Ministry Resources Posts

There’s No Easy Jesus

Many Christians share a secret. Few of us dare to speak it out loud, because doing so would feel like taking a slap at God—and it wouldn’t make us look good either. Yet this secret is affecting us painfully on the inside every single day.

Here it is: Believing in Jesus has left us disappointed.

 

At one point we were thrilled and hopeful about living a life of trusting in Christ. But over time our experience has failed to live up to our expectations or make the difference we thought it would.

So we’ve begun to think: “This can’t be all there is to being a Christian.”

If that’s what you’ve been thinking… you’re right.

Jason Mitchell invites you to move forward when you’re bored, disillusioned, and beaten down by faith-as-usual.

It’s a clarion challenge to wake up each day and choose Jesus all over again; to make the tough, gritty choices that align your way with His and lead to true fullness of life.

Because when you decided to follow Jesus, you didn’t sign up for what was easiest–you signed up for what was best.

Download Chapter 1 for FREE and save 20% when you purchase No Easy Jesus on Tyndale.com in March!

 

 

Learn more about No Easy Jesus and Jason Mitchell at NoEasyJesus.com.

10 New Books to Order for Your Children’s Ministry

Every children’s ministry benefits from creative, easy-to-understand Bible stories. These titles are perfect for Sunday school classrooms or Christian preschools! Check out other Kids titles on Tyndale.com.

The Beautiful Garden of Eden  by Gary Bower
The Faith that God Built series by Gary Bower uses the same whimsical style of storytelling as The House that Jack Built, using rhyme to introduce preschoolers through second graders to favorite Bible stories. The Beautiful Garden of Eden tells the story of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, allowing sin to ruin what was perfect and beautiful.
 

Where Does Love Hide? by Mary Manz Simon
In Where Does Love Hide? children are reminded that they not only receive love but have the opportunity to share love. Looking under the fun, lift-a-flap feature, children will see examples of everyday love opportunities. Each page includes a memory verse and an example of a way to share God’s love.

 

 

There is always another side to a story! Bestselling children’s author Dandi Daley Mackall presents three classic Bible stories in two-sided flip books designed to tell the same story twice from two different, biblical points of view. Utilizing humor, adorable illustrations, and an innovative format, these books provide readers with the added bonus of two books in one.

 

I Can Be Kind by Amie Carlson

Scripture teaches us to love our neighbors by treating them with kindness and respect. One aspect of kindness includes manners. I Can Be Kind is a great resource for parents, grandparents, and Sunday school teachers as they seek to develop these behaviors in their children.

Sit for a Bit Series by Kathryn O’Brien: Give Thanks, I Can, and Be Still
This series will turn Bible memorization from a duty to a delight for children with Kathryn O’Brien’s unique teaching strategy. Each book builds a meaningful connection between God’s Word and a child’s life experiences, laying a foundation for a love and comprehension of Scripture.

 

The Play-Along Bible by Bob Hartman
The Play-Along Bible inspires children’s imaginations while growing their understanding of and love for God’s Word. Through simple hand motions, facial expressions, verbal exclamations, and funny noises, kids can participate and respond to God’s amazing story.
 

 

Just Like Jesus Bible Storybook by Stephen Elkins
Just Like Jesus Bible Storybook is a collection of stories that will inspire kids to take on the character of Jesus. Each lesson features a “Jesus in the Bible” story that shows Jesus’ character and how He acted in particular situations and ends with a short prayer through which children can ask God to help them develop the character of Jesus.
 

 

PackagingYour Magnificent Chooser by John Ortberg

We all have choices to make every day, even the youngest children. John Ortberg addresses the ability to choose in a whimsical way by inviting children to use their “magnificent chooser” that God gave them to make right choices daily.
 

 

PackagingThe Story Travelers Bible by Tracey Madder
The Story Travelers Bible teaches kids that the Bible is more than just a bunch of tales told by parents and Sunday school teachers, but the Bible documents God’s work in and for His people from the beginning of time.

 

 

 

Happy Day Book Series

Explore the world of Happy Days Books – filled with fun-to-read stories that teach Christian values.

 

 

 

 

 

Limping Along: What Happens When We Allow Things to Entangle Us by Francine Rivers

Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

So a friend called from Hawaii and told me about an injured seagull she saw on the beach.
The poor bird couldn’t walk at all but flutter-hopped in its quest for food.

