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January 21st, 2013

Book Review: Candle BIBLE for Kids: Toddler Edition by Juliet David, Illustrated by Jo Parry

With such a wide age range of children (a few months old up to nine-years), I’m always reading a variety of different story book Bibles to try to cover everyone’s needs developmentally.  Our current Bible time in the morning currently includes a story Bible for my 2-year-old, a story Bible for my 4-year-old, and a Bible study that includes catechism and readings from the Bible (using the NIrV).  My 9-year-old is studying independently this year.

That might seem like overkill, but suffice it to say, my children are very familiar with the major stories of the Bible.  They’re able to start small and build up, adding details as they grow and mature.  Lately we’ve been reading the Candle BIBLE for Kids: Toddler Edition for my 2-year-old (though of course, it seems that ALL of my smaller children listen in no matter which story Bible we’re reading).

This cute, cheerful story Bible has a padded cover and fairly sturdy, small pages.  While it isn’t a board book, the smaller format pages are easier for little hands to turn without the risk of ripping.  So far, so good – my 2-year-old looks at this book on her own, turns pages, packs it around, and it’s hanging in there.  No rips so far.

The book is 160 pages in length and includes 14 Old Testament stories and 22 New Testament stories.  Most of the stories are around 4 pages long.  Some in the New Testament section are as short as 1 page or 2 pages.  Some in the Old Testament section are as long as 7 pages, but most seem to be 4 pages in length.  Each page has only two to three short, easily understood sentences on it.  The Bible stories themselves are fairly bare bones, but they cover all of the major points and bases.  Juliet David’s renditions are concise and readable.

Jo Parry’s illustrations are modern, bold and cheerful.  They are high interest, and my little girls like to look through this title on their own just for the sake of the illustrations.  They do portray Adam and Eve as children – something I’m never too keen on.

Overall, this is a good solid starter story Bible for toddlers.  It is holding up to our active toddler despite its many trips under the couch and around the house between Bible times and the stories are basic and readable – a good starting point for familiarizing wee ones with the major plot points in the His-story of God’s people.

CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW AT AMAZON.COM (PRINT AND KINDLE AVAILABLE) OR AT CHRISTIANBOOK.COM!

 

January 17th, 2013

CFBA Tour: Hurt by Travis Thrasher


This week, the
 


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 


is introducing
 


Hurt
 


David C. Cook; New edition (January 1, 2013)
 


by
 


Travis Thrasher
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

After college, he targeted working in the publishing industry and was fortunate to find a job early after graduation. He worked as Author Relations Manager for Tyndale House Publishers, the publisher of his first two novels.

The thirteen years he spent working in author relations taught him the business of publishing as well as the psyche of writers.

Early on, he made a deliberate choice of not wanting to be boxed in by a brand or a genre. Instead, Travis has chosen time and time again to write the stories that mean something to him at that moment. He views his first ten years of being published as training and practice. Those novels in many ways were written for himself.

The four years of writing full time have taught him the discipline and determination necessary to make it as a novelist. They’ve also served to close the chapter on what is hopefully just one era in his writing journey.

The stories continue to fill his head like they did when he was in third grade. The only difference is that Travis now knows what to do with those stories. His goal continues to be to tell stories that move him as well as his readers. He wants to continue to experiment and take risks, but more than anything he wants to provide readers a satisfying experience.

The dream remains the same. To try and write something magnificent. To make up wild worlds full of wonderfully rich characters. To make sense of the world through the stories he tells. And to try and inspire hope with the words he writes.

ABOUT THE BOOK

His Rebellion Will Soon Turn to Hope

When Chris Buckley first encountered the mysteries of creepy Solitary, North Carolina, he had little idea how far he would fall into the town’s shadows. After losing the love of his life, Chris tried to do things his way. He hunted answers. Then he gave up trying to find them.

But now Chris comes back to Solitary knowing there’s a purpose for his being there. As he watches his place in a twisted and evil bloodline become clear, Chris waits for the last battle—and wonders who will be left when he finally makes his stand.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hurt, go HERE

 

MY NOTE: I’m not up to this final book, but I have read the first, and I just want parents to note that it is dark and intense.  While classified as YA, you might want to save this one for older readers capable of handling the high-intensity.

