WHY TIME with NannyGranne

TALKING WITH YOUR KIDS ABOUT JESUS

Nannygranne is still in Israel. She’ll be back next week with her fascinating stories. In the meantime, let me take a few moments to tell you about an exciting new book for parents and grandparents. The author is Natasha Crain and the new book is TALKING WITH YOUR KIDS ABOUT JESUS.

Natasha’s previous books are KEEPING YOUR KIDS ON GOD’S SIDE and TALKING TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT GOD. These books explain Christian apologetics (the defense of Christian teachings) in words you can understand. They suggest ways you can share your faith in God, Christ, and the Bible with your children and grandchildren and they can help with tough faith questions kids ask.

The publication date for TALKING WITH YOUR KIDS ABOUT JESUS is March 31. In the meantime, you can pre-order it from most book retailers. And, while you are at it, you may also want to order one or both of her other books. I have profited from Natasha’s books; I think you will, too.

David Roper, author of the Zoey books

A FREE BOOK!

Nannygranne is visiting Israel! (Let me pause a moment to shake off my envy  . . . Okay, I think I can continue now.) While she’s gone, let me take a moment to tell you about my latest Zoey book – plus tell you how you can get A FREE BOOK.

ZOEY STILL LIKES TO ASK QUESTIONS! is the second in the series of the Zoey Faith Books: a series of picture books designed to help parents build faith in the hearts of their small children. ZOEY STILL LIKES TO ASK QUESTIONS! is a fun story that teaches Zoey (and your child or grandchild) that God speaks to us through His word, the Bible.

What do others think about the series? Phil Sanders, popular speaker on the international television program IN SEARCH OF THE LORD’S WAY, says, “I bought copies for all my grandkids of the first one. I hope to get more soon.” A father writes, “Despite the challenging subject matter, the story is simple and straightforward—my 6-year-old son was able to read all of the large text with very minimal help . . . Whether you’re a parent or a Sunday school teacher, this series of books would be an excellent investment in your child’s spiritual development.”

And the first two books in the series only cost $9.95 each!

How can you get your own copies? You can order the new one from Amazon or you can order directly from the publisher: https://warrenapologetics.org/bookstore/zoey-still-like-to-ask-questions. (You can also get the first book in the series—ZOEY LIKES TO ASK QUESTIONS—from Amazon or the publisher.)

Now what about that FREE BOOK? If you post a review of the new Zoey book on Amazon, just let me know via email (macroper@sbcglobal.net) and I will send you a free digital copy of one of my other children’s books. You can choose between these four:

HORSEFLY HANK AND THE OSAGE WAR SHIELD

SUPER KIDS!

WHAT IF STORIES FOR BOYS AND GIRLS

MELVIN, THE MYSTERIOUS

Hoping to hear from you. And thanks for taking the time to read this. I really appreciate it!

David Roper

THE RESURRECTION GAME, concluded

Nannygranne got up, turned the lights back on, and said, “Even history books say Jesus’ body disappeared and was never found.  Now if Jesus wasn’t the Son of God and didn’t rise from the dead, something else must have happened to His body.  So, teams, talk among yourselves and tell us what else could have happened to Jesus’ body.  One!  Two!  Three!  GO!”

After loud and enthusiastic deliberation, Nannygranne asked for their ideas. “Okay, let the oldest person on each team tell what their team thought up.  Jacob, you go first.”

Jacob checked with the other two and said, “An animal got Him.  Or the disciples got Him.  Or the soldiers threw His body away.”

Nannygranne frowned, looked at the ceiling thoughtfully, then said, “Sorry.  Those don’t work.  The Roman soldiers would have chased off the animal.  Besides, the animal would have messed up the mummy clothes and left a terrible mess.  Animals don’t have hands and can’t fold a napkin.”

She returned to her thinking posture for a moment, then continued:  “We already mentioned the disciples being afraid of the soldiers.  They were fishermen and businessmen, and those soldiers were big and mean, tough guys.  The governor’s rule was that if any soldier let his prisoner escape, it was off with his head!”

“Then the soldiers wouldn’t have thrown Jesus away somewhere, either,” admitted Jacob.

The two older girls loudly declared victory.

“Not so fast, ladies.  I want to hear your ideas before you’re declared winners.”

“Okie-dokie then,” began Brooke confidently.  “Somebody dug a tunnel into the back of the cave and got Him out.  Or maybe He wasn’t dead, and He moved the stone, and it scared the guards so much that they froze!”

