How to help your child enjoy God

BY BARBARA REAOCH |
BSF CHILDREN’S DIVISION DIRECTOR
Kids know how to enjoy pizza, pets, games and ice cream. But how we can we help them know what it means to enjoy God? God is not looking for kids who dutifully behave, but for those who will know and love Him (Psalms 34:8, 37:4). Something will always be missing until they grasp that God made us to enjoy a relationship with Him (Genesis 1:26, Psalm 16:11, Matthew 22:25-38).
A father’s story

 

One father shared his struggles and joys in bringing his three kids to BSF every Monday. “The kids love it,” he said, “but it’s lots of work for me!”

A neighbor asked why he bothered rushing home every Monday and then back to church for BSF. “One Monday a week,” he replied, “is a small investment for the eternal dividends God promises.”

This father understands that enjoying God is a process. His kids once thought of God’s Word as a rule book. Now they’re experiencing God’s Word as His voice and enjoying a delicious meal for their souls (Psalm 119:103).

At first, his kids read the Bible just to complete all the study questions. “Over time, my kids’ thinking about Bible study has changed. It’s no longer ‘eat your vegetables.’ Now Bible study means tasting sweet honey.” The study questions serve his kids as a journal. They record God’s truths with words and pictures. This journal helps them realize what it means to enjoy God.

More than a “Dear Diary” discipline, journaling helps kids concentrate. God made our brains so the act of writing out our thoughts helps us think and remember. Here’s an amazing truth: nothing has a greater impact on a child’s life than the Word of God. The Holy Spirit takes God’s Word and points us to Jesus. When we write down what is true about God, the Holy Spirit supersizes it!

An 8-year-old’s journal entry.

These three journaling topics can also help get you started:

CLICK EACH TOPIC BELOW TO READ MORE

What do God’s actions tell you about who He is?

How can we help kids enjoy God as they would their best friend?

We cannot see God, but we can help kids know God in His Word. God’s actions tell us who He is. As you read the Bible together, point out what God is doing.

Then ask, “What did God do, and what does His action tell us about Him?”

Examples:

  • Genesis 1:1, 27; Psalm 19:1 – God created everything. God alone is able to bring something out of nothing. He is all-powerful and good.
  • Isaiah 41:10; Romans 3:24-26 – God is also righteous. Jesus willingly died so that the Father could forgive our sin and give us Jesus’ righteousness (Psalm 86:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
Describe what God has done for you in Jesus.

Children do not understand their own sinful hearts and the greatness of God’s grace to them in sending Jesus as an atonement for sin. We can help kids understand and remember God’s acts of love.

Ask, “What has God done for me in Jesus, and how will I praise Him?”

Examples:

  • Our holy and loving Father created us to love and enjoy Him (Genesis 1:27-30; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 John 1:1-7). As His precious children we are happiest when we live for His honor (Isaiah 43:4-7; Acts 17:28).
  • Jesus is stronger than everything – even sin and death. God promises to forgive the sin of all who turn to Him and trust in Jesus. God’s children will spend eternity in heaven with Him (Ephesians 1:4-5; Romans 8:1).
How you are learning to love the things Jesus loves?

Children think their own way is best. We can help them understand the joy and privilege of obeying our loving Father, whose way is always best (Romans 6:22-23; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

As you read the Bible, watch for God’s Word to teach, challenge, correct and train you and your child (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The Holy Spirit grows us to be more like Jesus as we respond to God (Ephesians 4:22-24). Knowing God as Father changes us from being rule-keepers to people who can find joy in obedience (Romans 8:14-16).

Examples:

  • The Holy Spirit is Jesus with you all the time. All who turn to God and trust in Jesus have the Holy Spirit living in them (Romans 8:9-15). That’s how close Jesus is!
  • God invites us to taste and see His goodness (Psalm 34:8). As we spend time getting to know God by listening to Him speak, we love and enjoy Him.
Super-sized enjoyment

Journal entries help you remember. God strongly warns His people not to forget His Word. At the same time, He encourages us to actively remember His goodness (Deuteronomy 4:10; 8:2, 18; 32:7). Help your family learn to rest in God’s grace for the future as you remember together what He has done in the past (2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:8). Journal in words, pictures, stories, poems or songs, to help you remember the mighty work of God in your lives.

