Note: I received a review copy of this title from the publisher.
Over the years, I’m sad to say that parts of my undergraduate experience have sloughed off, scoured away by the pressures of life. But I doubt I’ll ever forget Dr. Mark Talbot, my sophomore-year philosophy professor. He’d broken his back at the age of 13, which lent added weight to his assertions that 1) God was in control of the things that come to pass; and 2) we needed to stay in the Scriptures, because people believe that something is good and true the more they’re around it. As I’ve aged, I’ve come to see the wisdom in that council—and how challenging it is to follow it. Commitments to family and friends. Work and its associated activities. A never-ending tide of personal duties and chores. It’s devilishly difficult to get time with the Word and equally hard to find a little space to pique the interest of your children. Fortunately, parents don’t have to do it on their own. Right in time for Easter, Scott James has released Mission Accomplished, a two-week family Bible study focusing on Christ’s death and resurrection.
One of the things I love most about Mission Accomplished is how it doesn’t make innovation its top priority. That may sound like a criticism, but hear me out, because it really isn’t. Quite a lot of family-aimed devotional materials strive so hard for creativity that they end up compromising the essential truths of the faith. Fine points of doctrine get skewed, important teachings end up minimized, and beliefs that the martyrs secured for us at the cost of their own blood are ignored altogether. You won’t find any of those problematic elements here, though. Indeed, it’s impressive how much theology James manages to pack into this slim little volume. Original sin, God’s love for every ethnicity, the Messianic focus of the Old Testament, the purpose of the Lord’s supper, the Almighty’s eventual return in judgment—all receive appropriate attention. James even sneaks in a quick overview of the history of redemption, sketching out the movement from creation to fall to redemption in a deft pair of paragraphs.
But all the theology in the world won’t do a whit of good if the kiddos can’t sit still long enough to listen to it, right? Well, Mission Accomplished also shines in its presentation. James keeps the proceedings highly organized and moving briskly. Each section includes a Bible reading, a brief didactic section, a quick Q&A, and a hymn or activity. Even the most chaotic household (and mine would definitely qualify as one!) can complete a day’s worship in as little as 10 minutes. What’s more, A.E. Macha’s striking monochromatic illustrations and the book’s brightly colored layout will surely catch and hold little eyes. Mission is an accomplished family-centered study.
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