Book Review: Transformed by Truth by Katherine Forster

Do your kids have a hard time reading the Bible? Do they find it boring? As parents, how can we help them? First and foremost, I’d say be a faithful student of God’s word yourself, and let them catch your passion. Another way to help them is to pick up a new book, Transformed by Truth by Katherine Forster. It’s a book written by a teen for teens that, as the subtitle says, helps them to study the Bible for themselves.

This book breaks Bible study down into two main sections—the why and the how. In the first section, Forster talks about how the Bible is one big, unified story. This isn’t the way most church kids understand the Bible. It’s easy for us to think of the Scriptures as a collection of fragmented stories. But Forster reminds her readers that the God’s Word, the whole Bible—both Old and New Testaments—is God’s revelation of himself to us. We can truly know him as we read. And as we do, we learn that he loves us enough to save us. He doesn’t leave us stuck in our sin. No! He sent his Son to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. God wants a relationship with us so that we can grow in what it means to be his children.

In the second half of the book, Forster moves to the question of how. Forster presents the inductive Bible study method method—something I didn’t encounter until Bible college. I really appreciated the way she breaks down inductive study in a way teens will understand, and I love the practical examples. Forster takes something that is easy to talk about yet harder to master, and brings it to the realm of doable.

This book would make a great gift for any middle or high school student. It would be good for youth ministries to study in discipleship groups, and it would even be good for family devotions with teens. This is also a great resource for anyone who works with teens. If you know a teen who is struggling with studying the Bible, consider picking it up.

I received a free copy of this book for the purposes of this review.

You Can Say That Again

If you've taught children (... or youth ... and sometimes even adults) for any length of time you will invariably hear, "I've heard that before!" Or maybe, as you've been preparing to teach one of those groups you've thought to yourself, "I've been through this already." Repetition gets a bad rap. While we may have heard the words before, we probably didn't apply them to our hearts and lives.

Here's what Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote on the topic of repetition in his commentary on 1 John,  Life in Christ:

"... repetition is the very art of teaching. Wise teachers always repeat themselves. There are certain things that can never be repeated too often, and although John is an old man, he is a teacher." 

As we are in the season of Advent, we need to be reminded again (and afresh) of the reason for this celebration. We must enter into this season with awe, worship, and submission; and that doesn't happen apart from being reminded again and again. It doesn't happen without repetition.

Teachers, repeat away! You can never hear the life transforming words of the gospel too much! Few of us were converted the first time we heard it. We have all been changed through someone's faithfulness to the message and their willingness to repeat it over and over again, in many different ways, on many different occasions.

I'll say it again (for emphasis), "Repeat away!"

Quote from pg. 205 of Martyn Lloyd-Jones' Life in Christ (Crossway, 2002).

Family Friday Links 3.2.18

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Here's the online content that got us thinking this week:

Rooted Families had a post on courageous parenting. In the midst of the fear based society we live in the post reads, "...  the key to courage: courage does not begin with us. Just as it all begins with God’s steadfast character, even the courage He commands us is not something we can manufacture in and of ourselves." The author of this post works through Psalm 27 to illustrate his point.

Scott Kedersha had a post ways to develop martial intimacy. He reads in part, "... intimacy doesn’t happen accidentally. You must be intentional to increase intimacy in your marriage." His list of 10 way to increase intimacy are spot on and worth your time.

Download Youth Ministry had an important post for both youth and children's ministry leaders to think through on the topic of working with parents. In order for ministry to the next generation to be truly successful, we have to involve parents in the process. Here are some helpful hints to be thinking through.

What have you benefitted from online lately? Leave us a link in the comment section and we will check it out.

Family Friday Links 2.16.18

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Here’s what we’ve been reading online this week:

Chuck Lawless had a post for leaders and pastors about being tired, “... of opposition and apathy.” He goes on to list 10 things we fail to see in the midst of being tired. This is a helpful post for pastors, leaders, as well as parents.

Stoked on Youth Ministry had a post on writing discussion questions. It starts out this way, “As every youth worker knows, and has probably experienced, discussion times can either be amazing or a total flop!” The post then goes on to list 5 tips that will help discussion time be amazing more often. This is a great reminder for anyone who leads discussion, including parents.

Our friend, Sam Luce, had a post on the importance of gospel-centered curriculum in children’s ministry. He says, “The big mistake we make here in our teaching, and our curriculum is we limit the gospel to an event.” He goes on to list ways some curriculum has shrunk the impact the gospel is supposed to have.

What have you been reading online lately? Leave a link in the comment section for us to check out.