Jesus the Hero Family Devotional: Foreword

Jesus the Hero Family Devotional

We are happy to announce that the Jesus the Hero Family Devotional is now available for purchased at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. We believe this resource will be instrumental in helping families sum up all things in Christ. The devotional was written and compiled by many members of Ashland Avenue Baptist Church under the editorial supervision of Jon Canler. Below I have posted the foreword I wrote for the devotional that gives you a glimpse of the heart behind this project.


Jesus is the Hero.

The Hero of what? The Hero of the self-revelation of God in the Bible. The Hero of the created order. The Hero of world history. The Hero of redemptive history. The ultimate Hero of all things. Paul explains, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent” (Col 1:16-18). Christ is the one in whom God will ultimately sum up the entire cosmos (Eph 1:10), and we are called to sum up all things in Christ right now (1 Cor 10:11; 2 Cor 1:20; Heb 9:26).

Every text of Scripture is about Jesus because, in reality, everything is ultimately about Jesus.

The Jesus the Hero Family Devotional is an attempt to help followers of Christ in the task of summing up all things in Christ right now. The work of the Father and the Spirit is centered upon the Son; the focus of Scripture is also centered upon the Son (Luke 24:27, 44-47). As we read, study, memorize, hear, and pray Scripture, the Spirit makes application of his own Christ-centered Scripture to the heart of the believer. As the believer embraces Scripture by faith, he or she begins to experience the pattern of Jesus’ life as his or her life-pattern. Paul describes this as conducting life “in step with the truth of the gospel” (Gal 2:14). Walking in line with the gospel is not simply a matter of pulling isolated truths out of the Bible to apply to our lives; but rather, it is determining to apply our lives to the biblical gospel story. We cannot claim any of the promises of God apart from Christ and his gospel because there are no promises of God apart from Christ and his gospel.

There is a world of difference between reading Scripture while rummaging for facts to fix self-defined problems and reading Scripture as adopted children of God who desperately want to know their history and family identity as a child of God.

We must not simply attempt to learn information from the Bible but seek to live within the story of the Bible —the gospel story. Paul asserts that the story of “our adoption as sons through Jesus Christ” (Eph 1:5) began before the foundation of the world and extends into eternity (Eph 1). In Christ, all of the stories in biblical redemptive history are our stories. We must long to develop a familial gospel identity and accent, finding our identity in Jesus, who is not ashamed to call us brothers (Heb 2:11). Thus, obedience is never a matter of performance but is “the obedience of faith” (Rom 1:5; 16:26) as adopted children who have their identities formed by their familial gospel story.

 The Jesus the Hero Family Devotional was written and compiled by members of Ashland Avenue Baptist Church (Lexington, Kentucky) and Ashland in Madison County (Richmond, Kentucky) under the excellent editorial supervision of Jon Canler. The devotional includes a few excerpts from other authors whose writings the editor and contributors have consistently benefited from and would like our readers to be familiar with for their own edification. The best way to use this devotional is to use it. I mean that using the devotional in whatever way you find helpful is better than it sitting on a shelf collecting dust. Below I will explain each of the basic components of the devotional, but you should figure out what works best for you. It would make sense that a person who has not previously had a consistent devotional time in the past will approach it a bit differently than someone who has had a consistent quiet time for four decades. I would also remind you to avoid a false guilt complex using the devotional. If you miss a few days, just jump back in and get started again, and continue to do so if the pattern repeats. It is satanic logic that says, “If you miss a few days, you might as well give up.”


Week: Day

The Jesus the Hero Family Devotional is designed to be used five-days-a-week, which provides a couple of days of cushion each week.

Bible Reading

Each day has a primary Bible reading. The daily reading is usually one chapter from the Bible or a couple of chapters when it is perceived that multiple chapters are needed to keep a story, an event, or a character’s life tied together. The 260 readings have been chosen to help the reader understand the flow of the Bible’s storyline.

Key Text  

The key text is the verse(s) that best embody the core meaning of a day’s Bible reading. If you are just starting a devotional time or if you find yourself in a time crunch, you might simply read the key text for that day.

Biblical Storyline Idea

The heading and devotional reading are designed to help the reader gain insight into the meaning of the chapter(s) in the context of the Christ-centered biblical storyline. The reading also attempts to guide the reader toward understanding how the reader can apply one’s life to the biblical gospel story.

Connection with Older/Newer Testament  

Each day also provides texts that connect the day’s reading to particular texts in the other testament.  We have intentionally chosen to use the language of Older and Newer Testaments instead of Old and New Testaments because we want to emphasize that, while there are important elements of discontinuity between the testaments, there is an overriding organic, Christ-centered unity in the Bible. Jesus did not come to abolish the Old Testament but to fulfill it (Matt 5:17-20).

For the Kids

The “For the Kids” section provides simple and creative ways to communicate the message of the daily Scripture reading to children. This section is a blessing to parents because it removes the need for time-consuming planning, allowing parents to focus on the text and their children.

Prayer Prompts  

This section provides a couple of simply-worded prayer prompts to help the reader think about effectively praying the Scripture, which is a vital spiritual discipline.


The Puritans viewed the family and the household as a “little church.”1 Lewis Bayly taught, “What the preacher is in the pulpit, the same the Christian householder is in his house.”2 Christians and parents, we must not shirk our God-given responsibility to teach ourselves and our family about God. In Matthew 22:21 in response to a question, Jesus says to his disciples, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” We must render ourselves and our children to God. The only alternative is to sit passively back and, by inaction, render ourselves and our families to the world. Caesar’s image was stamped on the coin; God’s image is stamped on us and our children. May we, by God’s grace, awake from our slumber and, for the sake of the glory of God and for the good of the next generation, call ourselves and our families to hope in God (Psalm 42:5, 11, 78:7; Acts 24:15; 1 Pet 3:5).

  1. Leland Ryken, Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990), 128.
  2. Lewis Bayly, “The Practice of Piety, Primary Source Edition (Charleston, SC: NABU Press, 2013), 153.
By |February 1st, 2016|Categories: Blog|Tags: |

About the Author:

David E. Prince is pastor of preaching and vision at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky and assistant professor of Christian preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of In the Arena and Church with Jesus as the Hero. He blogs at Prince on Preaching and frequently writes for The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, For the Church, the BGEA and Preaching Today