RSS Feed

Category Archives: Theology 4 Kids

Countdown to Christmas 17, 18, 19, 20

Whether it’s something to keep a child quiet at the dinner table, or a book that will keep them busy if the weather is just too grim to be going outside one of the books you’ll likely be look for in the countdown to Christmas is an activity book.

They take many shapes and forms and there are ones that are suitable for younger children and the more demanding older kid.

Take for example the simple colouring book. Why not purchase a few of the Colour the Bible series and lay them out as place mats or on a child’s dining room chair along with a packet of crayons. There are many different ones to chose from but if you need a suggestion how about this one on the book of Luke:

If you’re looking for something that’s going to last a bit longer than the Christmas meal then for a younger child My Bible ABC is a good option. With 26 simple stories and colouring pages.

Older children need something a bit more stretching. The Puzzle n’ Learn series would work well in this instance. Something you would put in their stocking or have ready for a quick half hour or more of down time. The Greatest Gift is a good choice for this time of year but there are several others you can choose from too.

And then the Bible Detectives series covers several Old and New testament books but again the book on Luke would be a good Christmas choice. There is hours worth of codes and puzzles in here – enough to keep any child busy over the festive weekend.


Countdown to Christmas 14, 15, 16

A good idea for a Child’s Christmas gift is a Children’s Story Bible.

Now I don’t want to start this blog post about story Bibles without asking does your child have a full bible of their own? They should. Whatever age they are at they need to know that you place a high importance on God’s Word – in its entirety.

I think children’s story bibles and story books have their place – but the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation needs to be front and centre.

Which is why it is important for you when buying children’s story bibles to look at the content and be discerning. The artwork is very important in many different ways – I may blog about that at some other point. But your attention definitely needs to go beyond the visual appeal to the words.

  1. There should be more than just the usual stories, especially if you’re purchasing a children’s story bible for a slightly older child.
  2. There should be something in the book that encourages the child to actually look up a full bible. Every story should at the very least give a bible reference, or make it clear that God’s Word is a book on its own.
  3. There should be a opportunity to apply the message to the life.

So with that I’ll point you towards three different children’s bible story books that are good gift options starting with the youngest…

  1. Little Hands Life of Jesus – this is a book aimed at 3-6 year olds that tells the story of Jesus’ life from his birth to the ascension.
  2. The New Children’s Bible by Anne de Vries. Well told and realistically illustrated this book is a good option for children who are ready to read on their own – but it’s also a great read aloud edition.
  3. The Bible Explorer. This title is definitely one to use alongside the Bible. It’s aimed at the older child and has loads of extra features that draw the reader deeper into scripture. This title is an excellent way of introducing children to Jesus Christ in all of scripture

Best Sellers: Tough Questions by Joel Beeke


This book is written by a well-known pastor and author: Joel Beeke based in Grand Rapids Michigan and it is one of the books on our top selling list at Christian Focus for Kids.

The book started on Joel’s side of the Atlantic with the questions that many youngsters had fired his way in his church. They would write to him about God, the Bible, faith, doctrine… and he would with ‘a pastor’s heart’ respond to them, always careful to point them to scripture and to Christ.

Well, two years ago or so I was a leader at a church youth camp and in charge of a young girl’s bible study. I’ve never been involved in a bible study quite like it before or since. There were a lot of questions – and thought provoking ones at that.

At the end of the week I discussed some of these with my parents who suggested that I should find someone to write a book using questions just like these.

I emailed round a handful of heavy-weight theologians and Joel Beeke replied with ‘I’ve already started a book like this.’

These words to an editor are like Gold!

The rest as they say is history. With a mixture of questions from kids this and that side of the Atlantic – and a pastor’s patient and God honouring replies we now have this book called Tough Questions.

That should make the next Bible study easier!

Developing Readers


I have eight nieces and nephews who I regularly buy books for. Each of them gets a set of books at Christmas so throughout the year I keep an eye out for bargains on offer in Tesco (the U.K. equivalent of Target or Walmart) or on line at various bargain book outlets. What I enjoy is looking out for titles that I know each child will enjoy. The oldest boy is very into Tolkien but also loves Oor Wullie (a Scottish Cartoon character). Recently I found a pile of Oor Wullie annuals in a charity shop – so that’s going to be something for his birthday or Christmas. Michael Morpurgo’s books have also been firm favourites.

It has been interesting over the years to see their different tastes develop. There was a time you couldn’t get my oldest niece away from Enid Blyton books, but now if she can get a few moments away from exam revision she enjoys a wide variety of titles from Dickens to Agatha Christie.

I love seeing them reading the classics and enjoying books that I enjoyed as a child. There has been a fairly recent trend of adapting older classics for younger readers. I really liked the junior editions of Little House on the Prairie. But there’s nothing like reading the real thing. The simplified versions are lovely and really well produced but Laura Ingalls Wilder’s own words are too good to miss just because you’ve read the shortened version as a child.

It is great to actually see my older nieces and nephews make their first forays into reading adult titles. To be honest, on occasion I’ve found them reading books which I would have dismissed as being too difficult for them. This just goes to show that we can unwittingly under-estimate young readers.

