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  • Eric Rutherford

David Michael - Truth 78 (Children Desiring God)

Updated: Jan 25, 2022

Eric Rutherford 0:00

Welcome to the Entrusting the faith podcast. I'm your host, Eric Rutherford. And today I am excited, because I have David Michael with me, David is the co-founder, and executive director of Truth 78, which is formerly Children Desiring God. And it has a strong commitment to casting vision, and developing resources for the spiritual development of children, both in the home and at church. And even more than that, he is a husband, he's a father, he's a grandfather, and most importantly, man, he is a Christ follower. So David, thank you so much for joining me today.

David Michael 0:40

It is a pleasure to be here.

Eric Rutherford 0:43

I'm very thankful. As we dive in, you know, Truth 78 It has a rich history. However, for those who are not familiar with it, can you tell us a little bit about what is Truth 78? And what need were you really trying to solve with it?

David Michael 1:05

Great question. Thinking of the history of Truth 78, we love the providence of God. And we could spend our whole time here talking about just the roots of this organization going back, I would say 50 years, 60 years, at least, if not, from the beginning of time, we serve a God who has known us before the foundation of the world. And it's not lost on me that what we're about at Truth 78 is part of something much bigger that God has been doing among his people for generations. We get our name from Psalm 78. I'm sure many of us are familiar with that Psalm where Asaph tells us that we've been entrusted with a testimony. The Lord established the testimony and Jacob he appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, so that the next generation should know them, even children yet unborn, that they should rise and tell their children so that they should set their hope on God. I mean that from, you know, 25 years ago, when Truth 78 was being formed. That Psalm was just driving us and in the calling that's on every believer, I'm convinced. So he established the testimonies, verse five. in verse four It says, "We will not hide this from our children, but tell the coming generation, the glorious deeds of the Lord." And if there was a central portion of that passage, those first eight verses, it's right there that gripped us more than 25 years ago, what we were experiencing, in our own spiritual growth in what we were learning and seeing of God, and looking at what was happening in the instruction of our own children. And that's where I think this strong sense of calling and mission was beginning to develop at Truth 78. And what we were seeing, and that verse there it says, "We're not going to hide, but tell the glorious deeds of the Lord and the wonder and his wondrous works." And so many Christian parents are gonna say, well, most certainly we're not hiding anything from our children. But what was dawning on us back then was that we were hiding God's deeds. What we were highlighting in the telling of Bible stories, Esther's deeds, Joshua's deeds, Moses deeds, David's deeds, and sometimes ignoring completely the fact that there's a mover and a shaker, whose purposes are being accomplished unstoppable, through his people. And he was being ignored in the teaching of the Bible. And it just, that verse verse four struck, struck us that we're hiding not only God's deeds and replacing them with other biblical characters deeds.

But that other important word in there is that it's his glorious deeds. For context, we had just in 1980, we began attending Bethlehem Baptist Church under the ministry of John Piper. I had grown up in a Christian home, gone to church my whole life. And at 27 years old, having my eyes open to a God I hadn't ever seen before, and particularly the glory of this god. I mean, I knew the word glory. But under John's ministry, in particular, seeing God's passion for His glory, and his passion to make a name for himself.

And realizing that there had been a significant gap in my own Christian education growing up where I hadn't seen this glorious God. And so what, as we were seeing more of God's glory and God's zeal for His glory, we became increasingly more frustrated with the material that our church was using for the instruction of our children, because it was glorifying all the biblical characters, without God. So that I would just say, was the roots of Truth 78.

And so, long story short, in 1996 - now, after serving on staff as a pastor of Bethlehem, in another area of ministry, the church called my wife, Sally and I to serve over the children, youth ministry of the church. And that was where we felt the responsibility then to be faithful in the instruction of our children. And for our church, under John's ministry, it was almost like, what we were teaching upstairs in our Sunday school rooms was out of sync with what we were hearing from the pulpit, and that tension was driving us crazy, or this disconnect. And finally, I think the church was tired of us complaining about this and said, Okay, why don't you take this over. And so we just said, from day one, in April of 1996, we just said, we will teach nothing before we will continue to teach the way we've been teaching. And that summer, Sally, my wife, who's kind of the Christian educator in our marriage, and her friend Jill Nelson, started writing curriculum for us to use at Bethlehem, to be faithful in teaching the truth about God, not hiding it from our children and bringing it out in these lessons.

