Resources for Family Time and Spiritual Development

Written by Dan Panetti
Published on April 18, 2020

With the additional homebound time due to the Coronavirus, many people are looking for ways to fill the seemingly endless hours at home in ways other than Netflix or another 10,000 piece puzzle. Here are some resources for you and your family which may provide some family connection as well as some spiritual development along the way. 

Movies with Meaning

After hours and hours of online learning, you can also look to learn from meaningful movies that you can watch as a family. Here are a few suggestions that are worth your time and attention to watch and should lead to meaningful discussions as a family.

The Pilgrim’s Progress – Revelation Media in McKinney is allowing people to watch their animated version of the great Christian classic by John Bunyan – The Pilgrim’s Progress – for FREE – during the coronavirus crisis – remember, that even though this is an animated version of the book, it stays true to the written work by Bunyan and is probably something that you’ll want to watch with your younger children. Click here to put in your email address and get access to their film for free.

The Ultimate Gift – great movie to learn the significance and value of time, work, family and a host of other fundamental life lessons. The actual book by Jim Stovall, on which the movie is based, is actually far better than the movie.

Facing the Giants – one of my boy’s favorite movies – combine sports and Christian principles, makes for a great movie! Actually, you could watch nearly any movie by the Kendrick Brothers – Courageous (importance of fathers), Fireproof (value of marriage), Flywheel (their first movie, a little cheesy, but fun Christian movie). Also their movie War Room, featuring Priscilla Shirer, the daughter of Dr. Tony Evans, is a great movie about the power of prayer!

God’s Not Dead – these are great Christian movies, especially as your students are getting older and closer to college – these movies examine how Christianity and the world collide and compete for ideas and truth.

I Can Only Imagine– a true story behind the song and Bart Mills’ life (lead singer of MercyMe). Mills struggles with an abusive father who is one day completely and radically changed by the power of God, and just as Bart and his father are beginning to enjoy a solid father-son relationship, his father passes away and Bart is left feeling strangely angry and happy at the same time. Great movie to talk about the meaning of God’s grace in our lives.

The Family Man (with Nicholas Cage) – what, a good movie featuring Nicholas Cage – yes, but not a Christian movie. But a great movie to talk about the importance of family and learning to pursue meaningful and eternal things instead of the temporary riches of the world.

The Same Kind of Different as Me – a powerful movie about the true meaning of friendship and seeing the intrinsic image of God present in all men, regardless of the color of their skin or the size of their bank account. 

Podcasts/YouTube/Internet

There are literally thousands of incredible podcasts, sermons and videos on YouTube you and your family can listen to and watch either together or individually. Here are a few ideas to check out to help you expand your horizons and grow deeper in your walk with the Lord.

Right Now Media – an incredible resource for you and your family – thousands of videos, Bible studies, and things like Veggie Tales specifically for younger children – PCA has its own landing page on Right Now Media – Click HERE to access.

Pardon the Mess – is a fairly new podcast hosted by Cynthia Yanof and brought to you by the great ministry of Dr. Jim Denison. This Christian Parenting podcast is entertaining, enlightening and worth your time.

Gospel in Life – is the podcast of Dr. Tim Keller, pastor of NYC’s Redeemer Presbyterian. I just finished an incredible series he did recently on the power of sin and redeeming work of God over this monster of destruction in our lives.

FreshLife Church– Levi Lusko, the pastor of FreshLife Church, is a young hip pastor of his church in Montana. Levi has spoken at one of the PCA high school retreats a couple of years ago and is well known at venues like Passion. His sermons are great for your family to go through a series together. Series to check out include I Declare War, Creed, and Compass Rose

GRAACE360 – is a new podcast featuring Jenny Brady, PCA’s Diversity Director, Cindy deLeon, PCA History teacher, Tymarcus Ragland, PCANorth Bible teacher and myself discussing diversity issues from a Biblical perspective. Diversity for our discussions include issues of Gender, Race, Age & Ability, Culture and Economic Status.

The Bible Project – you have to check out all the incredible information made available by our friends at The Bible Project – our family’s favorites are the videos explaining each book of the Bible – sound boring…it’s not! Each video is usually 5-7 minutes long, super informative and uber-creative. Apparently they also have a podcast. You can also check out more of their material at their website as well.

Institute for Creation Research (ICR) – our friends at ICR have some incredible information on their website and podcast – also make plans to check out their newly opened Discovery Center for Science and Earth History right here in Dallas as soon as the Coronavirus crisis has subsided.