January 1st, 2013

New Homeschooling Approach/Homeschool Name Decided!

Well – what a year it’s been!  House fire, two moves (one cross-country), new baby, house renovations (yes, these will be in progress for some time)!  All that being said, I don’t think we’ve EVER had a year like 2012.  It was pretty insane to say the least.

I’m SO GLAD we decided to go with a more independent approach to school for my oldest daughter this fall after our move (9, grade 4).  Of course, my second daughter is in grade 1 (6), so it’s all teacher intensive for her still at this stage of the game.  I’m going to write a series of posts detailing what we’re doing, but really, I’m pretty happy overall despite the fact that I felt like I was copping out by going heavily with worktexts for my oldest.

We also decided on a name for our homeschool!  Again, I always felt like it was sort of silly to name a homeschool, since it’s just our family here at home, but since Nova Scotia doesn’t offer a diploma for homeschoolers, any diploma I issue will have to have a school name on it, right? ;)  Well high school IS a ways away, but I’ve always struggled to name things, but this name just clicked!

Our new house (where we plan to STAY) is on a bit of a hill, on high ground…and I’ve always loved the hymn Higher Ground (hear it here), so we went with…

Higher Ground Academy

Even my husband likes it!

Well, babe is squirming so I’m off to nurse!  Till later…

January 1st, 2013

Security Guards in Stockton?

Lately I’ve been reading some science fiction of the speculative nature (isn’t it all?) that has had me toying with the changing nature of celebrity and its potential dangers.  With celebrity becoming increasingly viral and web based, it’s growingly likely that anyone could experience unwanted attention.  I think updating my domain name contact information only exacerbated these thoughts.

That being said, I don’t think I’m in any danger of developing stalker-worthy pursuits, but fame isn’t the only reason a family could be needing to call a company like Security Stockton, who provides not only bodyguards but also more mundane types of security guards that may be needed in the course of a regular life.

After visiting the Security Guard Stockton website, it really drove home how helpful a security guard can be – not only in celebrity situations (which I’ll likely never encounter), but also for day to day experiences that most of us will encounter in our lives.

  • Guard your home while it is being fumigated and you’re away at a hotel (heaven forbid pest infestations!)
  • Guard your moving van while you’re packing it in the busy city, going in and out of the house, taking breaks etc.
  • Provide crowd control at parties – even those that include family members mainly (like weddings) can get a bit dicey if there is alcohol involved and if there is any bad blood between family members or if anyone attending has a temper problem.  I can really see the value of this one – who wants to break up arguing wedding reception guests themselves when a security guard could do it instead?
  • Events, conferences, and meetings – if you’re in leadership and involved in planning large homeschooling events/church concerts etc., security guards might be something to keep in mind if your venue doesn’t include the service in their rental fees

We haven’t personally needed a guard ourselves yet, but they are becoming more affordable and accessible for personal/family use situations, not only high-intensity situations.

Glad to know that for the next time I have sci-fi fueled visions of viral celebrity dancing in my head.

December 31st, 2012

Ooka Island Deal!

Our family reviewed Ooka Island last year in 2011 and my now six-year-old STILL remembers it!  She continually asks to get Ooka Island back, and now that she’s blending consistently now and reading CVC words, I’m excited for her to try the program out again!

Would you like to try out the program for yourself?  Here’s a special link you can follow to get 30% off your homeschooling subscription to this fun, adventure-filled reading program!

 

December 14th, 2012

Our Baby!

I’m SO overdue with this birth announcement!  This picture is old already! :)

Our fifth baby (and first boy!) was born on November 8th at 4:41 A.M.  Johnathon is a sweet little baby (shown here at a couple of days old) who weighed 11 lb. 9 oz. at birth.  So thankful for his timely delivery – he was born near Lunenberg, NS so we could be close to our midwives and arrived only one day before our vacation rental time ran out (we had 10 days at Second Paradise Retreat in the Farmhouse, very lovely).  Six hours of labour, 10 minutes of pushing – no noticeable transition or throwing up (praise God – I took some Gravol when labor started).  Our fifth water, homebirth, though this one was another home-away-from-home birth really!

