Episode 149: Summer Bible Memory Plan and Exciting Announcements!

In this episode we talk about our summer Bible memory plan and share several exciting announcements you won’t want to miss!

Show Notes:

(00:00): Welcome
(00:10): Bible memory-John 15
(01:02): Secrets of the Vine for Kids
(01:40): Secrets of the Vine: Breaking Through to Abundance
(02:19): I Am the Vine
(03:22): Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret
(08:04): Songs: “Abide in Me”
Seeds Family Worship: “Remain In Me”
Steve Green
“Faithful Heart”
“Abide” (This one covers verses 1-11 and is really well-done)
“This Is My Commandment”
(09:49): Announcement #1: Podcast Changes – seasons
(10:45): Announcement #2: Kristin Wynalda, Big Books, Little Ears, partnership
(11:43): Announcement #3: MY NEW BOOK! Building Character Through Picture Books: 25 Family Devotionals Based on Favorite Picture Books
(15:14): Closing

Books Discussed in This Episode:

Transcript with Links:

Welcome to “Books That Spark,” a podcast for parents and caregivers, celebrating books that help us with everyday discipleship every day, sparking important conversations with our children.

Today I want to talk to you about our summer plan for our Bible memory and some books you can read along with that. This summer we’re focusing on John 15. We started it this Sunday and we will go till the end of August, 13 weeks total. And each week we will memorize two verses in this chapter, except for one week we need to memorize three verses and that way we get through the entire chapter in these 13 weeks. This week we started with verses one and two, and we’ve got some great things planned to help us go along through this chapter, to really memorize it well, to give us some tools to practice with our kids, and to really make this a meaningful study in Jesus as the vine and we as the branches, and what it means to abide in Christ, and it really is such a key chapter in knowing how to live our Christian life and what it means to know Christ as our Lord and Savior.

So there are some books I want to talk about that I think are really good to kind of read with our children. One of them is probably well known among everybody, and that’s Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson, and in the children’s version it’s illustrated by Dan Brawner, also Melody Carlson helps with writing this as well, and this is a little bitty book, and it’s just really cute cause of the size of the book, but I found a lot to glean from this book. He really does take apart this scripture in John 15 and make it accessible for children, and so I really do like this. This is Secrets of the Vine for Kids.

Now, he also has Secrets of the Vine: Breaking Through to Abundance, and it’s part of his ‘Breakthrough’ series and this is written for adults and he also has a devotional book and a Bible study book that go along with it. The abundance he’s talking about is not prosperity theology, he’s talking about the abundant life of living in Christ and connected to Christ day to day, and bearing fruit for the kingdom, and growing in our faith. Anyway, I think these books really have a lot to offer but I’ve read the children’s one, so that’s the one that I have, that’s the one that I’m familiar with, and I just think it’s so good for children in helping them understand this very difficult concept.

Another little book that I found, and it’s really cute and I probably normally wouldn’t have this on my list of recommendations because it is a little book that is handwritten, hand drawn by the author June Phillips, it’s called I Am The Vine, written and illustrated by June Phillips, and it is literally handwritten. There’s no typing, there’s no type setting, there’s just handwritten pages, drawn pictures, and it’s just adorable. You can tell that she did it as like an exercise in her love and care for children as she wrote this story, and it’s a really cute story and talks about the whole concept of the vine in the branches, and in this story the branch, one branch walks away and he winds up hurt and abused. It’s almost like a prodigal son story honestly, but it’s really cute and really well done and it’s just so sweet to see. It’s like if you had a grandmother who hand wrote a story for your children, that’s what it feels like when I’m reading it, and so I do recommend this book, I think it’s really adorable, and it is available on Amazon.

And then for you as the mom and dad, there’s one book that I think brings home the whole message of John 15 very powerfully. This book was very instrumental in my life and it’s called Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, and it’s written by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, and Hudson Taylor was a missionary who started the China Inland mission, which today is OMF (Overseas Missionary Fellowship) that is still going strong this many years later. It’s the story with his journals and his seeking God and seeking to understand God and how God works in our lives, and I just want to read a short excerpt from the book because this is where it really came home, where he’s really feels like he’s grasped the understanding of how we’re to live our lives in Christ. After years and years of him wrestling with scripture and prayer and just seeking God, he comes to this, he says, “As I thought of the vine and the branches, what light, the Blessed spirit poured direct into my soul. How great seemed my mistake in wishing to get the sap, the fullness out of Him? I saw not only that Jesus will never leave me, but that I am a member of His body, of His flesh and of His bone. The vine is not the root merely, but all roots, stems, branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit, and Jesus is not that alone. He is soil and sunshine, air and showers, and 10,000 times more than we have ever dreamed wished for or needed. Oh the joy of seeing this truth. I do pray that the eyes of your understanding too may be enlightened, that you may know and enjoy the richest freely given us in Christ.” And so he came to the understanding, as we abide in Christ, it means we are so joined with Him, our very being. Everything comes from Him, our nourishment, our life, just everything. Even though the vine, the stock of the plant is where the nourishment comes from. That nourishment gets into every part of that plant, and if there’s a part of the plant that doesn’t get that nourishment, then it has to be tacked up. If you know anything about vineyards and grapevines, we used to live in Sonoma, California and you know, you looked out the window, it was like a postcard, it was beautiful, all these vineyards on these hills, and my husband went and talked with some of the vineyard owners because he was trying to gain some understanding of the vine and the branches, and they talked about how these branches are so weak, they have to tie them up on little wires to help stabilize them so that they can bear the fruit. Because the fruit is so heavy, the vines don’t have any strength, and so the vine dresser has to help take care of the vines and make sure they’re not down in the dirt and the mud and just getting diseased and not bearing fruit, and so it was just very interesting. And then later in this book it says, “but are you always conscious of abiding in Christ? Mr. Taylor was asked many years later, while sleeping last night, he replied, did I cease to abide in your home? Because I was unconscious of the fact we should never be conscious of not abiding in Christ.” So he was talking about how our whole existence as a Christian is abiding in Christ.

When you look at the scriptures that we’re memorizing, it’s just so full of richness and truth unfolding the Christian life, and the thing that I find also important about this chapter is these are some of the last words Jesus shared with His disciples. These are the words of His last real teaching to them about the truths of the Christian life and how to follow Him and live the faith that they had. He knew what was coming and He knew their faith was going to be challenged, and so He uses this picture, this analogy of the vine in the branches. Now, they would understand it much better than we do because they were like us in Sonoma, they lived right among all the vineyards and understood more about that than probably we do, unless you do own a vineyard or live in Sonoma, California or Napa, but I just think it’s important that Jesus shared this with His disciples and He left that for us to learn as well, and I think it’s worth digging in and seeing what these verses hold for us and how they can teach us what it means to live out our faith day to day, and so that’s one reason I chose this chapter for the summer for us to memorize. And so I do suggest if you have time that you read this book, it’s not very long, it’s pretty short, but man, it has so much richness in it. As you look at what he went through as he was a missionary in China, this book is really good and it does deal a lot with abiding in Christ and what that truly, truly means.

Now, as we go into this month or these months, I should say these 13 weeks of memorizing, I will have different tools for you. Like I said, I’ll have some puzzles and games and different things, but we also have some songs, and so I will have those linked in the show notes and available to you, and as we sing the songs, it’s easier to memorize scripture. Some of these songs I’m going to share may not be from the ERV, the easy-to-read version that I’m using for our weekly posts and everything, so just be aware of that, but it might just be slightly different, and so it’s still helping us as we memorize verse three and four. There is a song that’s called “Abide in Me” and it’s from the New King James version and it’s a scripture song, and so I’ll have that linked. And then there’s one that is from the Seeds Family Worship and they have a song, and you can find it on Spotify. It is further down in the chapter, it’s from 13 and 14. It’s the verses that says, “The greatest love people can show is to die for their friends. You are my friends if you do what I tell you to do.” And then it also talks about in this song “Remain In Me,” which is of course the theme of John 15. So it’s a beautiful song and if you ever want to get some really great scripture songs, Seeds of Faith has some really nice ones. These songs really can help to memorize scripture, and I know that Steve Green used to have back in the day when my kids were little, some scripture songs as well, so I will link to that as well in the show notes so you have some options to work with to teach some songs to your kids and be listening to scripture and that will help as we memorize. All right, so we have these 13 weeks that we’re working on John 15th.

Some additional songs: “Faithful Heart,” “Abide,” (This one covers verses 1-11 and is really well-done), and “This Is My Commandment.”

Now, I also want to spend some time talking about some changes we’re making to the podcast. We’ve decided to go into seasons. This is our, we’re starting now our fourth year of doing this podcast, and we have done week by week by week, and I think we’ve only taken one month off in those three years. Now, what we’re going to do is we’re going to make it into seasons of about nine weeks, and then we will take off in that quarter, the rest of the quarter. So every three months we’ll have nine weeks of podcast episodes, and then we’ll take a rest. Now we’ll post some reruns and some different episodes that we’ve had in the past, so we won’t be gone totally, but we’re going to take a rest in between and prepare for the next season, and I’m really excited about that, I think it’s going to be a positive change. Everyone I’ve talked to in the podcasting industry who has gone to seasons like this have found it to be really beneficial, they’ve really been happy they made that decision.

I’ve also been partnering with Kristin Wynalda, if you’ve noticed, we’ve had her on twice and she’ll be on in a couple weeks again as our guest, and she has a wonderful website, Big Books, Little Ears, and she reviews books from a picky mom’s point of view. I think she’s just brilliant and I think she has a lot to offer. She’s a young mom with four kids, I’m an old mom with four kids, and we just love talking together about books and everything to do with books and raising children and discipling our kids. She has some freebies she offers on her website, which include one about discipling our kids. To check it out, I’ve put her link to her website in the show notes here and on the episodes where she is sharing with us, but she’s going to be a regular on our podcast and I’m really excited about that. She won’t be with us every week because she is a busy mom of young kids, but she is going to join us about once a month or a couple times during each season.

