George Whitefield- The Commissioning of an Oil Painting

The Story of Making a Book Unique

The publishing world is always interesting, but this last book on George Whitefield was especially interesting. It was definitely a lot of work, but rewarding, I must say. Many of you know I am a publisher as well as an author. I have an interesting publishing story to tell, so bear with me as  I veer from my normal posts on children.

This book was different in many ways from our more typical children’s books. But one difference was how the cover came about. This was a first. Never before he had I commissioned an oil painting for the cover of a book. We originally acquired this book because it had been in the hands of another publisher who was unable to complete the publication.

margo's whitefield 2_2 Before I continue, let me tell you a little bit about the book so you understand my concerns. This book is a complete biographical work on the life and ministry of George Whitefield, by Dan Nelson. Some of you may know who Whitefield is and some may have never heard of him, but you have all seen the effects of his ministry as some have referred to him as the father of evangelism. He was born in Gloucester, England and lived in the 1700s, about the time of John Wesley. Despite having an unusual eye that was dark and partially closed and a very atypical upbringing, his ministry was widespread with a reach throughout Great Britain and North America.

George Whitefield’s story is quite engaging. Even getting into college at Oxford was not the typical admission. He was the victim of ridicule, yet he ended up being one of the great communicators of all time. This is why we wanted to communicate carefully from the time the reader first laid eyes on the cover.

But back to our main topic of this blog, how we commissioned the painting on the cover. Did you ever wonder where the images on book covers and other designed pieces come from? They are usually purchased from companies that sell royalty-free images. Different companies may have different requirements for the use of these images, but it is definitely illegal to take an image off of the Internet and use it for a book cover because someone owns that image (unless it is old enough to be in public domain.) The owner is usually the person who created it.

I usually don’t design the covers for the LifeSong books, but I decided to design this one.

Because Whitefield lived in the 1700s, there are no current pictures of him, but there are many portraits and drawings from his time. Now, if you are familiar with copyright law, you know that a painting from the 1700s is in public domain. That means the copyright has expired and it is free to be used. So we settled on a delightful painting that seems to portray what we wanted for the cover of this great work and appeared to be a portrait from the 1700s.

Working on George WhitefieldThe book was ready to go to print. All seemed well, but one night this was gnawing on my mind and keeping me awake. The problem was that I had not been able to locate where this painting came from or who painted it. Of course, this concerned me because I knew I did not want to break copyright law. One evening, I sat at my quiet kitchen table and searched for close to three hours for this image. It was all over the Internet, but no reference as to where it came from.

Then Voila! The whereabouts of the George Whitefield painting and artist’s name popped up. It was located in the John Wesley Museum in London. In one sense, I felt relieved that it actually was an old painting, but in another sense, I was concerned because the museum declared ownership and there would be a fee to use the painting. I emailed the museum and never heard back from them. It is possible that if I had used the painting on the cover, no one would have cared. But I didn’t feel right about it. Plus, there are so many overused pictures of this man, the cover wouldn’t seem unique.

So, I shared this situation with my husband, Tim, and he asked me, “Why you get somebody to paint it?” I said, “Yeah, right! Like I know a museum artist that could paint a portrait like this?” Then I thought for a minute. I have a friend who was taking a portrait class and I had seen a sketch of hers and I was totally amazed at her ability to capture the emotion of the subject. The more I thought about this the more I got excited about the potential!

The next day I called Margo Ewing, and explained the situation to her and that I needed a painting of George Whitefield. After thinking about it, she got back to me the following day and said she would try, but reserved the right to not let it be used if she didn’t think it turned out well. I said, “Sounds like a deal.” So we settled on a price and she began to paint.

Every week she sent me the progress and I continued to get more excited each week. She did not copy the picture that I originally showed her but rather took attributes of his from several pictures. She was even able to put a candle in the picture which was meaningful since the title of the book is A Burning and Shining Light: the Testimony and Witness of George Whitefield.