Journal entries help you trace God’s work to make you more like Jesus. Most children enjoy looking at family photos and videos to see how much they’ve grown. Or they eagerly mark their physical growth on a door or wall. Spiritual growth is not as easily measured. The Holy Spirit changes us little by little, as we yield to Him. In the future, when you reread the journal notes, you will enjoy God even more. He will reveal to you His power at work in the minds and hearts of those you love.

Are you ready to start journaling as a family? Parents can play an active role in helping children discover their soul’s most satisfying joy in God. This requires earnest prayer and deliberate effort. Together, families can discover that the greatest enjoyment in this world and in the ages to come is God alone.

A 10-year-old’s journal entry.

Barbara Reaoch’s new book A Jesus Christmashas just been released. The book is a 25-day journey that can guide your family through the Old and New Testaments to Jesus.

Each day’s Scripture passage leads kids of all ages to explore God’s truth in their lives. The Family Journaling space gives you a daily opportunity to begin to learn how journaling helps kids enjoy God.

132 Comments

  1. Dear Barbra
    Glory to God for such a great inspiration
    Thank you Barbra for not keeping quite with this great inspiration that we can be able to impact the next generation.Am sure this will be interesting and make their mind and heart connect.I purpose by the help of the Holy Spirit to introduce to children when teaching them even at home .
    God bless you.

    • May God bless you as you teach the next generation, Virginia.
      Your in Christ,
      Barbara

  2. Dear Barbra. I would like to take this opprtunity to to thank you for the job you did as the children’s programme diracter. May the Lord bless you abuntantly. I am sure many children benefited form you leadership.

    • Thank you for your encouragement, Aletter,
      Barbara

  3. Hi hi Barbara 🙂 I just want to thank you so much for your servant-heartedness in BSF Children’s Ministry! I grew up spiritually in BSF and I LUV this wonderful ministry! Children are so precious and what you have done through BSF has been so impactful! Your contribution has been very much appreciated by many especially parents like me who can bring their infants and toddlers to BSF and study God’s Word together as a family! I had volunteered with the children’s program and I was blown away by the depth of teaching that takes place in an engaging way! All glory to God for using your passion and love for Him and the children in a creative way! I love your sharing on journaling and I am inspired to use the technique with our child when she is older, and also read the book! Blessings on your new adventure with God as you continue to love and serve Him in other ways!

    • Thanks so much for writing, Shari.
      warmly,
      Barbara

  4. Barbara, thank you for your testimony of how to love and lead in a Christ-like manner. God has used you countless times to encourage other leaders, volunteers, parents, and grandparents to remember our salvation in Christ carries over to everything we do and say. Your resources have impacted me personally as a CL, and I am grateful to have had the training from you through BSF HQ. May you enjoy your retirement and continue to reap the benefits of loving and serving Jesus through BSF.

    • Thanks for sharing your heart, Rachel. With gratitude, Barbara

  5. Hi Barbara,
    Thank you for your service in furthering God’s Kingdom. Do you do book signings?

    • Thanks for writing, Cindy. I do sign my books and would be happy to do so for you, any time. Barbara

  6. Dear Barbara,
    My family grew immensely through the children’s program at BSF. I thank you for all of your years of service to the Lord! As the children’s ministry leader at our church, I would like to purchase your devotional for each of our families. When looking on amazon, I am guaranteed delivery any time between November 26th and January 1st…yikes! Is there a better place to purchase this and be guaranteed delivery before December?

    • Thanks for writing, Tabatha – Amazon is having issues scheduling timely deliveries due to high demand.
      You can also order A Jesus Christmas from https://www.thegoodbook.com/a-jesus-christmas. They give guaranteed availability and standard shipping will take no more than 1 week.
      Ask them for bulk rates.

