Family Friday Links

Each Friday we share a handful of links to resources pertaining to family discipleship, marriage, and parenting. We pray these articles, podcasts, and books  help your family grow in the gospel. 

Here's what we've been reading lately,

March 12th, 2021

1) Consider Attending a Christian University by Leah Schnyders. The Gospel Coalition posted two great articles with opposing viewpoints. These could be really helpful for your high school student as they think about life after graduation. “I had no idea how a Christian college education would change me.”

2) Consider Attending a Secular University by Emma Kruger. “I’ve seen King Jesus use the secular university to show his power, for his glory.”

3) 7 Ways to Change Up Communication with Your Kids by Linnea Bergstrom (Fierce Parenting). “We must be wise in how we communicate to each of our children. It’s not a one-size-fits-all formula for each family or each child.”

4) The Empty Religions of Instagram by Leigh Stein (NY Times). “How did influencers become our moral authorities?”

5) What’s the Purpose (and Benefit) of Family Devotions by Tim Challies. Tim Challies posted this article from March 2019 as a flash back read. “By turning to Word and prayer together every day (or most days, at least), we’ve modelled the centrality of these practices in the Christian life.”

March 5th, 2021

1) Why are Young Adults Increasingly Identifying as Bisexual by Joe Carter (The Gospel Coalition). “No one who has been following the trends in sexuality in America will be surprised by these findings. Social contagion and normalization of homosexuality have combined to make the younger, highly susceptible, and credulous generations believe they should identify as LGBTQ.”

2) In Pursuit of a “Boring” Testimony by Sarah Reju (New Growth Press). “What is a Christian parent to do with the fear that their child will reject the Lord?”

3) 4 Helpful Tips in Teaching Young Children to Communicate by Lindsey Cole (Fierce Parenting). “Communication is key in every relationship. Many adults still struggle with this, so how can we train our children to communicate well?”

4) Wrap Truth in Story: How to Capture a Child’s Heart by Carl Laferton (Desiring God). “True stories bring true propositions to life, lodge them in our hearts, and engage our affections.”

5) 7 Steps to Confronting Your Husband About Pornography Use by Joan Condi with Geremy Keeton. This book excerpt contains wise biblical advice. I would add to her “7 Steps” only that this is all to be done while following the pattern of Matthew 18:15-17. We shouldn’t neglect the role of our church family and the importance of bringing darkness into the light. 

February 26th, 2021

1) What’s the Point of Family Devotions? By Tim Challies. “While we have appealed to our kids to take seriously their personal relationship with God and to build habits of personal devotion, we’ve also wanted to gather before God as a family, to hear the same words from God and to pray the same prayers to God.”

2) Turning the Hearts of our Children is God’s Job by Marty Machowski (New Growth Press). “While this might seem like a discouraging reality, it is actually a comforting truth.”

3) Evangelicals in America: The Stats May Surprise You by Ryan Burge (The Gospel Coalition). Let us not be ignorant about the times in which we raise our children. Burge writes, “It makes sense that only young people who feel spiritually connected to theological evangelicalism are willing to embrace it.” If this is true, then as parents we are tasked with cultivating this resilient connection to truth.

4) Get the Word Into Kids’ Hearts with these Free Easter Devotionals by Barbara Reaoch (Gospel-Centered Family). “Would you like some help with gospel-centered materials to lead your family to the cross this Easter season? Meet me every Friday until Easter at the True Woman blog to preview a weekly devotional called Word in the Home—Easter and download your free printable pdf!”

5) A Great Way to Help Your Family Hide God’s Word in Their Heart by Justin Taylor (The Gospel Coalition). For more, see Seeds Family Worship.

February 19th, 2021

1) All Parents are Foster Parents by Becky Paynter (Rooted Ministry). “If parents believe the lie that we have the power to mold our children and make sure they are always okay, we carry a burden which is utterly unnecessary and unhealthy.”

2) Your Spouse Should Complete You: What it Means to Become One by Steven Wedgeworth (Desiring God). “When Christians think about the perfect marriage, we should not take our primary cues from romantic comedies. But we can take at least one cue: we should be able to look our spouse in the face and say, ‘You complete me.’”

3) How we Talk to our Kids about Pornography by Scott Kedersha (Fierce Parenting). “As a father of four boys, I desperately want them to grow up with a much more holy view of women, sex, and marriage.”

4) How Should Christians Preserve Marriage? By Matthew Lee Anderson (The Gospel Coalition). This is a great review of a new book, “The Future of Christian Marriage” by Mark Regnerus. “Changes to the institution of marriage are only symptoms of a much deeper and more pervasive disease.”

 5) Teaching Your Children About Presidents and Politics by Candice Watters (ERLC). How have you been talking to your children about the recent election outcome and political turmoil in America?

