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Happy Thursday!

We just found out that we have another month of ‘stay-at-home’.

Just a reminder that you can listen to Nathan and Theo (and sometimes special guests!) discuss different topics on the Immanuel Pastors Podcast, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.

There are already 8 episodes:

· Why a Podcast?

· Online Church?

· What Goes on in Elders’ Meetings?

· What Is Family Worship? [and it’s not just for marrieds with kids]

· Why Read Books?

· What Has Nathan Been Reading Lately?

· What Has Theo Been Reading Lately?

· What Does Women’s Ministry Look Like at Immanuel?

Check it out! More to come…

And if you have an idea for a future topic, email the elders.

When it comes to your financial life, even one change can make a big impact. We’ll show you how.

Join us for an informal discussion called DOONETHINGDIFFERENTLY. During the discussion, you’ll:

· Exchange ideas with others—what works for you; what works for them.

· Get tips on how to make more informed and intentional choices about how you steward your resources.

· Choose to do one thing differently—to positively affect the way you share, save and spend.

ONETHINGDIFFERENTLY will be held on Friday, June 12, 2015 from 6:45 to 7:45 PM at Immanuel Baptist Church.

For more information, contact info at immanuel dash baptist dot net

Families of Immanuel,

The Elders had the idea of incorporating catechesis into the Children’s Blessing and Dismissal time on Sundays. Catechesis is the long-standing practice of passing on important Christian beliefs through questions and answers.

So each week one of the Elders would ask the kids the answer to a question like, “What is our only hope in life and death?” And one or more of them would shout out, “That we are not our own, but belong to God.” It would not only shape our children, but bless the rest of the congregation too.

For this to work, it will require families to be memorizing the catechism throughout the week at home. We have picked the New City Catechism – a modern tool that is based on historic catechisms and is adapted for use with children. It is comprised of 52 questions and answers – one for each week of the year. They are short and can easily be worked on around the dinner table, during Family Worship, or at bedtime.

Adults can also go through it and memorize the longer answers. There are accompanying Bible verses, explanations, videos, and prayers for optional devotional use. There is a more detailed introduction to the concept and content here.

We recommend that if possible Dads take the initiative and the lead in teaching the catechism to their kid(s) throughout the week. I (Nathan) have been doing this with my kids for several years now and have found that it’s actually quite fun for all involved. Kids’ minds are sponges. It’s not beyond the reach of a 2 year old to memorize many of these answers. 4 and 5 year olds can memorize more than you might think.

Some may question the usefulness of 2 year olds merely parroting memorized answers to these questions. But the classical educational model understands that we naturally progress through stages of grammar, dialectic (logic), and rhetoric. Michael Horton explains:

In our youngest years, we’re sponges for the grammar – not just of language but of everything. It’s the time for learning primary colors, common names for things and proper names for people, how to read books and music, and table manners.… [Children are] learning the grammar that they will use simply as a matter of course throughout their lives. Then there’s the stage of dialectic (logic), when they love to argue, question, and explore the connections between various subjects. (It’s called being a teenager!) Finally, they reach the stage of rhetoric as they begin to communicate their convictions in their own words, with richer insight, clarity, persuasiveness, and beauty….

As children, we learned to ride a bicycle first by focusing on the pedals and the handlebar, steering with jerks to the left and the right. After we fell a few times, we gradually mastered balance. If we learned a musical instrument, we focused on the keys and the scale, staring intently at the notes on the page…. Only after a lot of practice do we begin to play the music without focusing on our fingers. Eventually we find ourselves living in the music, indwelling it….

Growth in Christian discipleship can be compared to this model of learning. First, we learn the basic grammar. It certainly includes memorizing. That’s why it’s important to commit key Bible verses to memory, and it’s why the Reformation restored the early church’s practice of catechism, in which parents as well as pastors were to teach to the young and old alike.

So our goal isn’t for it to end at rote memorization. We have Sunday School classes for older kids where they can begin to enter into the dialectic phase and engage with these terms and truths. And our prayer is our children will enter the rhetoric stage well equipped to fully inhabit the faith themselves. But if one is going to be a poet, she has to start with learning the alphabet.

We plan to start with Question 1 on Sunday, April 6th, and do one per week. If you have any questions about any of this, please don’t hesitate to ask!

In follow up to last Sunday’s sermon on the Great Commission, here are just a few recommended resources to use in evangelistic or discipleship relationships.


· Tell the Truth by Will Metzger – This is a training manual that one Small Group will be using soon to grow in learning how to share the good news.

· If You Could Ask God One Question by Paul Williams and Barry Cooper – An approachable book that can help with people’s questions and objections as you share the good news.

· Christianity Explained – This is a study designed for use in a one-on-one setting.

· Christianity Explored – A seven-week course designed for a group of seekers.

· The Story or 3-2-1 – Here are two simple, online gospel presentations that may be useful.

· For Your Joy by John Piper – A little evangelistic book which shows that God is to be enjoyed.

· The Reason for God by Tim Keller – If you have a friend who is more philosophically oriented, reading through this with him/her would be a great idea. It’s kind of the modern day equivalent of Mere Christianity (which is still a helpful book today).


· Matthias Media – Check out all the great resources here, especially their emphasis on one-to-one Bible reading.

· Gospel-Centred Series – This series of short booklets have solid content and are really great for providing structure to a one-on-one meeting.

· Downline Builder – Here’s a handy online tool that helps you to customize a discipleship plan.

And don’t forget, if you want to apply this stuff in our ‘hood, this website can help:

Also, here’s just a sample of resources to help you think about the Great Commission globally.

International Missions

· Christian Mission by John Stott – A classic book to engage with in thinking about the mission Jesus has given us.

· Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper – An excellent book which connects God’s glory with our mission.

· Operation World by Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk – A thick book to help you think, pray, and get excited about reaching the nations.

From @immanuelchicago on Twitter