  7. Dear Barbara,

    I want to thank you for your years of leadership in the BSF children’s program. It is so meaningful in a child’s life. I have had the privilege of having three grandchildren in the program over a period of years and one great grandchild. Also, my daughter enrolled two other grandchildren in past years. They have loved the program as I have. It has given them the very basic foundation of knowing the Lord and how important the bible is and what Jesus means to them. My great granddaughter summed it up by simply stating “Jesus loves me.” I now have a three year old great granddaughter that I would love to bring to classes but she is very apprehensive of new situations and people just now. I hope to take her in the next year but don’t want to traumatize her this year. I hope to find details in past lessons to introduce her to God in her home. Her parents are not believers, but allow me to take the girls to BSF.

    I’ve gone on a bit but I truly want you to know just how much BSF has meant to me and my grandchildren. Thank you so much for your time and leadership in this great program.

    • Dear Barbara Congratulations as you proceed to retirement.I am sure you empowered my souls as Children’s Ministry leader for over a decade.Book you developed will be a blessings to our glad children in future.To God be glory.God bless you abundantly.

      • Thank you, Johnson. You said it well, To God be the Glory! warm regards, Barbara

    • Thanks for writing, Jean. I considered it a blessing to hear your stories of your precious grandchildren.
      From another grateful grandmother,
      Barbara

  8. Dearest Barbara,
    Thank you for the rich legacy of love for Christ and all His children you have demonstrated since the day we have known you!
    We love you deeply and pray the Lord’s richest blessings on you, His child, as He guides your steps in the future days.

    • Many thanks for the blessing of your love and friendship, Witt and Pat.

  9. Some times its a pain in the ass to read what blog owners wrote but this site is real user genial! .

  10. Dear Babara

    I serve in the BSF ministry as a Children’s Leader. Saw you and the team last year during the retreat in Singapore. I was greatly impacted by the gospel-centred teaching that you went through with us. Thanks a lot, realised the importance of doing that.

    • Thanks for writing, Victor. And many thanks for your service as a CL in Singapore. A leader who teaches a child the truth about God leaves an indelible impression on his or her heart.

  11. We’ve never met, Barbara, but I want to thank you for your service to BSF, and thank you for the books/journals you have published and are writing! I’ve ordered them for my grandchildren.

    • Thanks for writing and letting me share your joy. Children who have a godly grandmother are VERY blessed!

    • Thank you, Brenda. I trust God will bless your grandchildren as you read His truth with them.
      warmly,
      Barbara

  12. I would like to know how much the book is and I would love to order a book!

    • Thanks for the question Kathi…Amazon is currently restocking, so in the meantime, you can get your copy at…https://www.thegoodbook.com/a-jesus-christmas …. There’s guaranteed availability and standard shipping will take no more than 1 week…check the prices out on their website. Let me know if you have any more questions! Barbara

  13. This sounds like a great tool for children! Thank you for your commitment to the Lord and to teaching our new generation about the Lord through your instruction and writing to help parents be equipped! Thank you for your service & dedication to BSF for these years!

    • Thank you for writing, Lou.

  14. Thank you for your sharing and teaching. What a great idea to have the kids to start journaling and they can use drawing as part of their journals. Also the framework of journaling by addressing the 3 topics is very useful even for me as adult. Thanks again for your love for the kids. God bless the work of your hands.

    • Thanks Meiling…I trust you will find much enjoyment in God as you journal. Blessings, Barbara

  15. Barbara –
    I too am thankful for the wonderful materials we get to use to teach as BSF CL’s. But the thing that comes to mind when I hear your name is from when I heard you speak at a Leader’s Retreat in Charlotte earlier this year. Your presentation on Gospel centered vs moralistic teaching was a huge eye opener for me. Even the other day when I had an issue with my teenage daughter I asked God to help me handle it in a Gospel centered, not moralistic, way. Thank you so much for your service to BSF and teaching me this important truth. May God bless you and your family in your retirement.

