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If you're a parent like me, you know how hard it can be to find engaging, Biblical resources for tweens and teens. The distractions of media and entertainment are strong, and asking a teenager to sit down quietly to read the Bible is, well, about as much fun as forcing them to mow the lawn. Fortunately, there are two brand-new resources available that make our job as Christian parents MUCH easier. Here they are:
Guys Slimline NLT Chevron Bible
The first resource is Tyndale Publishing House's new NLT Slimline Bible (pictured above). If you've read the New Living Translation at all, you know that it is very easy to understand - especially for younger readers. This Bible leaves out the traditional "Thees" and "Thous," helping tweens and teens connect with the heart of the message instead of losing them in the language.
Tyndale graciously sent me a copy of the Guys Slimline Bible (I do have boys, after all...), a slender, 5.5" x 8" sized book with a leather-like feel to it. A wipe-clean softcover with a jazzy chevron design, it lays flat when opened (i.e., it won't "shut off" until your teen does!) - a nice, easy-reading feature. AND this Bible has an extra feature that makes it really stand out: there's a 365-day reading plan right in the back of the Bible, so your child can read through the Bible in one year without having to refer to a separate book or reading plan!
As a mom who's always hoping to find new ways to make the Bible come alive to my kids, here's how I would use this resource. First, I'd give it as a gift. Birthdays and Graduations are great times to surprise your kids with something "new!" And then, I'd ask them to commit to reading just 20 verses a day, following the 365-day plan in the back of the Bible. (If you're super-motivated, you can read the same chapters with your teen and use them as a dinnertime or family quiet-time conversation-starter.)
There is a dictionary and concordance in the back of the Bible, along with full-color maps to help your child understand what he is reading. Still not convinced? There's also a list in the back called "Great Verses in the Bible to Memorize." In the summertime, I typically require my kids to memorize scripture verses each day. This list could become a handy "cheat sheet" to help you find key verses that will be meaningful to them as they go through their Christian walk.
The Guys Slimline Bible is discreet enough to tuck into a backpack, tough enough to take a beating, and "cool" enough to look good when it's in use. What more could a guy ask for at this age?
Want to give it a try? You can preview or order it through Amazon, right here:
The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance
If your tween is more of a gamer than a reader, then the new release of "The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance" is for him! Aetherlight is the creation of Scarlet City Studios of New Zealand, whose goal is to "retell Biblical stories to a digital generation." This steampunk-themed game draws children in to a Narnia-like world of epic adventures, all with Biblical themes.
Although the game does not use Bible names and characters explicitly, it does have the goal of helping kids to apply biblical values and principles in their own everyday life. The creators partner with American Bible Society to promote this product. Kids can get involved in the game's action and also indulge their creative side by crafting steampunk-style widgets to use in the game.
I asked my 10-year-old Minecraft expert to play Aetherlight's game, and he enjoyed it. On a scale of 1 to 10, he rated it a 9. (Second only to Minecraft, of course!) Pretty impressive. Gaming controls were intuitive to him and he jumped right in to the storyline. From my adult perspective, some of the characters' scripted lines seemed a little goofy (the lead character repeatedly makes cliched statements akin to "jiminy cricket"), but they didn't bother my son. The Narnia-like world is colorful and detailed.
In order to play, a parent email must be given, and the creators make sure the parent knows - i.e., clicks to confirm - their child is online before allowing any gaming action to begin - a nice nod to parental consent. They also supply the parent with the child's login info for reference, and there's a way to report any bullying that occurs between players online.
The game can be downloaded to a computer, Android, or Apple phone and requires Windows 7 at a minimum to play. You can try it for free by clicking here, or download it from the GooglePlay or Apple ios stores. Episode 2 is available for preorder now, and is set to be released in August 2016. Oh - and just like Lego and Minecraft - Aetherlight is coming out with its very own Aetherlight Bible
this August, 2016. (Click here for the link).
It's nice to know that publishers and game developers are taking an interest in providing quality resources for our tweens in this tech-savvy age. I only wish there were more...
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Deborah Perkins is the founder of a ministry focused on life-giving communication with God. Through her website, inspired teaching and a weekly blog, Deborah offers discipleship to those who want to grow their relationship with God. A ministry leader for over 25 years, Deborah is an experienced prophetic counselor, marriage mentor, and prayer warrior. She's also fond of her hubby, 3 sons, and dark chocolate - in that order!
c. Deborah Perkins / HisInscriptions.com. Author note: I received no compensation for reviewing The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance. A Slimline Bible was provided by Tyndale Publishing House for my review, but the opinions written are my own.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.