GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

The Beautiful Disciplines by Martin Saunders


About the book from Kregel:

Many of today’s young people practice a dangerously brittle faith. They swing wildly between belief and skepticism, Christian service and the temptations of teen culture. Surrounded by a multitude of distractions, they long for a grounding that can’t be found in the euphoria generated by big events or in the personalities of their leaders. They need to be led into a deeper faith, one that puts them in a disciplined and direct relationship with God.

Packed with practical activities, engaging stories, and relevant explanation, The Beautiful Disciplines is a powerful tool to help young people develop a deep-rooted and lasting faith. The heart of the book is twelve short, engaging chapters looking at the twelve spiritual disciplines popularized by authors like Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. Each chapter begins with background information for the leader, before moving into a study section aimed at young people, including some practical exercises. Each concludes with questions suitable for discussion in small groups.

The disciplines covered are: the discipline of celebration, the discipline of confession, the discipline of contemplation, the discipline of fasting, the discipline of guidance, the discipline of prayer, the discipline of service, the discipline of simplicity, the discipline of solitude, the discipline of study, the discipline of submission, and the discipline of worship.

My Opinion:

 

If you lead a youth group or even just your own children in your home, this book is a wonderful resource to have on hand.  I might even go so far as to say if this had been around and the youth group leaders had used this when I was young, I may not have strayed as far as I did from the Lord and His church.  The plans are all laid out for you and even alternate ideas are given based upon the ages that you may be working with.  Before reading this I never really gave any thought to what disciplines beyond prayer and Bible reading there could be for my life as a Christian – but this has really opened up a new way of looking at my walk and the walk of my children.

 

Using prayer, study, meditation (not to be confused with the New Age version), fasting, simplicity, solitude, submission, service, worship and celebration children are guided through how to make the Christian walk indispensable in their daily lives and how to apply it constantly.  In today’s world where so many children are plugged in to video games, iPods, cell phones, etc not many know how to study the Word of God, how to pray or even what it means to be of service to others.  Martin Saunders, works to correct this through the book The Beautiful Disciplines, as he wants children and young adults to really connect with their faith.  I have to say this isn’t just for children either, I got a lot out of it just by reading it and I can’t wait to implement the ideas in my own life.

 

Each week is divided up into sections such as:

  • The First Steps – this is the discussion/conversation starters.
  • The Adaptable Meeting Guides – these are the lesson plans.  The author suggests going through prior to the meeting and picking the best and most relevant areas that you feel your group needs to focus on.
  • Going Deeper – extra activities to be completed based on the Discipline being studied

What I really appreciated is the fact that the material in the book can be adapted for older groups, younger groups, for those church-ed youth and those who are not in church.  There are no age suggestions given for what is older and younger – so it’s really up to you to decide what the children can take in in any given time.  I also like that there are estimated times given, some activities may take only 5 minutes or some may take 30 minutes – however the point isn’t really to rush through this but to make sure the children grasp the importance and I could see taking 2 weeks to go through each discipline and a guide on how to turn this into a longer study is also provided.

 

**Disclaimer: I received this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

 

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New Leaf Review: AB4T (Answers Book For Teens) by Bodie Hodge, Tommy Mitchell with Ken Ham


 

I had the great pleasure of reading and reviewing the new book titled Answers Book for Teens (AB4T) written by Bodie Hodge, Tommy Mitchell with Ken Ham which is geared towards teen and their questions about the Bible and how to answer those questions, whether they are asking them themselves or are being questioned by peers, teachers, media, etc.  If you have teens or even a mature older child who has questions and you’re not sure how to answer them well then I’d say grab AB4T and let them read it – or read it together so you can have a meaningful, Biblically based discussion with your teen.

Written for teens ages 13 to 17 years old it’s great for older children who are mature enough and are asking deeper theological questions or adults who need a simple yet good answer to how to rebut an argument or just to answer the questions going through the mind.  I really enjoyed this book and while I read it in under an hour, it would be good to go back and really reflect on the answers with a Bible at your side to make sure you’re getting a good understanding of what is being said in light of Scripture.  So if you’re a Christian who thinks that you can pick and choose what to follow or that it doesn’t matter what age the earth really is then this book is a recommended read.

You’ll find such questions as:

  • “If God’s really so great, why does He let so much pain and stuff happen in the world, like earthquakes, floods and wars?”
  • “I believe God created the earth, but does it really matter how old the earth is?”
  • “Should people from different races marry each other or is that wrong?”
  • “If Christians are supposed to love everybody, why do they always seem to hate gay people?”
  • and more.

As I said above even though it says ages 13 to 17 years old I would feel comfortable giving this to my 9 almost 10 year old daughter.  Why?  The answers are Biblically sound and while I would give the same answers to her I know sometimes she prefers to read and getting her answers from a Biblically sound book by godly authors is a must.  However, I would also give her the one caveat that she could not read the parts regarding sex, marital relationships or the question regarding homosexuality.  This is because while the rest of the book she could understand, she is too young for this information and any questions in these areas need to be addressed by me.  For what it’s worth, my daughter knows I trust her and if she is told to not read something she doesn’t.

This book is great, and if you’re looking for a present for a hard to buy for teen or one who is searching then this book would make a great present.  Written in a way that will attract teens with it’s modern look and even “word clouds” this book is attractive and will draw teens and young people in and if their hearts are closed hopefully it will open them to the Truth and if they are Christian but questioning things hopefully this will go a long way in their gaining understanding.

**I was given a copy of the above book from New Leaf Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

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