    • Thanks for writing, Kelly. Always happy to hear what God does with His gospel truth! Love, Barbara

  16. Where can we get the Journal. I have 3 grandkids that I would love to give this to them. I am very interested in it, because I know what an impact on the BSF Children’s program has introduced and help trained so many children. Train up a child how they should know The Lord God and they shall not depart from it. Thank you for investing in each child and parent.
    Lynell Shamburger

    • Hi Lynell. You will find the family journal section in the book A Jesus Christmas. You may order the book on either Amazon or The Good Book Company websites. Happy journaling! Barbara

  17. I just bought Jesus Christmas and love how you’ve laid it out. I so appreciate you using clear methods to teach, but not with a heavy hand. I see a shift away from a behavior-driven Faith to one based on grace and truth and so appreciate your push towards that goal. I have been more than impressed with the BSF children’s program since we started three years ago. I can’t say thank you enough for the trickle down!

    • Thanks for your kind words….I’m grateful to know the shift toward grace is evident! Blessings, Barbara

  18. Barbara,

    As a former infant children’s leader I cannot say “Thank you,” enough. With my own young children what I have gained from teaching the Word of God to the tiniest babies is immeasurable. 2 Timothy 3:14-15 has been the verse I go back to again and again. Gospel-centered teaching and redemptive discipline have transformed not only my parenting, but also my perspective with adults! From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your continued faithful service to our Lord.

    • Yay!!! Thanks for writing Jill. For God’s glory, Barbara

  19. My daughter prayed to receive Christ as her Lord and Savior at age 8 through the BSF School Program when we lived in Singapore. I was CS in the first school age class there. She’s 30 now and has 3 lovely children. She was a BSF Childrens’ leader in NC and took two of her children to BSF. They already have a heart for God. They live in Oxford, MS now where there is no BSF class. They are military and move often. I pray their next move that they can return to a BSF class. I am now a leader in a satellite class on Hilton Head Island, SC. BSF is wonderful. I love how they are expanding through Satellite. The Childrens’ Program is awesome. Thank you for all you’ve done for many children worldwide. I just ordered your book for my grandchildren. May God richly bless you, Barbara.

    • Thanks for writing Sandy. It’s beautiful to hear about God’s grace to your family. May your grandchildren be blessed by the truth of Jesus, this Christmas. Barbara

  20. Barbara, May God bless you richly in your retirement! I remember when you brought the Infant/ Toddler classes to BSF and how well “Redemptive Discipline” was received, and used. Bible Study Fellowship has sure been a blessing to me for 10 years. I was a CL and ACS (currently a GL). I will consider buying your book for my grandchildren. Thank you for the “Journaling Topics” in the blog, too; they are great!! Love and blessings to you. Love in Christ, Lori

    • Hi Lori, Grateful to know that the I / T program and RD are among your happy remembrances in BSF. Thanks for your leadership in BSF. I trust your grandchildren will be blessed with truth and joy this Christmas. Barbara

  21. I want to use this opportunity to say thank you for your years of service and the investment you’ve made in God’s kingdom and in my grandsons lives. Ten years ago I became a discussion/group leader, and a grandmother to my first grandson a few years later. During that time, I attended my first retreat as a leader, and they announced the program where we were allowed to bring infants. They shared how the infants in the pilot program responded by sitting and listening as each weeks stories began in their classes. I was honestly utterly amazed by what was shared and I wanted my grandson to be there.
    Now I have my third grandson in the program, and each of them have been blessed. Our family has been blessed from there time of being in the program.
    There has been a direct correlation from what they say and do as a result of going through the children’s program. These are just a few examples of the extent of they understanding. You know how little boys do role play with one another, like cops and robbers, or other good guy and villains, well, my grandsons apparently do bible characters. Last year, the five year old said to the eight year old, “I’m Jesus on the cross,” and the oldest responded without hesitation, “and I’m the one who put you there, ” or when that same five year old said to me a year earlier, “MiMi, you know Jesus is coming soon.” The seeds that’s been sown into the children’s lives will forever, eternal impact their lives and ours.
    I look forward to purchasing your book for them to start journaling. Once again, thank you and God bless you in your continuing journey!
    To God Be the glory,
    Veronica Fox

