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. These gospel-centered resources bear witness to the incarnate, crucified and risen Jesus, and will equip you to bear witness to Him as you raise your children.
In alphabetical order:
Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teenagers (written by Paul David Tripp)
One-Sentence Summary: With wit, wisdom, humility, and compassion, [Paul David Tripp] shows parents how to seize the countless opportunities to deepen communication, learn, and grow with their teenagers. (From the Back Cover).
Memorable Quote: “It is time for us to come out of the bunkers of cynicism and fear and into the light, examining the plan of God for us as we parent our teenagers. …This is a book that believes that the truths of Scripture apply as powerfully to teens as they do anyone else.” (p. 19).
Fun Fact: I was given this book during my first days “on the job” as the Student and Early Career Pastor at Grace Fellowship Church (Kinston, NC) – long before I myself was a parent!
Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions: Helping Them Understand Loss, Sin, Tragedies, and Other Hard Topics (written by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson)
One-Sentence Summary: In Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions, mother/daughter team Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson provide theologically-informed, relatable, and practical guidance for parents who are seeking to help their children make sense of the world’s depravity and destruction.
Memorable Quote: “Our children will have questions about what they hear in church or read in the Bible. They will want to know about sin, death, hell, heaven, and the angels. They will also have questions about what they see in the world around them. They’ll want to know what rape, incest, homosexuality, and abuse are. They will wonder about natural disasters that bring death and destruction on seemingly innocent people without any obvious purpose. They will want to know why the Bible has such strange stories in it – stories that seem to promote marrying more than one woman, having sex with hundreds of women, crucifying an innocent man, destroying entire cities because of sin, and much more. And they will want to know how God could insist that he’s both good and in control of all this mess.” (pp. 21-22).
Fun Fact: Elyse is joined by daughter Jessica and son Joel on the podcast “Front Porch with the Fitzes,” which has been described as “The Christian Hillbilly version of The View.” Find that podcast at https://frontporchwiththefitzs.libsyn.com.
Dad Tired and Loving It: Stumbling Your Way to Spiritual Leadership (written by Jerrad Lopes)
One-Sentence Summary: Dad Tired and Loving It is written to equip and encourage men to become the spiritual leaders that God is calling them to be.
Memorable Quote: “I’m not looking for the latest parenting trends. I’m looking for Jesus. That’s why I wrote this book.” (p. 8).
Fun Fact: We gave this book as a gift to Dads on Father’s Day, and we still have some copies left over. If you’d like to pick one up, email email@example.com.
Parenting: The 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family (written by Paul David Tripp)
One-Sentence Summary: In Parenting, author Paul David Tripp outlines fourteen gospel principles which orient parents to the task of raising children in accordance with the instruction of God’s Word.
Memorable Quote: “This will not be a book of practical strategies for dealing with children at the various ages of their development. This book will not provide practical steps for dealing with the kinds of things every parent faces. This book is meant to be a reorienting book. It is meant to give you a new way of thinking about and responding to everything that will be on your plate as a parent. This book is meant to give you vision, motivation, renewed strength, and the rest of the heart that every parent needs. It is written to give you the big gospel picture of the task to which your Savior has called you.” (pp. 12-13).
Fun Fact: Paul David Tripp has one of the best mustaches in the business…
Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments (written by Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler)
One-Sentence Summary: In Risen Motherhood, authors Emily Jansen and Laura Wifler address the common struggles of motherhood through the lens of the gospel story – creation, fall, redemption, and consummation.
Memorable Quote: “We’re not giving parenting advice. We’re not looking back with wisdom from the experience of years. We’re moms looking at these problems with you, drawing a big line from the church sermon to the snotty nose that needs to be wiped (again).” (p. 18).
Fun Fact: We gave this book as a gift to Moms on Mother’s Day, and we still have some copies left over. If you’d like to pick one up, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shepherding a Child’s Heart (written by Tedd Tripp)
One-Sentence Summary: “Written for parents with children of any age, this insightful book provides perspectives and procedures for shepherding your child’s heart into the paths of life.” (From the Back Cover).
Memorable Quote: “Your children desperately need to understand not only the external ‘what’ they did wrong, but the internal ‘why’ they did it. You must help them see that God works from the inside out. Therefore, your parenting goal cannot simply be well behaved children. Your children must also understand why they sin and how to recognize internal change.” (pp. xxi – xxii).
Fun Fact: My parents would be the first to tell you, “We weren’t perfect parents.” But I think they did a wonderful job. I know that, apart from Scripture, Shepherding a Child’s Heart was probably the book that most influenced their parenting. For that reason, it was the first parenting book I read when I found out that Charis was expecting our first child (Evelynn).
Bonus Resource: for auditory learners, be sure to check out The Rooted Parent Podcast: https://www.rootedministry.com/podcast/series/rooted-parent/
What resources have YOU found helpful in parenting? Leave your answers in the comments section below!