Everyone who has seen the book cover has loved it, and it is great fun to have an original, commissioned oil painting that was turned into the cover of the book– a book that does not have a front cover picture that is in public domain. And, I am delighted to have designed a cover about such a man of purpose.

George Whitefield coverThe book has been out less than a month so this is all very recent. If you are interested seeing the cover enlarged, you can check it out at www.lifesongpublishers.com/shop/men/george-whitefield-a-burning-and-shining-light/.

We have discounted the books 20% which will be available for a while longer. But you can find them many other places as well.

A publisher’s life is never dull! Especially when you’re dealing with interesting authors and interesting book characters! And you never know what God will lay in your lap and see you through!

Laurie

Finding Rescue in Discipline

actually, finding rescue everywhere...

Kid’s love the theme of rescue. Have you noticed? Cartoons, movies, video games… We all love stories of rescue… fables of the knight in shining armor, the person who brings gas to us when we run out on the freeway, the person who stands up for us when we are unable to speak for ourselves. Maybe it taps into our inherent need for eternal rescue.

 

Rescue

 

I ran into a friend when I was picking up my granddaughter from her school yesterday. We were talking about the “rescue” theme and she relayed to me a concept that she had adopted with her kids. She described the process of discipline as “rescue.” Through discipline, parents rescue their kids from the imminent dangers of bad behavior. I had not thought of that before. They are rescuing them from the potential physical danger such as getting hit by a car if they play in the street or getting burned if they move too close to a fire. They are rescuing them from emotional danger and guilt if they do something to hurt another person.

But they are not only rescuing them from consequences. When parents discipline, they are also rescuing them from spiritual danger if they are out of alignment with God’s will for them or if they reject God’s authority in their lives. They rescue their children from displeasing God. This rescue has a far more extensive implication.

The message of rescue is an extremely prominent one in the Bible. This message begins in Genesis when God promises that he well send a “Rescuer” in Genesis 3:15. Revelation points to Jesus as the Savior of those that have followed Him. And all the books in between show example after example of how God rescues those He loves. How many examples of rescue can you think of in the Bible?

God is a Rescuer! To know the God of the Bible is to know His rescuing nature. This was ever present in my mind as I wrote: “To the Rescue.” The first words of the book are:

Save, rescue, free
His children big and small.
Worthy words were woven,
Recorded for us all.

The theme of rescue in our world is can be nail-biting, scary and tense. But in the Bible, we see rescue as LOVE “on steroids.” Noah, Jonah, Peter, Shadrack, Meshak, and Abednego are only a few of the people who knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that they had been rescued by God. The rescue that God does for us is unmatched by any of the most exciting movies, television or games. And all of us, who are God’s children, get to participate. When we know the living God, we get to participate in the best rescue of all by the best Rescuer of all!

Laurie

ps. This is such a great and timely message that I am giving you a free book! Buy To the Rescue before Easter or Mr. Blue- a Job for Youand you will receive the other one free! Yes!

The Morning After

the 2016 election

It has been a long road. We have endured much in this 2016 election campaign. I see everything from disgust to elation, from rejoicing to riots in my Facebook feed and on the news on this day after the election. But one thing is for sure, we are all tired.

This 2016 election was painful for very many. It was full of anxiety and passion. And now, we have a new president. Some are happy some are depressed. Some are saying, “He’s not my president.” Some are flying on a cloud. I read one post this morning that simply stated, Can we just stop hating each other now?

Here are some more thoughts. I need to preface them with answering a few questions. Did I vote? Absolutely! Did I think this election was important? Absolutely! Will I tell you how I voted? Nope! Do I think we are to pray for new president. Absolutely!

The Bigger Issue

But I believe that is not the bigger issue. So many of us have been so wrapped up in this election, that we have forgotten, or at least compartmentalized, something really huge — that is that there is another Kingdom. That Kingdom is unseen, eternal, and without error. The King of the Kingdom is always perfect, always in control, and loves without ceasing. No matter how we feel about our earthly president, no matter how much we trust or don’t trust our earthly president, he has failed and will fail us again in some way because his human.