December 14th, 2012

Book Review: Starflower (Tales of Goldstone Wood) by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

You might have heard me say this before (ahem), but I am absolutely in love with Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s Tales of Goldstone Wood Christian fantasy series.  Having read fantasy since the time I was a wee girl saying that Stengl’s work is a must-have series is saying a lot.

Rich writing, heartbreakingly beautiful redemptive themes, vivid characterization, and what a world-builder!  Each progressive novel reveals more of this world she’s created for us.  Starflower surprisingly takes us hundreds of years into the past to reveal more back story and to fully examine characters who previously played only supporting roles in previous novels.

Uncovering Eanrn and Imraldera’s journeys made me ache to read back through the entire series to read their parts in a new light.  In all honest – each and every one of Stengl’s novels makes me want to do the same thing!  New parts of the world, its history, and workings are continually unfolded, creating an ever deepening understanding and unity between the novels.  Too bad the rest of my books are still in boxes after our move!

That being said, newcomers could jump in here, but I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to miss the rest of this beautiful series.  Since the first book – Heartless (my favorite) – is generally available as a free download, that is also a wonderful place to start!

I did find the story a bit more slow-moving than previous novels in the series and it took me a few more sittings to finish it than one of Stengl’s works normally does, but that could be the newborn in the house too.

I unreservedly recommend reading Starflower and the rest of the series, and – as alwas – I am eagerly anticipating the next release.  In fact, I think I could keep reading character-based explorations like this one for as long as Stengl will keep writing them!

CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW AT AMAZON.COM OR CHRISTIANBOOK.COM!

Also available in all your favorite electronic formats :).

November 29th, 2012

CFBA Tour: Judge by R.J. Larson


This week, the
 


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 


is introducing
 


Judge
 


Bethany House Publishers (November 1, 2012)
 


by
 


R.J. Larson
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

R. J. Larson is the author of numerous devotionals featured in publications such as Women’s Devotional Bible and Seasons of a Woman’s Heart. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband and their two sons. Prophet marks her debut in the fantasy genre.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Kien Lantec, you will bear witness to my followers in ToronSea.

The last thing Kien Lantec expects on his first day of military leave is to receive marching orders from his Creator, the Infinite. Orders that don’t involve destroyer-racing or courting the love of his life, Ela. Adding to Kien’s frustration, his Infinite-ordained duties have little to do with his skills as a military judge-in-training. His mission? To warn the people of ToronSea against turning their backs on the Infinite to worship a new goddess.

Tell them I see they are beguiled. Tell them I seek their hearts. The wise will hear Me.

But why Kien? Isn’t this the role of a true prophet, such as Ela of Parne? Seeking answers, Kien visits Ela and finds her stricken by a devastating vision of her own. Her birthplace, Parne, has forsaken their Creator and will soon suffer judgment. Pulled in separate ways, each must seek to follow the Infinite’s leading…and hope He will reunite them again soon.

Child of dust, will you be My servant?

If you would like to read the first chapter of , go HERE.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed the first novel in this series, and I’m looking forward to reading the second!

November 21st, 2012

CFBA Tour: Starflower By Anne Elisabeth Stengl


This week, the
 


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 


is introducing
 


Starflower
 


Bethany House Publishers (November 1, 2012)
 


by
 


Anne Elisabeth Stengl
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she enjoys her profession as an art teacher, giving private lessons from her personal studio, and teaching group classes at the Apex Learning Center. She is married to the handsome man she met at fencing class and lives with him and a gaggle of cats. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. Heartless is her debut novel.

Anne Elisabeth is also the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, a series of fantasy adventure novels told in the classic Fairy Tale style.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Black Dogs Are on the Hunt, But Who Is Their Prey?

When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps fairest Lady Gleamdren, the Bard Eanrin sets boldly forth on a rescue mission…and a race against his rival for Gleamdren’s favor. Intent upon his quest, the last thing the immortal Faerie needs is to become mixed up with the troubles of an insignificant mortal.

But when he stumbles upon a maiden trapped in an enchanted sleep, he cannot leave her alone in the dangerous Wood Between. One waking kiss later, Eanrin suddenly finds his story entangled with that of young Starflower. A strange link exists between this mortal girl and the dragon-witch. Will Starflower prove the key to Lady Gleamdren’s rescue? Or will the dark power from which she flees destroy both her and her rescuer?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Starflower, go HERE.