On closer examination, my friend saw that fishing line entangled the bird’s legs, hobbling it.

She approached slowly, extending her hand in the hope she could remove the line and do something about the bird’s wounds. Frightened, the gull flew off, legs still hobbled and infected.

Sometimes we are like that poor seagull.

We become entangled in bad habits or addictions, in destructive relationships or all manner of fears.

We peck away at our daily tasks, trying to forget the pain. All the while the infection of sin is growing and going deeper until it threatens to destroy us.

The seagull flew away from my friend, who wanted to untangle the fishing line and wash the wounds.

We too often turn away from those who want to help us—and even from God, who is the only One who really can get rid of our sin.

Sometimes we turn away out of fear, other times out of shame.

More often, we turn our backs because of our pride.

We don’t want others to see us at our ugly worst, so we limp along, pretending we’re just fine.

The pain of removing what holds us captive can be frightening. 

Yet if we lay aside all those things that encumber our walk with God, if we strip off the sin that slows us down, as Hebrews 12:1 says, then we find the freedom and healing that come from being reconciled to God.

We no longer have to hobble about in isolation, like the injured seagull, but we can live in communion with God the way we were created to.

When we trust fully in God to help us and refuse to let our pride turn us away from His forgiveness, then He will renew our strength, giving us joy and energy for the tasks ahead.

We will run and not grow weary; we will soar high on wings like eagles.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,

Threaten the soul with infinite loss;

Grace that is greater—yes, grace untold—

Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that will pardon and cleanse within,

Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that is greater than all our sin!

“Grace Greater Than Our Sin”

Forgiveness is always free. But that doesn’t mean that confession is always easy. Sometimes it is hard. Incredibly hard. It is painful to admit our sins and entrust ourselves to God’s care.” Erwin Lutzer

How do you react when you’re struggling and someone tries to help you?

When you’re tangled up in sin, how do you respond to God?

Why do you think we often turn away from Him?

How do we benefit by letting God and others help us?

What sins, bad habits, or poor choices might be entangling you and keeping you from living with freedom. What could you do this week to throw those off?

It’s a reality—that Jesus is the One who gives us strength. And it can be a heartache—that too often we let ourselves become constrained by sin. That is what can trip us up, distracts us, and keeps us from living well.

When we’re stuck in sin—we don’t have to get stuck in the trap of turning away from Him.

What can turn everything around in the midst of everything—is turning to Him.

You can feel at the edges of things—God reaching out to heal us.

*****

Learn more about Earth Psalms by Francine Rivers at Tyndale.com. This devotional was originally posted on A Holy Experience.

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Superhero Status: Living Fearlessly in 2017

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One might think if you get the external clutter all fixed in your life, or most of it fixed, then you can live this simplified life and it’s all good.

Actually, what clutters up your internal world can really mess with your life, gang. I bear witness, myself.

One peace buster is fear. Fear can break a cycle of peace very rapidly in your life…. Sometimes you have to work a little bit to understand fear’s origin.

Where did it come from, this fear, that’s making peace so difficult to maintain?

We have to try to get to the origin, the roots of our fears, so we can deal with them.

I love the passage from the apostle Paul, 2 Timothy 1:7. It says, I’ve not appointed you to live life with a spirit of timidity. I don’t want you afraid of your shadow all life long. He said, I’ve given you a spirit of confidence, a sound mind, a disciplined thinking pattern.

When I feel fear going my way, I start going through a series of promises in God’s word. Promises like:

God is for me, and not against me.

If God is for me, who can be against me.

And I kind of work up enough courage from the teachings in the Word of God – and the Holy Spirit reinforcing them in my mind – where I can say, “Ok, I’m going to face that fear head on.”

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I’m going to do so, not because I think I can just overpower it on my own strength. But I’m going to do so because I’m a treasured child of the Most High God. I’m someone that God loves and wants to accompany in this difficult situation.

I don’t know a better way to handle fear than to face it head on. You can try to dance around it but sooner or later, you just have to look it straight in the eye and deal with it.

This excerpt is from an interview with pastor Bill Hybels on the secrets for living life with more energy, focus, and peace. Bill is the author of Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul.