“This Little Prayer of Mine” (Children’s Book Review)

This Little Prayer of Mine is a great book to read your small children before bedtime.  It is short. It has great illustrations that allow for childlike speculation on what is happening in the story.  It rhymes. It contains simple childlike thoughts that kids might really have given a situation.  My daughter enjoys having me read it to her.

We have already been teaching our children to pray and have been practicing bedtime prayers, meal prayers, as well as various prayers of thanks or concern throughout our day.  This book has been good to supplement the idea that it is okay to take matters to God in prayer, but hasn’t been particularly instructional in our case.

Over all it is a good book and I would recommend it for parents with young children. This Little Prayer of Mine is a great resource. The retail price is $12.99 (Hardcover), and is available at places like Amazon.com for $9.35. I gave it four stars.

Disclaimer:  This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.  There was no requirement to give the book a good review.  Just to review it and tell you what I really think.

Other Resources for Children

Sammy and His Shepherd

The Lightlings

The Prince’s Poison Cup

What’s In the Bible? with Buck Denver

The Children’s Storybook Bible

3 Things I’d Tell My Teenage Daughter After Watching New Moon

Ok before I start its only fair to say that my daughter isn’t a teenager (she’s almost 4) and I’m really not a fan of Twilight.  But because I was forced to see the movie and I work with teenagers (and I can imagine my daughter being a teenager one day), I went to the movies with the eyes of a father.

Here are three things I’d tell my daughter after we watched New Moon together…

1. You are intensely loved by me and worthy of being pursued one day by the right young man.

My hearts desire is that you follow that path that God has for you.  If that includes marriage, then my hope is in giving you away to the right man.  Until then I will do everything I can for you as a father.  I will chase away the creeps, ask you great questions, and perform background checks on any guy that comes through the front door (ok maybe not the last one…but maybe).  I also promise that if you bring home the right guy you won’t find me cleaning my gun or talking about how people get lost in the Everglades and never come out.  In fact it will be a joy for me to give you away one day.  If you bring home the right guy, I’ll pay for the wedding and rejoice on the day that my princess becomes someone elses queen.

2. Some things appear more urgent than they are.

In the movies Edward says all kinds of nice things to Bella (once you take away the creepy 100 year age difference… please never date a man 100 years older than you… thats a whole new level of creepy).  Everyone enjoy hearing nice things like, “you make life worth living.”  Sometimes words spoken softly and sweetly can be mistaken for love.  Real love is a commitment and it takes time to show up.  Guard your self from giving your heart away to anyone who talks a good game.  This kind of talk can make you think that things are more intimate than they are.

Too many young men are careless with their words.  Many young boys are living life in transition and are mistaken in their feelings or they carry sinister motives and are trying to manipulate you. A young man worth your time will guard his words and will not lead you on.  The woman pursued by solomon in Song of Songs offers some wise advice here.  She says, “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases” (Song of Songs 2:7).  Real love is patient and is evident in a young man’s actions long before it appears in his words.

3. Don’t make strong commitments while your life is in transition.

You have grown up so much from the first time I held you in my arms.  You have learned so much.  Every day of your life I have been amazed by you and I am proud of who you are becoming.  I know one day that if it is God’s will that I will give you away at your wedding.

Right now you are going through a time of transition.  You are no longer a child, but you aren’t quite an adult yet either.  You are changing.  Your body is changing and your thoughts, attitudes, and desires are all changing. It is okay to change.  One of the problems with this time in your life though is that sometimes you may not know what you want.  Or you may want two things.  Like Bella in the movie you may have two guys who like you and you may like them both.

A mature woman will act decisively. Even as you become an adult, when you are uncertain I beg you not to commit yourself to anything until you have figured what you want.  This is the reason for the really unpopular rule about how old you need to be before you can date.  I’ll be honest.  My aim is to give you away on your wedding day both physically and emotionally pure.  I know that purity in your marriage will light an intense fire of intimacy and trust with your husband.

I love you and I truly want the best for you.  That day they handed you to me in the hospital was one of the best days of my life.  Everyday with you had been a joyful adventure. I will always be your father and I will always love you.

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  • Balancing Ministry And Family (Part 1:Children)

    My dad was a pastor and church planter while I was growing up.  He would often work a regular job, pastor a small church, and do a bible study and some ground work in a community or ranch (sometimes up to 60 miles away) that would lead to a church plant.  Needless to say he was busy.  (Oh, and I forgot to mention there were four of us kids, all begging for his attention.) Yet, unlike several PK’s (pastor’s kids) I knew my dad always had time for me.  I never felt like I was in competition with the church or the ministry for his time.


    Perhaps this was because my Dad was incredibly gifted in balancing his time.  I still remember the fishing trips to a bend in the river 15 miles outside of town, the fossil hunting expeditions, catching snakes, looking for arrowheads, discovering a dinosaur bone, and pestering him while he worked on the car that always seemed to stay broken.  My favorite memories though are the weekly trips we would take out to a Bible study he was leading.  I was blessed to have a 45 minute ride each way with my dad.  All along the way there we would talk about life.  All the way back we would listen to radio preachers like John MacArthur, Charles Stanley, and Chuck Swindoll.

    So then fast forward several years and now I’m an Associate Pastor of Students, taking graduate classes, and have my own little girl looking at both the ministry and my daughter thinking (with all of my other responsabilaties) that there isn’t enough time in the day.  How did my dad ever do it?  Then I realize that he didn’t view his time with me and ministry as in competition, but as a complimentary.  Sure we took special trips to hunt for arrowheads or go fishing (Quality time) but along the way he was sure to get plenty of time (quantity time) with me along the way through taking me along on some of his ministry outings.