And so now, over 25 years later, they're still writing curriculum. Jill just released another curriculum at the church just last week, and so it's still being produced. Originally, we were just doing this for our church and just wanted to be faithful and trying to think through - okay, what is it if we've got these kids for 18 years? What is it that we want to teach? And as Piper's ministry began to develop, people were coming to us and saying, "Well, if John Piper's preaching what he's preaching, what on earth do you teach your kids, because we're not finding anything like that for children." And so we tell them and they say, "Well, any way that we can get access to that?" And so part of what emerged was just this desire to really serve the church. And so we began to develop our curriculum in a way that can be shared. And really, for the first 15 to 20 years, our focus was mainly to provide God-centered, Christ-exalting Bible-saturated resources for the church.

And it's really within the last five years or so that we've been determined to do all we can to help the church think differently about ministry to children and youth in the church and help parents think differently about their parenting. Children's Ministry in the course of my ministry has become a huge department in many churches. It's just when I look at what the church I grew up on spent on children's ministry, there are no full time staff people, no real estate within the church that was necessarily dedicated to the instruction of children. And it's just exploded over these last years. But I'm persuaded that the reason that's the case is because churches have discovered that strong, vital ministries to children grow churches. Right, if you want a church to succeed, you have to have quality programming for children. And I believe we should have programming for children. But the emphasis has been more on the programming - less on the substance and the content. And so our main message is, let's not think merely in terms of children's programs, let's think in terms of children's discipleship.

When I transition into my new role at Bethlehem 1996, the position that I took was formally minister for children. And I said, that's, not going to communicate what this position is. And it became pastor for children's discipleship, because I wanted the emphasis to be on discipleship. And that's really what the church's job is. That's really what the parents job is. So to get to a simple answer to your question, now, Truth 78 exists, to inspire, and to equip the church and the home for the comprehensive discipleship of the next generation. And so we started, mainly focusing on equipping, creating tools, without people understanding what those tools were for. And we're finding that once people understand what we're trying to do with these resources, they can appreciate and be motivated, I think, more to use them.

Eric Rutherford 12:35

I think that's brilliant, and beautiful. And so important, because I like how you you said you realized that so much towards children was about the people of the Bible, and not the God of the Bible. Right? And it's, it's easy, man, I see it all the time. It's easy to do that. But really, that emphasis is really seeing God's glory and His, his majesty, and that's at the forefront. And then everything else sort of rolls up in it where following Christ is not about me. What I mean, Jesus did, he took my punishment, he took my penalty, he did all that stuff for me, but he did it. For the Father's glory, you know, he did it to glorify the Father. And so we have that disconnect. I know, at least I'll just say, at least in our culture in these United States, and we'll call it the sort of the church overall, we often lean away from the glory of God. So I thought that's beautiful.

David Michael 13:49

Yeah, and I think just kind of a litmus test is what is the response of when you tell the Bible story? How does that child respond? But what was happening at Bethlehem, as we were seeing God in ways that we'd never seen him before, far more glorious, something was happening in our hearts. And as the preaching of God's Word became so much more impactful on us, it was interesting that the parallel to that was the growth of our whole worship ministry. Because there's, when you see God in His glory, your heart wants to worship. And that's what we're after with our children, too. So these are glorious deeds. So if you're seeing the glorious deeds of God, your heart is inclined to worship. If you're at the Olympics, and you're seeing glorious deeds, of the athlete, you, in a sense, worship that athlete. You're just saying, "Wow, that is absolutely amazing." And what we're finding is in telling the stories of the Bible, what was happening, was we were saying, "Wow, David was a great king. He was courageous." or "Wasn't that little boy, so kind to share his lunch? What a nice little boy he was, so that 5000 People could be fed." And we were just worshiping something much lesser than God, and the heart did not engage. So really, the goal of our teaching really should be that our children would worship and praise the Lord.

