Archive for the ‘Crash Course’ Category


Satan’s Hidden Tax

I wrote this for my weekly devotional (published at and also Clash Entertainment): 

It was almost midnight and I was nearly finished filing my income taxes. I had finished my federal return and was now almost done with my state return. I live in Illinois and typically the state portion of my taxes is a snap. But the one thing you have to know about living in Illinois is that our fine Land of Lincoln loves to tax things.

And sure enough, as I was nearly to the end of the Illinois return, up pops up a new tax, one I had not heard of in the news. Its creatively titled the “use” tax and it goes like this. If you were smart enough to make a big purchase in another state where there is no sales tax, then Illinois wants a piece of that action. So you’re required to put the dollar figures of your purchases outside the state, including anything you ordered online or thru a catalog.

I hadn’t made any large purchases, just a bunch of small ones. So I took the standard exception. It was only $15 and still didn’t affect my state refund.

But still I was a bit miffed. Apparently it’s not enough for the state to tax sales, property, income, cell phone, utilities, and gasoline. Now they are going after purchases made in other states. And so for about fifteen minutes I treated my wife to what I thought was a brilliant soliloquy on the stupidity of liberal policies in our state. Had it not been midnight I may have filed for the governor’s race in 2013.

Most us hate taxes. We especially hate hidden ones, because it denies us the opportunity to count the cost.

This is eerily similar to life and the two choices you are presented with. One the one hand you can choose Jesus, who is up front about what it costs. He says that to follow Him will cost you everything. His glory demands our sacrifice, not because it earns us more favor, but because it flows from a willing heart. He gave us His all. He is Lord and therefore, it’s only reasonable (Romans 12:1).

Satan also demands your all and exacts a high cost. Only he doesn’t tell you this. He offers seemingly cost-free sensual pleasure and gratification. Just watch the beer commercials. What do they promise? The High Life. A good time. They conveniently edit out the DUI’s and broken shattered homes caused by drunkenness. Watch TV sitcoms. They present free and uninhibited sex and edit out the costly repercussions of indulging God’s good gift outside of marriage: shame, guilt, diseases, broken families.

This is what I call Satan’s hidden tithe. Most of us frown on the idea of sacrificing anything for God. We want don’t want to give up anything. But when we live for ourselves, when we believe the lie of the enemy, when we swim in the current of the world system, we end up “tithing” the best of ourselves.

So before you are two choices. Whose tax will you pay?

As for me, I’d rather pay the tithe on the front end, knowing the costs, rather than paying the enemy’s pernicious hidden tax.


Teen Devos for the New Year

If you’d like to get encourage your young person to develop a study of the Scriptures in 2012, you can help them along the way with some resources I’ve developed. I’d like to share about two of them here:

Teen People of the Bible, Celebrity Profiles of Real Faith and Tragic Failure

 This was my first book and it continues to sell well. It’s a unique, 100-day devotional that features the stories of 29 young people in the Scripture. Each day shares a bit about the Biblical teen, offers a contemporary story about a teen and/or a few practical life lessons, then offers journaling space. Each day also comes with a probing question answered from the Bible and some thought-provoking discussion ideas. I wrote this book to help young people get interested in the Bible. Quite often they crack open the Scriptures and might get lost in Leviticus or think that perhaps the Bible only speaks to folks with gray hair. This is a 100-day devotional, so you might, as a parent or youth pastor, give a 100-day challenge and see if they can’t read through one devotional and the corresponding Scriptures once a day for a 100 days. If you’ve had a hard time getting your teens into a Bible-reading discipline, this is a great resource. You’ll also like that I didn’t try to “dumb down” the Scriptures. So often teen devos are so light and fluffy they actually insult kids by insinuating that they can’t actually grasp difficult ideas.

This is what bestselling authors Jim and Elisabeth George said about Teen People of the Bible: 

With creativity and a clear understanding of a teen’s heart and life, Daniel shares biblical truths in this daily devotional that will set a young person on God’s path day by day. His passion for God’s truth and his knowledge of the struggles and temptations young men and women face is heard on page after page as he dispenses life-saving—and life-changing—help. Every teen will benefit from this powerful book, and every parent will want to give this volume to the young adults in their life! What a great way to put the next generation on a sure path of godliness!

It was also nominated for a Gold Medallion award and was endorsed by Focus on the Family’s (now defunct) Brio and Breakaway magazines. You can read more endorsements here.


Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life.

This is another 100-day devotional. This is formatted similarly to Teen People, but instead of covering the stories of Biblical young people, it walks through the five most important areas of a young person’s life. The book is divided up into the 5 “d’s.” Doctrine, Direction, Decisions, Devotion, Delight. It begins with the doctrine section to help kids understand why we believe what we believe. We explain pretty deep concepts like the Trinity and the Holy Spirit in a fresh, but faithful way. I also recommend resources for digging deeper if they want to further study out that concept. Each of these sections contains 20 devos.

