I'm always on the lookout for children's books that are beneficial to read to toddlers. I'm very impressed that my 19-month-old sits still for The Jesus Storybook Bible during family worship, but that took lots of tears and training and I'm not sure how much he understands. Shepherd's Press's God's Great Plan by Melissa Cutrera however, is absolutely perfect for him and I can easily see it as being a family treasure for years and years to come. You can actually watch a video of the book being read here.
God's Great Plan is a very simple narrative of creation, the fall, the life of Christ, the cross, the resurrection, the ascension, and our future hope, written in concise, rhyming couplets. I can easily foresee my son filling in little details about the gospel from the easily-recallable rhymes, which I think is the author's intent.
I appreciated all the little theological details in God's Great Plan. IIt says Satan was lying about God when he whispered to Eve. This has come up in conversation a lot during discipline sessions; "You know how the snake lied about God when he told Eve that she knew what's best and God didn't? I think the same thing might have happened just now when you thought sitting up in your high chair was better than obeying Mommy. God's ways for you are always best."
There were many other "I-like-that" moments, such as when it mentions God formed man out of the dust or when it says Jesus even ate bread after the resurrection. Such details lay such a good foundation for explaining deeper concepts to my children in the future.
God's Great Plan is such a gift to the church, not only to teach very young children but to enlighten the hearts of parents. The theological depth, taught in skillfully simple and memorable rhymes, gives even our toddlers an excellent foundation for understanding the gospel. The illustrations are captivating and relatable (though at times potentially nightmare-inducing) and those who disapprove of visual images of Christ will be pleased to know that all the drawings of Jesus are intentionally indistinct and his face is always obscured. All readers, young and old, are reminded that God made an incredible plan before time began, nothing has interrupted this plan, and He has allowed us to be a part of this plan. I very highly recommend this book.
Disclosure: I received this book for free from Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. These opinions are my own.
Why Christ Came by Joel Beeke is a 105-page devotional focusing on the incarnation. Obviously it would be especially helpful for the Christmas/advent season, but the timeless truths therein make it a relevant devotional for any time.
My concern when beginning the book was "Isn't this just an attempt at 50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper?" but after reading the reasons alone (then most certainly after reading the actual chapters) I was convinced that both books serve the church in unique ways. Piper's 50 Reasons focuses on the atonement, but Beeke's 31 focus on the incarnation; meditating on Christ in either way just makes you fall more in love with Him.
Why Christ Came is heavily laden with scripture from the Old and New Testament. Beeke also employs many beautiful quotes from saints and confessions of old, and---of course---the Puritans. I didn't find myself learning a lot of "new" things about the incarnation, but I don't think that was Beeke's aim in the first place. Instead this book gives readers more solid understandings of what we already knew about why Christ came; bits of scriptures and truths that we've probably heard before all come together to give us grand appreciation for the incarnation, one profound reason at a time.
That said, this is probably not a book that I would give to my extended family or anyone outside of "reformed" circles. I felt the writing may have been kind of dry and impersonal (the scriptures being in KJV did not help.) I do like everything else I have read from Joel Beeke, but I cannot say this book is a "you've-really-gotta-read-this" for every Christian.
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My name is Hope.
I'm 25, married to a former skater dude, and raising little people ages 5, 3, 1, and not-yet-born. I like lime green and sarsaparilla, and I wear my Crocs until they melt. (Florida problems.)
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Youth Ministry's Family Blindspot - Christianity Today