Eric Rutherford 15:53

I agree. And I agree wholeheartedly with you - that, you know, if we if we are simply teaching a morality tale to our children in our churches now.. Morality is good. Don't get me wrong. So anybody listening... don't come at me with pitchforks. But morality by itself doesn't save us. Morality by itself doesn't. I mean, it makes us reasonable citizens, but there's no hard change with morality.

David Michael 16:30

Yeah, and what we were finding was, morality can also hide the glory of God. You take that classic story on a boy sharing his lunch to feed 5000 - that Jesus used to feed 5000. And, you know, one of the illustrations we've used is - there's curriculum out there that will take that story and say, the point of that story is that you should share - totally missing the glory of Jesus, and satisfying the needs of these hungry people. And turning it into a lesson on sharing Well, I think it's a good thing to share. But please don't take that text, which glorifies Jesus Christ, and hide that glory. By turning it into a lesson on sharing, or Moses' sister, Miriam helped her mother by watching her brother in the Nile. Therefore, we should help our mothers and totally missing God's remarkable plan for redeeming/delivering his people from slavery - was being totally missed, so that we can talk about the importance of helping your mom.

Eric Rutherford 17:48

It's true, and it pops up all the time. And, you know, something I've noticed to kind of just piggyback on that a little bit is, I think, just as I'll call us, believers in the church, at least here in the United States, I don't think a lot of people have a true grasp of God's story, you know, through the Bible and understand it's sort of that narrative of Scripture, as you can see, you know, where God said, you know, from Genesis three - where Adam and Eve sinned, and he says, Oh, I'm going to send a deliverer who will crush the head of Satan - and you just don't. I think a lot of people don't see God's orchestrating work throughout history. I think we chunk it, we silo it, just like you're saying in the morality tales, and we don't get the whole breadth of Scripture and his work in it.

Let me ask real quick, just, you've got a boatload of resources, and they're wonderful. Would you share a little bit about them? And kind of how would a family use them in the home? I know, you said within the last five years or so you're doing more family and church. And so what kind of resources are there if people are listening - either for their home or for their church? Either one? What kind of resources do you have?

David Michael 19:19

Great question. So, again, we started really providing curriculum for churches to use in the instruction of children in church. So that's still a large chunk of our resources. And so you could go online and just see a wide range of material for instructing children. And maybe what I could say about that, in Acts 20:26, you've got that scene where Paul is with the Ephesian elders and he says, I'm innocent of your blood, because I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Or in Psalm 78, you establish a testimony - Jacob, he appointed a law in Israel that we're supposed to pass on, what is that testimony? So I wrestled with this as a pastor over children/ youth ministry. Okay, if I'm responsible to pass something on what defines, and if Paul saying he'd be guilty of their blood, if he didn't, if he shrunk back, so it really matters to us - What is this whole counsel of God? And we don't begin to presume that, okay, sign up for Truth 78 curriculum, and you'll have the whole counsel of God. But what you do need to know is we've worked really hard to think comprehensively. So in our mission statement, the comprehensive discipleship is really important.

I grew up in a context where it was really a hit and miss approach to the to instruction, discipleship. And so we call it Christian education. But there was no sense of - okay, what is it that we want to teach our children? How are we going to teach it? And so our core curriculum is an attempt. And we would say to a church, if you're wrestling with trying to figure out - okay, what is it that we need to teach? - this is a path that you could consider. And so our scope and sequence begins in the nursery. We have a curriculum for nursery age children, one year olds and two year olds, okay. And it goes right on through into high school. So that's the core.

