Gospel-Centered Advent Resources

In lieu of a Friday Fruit from the Vine, here is a list of family Advent resources. Advent means “coming”. These resources are focused on the coming of Jesus to earth, His coming to our hearts, and the future coming again to restore all things.

Be enthralled with the grace and mercy of God in Jesus Christ this Season:

Daily Advent Reading from Noel Piper (plus kids Christmas book suggestions)

Advent Guide from The Village Church in Texas

Come Lord Jesus Come: A Devotional for Advent

Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands

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To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate: References

Vaccinations. I know this is a super HOT topic as of late. Not many other topics, maybe besides Jesus and politics, cause such division between friends and family! Most people have strong opinions on the matter and are polarized on either side of the debate. It is VITAL to be informed on all sides, knowing the risks as well as the benefits, what Dr.’s and health experts say, what the side-effects and long term consequences are, and what your rights and responsibilities are as a parent. Also in some of these books is information on adult vaccinations (tetanus, flu shots, etc…)

After much personal research, we have chosen not to vaccinate at all, ever. Here are a few of the books I used as my guide (and still use as reference and re-reading material):

Vaccinations, a Thoughtful Parents Guide

This book was pretty good for those who are on the fence. Gives  a middle of the road approach. Good for information on both sides of the debate when you’re just starting out.

Vaccines, Are They Really Safe and Effective?

The best book for short and sweet answers to each vaccine and their potential problems. Also shows charts and graphs of disease rates declining before vacinnes are introduced. My #1 recommendation for parents just entering the vaccine controversy.

How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor

This book just touches on the vaccine issue and delves into many other issues, as well. A great one to keep on the shelf for reference when it comes to your child’s health. Written from a pediatricians point of view, it is helpful to hear what he saw in his years of actually giving vaccines and what he, as an MD, thinks is necessary and what you should pass on.

Raising a Vaccine Free Child

Despite the truly terrible book cover, this was the most informative, comprehensive book! Though not written by a doctor or health professional, she is a parent and researcher who chose not to vaccine BEFORE there was mainstream controversy over the issue… and in another country where diseases were prevalent. Once we had decided not to vaccinate, this was the mortar to fill in the cracks.

Do you have any favorites??

Children’s Gospel Resources

It’s hard to find kids Gospel-centered resources are really on mission, centered around Christ and not just teaching morals and about “being good”. Here are some that we have found and can recommend to you. I am sure there are many more out there and I can’t wait to discover those, too. If you have any recommendations for me, please comment!

All of these books are good for toddler and preschool age (since that’s where we’re at), though I think they can go far beyond that.

BOOKS

Our #1 and #2 spots go to the Bible for kids:

The Jesus Storybook Bible

AMAZING… for you and your child. See Christ in every story of the Bible!


The Big Picture Story Bible

Also a great Bible. The two Bibles have different stories in them and they are good in different ways. This Bible looks at the Word of God as a whole, not separate stories like Jonah or Daniel in the Lion’s Den (both of those stories actually aren’t in here). The goal of this Bible is to look at Redemptive history as a whole- the Why’s and the How’s of Jesus’ coming to Earth to save us from our sins.

“My Favorite Verses” books
We only have one of these so I can’t vouch for the whole series, but this is such a good book! We’ll be getting a few more eventually so I will update if anything is wacky.
The Church History ABC’s
So cute– and we are learning as well! Short little biographies (a paragraph) on different people who made an impact for Christ throughout history. A is for Augustine, T for Tertullian, etc… We love this book!
“Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers” Series
There are 3 of these, The Gospel, The Trinity, and The Mission and they are really simple and well written! Kids love them and they have good illustrations.
The Squire and the Scroll (for boys)
and
The Princess and the Kiss (for girls)
I have not personally read the Princess book, but the Squire and the Scroll is a big hit with boys who want to slay dragons with swords! And has a great message about guarding your eyes and your heart and so forth.
Jesus Wants All of Me
This is a cute little devotional for kids. They are REALLY short and have a cute picture on each page for the kids to look at while you are reading the few sentences to them. It is an adaptation from Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost for His Highest”. I can’t say I have thought every page was this life-changing, all important gospel message and some pages are quite silly, but I think it is overall very good!
(Let me clarify by saying you don’t really have to use discernment when reading, its just that not all of them are lessons you need to really teach your 3 year old…. but most are about Jesus so thumbs up for that!)
My 1st Book of Questions and Answers
This is a Chatecism book for kids. The first questions go something like this: “Who made you?” God. “Why did God make you?” To glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.
This books helps you to give your child biblical answers that are simple and concise. We read this book over and over with our son so that he gets these answers down in his head. Periodically throughout the day, while he is playing or what not,  we will say, “Who made you?” and then “Why did He make you?”, etc… Though these are rote answers and mostly memorization for a child of his age, it is important for him to know the Truth, before He even truly believes it in his heart.
The Beginners Bible “I Can Read” Series
This series of books is really simple and has absolutely nothing controversial to say in it, being very positive and upbeat (i.e., “Jesus loved many people. Jesus had lots of friends.”) But they are books for beginning or pre-readers so it is appropriate. They are cute and well-liked by kids.

TV Shows and DVD’s

There is a LOT for kids in the way of Biblical and Gospel Centered and they are so fun and well-made! Here are some of our favorites:
Storykeepers– these are 1 hour long cartoon episodes about the early Church (persecution in Rome). It is all about this one family trying to teach others about Jesus while not being fed to the lions by Nero. This is definitely on the top of his request list if we ask our son what he wants to watch.
Little Buds ABC’s and 123’s. These say for ages 2-6 but I think they are even good for younger. We started watching these when our son was around 1. He loved them then and he loves them now!
Hillsong Kids worship. There are a few songs that aren’t totally up to the standard of “Christ-centeredness” like the lyrics, “I am happy to be me” (not that this is necessarily bad for a kid to be happy to be themselves, it’s just not worship…) But overall this is great and there are songs where these young kids are really worshipping with hands raised and hearts given to God. It’s neat for young children to see other kids doing this.
God Rocks– A mix of animation and real people singing Scripture songs and storylines to encourage kids to love God and love others. We watch them on TV but they do have DVD’s. Another one of the all-time favorites! He knows so many verses set to song because of these half-hour episodes (and the videos are pretty sweet for kids, too)
Friends And Heroes– similar to storytellers as far as the time period. Setting Biblical stories up in a historical context.
Nest Family Animated Stories from the Bible (and Animated Heros) are SO GOOD. Really, they are super cheesy and you wouldn’t think your kid would like them in this day of amazing animation, but they do! The songs are over the top and we laugh at them over and over again (The Joseph one… there is a song about dreams that goes, “Dreams, dreams, pools of subconscious”) This is a valuable resource. Really, we have considered cancelling cable but we may be keeping it for this very reason. The DVD’s are typically $20-$30 to buy (though, they have sales, like the one right now for Easter- $7.99).
For those without TV… and money… search for all of these on You Tube and see if you can find them there. (All of these are on cable channel TBN, too.) For those with some money, you can get most of these on Amazon, as well. Try getting used if they are out of print.
That’s all I have for now…
A note to the amount of money it is to buy things like this for your kids. Yes, it can cost you some, but aren’t all good things worth it? We spend money everywhere else for our kids, but what about investing in their spirit from a young age? We go to the Library and get a ton of books there, but you [usually] can’t get these types of things there! I encourage you to do what you can to make this a priority in your kids lives!
There may be a Part 2 of this post at some point in the future as we review and acquire additional books and resources.
Be blessed and enjoy learning and reading about the Good News with your family!