Book Recommendation from a Pastor
Recommendation by Pastor Tim St. John
How do we shepherd our children and teens in this season? This complex question requires a variety of thoughtful answers and often generates an overwhelming amount of opinions. In this season our children and teens struggle with anxiety, anger, depression, suicidal thoughts, shame, confusion about their sexuality, and easy access to media has made global unrest part of their daily reality. Yet in the complexity of challenges our children face and that we face in shepherding them, the simple truth we want guiding our young people in life is the living hope of Christ found in the gospel.
In the new book, “Caring for the Souls of Children” edited by Amy Baker, there is a buffet of biblical truth presented by experienced parents who are also biblical counselors. Each author does an excellent job of presenting both the biblical foundations for understanding the hearts of our children, while still addressing the practical struggles they face day to day.
The book begins with three chapters to give us an overview of how to understand caring for children. Then in chapters 4-19 there are topical chapters to help us walk with children to better understand their relationships, their emotions, their bodies, and their suffering all through the lens of Scripture. In this season, I would highly recommend reading chapters 7 and 8 on anxiety and anger to help think through how the whole family can care for one another and point each other to Christ in these struggles. While we rehearse God’s sufficient word with our children, we also will be putting our hearts in the pathway of grace to address our own struggles and grow with our kids.
Here are a few quotes to help you see the soul nourishing qualities of this work:
- “For children, the struggles, desires, and hopes are no different than for those of us who are adults. Therefore, the counsel we provide for them should lead them to the same place—the good news of Jesus Christ.” (2)
- “Children need to find hope and comfort in the right places. We don’t want to guarantee that bad things won’t happen, or offer false hope, or make promises we can’t possibly fulfill. We do want to point them to the one (Christ) who can really meet them in their struggles and fears” (102)
In light of Sunday’s sermon, let us care for one another by adopting a herd mentality. We should know we belong to a community and seek to serve and love people who have committed to.
One of the ways we can move towards others and cultivate relationships is through better listening. As Pastor Mat highlighted, we need to listen intently to what’s going on in people’s lives so we can minister rightly.
As we care for one another, we risk being rejected. It comes with the territory, but we can find much comfort and strength knowing God stands by us.
Spiritual growth can’t be microwaved. There’s no shortcut around maturing in our faith, but to practice the things we have learned. We understand this principle for many aspects of our life and it’s one we need to apply to our faith.
Self-pity can be a subtle form of pride. The key in our obsession with ourselves is to look outward. This article highlights what we are failing to see about God, His promises, and ourselves when we wallow in self-pity.
We all like to project an image of ourselves that may not be completely accurate to who we truly are. But the gospel frees us by giving us a new identity. We need to rehearse this reality by speaking the truth in love to one another as well as ourselves.
Take a listen to Page CXVI’s new album. One of the songs was previously featured in our weekly recommendations.
An old hymn sung as a virtual choir, this song features our aim as Christians in this world. May it encourage your heart to remember, while we remain on earth, we are on God’s mission to live for Christ and proclaim the good news.
Here’s something a little different. Indelible Grace is hosting a video series on the gospel in hymns. This is lesson 1 as a preview, but more will be released beginning this week. For more information, visit this website.
Recently a group of pastors came together to discuss race issues in our churches and country. Pastor Bobby Scott, who was interviewed by Pastor Kim awhile ago, was also part of the roundtable conversation.
Crossway has made this book available free to download. For all the ways we can claim to be “gospel-centered”, it’s good to reevaluate the truth and wonder of the good news.
A confession and a cry to God I believe many can resonate with. May we seek to make much of this time in our own growth and sanctification as God surfaces hidden sins that we might pursue Christ.