And then, over the last several years, we've really, growing out of my pastoral ministry, where I needed tools to help me serve parents, and help us as a church serve parents. So there's more and more we're creating resources to equip the church for equipping the home. So Truth 78, doesn't want to do an end run around the church and say, "Here, we've got tools for you to route" - I would be, you know...We've got a little book I put together on discerning if your child is truly in the faith. You know, so you have a child who accepts Jesus at six years old. And then they're 15 years old, sixteen, how do I know if that face is real, we put together a little book that can help a parent discern and really interact with their child on how to if they're truly born again. And you know, as a child growing up in a Christian home, I struggled with assurance like that. Did I really know what I was doing at age seven, when I raised my hand in my mother's Sunday school class and said, I want to accept Jesus. How do I know if this is real or not? Or was I just indoctrinated by my parents or something? So we've got a tool that will help a parent do that that tool also, is part - I developed it for preparing young people for baptism. We were a Baptist church. And so we did adult baptisms. And a lot of Christian parents are trying to figure out when's the best time to baptize my child? And how do we get them ready. And that little book grew out of my effort to get my daughter ready for baptism. And so my hope is that churches will take that tool and use it for parents - parents could go online and buy the tool from us. But our heart is to see the church more intentional for equipping parents in the church for their spiritual job. And so, so we've got materials like that.

I've got one that goes way back to my own experience as a dad called A Father's Guide to Blessing His Children. So when my girls were third grade and fifth grade, I began this pattern of pronouncing a blessing over them. So the most common one, the first one I started with was "The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make your face his face shine on you and be gracious,. The Lord, lift up his countenance on you and give you peace." And over time, drawing from the Bible texts that I turned into blessings, and pronounce them - for as long as my girls were growing up in my home, every night, my hand would go on their head. And it was just a powerful moment for father and daughter. And continued even when they went off to college. At that time, I burned a CD with 31 tracks. And every night, they could click on a track, hear their daddy pray for them. And then end with a blessing. And now to be able to do the same with my grandchildren is even... So I want to commend that practice to dads. And so I, you know, I write real thin books like this, and because I don't have all that much to say, and I like small books, but anyways. And it's just designed to just inspire a dad to begin this very simple pattern at home. And so we've got a line of books like that, that really serve parents and give them tools.

Probably the most significant resource and really the first major resource we've developed with the home in mind is this new series that I hope everybody listening has heard about, and if not, that they would learn about, called More Than a Story. One way to think about it is - so it's a two volume work. The first volume is on the Old Testament. The second volume, which will be coming out in October, late October, November, is on the New Testament. And we call it More Than a Story because it started out as a Bible Storybook. And we realized this is more than a Bible Storybook. Okay. And it's designed mainly for the home, my dream. And I realize it's a bold dream. But I would just love to see every single Christian home with school aged children have one of these in their home. Because what this book is providing now, if you were to purchase all of our Sunday school curriculum, it would take, in print copies, it would take about eight feet of bookshelf space. That's how much it takes on Sally's bookcase. Okay, that's represents over 8000 pages. Okay? Well, it's pretty daunting for any parents. For us, just to say, Okay, well, one strategy would be to teach this at home. So what More Than a Story does is take those 8000 pages and condenses them into two volumes that will total over 750 pages. So it's still not a you know, it's not a wimpy Bible book by any means. It's very substantial. But it takes all the major themes that we draw out of our curriculum, it introduces the Bible chronologically, as well, which is one of our distinctives. We want to reveal the truth, reveal the Bible help children have a chronological understanding of God's revealed truth. And in its very, very accessible for use in the home. So I've got my volume of the Old Testament here, and there's over 90 units, which would keep family devotions going for 90 weeks - depending on how often you did it. That would be a resource that we're really, really excited about, and one that I would recommend for your listeners.

Eric Rutherford 29:36

I love that. And so for everybody listening - More Than a Story - two volumes. The first one's out. The second one will be out probably close to when this will air or it will already be out about that time. I would just encourage you to check this out. This is an amazing resource for families. It's to really equip your kids and yourself with that comprehensive biblical worldview. And especially for you dads out there, you know - because sometimes it can be a little tough or a little overwhelming to kind of figure out what to do. You know, this could be something you can use as well.

Let me just kind of transition with that thought. So speaking to dads right now, in terms of family devotions doing that family discipleship... if they are afraid, if they're feeling some fear, would you have any suggestions for them? I know, it sounds like this would be a great resource for them to pick up and start using, right, because it's pretty low stress, you just start going through it. Anything to sort of counteract that fear or step through the fear?

