A Bump in the Page - Getting the foundation right from the start. Post by S. J. Little

Getting the foundation right from the start.

Yesterday, I picked up my Bible to continue reading where I had left off: Genesis 4. I read the first verse about how Cain was born. Imagine the excitement – the first baby ever born!

Then, as I pondered this, I ran my hand over the page, smoothing it down. I paused and touched one area again. There was a bump somewhere under the page.

I hesitated. Chasing the source of little bumps in the thin pages of a Bible can be as pointless as chasing the wind. Evidently some speck of dust or what not had become stuck on one of the previous pages. Many a time I have spent far too long trying to locate and wipe off a speck of dust and ended up not actually reading much of the Bible because of this distraction. Was now a good time to ignore this bump in the page, or should I find the source and clear it out?

Because I was only at Genesis chapter 4, and the bump was towards the front of my Bible, I decided I’d try to find the source. Surely I wouldn’t have too far to go… unless it was in the many introductory pages. Besides, it was a bigger than average bump. If I left it now, it may continue to irritate all the way to Psalms, or perhaps even into the New Testament. I should take care of it now, before I get much further.

I turned back a page and ran my hand over the spot. It was under that page as well. I’d have to go deeper.

On the next page, I felt for it again. Still further.

I turned to the next page, and then the next. I still hadn’t found the source.A Bump in the Page - Looking for the problem - Post by S. J. Little 

I’d reached the middle of Genesis chapter 1. Already, my time of Bible reading was being impeded. I was ready to give up the search, but I realized there was only one page remaining in the Bible. I may as well turn one more page. If I didn’t find it on the next page, the source would be somewhere in the many introductory pages. I didn’t have time to search those now. However, I would look all the way to Genesis 1:1.

I turned the final page and reached the beginning of the Bible. I swept my hand over the page. Bingo! I felt the offending speck of dust.

I swatted it away, and flipped back to Genesis 4. I ran my hand over the spot where the speck had been protruding. It was gone. Lovely.

I swept my hand over the rest of the page, but stopped. Further over, a bump of that same size had appeared!

Immediately I flipped back to the very beginning and felt the page. Sure enough, I hadn’t wiped the speck far enough. It was still on the page. I brushed it off, and ran my hand over the whole page again to double check. Back in Genesis 4, I ensured that it was all clear.

Yes, the protrusion was gone. Now I could continue on with my reading.

Before I continued, however, I paused to laugh at it. The speck of dust had been at the very beginning of my Bible: Genesis 1:1.

My laughter quickly sobered as I thought further.

In the past few days, as I slowly worked my way through the first chapters of the Bible, I had been reminded how utterly foundational they are to everything we believe as Christians. Indeed, I even listened to a sermon on Genesis 1:1 in which Pastor Glenn Nudd mentioned that if we reject the truth presented to us even in that very first verse so much of our worldview would be rendered foundationless.

A Bump in the Page - Do you believe Genesis 1:1? - Post by S. J. Little

If we do not accept and believe the Bible straight from the very start, we will find, when reading later parts, that something isn’t quite right. Just like that speck of dust would have continued to disrupt me had I not gone back to the beginning and straightened it out, so any misunderstanding or lack of accepting God’s Word at its foundation will greatly disrupt our understanding of other passages and our life of faith as a whole.

Am I saying that we need to understand every single bit of the Bible? No. There will always be more to learn. Yet there are certain utterly critical base beliefs that must be understood and accepted for the rest of God’s Word to be understood the way God intended it to be.

What are these core beliefs? Here are a couple of verses to get you started, but then I encourage you to read the Bible for yourself. You’ll quickly spot more.

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…” 1 Cor. 15:3-4 NASB

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Gen. 1:1

Want to learn more of the foundational truths of the Bible? The first few chapters of Genesis are packed with them. I encourage you to read through the book, and perhaps listen to a few sermons or find other resources related to them. I recommend Pastor Glen Nudd’s sermons and David Guzik’s commentary as they teach verse by verse through the book.