February 12th, 2021

1) Why Teens Compulsively Use Social Media by Rooted Ministry. “Several years ago, we ran a series of articles about why teens compulsively use social media. Each of these pieces provides valuable insight, so we thought we’d offer them to you as a package you can read through for yourself or share with the parents of your students.”

2) Stop Judging Your Spouse by Selena Frederick (Fierce Marriage). “Once we see clearly, which typically means a little repentance in our own life, then we can go to our spouse and see what is really happening in the situation.”

3) How do I Talk to my Children About Sex? By Sam Crabtree (Desiring God) “The most significant sex organ is the heart, and the second-most significant is the brain.”

4) Authors and Parents Are Rethinking Ways to Foster Kids’ Love for Scripture by Corrie Cutrer (Christianity Today). “Parents transmit that value most powerfully through their own daily discipleship and the tone in which they discuss God’s Word.”

5) What to do When Your Teen Shuts You Out (Axis). “… here are some tips for understanding how your teen’s self-isolation is affecting them and what you can do to support them.”

February 5th, 2021

1) Jesus Headed Toward Those at the Bottom of the Pile. Will Our Children Follow Him? By Ed Drew (Unlocking the Bible). “Raising children to live searching for the “lowly” feels truly radical.”

2) Seven Basic Truths for Kids by John Murchison (Gospel Centered Family). “I don’t know my own father-in-law’s phone number, because it’s programmed in my phone. But I can still recite the Hickman boys’ phone number, because I dialed it several times a week growing up.”

3) The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters: Review: ‘Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters’ by Abigail Shrier. “Resisting the false claims of gender ideology is an urgent matter of child protection.”

4) How to Tackle Doubt with Your Teen (Axis). “We might argue that though it seems as if more people are walking away from the faith today, in previous generations, these might have been the same ones who kept going out of a sense of mere social obligation. Now, those who stay are often those with a genuine desire to know the Lord.”

5) Are you Underestimating Your Ordinary Days? By Liz Wann (ERLC). “Since becoming a mom, I always feel speechless when people ask me how my week was. I give them a blank stare while I try to think about it. I’m always grasping for something that happened that was a big deal, or an event, or something with some element of excitement to it.”

January 29th, 2021

The Family Friday Five

1) How to Help Your Child Find True Happiness by Barbara Reaoch (Gospel Centered Family). “Recently a prestigious school offered a class called “Psychology and the Good Life.” One-fourth of the student body enrolled, making it the most popular course in the school’s 300-year history.”

2) The 7 Minute Conversation Challenge by Anna Sutherland (Fierce Marriage). “The parent-child relationship is primarily a discipling relationship. And it’s hard to disciple someone without engaging them in real, meaningful conversation.”

3) How You Can Study the Bible with Your Kids by John Murchison (ERLC). A tool to help children REAP from God’s Word.

4) How to Have Those Marriage Conversations You Need to Have by Scott Kedersha. “Most couples I know struggle in the area of spiritual intimacy and having challenging conversations.”

5) Helping our Kids Understand People Storming the Capital in Jesus’ Name by Joey Turner (Rooted Ministries). “Many  Americans – especially our children—are asking why some of those people on TV storming the Capitol building were holding Jesus flags as they broke the law, injured others, and blew their shofars.”

January 22nd, 2021

1) 3 Bold Prayers for Our Children by Kyle Bjerga (Gospel-Centered Family). “The question I’ve asked myself recently is, ‘Are my prayers for my children too small?’ If I were to rephrase that question more positively, it would be, ‘What big and bold prayers can I pray for my children?’”

2) 4 Steps to Turn Your Smart Phone into a Dumb Phone by Nathan Sutherland (Fierce Parenting). “This post is all about practical tips and tricks to make your smart phone less addictive.” These tips may radically change our parenting.

3) 4 Things to Teach Kids About Trusting God through Uncertainty by Carl Leferton (ERLC). “While the world tells children things will be okay, we don’t. But we can tell them that in Christ all is ultimately, and eternally, okay.”

4) Children are Born Persons by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (Crossway). “The child is a person who needs to grow in knowledge.”

5) 4 Principles for Helping Kids Through Winter Blues by Julie Lowe (ERLC). “Young people need to know they can go through dark days, winter seasons, and sad moments with tangible comfort in the present and hope for what’s to come.”

January 15th, 2021

1) Staying a Team Through Tough Transitions by Jessi Robichaud. This post at Fierce Marriage is incredibly relevant to the myriad of transitions we are facing as couples today. “It’s not about the situations we find ourselves in, but in how we handle them as a team. Times of transition and unmet expectations can be trying and stressful… but they’re also an opportunity to cultivate a deeper, more intimate, more Christ-exalting marriage.”