So this might be a resource you’d give a high-school junior or senior or a college freshman or sophomore. It’s a concise core of the most important truths we want our young people to understand and make their own. And like Teen People, it’s a 100-day devo, so they can knock it out in like three months. I did it in the devotional format so they could meditate on once concept per day.

Susie Shellenberger, former editor of Brio (Focus on the Family) and founder and editor of Susie magazine says this about Crash Course:

Today’s teens want truth, guidance and authenticity, and they quickly see through the opposites. That’s why Crash Course is a must for every teen’s backpack! Filled with faith-building stories, truth about God’s plan and genuine guidance on how to live out their faith in the midst of life’s toughest moments, Crash Course takes teens on an incredible ride to developing solidity in their relationship with Christ. Daniel Darling has definitely proven himself as an excellent communicator to today’s generation, and I’m excited about the message inside these pages!

Free Resources:

You might also encourage your teen to sign up for my weekly teen devo on Crosswalk, which also appears weekly at the teen site: Clash Entertainment.


Friday Five Interview: Scott Phelps


Scott Phelps is a leading author of a critically acclaimed abstinence curriculum used around the country, including A.C Green’s Gameplan and Navigator. He is the founder and executive director of the Abstinence & Marriage Education Partnership.

Scott has worked with youth in San Francisco and Chicago and each year speaks to thousands of teens around the country on the benefits of abstinence until marriage. He provides training seminars nationally to help educators and parents effectively communicate the message of abstinence to teens.

I highly recommend his materials for use in schools, youth groups, and homes.

Scott was kind enough to stop by and answer questions for today’s Friday Five:

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Friday Five – Alex Chediak

Alex Chediak

Today more kids go to college than ever before and yet many wonder if kids are truly ready. How do parents and pastors and influencers prepare young people for this important phase of their lives? Today I’m blessed to chat with Alex Chediak, author of the newly released book, Thriving at College. Alex is an Associate Professor of Engineering and Physics at California Baptist University.

I think Alex has written a powerful and much-needed book. What like about it is that it is so comprehensive. I’d highly recommend it to any high-school senior or college freshman (or their parents, for that matter!).

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My Books Available in New Formats

excited to announce that my books are available in some new formats. First, my two teen devotionals, Teen People of the Bible and Crash Course are now available in the popular Bible study program, WordSearch. I have long used WordSearch for Bible study for preaching and writing. It is an indispensable tool for me. I highly recommend it. If you’re a WordSearch user, you can purchase my books as “ad-ons.” This might be really useful in preparing lessons for youth groups.

Adolescentes de la Biblia  (Teen People of the Bible)  -              By: Daniel Darling


Secondly, Teen People of the Bible is available in the Spanish language. You can order it from or other retailers.


Resources for Graduation

Graduated!photo © 2010 Ralph Daily | more info (via: Wylio)



We’re coming up on graduation day, that fateful day when you step across the aisle and enter into life. I’ll never forget the day I nervously stumbled down the aisle, sweating profusely and wondering what I was going to say in my speech. I remember thinking, “Okay, I’m an adult now, I guess. Now what?”

Well one of my passions is to help young people answer the “Now what?” question in this phase of their life. So as parents and youth pastors and grandparents think about how to equip their kids for the next step of life, I’ve got a few resources:

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When Fun Becomes an Idol

I’ll never forget a conversation I had with my father one day as we were working on a construction site. Dad owned his own plumbing business and had the bright idea of dragging me along to learn what it was like to get my hands dirty and to work.

I remember this day vividly. It was during Christmas break. It was bitterly cold outside and we were actually up early enough for it to be dark outside. These concepts—hard work, getting up early—seemed like cruel unusual punishment.

There I stood, layered in clothes in an attempt to block the bitter Chicago winter from freezing me to death, dreaming of being somewhere else, anywhere but in the place that required self-sacrifice.

On this day I asked Dad a single question. I said, “Dad, why do you do this, work this hard every day? It’s not very fun.” I thought maybe this would trigger some deep reservoir of sympathy from my father on behalf of his poor, downtrodden boy.

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Developing Decision-Makers

“Will they make good choices?” This is the question that every parent asks, especially parents of teenagers. Its what keeps you up at night, fretting, hoping, and praying.

In my work as a pastor, I often counsel young people on the wide array of choices that lie before them. And even though I’ve talked to scores of teens from a wide variety of backgrounds, I can usually categorize them into one of two groups: those who have been equipped to make good choices and those who have not.

I’ve found that its not enough for parents to simply help them through tough choices. A good parent works hard to equip their children for a life of making those choices on their own.

How do we do this? I’ve developed five key principles that I think help to build every child’s decision-making muscles:

Read the rest as part of my guest post on Radical Parenting: