Many thanks to John and Kimberly Wallace (aboldjoy.wordpress.com) for their gracious review of The Building on the Rock Series. Their review is featured in its entirety below:
Our family has its traditions, things we have developed over the past nearly 12 years of marriage and nine and half years of child rearing. Perhaps the tradition I pleasure in most is our evening schedule of books and devotions. We are easily enthralled by a good story. In fact, if one of us were not equally passionate about a consistent bedtime, stories would go on well into the night.
Occasionally a product comes along which blends story time and family devotions in a special way. One such product is The Building on the Rock Series edited by Dr. Joel R. Beeke and Diana Kleyn and published by Christian Focus Publications.
This series has five books each with 26 to 36 stories of varying length which can easily be used nightly for about five months without repetition, although, in our case the boys were delighted to have a story for morning devotions as well. In the first volume, Beeke and Kleyn explain that “All of the Christian stories contained in these books are based on true happenings,” and as such they add to the excitement of coming to the resolution of each story. Each story ends with a few devotional questions and Scripture references to look up and read with your children.
In the back of each book there are a series of indexes, such as Prayer Points, Scripture Index, and Answers to Questions. The answers to devotional questions are helpful just in case one finds it difficult to provide answers to the child(ren). The authors describe Prayer Points as:
“…written as helps to prayer and are not to be used as prayers themselves. Reading these pointers should help the child or the family to think about issues connected with the story that need prayer in their own life, the life of their church or the world. Out of the two prayer points written for each story, one prayer point is written specifically for those who have saving faith while the other point is written in such a way that both Christians and non-believers will be brought to pray about their sinful nature and perhaps ask God for His salvation or thank Him for His gift of it.”
There are two themes in each volume so that in the course of reading these books with your children 10 major themes will be covered.
- How God Used A Thunderstorm – Themes: Living For God and The Value of Scripture
- How God Stopped The Pirates – Themes: Missionary Tales and Remarkable Conversions
- How God Used A Snowdrift – Themes: Honoring God and Dramatic Rescues
- How God Used A Drought And An Umbrella – Themes: Faithful Witnesses and Childhood Faith
- How God Sent A Dog To Save A Family – Themes: God’s Care and Childhood Faith
While these are the broad themes of each volume, the child is actually learning the nature of God and man. Through these stories the child finds God to be a trustworthy and consistent God full of all power and all knowledge yet merciful and gracious. The stories glorify the God of all creation who has a good and perfect plan and who is willing and able to carry out His plan in the lives of His creation. The stories show God who is swift to destroy the wicked and yet patient with sinners whom He loves. These and many more attributes of our great God are played out on the pages of The Building on the Rock Series.
While the true nature of God is being demonstrated to your children, the true nature of mankind is played out as well. Stories need not be graphic in any negative sense to convey the depth of depravity which resides in the heart of every natural born person. Therefore, from the small child in “Becky’s Prayer” who asks her mother “Mommy, am I born to die?” to “The Little Chimney Sweep’s Prayer”: “God be merciful to me a sinner,” your children learn that they too need the mercy of God in their lives.
The stories throughout this series provide a great springboard for the gospel and discipleship in the lives of children. In this series, you and your child will be confronted with the real substance of life and the fact that we have a great God.