Sometimes though the young reader just isn’t quite at the level for the adult book which is where youth editions/publications come in. And there are some really good youth editions of adult theological books out there…. One I would highlight here is Top 100 Questions Remix. … A youth edition of the adult apologetic book by Richard Bewes.

Many other publishers do something similar with books like this. Recently I saw Day One have published a children’s version of some of Spurgeon’s teachings which I thought was a great idea. However, sometimes publishers don’t really need to do this, particularly for young adults as the really good writers will write at a level that appeals to both adults and confident young readers. And some of the classic writers, such as Spurgeon, had such a gift with words that much of what they wrote has a style that is enjoyed today. With careful consideration I would suggest that confident young readers from a church background could be introduced easily to reading Spurgeon. A good place to start would be his title: Chequebook of the Bank of Faith.

Some people dismiss topics such as Reformed theology, Mission and Church history as unsuitable for the younger members of their church and family. But if there is a topic that we feel is important, important enough that we seek out a book on this subject for ourselves, we should consider whether this book is something that our children and teenagers should be reading.

Yes, sometimes these books require us to think, and will require our young people to think and make their minds work. But this is, or should be, part of life – for us and them. For anyone to progress in sports, music, literature they need to aim higher, stretch themselves, move on.

That’s why I think the Student’s Guide series is ideal for young Christians, for young readers in your church and family. With an engaging writing style that treats young people as adults these books introduce some of the heavy weight issues of the Christian life in a way that makes these topics easy to absorb.

Think about the books your kids were reading two years ago, five years ago, eight years ago and how these titles have changed. It’s good to see skills and tastes develop in children over time. It’s great to be involved in that process. Think about developing their Christian reading too. Introduce them to books that will stretch them. Introduce them to new topics, old classics, favourite authors. There is a treasure trove for them to dive into. Teach them to read. Teach them to think – and enjoy it all together.



Bestsellers: God is Faithful

ImageAs of today (11th March 2014) I am going to do a series of posts on some of our kid’s best selling titles at Christian Focus Publications. Today the title at the top of the chart on Top Sellers in CF4 Kids is … God is Faithful by Carine Mackenzie… this is part of the Learn About God Series.

I have grown up with the Learn About God series as well as Bible Time and Bible Wise. These books were amongst the first my mother wrote. Publishing was a family experience for us – the word publishing was as familiar to me as Birthday or Weekend. New books were to be celebrated but they were also just another part of life. The Learn About God series was not only written by my mum but initially, when it was a series illustrated by photographs, my Dad provided some of the images.

My sisters and I along with a huge crowd of cousins and friends were used as the models – whether we were particularly photogenic or not. One day though, it was decided that we needed the skills of a professional photographer. … professional models however? What a waste of money when you’ve got seventeen grandchildren and umpteen friends from Sunday school. So a huge crowd of us kids  spent most of the day posing. I wonder how the photographer managed it? I can never get my nieces and nephews to sit still for a photo far less look ‘normal’. Somebody always has to have a silly grin on their face. But anyway I suppose that’s why you get in the professional – he got us to do what he wanted and then there was only one or two photographs left to get. But one of them needed to have a picture of a sad child. Just then a young cousin obligingly tripped and hit his knee – floods of tears – Photographer starts to snap. Then five minutes later, plaster on knee, sweetie in mouth, the same child was smiling and playing on a slide. Photographer snaps again. Two perfect photographs to illustrate the fact that we can be sad one minute and happy the next – but that God never changes.

This little series has had quite a face lift since those early days – instead of photos (our 80s fashions did date rather quickly) – we now use bright cartoon illustrations and the durable card board is a challenge to the most destructive toddler.

However, the message is still the same – God is Faithful, God is Kind, God has Power, God Never Changes, God Knows Everything and God is Everywhere.

Look at these books for yourself – who knew that getting doctrine into children could be such fun!

Back to School


For adults at this time of year we often put an emphasis on bettering ourselves, making a new start and starting new year’s resolutions. Here are a few books for young people that fit into that vein…

Get Moving by Paul White

This is an easily read book for the twelve plus age range that goes into the themes of honesty, money, witnessing, prayer, guidance and relationships.

School Survival

If you’ve changed school, or even if you haven’t this is an excellent book to help you in the world of classes, exams and teachers. It’s interactive too and full of advice from the ultimate guidebook – God’s Word!

Input Output

Often a new year means a new start – how about getting into a new start with God, personal Bible reading and prayer? If that intrigues you look into this book which should challenge and equip you to develop a regular, individual time of reading God’s Word and praying.


This books deals with teen specific issues such as sel-image, divorce, stealing, gossip, authority etc. There is real life discussion and prayer included in the book.

On the Way Around the World

ImageI’m going to try and set up a semi regular blog whenever i hear about different churches that are using the On the Way material around the world. Today i received a request from a church in Singapore who are using the curriculum. It just goes to show how multicultural this material is. It has everything you need for teaching God’s Word to a variety of ages but is flexible enough to allow you to adapt it to your needs as a small or large church, a community group or family.  If you want to find out about this material which is being used by the church across the globe follow the links below to the English editions… and if you use it yourself I’d love to hear from you. If you like send me a photo of your group or the crafts/puzzles they’ve done.





VBS/Holiday Club:

Games books: