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Category: Resources

Why we’re using a Catechism in 2024

We introduced the New City Catechism to our Sunday liturgy (order of worship) on Sunday. The New City Catechism (NCC) is a set of 52 questions and answers designed to help us remember the core teachings of Scripture. Like the Apostles’ Creed, the NCC is another intentional effort to ensure that everyone who makes Grace Life Church their home church is adequately discipled in God’s Word. Why?

Because sound doctrine leads to a sound life.

Paul writes in Ephesians 4:11–14

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” 

One of the main responsibilities that God has given the Pastor-Elders of Grace Life Church is to help shepherd and disciple members of Grace Life to the fullness of Christ. This is Christian maturity.

Understanding the wonderful truths of Scripture leads to our spiritual maturity. As the Apostle Peter would write in his first letter:

“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:2-3)

The New City Catechism is a tool in the tool chest of growing in God’s Word and understanding sound, Biblical doctrine. Let’s answer a few questions about this new tool we are using at Grace Life.


What is a Catechism?

For most of church history, the Christian church has utilized catechisms to teach doctrine to children and adults. A Catechism is a method of teaching that includes an oral element. It is also done within a community (i.e. Sunday church gatherings, Sunday school, small groups, etc).

The word “catechism” comes from the Greek word “Katecheo”, pronounced very similarly to catechism. We see this Greek word mentioned in the New Testament.

“Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue”. (1 Corinthians 14:19)

“Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John.” (Acts 18:24–25)

If you notice from these two examples, catechisms are both for our instruction and to instruct others. Intentional community discipleship.


Why are we specifically using the New City Catechism?

The New City Catechism is not the only catechism available to the church. In fact, it’s quite new compared to several others. The NNC was written and made available in 2012.

The Heidelberg Catechism (1563), the Westminster Catechism (longer and shorter versions) (1648), and the London Baptist Catechism (1689) are a few examples of catechisms used throughout church history. The Heidelberg and Westminster Catechisms are predominately used within Presbyterian churches. Martin Luther, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, Richard Baxter, and many other pastors and theologians took advantage of catechisms in their ministries.

While these catechisms are very thorough and, for the most part, follow Scripture, the New City Catechism offers a fresh, updated language that is built off of these historical catechisms. You can read more about the layout of the New City Catechism on their website

The New City Catechism builds off of a rich foundation and brings modern tools to help equip the church with sound doctrine.


How can I use the New City Catechism?

The catechism will fall short if you only take advantage of it on Sunday mornings. We’ll read the week’s question in our LifeGroups and post reminders in our weekly Newsletter and on social media. But it will also take effort on your part.

Here’s how you can use it at home.

  • Read the question to your spouse or your kids and then have them respond with the answer.
  • Have someone read you the question and then you respond with the answer.
  • Play the corresponding song with your kids. (Parents, this will help you memorize it as well)
  • Download the New City Catechism app in your app store and follow along with weekly readings, songs, and additional resources.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. 

It’s my prayer to see you grow in the fullness of Christ and it is my joy to come alongside of you and help you deepen your roots in the wonderful doctrines of Scripture.

By His Grace,

Pastor Matt

Resources for Christian Parenting

In January of this year, a news story broke of a 12 year old young girl who attempted to seriously harm herself. After the parents did some investigating, they learned that the school counselor allegedly encouraged this young girl to transition. The parents alleged their daughter was given a new name and they were never informed about it, which they believe led to their daughter’s pain.

A story like this is unfortunately very familiar to us now. We’ve read and watched with our own eyes as kids are encouraged to attend drag shows, read essentially pornographic material as they explore their bodies, and consider abandoning the design God has for them. We respond with anger and sadness and deep concern, but as we watch and read, we internally say, “That wouldn’t happen here.”


Except the story above comes to you from a school in our own county. 