Nannygranne went “Hmmm,” then said, “Brilliant deductions.  But wrong.”

The other team howled.

“Okay, quiet down and think about this.  Remember, the cave would have been on the side of a big hill or mountain, and Jesus was only in there from Friday afternoon to early Sunday morning.  So somebody had to work fast with only picks, hammers, and shovels, and couldn’t have done that without making a lot of noise.   What do you think, girls?”

Brooke looked at Chloe, and they answered simultaneously, “We’re wrong.”

“More good thinking, girls.”

“Well, couldn’t He have just fainted, and they thought He was dead?” Chloe asked

“Well, let’s think about His condition.  He’d been up all night and all day being slapped and beaten.  He was too weak to carry His cross because they made a man named Simon help him with it.  Then on the cross, His hands and feet were nailed and He was stabbed in the heart. He’d lost a lot of blood.  Then He hung there for six hours, and it was hard for him to breath.  Also, He hadn’t had anything to eat or drink in those three days.  Remember, too, that He was wrapped up tight like a mummy.  He’d have had to wiggle out and then push that massive rock out of the way, then get out and get past all of those soldiers.”

Nannygranne stopped to let the information soak in.  Then, looking at the girls, she said gently, “Now, what do you think?”

“I think Jesus must have risen from the dead,” Chloe answered quietly.

“Yes, Chloe.  He did.  After leaving the cave, He went to see His brother James, and then Peter.   He went to, and ate with, the disciples, and one day He preached to over 500 people.  On another day, He made breakfast and ate with the disciples when they came in after fishing all night.  Most of those people had seen Him on the cross and knew He died.  Now they saw Him alive again!  Then after forty days, He took the disciples out on a hilltop and told them what to do. After that He left with His new body and went home to God’s world.  He said He’s coming back for those who are ready to go and live with Him in Heaven.”

Nannygranne looked at the precious five in her care and silently thanked the Lord for this time with them.  Being a Nanny was a mission of love and laughter.  She picked up little Mason who had fallen asleep.

“Let’s all go to bed now.  Jesus doesn’t have to sleep, and He’ll be up all night taking care of everything.”

 

The Resurrection Game

All the kids gathered around Nannygranne to play a mysterious game about Jesus, not knowing what to expect.

“Let’s make two teams,” Nannygranne began.  “Chloe and Brooke, would you be teammates?  And the twins and Mason, would you be teammates?”

“Yeah!” Mason bounced excitedly, “Let’s beat ’em!”  Then the three high-fived each other.

“Ok.  I’ll ask a question, and you guys come up with ideas, and we’ll see who gets it right.  But before I begin, I have to remind you of what happened.”

Nannygranne got up and turned off all the lights but one small lamp, adding an atmosphere of suspense.  Then she lowered her voice to tell of the mysterious event.  “The first thing that happened was that they killed Jesus on the cross . . . after they nearly beat Him to death.  You all remember that, right?”

“Right!” Jacob responded.

“And then before they took Him off the cross, they stabbed Him in the side with a spear.”

“That was just mean!”

“Yes, it was, Chloe. Then two friendly strangers took His body and wrapped it up tight like a mummy.  It must have weighed over two hundred pounds altogether.  And then they put Him in a cave and rolled a rock as big as a refrigerator over the door.”

“Whoa, that’s big!” Mason said.

“Then the governor sent soldiers to make sure nothing happened to Jesus because Jesus had told people He’d come back alive in three days.  Some were afraid His Apostles might steal His body—but that’s silly because they were so afraid of the soldiers, that when they came to arrest Jesus, they all ran away. ”

“I’d be scared, too!” Jillian agreed.

“That was on a Friday about supper time.  Then Sunday morning, right after daylight, Jesus’ body was gone from the cave.”  Nannygranne whispered the next part: “But the mummy clothes were still laying there, empty, and His head cloth was folded like a napkin.”

She looked around, then got up and turned on the lights. “Even history books say Jesus’ body disappeared and was never found.  Now if Jesus wasn’t the Son of God and didn’t rise from the dead, something else must have happened to the body.  So teams, talk among yourselves and tell us what else could have happened to Jesus’ body.  One!  Two!  Three!  GO!”

(to be continued…)

Was Jesus a Fairytale?

The kids were excited, though tired after their afternoon of Christmas shopping followed by pizza.  Ice cream lifted their spirits as the group gathered around Nannygranne at the large corner booth in the back.