    So I stole a page from my dad’s playbook when it comes to stretching the hours in a day.  I take my little girl to the sporting events that our students are playing in.  Last week we went to three different games.  She got to watch a basketball game, a race, and a football game all in one week.  With my wife being a stay at home mom and pregnant with baby number 2, this works out well to give her a little personal mom time while Rebekah and I hang out and cheer our students on.

    We also schedule consistent father daughter hangout time.  Right now because of her age its usually pancakes at McDonald’s every Friday morning.  She usually hangs out with me after I run in the evenings and I tell her everything I did that day (which has evolved into her telling me about her day… very strange for a 3 year old).  Sometimes I’ll walk instead of run so she can “run” with me around our neighborhood.

    How do you ensure that you are spending quality time with your children when you are busy?

    Choosing to Date Differently

    I remember the day that I called my mom and said, “Had I known it would be like this, I would have never dated.  I would have skipped every prom, homecoming, and barn warming dance (a Missouri thing).  I am hopelessly in love with the woman I want to marry and I just now realized that I have wasted my life  trying to be some other girls’ hero… I am ready to be a husband.” That statement represented a huge paradigm shift that took place in my life from being a serial dater to dating with the intent for marriage.

    Over the years God has blessed my wife Avia and I with the opportunity to share with many single people about how we dated (some would call this courtship).  Sadly the story I will share over the next few blog post will sound completely contrary to the dating culture.  I remember my own years of looking for “love” and going about it in all the wrong ways.  I have sat across the table from enough lonely and desperate people to know that things haven’t changed much.

    If you are single and looking for the right way to date hopefully these blog posts will be an encouragement to you about how God can guide you through this time of your life.  My aim is 3 fold.  1. I will be sharing in a story format how Avia and I came to be married.  2. I will be sharing practical principles and steps we took. 3. I will be sharing the scripture that lead us to those principles and steps.

    Stay tuned…. Here are some of the titles of upcoming blog posts

    My Story (Introduction)

    flickrcom-photos-linnybinnypix-1189889644God did something to me a few years ago and I now have a story to tell.  I want to share my story with you for several reasons.  Some people want to catch up and know what life has been like in the Hill House these last several years.  Others of you want to know what, if anything is really different than the Jonathan you used to know.  Still more of you have only known me as a Christian and you wonder what was life like before you met me.  Most importantly I want to bring honor to God and tell the world the story of how he saved me and he can save you if you are willing.


    Over the next several days I will be blogging my story (complete with scripture references).  My goal is to show you what God has done in my life looking through the lens of God’s word.  The title of each blog and day it will be posted are listed below.  Tune in this week to get the full story.

    How I Learned that God is Faithful

    161992803_f87db32131_mSo I shared the story of how God touched my life with a group of men on Saturday night.  I talked about how I grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere in Montana and the adventures I had as a child.  In the midst of it all I got to share my favorite memories from my childhood.

    The truth is I have a terrible memory.  My younger brother can remember tons of stuff that failed to register with me as we were growing up.  What I do remember is this… God is faithful!

    God heard my mother’s prayer to have a child after 2 miscarriages and gave me to her.  He heard my father’s prayer over my new born brother and mom when it looked like he might loose them both  (she had birth complications in a one doctor town in the middle of a blizzard in Eastern Montana).  He provided for our every need (especially when we were poor).  We would gather together as a family and pray about our circumstances and money would come in from a friend out of town or God would bless us with 60 lbs of Pinto Beans (you had to be there to hear the story).

    Later after my father had his stroke and was fired from his church I rebelled.  I ran from all I had heard growing up.  Each night I that I would come home drunk I would have to pass by my mothers room where I would hear her praying for me (she didn’t know what all I’d been doing).   God was faithful and heard her prayers and eventually brought me to a point where I met Jesus Christ as  my Lord and Savior.

    I learned that God is faithful through the prayers of my parents.  I’ve read the bible through 2 or 3 times now and understand every word to be true, but I saw it first in my parents simply trusting God in the midst of difficult circumstances. I pray that my daughter sees God’s faithfulness in my actions and response to circumstance.

    I share more about my story in a series of blog posts.  You are welcome to check them out here.

    Tell Me the Story!

    n823463843_859731_881“Tell me the story!  Tell me the story of when I was born!” She said desperate to hear again  of how her life had so indelibly touched ours.  She looked up with eager anticipation of the story she new only too well.

    One wonders at what goes through the mind of a two year old when such questions arise.  Is it vainglory wanting to be recognized as significant?  Is it her way of understanding the past that she has no memory?  Or is it simply that she wants to know that her father loved her from the very start?

    Tenderly I pull her onto my lap and she rests her soft head on my chest.  A smile dawns her face as she looks up in expectation.  I smile at her and treasure the moment in my heart.

    Then begins the story.  The story of how Rebekah was born.  As the word’s come out of my mouth, I find myself praying that God would use this simple moment to shape my daughter’s heart. I navigate through the events of Rebekah’s birth choking back the tears as my mind is flooded with the emotion that God grants with memory.

    The story is finished and her questions have been answered, she gives me a hug.  The moment is over as quickly as it began.   And another line is written in a different story for Rebekah… The story of Rebekah’s Dad.  I pray that I don’t fail her.

    . . . . . .

    We’ve been using real life stories lately to illustrate the scriptures to Rebekah.  Woven into the story of her birth is Psalm 127, the passage of scripture I memorized years before Avia and I were ever married.  Woven into the story of the day Avia and I were married is Ephesian 5, the passage I used to propose to Avia.  And woven into the story of my salvation is Revelation 3 and Romans 10:3 that God used to break my heart and show me my need of Him.