7 Simple Christian Songs for Preschoolers by S. J. Little - these songs instill timeless truths about who God is to help build a strong foundation for your child's faith.

 

Recently, I’ve had a couple of people ask me about simple Christian songs to sing with preschoolers. Songs that don’t need a CD player, or a major in music, to sing.

Having taught Sunday school for many years and having been a teacher at two Christian preschools, I have gathered a number of solid Christian songs with great actions for engaging children.

These songs work excellent for transitions, such as moving from play time to story time, or if your children have to wait. Children 1-6 years old are likely to appreciate these songs. Some of them are best sung standing up, providing an opportunity to get some wiggles out, while others help calm and settle the class.

Beyond that, these songs are excellent teaching tools for hiding timeless truths in children’s hearts. While I don’t remember the stories I was taught in Sunday school when I was 4, I still remember the songs, several of which are on this list.

Please note: The sample videos I have included links to were chosen for the clarity of the song and actions. I am not associated with any of them and have not done extensive research into the groups who posted them. Also, while I tried to find videos similar to how I prefer to sing these songs, some actions and/or words may vary from the versions I have recommended for you.

 

1. Read Your Bible, Pray Every Day

(Tune: I Will Make You Fishers of Men)

A great energy outlet song. Children stand up and crouch down and stretch super high! While there are other verses for this song, I prefer to only use the words I have included below and then sing the song again faster, and faster!

Sample video: (this video has additional verses which I typically do not use. To match the words below, stop the video at 31 sec.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyO5jOIVTW0

 

Read your Bible, pray every day,7 Simple Christian Songs for Preschoolers - Read Your Bible Pray Every Day - S. J. Little

Pray every day, pray every day.

Read your Bible, pray every day,

And you’ll grow, grow, grow,

And you’ll grow, grow, grow,

And you’ll grow, grow, grow,

Read your Bible, pray every day,

And you’ll grow, grow, grow,

 

Actions:

Read your Bible – Hold hands together, then open like book

Pray every day – clasp hands in praying posture

Grow – Start very low, then become a little taller each time you say “grow”. For the last time you say “grow” stretch on tippy toes with arms extended above head.

2. Happy All The Time (Inright, Outright)

Another excellent stand up song. I heard this song in grade 10, when helping with a kid’s program, and knew I’d heard it before. I finally remembered I’d learned it in Sunday school when I was 4 years old. It was one of my favourites.

Sample video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zegRF9ZA2dc

 

I’m inright, outright, upright, downright,

Happy all the time.

I’m inright, outright, upright, downright,

Happy all the time.

Since Jesus Christ came in, and cleansed my heart from sin,

I’m inright, outright, upright, downright,

Happy all the time.

 

Actions:

Inright, outright, upright, downright – Point in each direction as you say it.

Happy all the time – Clap on every other beat (happy all the time)

Jesus Christ came in – Point to sky, then point to self

Cleansed my heart from sin – motion with both hands as though swatting something away

3. My God is so Big

This classic song includes simple truths children can begin to grasp, yet such profound truths that even as an adult I cannot fully wrap my mind around them. Depending on how you sing it, this song can be an active, shake-some-wiggles-out song or a quieter sit down song.

Sample video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-3Ih-FOv1g 

 

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty,

There’s nothing my God cannot do.

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty,

There’s nothing my God cannot do.

 

The mountains are His, the rivers are His,

The stars are His handy work too.

 

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty,

There’s nothing my God cannot do.

(optional) For you!

 

Actions:

God – point up

Big – spread arms wide (optional: do a star jump, then jump back in when doing “strong”)

Strong – make muscles with both arms up

Mighty – make muscles with one arm up and one arm down

Nothing my God cannot do – wag finger to say “no”

Mountains – touch fingers together above head making triangular point

Rivers – move hands back and forth wiggling fingers

Stars – alternate opening and closing hands

For you – point to someone

4. God Made Me

I saw another preschool teacher using this song and enjoyed it so much I wanted to do it with my own class. This is a quieter song with powerful truths simply told.

Sample video: (actions are not clear in video. See suggested actions below) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoVfIBzCapU 

 

God made me, God made me,

In my Bible book, it says that,

God made me.

 

God loves me, God loves me,

In my Bible book, it says that,

God loves me.

 

Other verses:

God helps me

God keeps me

 

Actions:

God – point up

Me – point to self

Bible – hold hands together and open like a book

Made – stack fists on top of each other (resembling sign language “make”)

Loves – make heart with hands

Helps –  cup hands as though receiving something

Keeps – hug self

5. He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands 

Another timeless classic. What a beautiful reminder that God is in control. Pick and choose which verses you want to use, or make up your own.

Sample video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cfJSSJUHaU

 

He’s got the whole world in His hands,

He’s got the whole wide world in His hands,

He’s got the whole wide world in His hands,

He’s got the whole world in His hands.

 

He’s got the itty bitty baby in His hands,

He’s got the itty bitty baby in His hands,

He’s got the itty bitty baby in His hands,

He’s got the whole world in His hands.

 

Actions:

Whole World – start with both hands at top, bring down tracing a large circle

In His hands – cup hands in front of self

Itty bitty baby – pretend to hold baby and rock from side to side

 

There are endless other verses including:

The wind and the rain… (Sweep hands from side to side, then move hands up and wiggle fingers while moving hands down)

The sun and the moon…   (hold arms above head in circle, then twist arms into crescent)

You and me, brother…   (point to boys)

You and me, sister…   (point to girls)

The Mommies and the Daddies…   (point to parents)

Everybody here…  (motion to everyone)

6. The B-I-B-L-E

One teacher I knew always sang this song with the kids before reading a Bible story. It showed that this isn’t just another storybook.

Sample video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6Ixfrs2cls

 

The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me.

I stand alone on the Word of God,

The B-I-B-L-E

Bible!

 

Actions:

B-I-B-L-E – open hands like book (could also nod the beat)

Yes – nod head and do sign language “yes”

For me – point to self

I stand alone on the Word of God – stomp

7. I’m in the Lord’s Army 

Little boys love this action song, as do little girls. I remember this being one of my favourites when I was young. I encourage you to explain to your children what it means to be in the Lord’s army. Our life has purpose.

Sample video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IA4I_Yl5ZPY

 

7 Simple Christian Songs for Preschoolers - I'm in the Lord's Army - S. J. Little

I may never march in the Infantry,

Ride in the cavalry,

Shoot the artillery.

I may never fly o’er the enemy,  

But I’m in the Lord’s Army. Yes, sir!

 

I’m in the Lord’s Army. Yes, sir!

I’m in the Lord’s Army. Yes, sir!

 

I may never march in the Infantry,

Ride in the cavalry,

Shoot the artillery.

I may never fly o’er the enemy,

But I’m in the Lord’s Army. Yes, sir!

 

Actions:

March – march in place

Ride – pretend to ride a horse

Shoot – start with one hand at hip and other up high, clap, put hands in opposite positions

Fly – move arms wide and lean side to side as though flying

I’m – point to self

Lord’s army – point up

Yes, sir! – stand straight and salute

 

If you doubt whether kids enjoy this sing, watch this cute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Qao6u0A-k4

Bonus:

He Died Upon the Cross by Colin Buchanan

This is one of my favourite preschool kids songs, however, it doesn’t sound as good without instruments. Thankfully the song can be bought online as an mp3 file. I highly recommend you buy it and sing it with your children as this song captures the very core of Christianity as seen in 1 Cor. 1:3-4.

The song is available for purchase here (you can choose to only purchase this song #33, or buy the whole CD) https://colinbuchanan.com.au/products/practise-being-godly-cd-mp3-album  (Note: prices on website are in Australian dollars. This is not an affiliate link, I just like the song so much!)