She started the conversation: “So, what are your favorite fairytales?”

“Cinderella!”

“The Little Mermaid!”

“Hansel and Gretel!  I like the candy house!” Jacob chimed in.

Nannygranne laughed.  “I like the Little Red Hen!  Okay, then who are some famous people in history that you like?”

“Abraham Lincoln,” said Jacob proudly.

“George Washington,” added Jillian.

“Harriet Tubman.” Chloe decided.

“Luke Skywalker!!” chimed in little Mason.  They all nodded.

“You guys are so smart!!  Which of all these people are real?  What do you think?”  Nannygranne waited, smiling, looking from child to child as they whispered and debated.

Finally, Brooke spoke for the group. “Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Harriet Tubman.”

“How can we know that they were real?” challenged Nannygranne.

“Because my teacher reads to us about them,” answered Jillian.

“That’s a good reason,” said Nannygranne. “But we read about Cinderella and the Little Mermaid, too.  What’s different about those presidents and Harriet Tubman?”

“They’re in our history books,” Jacob insisted.

“And why are they in the history books?” Nannygranne realized her questions were growing harder. “Go ahead and put your thinking caps on.  Why would somebody write those stories in history books, and how did they know what happened?”

Brooke looked around the group, unsure of her idea, but she decided to say what was on her mind. “Because they were important men who did important things, and people wrote those things down.”

“Brooke, you are very right.  We have those letters and newspaper articles and even things people wrote in diaries, and that’s where history book writers get their information for your history books.”

“Oh,” said Chloe as she thoughtfully took another lick of her Bubblegum ice cream.

“Jesus’ Apostles also wrote about the things He said and did.  That was a long time ago, and we have copies of what they wrote. Some of the copies were made only 30 years after Jesus went back to Heaven.  Guess how many copies we have about Jesus!”

“A hundred?” guessed Jillian.

“There are over 25,000 copies!”

“Wow!! Twenty-Five Thousand!!  That’s a bajillion!”  Mason, dependably dramatic, kept everyone entertained.

“Julius Caesar was a famous man you’ll learn about in school who lived just before Jesus.  We only have five copies of his story.”

At that, the kids echoed the sentiment “Wow!”

Nannygranne concluded, ” So Jesus really was born in Bethlehem and lived over in Israel, the place we hear about on the news.    We know He was not crazy or a liar.  Jesus was real and He said we’re all going to see Him one of these days!”

“He did?” Brooke asked.

“Yes, He did.  He’s coming back for all His people so we can all be together forever in His world.  I’m so glad Jesus decided to be born on earth and spend time showing us how to live well.  And died for our sins, but came back to life and visited His friends for almost two more months before He went back to Heaven.”

Nannygranne started gathering her things and helping Mason with his jacket.  It was time to go.

“You mean He stayed here for a while after He rose from the grave?  I thought He went to Heaven that day.”  Jacob wasn’t sure about this.

“Yes, He did, Jacob.  How about tonight after baths, we talk about this during story time.  I have a game about it that we can play.  Does that sound fun?”  Everyone agreed and headed for home.

Was Jesus Wrong About Who He Was?

After settling in with their pizza, a hush fell over the group with their first hungry mouthfuls.  Nannygranne picked up their conversation—about the validity of  Jesus—where they’d left off a while earlier.

“Okay, Jacob had a question we decided to talk about while we were having pizza.  Does anyone remember what his question was . . . besides Jacob?”

Chloe raised her hand. “How do we know Jesus was real?”

“No,” Jacob corrected, “I said, ‘How do we know Jesus even lived?’”

“Thank you, Chloe, for being willing to help,” Nannygranne said, ignoring Jacob’s peevishness.

Brooke, being the oldest, chimed in.  “You asked us to be thinking about whether Jesus was a fairytale or crazy or a big liar or if He was real.”

“So, Brooke, what are you wondering about Jesus?”

“Well, I don’t think He was crazy.  That’s for sure.  His friends trusted him, and nobody ever said they thought He was.”

Nannygranne then said, “Well actually, Brooke, there was one time someone thought Jesus was out of His mind.”

“Who did?” Jillian asked.

“Well,” Nannygranne said sadly, “it was His family.  Mary and Jesus’ brothers.”

“What?!!”  Jillian said, incensed at such a thought.