My Thoughts: I’m not through this installment of the series YET, but this is an AWESOME series!  My favorite all-time Christian fantasy author, don’t miss these books!

October 28th, 2012

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Straight Talk with Your Kids About Sex by the McDowells

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between!

I’m a big fan of being straight forward about God’s plan for physical intimacy WITHIN a marriage with children.  My parents were always honest and forthcoming, and this prevented me from having to go to my peers for the information.

Enjoy your free peek into the book!

 

 

 

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card authors are:

 

Josh and Dottie McDowell

 

and the book:

 

Straight Talk with Your Kids About Sex
Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2012)
***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Josh McDowell has been reaching the spiritually skeptical for more than five decades. Since beginning ministry in 1961, Josh has delivered more than 24,000 talks to over 10 million young people in 118 countries. He is the author or coauthor of 130 books, with over 51 million copies distributed worldwide, including Experience Your Bible, The Unshakable Truth®, Evidence for the Historical Jesus, More Than a Carpenter (over 15 million copies printed in 85 languages), and The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, recognized by World magazine as one of the twentieth century’s top 40 books. Josh continues to travel throughout the United States and countries around the world, helping young people and adults strengthen their faith and understanding of Scripture. Josh will tell you that his family is his ministry. He and his wife, Dottie, have been married for over 40 years and have four children and five grandchildren.

Dottie McDowell has been married to Josh for over 40 years. She has written several children’s books with her husband, and she and Josh are enjoying their four adult children and numerous grandchildren as he continues to travel worldwide in his ministry. Dottie and Josh live in Southern California.

Visit the authors’ website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Utilizing up-to-the-minute research from Josh’s “The Bare Facts” resources and their experience with four children, the McDowells give readers encouragement and solid information in the sometimes-awkward process of guiding their child into a healthy understanding of God’s gift of sex and sexuality—within a biblical context of relationship to Him.

Product Details:

List Price: $11.99

Paperback: 208 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736949925

ISBN-13: 978-0736949927
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Just One Click AwaySex. To some people it’s a dirty word, to others a beautiful one. And to still others it’s a provocative word…something they’re not comfortable talking about. Whatever your attitude, sex is a sensitive yet immensely important issue. For those who believe it’s a marvelous but powerful force that should not be misused, such as parents or leaders working with youth, the idea of sex—sexual activity—among young people is loaded with plenty of concern.

So how concerned would you be if a stranger was slipping into your child’s bedroom every day? What if this intruder was systematically teaching your child a distorted and perverted concept of sex? And what if this “sex education” your child was receiving led them down a path to immoral sex? You would no doubt be frightened and infuriated that the mind and heart of your child was being violated by this menacing intruder.

But before we go on to explain this danger, let us say this. We (Josh and Dottie), as parents who have raised four children of our own, are not here just to alarm you, although you have reason to be alarmed. We also want to equip you with a clear strategy to counter what your kids are facing. Even more at the heart of what we want to do, we hope to supply you with effective tools to raise your kids with a healthy (godly) understanding of sex.

After all, sex is great. It’s marvelous. It’s so wonderful that it can’t be put into words—because God has made it that way. You no doubt want your children to grow up understanding and embracing his design for their sexuality so they can delight in sex as he meant it to be delighted in. And if an immoral intruder were to cause your kids to misuse God’s wonderful gift, you would be angry and heartbroken.

Studies have shown that the number-one fear among Christian parents and Christian leaders is that a secular worldview and sexual immorality will somehow capture the hearts and minds of their kids. We certainly had that fear for our own children. To address that fear, many parents have helped open and develop more Christian schools. They have formed more networks to homeschool their children than ever before. Many have sent their kids off to Christian summer camps. Families have started attending megachurches with top-rated youth programs in unprecedented numbers. The hope of these parents has been to counteract the negative influences of a destructive culture in the lives of their children.

However, these positive steps may have actually caused many parents and educators to drop their guard. It’s natural to assume that kids are largely insulated from the influences of a corrupt culture if they live in a Christian home, are involved in a good church, are getting a solid Christian education, and are participating in monitored activities.