In the story of Cain and Abel from Genesis 4, the Lord confronts Cain regarding his offering and says to him, 

“but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it’.” (Genesis 4:5–7)

Sin and evil is crouching at the door waiting to attack. Sin’s desire is to take us out and to rule over us. And the devil himself, while not omnipresent, is seeking to devour us. It’s why Peter says,

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

As parents, we have been given the responsibility to care, protect, and disciple our children. We have been entrusted by their Creator to nurture them and raise them up to know the Lord. And I think we can all be honest in saying, parenting today is challenging! But what I want to encourage us today is parenting has been the same for all of history. The distractions are different, the culture is different, and the temptations are different, yet at the core is the same root issue: your child is a depraved sinner. (Romans 5:12) 

This past Sunday, we looked at Deuteronomy 6:1-9 to see what the Bible has to say about Christian parenting. We looked at this text because it is not helpful to give you five steps to better parenting because those steps often treat the symptoms and not the disease. I wanted to give you a Biblical foundation to your parenting. 

Parenting in a hyper-sexual culture is not for the faint of heart. Boys and girls are introduced to some form of pornography between the ages of 5 and 10. From a Christian perspective, the goal is not just to prevent porn exposure, but rather to teach God’s design for sex, establish clear and open communication, and acknowledge the dangers.

There is a difference between not allowing access to YouTube, social media, or even iPhones or iPads and teaching them God’s design for sex. Instead of a mindset of preventing porn exposure, we need to have a mindset of preparing for porn exposure. This provides action steps when your child is “accidentally” exposed to pornographic material (whether explicit or inexplicit such as provocative television commercials) or their eyes begin wandering at the pool or beach. Yes, we prevent, but we also prepare.

We prepare them for porn exposure by teaching them the truths of Scripture and the importance of accountability. If you notice, we take the same first measures in our parenting as we do in our personal fight against sexual sin.

Scripture teaches our children God’s design.  Our children need to know that sex is God’s design between a married man and woman for life. We are proclaiming God’s design for marriage, sex, and gender because it is God’s design that is actively being attacked in our culture. We fight the lies of Satan with the truth of God. Any conversation concerning sex should be grounded in Scripture and celebrated as a gift from the Lord for a husband and wife. Read to them God’s design for sex and marriage from Genesis 1-2.

Open communication leads to intentional accountability – Talking to your children about sex in an age appropriate manner makes you the expert on the topic. They hear it from you first before they hear it on the playground or in a video game chat. Most importantly, they hear the truth behind sex found in God’s Word. Regardless of the topic, teaching the truth of God’s Word to our children before they hear the lies of the world will serve them well.

As you seek to be Biblically grounded parents, take the time to open the Bible and candidly talk to your children about God’s design for sex and their bodies. Here are a few additional resources that will help you in this conversation:

The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality by Luke Gilkerson

God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb

Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr.: A Simple Plan to Protect Young Minds by Kristen Jenson (Ages 3-6)

Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids by Kristen Jenson

Raising Teens in a Hyper-sexualized World by Eliza Huie



God and the Transgender Debate by Andrew Walker

Good God, Gay Girl by Jackie Hill Perry

Transgender by Vaughan Roberts

What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung

I pray the truths from Scripture and these resources will encourage you in your parenting. And as always, if you ever need help, please let me know.

By His Grace,

Pastor Matt

Resources for our “God’s Big Story” series

This past Sunday, we began a new series called “God’s Big Story”. God’s Big Story is recorded in the Bible. Sixty-six books of various genres written by several authors over thousands of years has ONE THEME: The Bible is the story of a Holy God Redeeming Sinful Man.

God’s Big Story contains for story lines: 

1. CREATION: God created all things perfect and for his glory.

2. THE FALL: Mankind corrupted God’s perfect creation and has fallen short of the glory of God.

3. REDEMPTION: God has delivered mankind from the bondage of their sin and revealed his glory to us in the person of Jesus Christ, who died and rose again.

4. RESTORATION: God promises to renew all things through Jesus Christ and to usher in an eternal future in the presence of his glory.

These four story lines are seen throughout the entire Bible and over the next few weeks, we’re going to be looking at some of the most popular stories in the Bible and see how they are connected to God’s Big Story.

My hope for this series is for us to see God’s Big Story on every page of the Bible, to help you read your Bible daily, and to help you teach the Bible to others. To help you and your family in our study of God’s Big Story, here are some helpful resources.