    • Hi Veronica…..thanks so much for taking the time to share such a sweet testimony with me. My heart is happy! May your grandchildren discover truth and joy in Jesus this Christmas. To God be the Glory, Barbara

  22. Dear Barbara

    I’m a member of BSF satellite study group based at St. Stephens Kisugu church of Uganda (Anglican) in Kampala Uganda for the last three seasons.

    I started my BSF journey with the study about Moses (2015/2016), the study of John (2016/2017), the study of Romans (2017/2018) and currently continuing with the study of people to the Promised Land.

    Madam Susan C. Rowan just wrote to me an email and it is my first time to hear about you.

    Based on what I read, it is my prayer that God may have awarded you with spiritual ranking up the level of either a general or even more than that.

    I know that you are just retiring but, not tired and I wish you the best of all in your life, family plus others in general.

    Richard Livingstone Ochwo

    • Dear Richard Livingstone Ochwo, Thank you for writing. I am so glad to know of your involvement in a satellite group in Uganda. God is growing the work that began in Uganda long ago through our dear friends, Barbara, and Dan Chrouser. When my husband Ron and I were teaching BSF classes in Cape Town, South Africa, we always enjoyed meeting with the leaders from Uganda for retreat (in Nairobi, Kenya). You are right – I may be retiring, but by God’s grace, I am not tired!! For God’s glory, Barbara

  23. Barbara,
    I am so grateful for all you have given to BSF children and families. I love the journaling concept and I can’t wait to read the book. I will never forget how connected I felt toward you the very first time I went to HQ. God used you to encourage me just as He has used your service to encourage so many. Keep writing! Your encouraging thoughts and insight are a means of blessing for so many. I am praying that God enlarges your territory of impact for Him in all that the future holds!

    • So glad to hear from you, Jenny. Thanks for your encouragement. May His name be praised! Barbara

  24. Barbara,
    You have allowed the words of Jesus to guide your days…”come follow me”…and have been a lamp for so many others to follow.
    God bless and keep you until we meet one day.

    • Thanks so much, Rosemary. Following Jesus with you, Barbara

  25. Barbara,
    Thanks for allowing God to use you in the lives of children and families. You bring glory and honor to His Name. I will share the information about your work and book.

    • Thanks, Mary Ann. For His glory in the next generation, Barbara

  26. Barbara. You have done so much to enhance our BSF Childrens program and are thankful for your God given skills and insight.
    Wondering what is the age appropriate for tour new book? Couldn’t see it on the book cover or in the description at Amazon

    • Hi Vivian, thanks for your question. Right now several families, with children in a broad range of ages, are piloting A Jesus Christmas. They say that all family members are engaged from preschool to teens – even the parents! There are questions designated for younger kids and older kids – so something for all. Hope this helps. Blessings, Barbara

  27. Barbara- Thank you so much for how you served our Lord at BSF! I have been blessed to serve in the Childrens program as a leader during many of the changes implemented during your time. Redemptive discipline had such a huge impact in the lives of CLs and the children – truly a God sent gift for us all! Thank you for your work in Cape Town to start the class there! I think of you every time I visit there. Definitely getting your book to impact my future grandchildren for Christ!

