In the Bible God asks us to love Him with all our hearts, souls and minds. How do we do that? How do KIDS do that? The author writes about why she loves God, and how she personally responds to His great love. This is a deeply theological book written to capture kids’ hearts, minds and imaginations. This is one of our secret flap books!
LOVING GOD: THE BACK STORY (by author Jane Van Antwerp)
Some time ago, a dad texted me a picture of his 7-year-old son. The boy was asleep, but beside him were all 12 of the Blue Box Books. He had even placed them in order, books 1 - 12. The son had asked if he could read before turning out the light. His dad had said "yes" and left his bedroom. Later, when he checked to make sure his youngest was asleep, he saw the 12 books lined up and snapped the photo, knowing it would encourage me. In the morning the father asked which book he had read. He said "all of them." "Do you have a favorite?" "The book with the mountain and the flaps." Apparently the book without a very clever or memorable name was his choice. This is the one Blue Box Book that was not a children's sermon first. It's also my Mom's favorite book. In fact, the last time I was visiting my parents, I saw Loving God on her devotional bookshelf between her Bible and her journal.
Loving God is my personal testimony of why I love God. The illustrated character throughout the book is me at different stages of my life. It starts with the premise of Deuteronomy 6:5: "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your strength." The book then tries to explain what it is about God that makes Him so worthy of our love. Every page pours out more reasons to love God. When the book was first published, a young children's pastor was visiting me for the day. She read Loving God and put it down and exclaimed, "I could read that book 50 times and get something new out of it each time!" YES! That was our reason for writing and drawing a book from scratch.
The late Dallas Willard writes in his book, Renovation of the Heart: "The single most important thing in our mind is our idea of God." This is the passion behind Beyond the Blue Ministries and the Blue Box Books. We want to help churches and families greatly influence what their kids think about God. We want kids to experience God's help and to trust Him. Loving God has lift-up flaps, behind each flap is a cartoon balloon with a phrase to say in response to God. I love it that 80-year-olds and 7-year-olds talk to God as they read this book. This is our heart!