Let me remind you of God’s character. He is perfect, the definition of love, all-powerful, all-knowing, and is everywhere. He is faithful, he is just, he is holy, and he is sacrificial. There is no king or ruler like him and he will never change.

While I will do what I can to love and support my country, I know it is still a temporary kingdom. But God’s kingdom is forever. So what is my first and greater passion? —To be a part, and be a contributing part, of God’s Kingdom.

How to Help Your Kids

I guess we all do that in a different way. But one thing that is really important is to teach our kids about the God of that perfect Kingdom. In that kingdom they will learn that:

  • that Ruler is perfect
  • in that Kingdom they are loved
  • in that Kingdom they are secure
  • in that Kingdom they are forgiven
  • in that Kingdom they have hope
  • that King will never fail them
  • that King will grow them in time

This is my hope and prayer for all kids, as well as all Americans, that they know this King and are part of His kingdom.

So no matter how you feel about the 2016 election, turn your passions, your energy, and even your frustrations to lead your kids into hope… the hope that does not disappoint.

 

What I Have Been Working On- It’s New and Innovative!

Virtual Author Day- And you are in on the ground floor!

Hi Friends,

I have to make a big apology for the past months that I have not written. In the last months I have been distracted by broken bones, illness, and a medical mission trip to Indonesia. But I also have another reason, a bigger reason, of why I am excited to write to you. I have been working on a big project that I would like to share with you.

I have been focused on a new project- Virtual Author Day- that I think could completely change the way children’s authors connect with the readers of their books. This project will also change the way classrooms and homes across our country relate to authors, learn about writing kids books, and grasp the messages from published authors.

education, elementary school, learning and people concept - group of school kids with teacher talking in classroom
Imagine sitting in your child’s classroom. You are enjoying a video of a reading from an author of a delightful book, sitting in their yard or home, speaking directly to your kids. Then, your kids get to see a second video of the author speaking directly to them about why they wrote the book and more about its message. With these two videos, they will see authors as real, relational people. Then your kids get puzzle worksheets that help them understand the message more clearly. And to top it off, they get a scheduled live interview with the author by live video or phone. They can think of their own questions to ask! And if that’s not enough the teacher or parent has access to an author blog that enriches the teacher. This is the essence of Virtual Author Day.

I have been a published children’s author for 29 years. I know the ins and outs of writing, publishing, and marketing kids books. Direct contact with parents, teachers, and students has been by far the most successful. But direct contact is difficult and expensive to make, outside of one’s nearby towns.

All of the videos and PDFs are delivered monthly with additional bonuses, by Virtual Author Day, to the teacher or parent. Kids will feel like they know the author personally when they have seen them, read the book, heard their story, and been able to live-interview them. This is designed to bring new excitement, new perspective, and the kids will look forward to “author day” in their home or classroom. Sounds like fun, huh!

This is all going to be available soon through www.VirtualAuthorDay.com. We are in stage 2, of 3 stages.

Stage 1 is completed- The platform is all designed and ready to go.

Stage 2 is in progress- We are in the process of enlisting authors to become Virtual Author Day Authors. So if you know any children’s authors, send them our way! This will be the least expensive and most far-reaching advertising that they can do.

Stage 3 will be the final stage when we enlist teachers and parents to join (for an extremely small fee) to receive the monthly author listing where they can get to know and interact with the author personally.

So before Virtual Author Day can be fully functioning, we need to enlist 11 or more authors. Then we are ready to go! This should be easy to do when authors see the value they will get.

So here is what I would like to do for you. I am going to give you the first month’s sample listing. After you sign up, feel free to use it with your kids and see the huge advantage of having this monthly in the future. You can sign up for the free listing at

https://www.virtualauthorday.com/offers/2pTtn6d2

This takes you behind the curtain to the actual platform, where you can see the design of Virtual Author Day. You will see what it will look like when you have your listing. When you are inside, click on this page, go to the middle link, which is the grade 1-3 link and you will see the link to the sample.