Sample video: (has no actions) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIkFSZP89Ng

 

He died upon the cross.

He died upon the cross.

He died upon the cross,

For me, for me, for just for me.

 

One day when I was lost,

He died upon the cross.

He died upon the cross,

For me, for me, for just for me.

 

Additional verses: (Repeat “One day when I was lost” chorus after every verse)

They laid Him in the grave.

He rose up from the dead.

He’s coming back again.

 

Actions:

For – hold up four fingers

Me – point to self

Just – (optional for older kids) make “j” with pointer finger and thumb

One day when I was lost – point to self, then tilt head back and put back of hand to forehead as though tired and hopeless

He died upon the cross – point up, then spread arms wide like the cross and let head hang forward

They laid Him in the grave – move both arms downward as though laying something down

He rose up from the dead – move arms upward with hands outstretched

He’s coming back again – motion as though for someone to come closer

What are your favourite simple Christian songs to sing with your kids?

Sometimes I think I know someone well, only to discover that there is so much more to know about them. The missionary Jim Elliot is one of those people for me.

During my growing up years, my Mom initiated a pattern of having family devotions prior to getting into our textbooks (my siblings and I were homeschooled).

Among others, one of the devotional books I recall enjoying was Hero Tales by Dave and Neta Jackson. It’s a collection of short stories about various Christians throughout history. Listening to my Mom read it, I was introduced to men and women who committed their entire lives to following Jesus. The missionary, Jim Elliot, was one of those individuals. Hearing his story, I felt intrigued and awestruck. I wanted to live for Jesus too!

Later, I began reading the Trailblazer Books by the same authors. Each Trailblazer book tells the story of a historic Christian from the viewpoint of a fictional 8-12 year old. One of the books I read was about Nate Saint, a missionary who worked closely with Jim Elliot. Through it, I began to catch some insight into the challenges Jim Elliot faced. I learned how they followed God’s call to attempt to share the hope of knowing Jesus with the Aucas, a hostile primitive tribe. In this book, I also read a watered down version of Jim’s death as a martyr in the hands of the very people he sought to serve, and of the tremendous impact of his death in drawing many Aucas to Jesus. It seemed to me I had become acquainted with this man.

Reading a bookFast forward several years to my time in Bible school. When presented with a list of biographies to read, I chose Through Gates of Splendor written by Jim Elliot’s wife, Elisabeth. In it, I got to know Jim Elliot and his team on a deeper level. Prior to reading this book, I viewed Jim as super-human, untouched by any hardships of life. This book, however, spoke of trials and discouragements along the way. The book included various quotes from Jim Elliot’s journals and letters. One of my favourites is: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”* Having read this book, I felt I had a fairly good understanding of who Jim Elliot was.

Then, at my Bible School, I found a massive green book on the top shelf of the library. It contained the journals of Jim Elliot! On more than one occasion I randomly opened the large book and read entry after entry. I felt intrusive reading his musings. How much more intimately I came to know him! I saw that he was a human, no different from me. I skimmed through his random observations about the unfamiliar culture he lived in. I read of his joyous records of mountaintop days, and his musings on gloomy discouraging days. Most of all, I saw a deep unwavering passion to follow God. I did not get very far through his journals, it being a massive book and my time at Bible school being limited. Still, what bits I read shed a beautifully honest light on the personal life of this man who chose to put Jesus first.

Despite having read books about Jim Elliot and parts of his journal, I still don’t know him super well. I would not recognize his voice, nor spot him among a crowd. If we were at the same restaurant, I would not be able to pick out his laughter among the murmur of conversation.

Then I stop and think about my relationship with God. How well do I know Him?

Since childhood, I have read books people have written about God. Many of these books were watered down or contained fictional characters alongside real ones.