Stuff You Missed in History Class – there are several really interesting and informative podcasts relating to history, science, etc…do a little research, many are well worth the time.

BreakPoint Commentary with John Stonestreet – great way to keep up with what’s going on in the world through the lens of God’s Word – cultural commentary from a solid Christian perspective. 

Books to Read Together – whether you’re looking for a good book to read together as a family or just a suggestion to keep your sanity for yourself, here are a few thoughts that you might find helpful in selecting a meaningful book to read. 

Love Does by Bob Goff – everyone in your family will love the humor and thoughtfulness of Bob Goff and this interesting book about the power of love put into action

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan – incredible Christian classic, so many different versions for all ages, but if you’re family hasn’t read this one yet, make it a top priority!

A Practical Guide to Culture by John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkle – want to have meaningful conversations with your family about things happening in the world, this is a useful resource to help ground your understanding in God’s Word about what’s happening in your world.

The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel (kids version too) – great resources for all ages to understand the importance of defending your faith in the world today.

Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris – great book to motivate young people to be difference-makers for the Kingdom!

The River by Michael Neal – 7th graders at PCA read this book for class and love it – my wife and another son are reading it now – my 7th grader is also reading his next book Into the Canyon and likes that one even more!

The Mountains are Calling by Jarrett Stephens – Teaching Pastor at Prestonwood, Jarrett dives into a number of scriptures that deal with mountain top experiences and teaches the reader how to see God more clearly through these passages.

C.S. Lewis books – C.S. Lewis wrote across so many genre that it would be difficult to not find a book that he wrote that someone in your family doesn’t love! For the younger kids, The Chronicles of Narnia are great books and now movies, as the children get older, The Abolition of Man, Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters are great, and for the adults, try diving into The Four Loves, A Grief Observed, Till We Have Faces, The Problem of Pain or The Great Divorce, and if you love sci fi, check out his sci fi trilogy

How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay – worldview concepts for the younger reader from the daughter of the legendary Francis Schaeffer – fun and informative book.

You Are Special by Max Lucado – looking for a meaning book to read to your younger children, this is a great one!

The Topsy-Turvy Kingdom by Dottie and Josh McDowell – another great book for your younger children, making sense of an upside-down world with the help of the Word of God.

The Priest With Dirty Clothes by RC Sproul – one more suggestion to read with your younger children – entertaining yet profound.

Books for boys – check out books written by Mark Batterson including In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day or Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow. Also a fan of books by Tripp Lee – The Good Life and Rise. Thoughts for Young Men by JC Ryle is a good high school boy book.

Books for girls – Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers for your older girls and Lady in Waiting by Jackie Kendall. Younger readers may enjoy Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis or Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard.

Books for parents – check out The Indwelling Life of Christ by Sir Ian Thomas, Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, Parenting by Paul David Tripp, I AM Changes Who I Am by Gregg Matte, The Prodigal God by Tim Keller or Crazy Love by Francis Chan – all good reads! 

Fun Family Time

Take advantage of the time together to actually spend time together, put down the phones, turn off the TV and play some card or board games…or do something else interesting and fun as a family! 

Ungame – the family version – a card “game” that results in engaging and interesting conversation! Got this on Amazon – also a teen version – make sure you read through the cards first, this isn’t a Christian game, but it is interesting and provokes thoughtful discussion.

Perplexors – ok, I have to admit, I’m a HUGE fan of Perplexors LOGIC PUZZLES, which are critical thinking mind games – they have different degrees of difficulty and are great fun and learning at the same time – ordered mine on Amazon.

Card and Board Games – yes, break out those traditional card or board games for hours and hours of fun, entertainment and social training that many young people are losing because of “social media” which is anything BUT social!

Puzzles – go ahead and order that 10,000 piece puzzle you’ve never had time for…now you do!

Virtual Tours – you might have heard that many museums have a virtual tour – from the Guggenheim in NYC to The Louvre in Paris – easy to find online and worth the time to see some of the world’s greatest treasures

Broadway Musicals – apparently for a limited time only (during the Coronavirus crisis), you can watch a Broadway musical online for free – from Cats to the Sound of Music to The King and I – worth the time to search this out and watch as a family – night in entertainment!

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Dan Panetti

Dan Panetti serves as the Worldview Director for Prestonwood Christian Academy. He and his wife Tricia have four wonderful children and have been married for almost 25 years!

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