If you like it, do you think it would be possible to do something for me?

I would also really love it- if you do like it- could you give a testimonial that we could use in future advertising? You could write in the comments of the videos or email me. That would be REALLY helpful!

Could you pass this on to a children’s author that you might know. (Or even one that you don’t know!) That is what will get the ball rolling. Once it starts to grow, I think it will have very far reaching impact!

Of course I will let you know when this will be fully available for teachers and parents on a monthly basis. Thanks for being a faithful subscriber to www.LaurieDonahue.com. I have enjoyed our relationship and I look forward to it continuing. When you sign up for the sample, it will include an interview with me. That will be fun. Please plan to introduce yourself if we haven’t met yet.

So l’ll be talking with you soon!

Laurie
Laurie@virtualauthorday.com
Laurie@lifesongpublishers.com

Your free sample of Virtual Author Day here

Please contact me with any questions! I will be happy to answer any and all!
Laurie Donahue is an author and speaker who lives in Southern California. She has written or co-written 6 books for children and teens, including the bestseller, “God Should I Be Baptized?” She holds a California Community College Teaching Credential. Laurie’s website is www.lauriedonahue.com.

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Mr Blue Characters Have Different Gifts

Free Download

Mr Blue Characters Have Different Gifts and Personalities

Each of true Mr Blue characters has his or her own personality. They are all gifted differently and you will grow to love them!

I am offering a FREE DOWNLOAD of the colorful characters and a scenery page. There are so many things you can learn about and do with Mr. Blue and his friends. Here are just a few:

  • Make finger puppets to play and role play
  • Make a mini-theater with a shoe box and some cloth
  • Mount the characters on popsicle sticks for play and role play
  • Cover the characters in clear packing tape to keep them clean and protected
  • Make a shadow box of the characters and related items for wall decor
  • Send me your idea of what you did with the Mr Blue characters!

Mr Blue a Job for You

The Mr Blue Characters were born out of a book called Mr. Blue a Job for You. Do your kids ever compare themselves to others and think they are not as good? Do your kids ever feel they have nothing to contribute? Do your kids really know that God has a special purpose for them? The Mr. Blue story will show them the answers to these questions. You can get Mr. Blue here.

Now for the FREE Stuff! Here is your free PDF download of the Mr Blue characters as well a the scenery page. Have fun with it. If you come up with any new ideas, let me know and I will share them here so everyone can try it.

Mr Blue Characters

Click here for PDF of Mr. Blue Characters and Scenery

If you want further description of the Mr Blue message and to get more free bonuses, here is a video that you can watch where I describe my story of why I wrote it. I also offer several free tools with a book purchase that you can use to help you child learn to live out God’s purpose in his life.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 9.17.54 AM

God’s best to you as you strive to help the kids in your life know God’s Purpose!

Laurie

Feast That Beats All Feasts

The Greatest Feast of All

Who doesn’t enjoy a fabulous feast buffet with so many choices of delicious foods! The long table is wonderfully pleasing to our eyes before we ever even get the food to our plate and then to the table. And then when we get the fork to our mouths, we want it to last and last because it tastes so good, but our poor stomachs just won’t hold any more. Have you ever had that feeling?

I listened to a wonderful description of the celebration of the greatest feast ever. I really thought you would also enjoy it, so I am giving you the link here to Joni Eareckson Tada’s beautiful description. The mp3 is only 4 minutes but it will change your perspective for a lifetime!

A couple of months ago, I shared the Intersection of 2 Special Passovers. It was one of my most popular blogs. If you didn’t get to read that blog you may want to go back and read it and get the free Passover Parallels chart. We received the gift of communion at a very special Passover celebration.

