teen is caught in a confusing place between childhood and adulthood. They long to understand who they are and their purpose in this world. Not only that but they are growing up in a "selfie" culture that teaches them that they are the center of the story. 

Get Your Story Straight is a devotional that takes teens through the story of redemption, showing them that the story is about Christ. He is the center of the story and of every story. The devotional is divided into three parts. Part 1 focuses on who the story is about. It begins with creation, goes through the fall, the promise of a Savior, and the promise fulfilled in Christ. Part 2 helps the reader see how their story is part of God's story. It shows them their identity in Christ and the work of the Spirit in their life. Part 3 focuses on how the story of Christ plays out in their life with others including the church, friendship, and service in the Kingdom. 

In going through this devotional, teens will learn about the problem of sin and their need for Christ, what he has done for them through the gospel, and what it means to be justified by faith. They will learn how the gospel transforms all of life, even the daily challenges of adolescence.

One such example comes from a study on Hebrews 12:

"Life is hard. We are weighed down by our sin, idols, circumstances, relationships, and trials and left here on earth to endure. Yet God, who providentially directs our paths, does not leave us alone. In fact, he sent his Son to endure life in this fallen world for us--to endure the rejection, hatred, mockery, and shame that followed him all the way to the cross. But he did it for the joy set before him, the joy of spending eternity in heaven next to his Father with YOU. Therefore, fix your eyes on him. He is the object of your faith, the perfecter of your faith, and the encourager for your faith" (p.216). 

What I love most about Get Your Story Straight is that it teaches teens how to study the Bible and gets them in the word each day. The book is divided into 52 chapters, one for each week of the year. At the beginning of the week, the teen reads through a passage of Scripture and answers questions about what they read. On the next day, they read Kristen's explanation of the passage and consider more questions. Day three, the reader is encouraged to read the passage of Scripture again and answer more questions. Day four does the same. And day five encourages the reader to journal and pray about what they learned that week.  

Kristen often points out repetitions of words and phrases in Scripture and encourages the reader underline them. She asks specific questions of the text that help the reader understand what they have read. She then helps the reader think through how the text applies to their own heart. In addition, Kristen has the reader memorize various passages throughout the book. 

As a mom of a preteen, I am thrilled about this book. Though my son is not yet a teen, I know he can already benefit from this study and plan to go through it with him. If you have teens yourself or will soon, you'll want to get this devotional for your children.

I have one copy of this book to giveaway. Enter below, US residents only please. Update: Bethany is the winner of this giveway. Congrats!

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: God's Gospel

Like any parent, you probably spend your day teaching and instructing your children in all manner of things. "Put your toys away when you are done with them." "Speak words that are kind and uplifting to others" "Don't walk through the house with dirty shoes" "Say 'Thank you' when someone gives you something." And of course, my oft repeated phrase, "We don't use our shirts as napkins."

If we fail to teach our children manners, they might struggle socially. If we fail to teach them to use a napkin, they will be messy and food stained. These are problematic issues to be sure but there is one thing we don't want to fail to teach our children: the gospel. 

As Jill Nelson writes in God's Gospel: "We have no greater responsibility and privilege than to pass the gospel on to our children. It is the only means of salvation. If our children are to inherit the kingdom, they must embrace the gospel. Therefore, we must take the greatest care to present the true essence of the gospel, making sure that we include the bad news as well as the good news" (p. 9).

God's Gospel is the latest release in the Making Him Known series of devotionals for children. Our family has every book in this series, so we obviously are huge fans! In God's Gospel, the focus is on explaining to children the bad news about their sin and the good news about what Jesus has done for them. The book begins at the beginning, the creation of the world. It goes through the story of redemption, including the fall, God's promise of a Savior, the giving of the law, the arrival of the promised Savior, and his life, death, and resurrection. 

The author goes through the teaching and life of Jesus, sharing specific events from the gospels and explaining what Jesus came to do for sinners. Interspersed throughout each devotional are theological truths such as God's holiness, how God's promises are fulfilled in Christ, the divinity of Christ, God's sovereignty over all things, and the specifics of justification.  God's Gospel presents the bad news about sin and the good news about salvation in a thoroughly Biblical yet uncomplicated way. It teaches rich theological truths in a way that children ages  five to ten can understand.  

Included at the end of each chapter are additional passages to read, discussion questions, and activities to help children apply what they have learned. As with all the books in this series, I highly recommend God's Gospel. There is no more important lesson or life truth we can teach our children than that they are sinners in need of a Savior. Don't you agree?

I have one copy of this book to give away. Enter below. US residents only, please. Update: Juli is the winner of the giveaway. Congrats!

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