David Michael 31:04

Yeah, I think there's... when I talk to dads, this is an area where many of them feel challenged - is family devotions. And there's different reasons for it. Some of it is fear. Some of it - a lot of it - is schedule, just families are busy; there's a lot going on. Sometimes in some families, just getting everybody together at one time can be a challenge. And so there's scheduling issues. And then "What do I do?" And some dads will feel the pressure that, okay, I have to spend a lot of time in preparation... I've got to be able to deliver something of substance to my children. And where I encourage dads to start is like, if nothing's happening right now, in your home, start with something that you think you can achieve. So once a week, gather the family. Or if you're doing it once a week, can we build on this? I think ideally, to be in the Word daily is a good thing - with your family. And I would just say the content is important. But I'll assure you, I've got a 40 year old daughter now, okay. And as she looks back to our Family Devotional times, she's not thinking, "Wow! They were just rich with truth, and insight." What I hope she remembers is: The Bible was important to my parents. They oriented their lives around this book. And it mattered enough that they put that book in front of us daily. Okay, so I tell them: Don't worry too much about making this. And, and then keep it super simple. So I remember one Dad, we were over there for dinner. And he had established a pattern after the main meal, which on a Sunday was the Sunday dinner, he would lead the family in the Word and he just opened his Bible and started in the beginning and would read a portion and then lead the family in a prayer. And I actually I think they had a Psalter hymnal and they sang from it. And at the time we visited, he was somewhere in Leviticus reading about bodily emissions and other weird stuff. And I'm sitting there thinking: What are you gonna do with it? But it was the next text in his appointed reading. And he just said, "So children, this is just a reminder that God is holy. And we're not. And there's because we're not there's a barrier between us and God that Jesus has overcome. Let's pray." And so it's not... Sometimes we shoot ourselves in the foot because we make it a lot more complicated than it is.

But More Than A Story's a great resource. I've got a lot of dads doing that now. And the secret with Truth 78 material... I'm hearing this all the time... is the kids benefit. Adults are benefiting even more. I just had lunch with a dad yesterday, who said, "You know, we're about halfway through the first volume and I'm learning so much, I'm seeing things of God that I had totally missed" because a lot of our parents have grown up with kind of this hit and miss approach or have had very little instruction in the Word. And so it really is not just an opportunity for family devotions - it is a time where the whole family can grow. And if you've got good material, which I really think this is, you would grow too.

We also have a series of books that we have available on our website, it's called the Making Him Known series. PNR Publishing has published that for us. These take key theological themes, or they're more subject specific. So there's one on the providence of God. There's, and these are thin, little books that work really well for family devotions as well.

We have one on biblical manhood and womanhood. It's called God's Design. We have God's Names, which is really, really introducing kids to God's attributes. God's Promises. So those work really well for family devotions. And again, we hear often, and remember one group of elderly people were getting together and going through God's Names. together. It was a book designed for children, but they're learning a lot.

Eric Rutherford 36:43

I love that. So if you're listening, we're going to make sure we get those resources in there, but also be encouraged. And take heart, it doesn't have to be crazy hard. It's just is about being faithful, and really demonstrating the value of God's Word to your family. And, you know, people listening today, you know, if they're listening at home, what are some other things that we can do to sort of lay that foundation of biblical understanding or biblical worldview for for our kids, or even our grandkids?