I also wanted to let you know that if you go to my author page, I have more books for you available now and one I am so excited about, I’ve been working on this one for a couple years now. I’m very excited that it is finally launched. It is now available, it is called Building Character Through Picture Books: 25 Family Devotionals Based on Favorite Picture Books, and this is the first in a series, I hope I chose some of my favorite picture books that are available now. Some are classics, some are ones that have just come out in recent years and written a devotional for each one. As you know from listening to this podcast, I am a firm, firm believer that parents are the best disciplers for their kids, and we disciple our kids daily, whether we know it or not, because they’re always watching us and imitating us. So in this book, when I wrote the devotionals, I started to write out like a regular devotional where it has the lesson and explained everything to the child and made it so that the child could pick up this book and read it. That was the original way I was writing it, and as I was praying and working on it, I just felt really strongly that I needed to shift a little bit in how I was doing it, and so what I’ve done now is made the devotional really short with lots of questions for you to discuss with your children, and then I have a To The Parent section, and so there I’ve poured out my heart in the things that I think about when I’m wanting to talk about this subject with my children, to give you kind of a jumping off point of where you might want to bring up different subjects with your child, maybe with your children, you want to dig a little deeper into the subject matter that is brought up through the picture book and through scripture. Of course, there’s scripture in each one, even though it’s based on a picture book, it jumps right to scripture, but I have this section so that you can decide what you need to talk about with your child, what your child is going through, where your child is in their walk with God, and what is best as the parent you choose what is best to talk with them about from this topic, so I hope you find that encouraging and beneficial thought provoking. That was my hope and my goal in this. It’s meant to hand the reins to you as you go through this devotional book with your children. I would love to hear what you think about it if it does meet your needs. If it is helpful, we will have an e-book version up soon, right now we just have the paperback version. I would just greatly appreciate it if you do order it, if you would leave a review and let me know what you think. Do you find it helpful? Did it help you in discipling your kids? So the idea is that you read the book- so, I encourage you to get all these books from the library or to buy what books you can. I love all of the books that I have used, I think they’re all great books to have in your library, and so I do encourage you to buy them if you can, but you start by reading the book with your child, and I suggest at bedtime just cause that’s what we’ve always done, but if you’re going to get into a deep conversation, you may decide that this is one I want to do during the day so we can really dig into the topic more deeply with my children, and so you may decide that you want to read these in the afternoon or at breakfast or something like that, but you start with the picture book, then you jump into the scripture and then you jump into the discussion and end with prayer. I had a blast writing this book, Kathi Lipp is the one who suggested I do it cause she knows how much I love picture books and I love writing devotionals, and so it just kind of brought everything together for me as a writer and as a mom and wanting to encourage parents to disciple their kids. So I hope this is a great tool that you will enjoy using and that it blesses you and your children greatly.

Well, I do thank you so much for joining us today, for joining us today on “Books That Spark,” and we try very hard to encourage each other to live out every day discipleship, helping to equip our children to follow Christ with their whole hearts. If you enjoyed this episode, please like and share on social media so people know we’re here. If you would like to connect with me, you can find me on my website, which is TerrieHellardBrown.com, and we love to hear from you. Please post comments or questions, we respond to everyone. We pray you feel empowered as a parent or caregiver to walk by faith and to embrace everyday discipleship every day with the children in your life.

Your Host: Terrie Hellard-Brown

Terrie Hellard-Brown writes and speaks to help children and adults find God’s purpose and plan for their lives. She teaches workshops and writes devotional books, children’s stories, and Christian education materials.

Her podcast, Books that Spark, reviews children’s books that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion leading to teachable moments with our kids. Her podcast posts each Tuesday morning.

Her blog posts discuss living as a disciple of Christ while parenting our children. She challenges us to step out of our comfort zones to walk by faith in obedience to Christ and to use the nooks and crannies of our lives to disciple our children.

Terrie uses her experiences as a mother of four (three on “the spectrum”), 37 years in ministry (15 in Taiwan), and 32 years teaching to speak to the hearts of readers.

Her motto is “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be WONDERFUL” and keeps her childlike joy by writing children’s stories, delighting over pink dolphins, and frequently laughing till it hurts.

Small Kids, Small Talk Texts

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You’ll receive daily texts through Father’s Day weekend with prayer prompts and thought-provoking questions to enjoy with your kids, plus the weekly memory verses right in your text messages.

I’ll be at the Ontario, California and Round Rock, Texas Homeschool Conventions and will be sharing about “How to Give Our Children the World” through literature, prayer, and missions.

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