2) Help! My Kids Don’t Like Church by Megan Hill (The Gospel Coalition). “When it comes to church, our kids don’t always have a taste for what’s good either. It’s our job to instruct them.”

3) Q & A About “God Made Me for Worship” by Jared Kennedy (Gospel Centered Family). This is an interview with the Jared Kennedy, author of “God Made Me for Worship.” This is a story meant to teach kids about the importance of worship with the church. Check it out!

4) Telling Your Child the Truth in a World of Sorrow and Pain by Sam Luce (Ministry Spark). “Tell your children the truth, even when it is hard. They like to be told.”

5) Podcast Pick: Practicing Hospitality in a Pandemic by Rosaria Butterfield (Crossway). You can read or listen to this interview with Rosaria Butterfield, author of The Gospel Comes with a House Key. She shares an inspiring story of creatively loving neighbors during the worst of the pandemic. There may be some ways we can follow her example even up here on the Peninsula.

Grace and Peace,

Ross Skjold

Family Pastor

January 8th, 2021

1) Helping Your Child with Jealousy by Good News for Little Hearts (New Growth Press). “Does your child struggle with jealousy from time to time? The best time to talk with children is when they are not actually jealous.”

2) Family Discipleship Made Easier… and Better by Brian Dembowczyk (Gospel Project for Kids). If your child is in our elementary- age class on Sundays and Wednesdays, check out this great resource that goes along with the Gospel Project for Kids curriculum we utilize.

3) Marriage Advice from Oxen by Costi Hinn (For the Gospel). “One Sunday a teaching-pastor dared to go where few pastors are willing to go. He called marriage, “work”, and had the audacity to compare a delicate bride and handsome groom to two dirty, bulky, yoke-pulling oxen. Of all the nerve!”

4) Podcast Pick: Parenting in Weakness with Alasdair Groves and Mike Emlet (Christian Counseling and Education Foundation). “There’s a fine line between godly anxiety that’s a godly concern and godless anxiety that pushes away from God and toward man.”

5) ‘Soul’ is the Anti-Disney Disney Movie by Dustin Crowe (The Gospel Coalition). “Even if we don’t agree with everything in Soul, we can affirm its primary message: life is precious, valuable, and purposeful.”

January 1, 2021

1) Someone Will Catechize Your Kids in 2021. Don’t Outsource it. By Collin Hansen (The Gospel Coalition). “Catechesis [helps] your children escape the tyranny of self and the urgency of now.”

2) Three Testimonies we Need to Share with our Children by Jonathan Williams (Gospel Family). “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done…so that they should set their hope in God” (Psalm 78:4, 7).

3) When Saying “I’m Sorry” is Selfish by Alasdair Groves (CCEF). “Sadly, I can assure you that it is indeed quite possible to spout humble-sounding words of apology more in self-protection than in real repentance aimed at real reconciliation.”

4) The Truth about Expressive Individualism by Carl R. Trueman (Crossway) “…expressive individualism in some ways overturns a lot of the notions of the self that previous generations may have held to.”

5) Common Barriers to Family Worship by David Murray (Crossway) “Don't let perfection be the enemy of progress. Sometimes it will go badly, but it doesn't matter. Do it the next day.”

December 18, 2020

1) How to Make Christmas Traditions Meaningful for Teenagers by Jana Magruder (ERLC). “…as the years I have with them under my roof start to grow fewer and fewer, I don’t want to miss the chance to deepen their affections for Jesus.”

2) Annual Reading Challenge for Kids and Teens (2021) by Redeemed Reader. The Redeemed Reader Reading Challenge is the gourmet salad of the reading challenge world: fun and rewarding with books for everyone.

3) How to Establish a Devotional Routine with your Toddler by Jared Kennedy. This short video, produced by Sojourn Kids, part of the Sojourn Collective (now Harbor Network), contains 5 really practical tips for starting a family worship rhythm with young kids.

4) A Parent’s Guide to Teaching Your Child About Gender by Jared Kennedy (ERLC). This booklet is longer than most of the resources I normally recommend, but it is extremely worth it! Your child may never experience gender dysphoria themselves, but they will be confronted with the cultural wave of transgenderism and the sexual revolution under the LGBTQ+ movement.  We can walk with truth and love, grace and Scripture, patience and prayer.

5) Plan to be Interrupted: Slow Love in a Busy World by Scott Hubbard (Desiring God). “Those who trust deeply in the sovereignty of God learn to leave enough margin in their days for sovereign interruptions.”

December 11,  2020

1) Five Popular Lies about Family Discipleship by Matt Chandler and Adam Griffin. “A well-behaved child isn’t the same thing as a discipled child.”

2) Why Advent is a Time to Build on Family Traditions by Jared Kennedy. “Here’s the thing. I’m not always consistent with family devotions throughout the year, but the Advent season always seems to draw our family back to time in the Word together.”