David Michael 37:17

Yes, good question. I would, you know, I've said for years, you can have the best curriculum in the world. And the best Bible resources in the world, I think Truth 78 has some really, really, really good resources. You can have the best children's ministry program in your church, you could be doing everything right. It's Christian parents, you could be having devotions every single night to pray to bless your children. And bottom line, unless God moves on the hearts of our children, nothing's going to happen, right? And so, laying the foundations, what's the most important thing we can do? It's got to be appealing to God, appealing to omnipotence, appealing to the One who has - the only One who can rule over the heart of our child. We can we can share a Bible truth with a child. But I can't make that child love that truth. Right. And so I couple years ago, this just, it actually was at a time where we're actually pretty critical time in Truth 78. History. So we're funded, in part through the sale of our resources. So that's the other thing I would just say, when you buy resources from Truth 78, you're helping us spread this mission, this vision, this message. But we also have a significant portion that we have to fundraise for. And we had gone from being 100% supported through the sale of our resources to needing supplemental support. And so we were coming to the end of the year, last quarter of the year when, you know, the experts tell you this is when when people - if they're going to give money... more money is given away in this quarter than any other time of year. And billions are given away. So be out there and get your message out. And that was kind of my first season in this role as executive director and I just - something in me just- I don't want to go that way. Because we serve a God who cares about this mission. And so the focus, I met with the staff I said, let's not put the focus on the funds that we need here. Let's put the focus on the mission. And if we put our prayers, direct them toward the mission, then we trust God to provide, right? And so I wrote this little book that year. So, instead of doing the big fundraising campaign, I wrote a little booklet called Big, Bold, Biblical Prayers for the Next Generation. And along with More Than a Story, if I could put one resource in the hands of every parent, it would be this one, okay? Because we tend to pray weak, wimpy prayers for our children. God bless my grandchildren, God bless my children, help them to have a good day. And, you know, when I, I listened, you know, I have people tell me all the time, I pray for my grandchildren every day. And as a pastor, I just want to say, so what are you praying? And we really haven't. Many of us haven't been taught how to pray biblical prayers. So a classic illustration would be, I have a daughter, my second daughter is chronically ill. And last two or three years, just about everything that she was working toward in life has had to be put on hold, and she's back living with us, and serious problems. And it's been very disabling to her. And this daddy's heart breaks my daughter, and I want more than anything, for God to heal her. And every single night, I pray for my daughter, and ask that God would heal her. But that is a small prayer, that I can't pray boldly, okay. I pray and ask God to heal her.

But deep down, I know. There's no guarantees that God's going to do that I can't turn anywhere my Bible and get a guarantee that my daughter on this side of heaven is going to be healed. And it's a small prayer. And so as much as my heart wants God to hear that prayer, I've also every single night, prayed that her faith would not fail. And for 37 years, well, she's not sure exactly when she became a believer, but since she's been a believer, God has heard that prayer. Every single morning, she wakes up a believer, and a happy believer. That is a miracle, far more miraculous, under these circumstances than that if she were to be healed, that you can have many of your dreams put on hold, to cry out to God, day after day, Lord, deliver me from this. And he, he doesn't. I mean, how many children under the circumstances would be shaking their fist at God, at least, if not worse, under such. And so I can pray "God deliver her". Or I can pray, "God, grant that my daughter's faith not fail" and take that to the bank, because I've got biblical authority behind it that says, this is the will of God, for everybody who is in Christ, their faith will not fail, they will persevere to the end. And so as long as I have confidence that she is in Christ, and I believe that she is, I say, Lord, I pray and so. So I have confidence. No, we say, well, if it be your will, I know this is God's will, for my daughter, that her faith not fail. I don't know if it's God's will, that she'd be healed on the side of heaven, but I do know she'll be healed. So there's all kinds of biblical prayers, that we can pray for our children and grandchildren, that we should pray for our grandchildren, alongside " Have a good day and help help them to do well on their math test." And I'm not saying we shouldn't pray those prayers. But let's not pray those prayers and neglect the bigger ones that we can't. So if you were to pray for your grandchild, that their knee would bow and that their tongue would confess Jesus as Lord. You know, absolutely God answers that prayer, right. And so, this again, another little short book of 50 or 64 pages with the appendix, I think would just help us pray bigger prayers for our children. So one thing that you could do, that would be it.

Eric Rutherford 45:17

Wow, that, man, that is really challenging to me in terms of how I am praying and what I am praying for my children, for my wife, for, you know, those whom I love, and I'm around. And I appreciate that and say the title of the book one more time.

David Michael 45:42

It's called Big, Bold, Biblical Prayers for the Next Generation. So, people in our church, I just say, you know, they want to know how they can serve in children's ministry, I just, you know, we have Sunday school teachers. So would you, would you just give yourself this year, to at least setting aside a season during the week, where you just pray big prayers for the kids in your Sunday school? That's gonna accomplish way more in their lives than anything that we're doing/teaching. We should still do our best when we're teaching. But that's, that's what's going to make the difference in our Sunday school rooms, or in our kitchen tables.