Even now in my adult years I read blog posts and books and listen to sermons teaching about who God is, many of which include direct quotes from the Bible. These are good, but if I stop there, I will not know God well. Just as the children’s books portrayed only the surface of who Jim Elliot was, I risk knowing only a watered down version of who God is when I rely on what others have said about Him.

Glasses sitting on open BibleWhat a wonderful gift God gave me in His Word, the Bible! Much like Jim Elliot’s journals, reading the Bible gives me incredible insight into who God is. Some parts of the Bible tell the story of what God has done, while other areas reveal the very thoughts of God.  I see how He was jealous for Israel and grieved at their rebellion. I learn of His incomprehendably great love for me. I read of His desire to be known. All sixty-six books of the Bible were given to me that I might know God and thus know how to live a life pleasing to Him. How critical it is for me to read and study the Bible, being mindful to keep each part in context.  

Speaking of studying God’s Word, the Bible tells of those in Berea when Paul began teaching them about Jesus:

“The people here were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, since they received the word with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”  Acts 17:11 CSB

Yet even here I cannot stop if I truly want to know God.

Jesus criticized others saying:

“You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, and yet they testify about Me. But you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life.” John 5:39-40 CSB

While I must value the Bible, and indeed I read from it practically every day, it is not the sitting down and reading the verses that save me. It is Jesus who saves me.

Man thinking or praying while holding BibleBut how do I get to know Jesus? By reading the Bible I learn the truth of who Jesus is and about His power to save me. Then I must take Him at His Word and believe what He says. I must take time to talk with God, to share my heart with Him, and – through His Word and prayer – to learn to know His heart.

But then the question comes. How much do I really want to know God? I am privileged to live in a house with several Bibles, and through the internet, I have free access to more translations than I can count, yet do I take the time to really dig in? Is knowing Jesus a priority in my life?

 

Writing this post has been a challenge for me, not just because of the weightiness of the topic, but also because of how it convicts me. Some days I read my Bible simply to check it off my to-do list and move on. I don’t always take time to stop and reflect on what God would have me learn about Him through the passage.

Since writing the draft of this post, I did make some time to randomly sit down and prayerfully read the first chapter of Colossians. The very next day, when I felt discouraged, God used one of those verses to encourage me by reminding me that He has given me the help I need. Yes, taking time to seek God through His Word and prayer is incredibly valuable.

Will you join me in seeking to be men and women who know God deeply?

 

*Quote from Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot (2012), Page 155

Related links:

References:

Elliot, Elisabeth (2012). Through Gates of Splendor. Authentic Media Limited.

A powerful but easy to read book. I highly recommend this biography to any adult who takes their relationship with Jesus seriously! (For further reading on Jim Elliot, I recommend reading Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot. It is a slower read. It follows Jim Elliot’s life more closely with more direct quotes from his journal entries and letters.)

Elliot, Jim (1978). The Journals of Jim Elliot (E. Elliot, Ed.). Fleming H. Revell Company.

(I believe this is the book I read, however, I don’t know the publisher or year of the copy I read.) Reading this incredibly thick book is slow and it is sometimes challenging to understand, however, there is incredible richness in being able to step into the mind of a man of faith who has gone before us. Note, this book contains mature subject matter.

Jackson, Dave, & Jackson, Neta (1997). Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes(Vol. II). Bethany House.

A beautiful devotional book which shares an intro and three short stories about various Christians from distant past to modern day and from missionaries to everyday Christians. Excellent for reading as a family. I highly recommend it!

Jackson, Dave, & Jackson, Neta (1997). Fate of the Yellow Woodbee: Nate Saint (Vol. 24, Trailblazer Books). Bethany House.

I highly recommend the Trailblazer Books for children aged 10-12. A few of the books contain somewhat more mature subject matter than others, so having a parent pre-read the books for more sensitive children may be recommended. If you are older than 12, but have never heard of these historic Christians, then I recommend them to you as a light easy intro to these men and women of faith.