Communion Feast

Just as Joni says, “…that word “feast” is a greatway to describe it, because the Lord’s Supper is a means of grace, when we come to Him in humility, acknowledging our sins and looking for help, and when we take the bread and wine, He imparts His own strength and spiritual life and He does so with extravagant abundance. Communion really does represent something big and abundant, because when Christ offered Himself as Passover, He poured out His mercy in a huge way. His is a banquet of grace, a buffet where you find joy, peace, kindness, courage, compassion, goodness, gentleness, self-control, patience, tenderness; how about perseverance, long-suffering, endurance and contentment, pleasure and so, so, so much more; never ending.”

May you enjoy this feast in an new way!

Laurie

 

Choice to Rejoice?

How Do You Rejoice When Bad Things Happen?

Choice to Rejoice?

When you find yourself in the midst of a trial, what is your reaction? Anger, weeping, hopeless? Do you believe it is your choice to rejoice? Read on to hear a song that you will love, that is full of hope!

There’s a story of a young, 17-year-old girl who was on a group outing. She was active, promising, and blossoming, with her whole life ahead of her. She was an avid horseback rider who loved life and everything in it. Some would say it was a tragic day when she and her friends were swimming in the Chesapeake bay and she took a dive in shallow water. She hit her head on the bottom of the bay and was permanently quadripeligic.

Helpless and dependent as a quadriplegic, she lay in the hospital striker frame, wanting to die. In fact, she asked friends to help her take her life. She couldn’t even do that on her own. She felt hopeless and purposeless. Until one day, a friend read Scripture and spoke to her. That day she found a seed of hope.

You probably know who I’m talking about– the well-known, Joni Eareckson Tada. It has been many years since those days. Yet, still trapped in her quadriplegic body, she has been able to write books, host a radio show, sing, paint with her mouth, and run an organization that sponsors family camps and delivers wheelchairs all over the world to those whose life is changed forever.

Joni Eareckson Tada rejoices in her affliction. She claims hope in Christ and finds Scripture to help her reframe her circumstances. Joni does not call her accident day a tragic day! It is her choice to rejoice! She praises God for the life He has given her. She sees what God has been able to accomplish through her. She knows the truth of God’s soverignty without a shadow of a doubt. She counts herself as one of many who have found the favor of God in their adversity.

Several years ago, before I ever met Joni, I wrote a song about when and how we should rejoice. Do we rejoice when things are going well? Yes! Do we rejoice in uncertainty? Yes! Should we rejoice in trials? The Bible says, Yes! Do we have a choice to rejoice? Yes! The song is called, Choice to Rejoice.

Click the happy kids below to listen to the song!
choice to rejoice

Click on this link.

 

 

 

I hope this has encouraged you this morning. If you would like to have this song at your fingertips, you can purchase it on the 4-Ever His! CD, along with 7 other songs of encouragement.

Keep your great ministry to your family, your church, and among your friends going!

Laurie

P.S. Amy Hurtado sang Choice to Rejoice on this recording when she was 12. She now works for Joni Eareckson Tada!

Passover Lamb Stories- There are Two, Actually 3

Significant and Interrelated

Two Passover Lamb Parallels

I have two really special Passover Lamb stories I want to remind you of this morning and then I want to show how they are connected in a very special way. But first, here is a free gift. (Be sure to read the rest of the blog to explain its significance.)

*Click Here For Free Passover Parallels Chart

The Israelite Slaves

The first story is the the story of the Israelites as slaves in Egypt. They were made to work hard, building bricks, and their masters were cruel. But God had a plan to rescue them. Moses was chosen to be their leader. When he repeatedly went to Pharaoh and asked for him to free the Israelites, Pharaoh repeatedly said “No.” So God gave the plagues of Egypt to the Egyptians to show Pharaoh that God was in control. Although they were all powerful, the last plague was the most dramatic. God sent an angel to kill all the firstborn babies and the firstborn animals of the Egyptians. But He spared the Israelites.