THE BIGGEST STORY ABC by Kevin DeYoung (Purchase on Amazon)

AGES: Preschool

From Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden to Zion and the new creation world, the Bible is telling one big story―the story of God’s promise to deliver his people. Kevin DeYoung, best-selling author of The Biggest Story, has written a new board book to help kids ages 1 to 3 to make connections from Genesis to Revelation and from A to Z. Each page introduces a new letter of the alphabet with engaging and whimsical illustrations from award-winning artist Don Clark, retelling the biblical narrative in one continuous story. This board book is a fun way for parents to introduce their small children to the big story of the Bible.


THE JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE by Sally Lloyd-Jones (Purchase on Amazon)

AGES: Preschool and Elementary; Great for Teenagers and Adults who are new believers.

If you are a parent, grandparent, or teacher looking for a way to teach the children in your life about God’s “Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love,” look no further than The Jesus Storybook Bible.

What makes The Jesus Storybook Bible different from every other Kids’ Bible?

While other Kids’ Bibles contain stories from the Old and New Testaments, The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible, pointing to Jesus as our Savior. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, as the Story unfolds, children will clearly see that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation—and at the center of their story too.



AGES: Preschool and Elementary

Once upon a time there lived a man and a woman. They were the happiest people on the planet. True, they were the only people on the planet, but they were still terrifically happy. Unfortunately, things didn’t stay happy and wonderful for long . . .

The Bible is full of exciting stories that fill children with awe and wonder. But kids need to know how all those classic stories connect to Scripture’s overarching message about God’s glorious plan to redeem his rebellious people.

In The Biggest Story, Kevin DeYoung―a best-selling author and father of six―leads kids and parents alike on an exciting journey through the Bible, connecting the dots from the garden of Eden to Christ’s death on the cross to the new heaven and new earth.

With powerful illustrations by award-winning artist Don Clark, this imaginative retelling of the Bible’s core message―how the Snake Crusher brings us back to the garden―will draw children into the biblical story, teaching them that God’s promises are even bigger and better than we think.


AGES: Preschool and Elementary

Teach children why Jesus died and rose again and why that’s the best news ever.

This beautifully illustrated hardback book takes children on a journey from the garden of Eden to God’s perfect new creation.

Retelling the Easter story through a Bible overview, children will discover that ‘because of our sin, we can’t go in’ but because of Jesus’ victory on the cross, an even better garden awaits us…


ESV Story of Redemption Bible: A Journey through the Unfolding Promises of God

THE STORY OF REDEMPTION ESV BIBLE from Crossway (Purchase on Amazon)

AGES: Teenagers and Adults

The ESV Story of Redemption Bible: A Journey through the Unfolding Promises of God leads readers on a journey through this storyline from start to finish, with conversational commentary written by pastor Greg Gilbert interspersed throughout the full ESV text.

With the aim of encouraging interaction and contemplation passage by passage, Gilbert explains how every part of Scripture fits together and is ultimately centered on Christ. Particularly suitable to those who are new to the Bible but rich with insights for even the most seasoned Bible reader, the ESV Story of Redemption Bible will draw readers in as they see their place in the greatest story ever told.




God's Big Story – Podcast – PodtailGOD’S BIG STORY PODCAST from The Village Church (Listen on iTunes Podcasts)

AGES: Preschool and Elementary

God’s Big Story is a new podcast for kids. On each episode, we’ll teach the Bible, sing the Bible, and talk about what it means with some friends.



Review: The Bible Project – Brilliant but Flawed - The Gospel ...THE BIBLE PROJECT  (Watch on YouTube)

AGES: All Ages

BibleProject is a nonprofit animation studio that produces short-form, fully animated videos. Our videos and all of our other resources are available for free to help people everywhere experience the unified story of the Bible.

For our sermon series, Check out their “How to Read the Bible” Series. This series explores the origins, content, and purpose of the Bible. Here you’ll be introduced to some of the basic skills necessary for reading the bible effectively. Watch a sample video below.