Eric Rutherford 46:34

That is true, because it's, I think you're right. We get caught up in all the things, all the things that we can do activities that we think we can do, but really it is God at work in the hearts of people that we... I mean, we can't change people's hearts, but the Lord can and so praying big prayers, is - I agree with you - is the best thing that we can do.

David Michael 47:06

I'm just going to, again, mention one other. We have what we call our tier one resources. So if there was, if there were three resources that we would want to put in the hand of everybody, it would be the book More Than A Story, another little book called Helping Children Understand the Gospel. So that would be the second because that book was born out of this burden for children growing up in Christian homes. And I'm assuming most of the people listening to this program are parents with children growing up in their homes. And I'm shocked how many children can spend years growing up in church, growing up in these homes, and have such a shallow understanding of the gospel? You know, what I've done as an elder, several interviews of candidates for membership, and you bring a child. In fact, I use the illustration in the third book I'm going to mention that is where children will come in, and you say, you ask them a question: So what's your understanding of the gospel? Jesus died for your sins, and we need to accept Him into our hearts. So kids, most kids get that right. So if you ask the next question, why is sin a problem? They can't answer it. Many can't answer it. Many adults can't answer that question. How does Jesus' death solve that problem? You know, Jesus died for my sins. Well, okay. Why does his death... So this this book was just born. I just if, if parents do anything, make sure your children leave the home with a robust understanding of the gospel. This is another short little booklet with 10 family devotionals that introduce your children to the gospel, and there's other resources that we have stored in storybook format. But a big part of our mission is to make sure kids get the gospel and there are several resources in that theme, including a very robust family devotional called Glorious God, Glorious Gospel. The third resource in our tier one resources would be the book Zealous. So if you're intrigued by what we're talking about here, that book Zealous is my best effort to put words to the vision, the convictions, the passion, that drives everything we do. So this is when I talk about inspiring the church in the home. That book was designed to do that -inspiring and to challenge. When you talk about trying to influence the way the church thinks about children's ministry, the way parents think about their job, that book is designed to do that. And you can go on our website, you can download it for free, we would send it, we don't plan to make any money on this book. It's just, it's our main way of getting our message out. So somebody's listening really wanted to dig into this a little bit different. It's, it's probably my longest book, it's about 100 pages.

Eric Rutherford 51:02

Wow, I love that. I love you talk about that, that tier one More Than A Story. Helping children understand the gospel. And Zealous will provide, it sounds like that would provide a great framework for families to go through with their children, with their grandchildren. So that to help them have a biblical understanding.

David Michael 51:33

Right, exactly.

Eric Rutherford 51:35

That is excellent. So if you're listening, we're gonna make sure all of that information is in the show notes. So you can check it out. Just as we wrap up here. If our listeners want to know more about you, where to find these materials, where would you like them to go?

David Michael 51:53

Well, we have a website called So that gets you into the neighborhood. There's also for Spanish speaking folks, we have a another website that you can that links from our English speaking website. And I can't recite that one off the top of my head because it's in Spanish. So those would be a starting place. And just know we've got a great resource team. You do the Contact Us thing, if you've got any questions, there's people on our team that would be willing to talk. I'm especially eager to connect with church leaders, especially and don't hesitate to contact me personally. I'll talk to any anybody about these, these things, because we're so passionate about getting the message out.

Eric Rutherford 52:58

Well, we will make sure that information is in the show notes David, this has just been a privilege and a pleasure to chat. Thank you, not just for joining us today on the podcast, but for the work and the heart that you have for the Lord and really making his name known in families and in churches. I can't thank you enough. And I'm so thankful for the work that you guys are doing.

David Michael 53:36

Well and, thank you for that. And Eric thank you for the investment you're making. I know that these opportunities, these podcasts just don't happen automatically, that there's a lot of work that goes behind it. I just really appreciated connecting with you. And just hearing your own heart and vision to really serve the home and the church. And it really does help us to get our message out, so thank you so much for serving us so well.

Transcribed by


David Michael


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