Passover Lamb

They were to sacrifice a lamb (Passover Lamb) and put its blood on the door posts of their homes. When the angel came through to kill the firstborn children, he would “passover” those houses that had the blood of the sacrificed Passover Lamb on the door posts, and spared the Israelites. Following that, God commanded the Israelites to celebrate Passover as a remembrance of God’s rescuing them. Don’t you just LOVE that theme of rescue throughout the Bible!

Our Passover Lamb

Now I have another story I want to remind you of. It happened the night before Jesus was crucified on the cross. Jesus was meeting in the Upper Room with his disciples for a very special meal together. It was a very intimate time of sharing for many of them, but for Judas, it was the night he betrayed Jesus with 30 pieces silver. This is the night that Jesus gave them the wine and the bread and said “This is my body which is given for you. This is my blood which was shed for you.” Jesus was telling them that soon He would be sacrificing His life for them, so they could live forever with Him. This was the first communion and it is packed with meaning.

Now, here is the reason for telling these two stories together. They are intimately connected. You see, when Jesus met with his disciples for the Last Supper, the night before His death on the cross, they were actually celebrating Passover. They were celebrating God’s rescue of His people by way of the Passover Lamb’s blood painted on the doorframes. So Jesus death happened during the Passover celebration- resulting in our our death being passed over because the Lamb of God shed His blood for us on the cross! All while they were celebrating the Jewish Passover. WOW! And the most intimate of all events, the Last Supper, is the vehicle for displaying God’s grace and mercy on us through the sacrifice of His Son. Again given on Passover.

Looking back on this, it’s clear to see that Passover foreshadowed our salvation. The gift I referrred to above is a worksheet that your students can use to look up Scriptures that compare the Passover rescue to our rescue through Christ. It makes our rescue so much more memorable to see that God was working throughout history, preparing for our rescue. This chart is taken from The Lord Supper… Let’s Get Ready! where this is explained on the kids level in more detail in this workbook.

God’s rescue of His children and the Passover Lamb is foreshadowed over and over again throughout Scripture. To the Rescue is a picture book that I wrote to display how God has shown this throughout Scripture. This may also be a helpful tool.

If you missed it,  here is that free chart for you to download.

*Click Here For Free Passover Parallels Chart

Easter is around the corner! And before Easter comes Easter week. May you all have a wonderful preparation for Easter and rejoice in Jesus’ great sacrifice for you. This is such a great week to bring all of this together for the kids and parents.

 

*This chart is taken from The Lord Supper… Let’s Get Ready! You might find this a good tool to prepare your kids for communion, as well.

Baptism Class – Are Your Kids Ready?

Are your kids prepared for baptism? Here are some questions that will be a great tool for you to see if your kids are ready and to determine if YOU are ready! They will also be answered at my upcoming baptism class teleseminar. (courses.lauriedonahue.com)

Baptism Class – Week 1:

  • When is baptism dangerous?
  • What are our goals?
  • What is the best class size, age?
  • Why is the character of God critical?
  • How are God’s attributes interrelated?
  • What makes your student/child unique?
  • What is the main take-away of session 1?

Baptism Class – Week 2:

  • Does your child understand why Jesus came to earth?
  • Why were we separated from God?
  • How do you lead a child to salvation without forcing him/her?
  • Why isn’t just asking Jesus into your heart the right approach?
  • How do you know if a child is really ready for baptism?
  • How do we prevent creating little Pharisees?
  • What is the attitude we want the child to have at the end of this session?

Baptism Class – Week 3:

  • Can the child know if he is ready for baptism and explain why?
  • Can the child find evidence in Scripture for his/her baptism?
  • What about God does baptism represent?
  • Can you identify the child’s motives for baptism?
  • Do you think you are attempting to influence the child if he/she is not ready?
  • How do you guide a child in writing their testimony?

