I’m still a kid at heart—how about you? I love children’s books, kids’ movies, and a good adventure story. Back in high school, one of my many wonderful English teachers put John Bunyan’s classic work Pilgrim’s Progress on the reading list. I read this great allegory and loved the story of Christian’s journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. I was fascinated by Bunyan’s understanding of the Christian life and what we face on our journey.
I loved the highs and lows in the story—how both the excitements and disappointments reflected my life as a Christian. Now I want to teach that story to my kids in the church, and I feel like it’s even more relevant today. How friends at times will disappoint you, how we face monstrous foes and rely on Jesus, and how we sometimes walk through “the valley of the shadow of death” but don’t have to fear evil because he’s with us.
From a purely a kid’s imagination perspective it has lions, giants, a dragon, armor, a sword, a shield, and battles, not to mention beautiful clothes, gold, silver, and pearls—something to capture every kid’s imagination. But through it all, it talks of Jesus as the only way of salvation, how important it is to know God’s Word, and how the Holy Spirit is there to help us along the journey and through every trial and triumph.
About 18 months ago I heard for the first time the dramatic reading of Pilgrim’s Progress as adapted for children by Great Commission Publications. True story — I was driving and listening when I got to chapter 12 when Hopeful gives his testimony. I simply had to pull off the road as tears streamed down my face when I heard these words:
“One day I was very sad because I saw how awful my sin was. But, suddenly, I understood that Jesus was speaking to my heart and saying, ‘Believe on me, and you will be saved.’
I told Jesus, ‘I am a very great sinner.’
And Jesus replied, ‘My grace is enough for you.’
Then I asked, ‘Can I be truly accepted by you?’
Jesus said, ‘Whoever comes to me I will never drive away.’ And Jesus is alive and always praying for me! I can’t tell you how full of joy I was. I was so thankful to him for saving me and forgiving my sin.”
I was overwhelmed once again that this is what Jesus did for me. This is the gospel adventure the kids of your church and mine desperately need.
To find out more about this amazing book, dramatic reading, and the curriculum designed by Great Commission Publications, visit our website at childrenspilgrimsprogress.org.
Oh, and did I mention that it’s a GREAT Christmas gift for your kids and grandkids?!?