Actually, though, our kids are far more exposed to destructive cultural influences today than kids were even ten years ago. The reason for this is because right now we are in the midst of a social-media revolution that is allowing a corrupt and twisted morality to have direct access to our children at much earlier ages than ever before, even in the privacy of our own homes and in their bedrooms. This is the intruder we have been talking about.

The Social-Media Revolution

The culture influenced the previous generation through various media such as radio, TV, videos, magazines, and so on. If a parent monitored what his or her child listened to, watched, and read, there was somewhat of an assurance that a child could be insulated from the negative effects of a destructive culture. However, today’s social-media revolution has changed everything. Our culture intrudes upon your children through channels that barely existed a decade ago. For example, compare media growth (based on the general U.S. population) over the last decade.
In 2000

In 2010–2011

2.7 hours per week spent online by the average person

18 hours per week spent online by the average person

100 million daily Google searches

2 billion daily Google searches

12 billion e-mails sent daily

247 billion e-mails sent daily

12,000 active blogs

141 million active blogs

0 iTunes downloads

10 billion iTunes downloads

0 tweets on Twitter

25 billion tweets on Twitter

0 YouTube videos seen daily

4 billion YouTube videos seen daily

0 hours of YouTube videos uploaded every minute

60 hours of YouTube videos uploaded every minute

0 people on Facebook

845 million active users on Facebook

0 articles on Wikipedia

20 million articles on Wikipedia

More than 250 million new people were added to Facebook in 2010, with 30 billion pieces of content shared each month. If Facebook were a country, it would have the world’s third-largest population.

Approximately 20 million minors are on Facebook. Of those, 7.5 million are younger than 13 years old, and 5 million are younger than 10 years old. It is estimated that Facebook will soon reach 90 percent of all social-network users and 57.1 percent of all U.S. Internet users. By 2013, 62 percent of Internet users and half of the U.S. population are expected to be on Facebook.

In regard to video content, eMarketer estimates that of the 50 million U.S. children under 12, nearly 12 million—about 25 percent—“were online video viewers in 2011.” The estimate skyrockets to 70 percent by 2015. According to Harris Interactive, in 2010, the number of children under 12 years old who spent at least one hour a day online increased from 61 percent to 76 percent.

The Internet has surpassed TV as kids’ media of choice. A study by the U.S. Department of Education shows that 27 percent of all four- to six-year olds are on the Internet. Today kindergarteners are learning on iPads, not chalkboards.

The social-media revolution is connecting us in positive ways never before imagined 10 or 20 years ago. Yet all this ability to connect and have people connect to your children may cause you to feel uncomfortable. And it should. There is an alarming downside to the instant accessibility this culture has to your children.

Intrusive Immorality

As parents and Christian leaders, we want our young people to embrace a biblical sexual morality. We want them to enjoy sex as God designed them to enjoy it within the context of marriage. And just 10 or 15 years ago, we as parents, pastors, or Christian educators had a good measure of control over what type of things our young people saw or heard that shaped their view of sex. We could say, “We don’t watch those kinds of TV programs in our home; nor do we read those types of books.” There were certain controls we could put in place to insulate our children from damaging influences. When our children wanted to visit neighbors or friends, we tried to limit it to people with our same convictions.

But today we have, by and large, lost control of the controls. That is because a perverted morality is just one click away from our children. With just one keystroke on a smartphone, iPad, or laptop, your child can open up some of the worst pornography and sexually graphic content you can imagine. Just a few decades ago pornographic magazines were sold behind store counters and placed in paper bags. Most adult men didn’t even want to be seen carrying such a magazine out of a store. Today pornography is available to anyone, including your kids and teenagers.

Immoral sexual content is reaching many, if not the majority, of our children. According to research from Family Safe Media, the average age of the first Internet exposure to pornography is nine years old.12 And there are plenty of sites to be exposed to. There are over 5 million pornographic sites available today with over 68 million search requests daily. More than 2.5 billion porn e-mails are circulated every day.

A 2009 survey of 29,000 North American university students confirmed that 51 percent of males and 32 percent of females first viewed pornography before their teenage years. A journal article, “The Nature and Dynamics of Internet Pornography Exposure for Youth,” reports that 93 percent of boys and 62 percent of girls are exposed to Internet porn before they are 18 years old. Eighty-three percent of boys and 57 percent of girls have seen group sex. Sixty-nine percent of boys and 55 percent of girls have viewed homosexual or lesbian acts. Thirty-nine percent of boys and 23 percent of girls have been exposed to sexual acts depicting bondage.