Baptism Class – Week 4:

  • Can you explain “God’s Game Plan” for His children?
  • How do you help to guide the child’s reasons for obedience?
  • How do you help him understand what it means to “share Jesus” with his friends?
  • How can you help your student understand the joy and contentment that comes with being a Christian. (This is tied to all of the previous sessions.)
  • What will be different about his/her life?This is the content of an upcoming Teleseminar course I am leading beginning on Friday, February 5th. It is going to be live and jam packed with information including Q&A. Don’t miss it! You can receive more information or enroll now at www.courses.lauriedonahue.com.

    Baptism class book- God Should I Be Baptized?

    God Should I Be Baptized?

The deadline to sign up for this course is Wednesday, February, 3 at courses.lauriedonahue.com.  If you don’t make it in time, let me know and I will put you on the waiting list for the next offering.   Laurie@lifesongpublishers.com

Big Picture… Zoom… Big Picture

The Big Picture

Do you remember the feeling of being lost? Have you been in a corn maze where every cornstalk at every turn looks the same and you have no idea how to find your way out? Or how about hiking when you wander off the trail and you attempt to find your way back and all the trees look the same?

As a child, I remember one of my favorite attractions at Pacific Ocean Park (it is long gone), was the House of Mirrors. In the maze of mirrors, I remember having no idea which way to turn. Yet, everywhere I turned, I saw the same thing- ME!- Along with the myriad of available directions I could turn that reflected around me. I guess somehow, seeing myself in the midst of it all, it gave me the false assurance knowing that I could see myself and therefore, I knew where I was. :)

Being in any type of a maze, where you can only see the one step before you, can be un-nerving. We like to know what is around the corner, in both our footsteps and our lives. This myopia leaves you with the feeling of not knowing which direction or even how big of a step to take. It rings of the classic saying, you can’t see the forest for the trees, or the story of the children all touching a different part of the elephant and describing something very different.

Not Knowing What Is Coming Helps You Trust God

Yet, sometimes there is an advantage. When you don’t know the future, it can force you to trust more in God. When you really know God’s character, you may not know the future, but you know the person who does. He not only knows the future, but He also holds it in His hand and He will guide and direct us! That is more comforting than simply knowing the future, but being left to our own navigation!

But what if we have both? What if you trust God with your future and have a roadmap to tell you where you are going and what is up ahead? A roadmap can give us the “big picture” which can be very helpful in preventing wrong turns and wrong decisions. We can learn lessons more easily when we have a roadmap.

I know when I am learning something new, trying to grasp unrelated, solitary facts is very difficult. Often, they don’t make sense. It is only after I see how the pieces string together, that I begin to understand where the thoughts are going.

They Need to See the Big Picture

Kids are no different. They need to see the big picture to understand the smaller pieces of knowledge, as well. Scripture is very interrelated. For instance, you can’t understand God’s love and mercy until you understand his sinlessness. You can’t understand His justice until you understand His holiness. You really can’t fully comprehend the New Testament without understanding the Old Testament. These relationships are best seen when you show the whole picture. For an example, when you teach the character of God, first step back and teach about God generally. Then teach the attributes individually and interrelated.  Then teach them again as a whole. You will have the kids understand them far better then just teaching them separately.

As you teach, you can keep this in mind and give a roadmap of where you are going before you set out, so your students have an idea of the big picture. If they know where they are going, it will make more sense to them. Then you need to be sure the individual pieces of knowledge are broken down sufficiently to be understandable. It is always useful to conclude with the big picture again in order to help them pull all of the facts back together. It is like the zoom effect on your camera. You zoom out to see the whole story, then zoom in to see the individual parts, then zoom out again to conclude the thought. You may do this several times throughout a lesson.

I have used this concept in my newest children’s picture book called, To The Rescue, which are vignettes of God rescuing His children throughout the Bible (including us). Children need to see that God in the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament and also the God they know now. This rescue theme that runs from the beginning to the end of the Bible will be more powerfully understood when the individual stories of the Bible are also viewed as the main story that threads through all of the Bible.

As you are bringing together your next lesson, remember the big picture! Don’t let your kids be lost in the house of mirrors. Remember…Big Picture… Zoom… Big Picture!