3) A Dad and His Doctrine by Jason K Allen. “We will be the first to admit that we are far from accomplished. On the contrary, we just keep plugging away, seeking the Lord’s grace in our children’s lives, as in our own.”

4) Helping Your Child Handle Peer Pressure by Good News for Little Hearts (New Growth Press). “Since we all struggle with “fear of man,” you should have plenty of stories to tell your child about your own struggles. How did God help you? How is he helping you now?”

5) The Future of Masculinity by Greg Morse. Here we find a biblical vision of masculinity worth pointing our sons to. And not only this, but we also find great comfort in the hope that one day the true Man, the Groom, will come for his Bride. “Biblical manhood, many have escaped. But the Masculine to which all of Scripture points, none of us can escape.”

December 4, 2020

1) Check out the 2020 Peninsula Grace Advent Reading and Devotional Guide. The readings each day (except Sundays) progress through the grand storyline of the bible, highlighting passages that foreshadow the coming of Christ and his incarnation. We begin in Genesis and move through God’s promises to Adam, then Abraham, Israel, King David and the prophets. Finally, in the New Testament, we will read that God himself took on flesh for us and for our salvation. There are devotional questions to consider each day as well.  

2) Helping Your Child Deal with Stress, by Good News for Little Hearts. Good News for Little Hearts is a series of hardback illustrated children’s books for three-to eight-year-olds—each centered on an animal family—bringing gospel help and biblical counsel to families. The animal characters, colorful illustrations, and the real-life issues each animal family faces will captivate children.

3) Podcast Pick: Teaching Theology to Kids by Marty Machowski. This episode is part of the “Help Me Teach the Bible” podcast with Nancy Guthrie.

4) When Mothering Feels Boring by Ann Swindell (TGC). “When we’re bored by our mothering responsibilities and, yes, even drained by our own children, it reminds our wayward hearts that only Jesus satisfies.”

5) The Oldest (and Best) Christmas Traditions by Marty Machowski. “This Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, take some time to join with the traditions of the angels; the oldest and best Christmas traditions there are.”

November 27, 2020

1) “What Quarantine Rhythms Should Families Make Permanent?” by Will Anderson (The Gospel Coalition) “Our kids don’t need us to be A-list coordinators or chauffeurs. They need us. Present, available, unhurried.”

2) “The New Milestone of Adolescence” by Drew Hill (New Growth Press).

3) “Inspiration for At-Home Schooling” by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (Crossway). “Life is education.” Wise words from a wise woman.

4) “4 Ways Christians Can Navigate Cultural Confusion around Gender in the Coming Decade” by Carl Trueman (Crossway). “The church needs to be a strong community where people feel a deep sense of belonging and where, therefore, the deepest sense of self is shaped and fostered.”

5) “We Used to Ask Institutions to Form us; Now they Must Affirm Us” by Brett McCracken (The Gospel Coalition). This is a really helpful analysis of how the way we view fundamental institutions has changed. We must always be aware of the cultural waters we swim in.

Podcast Pick: “Making Christmas Happen: An Interview with Laura McCaulley” – This episode is from the Seeing Jesus Podcast with Paul Miller. Christmas preparation can put so much pressure on parents, looking at the person of Jesus can reorient our hearts and minds.

-Ross Skjold

Family Pastor

November 20, 2020

1) “Three Tips to Help Families Engage Fantasy for God’s Glory” by E. Stephen Burnett. Fantasy and Sci-fi are ‘all the rage’ in today’s popular culture. Ideas such as the “magic” of Christmas permeate our world during the holiday months. This is a really helpful guide to walking through imaginative media with our kids.

2) “How do we Raise Kids who are not Naïve or Cynical” by John Piper. Christian parents is marked by tension and paradox. Teaching our kids to engage this paradox begins at the youngest of ages.

3) “8 Reasons to Teach Kids Theology” by Joshua Cooley. This gets me jazzed, I hope it speaks to you as well!

4) “Helping our Grandkids Cultivate a Grateful Heart” by Larry McCall. This isn’t just for grand parents- lots of good wisdom I needed to hear. “Is my daily life marked by a negative, complaining demeanor, or do my grandkids know me as a joyfully grateful example in their lives?”

5) “Motherhood is a Call to Suffer (in Hope)” by Katie Faris (TGC). “A Christian mother’s suffering is an overwhelmingly painful part of her story, but it’s not all of her story. And it certainly doesn’t define her.”

6) “Emblems of the Infinite King” – by J. Ryan Lister. “This audiobook seeks to introduce young readers to the beauty of God’s Word using the categories of systematic theology in bright, creative, and innovative ways. For kids ages 10+.” I am a couple episodes into this new podcast from Crossway and I’m loving it- even as an adult. This would be a great way to introduce your kids to major theological concepts.