So when Sally Lloyd-Jones came for an overnight jaunt to the farm, our kids sort of thought it was a bit like the Queen was coming — I mean, don’t they both have the loveliest British accents? And our kids have literally been raised up on The Jesus Storybook Bible (over a million copies sold!) –– so Sally was like a bit of wonder and love coming for tea — or just bacon and eggs. You can’t help but fall in love with this woman of deep theological truths and endearing warmth. We absolutely loved everything about her — and are counting the days till she comes back. The farm’s front porch is humbled and ecstatic to welcome Sally’s wonderful words today…
One of my strongest memories is when I was six, walking to church holding my dad’s hand, on a tree-lined street on a sunny Sunday morning in south London.
From the outside, you’d say “Oh. How lovely. A father and his daughter going to church together.”
But inside, what only God and I knew was that I was making a vow in my 6 year-old heart: “When I grow up I’m never going to church ever again.”
I was a Christian child, in a Christian family. I’d heard all the Bible stories. I’d been taught all the lessons.
What went wrong?
I dreaded that Sunday school.
It was all about was rules and how I wasn’t doing it right. I had enough of that at real school in the week. Why would I want to go and hear it again from God on a Sunday?
What was missing? The most crucial thing.
I had not heard The Story.
My imagination had not caught fire.
When I go into churches and speak to children I ask them two questions:
1. How many people here sometimes think you have to be good for God to love you?
They tentatively raise their hands. I raise my hand along with them.
2. How many people here sometimes think that if you aren’t good, God will stop loving you?
They look around and again raise their hands.
These are children in Sunday schools who know the Bible stories.
These are children who probably also know all the right answers — and yet they have somehow missed the most important thing of all.
They have missed what the Bible is all about.
They are children like I once was.
As a child, even though I was a Christian, I grew up thinking the Bible was filled with rules you had to keep (or God wouldn’t love you) and with heroes setting examples you had to follow (or God wouldn’t love you).
I tried to be good. I really did.
But however hard I tried, I couldn’t keep the rules all the time so I knew God must not be pleased with me.
And I certainly couldn’t ever be as brave as Daniel. Hard as I tried to imagine myself daring to be a Daniel, being thrown to lions and not minding… I knew I could never be as good as Daniel.
I knew I wasn’t nearly brave enough.
Or faithful enough.
Or good enough.
How could God ever love me?
I was sure He couldn’t.
One Sunday recently, I was reading the story of Daniel and the Scary Sleepover from The Jesus Storybook Bible to some 6 year olds during a Sunday school lesson.
One little girl in particular was sitting so close to me she was almost in my lap. Her face was bright and eager as she listened to the story, utterly captivated. She could hardly keep on the ground and kept kneeling up to get closer to the story.
At the end of the story there were no other teachers around and I panicked and went into automatic pilot and heard myself asking, “And so what can we learn from Daniel about how God wants us to live?”
As I said those words it was as if I had literally laid a huge load on that little girl.
Like I broke some spell. She crumpled right in front of me, physically slumping and bowing her head.
I will never forget it.
It is a picture of what happens to a child when we turn a story into a moral lesson.
When we drill a Bible story down into a moral lesson, we make it all about us.
But the Bible isn’t mainly about us, and what we’re supposed to be doing—it’s about God, and what He has done.
When we tie up the story in a nice neat little package, and answer all the questions, we leave no room for mystery.
We leave no room for the child.
No room for God.
When we say, “Now what that story is all about is…”, or “The point of that story is…” we’re totally missing the point.
The power of the story isn’t in summing it up, or drilling it down, or reducing it into an abstract idea.
Because the power of the story isn’t in the lesson.
The power of the story IS the story.
And that’s why I wrote The Jesus Storybook Bible. So children could know what I didn’t:
That the Bible is most of all a story—the Story of how God loves His children and comes to rescue them.
That—in spite of everything, no matter what, whatever it cost Him—God would always love his children… with a wonderful, Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.
And that, in this Story, there is only one Hero.
I wrote The Jesus Storybook Bible so children could meet Him in its pages.
And become part of His Magnificent Story.
Because rules don’t change you.
But a Story—God’s Story—can.
With over a million copies sold, the Jesus Storybook Bible tells the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible. At the center of the Story is a baby, the child upon whom everything will depend. Every story whispers His name.
From Noah to Moses to the great King David–-every story points to Jesus. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle—the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together. A Bible like no other, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to join in the greatest of all adventures, to discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation— and at the center of their Story too.
This book is a classic in the line of C.S. Lewis — written so magnificently, that it’s not just for children, but for people of all ages — adults love reading and re-reading the wonder that is The Jesus Storybook Bible. I can’t recommend this book highly enough — I’ve taken it all over the world, handing it out to children. It’s the one book I wish I could get into the hands of every child around the world — because it hands them Jesus. Absolute 5 Star.