“I’m afraid so.” Nannygranne continued.  Then she pulled up Mark 3:21, 31-35.  After reading Jesus’ calm response, everyone agreed Jesus didn’t act crazy or even impatient.

“Does anyone think Jesus just said He was God’s son but lied about it?” Nannygranne waited for someone to answer.  The children understood what lying was and how easy it could be.  “What happens when you lie?  Does someone generally notice?”

“Yes!” declared Mason.  “And Mama makes me tell the truth and apologize.”

“So your mother helps you do the right thing, so your life is better.  Good for her, Mason!”

“When someone lies, others find out and tell other people,” offered Jillian.

“Liars eventually get caught, don’t they?” Nannygranne said.  “Jesus’ disciples were with Him almost every day for three years.  Do you think they’d have caught Him if He lied?”

“Oh yeah!  They sure would!” Mason announced, feeling smart and grownup participating in the table talk.

“If  someone lied and got you in trouble, would  you still not say they lied—when you got a spanking for it?”

“You mean I get a spanking because somebody lied and said I did something wrong?”  Jacob was incredulous!

“How do you feel about that, Jacob?”

“That’s crazy!  No way!!” About this, Jacob was passionate.

“Did you know that after Jesus went back to Heaven,  Jesus’ Apostles and a lot of other people got killed because they believed Jesus was real?”

Now five large pairs of eyes held Nannygranne’s. Chloe was first to speak.  “The Apostles were killed, too?”

“Yes.  Every single one of them, except John, and he died in jail.  Did they think Jesus was a liar?”

“They must not have or they wouldn’t let somebody kill them,” Brooke said.

“Jesus wasn’t a liar, or somebody would have known it.”  Nannygranne took a drink of her lemonade, then continued.  “So, Jesus wasn’t crazy and He wasn’t a liar.  Was He a fairytale?”

“Nannygranne, can we get icecream on the way home?” Mason asked.

Immediately the other four chimed in, making it a unanimous decision.

“We can talk about fairytales over icecream.  How does that sound?”

(Continued next week)

How do we know Jesus really lived?

As Nannygranne drove to the local Dollar Store with her five young charges, ages 5 to 12, they talked about their shopping trip together.  “Ok, does everyone have your shopping list ready?” A chorus of responses declared everyone prepared.  “Does everyone have a dollar for each name on your list?”  Everyone began to compare who had the most money.  “Ok, then.  When we get to the store, everyone gets a buggy and a buddy, and you find one gift for each person on your list.”  She turned to five-year-old Mason, winked, and whispered, “You’re my shopping buddy today, OK?”  The bespeckled boy grinned up at her, obviously pleased.

“Can we pick out a toy for ourselves, too?” Jacob, a 5th grader, asked.

“Well, today is about doing for someone else and not ourselves,” Nannygranne directed.  Noticing Jacob’s disappointment, she quickly changed the subject.  “Does anyone know why we give gifts at Christmas?”

“Because the wise men brought gifts?” one guessed.

“Because Jesus was a gift to the world?” another supposed.

“I like those answers,” Nannygranne said with a smile.  “God didn’t make any rules about Christmas. It’s a fun time when many people around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus and are with their families.  It’s a happy holiday, I think.”

“How do we know Jesus really even lived?” Jacob still smarted from knowing he wasn’t getting another toy today.

“I’m glad you asked that question, Jacob,” Nannygranne replied.  With only a few minutes before arriving at their destination, she knew she couldn’t adequately answer right then, but she could make a start. “There are grownups who wonder the same thing, and there are even grownups who say that they’ve decided Jesus wasn’t who He said He was.”

When they arrived, Nannygranne parked the van, cautioning everyone to wait before getting out of the car. “Jesus said He was God who had come to earth and become human. Can we figure out whether He was real?  I think we can.”

As they buddied up and reiterated their shopping plan, Nannygranne suggested they pray about their task. “What we are about to do is very important because we will be doing something that shows love for other people. That’s the most important thing about Christmas and even about life.”

She prayed for the children to have wisdom and love as they shopped, and that they would remember all the things God and their families had done for them.

“Before we go into the store, I want us to be thinking if Jesus was just a fairytale, or was He crazy, or a big liar, or was He truly God. We hear a lot about Jesus at Christmas time, so I think it’s important to answer Jacob’s question. Then we’ll talk about it while we’re eating pizza after we’ve finished shopping.  How does that sound?”

“Good!  I like pizza!” said Mason.  He grabbed her hand, and they were off.