Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Discovering Jesus in Genesis

Discovering Jesus in Genesis, written by Susan Hunt and Richie Hunt, helps young people discover more about the character of God. The Old Testament book of Genesis is the focus, although the book teaches that Jesus can be discovered in scripture all through the Bible.

The plot involves three children: Cassie, Daniel, and Caleb, and an elderly neighbor, Sir John. He invites the children to participate in a summer Bible study where he promises they will discover the treasures of God’s wisdom and knowledge.
Then, Mary and Mac move into the neighborhood to live with Granny Grace after their parents divorce. The three friends invite them to a cookout, but Mary and Mac tease the friends for being so different. Nevertheless, Cassie and Caleb invite Mary and Mac to the circus.

Mary finally becomes interested in the weekly Bible study and she begins to enjoy her time at Sir John’s house. Mary’s heart changes and she becomes a Christian when she realizes she’s never had friends like Cassie, Daniel, and Caleb. Mac is skeptical of Christianity, but when Caleb's youth leader helps him work out his disappointment with his Dad, Mac’s heart changes, too. When Mary breaks her leg in a soccer game, Mary’s mother witnesses the prayer and support for her daughter. She admits that she has turned her back on God and returns to her faith.

The stories illustrate God’s covenant promise: he sent Jesus to redeem us. The 36 chapters explore God’s grace as well as the covenant values of stewardship, worship, obedience, trust, thankfulness, and love. Sir John emphasizes the stories of Abraham and Joseph with the children.

Every chapter tackles tough issues: sharing faith, wondering if a person is too bad to become Christian, overcoming anger when treated badly, forgiveness, and even the importance of being nice to siblings and defeating grumpiness! Prayer is emphasized throughout and the reader will see the adults and children praying over every little situation that crops up during the day.

What I Like: This book would be ideal for a Bible study or family devotional. Each chapter begins with the covenant value and features a verse of scripture that’s perfect for memorization. The chapter closes with discussion questions and a prayer. As a bonus, there are several hymns and a wonderful recipe for shortbread cookies!

What I Dislike: The characters are a little too perfect and Cassie’s thoughts are sometimes beyond her age. The children need only a quick reminder to get back to being a good Christian. This seemed unrealistic. On a positive note, the parents were conscientious about prayer, family devotionals, and monitoring outside influences. This sets the bar high and creates a good example of invitational Christian faith for both parents and children who use this book.

There was a situation where the children laughed at a snoring man in church. The parents decided that because of their behavior, they had not properly prepared their hearts for worship and that friends could no longer sit together in church. This seemed harsh to me. Someone loudly snoring is enough to distract the most respectful adult. I thought some of the consequences were necessary, but I think developing Christian friendships is important for children.

Overall Rating: Very Good

Age Appeal: Ages 4 to 12. First grade at a minimum would be ideal for holding attention and for understanding.

Publisher Info: Crossway Books, 2002; ISBN: 1-58134-394-9; Softcover $16.99.

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $8.99.
OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $11.55.

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