On Sunday, we at Autumn Ridge Community Church heard a sermon from Matthew 19:13-15. That passage teaches that “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” as well as those “such as” little children (see verse 14). The little children mentioned in Matthew 19:13 were unable to come to Jesus on their own; they had to be “brought” to Him. Regardless of our age, all of us are like little children in the sense that we cannot come to Jesus on our own, because our sin has hard-wired us with desires which lead us to sin and death (see James 1:14-15). To overcome the Hell-bound inertia of our sin, we must be drawn to Jesus by the loving care of our Father who is in Heaven (see John 6:44).
The good news of the gospel is that Jesus came to earth to save those who cannot come to Him on their own (just read Philippians 2:5-11). And as we studied on Sunday, disciples are one of the means through which Jesus accomplishes His saving work in the lives of “little children” and those “like” little children: by disciples not “hindering” such people from coming to Jesus, and also by disciples “letting” or “bringing” such people to encounter Jesus (see Matthew 19:14).
As parents, this call to “bring them to Jesus” certainly applies to the “little children” who live in our homes. While there is no substitute for your faithful Christian witness to your children, you don’t have to go about your work alone. These gospel-centered resources bear witness to the incarnate, crucified and risen Jesus, and are ideal to put into the hands of the 6th-12th Graders you know and love.
In alphabetical order:
Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations (written by Alex and Brett Harris)
One-Sentence Summary: Do Hard Things is a book in which teenage authors critique the low expectations Western culture has established for adolescents, and instead call fellow-teenagers to whole-hearted devotion to Christ.
Memorable Quote: “The teen years are not a vacation from responsibility…They are the training ground of future leaders who dare to be responsible now.” (p. 13).
Fun Fact: Chuck Norris wrote the foreword for this book!
The Jesus I Wish I Knew in High School (edited by Cameron Cole and Charlotte Getz)
One-Sentence Summary: In The Jesus I Wish I Knew in High School, thirty authors come together to share stories of their own high school struggles and what they wish they knew earlier: that the love, freedom, affection, and acceptance we all so desperately long for is available to us – in Jesus (from the back cover of the book).
Memorable Quote: “When you know Jesus, you know what it’s like to be perfectly loved, because Jesus loves you so much that he died for you. You know what it’s like to have hope for the future, because you’re confident that God has a plan for your life. You know what it’s like to feel grace and mercy when you mess up big time, because forgiveness flows out of Jesus. And you know what it’s like to have joy, because relationship with Christ is the source of all joy.” (pp. 2-3).
Fun Fact: I wrote Chapter 24 of this book (“Secrets and Mercy”).
This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (written by Jaquelle Crowe)
One-Sentence Summary: In This Changes Everything, author Jaquelle Crowe outlines the gospel through rigorous-yet-easy-to-digest biblical scholarship, and explains how the tenets of the gospel message offer news which is truly “good” for the intricacies of the teenage experience.
Memorable Quote: “Once lost, now I’m found. Once a slave to sin, now I’m a child of God. Once living for the world, now I live for a bigger, better, eternal kingdom (Col. 1:13-14). Everything about my old life has lost its charm.” (p. 27).
Fun Fact: Brett Harris, one of the co-authors of Do Hard Things, served as Jaquelle’s mentor in publishing This Changes Everything – proof that teenagers can have a generational gospel-impact!
Transformed by Truth: Why and How to Study the Bible for Yourself as a Teen (written by Katherine Forster)
One-Sentence Summary: Written by a teenager for teenagers, Transformed by Truth presents the “why” and “how” for studying the scriptures.
Memorable Quote: “Learning how to study God’s word for myself changed my life.” (p. 15).
Fun Fact: Katherine Forster won the 2013 National Bible Bee Competition!
What other resources would be helpful to place in the hands of a teenager? Drop your answer in the comments below!