According to a study cited in the Washington Post, more than 11 million teenagers view Internet porn on a regular basis. A Focus on the Family poll revealed that 47 percent of families said that pornography is a problem in their home. These were largely Christian families responding to the poll.

Who Is Concerned About This?

In contrast to the situation several decades ago, most of our young people see little or no problem with viewing pornography. Overall, studies show that 67 percent of young men and 49 percent of young women 18 to 26 years of age consider viewing pornography as acceptable behavior.

Of course, as a concerned parent, you no doubt warn your children and teens to stay away from “sex sites.” As a responsible and proactive parent, you may even install Internet filtering and monitoring software on your computers, as you should.

Yet what happens when your children visit their friends and they turn on their cell phones? Do the parents of your children’s friends have sexually explicit material blocked from all their electronic devices? The problem is that sexually oriented and perverted material through cyberspace is everywhere, and it is difficult to avoid, even when you try to block it.

Further, more than 1.5 billion pornographic peer-to-peer downloads occur each month, and most are not detected by “family filters.” (Peer-to-peer is from one computer directly to another computer.) An entire pornographic video can be downloaded by a child, often without detection by parents.

Because of the massive amount of sexually perverted material available today, the sheer overexposure, no matter how infrequent, tends to desensitize a young person. Rather than gaining an understanding of what sex is really for, why it comes with boundaries, and how it can bring intimacy and joy in a committed marriage relationship, young people tend to think everyone is doing whatever they want sexually without consequences. This is clearly the impression given through cyberspace.

Most young people have been so desensitized to sexually explicit material that they see no problem with joking, posting, or texting about provocative sex. Do you realize that 4 out of 10 teens are posting sexually suggestive messages? And another 39 percent of teen boys and 38 percent of teen girls say they have had sexually suggestive text messages or e-mails—originally meant for someone else—shared with them.

No doubt, it seems to our kids that the entire world around them, including their peers, is into premarital sex. We, of course, know that not everyone is “doing it;” yet our kids’ perception becomes their reality. The irony is, many Christian adults tend to think none of their kids are involved sexually, while their own kids think everyone else is “doing it.” These contradictory viewpoints are widespread.

Recently, I (Josh) did a two-hour seminar on “The Bare Facts: The Truth Bbout Sex, Love, and Relationships” at the staff conference of an evangelical organization. At an afternoon session, 1800 people showed up with their kids. In the next three days, ten different staff members told me that one of their children (all under the age of 14) had confessed to them that they were addicted to pornography on the Internet. Each parent expressed amazement and had never suspected a thing.

During a recent pastor’s conference I was addressing the same topic, and five pastors approached me after a session with their stories:

•?Pastor #1: “I just found out that my two sons (ages 14 and 18) are struggling with pornography on the Internet.” Then he confessed that he had been addicted to pornography himself for 11 years.

•?Pastor #2: “I learned last week that my 17-year-old son just got his girlfriend pregnant and my 15-year-old daughter is also pregnant. What do I do? I’m going to have two grandchildren soon!” He shared that his son regularly viewed pornography.

•?Pastor #3 (a youth pastor): “My 14-year-old daughter has been giving oral sex to the boys at her [Christian] school.”

•?Pastor #4: “I just found my 8-year-old son watching pornography on my office computer.”

•?Pastor #5: “My 5-year-old son has been looking at pornography since he was 4 years old.” The pastor was crushed.

These five conversations happened in the 20-minute time span it took me to get from the podium to my car.

Before I could get into the car, a desperate teenager gripped my arm and said, “Dr. McDowell, would you please pray for me? I’ve been struggling with pornography for three years and it is destroying me!”

Several years ago, I was invited to speak on sex and relationships at one of the largest and most prestigious evangelical Christian schools in North America. The administration appreciated that I came to speak on that subject, but they made the following request: “We don’t want you to mention anything about oral sex,” they said, “because we don’t have that problem here. If you mention it, our kids will simply start thinking about it and want to do it.”

I thought their request was absurd and naive, but out of respect, I honored it. The moment I finished speaking, dozens of kids crowded around me to ask questions. Nearly every question was about oral sex. “Is it sex?” “Is it wrong?” “Can you get an STD from doing it?” and so on.