    • Hi Dalene, Oh my….so you travel to Cape Town every now and then! How I miss those dear friends and thank God for their faith and trust in the Lord. Be sure to greet them all next time you visit. And may God richly bless you and your grandchildren… especially this Christmas, Barbara

  28. Shirley Lehrkind & Hawkins MCDonald, I have been in BSF for at least 10 yr,s. When I came to BSF, I was having a lot of trouble with my husband, As I read and studied the Bible, it had a message for all of us, He is our power, He is over all things in Heaven and on earth,He gives me the strength to face my battles. Has I was facing some things, I looked at my Grandson, I took him to BSF, when he was 6, he learned to listen, read better and God gave him strength to be a better person, he is now 22 year’s old and in his secound year of becoming a doctor . This is the letter he wrote to BSF. AS much as I would like to express myself and gratitude in person, it is great either way, to you and all the teachers at the church. I have greatly missed coming to BSF and hearing the nightly lecture’s, by such great teachers of God.I would like to come and thank all my teachers in person for the vast knowledge you have all passed down to my Grandmother and I, To always hold true to ourselves,and to be given the Blessings of The Living Word. It is my earnest hope and prayer that each boy and girl around the world remains safe, in Gods Great word and never fulters on the path to his Righteousness Ephesians 2:8 9 “For by grace you have saved through Faith, and that not of yourselves;it is the gift of God. Thank you for the wonderful word of God you have given all these children May God Bless you the rest of your days.

  29. Barb, so thankful for all the years you have given to BSF and the wonderful ways God has used you to share the gospel with all those precious children and students. Many blessings to you and Ron. Hope to visit you guys sometime in the future. I am currently in Chester, England visiting John and Cyd. I attended BSF here on Wednesday. As I walked to class, a young mom was pushing her little one in a stroller ahead of me. It made me smile when I caught up with her on the sidewalk and saw her BSF lesson in the basket in the bottom of the stroller. I am thousands of miles away from Virgina, but seeing that mom, her little one, and that lesson made me feel right at home! Your work at BSF is reaching moms and children all over the world. To God be the glory! Love you so much!!

  30. THANK YOU FOR SERVING THE LORD CREATIVELY AND FAITHFULLY!
    GOD has blessed you with many skills that you have used to motivate ALL age groups!!
    Psalm 127 and Psalm 128 and other precious Scriptures remind us of the precious gift of children.

  31. Dear Barbara,

    I thanks God that He had given me an opportunity to attended you seminar at last year retreat in Singapore. It help me so much.And I am bringing my son to BSF since he was 1 month old and now he was 30 months at First Baptist Church in Subang, Malaysia. He enjoy all the basic truth song, even myself love it so much. The lyric was so Awesome. God bless you.

  32. Dear Barbara,
    Thank you so much for your awesome commitment to the kids of BSF and for placing the next generation front and center. Being a CS has been a great gift from God and I am so thankful that I was able to come to HQ and meet you and be trained by you and your great staff. I’m sorry to see your time at HQ come to an end but I know that God always has a plan for us while we’re here and I know you will continue faithfully on that journey with Him. God bless you and your family.

  33. My son and I started attending a Women’s Day BSF class that offered the infant and preschool classes 4 years ago with the study of Revelation. It was a life-changing experience for both of us and we would sing the verses and songs in the car rides and at bedtimes. One year ago, when he began Kindergarten, I took my 3 school age kids to an evening BSF class that has the kids program. While Monday evenings were a challenge to get out of the house, we were always so blessed by the teaching and our car ride home was filled with deep, Biblical discussions. We are continuing the Monday night study and are so very appreciative of the lessons, notes, activities, and questions. Thank you for this ministry!

  34. Thank you, Barbara, for serving the Lord so faithfully for all of these years. Your impact will be felt for all of eternity! We were thrilled when the school program began and have had the blessing of having our children study the Word in BSF. It has been a tool the Lord has used in our family to encounter God through His Word. Now as an ACC, I get to see in an even greater way how your love for the Lord and for this next generation is truly impacting children and their families! I am thankful to God to have had the opportunity to serve under your leadership. God bless you as you move on to this next chapter of your life and see all that the Lord has for you and the many ways He will continue to use you for His glory!

  35. God bless your work for him, he will give you your reward.keep the faith as you move forward for our lord. Bsf sister in. Christ. Annie p.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This