I wished the school headmaster had been standing there to hear his students. As I walked outside, three guys and two girls, all sophomores, approached me and asked, “Why didn’t you talk about oral sex?”

I avoided telling them that I had been asked not to talk on the subject. Instead, I asked them, “Why? Is oral sex a problem here?” And they said, “No, not really.” I replied, “That’s good,” to which they responded, “No, it’s not a problem for kids to do, because everyone is doing it.” (This was an exaggeration.)

I asked them to explain. “Well,” they stated, “at our school when a guy wants oral sex, he walks up to a girl and says, “Would you like a taco?” That was their code word for oral sex. They went on to explain, “If she agrees, they go into some room right here at school and perform oral sex. But then the boy is obligated after school to take the girl to Taco Bell to buy her a taco.”

According to these kids, oral sex was commonplace. According to the school leadership, “We don’t have that kind of problem here.” The disconnect between what many parents and Christian leaders believe their young people are doing, and what kids are actually doing, is vast. Sure, we don’t want to think our sons and daughters are involved in sexual activity of any kind and are being brainwashed with a distorted view of sex. But the truth is, if we are not proactive to counter what our kids are exposed to, chances are they will be captured by a destructive culture.

So What Can You Do?

It seems that it would be ideal if we could reverse the social-media explosion. But we can’t, nor should we even try. In fact, in the last 12 months, some estimate more than 200 million people were confronted with the claims of Christ on the Internet. Social media themselves are not the real culprit here. They are simply the vehicle that can bring either positive or destructive influences into the lives of our kids.

Escaping to a remote island where only committed Christians live might seem like a definitive solution. Then we could raise our kids where no secular culture could influence them. But that isn’t a realistic alternative any more than reversing the media revolution we are experiencing. So what can we do?

1. We must acknowledge the reality that kids are being negatively influenced with a distorted view of sex by the culture. We can’t live in denial of what is really happening. It is like one young mother said, “It feels as if we are trying to raise our kids in the center of Las Vegas.” So the first step to a solution is seeing the problem as it truly exists.

2. We need to counter the distorted and perverted views about sex our kids are hearing and seeing with the correct and healthy understanding of sex. Let’s say you are among those parents who have one or more children over the age of seven. And let’s say you are just now getting around to talking to them about sex. By now your kids have already got their sex education from the outside culture. And in all probability their understanding of sex is distorted and quite different than what you had hoped.

In this case, you will need to reintroduce your kids to a whole new concept of what sex is and why God created it. In many respects you will need to deconstruct the distorted concepts of sex they have adopted and represent an understanding based on God’s design. If your children are much younger you may still have time to get to them before the culture does. But you must start with them at a very young age.

Teaching kids God’s idea of sex means that we as parents and Christian leaders must first clearly understand why he created us as sexual beings in the first place. We must know the real purpose of sex, what sexual purity actually means, why there are boundaries around sex, and how a loving relationship is the cornerstone in teaching God’s view of sex. With this type of foundational understanding you will have a biblical context for introducing or reintroducing your children to what sex is all about. This will give you the biblical basis to raise your family to embrace a healthy (godly) perspective of sex. And that is what we will address in part one of this book, “Sex Is God’s Design.”

3. We must actively guide, lead, and instruct our kids in God’s perspective of sex. And to do that we offer you valuable and practical tools in part two, “Tips and Ideas for Your Conversations.” These short chapters have insights, examples, answers, and ways to deal with so many issues that you either have encountered or soon will encounter. We will discover together the wonderful opportunities to introduce or reintroduce God’s wonderful gift of sex to your kids.

As parents we (Josh and Dottie) didn’t do it perfectly. Perfect parents don’t exist. But we are grateful for the wonderful opportunity we had to impart to our children God’s plan for sex. All four of our kids are married now and have children of their own. And it is thrilling to watch them successfully passing on a biblical view of sex to their own children—our grandchildren. Be encouraged—your biblical values on love and sex can be passed on to the next generation. And we hope the pages that follow will help you in your effort to do just that.

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Welcome!

Jennifer. Follower of Yeshua. Wife of one man. Homeschooling mother of 5.